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

NAVAL EVENTS, JULY 1940 (Part 1 of 2)
Monday 1st- Sunday 14th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Renown, battlecruiser in 1939 (Maritime Quest, click to elnarge)

on to JULY 1940, Part 2

 

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

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

 


Background Events - July-August 1940

Fall of France, Battle of Britain, War in Mediterranean


 

1940

 

Monday, 1 July

 

Battleship BARHAM with destroyers IMOGEN, ATHERSTONE, FERNIE, and WARWICK departed Liverpool at 0900/1st for Scapa Flow, and arrived safely at 2152 on the 2nd.

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Aircraft carrier FURIOUS and heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE departed Halifax escorting troopship EMPRESS OF CANADA (21,517grt). FURIOUS arrived at Scapa Flow on the 15th.

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Light cruiser MANCHESTER departed Rosyth for Sheerness.

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After British aircraft bombed a submarine contact at 0600 in 58‑21N, 2‑51W, destroyers ASHANTI, COSSACK (D.4), MAORI, and ECHO were ordered to hunt for the submarine. ASHANTI departed Scapa Flow and joined the other destroyers at sea. ECHO had left Scapa Flow at 0800 escorting minelayer ATREUS to Greenock, but shortly after departure, was detached to join them.

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Destroyer WALKER departed the Clyde at 0700 escorting troopship EMPRESS OF BRITAIN (42,348grt) to Liverpool. After delivering her, WALKER returned to the Clyde.

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Destroyer BERKELEY arrived at Greenock at 1730 escorting steamer KOHISTAN (5884grt).

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After British aircraft bombed a submarine contact in 55‑02N, 5‑38W, destroyer WALKER and escort ship JASON were ordered at 2226 to hunt for the submarine, but failed to make contact.

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Hunt class destroyer GARTH completed, and worked up at Scapa Flow in the 23rd Destroyer Division before transferring to the 21st Destroyer Flotilla, arriving at Sheerness on 28 August.

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Convoy FN.210 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WOLSEY, sloop EGRET, and patrol sloop MALLARD, and arrived in the Tyne on the 3rd.

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Convoy MT.100 departed Methil, and arrived in the Tyne on the 2nd.

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Convoy FS.209 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloops BLACK SWAN and HASTINGS, and arrived at Southend on the 2nd.

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U.52 refuelled from German tanker BESSEL (1878grt) at Vigo.

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U.26 damaged steamer ZARIAN (4871grt) in convoy OA.175 in 48‑03N, 11‑11W, and corvette GLADIOLUS stood by her overnight. Destroyer VANSITTART, escorting tug SALVONIA (571grt) to meet ZARIAN, attacked and sank U.102 with the loss of all 43 crew off Ushant in 48-33N, 10-26W. U.102 was on her first war patrol, had attacked a convoy on 30 June off North Channel, and was not heard from again, believed lost, cause unknown, but probably mined off the southwest of Ireland. However recent investigation has now attributed her loss to VANSITTART.

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U.30 sank steamers BEIGNON (5218grt) in 47‑20N, 10‑30W and CLEARTON (5219grt) of convoy SL.36 in 47‑53N, 09‑30W. BEIGNON had previously picked up the survivors from steamer AVELONA STAR (13,376grt). One crewman was lost, two missing and three survivors from AVELONA STAR missing from BEIGNON, with destroyer VESPER picking up the survivors.

 

Eight crew were lost on the steamer CLEARTON. Destroyers VESPER and WINDSOR picked up the survivors of CLEARTON 240 miles 42 from The Smalls.

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U.29 sank Greek steamer ADAMASTOS (5889grt) in 46‑20N, 14‑30W.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

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U.65 damaged Dutch steamer AMSTELLAND (8156grt) in 47‑53N, 13‑23N.

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German heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN, under construction at Kiel, was damaged in air bombing during the night of 1/2 July.

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German armed merchant cruiser THOR captured Dutch steamer KERTOSONO (9289grt) in 12N, 31W in the Central Atlantic. Steamer KERTOSONO arrived Lorient on the 12th.

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Special service vessels TWEEDLEDEE (163grt) and TWEEDLEDUM (163grt) were sunk as blockships.

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The Mediterranean Fleet arrived back at Alexandria.

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Light cruiser LIVERPOOL departed Alexandria carrying troops to Aden and arrived at Suez later that day.

 

Arriving at Aden, after disembarking the troops, she embarked the Eastern Fleet's reserve of six inch ammunition and returned to Mediterranean arriving on the 6th.

 

Light cruiser LIVERPOOL departed Port Said on the 7th and joined the Mediterranean Fleet at sea.

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Convoy SL.38 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CARNARVON CASTLE to 17 July.

 

On the 17th, destroyer VANQUISHER, sloop FOWEY, and corvettes CAMELLIA and CLARKIA joined the convoy and escorted it to Liverpool arriving on the 20th.

 

The armed merchant cruiser proceeded to Belfast for refitting.

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Light cruiser DRAGON departed Freetown for Manoca. The light cruiser called at Lagos for refuelling at Lagos on 3 and 4 July.

 

 

Tuesday, 2 July

 

Force H, consisting of Battlecruiser HOOD, battleships VALIANT and RESOLUTION, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruisers ARETHUSA and ENTERPRISE, and destroyers ESCORT, ACTIVE, FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND, FEARLESS, FORESTER, KEPPEL, WRESTLER, VIDETTE, and VORTIGERN departed Gibraltar on Operation CATAPULT, the neutralization of the French Fleet at Mer el Kebir.

 

Destroyers KEPPEL and WRESTLER carried special demolition parties to scuttle the French ships at Mer el Kebir.

 

At sea, destroyer VORTIGERN was attacked by Italian submarine MARCONI 36‑20N, 03‑46W without damage. VIDETTE and VORTIGERN were detached to hunt the submarine.

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Destroyer JERVIS arrived at Malta after arriving from repairs in Home Waters.

 

Destroyer JERVIS in berthing bumped the dock and sustained some damage to her bow. She spent no time out of service due to this damage.

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Italian troopships ESPERIA (11,398grt) and VICTORIA (13,098grt), escorted by torpedo boats PROCIONE, ORSA, PEGASO, and ORIONE departed Tripoli for Naples.

 

Italian heavy cruisers ZARA, FIUME, and GORIZIA of the 1st Cruiser Division with destroyers ALFIERI, CARDUCCI, ORIANI, and GIOBERTI and light cruisers BANDE NERE and COLLEONI of the 2nd Cruiser Division with destroyers MAESTRALE, LIBECCIO, GRECALE, and SCIROCCO were at sea covering the convoy. The convoy arrived safely at Naples on the 4th.

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Convoy HGY departed Gibraltar with twenty seven ships escorted by French patrol vessel PRESIDENT HOUDUCE from 2 to 14 July, destroyers WITCH from 2 to 10 July and VISCOUNT from 2 to 14 July.

 

Four ships of the convoy carried service and civilian refugees from France.

 

Destroyer WESTCOTT escorted the convoy from 10 to 11 July. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 14th.

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Battleship RODNEY, heavy cruiser NORFOLK, light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON, anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY, and all available destroyers at Scapa Flow were put at two hours notice from 2200 to 0500/3rd.

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Destroyer BERKELEY departed Greenock at 1055 escorting minelayer SOUTHERN PRINCE to Loch Alsh.

 

After delivering the minelayer, the destroyer proceeded to Scapa Flow.

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British minefield BS.20 was laid by minelayers TEVIOTBANK and PLOVER and destroyers EXPRESS and ICARUS.

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In a raid from KESTREL Acting S/Lt (A) B. P. Grigson and Acting S/Lt (A) F. L. Lees from a Swordfish of 825 Squadron were killed over Rotterdam. A second Swordfish of 825 Squadron was shot down. S/Lt E. B. Kiddell was captured, but was later shot and died of wounds while trying to escape as POW on the 1st 1943. Leading Airman H. W. V. Burt of Kiddell's plane was killed in the crash. Two more Swordfish of the Squadron were lost returning from the raid, but the crews were rescued.

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British tug QUEENS CROSS with barge MEDWAY in tow encountered at 0315 what they identified as a conning tower of a submarine six miles north of Strathie Point. They did not report their sighting until arriving at Scapa Flow at 0930.

 

Anti-submarine trawlers ALOUETTE, COVENTRY CITY, WHITEHORN, and BUTTERMERE were dispatched to search.

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Cable ship ARIEL, escorted by anti-submarine trawlers IMPERIALIST and HAZEL departed Scapa Flow to lay cable between the Orkneys and the Shetlands.

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Convoy FN.211 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and WOLFHOUND and patrol sloop PUFFIN. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 4th.

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Convoy FS.210 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers VEGA and WINCHESTER. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 3rd.

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U.26 was sunk after an attack by British corvette GLADIOLUS on the 1st and aircraft from RAAF Squadron 10 southwest of Bishop Rock in 48‑03N, 11‑30W on the 2nd.

 

The entire crew of four officers and forty four ratings of the submarine were rescued by Sloop ROCHESTER.

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U.29 sank Panamanian steamer SANTA MARGARITA (4919grt) in 47N, 15‑30W and badly damaged British steamer ATHELLAIRD (8999grt) in 47‑24N, 16‑49W.

 

Three crew were missing from the Panamanian steamer. Twenty one survivors were picked up by the British steamer KING JOHN (5228grt). Three of these survivors were missing after the steamer KING JOHN was sunk on the 13th.

 

Steamer ATHELLAIRD sank on the 3rd. The entire crew was rescued by sloop SANDWICH.

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U.47 at 0610 sank British troopship ARANDORA STAR (15,501grt), which departed Liverpool on the 1st, in 55‑20N, 10‑33W.

 

Troopship ARANDORA STAR was carrying 176 crew, 254 troops, and 1178 German and Italian civilians being taken to America.

 

Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT, which was detached from the screen of battleship NELSON, rescued the survivors.

 

Destroyer ST LAURENT arrived in the Clyde at 0730/3rd.

 

Destroyers WALKER and ECHO and patrol vessel JASON were also ordered to the area.

 

Destroyer ECHO was again ordered away from escorting minelayer ATREUS.

 

Destroyer FIREDRAKE was detached from the escort of British liner ANDES (25,689) leaving destroyer PUNJABI as sole escort of the liner.

 

When it was learned the survivors had already been picked up, destroyer FIREDRAKE was ordered at 1631 to return to the ANDES screen.

 

One hundred and nineteen crew, one hundred and sixty three troops, and five hundred and eighty six aliens were rescued. The rest were lost.

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British steamer AENEAS (10,058grt, Convoy Commodore), in convoy OA.177G, was sunk by German bombing at twenty miles southeast of Start Point.

 

Eighteen crew were missing and three dead on the steamer AENEAS. Survivors from steamer AENEAS were rescued by destroyer WITHERINGTON.

