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

NAVAL EVENTS, MAY 1940 (Part 3 of 4)
Wednesday 15th – Tuesday 21st

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Potentilla, corvette (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

on to MAY 1940, Part 4

 

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

(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

           

                                                                             

Wednesday,  15 May

 

Anti-aircraft ship CARLISLE departed Scapa Flow for Devonport.

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French destroyer FOUDROYANT sank two German seaplanes at their moorings at Hemnes and Sund.

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Destroyer SOMALI and French destroyer FOUDROYANT, returning from Mo, received the report of troopship CHROBRY's bombing and heavy damage. En route to assist at 0243, these destroyers were heavily bombed by German Ju.87 bombers and SOMALI was badly damaged by a near miss.

 

Destroyer SOMALI had fore compartments flooded.

 

Destroyer SOMALI was escorted to Scapa Flow by destroyer FOUDROYANT, screened by anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW.

 

Tug BRIGAND departed Lerwick at 1930/15th, but she was ordered to return at 2150 when it was found she was not needed.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW arrived and Scapa Flow at 1339/17th and the two destroyers arrived at Scapa Flow at 0400/18th.

 

Destroyer SOMALI then went on her own to Liverpool arriving at 1245/19th.

 

The destroyer was under repair until 1 September 1940.

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French destroyer FOUDROYANT arrived at Scapa Flow at 0400/18th. She took on fuel and ammunition before departing at 2130/18th for the Clyde.

 

Destroyer FOUDROYANT escorted French tanker TARN to the Clyde arriving at 0400/20th.

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Destroyer FURY, after destroyer KELLY escort, departed the Tyne for Leith to escort troopship ORION (23,456grt) to Pentland Firth.

 

Destroyer FURY and the troopship departed Leith at 1600/15th.

 

Destroyer MASHONA departed Scapa Flow at 0330/16th to escort ORION.

 

Destroyer MASHONA arrived at Greenock at 1530/17th after escorting ORION to 13W.

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Destroyer ZULU, which had evacuated 150 allied troops from Mo, arrived in the Clyde at 1930 after having been relieved by destroyer ACASTA in the light cruiser PENELOPE screen.

 

At 2102, destroyer ZULU received orders to remain at Greenock for escort duties.

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Destroyer BEDOUIN departed Scapa Flow at 1030/14th for repairs in the Clyde, arriving at 0930/15th.

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A Swordfish of 816 Squadron ditched in Ofotfjord after receiving damage on an attack on German aircraft at Lake Hartvig, near Bjervik. S/Lt J. W. Ball, Lt A. S. Marshall, Naval Airman R. Pike were picked up by destroyer ZULU.

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Nine Skuas of 806 Squadron and three Blenheims of 254 Squadron departed Hatston to raid Bergen, but were forced to return owing to fog.

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British Leading Airman J. Rees of 7 SFTS Peterborough was killed when his Hart dived into the sea during dive bombing exercises off West Freugh.

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From 1045 to 1455, submarine PORPOISE laid minefield FD.11 in 61‑44N, 04‑54E.

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Anti-submarine trawlers CAPE WARWICK and CAPE PORTLAND departed Scapa Flow escorting oiler British GENERAL for Liverpool and Norwegian oiler EGERO for Trinidad as far as Cape Wrath.

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French troopships DEGRASSE (18435grt) and COLOMBIE (13390grt) departed the Clyde for Brest.

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Swedish steamer ROSENHOLM (1736grt) was seized by German forces at Bergen.

 

The Swedish steamer was renamed OXHOFT for German use.

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Destroyer MALCOLM departed Dover at 1310 for docking at Blackwall to repair propellers damaged at Hook of Holland.

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Destroyer WINCHESTER, en route from Flushing, was near missed by German bombing early on the 15th off Hook of Holland and was badly damaged.

 

Destroyer WINCHESTER arrived at Dover. She departed Dover at 1900/15th under tow for Portsmouth where she was beached temporarily. The destroyer was taken on to Liverpool for repairs completed in mid June.

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Destroyers VALENTINE, WINCHESTER, WHITLEY were operating off Flushing during the night of 14/15 May.

 

At 1300, destroyers VALENTINE and WHITLEY were ordered to cover the Terneusen - Brosele (Beveland) Ferry.

 

Destroyer VALENTINE (Cdr H.J. Buchanan RAN), at the mouth of the River Scheldt within a mile of Terneusen, was bombed and badly damaged by German Ju.88 bomber.

 

Struck by two bombs, destroyer VALENTINE's boiler blew up and she was run aground and abandoned a total loss.

 

Thirty one ratings were killed and twenty one crew, including Probationary Temporary Surgeon Lt N. F. E. Burrows RMCS, LRCP, MD, BCH RNVR, Temporary Lt R. M. MacFie RNVR, Acting Gunner S. F. Burrow were wounded.

 

Destroyer WHITLEY was bombed, but was not damaged. Destroyer WHITLEY blew up destroyer VALENTINE.

 

Destroyer WHITLEY remained at Flushing during the afternoon and evening.

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Minesweeper HUSSAR off Orfordness was struck by a glancing German bomb. The bomb itself did little damage, but it set off a depth charge on the minesweeper.

 

Temporary Lt F. F. Wheeler RNR, two ratings were killed in the minesweeper.

 

Despite the damage, the minesweeper was able to return to Harwich under her own power.

 

The minesweeper was repaired at North Shields, completing on 21 June.

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Destroyer WESSEX departed Dover at 0600 for the Humber.

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Destroyers WESTMINSTER and VIMIERA arrived at Dover from the Hook of Holland.

 

After refuelled and taking on ammunition, they departed that evening for Dunkirk.

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Destroyer WOLSEY departed Dover at 1600 for Dunkirk and Flushing.

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Destroyer VESPER departed Dover at 0010 for Sheerness.

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Five Destroyers departed Harwich for Plymouth.

 

Destroyer HYPERION departed Sheerness at 0800 for Plymouth. The destroyer arrived at 2130 to prepare to depart for duty in the Mediterranean Fleet.

 

Destroyers JUNO and JANUS departed Harwich for Plymouth for duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

 

Destroyer HOSTILE departed Humber for Plymouth for duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

 

Destroyer MOHAWK arrived at Plymouth from Sheerness for duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

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Destroyers KHARTOUM and KINGSTON, after refitting at Falmouth, arrived at Plymouth for duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

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Destroyer ILEX, which had departed Narvik on the 10th, was ordered at 1815 to proceed directly to Plymouth.

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Submarine SEAWOLF sighted enemy minesweepers off the Texel.

 

These minesweepers were thought to be preceding merchant ships. The allied submarines in these areas were told to remain to the east of their patrol zones.

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Submarine SUNFISH arrived at Harwich after patrol.

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Submarines depot ship CYCLOPS of the 3rd Submarine Flotilla and French submarine depot ship JULES VERNE of the 10th Submarine Flotilla departed Harwich for Rosyth.

 

Depot ship CYCLOPS was escorted by destroyers CODRINGTON, GRIFFIN, GRAFTON, GALLANT. When the Humber was reached, destroyers CODRINGTON and GRIFFIN were detached. The group safely arrived at Rosyth on the 18th, escorted by destroyers GRAFTON and GALLANT.

 

On 25 May, depot ship JULES VERNE and submarines CIRCE and THETIS departed Rosyth for Dundee. They were joined at sea by submarine CALYPSO and safely arrived at Dundee later the same day.

 

On 16 May, submarines H.49 and H.50 departed Dover with British trawler WARRIOR II for Portsmouth.

 

On 18 May, after being delayed by fog, submarines H.28 and H.44 departed Dover escorted by British trawler WARRIOR II for Portsmouth, where they arrived on the 19th.

 

At Harwich after the departure of the 3rd Submarine Flotilla, five H.class submarines were brought from Portland for anti-invasion duties.

 

These submarines were H.31 and H.32, which were refitting at Sheerness, H.33, H.34, H.43. In addition, L. 27 was also attached to the Flotilla pending the completion of a refit at Portsmouth.