 

The wreck was sunk on the 4th eleven miles from 50N, 3W.

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British steamer BARON RUTHVEN (3178grt) was damaged by German bombing 50‑25N, 01‑27W.

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German motor torpedo boat S.23 sank in tow after striking a mine off Foreland.

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Aircraft carrier HERMES arrived at Freetown with evacuated Fleet Air Arm personnel and stores embarked at Dakar.

 

The aircraft carrier had arrived at Dakar at 0900 on 29 June and sailed at 1800. She remained off the port until relieved by heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE at 1800 on 30 June.

 

 

Wednesday, 3 July

 

Destroyer PUNJABI departed Greenock at 1530 after escorting troopship ANDES.

 

Destroyer PUNJABI arrived at Scapa Flow at 0900/4th.

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Destroyer MASHONA and submarine tender BREDA passed May Island at 0700 escorting British steamer SHOAL FISHER (698grt) to Scapa Flow.

 

Destroyer WARWICK and Canadian destroyer SKEENA departed Scapa Flow at 2245 on the 3rd to relieve destroyer MASHONA and submarine tender BREDA.

 

Destroyers WARWICK and SKEENA to report to the Commander in Chief, West Approaches on arrival at Greenock on the 5th.

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Destroyer HAMBLEDON arrived at Scapa Flow at 2000 from Portland to work up with the Commander in Chief Home Fleet.

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Five Skuas of 801 Squadron, escorted by three Blenheims from 18 Group, departedHatston to attack concentrations of German prepared boats and oil tanks at Bergen.

 

All five Skuas returned safely without sighting the boats.

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A submarine was reported off Marwick Head by shore watchers. Anti-submarine trawlers COVENTRY CITY, WHITEHORN, and BUTTERMERE, returning from their search off Strathie Point, were dispatched to search.

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Submarine SEAWOLF landed reconnaissance parties near Lindesnes in Operation THWART.

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Submarine SNAPPER sank Norwegian steamer CYGNUS (1333grt) off Egersund in 58-18N, 5-13E. A second ship attacked was not damaged.

 

Submarine SEALION attacked a German convoy off Skudesnshavn in Boknafjord at 1550/3rd. She came under heavy counterattack for forty five hours and withdrew.

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Temporary Lt (A) T. Miller RNVR, was killed when his Shark of 774 Squadron crashed near Evanton.

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British steam barge BIJOU (98grt) was sunk by German bombing at Mistley Quay, near Harwich.

 

The crew of the barge was rescued.

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Special services ship JAMES 83 (397grt) was sunk as a blockship.

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Convoy OA.178 departed Southend on the 3rd escorted by corvette CLARKIA from 3 to 6 July and destroyer BROKE from 5 to 6 July.

 

This was the last Channel routed OA.convoy.

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Convoy OB.178 departed Liverpool on the 3rd escorted by sloop LEITH from 3 to 7 July and destroyer WHIRLWIND on 3 to 5 July.

 

Sloop LEITH was detached to convoy HX.53.

 

Destroyer WHIRLWIND was badly damaged by U.34 on the 5th and scuttled after destroyer WESTCOTT took off the crew.

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Mate T. W. Cole of trawler DAMITO died of injuries on this date.

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Convoy OB.177G, which departed Liverpool on the 1st escorted by destroyers VANOC and VOLUNTEER, and convoy OA.177G, which departed Southend on the 1st escorted by destroyer VANESSA on the 1st and destroyer WITHERINGTON on 1 and 2 July and Plymouth on the 1st escorted by sloop ENCHANTRESS and corvette CAMELIA, merged as OG.36 with twenty one ships. The convoy was escorted by sloop ENCHANTRESS from 3 to 8 July when she was detached to convoy HG.37.

 

Destroyer VANOC from convoy OB.176 joined the convoy on the 1st. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on the 8th with storeship PALOMARES and destroyer VOLUNTEER. Fifteen ships of the convoy with French troops for repatriation had had company earlier and proceeded unescorted to Casablanca.

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Convoy MT.101 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 4th.

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Convoy FS.211 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloop LOWESTOFT. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 4th.

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German armed merchant cruiser KOMET departed Gydnia for Bergen.

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Operation CATAPULT was the British plan under which French warships that would not come under British control would be destroyed.

 

French ships in England

 

Plymouth (Amiral L. M. G. Cayol, all ships were under repair) - battleship PARIS, large destroyer LE TRIOMPHANT, destroyers MISTRAL and OURAGAN, torpedo boat BOUCLIER, sloops COMMANDANT DUBOC, COUCY, and BELFORT, submarines SURCOUF, JUNON, and MINERVE, and submarine chasers CH.8, CH.11, CH.12, CH.15.

 

Portsmouth (Amiral R. M. A. Gaudin de Vilaine, all ships were under repair - battleship COURBET, large destroyer LEOPARD, sloops CHEVREUIL, AMIENS, ARRAS, DILIGENTE, EPINAL, QUENTIN ROOSEVELT, SAVORGNAN DE BRAZZA, and LA CAPRICIEUSE, corvette LA MALOUINE, torpedo boats BRANLEBAS, CORDELIERE, INCOMPRISE, FLORE, and MELPOMENE (these torpedo boats and BOUCLIER at Plymouth were later formed into the 23rd Destroyer Flotilla), minelayer POLLUX, armed patrol vessel REINA DES FLOTS, submarines ORION and ONDINE, and submarine chasers CH.5, CH.6, CH.7, CH.10, CH.13, CH.14, CH.41, CH.42, CH.43, C 98, C 106.

 

Southampton - auxiliary minelayer INGENIEUR CACHIN and armed patrol vessels PATRIE, LA NANTAISE, and L'ORANAISE.

 

Falmouth - target vessel L'IMPASSIBLE, sloops COMMANDANT DOMINE, LA MOQUEUSE, SUIPPE, and CONQUERANTE, hydrographic sloop PRESIDENT THEODORE TISSIER, and VTB.11.

 

Swansea - submarine CREOLE (she had only been launched on 8 June 1940 at Le Havre and was towed to La Pallice. She departed La Pallice under tow on 18 June for Swansea)

 

Dundee - submarine RUBIS

 

Hythe - motor torpedo boats VTB.8, VTB.12, VTB.23, VTB.24, VTB.25, VTB.26, VTB.27.

 

Barry - armed patrol vessel ARMENIER

 

Greenock - armed patrol vessel LEOVILLE

 

Sheerness - armed patrol vessels LE VAILLANT and VIKINGS.

 

The only resistance was at Plymouth.

 

Destroyer MISTRAL was partially scuttled by opening of the sea valves by her crew.

 

Submarine SURCOUF, berthed alongside Submarine THAMES, was the scene of armed resistance. Cdr D. V. Sprague, commanding officer of the THAMES, Lt P. M. K. Griffiths, from submarine RORQUAL, a British rating from battleship REVENGE, and a French guard were killed in the take over of the French ship.

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French ships at Mer el Kebir were battleships DUNKERQUE (Flagship of Amiral Gensoul, Capitaine de Vaisseau H. J. M. Seguin) and STRASBOURG (Capitaine de Vaisseau D. A. J. Collinet) of the 1st Line Division, battleships PROVENCE (Flagship Contre Amiral Bouxin, Capitaine de Vaisseau G. T. E. Barois) and BRETAGNE (Capitaine de Vaisseau L. R. E. Le Pivain) of the 2nd Line Division, large destroyers VOLTA and MOGADOR of the 6th Large Destroyer Division (VOLTA was the Flagship of Contre Amiral E. M. La Croix, Commander of the 2nd Light Squadron), large destroyer LE TERRIBLE of the 10th Large Destroyer Division, large destroyers LYNX and KERSAINT of the 4th Large Destroyer Division (KERSAINT was under repair), and large destroyer TIGRE, Seaplane tender COMMANDANT TESTE, sloop RIGAULt DE GENOUILLY, and trawlers ESTEREL and TERRE NEUVE.

 

At Oran were destroyers TRAMONTANE, TROMBE, TYPHON, TORNADE, BOULONNAIS, BRESTOIS, BORDELAIS, CASQUE, and LE CORSAIRE, torpedo boat LE POURSIVANTE, and submarines EURYDICE, ARIANE, DANAE, DIANE, PYSCHE, and OREADE.

 

French ships at Algiers were light cruisers LA GALISSONIERE, MARSEILLAISE, and JEAN DE VIENNE of the 3rd Cruiser Division and GEORGES LEYGUES, GLOIRE, and MONTCALM of the 4th Cruiser Division, and large destroyers INDOMPTABLE and MALIN of the 8th Large Destroyer Division and FANTASQUE and AUDACIEUX of the 10th Large Destroyer Division.

 

Destroyer FOXHOUND, of Force H which departed Gibraltar on the 2nd, anchored one mile from the Mer el Kebir Channel and commenced negotiations with Amiral Gensoul on battleship DUNKERQUE on the de militarisation of the French ships.

 

When negotiations failed, a general engagement ensued and the French ships attempted to put to sea.

 

The destroyers left first. Large destroyer MOGADOR was struck by a 15 inch shell which detonated her depth charges and blew off 100 feet of her stern, killing three petty officers and thirty five ratings. MOGADOR sank in the channel, but was later salved.

 

Battleship BRETAGNE was sunk with thirty six officers, one hundred and fifty one petty officers, and eight hundred and twenty five ratings killed as she attempted to leave the harbour.

 

Battleship DUNKERQUE was struck four times, including a hit on her power supply, sustaining five officers and forty one ratings killed.

 

Battleship PROVENCE was hit and had two turrets knocked out. One officer and two ratings were killed.

 

Two Swordfish aircraft from ARK ROYAL were damaged attacking battleship STRASBOURG. They landed in the sea and their crews were rescued by destroyer WRESTLER. The aircraft carrier was screened by destroyers FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, and ESCORT for these operations.

 

Off the harbour, large destroyers LE TERRIBLE and VOLTA attacked Destroyers FOXHOUND and FORESTER without damage to either side.

 

Sloop RIGAULt DE GENOUILLY was damaged by gunfire from Light cruiser ENTERPRISE.

 

The submarines at Oran changed berths during the battle causing the British to think they were preparing to go to sea.

 

Petty Officer T. F. Riddler and his gunner Naval Airman 1/c H. T. Chatterley of 803 Squadron were lost when their Skua was shot down by a French fighter.

 

Another Skua of 803 Squadron was lost when force landed into the sea near ARK ROYAL. Petty Officer H. A. Glover and Naval Airman J. A. Burkey were picked up by a destroyer FORESIGHT.

 

After the bombardment, Force H drew away leaving destroyer WRESTLER to watch the port, but French battleship STRASBOURG and the destroyers leaving port forced WRESTLER to withdraw.

 

Two Swordfish of 818 Squadron were badly damaged and force landed after attacking the STRASBOURG force and one Swordfish was lost shadowing STRASBOURG. Their crews were safely picked up. Destroyer WRESTLER picked up the two crews of 810 Squadron.

 

After the Mer el Kebir battle, Amiral Gensoul (Commander Atlantic Fleet Raiding Force) was replaced by Amiral Estava (Commander French Naval Forces, North Africa)

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French forces at Dakar on the 3rd were battleship RICHELIEU, destroyers MILAN, EPERVIER, FLEURET, armed merchant cruisers EL D'JEZAIR, VILLE D'ORAN, VILLE D'ALGER, EL MANSOUR, EL KANTARA, VICTOR SCHOELSCHER, and CHARLES PLUMIER, escort ship BOUGAINVILLE, submarines HERO and GLORIEUX, escort vessels AIR FRANCE I and AIR FRANCE II, and seven auxiliaries, including the examinations vessel CALAIS.

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Aircraft carrier HERMES departed Freetown to join heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE off Dakar on the morning of 5 July.

 

Heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA, which had just arrived with convoy BC F from Capetown, departed Freetown at 0100/4th to join heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE as well.

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Destroyer VELOX on patrol off Casablanca was fired on by French shore batteries.

 

No damage was done to the destroyer.

 

Armed yacht SAYONARA, which departed Gibraltar on the 2nd to relieve destroyer VELOX, was recalled and destroyer WISHART was sent to relieve VELOX.

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Australian light cruiser SYDNEY departed Alexandria to cover an Aegean convoy.

 

The light cruiser arrived back at Alexandria the same day.

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Light cruiser DELHI arrived at Gibraltar from Freetown.

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Destroyer JERVIS at Malta was near missed by Italian bombing.

 

The destroyer spent no time out of service due to the slight damage.

 

 

Thursday, 4 July

 

French battleship STRASBOURG with large destroyers VOLTA, KERSAINT, TIGRE, and TERRIBLE and destroyers BORDELAIS and LA POURSIUVANTE, which had escaped from Mer el Kebir for Toulon were joined at sea by the six light cruisers of the 3rd and 4th Cruiser Divisions, destroyers L'INDOMPTABLE, LE MALI, LE FANTASQUE, and L'AUDACIEUX which had departed Algiers on the 3rd.

 

British carrier planes from aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL attacked this force three times without success.

 

French large destroyers VOLTA and TERRIBLE fired torpedoes at long range at Battlecruiser HOOD which was able to easy evade the torpedoes.

 

French heavy cruisers ALGERIE, FOCH, and COLBERT with destroyers VAUBAN, LION, AIGLE of the 1st Large Destroyer Division, GUEPARD, VALMY, and VERDUN of the 3rd Large Destroyer Division, TARTU, LE CHEVALIER, and CASSARD of the 5th Large Destroyer Division, and VAUTOUR, GERFAUT, and ALBATROS of the 7th Large Destroyer Division departed Toulon under the Command of C. A. Derrien and joined the ships east of Minorca.

 

The French ships arrived safely at Toulon at 2010/4th. Derrien's force arrived back at Toulon at 0445 on the 5th.

 

British Force H arrived back at Gibraltar that evening.

 

Also departing on the 3rd was destroyer TROMBE from Oran which arrived at Algiers on the 4th. On the 6th, the destroyer left and arrived at Toulon on the 7th.

 

Destroyers BRESTOISE and BOULONNAIS departed Oran on the 3rd and arrived at Algiers on the 4th. On the 6th, the destroyers departed and arrived at Toulon on the 7th.

 

Destroyers TRAMONTANE, TORNADE, and TYPHON departed Oran on the 3rd and arrived at Algiers on the 4th. On the 11th, they departed and arrived at Bizerte on the 12th.

 

Sloops LE CHAMOIS, L'IMPETEUSE, and LA BATAILLEUSE departed Oran on the 3rd and arrived at Bizerte on the 5th.

 

Seaplane tender COMMANDANT TESTE departed Mers el Kebir on the 4th and arrived at Arzew on the 4th. On the 6th, she departed and arrived at Bizerte on the 8th.

 

Destroyers CASQUE and CORSAIRE departed Oran on the 7th and arrived at Toulon on the 8th.

 

Sloop L'ANNAMITE departed Algiers on the 8th and arrived at Toulon the 10th.

 

Sloop LA GRANDIERE departed Oran on the 7th and arrived at Algiers on the 8th.

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Submarines PANDORA and PROTEUS, which had been detached from the Mediterranean Fleet to the North Atlantic Command upon departing Malta for patrol on 28 June, were off Mer el Kebir and Algiers.

 

Submarine PROTEUS off Mer el Kebir sighted French seaplane tender COMMANDANT TESTE, which was en route to Toulon, but could not achieve an attack position.

 

Submarine PROTEUS was taken under attack by French large destroyers TIGRE and LYNX.

 

Submarine PANDORA off Algiers sank French sloop RIGAULt DE GENOUILLY which was en route to Bizerte.

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French submarines LE GLORIEUX and LE HEROS, the armed merchant cruisers EL D'JEZAIR, EL KANTARA, EL MANSOUR, and VILLE D'ORAN, and destroyers MILAN and EPERVIER at Dakar were ordered to attack British shipping as a reprisal for the Mer el Kebir action.

 

On the 5th, British steamers ARGYLL (2953grt), GAMBIAN (5452grt), and TAKORADIAN (5452grt) and Danish ships under British flag HARALD (1970grt), TACOMA (5905grt), and ULRIK HOLM (1502grt) were seized by these forces.

 

The steamers were renamed for French service. Steamer ARGYLL was renamed ST HENRI, steamer GAMBIAN was renamed ST GABRIEL, steamer TAKORADIAN was renamed ST PAUL, steamer HARALD was renamed ST CLAUDE, and steamer ULRIK HOLM was renamed STE ISABELLE. Steamer TACOMA was not renamed.

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British steamer TEMPLE PIER (4312grt) was seized at Algiers by French Forces.

 

Steamer TEMPLE PIER was renamed ST FERNAND for French service.

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French steamer CARAIBE (4048grt) departed Kilinini on the 4th.

At 0612 on the 5th, Heavy cruiser KENT intercepted the French ship in 6‑57S, 42‑19E.

 

Cruiser KENT escorted the French ship to Mombasa arriving on the 6th.

_____

 

Light cruiser DRAGON departed Lagos to evacuated Subjects from Santa Isabel on the 5th. These subjects were removed and taken to Manoca, arriving on the 6th.

 

The light cruiser then proceeded to Duala, arriving on the 7th, on similar duties. Despite Vichy orderers, the French Governor stated he would support the British and requested DRAGON to remain at Duala.

_____

 

Destroyer MASHONA at 0047 was ordered from Scapa Flow to investigate a Swedish ship in the vicinity of Clyth Ness.

 

This steamer was found to be Danish steamer RAGNHILD (2252grt) under British control. Destroyer MASHONA escorted the steamer to Wick and then returned to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Destroyers INGLEFIELD (D.3), IMOGEN, ATHERSTONE, and FERNIE on anti-submarine exercises were ordered to 59‑24N, 1‑15W westward of Hoy to search for a German submarine reported by aircraft of 612 Squadron at 1125.

 

By midnight, no contact had been made and the destroyers returned to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Destroyers TARTAR (D.6), BEDOUIN, ASHANTI, and MASHONA on gunnery trials were ordered to 59‑10N, 5‑35W to search for a German submarine reported by an aircraft of 612 Squadron aircraft at 1310.

 

Following this search, at 0600/5th, they swept towards Fair Island Channel.

_____

 

Submarine NARWHAL laid minefield FD.21 off Grip Holen, southwest of Trondheim.

 

German auxiliary patrol vessel UJ.D (trawler TREFF VIII (356grt) was sunk on this minefield in 63-15N, 7-39E on the 6th.

_____

 

British minefield BS.21 was laid by minelayer TEVIOTBANK, escorted by destroyers JACKAL and JAGUAR.

_____

 

Battleship REVENGE (Captain E. R. Archer) departed Plymouth on the 4th with destroyers HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, and WANDERER.

 

On the 5th, battleship REVENGE met anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE (Captain H. J. Egerton) and troopships MONARCH OF BERMUDA (22,424grt), SOBIESKI (11,030grt), and BATORY (14,287grt). These five ships, which carried $1,750,000,000 in gold and securities from the Bank of England for safekeeping in Canada, departed Greenock at 0545 on the 5th escorted by destroyer GARTH.

 

The destroyers detached beyond the local approaches. Destroyer GARTH returned to the Clyde.

 

The British ships arrived safely at Halifax on the 12th.

 

Troopship BATORY with engine room defects was detached to St Johns escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE which then continued on to Halifax. Troopship BATORY arrived at Halifax on the 13th.

_____

 

Convoy OA.178 was attacked by German bombers and motor torpedo boats south of Portland Harbour.

 

British auxiliary anti-aircraft ship FOYLE BANK (5582grt, Captain H. P. Wilson Rtd) was sunk by German bombing in Portland harbour.

 

Temporary Lt Cdr (E) B. Nish RNR, Temporary Lt (E) J. R. Bissett RNR, Temporary S/Lt (E) J. W. McMullan RNR, Lt W. G. P. Brigstocke RNVR, Probationary Temporary Surgeon Lt E. I. Smith, MB, ChB RNVR, and one hundred and seventy one ratings were lost on the ship. Thirteen officers and one hundred and forty four ratings were rescued.

 

British steamer ELMCREST (4343grt) was sunk by German motor torpedo boat S.19 thirteen miles south of Portland.

 

Sixteen crew were lost on the steamer ELMCREST. The survivors were rescued by destroyer SABRE.

 

British motor tanker British CORPORAL (6972grt) was damaged by German motor torpedo boats S.20 and S.26at 50‑13N, 02‑35W.

 

British steamer HARTLEPOOL (5500grt) was damaged by German motor torpedo boats S.20 and S.26 sixteen miles south, southwest of Portland.

 

The survivors from steamer HARTLEPOOL were rescued by destroyer SCIMITAR.

 

British steamer DALLAS CITY (4952grt) was sunk by German bombing in 50‑09N, 02‑01W.

 

Because of the bomb damage, steamer DALLAS CITY collided with British steamer FLIMSTONE (4674grt) before sinking.

 

The entire crew of the steamer DALLAS CITY was rescued by destroyer SHIKARI.

 

While standing by steamer DALLAS CITY, destroyer SHIKARI was bombed by German bombers. The destroyer did not sustain any damage.

 

Dutch steamer DEUCALION (1796grt) was sunk by German bombing twenty miles south, southwest of Portland.

 

There were twenty seven survivors from steamer DEUCALION.

 

Dutch steamer BRITSUM (5255grt) was sunk by German bombing off Selsey, in 50-04N, 1-55W.

 

Estonian steamer KOLGA (3526grt) was sunk by German bombing 50‑13N, 02‑00W.

 

One crewman was lost on the steamer KOLGA.