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Destroyers IVANHOE, ESK, EXPRESS of the 20th Destroyer Flotilla departed Immingham at 1525/15th and laid mines off Hook of Holland in Operation CBX 3.

 

On 26 July, three German minesweepers were lost on this minefield.

 

Destroyer INTREPID, to be escorted by destroyer IMPULSIVE,departed Immingham to lay mines off Egmond in Operation CBX 2, an extension of the CBX minefield.

 

However, destroyer IMPULSIVE was forced to return to Immingham with boiler defects and destroyer INTREPID proceeded alone.

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Destroyer WESTMINSTER (Lt Cdr A. A. C. Ouvry) arrived at Dover at 1100/15th to reprovision. The destroyer departed at 2100 for Dunkirk.

 

At 2325, the destroyer struck a wreck in the Dunkirk west channel approaches. She was considerably damaged, but sustained no casualties. WESTMINSTER was towed into Dunkirk and drydocked at 0520/16th.

 

On 20 May, tug LADY BRASSEY towed WESTMINSTER to Dover escorted by destroyer WOLSEY.

 

Off Dover, destroyer WESTMINSTER was able to proceed on her own at nine knots to Portsmouth escorted by destroyer WOLSEY as far as Nab Tower.

 

Destroyer WESTMINSTER was repaired at Portsmouth on 7 July.

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Minesweeper ELGIN was damaged in a collision with the Grimsby Royal Dock.

 

The minesweeper was repaired at Hull completing on 8 June.

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French auxiliary minesweepers DUQUESNE II (189grt) and HENRI GUEGAN (251grt) were sunk by mines at the entrance to the Scheldt River, five hundred yards southeast of the Wielingen Whistle Buoy.

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Italian steamer FOSCOLO (3059grt) was badly damaged by German bombing six miles northeast of Zeebrugge.

 

The steamer was abandoned and the survivors were landed at Zeebrugge. The steamer sank on the 18th.

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Greek steamer EVGENIA (5839grt) was badly damaged by German bombing in 51-23N, 03-07E, off red Buoy, outside Zeebrugge.

 

All the crew was saved.

 

The steamer was abandoned on the 16th and sank as a result of this bombing on the 18th.

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Belgian steamer BRABO (3699grt) was damaged by German bombing in the River Scheldt.

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Dutch steamer PRINSES IRENE (400grt) was damaged by German bombing in 51‑24N, 0l‑18E.

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Dutch steamer TEXELSTROOM (1617grt) arrived at Dover with 268 German prisoners of war, the Dutch guard, thirty one refugees.

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Dutch steamer INSPECTOR GENERAL TWENT arrived at Dover with fifty of the Ijmuiden XD demolition party.

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Convoy FN.172 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WALLACE, VIMY, WINDSOR. Minelayers TEVIOTBANK and PLOVER traveled in this convoy. On arrival off the Tyne, destroyers VIVIEN and VALOROUS escorted the minelayers to Rosyth. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 17th.

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Convoy FS.171 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloop HASTINGS. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 17th.

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Convoy HG.30 of twenty seven ships departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyer KEPPEL which escorted the convoy from 15 to 17 May.

 

The ocean escort for the convoy was Sloop DEPTFORD from 15 to 25 May.

 

Destroyer WHITEHALL escorted the convoy in Home Waters from 22 to 25 May. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 25th.

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Australian light cruiser HOBART covered the disembarkation of the 2nd King's African Rifles at Berbera from 15 to 17 May.

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Submarine RORQUAL, following repairs at Singapore, departed Singapore on 28 April, Colombo on the 3rd, Aden on the 10th arriving at Suez on the 15th.

 

Submarine RORQUAL arrived at Alexandria on the 16th, departing on the 20th, arrived at Malta on the 22nd for duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

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French destroyers VERDUN, VALMY, GUÉPARD, ALBATROS, VAUTOUR, which departed Brest on the 13th, passed Gibraltar en route to Toulon, arriving on the 17th.

 

 

Thursday, 16 May

 

Destroyer VERITY departed Dover in the morning to relieve destroyer WHITSHED on North Goodwin Patrol. When relieved destroyer WHITSHED proceeded to Ostend, arriving at 1230.

 

Destroyers WHITSHED and VENOMOUS with British steamer MONA'S QUEEN (2756grt) and Belgian steamer PRINCE LEOPOLD (2938grt) arrived at Ostend at 1230 to evacuate troops.

 

Both steamers ran aground. They were towed off by destroyer WHITSHED which also ran aground and was able to get off herself.

 

The steamers proceeded to Folkestone. The destroyers arrived at Dover at 2100.

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Light cruisers ARETHUSA and GALATEA departed Sheerness for Portsmouth due to air threat of remaining at Sheerness.

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British Captain G.H. Stevens-Guille assumed command of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla.

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French destroyers CYCLONE and SIROCCO arrived at Dover at 1200 with the Dutch Naval Staff and his staff.

 

The French destroyers departed Dover that evening with Prince Bernhard on his way to join the Dutch army at Zeeland.

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French destroyers FOUGUEUX and ADRIOT operating off Hook of Holland attacked a submarine contact.

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Dutch minelayers NAUTILUS and JAN VAN BRAKEL, armed yacht DE MOK, armed tug AMSTERDAM, seagoing torpedo boats Z.5, Z.8, G.13, G.15 passed Dover en route to Portsmouth.

 

Dutch seagoing torpedo boats Z.6 and Z.7 departed Dover for Ramsgate.

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Battleship RESOLUTION, anchored at Tjeldsundet, was struck at 1130 by a German bomb that pierced the starboard side of the quarterdeck and dove three decks before exploding in the Marines' messdeck.

 

One ratings was killed and a second rating died of wounds the next day. Twenty two Marines and four naval ratings were wounded. A further rating was wounded in destroyer VANSITTART in the bombing.

 

A Swordfish of 700 Squadron from RESOLUTION was also damaged on the 16th. The aircraft was shipped back to the UK in steamer BLACKHEATH, which departed on 7 June.

 

Battleship RESOLUTION, escorted by destroyers VANSITTART and WREN departed Vestfjord on the 18th.

 

Destroyer FORTUNE departed Scapa Flow at 0745/20th and joined the British ships at sea.

 

All four British ships arrived at Scapa Flow without incident at 1000/21st.

 

Battleship RESOLUTION was repaired by local repair facilities by 4 June when she sailed to the join the North Atlantic Command at Gibraltar.

 

Destroyer VANSITTART departed Scapa Flow at 1715/24th and went on to the Tyne. She arrived on the 26th for repairs completed on 22 June.

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Sloop FLEETWOOD was bombed in the same attack as battleship RESOLUTION near Narvik. Splinters from a near miss mortally wounded Lt Cdr H.T. R. Bonham, which died on 8 June.

 

Tanker BROOMDALE also sustained some damage from bombing.

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Lt L.A. Harris RM, Lt J. H.R. Medlicott-Vereker in a Skua of the 803 Squadron were shot down in Rombaksfjord.

 

Both were picked up by destroyer MATABELE.

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Destroyer MATABELE was ordered to relieve destroyer FAME at Narvik. Destroyer FAME to Hol until relieved by destroyer ECHO, then to Skaanland for fuel and provisions.

 

Destroyer VANSITTART relieved destroyer ECHO on "B" patrol. Destroyer ECHO proceeded to Hol on relief.

 

Destroyer BRAZEN was on "E" patrol.

 

Destroyer HAVELOCK proceeded to Skaanland for ammunition, then proceeded to Baroy.

 

Destroyer WREN to Harstad to refuel and for oil and provisions.

 

Destroyer WARWICK remained at Harstad.

 

Destroyer VANSITTART was available to return to England when relieved by destroyer WHIRLWIND.

 

Destroyer ESKIMO had been towed to Skaanland from Skelfjord. Her temporary repairs were delayed until the arrival of further oxygen, acetylene, hydrogen.

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Nine Skuas of 806 Squadron from Hatston, escorted three Blenheims of 254 Squadron, attacked Bergen. No aircraft were lost and damage to German targets was confined to fuel tanks at Kaarven, Florgasaaspynt, Strudshavn.

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Destroyers HAVOCK and HEREWARD departed Harwich at 0600 for Plymouth for duty in the Mediterranean Fleet.

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Destroyers to reinforce the Mediterranean Fleet departed Plymouth.

 

At 1630/16th, sloops AUCKLAND (Cdr J. G.Hewitt) and FLAMINGO (Cdr J. H.Huntley) departed Plymouth.

 

Sloop GRIMSBY (Cdr K. J. D'Arcy) was taken in hand on the 20th at Plymouth to repair defects, as a replacement for sloop EGRET which was in the earlier group, but was ordered to return to Rosyth. The sloop was able to proceed independently on the 20th for Gibraltar.

 

At 2000/16th, destroyers KINGSTON (Lt Cdr P. Somerville), KHARTOUM (Cdr D. T. Dowler), KANDAHAR (Cdr W. G.A. Robson), NUBIAN (Cdr R. W. Ravenhill), HYPERION (Cdr H.St L.Nicholson), HOSTILE (Cdr J. P. Wright), HASTY (Lt Cdr R. K. Tyrwhitt) departed Plymouth. This group arrived at Gibraltar on the 18th.

 

At 0035/17th, anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE (Captain G.M. B. Langley, OBE), destroyers HERO (Cdr H.W. Biggs), HAVOCK (Lt Cdr R. E. Courage), HEREWARD (Lt Cdr C. W. Greening), JANUS (Captain P. J. Mack; Cdr J. A. W. Tothill), IMPERIAL (Lt Cdr C. A. De W. Kitcat), ILEX (Lt Cdr P. L.Saumarez), JUNO (Cdr W. E. Wilson), KIMBERLEY (Lt Cdr J. S. M. Richardson), MOHAWK (Cdr J. W. M. Eaton) departed Plymouth.

 

Destroyers JANUS, JUNO, ILEX, KIMBERLEY, MOHAWK and sloops AUCKLAND and FLAMINGO arrived at Gibraltar on the 19th.

 

Destroyer MOHAWK required docking at Gibraltar for several days to make good damage sustained by German bombing in the North Sea.

 

On 19 May, destroyers HYPERION, HOSTILE, HASTY, NUBIAN, KINGSTON, KANDAHAR, KHARTOUM departed Gibraltar in company for Malta.

 

The two sloops departed Gibraltar for Malta on the 19th.

 

The two groups arrived at Malta on the 21st.

 

Destroyers JANUS, KIMBERLEY, JUNO, ILEX departed Gibraltar for Malta on the 20th.

 

On 20 May, anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE and destroyers HEREWARD, HAVOCK, IMPERIAL arrived at Gibraltar and departed that day for Malta.

 

Sloop GRIMSBY arrived at Gibraltar on the 24th and departed the same day for Malta.

 

Destroyers HYPERION, HASTY, NUBIAN arrived at Alexandria on the 23rd. Cruiser CARLISLE, destroyers KHARTOUM, KANDAHAR, KIMBERLEY, KINGSTON, the sloops arrived at Suez on the 24th, destroyers JANUS, JUNO, IMPERIAL arrived at Alexandria on the 24th, as did HOSTILE on the 25th, HAVOCK on the 26th, HEREWARD and HERO arrived at Alexandria on the 27th, destroyer ILEX arrived on the 28th, MOHAWK on the 29th.

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Destroyer SIKH arrived for boiler cleaning at Scapa Flow at 1400.

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Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA departed Scapa Flow at 1500 for Harwich for duty under Commander in Chief, Nore.

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Destroyer ATHERSTONE made a anti-submarine attack at North Rona, but this was later determined to be non submarine.

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Submarine TRUANT departed Rosyth for Harstad where she operated with Norwegian submarines B.1 and B.3 under the Command of Vice Admiral Cruiser Squadron 1.

 

Submarine TRUANT on the 18th was ordered to proceed directly to Tromso where she arrived on the 19th.

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Submarine SEALION arrived at Harwich after patrol.

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French submarines ANTIOPE, SYBILLE, CIRCE, THETIS departed Harwich on patrol in the North Sea.

 

Submarines ANTIOPE and SYBILLE relieved Submarine SEAWOLF and French submarine AMAZONE on patrol on stations.

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French convoy FR.1 of French troopships KOUTOUBIA (8790grt), EXPLORATEUR GRANDIDIER (10268grt), COMPIEGNE (9986grt), CHANTILLY (9986grt) departed the Clyde for Brest escorted by French destroyer EPERVIER and patrol vessels JASON and GLEANER. The patrol vessels were relieved west of the Skerries by destroyers WAKEFUL and VANQUISHER.

 

On 17 May, troopship EXPLORATEUR GRANDIDIER was in a collision with British steamer ST KEARAN (691grt), but was able to continue.

 

Destroyer VANQUISHER was ordered toescort troopship EXPLORATEUR GRANDIDIER to Brest. The convoy arrived safely at Brest, escorted by EPERVIER.

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Submarine PORPOISE laid minefield FD.11 off Hovden Island.

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Convoy OA.149 departed Southend escorted by corvette GLADIOLUS.

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Convoy OB.149 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer MACKAY from 16 to 19 May. The destroyer was detached to conovy HX.41.

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Convoy AXF.5, escorted by destroyer WHITEHALL, departed Southampton for St Malo.

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Convoy AXS.13 of one steamer arrived at St Malo from Southampton.

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Convoy OG.30F was formed from convoys OA.148GF, which departed Southend on the 14th with sloop SCARBOROUGH and corvette PERIWINKLE, OB.148GF, which departed Liverpool with sloops LIETH and ENCHANTRESS on the 14th, with forty four ships.

 

Sloops LEITH and ENCHANTRESS escorted the convoy from 16 to 18 May and were then detached to convoy HG.30F.

 

Corvette PERIWINKLE was in the convoy escort on the 16th.

 

Sloop SCARBOROUGH escorted the convoy from 16 to 21 May. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on the 22nd.

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Convoy BC.38 of steamers BALTRAFFIC, BARON KINNAIRD, DAVID LIVINGSTONE (Commodore), EILDON, KERMA, OCEAN COAST departed Bristol Channel escorted by destroyer MONTROSE and armed yacht ZAZA. The convoy arrived at Loire on the 18th.

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Convoy FS.172 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers VIMY and WINDSOR and sloop WESTON. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 18th.

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British steamer KINGSBURY (4898grt) in convoy OA.149 was machine gunned by German bombers eight miles 300° from Royal Sovereign Light Vessel. One crewman was killed and one crewman was wounded.

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German light cruiser KOLN and escort ship GRILLE departed Wilhelmshaven for a minelaying mission in Fisher Bank escorted by destroyers BEITZEN, SCHOEMANN, HEINEMANN and torpedo boats KONDOR and GREIF.

 

The minefield was successfully laid and the ships returned to Wilhelmshaven on the 18th.

 

The force laid a second minefield shortly after.

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French light cruiser MONTCALM and destroyers BRESTOIS and BOULONNAIS departed Brest at 1500/16th for the Mediterranean. The cruiser passed Gibraltar on the 19th and arrived at Oran later that day. The destroyers arrived at Gibraltar on that date and departed the next day and arrived at Oran later on the 20th.

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French large destroyers TARTU and CHEVALIER PAUL, which departed Brest on the 14th, passed Gibraltar en route to Toulon, arriving on the 17th.

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French light cruiser DUGUAY TROUIN, escorted by large destroyer GERFAUT, departed Brest. The cruiser was escorted to Gibraltar by the destroyer which then returned to Brest for other escort duties. Cruiser DUGUAY TROUIN passed Gibraltar on the 19th and arrived at Toulon on the 21st.

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Destroyers WISHART and DOUGLAS departed Gibraltar for Marseilles to act as escort for troopships.