 

British tug SILVERDIAL (55grt) was sunk by German bombing in Portland Harbour.

 

British steamer FAIRWATER (4108grt) was damaged by German bombing in 50‑16N, 02‑14W.

 

British steamer FLIMSTON (4674grt) was damaged by German bombing off Portland.

 

British steamer ANTONIO (5225grt) was damaged by German bombing twenty miles south, southwest of Portland Bill.

 

British steamer EASTMOOR (5812grt) was damaged by German bombing 12 miles 314 from Portland Bill.

 

British steamer ARGOS HILL (7178grt) was damaged by German bombing off Portland.

 

British steamer CITY OF MELBOURNE (6630grt) was damaged by German bombing in Portland harbour.

 

British steamer KING FREDERICK (5106grt) was damaged by German bombing in 50‑10N, 02‑33W.

 

British steamer IRENE MARIA (1860grt) was damaged by German bombing in 50‑30N, 02‑00W.

 

British steamer BRIARWOOD (4019grt) was damaged by German bombing off Portland.

 

British steamer LIFLAND (2254grt) was damaged by German bombing off Portland.

 

British steamer EAST WALES (4358grt) was damaged by German bombing in Portland Harbour.

 

British steamer WILLIAM WILBERFORCE (5004grt) was damaged by German bombing in Portland Harbour.

 

Destroyers SABRE, ACHERON, SHIKARI, and SCIMITAR were involved in rescue operations with convoy OA.178.

_____

 

Convoy FN.212 departed Southend, escorted by sloops BLACK SWAN and HASTINGS. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 6th.

 

There was no convoy FN.213.

_____

 

Convoy MT.102 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 5th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.212 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VALOROUS and sloop STORK. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 5th.

 

There was no convoy FS.213.

_____

 

British dredger COQUET MOUTH (477grt) was sunk by mine off Amble, two hundred and fifty yards east by north of the South Pier.

 

Three crew were lost on the dredger.

_____

 

British fishing vessel REMEMBRANCE (7grt) was sunk on a mine 51‑53N, 01‑22E.

 

The crew of two were rescued.

_____

 

Convoy HX.55 departed Halifax escorted by Canadian destroyers ASSINIBOINE and OTTAWA which departed at 0730 on an anti-submarine sweep.

 

Convoy BHX.55 departed Bermuda on the 2nd with a local escort of sloop PENZANCE and an ocean escort of armed merchant cruiser RANPURA. The convoy rendezvoused with HX.55 on the 7th and the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

At 1913, armed merchant cruiser MONTCLARE joined as ocean escort and at 2115, the local escort left the convoy to return to Halifax.

 

Destroyer WINCHELSEA joined the convoy on the 14th for the day only. Sloop FOLKESTONE joined on the 14th and was detached on the 18th when the convoy arrived in Liverpool. Destroyer SKEENA joined on the 15th for the day only. Corvette GARDENIA joined the convoy on the 15th and was detached on the 17th.

_____

 

Convoy SLF.38 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser MALOJA to 17 July.

 

The armed merchant cruiser arrived in the Clyde for fuel and water on the 19th. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 20th.

 

 

Friday, 5 July

 

Destroyer WHIRLWIND (Lt Cdr J. M. Rodgers) of the 11th Destroyer Flotilla was badly damaged by U.34 southwest of Ireland in 50‑17N, 08‑48W.

 

Fifty six ratings and the NAAFI manager were lost on the destroyer. Lt Cdr J. M. Rodgers, Lt C. R. Bax, and twenty one ratings were wounded. Destroyer WESTCOTT took off the survivors and scuttled destroyer WHIRLWIND with gunfire.

 

Sloop LEITH was also standing by. She then returned to convoy OB.178.

_____

 

Destroyer IMOGEN damaged her propellers in contact with a submerged object in the Fair Isle Channel.

_____

 

British corvette CALENDULA was damaged by near misses of German bombing off Plymouth at 1413.

 

The corvette returned to Plymouth.

_____

 

Six Swordfish of 823 Squadron and nine Skuas of 801 Squadron departed Hatston to attack a damaged merchant ship reported by a Hudson of 269 Squadron off the Norwegian coast.

 

No contact was made, but returning Swordfish attacked Submarine TETRARCH in 59-13N, 3-13E mistaking her for a German submarine.

 

Five torpedoes were launched, but no damage was done to the Submarine.

_____

 

Destroyer GARTH departed the Clyde at 1300 with minelayer MENESTHEUS for Loch Alsh. The destroyer continued on to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

British minefield AW was laid in the Wash by minelayer PLOVER and Dutch minelayer WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN on 5 and 6 July.

_____

 

Convoys OA.179 and OA.180 departed Methil escorted by Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT from 9 to 13 July and corvette HIBISCUS from 9 to 12 July. The convoy passed through the Pentland Firth on the 10th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.179 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer WALKER and sloop DEPTFORD from 5 to 8 July. The escorts were detached to convoy SL.37. The convoy dispersed on the 9th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.214 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VANESSA, VEGA, and WINCHESTER. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 7th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.103 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 6th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.214 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WOLSEY and sloop EGRET. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 6th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.215 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and sloop FLEETWOOD. Destroyers JAVELIN and JUPITER joined the convoy for 6 July. Patrol sloop SHEARWATER joined on the 6th and arrived with the convoy. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 7th.

_____

 

Special service ship EMERALD WINGS (2139grt) arrived at Scapa Flow as a blockship and she was subsequently deployed.

_____

 

U.99 sank Canadian steamer MAGOG (2053grt), a straggler from convoy HX.52, 58 miles WSW of Fastnet in 50‑31N, 11‑05W.

 

The crew was rescued.

_____

 

Nine Swordfish of 813 Squadron from aircraft carrier EAGLE took off from Sidi Barrani and raided Tobruk.

 

Italian destroyer ZEFFIRO was sunk.

 

Italian destroyer EURO was badly damaged and her bow was blown off. She was later towed to Taranto and repaired.

 

Italian liner LIGURIA (15,354grt) was bombed and beached to prevent sinking.

 

Italian steamers MANZONI (3955grt) was sunk and SERENITAS (5171grt) was badly damaged.

 

Both steamers were later repaired by the British for their use.

 

Light cruisers CAPETOWN and CALEDON with destroyers JANUS, JUNO, IMPERIAL, and ILEX, which all departed Alexandria on the 5th, were at sea to render assistance to downed flyers of the Tobruk raid.

_____

 

Australian heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA joined Aircraft carrier HERMES and heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE off Dakar.

 

 

Saturday, 6 July

 

French Amiral Estava from Bizerte made a broadcast that French battleship DUNKERQUE was not seriously damaged in the 3 July Mer el Kebir attack and would soon be repaired.

 

Upon receipt of this, British Force H, which was about to strike at French battleship RICHELIEU at Dakar, was ordered to make a second strike on DUNKERQUE.

 

Force H departed Gibraltar at 2000/5th with battlecruiser HOOD, battleship VALIANT, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruisers ARETHUSA and ENTERPRISE, and destroyers FEARLESS, FOXHOUND, FORESTER, ESCORT, WISHART, VORTIGERN, VIDETTE, ACTIVE, and VELOX on operation LEVER, the neutralization of French battleship DUNKERQUE.

 

Aircraft from aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL arrived at Mer el Kebir and sank French auxiliary minesweeper ESTEREL V (30grt). One petty officer and five ratings were lost in the minesweeper.

 

French auxiliary patrol boat TERRE NEUVE (780grt), alongside DUNKERQUE, was sunk and her depth charges exploded ripping a huge gash in DUNKERQUE's side. Four officers and one hundred and fifty ratings were killed or wounded. One officer, one petty officer, and six ratings were killed in the patrol boat.

 

Total French casualties for the raids of 3 and 6 July on Mer el Kebir were 1297 killed and 351 wounded.

 

Battleship DUNKERQUE was repaired sufficiently to be moved in February 1942. She arrived at Toulon on 19 February, escorted by destroyers FOUGUEUX, FRONDEUR, KERSAINT, TARTU, and VAUQUELIN.

 

A Skua of 803 Squadron was damaged by gunfire from French fighters and ditched off Oran. Petty Officer G. W. Peacock and Leading Airman B. P. Dearnley were rescued.

_____

 

Light cruisers CAPETOWN and CALEDON of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron and destroyers JANUS, JUNO, ILEX, and IMPERIAL bombarded Bardia from 0537 to 0631. Italian steamer AXUM (249grt) was sunk and one merchant ship was damaged.

 

At 0820, the force was attacked by Italian bombers, but no damage was done.

 

The British force arrived back at Alexandria on the 6th.

_____

 

An Italian convoy of steamers ESPERIA (11,398grt), CALITEA (4013grt), MARCO FOSCARINI (6342grt), and VETTOR PISANI (6339grt) escorted by Italian torpedo boats ORSA, PEGASO, PROCIONE, and ORIONE of the 4th Torpedo Boat Division departed Naples for Benghazi. The convoy was joined on the 7th by Italian steamer FRANCESCO BARBERO (6343grt) and torpedo boats ABBA and PILO from Catania.

_____

 

Submarine SEALION had attacked a German convoy off Skudesnshavn in Boknafjord at 1550/3rd. She came under heavy counterattack for forty five hours and withdrew.

 

However, submarine SHARK (Lt Cdr P. N. Buckley) coming into the patrol area to relieve SEALION was taken under attack at 2200 at 5 July and badly damaged by German auxiliary minesweepers M.1803 (trawler SPITZBERGEN: 469grt), M.1806 (trawler CUXHAVEN: 491grt), and M.1807 (trawler MULSUM: 480grt) in 58‑18N, 5‑13E.

 

Submarine SHARK was able to get off a distress message at 2250 advising her location of 58-51N, 4-50E and that she was unable to dive.

 

Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON, anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY, and destroyers COSSACK (D.4), MAORI, FAME, and FORTUNE set out from Scapa Flow at 0215 to escort submarine SHARK to Rosyth.

 

However, SHARK was captured and sank in tow before the British force could arrive. Lt Cdr Buckley, Lt D. H. B. Barrett, Lt D. E. Wheeler, S/Lt R. D. J. Barnes RNR, Warrant Engineer C. C. Loder (act), and twenty seven ratings were captured and taken prisoner. Two crew were killed and one crewman was fatally wounded. Also, another rating was killed 27 August 1940 when dealing with an unexploded British bomb near the prison camp.

 

By 1000, the destroyers had searched submarine SHARK's track without success.

 

Destroyer FAME was damaged at 1240 aft by the straddling of a salvo of nine bombs twenty eight miles west of Scotstoun Head.

 

Destroyer FAME's speed was reduced to twenty knots.

 

Lt (E) A. R. R. Knowles and two ratings were killed, one rating died of wounds, and sixteen ratings were wounded on destroyer FAME.