 

The destroyers were recalled to escort troopship ORONSAY to Malta.

 

The three ships departed on the 17th.

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Polish destroyer GARLAND departed Malta for Alexandria for operations with the Mediterranean Fleet.

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In exercises from Aircraft carrier HERMES near Freetown at 8-31N, 13-37W, Lt E. A. Liversidge and Leading Airman S. G. Bax of 814 Squadron were killed when their Swordfish crashed into the sea. A second Swordfish of the 814 Squadron was lost that day crashing on shore.

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Convoy HX.43 departed Halifax at 0900 escorted by Canadian destroyers RESTIGOUCHE and SKEENA, which were detached on the 17th.

 

Convoy BHX.43 departed Bermuda on the 15th escorted locally by sloop PENZANCE and an ocean escort of armed merchant cruiser COMORIN. The convoy joined convoy HX.43 on the 21st and the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

Light cruiser EMERALD was the ocean escort for this convoy. The light cruiser was detached on the 27th.

 

Sloop SANDWICH and corvette CLARKIA joined the convoy on the 27th. The sloop was detached on the 30th. The corvette escorted the convoy to 31 May, when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.

 

 

Friday, 17 May

 

Allied troops were embarked on Light cruiser EFFINGHAM to be landed at Bodo.

 

Light cruiser EFFINGHAM along with anti-aircraft cruisers CAIRO and COVENTRY and destroyers MATABELE and ECHO departed Harstad for the landings.

 

En route on the 18th at 2000, light cruiser EFFINGHAM ran aground at 23 knots on Faksen Shoal between Bricksvaer and Terra in 67‑17N, 13‑58E and was wrecked. Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY brushed ground and ruptured a fuel tank. Destroyer MATABELE also went aground, but was gotten off with much damage to her hull.

 

After the troops and crew were removed from EFFINGHAM by destroyer ECHO, destroyer MATABELE torpedoed EFFINGHAM. The troops were taken back to Harstad and did not arrive at Bodo until the night of 19/20 May when Destroyers FIREDRAKE and WALKER delivered the first contingent.

 

Destroyer MATABELE departed Harstad on the 20th and arrived in the Clyde on the 23rd. She went on to Falmouth arriving on the 24th for repairs from 27 May to 18 August. On 29 August 1940 she arrived back at Scapa Flow for operations.

 

On 21 May, light cruiser EFFINGHAM was shelled and torpedoed by destroyer MATABELE, en route to the Clyde, to insure her demise.

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Minelayers TEVIOTBANK and PLOVER arrived at Scapa Flow from the Humber, escorted by destroyer SABRE and armed patrol yacht BREDA.

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Anti-submarine trawler CAPE NYEMETSKI, escorting trawler SPINDRIFT (captured German trawler JULIUS PICKENPACK, but identified as POLARIS), departed Scapa Flow for Liverpool, arriving on the 20th.

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Anti-submarine trawlers KING SOL and LOCH MONTEITH departed Scapa Flow escorting cable ship MONARCH to Rosyth.

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British Captain H.Hickling relinquished his command of Force W (the three "Fleet Tenders" - dummy ships) and Captain H.N. M. Hardy DSO Rtd of Fleet Tender "C" assumed command.

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Norwegian steamer TORGTIND (298grt) was sunk by German bombing off Batland, Helgeland.

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Destroyer WILD SWAN arrived at Dover from London after repairs.

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The French 11th Destroyer Division on patrol off Dunkirk was attacked by German bombers. Torpedo boats CORDELIERE (Capitaine de Fregate H.A. J. Robinet de Plas) and MELPOMENE (Capitaine de Corvette P. A. M. Bonny) were badly damaged.

 

Torpedo boat FLORE, in company, escaped serious damage and escorted her two damaged sisters to port.

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Dutch minelayers MEDUSA and DOUWE AUKES arrived at Dover.

 

Dutch auxiliary minesweepers No. 8 (trawler DIRKJE, 234grt), No. 7 (trawler CLAESJE, 229grt), AMSTERDAM (241grt), BLOEMENDAAL (242grt), MARIA R. OMMERING (216grt) arrived in the Downs.

 

The Dutch ships sailed for Portsmouth the next day.

_____

 

French auxiliary minesweeper MARDYCK (tons) was beached at Breskens after a fire and was abandoned on the 17th.

_____

 

Three destroyers of the 7th Destroyer Flotilla joined the Commander in Chief, Nore, at Harwich.

 

Destroyers JAVELIN and JACKAL departed Scapa Flow at 1830/14th to run over the DG range at Inchkeith before proceeding on the 15th.

 

Destroyer JAGUAR departed Harwich on the 15th on patrol where she was joined on patrol by destroyer JACKAL, coming from Rosyth. Both ships arrived back at Harwich on the 17th.

 

Destroyer JAVELIN went directly to Harwich arriving on the 16th.

_____

 

Light cruiser FIJI was completed. She was prepared for trials in the West Indies and departed the Clyde on 4 June for Bermuda.

_____

 

Submarine depot ship MAIDSTONE was designated to replace depot ship CYCLOPS at Rosyth.

 

Depot ship MAIDSTONE departed Portland on the 19th escorted by destroyer WORCESTER. She arrived in the Clyde on the 20th escorted by destroyer VANOC and WORCESTER.

 

Destroyer VANOC was detached on the 21st to relieve destroyer HESPERUS with a convoy returning from Norway.

 

The depot ship departed the Clyde at 0945/22nd escorted by destroyers ZULU and MAORI and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1835/23rd.

 

At 1715/24th, MAIDSTONE departed Scapa Flow with destroyer VANSITTART. En route, VANSITTART obtained a submarine contact at 2042 in 58-14. 5N, 2-28W and MAIDSTONE continued on alone.

 

The contact was later assessed to be a wreck.

 

Both MAIDSTONE and VANSITTART arrived safely at Rosyth on the 25th.

_____

 

French submarine CALYPSO departed Harwich to dock at Lowestoft.

_____

 

Submarine PORPOISE arrived at Rosyth.

 

The submarine was docked on the 18th to repair her asdic dome.

_____

 

Submarine CLYDE arrived at Dundee.

_____

 

Sloop LONDONDERRY struck a wreck in 55-13-06N, 10-18-41W at 1645.

 

There was no damage to the sloop.

_____

 

French submarine CIRCE reported she was involved in a collision with submarine LA SYBILLE while diving in the North Sea.

 

Submarine SYBILLE was not damaged.

_____

Convoy SA.41 of one steamer arrived at St Malo from Southampton.

_____

 

Convoy FN.173 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WALPOLE. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 19th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.68 departed Methil, escorted by sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

_____

 

Convoy FS.173 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 19th.

_____

 

Convoy SL.32 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser DUNVEGAN CASTLE.

 

On the 30th, sloop ABERDEEN and on the 31st, sloop FOLKESTONE joined the convoy. The convoy arrived on 3 June.

 

 

Saturday, 18 May

 

Destroyers IMPULSIVE, INTREPID, ESK, EXPRESS, IVANHOE of the 20th Flotilla and minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA (2197grt) departed the Humber to lay mines off the Dutch coast in operation BS.5 during the night of 18/19 May.

 

Patrol sloop PUFFIN rendezvoused with the minelayers at 1340/18th and dropped dan buoys after the minelaying was completed.

 

Returning after the minelay, minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA (Captain J. B. E. Hall), escorted by destroyers EXPRESS and IVANHOE, was sunk by a mine at the entrance to the Humber early on the 19th.

 

Destroyers GRAFTON, GALLANT, FORESIGHT were ordered to assist.

 

Captain Hall, Lt Cdr L.A. Lambert, Temporary S/Lt (E) H.Proudfoot RNR, thirty four ratings were missing after the loss of minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA. Paymaster Lt F. A. K. Betty RNVR, Lt Cdr P. M. B. Chavasse, LtF. B. Fisher, Temporary S/Lt W. D. Gray RNR, Temporary S/Lt (E) E. R. Jones RNR, Lt H.A. Kirby, four ratings were wounded.

 

On 21/22 destroyers IMPULSIVE, INTREPID, ICARUS, ESK, EXPRESS, IVANHOE laid minefield BS.6 off the Dutch coast. All six destroyers returned on 23/24 May for BS.7, on 25/26 May for BS.8, on 27/28 May for BS.9.

 

After minelay BS.9, the 20th Destroyer Flotilla was ordered to Portsmouth.

_____

 

Early on the 19th at 0035, destroyer KEITH was attacked by German bombing on North Goodwins Patrol. She was not damaged.

 

At 0605, destroyer WILD SWAN was attacked by German bombing on the North Goodwins Patrol. She was not damaged.

 

Destroyer WILD SWAN met Dutch tugs SCHELDE (359grt) and EBRO (268grt) and sent them to the Downs.

_____

 

Destroyer WHITLEY relieved destroyer WOLSEY on patrol off the Belgian coast.

_____

 

Motor torpedo boat MTB.25 departed Harwich with at 1445 with Vice Admiral Ramsay for Dunkirk.

The motor torpedo boat returned that evening.

_____

 

Destroyer VERITY was boiler cleaning from depot ship SANDHURST at Dover.

_____

 

Submarine L.23 evacuated five crew from the Terschelling Light Ship. The six other crew of the Light Ship escaped to Holland.

_____

 

Submarine L.26 picked up nine refugees from an open boat off the Dutch coast.

_____

 

Submarine TRIDENT departed Rosyth for North Sea patrol.

_____

 

French submarine THETIS on patrol in the North Sea sighted Submarine SPEARFISH.

_____

 

French submarine CIRCE reported her starboard motor out of action. The submarine was ordered to Rosyth where she arrived on the 19th.

 

Repair to the motor was found to be extensive and the submarine was to be sent to France after exchanging a battery with submarine CALYPSO.

 

Submarine CALYPSO departed Harwich on the 23rd with convoy FN.78. The submarine arrived at Rosyth on the 24th.

_____

 

Minelaying from Aircraft of Channel ports began with minelaying off Texel. This continued on the 21st off Ijmuiden, of Terschelling Gat on the 31st, off Flushing on 5 June, off Dunkirk and Boulogne on 26 June.

_____

 

Dutch gunboats FLORES and VAN MEERLANT arrived at Dover.

_____

 

Dutch steamer PIA (304grt) departed Nieuport and Dunkirk on the 18th towing Dutch auxiliary yacht ALBATROSS III.

 

Steamer PIA struck a mine and sank between Dunkirk and Gravelines. Six crew were lost on the steamer.

 

On the yacht, two crew and two refugees were lost.

 

Yacht ALBATROSS III rescued the sole survivour from steamer PIA. The yacht proceed to Boulogne and later to Folkestone.

_____

 

Belgian dredger VLAANDEREN I (1218grt) was sunk by German bombing at Calais.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser YORK arrived at Scapa Flow from Rosyth.

_____

 

Destroyer FORESIGHT departed the Humber for Scapa Flow at 2300.

_____

 

Destroyer MASHONA departed Greenock at 1520 for Scapa Flow.

 

Destroyer MASHONA later joined destroyer SABRE hunting for a submarine reported by minesweeping trawler BRABANT (280grt) at 1405 in 58‑20N, 5‑23W.

 

Anti-submarine trawlers STOKE CITY and LEICESTER CITY were ordered to join the search.

 

The destroyers remained in the area until French destroyer FOUDROYANT and tanker TARN passed through the area

 

Destroyer MASHONA left the position at 0815/19th and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1145. Destroyer SABRE left the search at 1030/19th and proceeded to Holy Head for oil.

_____

 

Destroyers ARROW and FURY departed Scapa Flow at 1600 to join destroyer ATHERSTONE hunting for a submarine reported by aircraft in 59‑07N, 0‑47W.

 

The search was unsuccessful.

_____

 

Anti-submarine trawlers CAPE WARWICK and CAPE PORTLAND were ordered to search for a submarine attacked by aircraft in 59-26N, 6-23W. The search was unsuccessful.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier GLORIOUS flew the six Walrus aircraft of the 701 Squadron ashore for operations at Harstad.

_____

 

Returning from the Fleet Air Arm's first mining sortie in Norwegian waters Operation BOTTLE, a Swordfish of the 823 Squadron from aircraft carrier GLORIOUS was lost and Acting S/Lt (A) H D.Mourilyan and Naval Airman First Class E Parkinson were killed. Destroyer ATHERSTONE unsuccessfully searched for the aircraft. A second Swordfish of the Squadron force-landed off Isle of Eday. Lt A T Easton and the Naval Airman were rescued.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE's 700 Squadron WALRUS was shot down by a German He.111 aircraft at Malangsfjord, Rystraumer. Lt R W Benson Dare was killed, Midshipman A D.Corkhill wounded, but rescued and Leading Airman W H Hill died of wounds.

_____

 

Polish troopships SOBIESKI (11,030grt) and BATORY (14,287grt) departed Harstad with troops and survivors from sunken ships. These two ships were escorted by destroyers TARTAR and WESTCOTT.

 

Leaving Harstad at the same time were British steamers BALMAHA (1428grt) and CYCLOPS (9076grt) escorted by destroyers MATABELE and WARWICK. The convoys left together, but after passing 69‑30N, 0‑09E, the convoys parted. The "fast" section to arrive in the Clyde on the 23rd and the "slow" section to arrive on the 25th.

 

The Polish troopships and the destroyers arrived safely in the Clyde at 0330/23rd.

 

Steamer CYCLOPS and destroyer MATABELE arrived in the Clyde on the 23rd. Steamer BALMAHA and destroyer WARWICK arrived in the Clyde at 0530/25th.

 

After safely delivering the troopships at the Clyde, destroyer TARTAR went on to Liverpool departing at 2000/23rd arriving at 0720/24th for repair and boiler cleaning completed by the end of the month.

 

Destroyer TARTAR arrived at Scapa Flow after repairs on 2 June.

_____

 

British steamer ACRITY (403grt) departed Scapa Flow at 2100escorted by anti-submarine trawlers ST ELSTAN (564grt) and ST CATHAN (565grt) for Narvik where they arrived on the 23rd.

_____

 

British oiler WAR NIZAM, escorted by anti-submarine trawlers JUNIPER and HAZEL, arrived at Scapa Flow from Sullom Voe.

_____

 

Norwegian submarine B.6, destroyer TROLL, torpedo boat SNOGG were surrendered at Floro to German Schiff 18. The crews of these ships had deserted on the 2nd when they refused to sail to the Shetlands.

 

Destroyer TROLL and torpedo boat SNOGG were used by German forces under the names of TROLL and ZACK, respectively. Submarine B.6 was recommissioned on 20 October 1940 as UC 2.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer SIRIUS (944grt) was sunk by German bombing off Senja (Finlandsnes).

Seven crew were lost on the Norwegian steamer.

_____

 

Convoy BC.37 of steamers BARON CARNEGIE, GLENLEA, KUFRA (Commodore), LOTTIE R departed Loire escorted by destroyer MONTROSE. The convoy arrived in Bristol Channel on the 19th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.174 departed Southend, escorted by sloop HASTINGS. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 20th.

_____

 

French aircraft carrier BEARN and destroyers TRAMONTANE, TORNADE, TYPHON departed Toulon and passed Gibraltar on the 20th, arriving at Casablanca on the 21st.

 

The aircraft carrier departed Casablanca on the 22nd, escorted by sloops ENTRECASTEAUX and IBERVILLE. Sloop IBERVILLE returned to Casablanca and was replaced by sloop BOUGAINVILLE.

 

The destroyers proceeded to Casablanca. They passed Gibraltar on the 24th to return to the Mediterranean.

The aircraft carrier, joined by cruisers from Brest, proceeded to Halifax, arriving on 1 June.