 

The entire British force proceeded to Rosyth, arriving at 2330. The force passed Oxcars Boom at 0040/7th.

 

Destroyer FAME began repairs at Rosyth completed 5 October.

 

The British force departed Rosyth at 2015 on the 7th for Scapa Flow, arriving at 0830/8th with SOUTHAMPTON, which had conducted firing practices, arriving at 1130.

_____

 

Destroyer GARTH arrived at Scapa Flow at 1840 to work up.

_____

 

Convoy FN.215 departed Southend, escorted by sloops LOWESTOFT and WESTON and patrol sloop MALLARD. Destroyers KASHMIR and KELVIN joined the convoy for 7 July. Sloop MALLARD was detached on the 7th. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 8th.

_____

 

U.30 sank British steamer SEA GLORY (1964grt) south of Ireland.

 

There were no survivors and the fate of SEA GLORY is not certain. She was reported missing on the 11th. She may have been sunk by U.34 on the 6th or U.99 on the 7th.

_____

 

U.34 sank Estonian steamer VAPPER (4543grt) in 49‑30N, 09‑15W.

 

One crewman was killed on the Estonian steamer. The survivors were rescued by Canadian destroyer RESTIGOUCHE.

_____

 

British steamer APRICITY (402grt) was damaged by German bombing south of Portland Bill.

 

Steamer APRICITY in convoy OA.178 had been attacked on the 4th, but not damaged.

_____

 

Convoy BC of troopships REINA DEL PACIFICO, ORION, STRATHEDEN, KENYA, KARANJA, and ASKA departed Freetown escorted by heavy cruiser CORNWALL. The convoy arrived in England on the 19th.

 

 

Sunday, 7 July

 

Eight Skuas of 801 Suqadron departed Hatston to attack oil tanks at Bergen.

 

No damage was done to intended targets and no aircraft were lost.

_____

 

British oiler CAIRNDALE and cable ship ARIEL departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde, escorted by anti-submarine trawlers THIRLMERE and WINDERMERE.

_____

 

At 0054, Turkish minelaying sloop YUZBASI HAKKI (built in the UK and just completed) was damaged in a collision with destroyer BROKE, escorting convoy OA.178, at Plymouth.

 

There was slight damage to the destroyer. The damage was repaired at Plymouth from 10 to 12 July.

 

Destroyer BROKE escorted the minelaying sloop to Falmouth for repairs.

_____

 

British minefield BS.22 was laid by minelayer TEVIOTBANK and destroyers ESK and INTREPID.

_____

 

Submarine H.43 (Lt G. R. Colvin) landed a reconnaissance party on Guernsey in Operation ANGER in preparation for operation AMBASSADOR, a commando raid to be held on the 14th.

_____

 

Minesweeper MERCURY was damaged by German bombing at Portland.

 

Four ratings were killed and three were wounded, including Temporary Acting LDR H. W. C. Hyde RNR.

_____

 

Convoy OB.180 departed Liverpool and was routed northabout Ireland. Bristol Channel ships reroute from Milford Haven as OBM convoys.

 

The convoy was escorted by sloop SANDWICH and destroyer WANDERER from 7 to 10 July when they were detached to convoy HX.54. Destroyers HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, WOLVERINE, and WITHERINGTON joined the convoy for 9 July, with the exception of destroyer HESPERUS which escorted the convoy on 9 and 10 July. Destroyer HIGHLANDER joined the convoy for 10 July.

_____

 

Convoy FN.216 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VALOROUS, sloop STORK, and patrol sloop SHELDRAKE. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 9th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.104 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 9th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.216 departed the Tyne, escorted by sloops BLACK SWAN and HASTINGS and patrol sloop MALLARD. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 9th.

_____

 

Convoy HX.56 departed Halifax escorted by Canadian destroyers OTTAWA and SAGUENAY at 0730.

 

The destroyers turned over the convoy beyond the local approaches on the 8th to Armed merchant cruiser COMORIN and arrived back at Halifax midmorning on the 8th. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 20th.

 

Convoy BHX.56 departed Bermuda on the 6th escorted by ocean armed merchant cruiser AUSONIA. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.56 on the 11th when the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

On the 19th, destroyer WARWICK, sloops HASTINGS, LEITH, and ROCHESTER, and corvette HEARTSEASE joined the convoy. Sloop HASTINGS was detached on the 20th. The remaining escort arrived with the convoy at Liverpool on the 22nd.

_____

 

Convoy HG.37 of twenty two ships departed Gibraltar escorted locally by destroyers WISHART and VIDETTE on 7 and 8 July.

 

Sloop ENCHANTRESS from convoy OG.36 escorted the convoy from 8 to 16 July. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 16th.

_____

 

German auxiliary submarine chaser UJ.D (trawler TREFF VIII: 356grt) was sunk on a mine in 63-16N, 7-30E, laid by submarine NARWHAL on the 4th.

_____

 

U.30 arrived at Lorient. She was the first U-boat to use a French port.

 

U-boats U.34, U.52, and U.99 followed later in the month.

_____

 

U.34 sank Dutch motor tanker LUCRETIA (2584grt) in 49‑50N, 08‑07W.

 

Two crew were killed on the Dutch tanker. The survivors were picked up by Portuguese steamer ALFERRAREDE (1452grt).

_____

 

U.99 sank Swedish steamer BISSEN (1514grt) in 50‑06N, 10‑23W and damaged another steamer whose identity may be British steamer SEA GLORY (see 6 July).

 

The entire crew of the steamer BISSEN was rescued.

_____

 

The British launched CATAPULT operations at French battleship RICHELIEU at Dakar.

 

Aircraft carrier HERMES, heavy cruisers DORSETSHIRE and AUSTRALIA, and sloop MILFORD arrived off Dakar.

 

Sloop MILFORD delivered an ultimatum to the French commander on RICHELIEU. The ultimatum was rejected and at 0210/8th a motor launch from aircraft carrier HERMES dropped depth charges under the stern of RICHELIEU. The attack failed due to shallowness of the water.

 

Three hours later, six torpedo bombers of 814 Squadron from HERMES attacked RICHELIEU. The battleship was hit one of her propeller shafts was damaged and three compartments were flooded.

 

At 1820/9th, Australian heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA departed the Dakar CATAPULt force and on the 11th rejoined the convoy she had escorted earlier from Capetown. The convoy and heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA arrived in the Clyde on the 16th and Scapa Flow on the 20th.

_____

 

Italian air reconnaissance reported that two British cruisers had arrived at Malta that day.

 

These ships were Destroyer JERVIS which came from Gibraltar and Destroyer DIAMOND which came from Alexandria to assist in convoy operations from Malta.

 

However, the presence of these ships set into motion considerable support for the Italian convoy at sea.

_____

 

The Italian convoy that had departed Naples the day before was being covered by Italian light cruisers BANDE NERE and COLLEONI of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron (Admiral F. Casardi) and destroyers MAESTRALE, LIBECCIO, GRECALE, and SCIROCCO of the 10th Destroyer Division.

 

The covering force was joined by the flagship of the Second Squadron (Admiral R. Paladini), heavy cruiser POLA, departing Augusta at 1840 with destroyers LANCIERI, CARABINIERI, CORAZZIERE, and ASCARI of the 12th Destroyer Division: heavy cruisers ZARA, FIUME, and GORIZIA of the 1st Cruiser Division (Admiral P. Matteucci) departed Messina at 1410 with destroyers ALFIERI, CARDUCCI, GIOBERTI, and ORIANI of the 9th Destroyer Division; heavy cruisers BOLZANO and TRENTO of the 3rd Cruiser Division (Admiral C. Cattaneo) departed Messina at 1545 with destroyers ARTIGLIERE, CAMICIA NERA, AVIERE, and GENIERE; and light cruisers EUGENIO, D'AOSTA, ATTENDOLO, and MONTECUCCOLI of the 7th Cruiser Division (Admiral L. Sansonetti) departed Palermo at 1235 and destroyers GRANATIERE, FUCLIERE, BERSAGLIERE, and ALPINO of the 13th Destroyer Division.

 

Italian battleships CAVOUR and CESARE (Flagship Admiral Campioni) with destroyers FRECCIA, SAETTA, STRALE, and DARDO of the 7th Destroyer Division and FOLGORE, FULMINE, BALENO, and LAMPO of the 8th Destroyer Division departed Taranto at 1410/7th for distant cover for the convoy.

 

Italian light cruisers BARBIANO, GUISSANO, CARDONA, and DIAZ of the 4th Cruiser Squadron (Admiral A. M. Di Moriondo) and ABRUZZI and GARIBALDI of the 8th Cruiser Squadron (Admiral A. Legnani) departed Taranto at the same time as the battleship force with destroyers PIGAFETTI and ZENO of the 15th Destroyer Division and DA RECCO, PESSAGNO, and USODIMARE of the 16th Destroyer Division.

 

Italian destroyers VIVALDI, DA NOLI, and PANCALDO of the 14th Destroyer Division later departed Taranto at 0618/9th to reinforce the Italian force.

 

However, light cruisers DIAZ and CADORNA of the 4th Cruiser Division and destroyers STRALE and DARDO of the 7th Destroyer Division and destroyer DA NOLI of the 14th Destroyer Division developed mechanical defects.

 

The destroyers were allowed to return to Taranto, but the cruisers remained with the fleet.

_____

 

The Mediterranean Fleet sortied from Alexandria to cover convoys MS.1 and MF.1 coming from Malta.

 

The Fleet was divided into three sections.

 

Force A was light cruisers NEPTUNE, ORION, GLOUCESTER, and SYDNEY under Vice Admiral J. C. Tovey on ORION with Australian destroyer STUART which departed Alexandria and light cruiser LIVERPOOL which departed Port Said and joined the Force at sea. Force B was battleship WARSPITE (Admiral A. Cunningham's flagship) with destroyers NUBIAN, MOHAWK, HERO, HEREWARD, and DECOY. Force C was battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN (Flagship Rear Admiral H. D. Pridham Wipple, BS.1) and MALAYA, aircraft carrier EAGLE, and destroyers HASTY, HYPERION, ILEX, VOYAGER, VAMPIRE, HOSTILE, JUNO, JANUS, DEFENDER, and DAINTY.

 

Destroyer IMPERIAL departed with this force, but a burst steam pipe caused her return to Alexandria.

 

Force D, which later departed Malta with the convoy, was destroyers DIAMOND, JERVIS, and VENDETTA.

 

Destroyer HASTY attacked two Italian submarines soon after the Fleet departure from Alexandria.

 

Later that night, Italian submarine BEILUL sighted and attacked the Mediterranean Fleet without success 32‑40N, 28‑10W. Later, she was able to report her sighting to the Supermarina.

 _____

 

Submarine OLYMPUS in dock at Malta was bombed and badly damaged in an Italian air attack.

 

The submarine was slightly damaged in another air attack on 7 September.