_____

 

Heavy cruisers CORNWALL and DORSETSHIRE arrived at Gibraltar after duty in the South Atlantic.

 

They were joined on the 17th by destroyer KEPPEL from convoy HG.30 escort duties and destroyer VORTIGERN from patrol duties.

 

On 22 May, heavy cruiser CORNWALL departed Gibraltar, escorted by destroyer KEPPEL, for Freetown and heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE departed Gibraltar, escorted by destroyer WRESTLER, for refitting at Devonport.

 

However, cruiser DORSETSHIRE was ordered to patrol off the Canary Islands and arrived back at Gibraltar on 16 June.

 

Destroyer WRESTLER arrived back at Gibraltar on the 23rd. Destroyer KEPPEL was ordered to join troopship EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA and escort her westwards.

 

 

Sunday, 19 May

 

Destroyer WHITLEY (Lt Cdr G.N. Rolfe), under French orders in port blocking and refugee lifting operations, was bombed at 0526 and badly damaged by German bombing two miles 006° east of Nieuport.

 

After three near misses, destroyer WHITLEY with both engine rooms flooded and her back broken was run aground to prevent sinking.

 

Four engine room ratings were killed on destroyer WHITLEY.

 

Destroyer VIMIERA rescued the crew and tug LADY BRASSEY was dispatched to bring WHITLEY back to England.

 

Destroyer KEITH (Captain D.19) arrived on scene and found WHITLEY beyond salvage and shelled her to prevent her use by the German forces.

 

Destroyer VIMIERA with the destroyer WHITLEY crew, the rest of the crew from destroyer WESTMINSTER, the Flushing demolition party departed Dunkirk at 1700 for Dover.

_____

 

Destroyer VENOMOUS relieved destroyer KEITH on North Goodwins Patrol.

 

Destroyer VENOMOUS was attacked by German bombing late on the 19th.

 

Destroyer KEITH proceeded to Dover and refuelled. She departed later that day for Boulogne with Chief of the Imperial General Staff General Sir Edmund Ironside.

 

After this duty, destroyer KEITH arrived back at Dover at 0730/20th.

_____

 

Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM departed the Humber for Rosyth to rejoin the Home Fleet after duty off the Dutch coast.

_____

 

Destroyers JAVELIN and JACKAL, which departed Harwich at 1830/18th, JAGUAR and patrol sloop PUFFIN screened minesweeping trawlers CAPE MELVILLE (342grt), GRAMPIAN (409grt), PELTON (358grt), MILFORD QUEEN (280grt), MILFORD PRINCESS (301grt), JAMES LAY (278grt) cutting the telegraph cables between Lowestoft, Bacton, Mundesley on the English east coast and Borkum and Nordeney.

 

At 1445/19th, destroyer JACKAL encountered abandoned Dutch salvage tug HECTOR (175grt).

 

A crew was put on the Dutch tug. The tug safely arrived at Yarmouth at 0600/20th.

 

Only two cables were cut and this operation designated QUIXOTE continued on the 28th.

_____

 

At 1138 after a loop crossing of Loop No. 2, destroyer WILD SWAN departed Dover with anti-submarine trawlers LADY PHILOMENA (trawler Senior Officer), SAON, KINGSTON OLIVINE, one additional trawler.

 

Trawler SAON attacked U.9 in 51-03N, 01-22E, but no damage was done.

 

Destroyer WILD SWAN returned to Dover on the 20th.

_____

 

Submarine SEAWOLF arrived at Rosyth after patrol.

_____

 

Submarine TRITON departed Rosyth on patrol.

_____

 

French convoy FR.2 of troopships CHENONCEAUX (14825grt) and MEXIQUE (12220grt) departed the Clyde at 2300 escorted by destroyer SALADIN and patrol vessel JASON for Brest.

 

In North Channel on the 20th, French destroyer FOUDROYANT, relieved of her tanker TARN escort, joined the convoy and patrol vessel JASON was detached.

_____

 

British steamer ROYAL ULSTERMAN (3244grt) departed Scapa Flow at 1837, screened by anti-aircraft cruiser CURLEW, for Harstad where they both safely arrived on the 23rd.

 

The steamer departed Harstad the next day to return to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Destroyer CAMPBELL departed the Clyde at 0900 for Scapa Flow where she arrived at 1130/20th.

_____

 

Belgian steamer VLAANDEREN IV (647grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.

_____

 

French auxiliary minesweeper AUGUSTIN NORMAND (175grt) was sunk by German bombing near Qunette de Rochemont Lock at Le Havre.

_____

 

Convoy OA.151 departed Southend escorted by sloop WELLINGTON from 19 to 21 May.

_____

 

Convoy OB.151 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer WINCHELSEA from 19 to 22 May.

_____

 

Convoy FN.175 departed Southend, escorted by sloop WESTON. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 21st.

_____

 

Convoy MT.69 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VALOROUS. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

_____

 

Convoy FS.174 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VALOROUS. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 21st.

_____

 

U.37 sank Swedish steamer ERIK FRISELL (5066grt) in 57‑25N, 09‑15W.

 

The crew were rescued by armed patrol trawler COBBERS (275grt) and were landed at Stornoway.

_____

 

Minesweeper Group 16 of minesweeping trawlers LOCH ERIBOL, ALAFOSS, WELLSBACK, LOCH LEVEN departed Scapa Flow for the Humber.

_____

 

New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER departed Colombo for the Mediterranean to serve in the 7th Cruiser Squadron in light cruiser LIVERPOOL's place.

 

Light cruiser LEANDER arrived at Alexandria on the 26th.

 

On the 31st, the light cruiser was ordered to join the 4th Cruiser Squadron of the East Indies Station.

 

On 1 June, she departed Alexandria to join the Red Sea Force and arrived at Port Sudan on 4 June.

_____

 

French light cruiser MONTCALM and destroyers BRESTOIS and BOULONNAIS arrived at Gibraltar from Brest.

 

The ships departed the next day for the Mediterranean.

_____

 

Gunboats COCKCHAFER and GNAT arrived at Basra; COCKCHAFER in tow of and escorted by Indian sloop HINDUSTAN.

 

The gunboats had departed Singapore on 22 April. At Penang, they were joined by light cruiser LIVERPOOL which escorted them to Car Nicobar.

 

At Car Nicobar, armed merchant cruiser CATHAY relieved the light cruiser.

 

The gunboats departed Colombo on 29 April for Basra.

 

 

Monday, 20 May

 

Norwegian steamer DENEB (750grt), British steamer PEMBROKE COAST (625grt), British steamer BALTEAKO (1328grt) was badly damaged by German bombing at Harstad.

 

The crew of eleven on the Norwegian steamer were rescued; two were lost. The steamer was sunk by gunfire of a destroyer on the 21st.

 

Destroyer DELIGHT was alongside BALTEAKO when she was bombed. The destroyer assisted the steamer.

 

Two crew were lost on the steamer PEMBROKE COAST. The steamer was towed to sea and sunk by gunfire from Destroyers.

_____

 

At 1900, destroyer MALCOLM off the North Goodwins was attacked by German bombing and damaged by three near misses.

 

Two ratings were killed and nineteen crew, including Lt Cdr E. P.F. Atkinson and Gunner D. E. Wright, were wounded on the Destroyer. Warrant Engineer G.F. Walters died of wounds on the 24th. A rating also died of wounds.

 

Destroyer MALCOLM departed Dover on the 21st for Portsmouth. She was repaired in four days.

_____

 

Minesweeper HARRIER completed boiler cleaning at Dover.

 

The minesweeper departed Dover at 1830 to join the 6th Mine Sweeping Flotilla.

_____

 

Destroyers WESSEX and VENETIA arrived Humber.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawlers RIFSNESS (431grt, Temporary Skipper C. G.Coombe RNR) and LORD INCHCAPE (338grt) were minesweeping between Dunkirk and Ostend.

 

Trawler RIFSNESS was sunk by German bombing. Trawler LORD INCHCAPE picked up her crew and returned to Dover. Lt L.L. Thornton RNR, one ratings were lost on RIFSNESS. One rating, reported lost, was taken as prisoner of war. Temporary Skipper C. G.Coombe and Probationary Temporary Lt E. G.Lock RNVR, were wounded in the RIFSNESS.

_____

 

Anti-submarine trawlers LADY PHILOMENA (417grt) and KINGSTON OLIVINE (378grt), while on anti-submarine patrol, were attacked by German bombing.

 

On 21 May, it was determined near misses had made the trawlers unseaworthy and docking was required.

 

Trawler LADY PHILOMENA arrived at Dover on the 22nd with the crew of a Aircraft that had crashed off Folkestone.

_____

 

French tanker NIGER (5482grt) was sunk by German bombing off Gravelines.

 

French destroyer CYCLONE rescued the survivors of the tanker.

_____

 

French steamer ORPHELIA (6477grt) was sunk by German bombing in Boulogne Roads.

_____

 

British steamer MAVIS (935grt) was badly damaged by German bombing off Number four Green Buoy, Calais Roads.

 

Three crew and one gunner were lost on the British steamer.

 

Steamer MAVIS was abandoned one mile north by west, one quarter mile west of Number 1 Buoy, Calais.

_____

 

French tug HERCULES (216grt) was sunk on a mine at Calais.

_____

 

On 19 May at 1200, destroyers ZULU, WITHERINGTON, ESCORT, ACASTA, ARDENT departed the Clyde to escort Canadian troop convoy TC.4. The convoy was met in 55‑30N, 13‑00W at 0530/20th. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 20th escorted by destroyers ZULU, WITHERINGTON, ESCORT.

 

At 0530/21st, battleship REVENGE and destroyers ARDENT and ACASTA anchored at Greenock.

 

Destroyers ZULU, ESCORT, WITHERINGTON arrived in the Clyde at 1700/21st after escorting the convoy.

_____

 

At 0146, a report of one battleship and a large number of destroyers in 53‑47N, 7‑15E, steering 270° was received.

 

All destroyers at Scapa Flow raised steam to escort capital ships.

 

This order was later reduced to two and a half hours notice when the German capital ships entered the Ems and only four destroyers steering northeast remained at sea.

_____

 

Destroyers ARROW and FORTUNE carried out a search of Scapa Flow until 0500 after a shore battery fired at an unknown craft at 0106 entering Scapa Flow through Water Sound.

 

Destroyers SIKH, FURY, FORESIGHT, MASHONA were also searching. The unknown craft later was determined to be a float laid by survey ship FRANKLIN to gauge speed of the current.

_____

 

Destroyer MAORI departed Liverpool at 2115 for the Clyde after repairs. She arrived at Greenock at 0700/21st.

 

Destroyer MAORI was fitted with the first lethal kite flying equipment.

_____

 

Destroyer ASHANTI departed Dundee at 1430 for Rosyth after repairs.

_____

 

Destroyer SIKH carried out firing trials of a modified pom pom gun in the Flow.

_____

 

French steamer MASSILIA departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer WAKEFUL. Both ships arrived at Brest during the afternoon of 22 May.

_____

 

German motor torpedo boats S.22, S.23, S.24, S.25 of the 1st S.boat Flotilla and S.13, S.30, S.31, S.32, S.34 of the 2nd S.boat Flotilla departed Borkum to operate off Nieuport.

_____

 

Submarine SPEARFISH in 55‑00N, 03‑30E intercepted two Danish fishing trawlers.

 

At 0333, submarine SPEARFISH stopped Danish fishing trawler S.130. At 0450, she stopped Danish fishing trawler S.175.

 

After taking off the crews, SPEARFISH sank the trawlers with gunfire.

_____

 

At 0056, French submarine ANTIOPE fired three torpedoes at French submarine SYBILLE while diving in 53-23N, 03-44E in the North Sea.

 

One torpedo passed under the bow of submarine SYBILLE, but no damage was done.

 

French submarines ANTIOPE and SYBILLE and submarine SHARK in adjacent patrol areas were ordered not to attack submarines.

_____

 

French submarine SYBILLE reported both periscope presses defective and a sick rating.

 

Submarine SYBILLE was ordered to Rosyth and was relieved on station by submarine L.23, which departed Harwich on the 21st.

_____

 

French submarine ACHILLE arrived at Dundee.

 

Submarine ACHILLE was bombed in the restricted area by aircraft. Damage was sustained to the external fuel tanks, hydroplanes, echo sounding gear, both propellers.

_____

 

French submarine AMAZONE arrived at Rosyth after patrol.

_____

 

Submarine SALMON departed Harwich on patrol.

_____

 

Submarine TRUANT departed Tromso on patrol off North Cape.

_____

 

On a minelaying sortie from North Coates, a Swordfish of 812 Squadron ditched at sea. Lt R. C. Dundas and S/Lt J. A. Allen were lost.

_____

 

Convoy OA.152 departed Southend escorted by corvette ARABIS. The corvette was later transferred to convoy HG.31.

_____

 

Convoy OG.30 was formed from convoys OA.150G, which departed Southend on the 18th escorted by corvette CLARKIA, OB.150G, which departed Liverpool on the 18th escorted by sloop ROCHESTER, with forty six ships.

 

Corvette CLARKIA escorted the convoy on the 20th.

 

Sloop BIDEFORD escorted the convoy from 20 to 23 May and was then detached to convoy HG.31F.

 

Destroyer WATCHMAN, from convoy HG.31F, escorted the convoy from 23 to 26 May when the convoy arrived at Gibraltar.

_____

 

Convoy FN.176 departed Southend, escorted by sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 22nd.

_____

 

Convoy MT.70 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WALLACE. The convoy arrived in the Tyne later that day.

_____

 

Convoy FS.175 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WALLACE. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 22nd.

_____

 

Convoy HX.44 departed Halifax at 0900 escorted by Canadian destroyers SAGUENAY and SKEENA, which were detached on the 21st.

 

Convoy BHX.44 departed Bermuda on the 19th escorted locally by sloop PENZANCE and an ocean escort of armed merchant cruiser JERVIS BAY. The convoy rendezvoused with HX.44 on the 25th and the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

The Armed merchant cruiser AUSONIA assumed command of escort of the convoy from the destroyers at 1800/21st. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 30th.

 

On the 30th, sloop ROCHESTER joined and on 1 June, sloop ENCHANTRESS joined. They escorted the convoy until 3 June when it arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

On 20 May, French battleships BRETAGNE and PROVENCE departed Alexandria to sweep towards Cape Bon. They were escorted by French large destroyers LYNX and TIGRE and Australian destroyers STUART, VAMPIRE, VOYAGER, WATERHEN.

 

On 22 May, French destroyers BORDELAIS and TROMBE joined the sweep.

 

The Australian destroyers were detached to Malta where they refuelled and arrived back at Alexandria on the 25th.

 

The French battleships returned to Mer el Kebir, arriving on the 27th.

_____

 

Convoy HG.31F of twenty nine ships departed Gibraltar. The convoy was escorted by destroyer WATCHMAN from 20 to 23 May and was then transferred to convoy OG.30.

 

French auxiliary patrol vessel JUTLAND escorted the convoy from 20 to 26 May. The patrol vessel arrived at Lorient on the 27th.

 

Sloop BIDEFORD from convoy OG.30 escorted the convoy from 26 to 28 May.

 

Destroyer WORCESTER escorted the convoy from 26 to 29 May when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

Destroyers WISHART and DOUGLAS departed Gibraltar escorting British troopship ORONSAY (20,043grt) to Malta.

 

 

Tuesday, 21 May

 

Destroyer KEITH was damaged by the near miss of a German air bomb at Dunkirk.

 

Destroyer KEITH evacuated one hundred and fifty British refugees and returned to Dover.

_____

 

A group of French merchant ships were ordered away from Dunkirk. However, heavy German bombing began before the ships even left port. French tanker SALOME (13,291grt) was badly damaged by bombing before she could even be towed into the channel.