 

Submarine OLYMPUS was repairing and refitting until 29 November.

_____

 

Convoy BS.1 of eighteen ships departed Suez escorted by sloops GRIMSBY and CLIVE from 7 to 10 July.

The convoy was dispersed on the 10th.

_____

 

German armed merchant cruiser THOR sank British steamer DELAMBRE (7032grt) in the South Atlantic at 06‑13S, 25‑06W.

 

Some of the crew were made prisoners of war.

 

 

Monday, 8 July

 

Heavy cruiser GLASGOW arrived at Scapa Flow from Liverpool at 1400.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE arrived at Scapa Flow from the Clyde at 1909.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser NORFOLK departed Scapa Flow at 1935 for the Clyde.

_____

 

Destroyer DIANA departed Scapa Flow at 2230 to rendezvous with Finnish steamer LAHTI (616grt) at 0400/9th three miles 064 from Rattray Head and escort her to Rosyth.

 

Destroyer DIANA did not locate the Finnish ship. At 1234 on the 9th, the destroyer was ordered to search for a Blenheim in the sea in 58-14N, 1-04W.

 

This search was also unsuccessful and destroyer DIANA arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0200/10th.

_____

 

French sloop SUIPPE was damaged by German bombing at Falmouth.

 

No crew was aboard the sloop at the time. Sloop SUIPPE was beached at St Just's Pool.

_____

 

Submarine SEALION attacked the wreck of sunken German steamer PALIME (2863grt) at Obrestad.

_____

 

Convoy FN.217 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and sloop EGRET. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 10th.

_____

 

U.99 sank British steamer HUMBER ARM (5758grt) from convoy HX.53 in 50‑36N, 09‑24W.

 

The entire crew was rescued from the British steamer.

_____

 

British steamer EASTWOOD (1551grt) was damaged by German bombing one mile north of 20D Buoy, Hartlepool.

_____

 

British steamer CORUNDUM (929grt) was damaged by German bombing seven miles southwest of Folkestone.

_____

 

Anti-submarine trawler CAYTON WYKE (550grt, Chief Skipper D. F. Noble DSC RNR) of the 9th Anti-submarine Group was reported lost on a mine off Dover, but may have been sunk by German motor torpedo boat S.36.

 

Noble and Probationary Temporary Lt A. E. Brown RNR, and sixteen ratings were lost on the trawler.

_____

 

Special service ship JAMES 9 (85grt) was sunk as a blockship.

_____

 

German heavy cruiser LUTZOW while in dock at Kiel was hit by a British bomb which did not explode.

_____

 

Force H consisting of battlecruiser HOOD, battleships RESOLUTION and VALIANT, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruisers ARETHUSA, DELHI, and ENTERPRISE, and destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FOXHOUND, ESCORT, FEARLESS, ACTIVE, DOUGLAS, VELOX, VORTIGERN, and WRESTLER sortied from Gibraltar to cover the Mediterranean Fleet. As a diversion for the convoys leaving Malta, ARK ROYAL was to launch an air raid against Cagliari, but the raid was later cancelled.

 

Light cruiser ARETHUSA arrived back at Gibraltar on the 10th.

 

Destroyer ESCORT (Lt Cdr J. Bostock) of Force H was torpedoed by Italian submarine MARCONI southwest of Minorca in 36‑20N, 03‑46W at 0300/11th.

 

Destroyer ESCORT was taken in tow by destroyer FORESTER and screened by destroyer FAULKNOR. In addition, after safely delivering Force H to Gibraltar on the 11th, destroyers KEPPEL, FORESIGHT, and FOXHOUND returned to screen ESCORT's withdrawal.

 

However, destroyer ESCORT was lost later that day when she foundered in tow.

 

Two ratings were lost and Commissioned Gunner F. E. V. Mathews and twelve ratings were wounded in ESCORT.

_____

 

Light cruiser GLOUCESTER of the Mediterranean Fleet was bombed by Italian aircraft. A bomb struck the compass platform of the bridge of the cruiser killing Captain F. R. Garside, his first officer Cdr J. R. H. D'Aeth, Lt Cdr M. Lindsay, Lt Cdr P. N. Churchill, S/Lt W. K. M. Murray, Paymaster S/Lt B. V. Layard, and Paymaster Midshipman A. J. Atkinson and eleven ratings and wounding Lt Cdr J. Brett, S/Lt R. H. Basford RNVR (SAD), and Midshipman P. N. Wylie and six ratings.

 

Damage to GLOUCESTER was not serious, but the loss of many officers on her caused her to be assigned to the aircraft carrier EAGLE's screen.

 

At 0515, submarine PHOENIX sighted the Italian Fleet at sea midway between Taranto and Benghazi.

 

The submarine unsuccessfully attacked Italian battleships GIULO CESARE and CONTE DI CAVOUR.

 

 

Tuesday, 9 July

 

BATTLE OF CALABRIA or PUNTA STILO

 

The battle took place between the Mediterranean Fleet and Italian Fleet units, both on convoy escort missions.

 

Light cruiser GLOUCESTER operated with aircraft carrier EAGLE.

 

Italian heavy cruiser BOLZANO was hit by three medium caliber hits.

 

Italian battleship CESARE (Flagship of Campioni) was hit by one 381 mm shell.

 

Light cruiser NEPTUNE was damaged at 1525 by a near miss which damaged her aircraft and catapult.

 

Battleship WARSPITE had a fire, caused by the flash of her own guns which fired and demolished one of her seaplanes.

 

Destroyers STUART and VOYAGER attacked an Italian submarine during the engagement.

 

Destroyers NUBIAN, MOHAWK, JUNO, and JANUS were formed into a group to fend off Italian ships that might attempt to fire torpedoes at the British ships.

 

Submarine PARTHIAN was at sea in the area during the battle.

_____

 

Force H was to have raided Cagliari. Before the raid was launched, Force H was attacked by Italian bombers south of Minorca. Battleship RESOLUTION was straddled and battlecruiser HOOD was near missed. The raid was cancelled.

_____

 

A convoy of merchant ships, MF.1, consisting of Egyptian steamer EL NID (7769grt), British steamer KNIGHT OF MALTA (1553grt), and former Italian steamer RODI (3220grt) put to sea from Malta at 2300/9th escorted by destroyers VENDETTA, JERVIS, and DIAMOND.

 

Light cruiser GLOUCESTER and destroyer STUART also arrived for refuelling. After refuelling, they joined the convoy which was covered by light cruisers ORION and NEPTUNE.

 

Destroyers STUART, DAINTY, DEFENDER, HYPERION, HOSTILE, HASTY, ILEX, and JUNO were detached to Malta to refuel late on the 9th. They arrived at 0530 and departed at 1115 on the 10th.

 

In turn, destroyers HERO, HEREWARD, DECOY, VAMPIRE, and VOYAGER were sent to Malta to refuel.

 

A slow convoy, MS.1, of four merchant ships, British steamers KIRKLAND (1361grt), TWEED (2697grt), and MASIRAH (6578grt), former Dutch steamer under British flag ZEELAND (2726grt), and Norwegian steamer NOVASLI (3204grt), departed Malta early on the 10th escorted by destroyers DECOY, VAMPIRE, and VOYAGER.

 

At 2030/10th, battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN with destroyers NUBIAN, MOHAWK, and JANUS were to detached to refuel at Malta.

 

This group sailed at 0800/11th with destroyers HERO and HEREWARD. Destroyers HERO and HEREWARD later were transferred to convoy MF.1 and destroyer JANUS joined MS.1, replacing destroyer VAMPIRE.

 

On the 11th, air attacks on the British ships saw Gunner (T) J. H. Endicott on Australian destroyer VAMPIRE badly wounded by bomb splinters. He was transferred to destroyer MOHAWK and died of wounds later that day.

 

On the 12th, air attacks on the British ships saw two ratings killed in LIVERPOOL and several wounded, including Cdr J. J. Weld MVO.

 

Both convoys were given cover by battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and MALAYA, aircraft carrier EAGLE, light cruiser GLOUCESTER, and destroyers HASTY, HYPERION, ILEX, HOSTILE, DEFENDER, DAINTY, HERO, and HEREWARD.

 

Battleship WARSPITE, light cruisers LIVERPOOL and SYDNEY, and destroyers NUBIAN, MOHAWK, VAMPIRE, and JUNO pressed onto Alexandria arriving at 0600/13th.

 

The fast convoy MF.1 arrived safely at Alexandria at 0900/13th.

 

On the 13th, Light cruisers CALEDON and CAPETOWN of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron met convoy MS.1 midway between Cape Spada and Derna. These ships were given heavy support by battleship RAMILLIES and destroyers DIAMOND, HAVOCK, IMPERIAL, and VENDETTA which departed Alexandria on the 13th.

 

At 0900/15th, battleship RAMILLIES, the 3rd Cruiser Squadron, and the slow convoy arrived safely at Alexandria.

_____

 

Submarine SALMON (Lt Cdr E. O. B. Bickford DSO) was sunk in mining off Egersund in 57‑22N, 5‑00E.

 

Lt Cdr Bickford, Lt M. F. Wykeham-Martin DSC, Lt R. H. M. Hancock DSC, Lt K. D. Skelt, Warrant Engineer W. L. Davis, and the thirty six ratings of the crew were lost with SALMON.

_____

 

Sloop FOXGLOVE, proceeding to Portsmouth, was bombed at 1130 and badly damaged off the Nab.

 

Acting Gunner F. Brown died of wounds on the sloop.

 

Sloop FOXGLOVE was able to proceed under tow by naval trawler HOLLY, which was relieved en route by tug RESOLVE to Portsmouth, where she was under repair until July 1941.

_____

 

At 0030/9th, heavy cruisers SHROPSHIRE and SUSSEX and destroyers FIREDRAKE and ECHO departed the Clyde to escort British troopships ORMONDE (14,982grt) and ULSTER PRINCE (3791grt) to Iceland.

 

They convoy arrived at Reykavik at 2030/11th.

 

Destroyer ECHO took ULSTER PRINCE departed Reykavik at 1430/12th for Akreyri arriving on the 13th. Then they proceeded on to Seidisfjord on the 13th.

 

Destroyer ECHO and troopship ULSTER PRINCE departed Seidisfjord on the 15th and returned to Reykavik.

 

The heavy cruisers arrived at Scapa Flow after the operation on the 14th. On the 16th, the Destroyers and troopships departed Reykavik on their return.

_____

 

Destroyers INGLEFIELD, IMOGEN, HAMBLEDON, FERNIE, and ATHERSTONE departed Scapa Flow at 2145 for Loch Alsh for escort duties with the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

_____

 

Convoy FN.218 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON, sloop FLEETWOOD, and patrol sloop PINTAIL. The convoy was joined on the 10th by destroyers JAVELIN and JUPITER. The two J destroyers and the patrol sloop were detached later on the 10th. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 11th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.105 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 11th.