 

French steamer PAVON (4128grt), with 1500 Dutch troops aboard for evacuation to England, was badly damaged by German bombing between Gravelines and Calais.

 

The steamer was run aground a total loss near Calais.

 

French destroyers CYCLONE, SIROCCO, MISTRAL rescued the survivors of these sunken ships.

 

French destroyer L'ADROIT (Capitaine de Corvette H.M. A. Dupin de Saint-Cyr), waiting to escort this convoy, was bombed and beached in a sinking condition at Malo les Bains before ever joining the convoy.

 

French submarine chaser CH.9, also waiting to escort the convoy, was bombed and badly damaged off Dunkirk. She was run aground a total loss to prevent sinking and abandoned.

 

To give the destroyers relief from constant bombing, French destroyers CYCLONE, MISTRAL, SIROCCO, FOUGUEUX, FRONDEUR departed Dunkirk and arrived in the Downs that evening.

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British steamer BAWTRY (835grt) was sunk by German bombing in the Dunkirk docks.

 

The crew of thirteen and one naval gunner were saved and returned to England.

 

The steamer was later raised by German forces, salved, renamed RIVAL for German service.

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Commander in Chief, Nore, offered to place two destroyers at disposal of Vice Admiral Submarines for Operation LAMP, the cutting of the cable off Amsterdam.

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Panamanian tanker CLAIRY (5838grt) was sunk by German bombing eight to nine miles off Boulogne.

 

The tanker was abandoned on fire on the 22nd.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

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French auxiliary minesweepers SAINT BERNOIT (315grt), NOTRE DAME DE LORETTE (339grt), RIEN SANS PEINE (142grt), JACQUES COEUR (285grt), SAINT JOACHIM (192grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.

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French tug TUMULTE (370grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.

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Mine destructor ship CORBURN (3060grt, Lt Cdr M. E. Welby) was sunk by German motor torpedo boat S.32 off Le Havre.

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Destroyers VIMY, WINDSOR, VENETIA departed the Nore for Dover to assist in various duties.

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Destroyer VIMIERA arrived at Dover after taking the WHITLEY crew to Portsmouth.

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British steamer FIRTH FISHER (574grt) was sunk by mining one half mile east of Boulogne Pier.

 

Seven crew were lost. The pilot and three crew were rescued by British steamer SPARTA (708grt).

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Belgian steamer ANTVERPIA (4932grt), which had been damaged by German bombing on the 20th in Boulogne Roads, was run aground to prevent sinking.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

 

The steamer was set afire by incendiary bombs on the 23rd.

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French tugs ORME (340grt) and BARFLEUR (330grt) were scuttled at Boulogne.

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French auxiliary minesweepers LEOPOLD SOUBLER (215grt) and CHRISTIANE CECILE (146grt) were scuttled at Boulogne.

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British steamer HUBBASTONE (873grt) was sunk by German bombing in Dieppe Dock.

 

The crew of the steamer were all rescued.

 

The steamer was damaged again on the 23rd and abandoned.

 

Steamer HUBBASTONE was later salved by German forces and renamed JURGENSBY for German service.

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Hospital carrier MAID OF KENT (2693grt) was damaged by German bombing at in the Paris Basin at Dieppe.

 

The steamer was abandoned in a sinking condition.

 

Thirty seven men were lost.

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Belgian fishing vessel DE NORMANDIE (137grt) was sunk on a mine fifty meters outside Dieppe Harbour.

 

Five crew and eight refugees were killed.

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Belgian trawler NELLY SUZANNE (151grt) and fishing vessels INDEPENDANCE (96grt), GEORGETTE SIMONE (11grt), ERNESTINE GABRIELLE (12grt) were sunk by German bombing at Dieppe.

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Italian steamer FIDELITAS (5740grt) was damaged by German bombing at Antwerp.

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Destroyer VENOMOUS at Calais was attacked by German bombers, but was not damaged.

 

The destroyer arrived at Dover on the 21st with 200 refugees and the crew and stores from the Sangette loop station.

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Destroyer WILD SWAN on North Goodwins Patrol was attacked by German bombers, but was not damaged.

Destroyer WILD SWAN proceeded to Boulogne and embarked 150 British refugees.

 

These refugees were taken to Dover.

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French light cruisers JEANNE D'ARC and EMILE BERTIN departed Brest on the 21st with 200 tons of gold to be taken to Halifax.

 

French large destroyers JAGUAR and GERFAUT were assigned as escort, but both were reassigned before they joined.

 

On the 25th in 31-30N, 22-38W, the French light cruisers joined French aircraft carrier BEARN, carrying gold from Toulon.

 

The French ships safely arrived at Halifax on 1 June.

_____

 

French Large Destroyer Division 2 was ordered from Brest to Cherbourg where they arrived without incident.

 

At Cherbourg, large destroyer CHACAL embarked a demolition party for the port of Calais, LEOPARD for Boulogne, JAGUAR for Dunkirk.

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French General Weygand left on Dunkirk on French torpedo boat FLORE for Cherbourg, via Dover.

 

The torpedo boat arrived safely at Cherbourg at dawn on the 22nd.

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Convoy OB.152 departed Liverpool escorted by sloop ROCHESTER from 21 to 23 May. The sloop was detached to convoy HX.42.

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Convoy FS.176 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WALPOLE. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 23rd.

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Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, escorted by destroyers ANTELOPE, BRAZEN, ENCOUNTER and VOLUNTEER, departed her patrol area near Narvik.

 

Destroyer ANTELOPE which lost touch in thick fog arrived at Scapa Flow at 0720/24th.

 

After being delayed by fog, the aircraft carrier arrived for refuelling at Scapa Flow at 1940/24th with destroyers ENCOUNTER and VOLUNTEER.

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Aircraft carriers FURIOUS flew off the Gladiator aircraft of the 263 Squadron ashore to Bardufoss airfield, northeast of Narvik.

 

One Swordfish of the 818 Squadron escorting the Gladiators crashed on a mountainside at Gryllefjord, Seja Island. S/Lt J. A. Welply, S/Lt G.P. Simpson, Leading Airman H.H. Simpson were injured, but later returned to the ship.

 

Aircraft carrier GLORIOUS was unable to disembark her RAF Hurricanes of the 46 Squadron.

 

The aircraft carriers with destroyers VETERAN, DIANA, AMAZON, VISCOUNT departed their patrol area near Narvik for refuelling at Scapa Flow.

 

Both aircraft carriers arrived for refuelling at 2100/23rd.

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Destroyer ICARUS departed Scapa Flow.

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Anti-submarine trawlers CAPE PASSARO (510grt, Lt Cdr M. B. Sherwood Rtd of the 15th AntiSubmarine Striking Force and MELBOURNE (466grt, Lt Cdr A. J. C. Pomeroy RNVR) of the 23rd AntiSubmarine Group were sunk by German bombing near Narvik.

 

Four ratings were killed on the trawler CAPE PASSARO. There were no casualties on trawler MELBOURNE.

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Anti-submarine trawlers JUNIPER and HAZEL of the 19th Anti-Submarine Striking Force departed Scapa Flow escorting oiler BRITISH JUSTICE and steamer BALTONIA to the Clyde. The trawlers were then to patrol in position 59-10N, 5 to 7 W.

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French destroyers BASQUE and FORTUNE departed Bizerte escorting steamers PRESIDENT DOUMER and PROVIDENCE to Beirut, arriving on the 25th.

 

These destroyers replaced large destroyers TIGRE and LYNX of Amiral Godfrey's command.

 

Destroyer BASQUE had been repairing at Brest. She departed on the 13th, escorting the two steamers to Casablanca, arriving 16 May. The three ships passed Gibraltar on the 16th and arrived at Bizerte on the 19th.

 

Destroyer FORTUNE had been repairing at Oran. She departed on the 16th and arrived at Bizerte on the 17th.

 

on to Naval Events, MAY 1940, Part 4
or return to RN Day-by-Day Homepage

revised 23/6/11
further editing is required


 

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