 

There was no convoy MT.106

_____

 

Convoy FS.217 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 10th.

_____

 

German armed merchant cruiser KOMET sailed from Bergen to raid in the Pacific. She reached this destination by going around the north of Russia assisted by Russian icebreakers.

 

Armed merchant cruiser KOMET carried twenty five ground mines for this operation.

_____

 

German armed merchant cruiser THOR sank Belgian steamer BRUGES (4983grt) in the South Atlantic in 4S, 28W. The crew was made prisoners of war.

_____

 

U.34 sank Estonian steamer TIIU (1865grt) 280 miles west of St Ann's in 50‑20W, 12W. The entire crew was rescued.

_____

 

U.43 sank British steamer AYLESBURY (3944grt) in 48‑39N, 13‑55W. The entire crew was rescued.

_____

 

Latvian steamer TALVALDIS (534grt) in convoy CW.2 was sunk by German bombing three miles 120 from Prawle Point. One crewman was lost.

_____

 

British steamer SAN FELIPE (5919grt) was damaged by German bombing at Roath Docks, Cardiff.

_____

 

British steamer KENNETH HAWKSFIELD (1546grt) was damaged by German bombing in the Dover area.

_____

 

British steamer POLGRANGE (804grt) was damaged by German bombing in 51‑46N, 01‑46E.

_____

 

British steamer EMPIRE DIAFFODIL (398grt) was damaged by German bombing 13 miles SSW of Portland.

_____

 

Dutch steamer JOLA (269grt) was damaged by German bombing three miles SW of Start Point.

_____

 

Greek steamer AEGEON (5285grt) was damaged by German bombing at Weymouth.

_____

 

Submarine PROTEUS arrived at Gibraltar after patrol off Mer el Kebir.

_____

 

Convoy SL.39 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CORFU. When the cruiser was damaged in a collision the next day with aircraft carrier HERMES, armed merchant cruiser DUNVEGAN CASTLE joined the convoy to 25 July. The convoy merged with convoy SLF.39 on the 19th.

 

Armed merchant cruiser DUNVEGAN CASTLE arrived at the Clyde for refuelling and watering on the 26th.

 

On the 25th, destroyers HESPERUS, RESTIGOUCHE, and WALKER and corvette MALLOW joined the convoy and escorted it Liverpool, arriving on the 29th.

 

 

Wednesday, 10 July

 

Minelayers MENESTHEUS, PORT NAPIER, PORT QUEBEC, and SOUTHERN PRINCE departed Loch Alsh at 1100/10th and laid minefield SN 1 north of Rona at 2025 to 2234 on the 10th, escorted by destroyers INGLEFIELD (D.3), IMOGEN, ATHERSTONE, HAMBLEDON, and FERNIE. Anti-aircraft ship COVENTRY departed Scapa Flow at 1238 to rendezvous with the minelaying force.

 

After the minelay, the I's went to Scapa Flow arriving at 1645 on the 11th and the three Hunts arrived at Loch Alsh at 1100/11th. The Hunts departed Loch Alsh at 1430/11th and proceeded to Liverpool.

_____

 

Nine Skuas of 801 Squadron departed Hatston for Sumburgh in preparation for an attack on Bergen.

 

Leaving Sumburgh, they encountered poor visibility and returned to Sumburgh before proceeding half way to the objective.

_____

 

Convoy OA.182 departed Methil escorted by destroyer SKEENA and corvette GARDENIA from 10 to 14 July.

_____

 

Convoy MT.107 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 11th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.218 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WINCHESTER and sloops LOWESTOFT and WESTON. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 11th.

_____

U.34 sank Finnish steamer PETSAMO (4596grt) in 51‑08N, 09‑22W.

 

Four crew were killed on the Finnish steamer.

_____

 

U.61 sank Dutch steamer ALWAKI (4533grt) of convoy OA.180, 10 miles northeast of Cape Wrath in 58‑46N, 04‑46W.

 

Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT reported the steamer's damage at 1234.

 

Destroyer ST LAURENT and escorting aircraft indicated the explosion was internal, probably sabotage.

 

British steamer HARMONIC (4558grt) rescued the crew of eight from the Dutch ship.

 

Tugs BANDIT and THAMES were sent to assist.

 

Destroyers ZULU, MAORI, and BERKELEY departed anti-submarine exercises to join the convoy.

 

Destroyers TARTAR, ASHANTI, BEDOUIN, and MASHONA exercising at Scapa Flow were ordered to search in the area.

 

Destroyers BEDOUIN and MASHONA remained in the vicinity of Cape Wrath until the evening of 11 July when a westbound convoy had passed the area. The destroyers then proceeded to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

British tanker TASCALUSA (6499grt) was sunk by German bombing in Falmouth Harbour, alongside the Northern Arm. Greek steamer MARI CHANDRIS (5840grt), which had been towed to Falmouth in June after a collision, was set afire by TASCALUSA. The entire crew of the Greek steamer was rescued. TASCALUSA was refloated on 29 August and beached at Mylor Flats for scrapping.

_____

 

British steamer WATERLOO (1905grt) was sunk by German bombing two and a half miles NE of Smith's Knoll Bouy. The crew was rescued.

_____

 

Dutch steamer BILL S. (466grt) was badly damaged by German bombing six miles 260 from Dungeness from convoy CW.3, escorted by destroyer VERSATILE.

 

The steamer sank 6.7 miles 67 from Dungeness.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

_____

 

British tanker British CHANCELLOR (7085grt) was damaged by German bombing off Falmouth.

_____

 

Submarine PANDORA arrived at Gibraltar after patrol off Algiers.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier EAGLE launched nine Swordfish of the 813 Squadron on an air attack on Augusta.

 

Italian destroyer LEONE PANCALDO was sunk in harbour, but was salved on 26 July 1941 and returned to duty. A fleet oiler was damaged.

_____

 

Italian submarine SCIRE sank French steamer CHEIK (1058grt) 54 miles 310 from Semaphore d'Asmare.

_____

 

Convoy HG.38 of six ships departed Gibraltar. The convoy was escorted by destroyer VOLUNTEER from 10 to 18 July. Destroyer VOLUNTEER returned to Gibraltar on the 10th to make good defects and was relieved by destroyer VIDETTE. Destroyer VOLUNTEER then returned to the convoy and VIDETTE returned to Gibraltar. The convoy was given escort by British corvette GLADIOLUS from 21 to 27 July. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 27th.

_____

 

German armed merchant cruiser WIDDER sank British steamer DAVISAN (6433grt) in the Central Atlantic at 18‑09N, 54‑40W, four hundred and fifty miles north, northeast of Guadalope.

 

The entire crew was made prisoners of war.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier HERMES was damaged in a collision at 0302 with Armed merchant cruiser CORFU 130 miles west, northwest of Freetown at 9‑10N, 15‑48W.

 

Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE was in company of HERMES and stood by these ships. CORFU had been escorting convoy SL.39 which continued on without her.

 

The two ships were locked together for just under an hour and a half during which CORFU was almost completely abandoned, 141 crew being taken aboard HERMES. There were no casualties in either ship. The armed merchant cruiser was later reboarded by crew in HERMES' cutter.

 

Aircraft carrier HERMES arrived at Freetown at 1800 that day. DORSETSHIRE attempted to tow CORFU. Sloop MILFORD arrived at Freetown at 1200/10th and after refuelling, sailed at 0520/11th to escort heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE and the armed merchant cruiser. Dutch tug DONAU departed Freetown at 0600/11th.

 

Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE arrived at Freetown at 1700/12th.

 

Armed merchant cruiser CORFU with sloop MILFORD and Dutch tug DONAU anchored outside harbour during the night of 12/13 July.

 

Armed merchant cruiser CORFU, towed stern first by tug DONAU and escorted by sloop MILFORD arrived at Freetown at 1330/13th.

 

Armed merchant cruiser DUNVEGAN CASTLE was allocated to escort convoy SLF.39, but sailed to escort SL.39. Convoy SLF.39 when it did sail proceeded unescorted, after a local one day escort of sloop MILFORD.

 

Aircraft carrier HERMES after emergency repairs departed Freetown on 5 August and arrived at Simonstown on 17 August with convoy RS.5, joined at sea by Light cruiser DRAGON. HERMES had been designated to participate in MENACE in September, but was still under repair at Simonstown at that time. HERMES did not leave Simonstown until 18 November and she arrived back at Freetown for operations on 30 November.

 

Armed merchant cruiser CORFU was under repair at Freetown. She was intentionally run aground on 19 August to facilitate repairs to her bow. She was finally repaired in early 1941.

 

 

Thursday, 11 July

 

British minefield BS.23 was laid by minelayer TEVIOTBANK and destroyers EXPRESS and ESK.

_____

 

Convoy OB.182 departed Liverpool escorted by sloop FOLKESTONE from 11 to 14 July. The sloop was detached to convoy HX.55.

_____

 

Convoy FN.219 departed Southend, escorted by sloops BLACK SWAN and HASTINGS. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 13th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.108 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 12th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.219 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and WOLFOUND.

_____

 

Anti-submarine yacht WARRIOR II (1124grt, Captain A. E. Johnston Rtd) was sunk by German bombing off Portland. One rating was killed.

_____

 

British steamer MALLARD (352grt) was sunk by German motor torpedo boat S.26 between St Catherine's Point and Beachy Head. Five crew and the naval gunner were lost. Three crew were picked up by the S-boat and made prisoners of war.

_____

 

Belgian fishing vessel PROVIDENTIA (139grt) was sunk by German bombing 49‑55N, 09‑12W.

_____

 

British steamer KYLEMOUNT (704grt) was damaged by German bombing ten miles west of Dartmouth.

_____

 

British steamers PERU (6961grt) and CITY OF MELBOURNE (6630grt) were damaged by German bombing in Portland harbour.

_____

 

British steamer ELEANOR BROOKE (1037grt) was damaged by German bombing off Portland.

_____

 

Dutch steamer MIES (309grt) was damaged by German bombing seven miles south of Portland Bill.

_____

 

U.34 sank Norwegian steamer JANNA (2197grt), which was a straggler from convoy HX.54, in 50‑34N, 12‑10W.

 

There were twenty five survivors from the Norwegian steamer.

_____

 

Convoy HX.57 departed Halifaxat 0730 escorted by Canadian destroyers ASSINIBOINE and SAGUENAY, which were detached on the 12th.

 

At 2115 that evening, the destroyers turned the convoy over to the ocean escort, armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA, and returned to port. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 23rd.

 

Convoy BHX.57 departed Bermuda on the 10th escorted locally by sloop PENZANCE and an ocean escort of light cruiser EMERALD. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.57 on the 15th and the light cruiser was detached.

 

On the 23rd, destroyer WANDERER, sloops DEPTFORD and SANDWICH, and corvette PERWINKLE joined the convoy and remained until the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 26th.

_____

 

Australian light cruiser SYDNEY arrived at Alexandria.

_____

 

Light cruisers CALEDON and CAPETOWN departed Alexandria to escort a convoy to Greece.

 

The light cruisers arrived back at Alexandria on the 13th.

_____

 

Italian submarine TARANTINI sank Panamanian tanker BEME (3039grt) in 33‑12N, 33‑38E near Haifa.

 

The entire crew from the Panamanian tanker were rescued.

_____

 

Convoy SLF.39 departed Freetown escorted by sloop MILFORD to 12 July.

 

Armed merchant cruiser DUNVEGAN CASTLE had been allocated, but was diverted to convoy SL.39 after the collision of armed merchant cruiser CORFU with aircraft carrier HERMES.

 

On the 19th, the convoy merged with convoy SL.39. The convoys were joined on the 25th by destroyers RESTIGOUCHE, HESPERUS, and WALKER and corvette MALLOW.

 

Both convoys arrived at Liverpool on the 29th.

_____

 

German armed merchant cruiser ATLANTIS sank British steamer CITY OF BAGHDAD (7506grt) in the Indian Ocean in 00‑14N, 86‑43E. Two crew were lost. Eighty crew and one gunner were made prisoners of war.

 

 

Friday, 12 July

 

Convoys OB.181G, which departed Liverpool on the 10th escorted by destroyer VANOC and sloop SCARBOROUGH became convoy OG.37 with sixteen ships. Convoy OA.181G did not sail from Methil.

 

Destroyer VANOC escorted the convoy on the 12th.

 

Sloop SCARBOROUGH escorted the convoy from 12 to 17 July when the convoy arrived at Gibraltar.

 

Anti-submarine trawler LORD HOTHAM joined the convoy off Gibraltar.

_____

 

Convoy OA.183 departed Methil by sloop FOWEY. The convoy passed Dunnet Head on the 13th, escorted by sloop FOWEY and corvette CAMELLIA.

_____

 

Convoy FN.220 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VIMIERA and VERDUN and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 14th.

_____

 

Convoy MT.109 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 13th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.220 departed the Tyne. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 13th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.221 departed the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and sloop FLEETWOOD. Destroyers JACKAL and JAGUAR and patrol sloop MALLARD joined on the 13th. The two J destroyers were detached later that day. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 14th.

_____

 

U.56 attacked British steamer DUNERA (11,162grt) off North Channel without damage being done. The torpedo did strike DUNERA, but it glanced of without exploding.

_____

 

U.99 sank Greek steamer IA (4860grt) in 51N, 14W.

 

Three crew were lost on the Greek steamer.

_____

 

U.99 took in prize Estonian steamer MERISAAR (2136grt). She was ordered to a French port, but was sunk on the 15th by German bombing south of Queenstown.

_____

 

British steamer HORNCHURCH (2162grt) was sunk by German bombing off Aldeburgh Light Vessel, in 52-11-15N, 1-52-30E.

 

The entire crew was rescued by patrol sloop WIDGEON.

_____

 

British trawler VOLANTE (255grt) was sunk by German bombing ten miles east of Hvalbam, Faroe Islands. The Master of the British trawler was drowned.

The master was Alfred George Coulam, whose body "was taken to a northern port" (with thanks to his niece Candice Baxter). Further research gives an alternative loss position 10 miles S of Whale Back Rock which is near the village of Hvalba in the Faroes.

_____

 

British steamer JOSEWYN (1926grt) was damaged by German bombing eight miles west, northwest of St Catherine'sPoint.

_____

 

Light cruiser LIVERPOOL was near missed by Italian air bombs. One rating was killed and two wounded by a bomb that did not explode, but there was no material damage.

 

A Sea Gladiator of 801 Squadron from aircraft carrier EAGLE, after shooting down an Italian bomber, forced landed alongside cruiser LIVERPOOL which picked him up.

 

Battleship WARSPITE was attacked seventeen times between 0850 and 1150, but sustained no damage.

_____

 

Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA departed Capetown with transport STRATHMORE for Freetown.

 

The heavy cruiser escorted the transport for the first thirty six hours and then returned to Simonstown, arriving on the 15th.

 

 

Saturday, 13 July

 

Aircraft carrier FURIOUS, escorted by destroyers HAMBLEDON, ATHERSTONE, and FERNIE departed Liverpool at 1800 for Prestwick to fly on aircraft.

 

The British ships then went on to Scapa Flow, arriving at 0615 on the 14th.

_____

 

Convoy CW.5 departed Dover escorted only by destroyer VANESSA. The convoy was immediately taken under German air attack between Dover and Eastbourne and destroyer VANESSA was disabled by near misses of air bombs.

 

Destroyer VANESSA was towed by destroyer GRIFFIN to Sheerness where VANESSA was repaired completing on 4 November.

_____

 

Destroyer TARTAR (D.6) departed Scapa Flow at 1015 for Liverpool for docking repairs to asdic installation and damage to propellers.

_____

 

A redisposition of Destroyers in the North Atlantic Command was made.

 

Destroyers DOUGLAS, ACTIVE, WATCHMAN, KEPPEL, and VORTIGERN left the North Atlantic Command on the 14th to join the Home Fleet Command.

 

Destroyers HOTSPUR and ENCOUNTER of the Home Fleet and threeG class destroyers of the Nore Command were to join the North Atlantic Command.

 

Three worked up HUNT class destroyers were to leave the Home Fleet and join the Dover Command.

_____

 

Convoy OB.183 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer VANQUISHER and corvette CLARKIA until 16 July. The escorts were detached to convoy SL.38.

_____

 

Convoy FN.221 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WINCHESTER and sloops LOWESTOFT and WESTON. The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 15th.

_____

 

German armed merchant cruiser ATLANTIS sank British steamer KEMMENDINE (7769grt) in the Indian Ocean at 04‑12S, 81‑47E.

 

Fifty seven crew, twenty two passengers, and three distressed British seamen (DBS) were made prisoners of war.

One crewman later died in France.

 

Eighteen crew, eleven passengers, and one DBS were lost when steamer TIRRANNA, to which they later were transferred, was lost.

 

One crewman died on the raider.

 

Thirty one crew and three gunners were transferred to steamer DURMITOR and taken to Italian Somaliland. They were released in early 1941.

_____

 

German armed merchant cruiser WIDDER sank British steamer KING JOHN (5228grt) in the Central Atlantic at 20‑40N, 59‑26W, two hundred and fifty miles east, northeast of Sombrero Channel.

 

Five crew were made prisoners of war.

 

 

Sunday, 14 July

 

British operation AMBASSADOR was a small commando raid on the island of Guernsey.

 

Late on the 14th, destroyers SALADIN and SCIMITAR from Dartmouth carried Commandos to Guernsey, but had no success as they made no contact with the enemy.

_____

 

Destroyers KEPPEL, ACTIVE, WATCHMAN, VORTIGERN, and DOUGLAS departed Gibraltar for Liverpool arriving on the 20th.

 

The destroyers were formed into the 12th Destroyer Flotilla for duty with the Home Fleet.

_____

 

Destroyers WRESTLER and VIDETTE departed Gibraltar to meet troopship ATHLONE CASTLE and relieve escorting destroyer HURRICANE.

 

The ships arrived at Gibraltar on the 17th.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE BAY, carrying ten million pounds in gold, was bombed and badly damaged shortly after leaving England at 1250 in 49-30N, 6-40W, one hundred miles west of Land's End.

 

Lt Cdr H. Close RNR, and six ratings were killed.

 

Destroyer VANOC and Canadian destroyer RESTIGOUCHE escorted the merchant cruiser. Dutch tug ZWARTE ZEE was sent.

 

Destroyer VANOC and tug ZWARTE ZEE was reassigned when it was found the armed merchant cruiser could proceed on her own to Plymouth with the gold.

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Turkish minelaying sloop YUZBASI HAKKI was attacked by German bombers off Weymouth at 1145 near the Shambles.

 

The British delivery crew were still on board. One crewman was killed and the Captain was wounded.

 

The sloop arrived at Weymouth on the 15th.

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Minesweeper FITZROY was damaged in a collision with Minesweeping trawler SEA MIST (324grt) off the Humber.

 

Minesweeper FITZROY was repaired in the Humber from 15 July to 10 August.

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Anti-submarine trawlers CAPE WARWICK from Balta Sound and THIRLMERE from Dundee arrived at Scapa Flow.

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British minefield MN in the Straits of Dover was laid by minelayer PLOVER and Dutch minelayer WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN, escorted by four motor torpedo boats.

 

The force departed Dover at 2215 on the 13th for the minelay early on the 14th.

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British Leading Airman I. G. Farquhar, at the 1 SFTS Netheraven, was killed when his Hind undershot in forced landing and crashed at Pylle, near Shepton Mallet.

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Convoy OA.184 departed Methil by sloops ROCHESTER, HASTINGS, and LEITH from 14 to 19 July. The sloops were detached to convoy HX.56.

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Convoy FN.222 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and WOLFHOUND. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 16th.

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Convoy MT.109 departed Methil. The convoy arrived in the Tyne on the 15th.

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German armed merchant cruiser THOR sank British steamer GRACEFIELD (4631grt) in the South Atlantic at 20‑20S, 30‑43W.

 

The crew was made prisoners of war.

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U.A sank Norwegian steamer SARITA (5824grt) at 15‑22N, 26‑28W, 120 miles southwest of St Vincent.

 

The survivors were picked up by British steamer DUNSTAN (5149grt) on the 18th at 15-31N, 30-04W.

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U.52 sank Greek steamer THETIS A (4111grt) in 47‑40N, 13‑20W.

 

Nine crew were lost on the Greek steamer.

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British steamer ISLAND QUEEN (779grt) of convoy CW.5 was badly damaged by German bombing four cables off A Buoy, Dover, east of Folkestone Gateway Light Vessel.

 

Steamer ISLAND QUEEN sank in tow of British trawler KINGSTON ALALITE (412grt) later that day one half mile 350 from Folkestone Light Vessel.

 

Three crew were lost on the British steamer.

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British steamer MONS (641grt) from convoy CW.5 was damaged by German bombing one and a half miles south of Dover Pier.

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Norwegian steamer BALDER (1129grt) from convoy CW.5 was damaged by German bombing off Dover.

 

Steamer BALDER was taken in tow by British tug LADY BRASSEY and escorted by destroyers GRIFFIN and BOREAS.

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Belgian trawler PROVIDENTIA (139grt) was sunk by German bombing in 49-55N, 9-12W.

 

The entire crew was lost.

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Heavy cruiser KENT arrived at Durban after escorting West Afircan troop convoy to Mombasa and preparatory to escorting convoy WS 1 from the rendezvous in the vicinity of Durban.

 
 

on to Naval Events, JULY 1940, Part 2
or return to RN Day-by-Day Homepage

revised 7/4/12
further editing is required


 

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