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

NAVAL EVENTS, DECEMBER 1940 (Part 1 of 2)
Sunday 1st Saturday 14th

HMAS  Vampire, destroyer (Maritime Quest/Alex Shand, click to enlarge)

on to DECEMBER 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 - September-December 1940

U-boat packs in Atlantic, Blitz on Britain, Attack on Taranto, German raiders at sea


 

 

1940

 

                                                           

Sunday,  1 December

 

Canadian destroyer SAGUENAY, which had departed the Clyde on 27 November, escorting convoy HG.47, was torpedoed and damaged by Italian submarine ARGO three hundred miles west of Ireland in 54‑40N, 15‑50W.

 

Twenty one ratings were killed.

 

Destroyer HIGHLANDER assisted SAGUENAY and the Canadian destroyer was able to reach, largely under her own power, Barrow in Furness on the 5th for repairs.

 

Destroyers ACHATES and ANTHONY from convoy SL.55 joined the convoy as escorts.

 

SAGUENAY was under repair at Greenock until 22 May 1941.

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Lord Mountbatten reassumed command of Destroyer KELLY, completing repairs at Hebburn.

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Destroyer GEORGETOWN arrived at Scapa Flow at 1700 to work up.

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Destroyers BULLDOG, BEAGLE, KEPPEL departed Scapa Flow at 1730 for Rosyth.

 

BULLDOG and BEAGLE were to escort battleship KING GEORGE V.

 

KEPPEL was to escort battleship NELSON.

 

The destroyers arrived at Rosyth at 0615/2nd.

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Destroyer PUNJABI departed Scapa Flow at 0400 for Plymouth as a replacement for damaged destroyer JAVELIN.

 

PUNJABI arrived at Plymouth at 0830/2nd.

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Sloop HASTINGS collided with steamer LIMSLADE on the east coast.

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U.37 sank British steamer PALMELLA (1578grt) in 40‑30N, 13‑30W, straggling behind convoy OG.46.

 

One crewman was lost on the British steamer.

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Armed merchant cruiser FORFAR, destroyers VISCOUNT (escort commander), VANQUISHER and CASTLETON, Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT, sloop FOLKESTONE, corvette GENTIAN were escorting convoy HX.90 in the Western Approaches on the 1st.

 

Destroyer CASTLETON was damaged in a collision on the 1st during escort operations.

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U.101 in attacks on convoy HX.90 sank British tanker APPALACHEE (8826grt) in 54‑30N, 20‑00W and damaged British steamer LOCH RANZA (4958grt) in 54‑37N, 18‑54W.

 

Seven crew were lost on the British tanker. British steamer LOCH RANZA picked up survivors from tanker APPALACHEE.

 

Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT rescued the crew of steamer LOCH RANZA and took them to Greenock.

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British paddle steamer HER MAJESTY (235grt) was sunk by German bombing at Southampton Harbour Board Yard.

 

There was no crew on board at the time of her loss.

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British tanker BRITISH OFFICER (6990grt) was sunk on a mine one quarter mile east of North Pier Light, Tyne.

 

The tanker broke in two. The forepart was towed to port.

 

Five crew were lost on the British tanker.

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Norwegian steamer OSLOFJORD (18,673grt), escorted by destroyer VIMY, was sunk at 0820 on a mine one half mile 220 from T.2 Buoy, Tyne.

 

The steamer was beached south of South Tyne Pier.

 

One crewman was killed on the steamer.

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Dutch steamer FRISO (250grt) was damaged by German bombing at Southampton.

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Yugoslavian steamer CETVRTI (1936grt) was damaged by German bombing in 51‑30N, 11‑52W.

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Light cruiser NEWCASTLE departed Gibraltar for Freetown.

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Battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN departed Gibraltar for Halifax, escorted by destroyers JAGUAR and KELVIN.

 

On the 2nd, destroyer KELVIN attacked a submarine contact in 36-02N, 9-42W.

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German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER sank British steamer TRIBESMAN (6242grt) in the South Atlantic near Cape Verde at 15‑00N, 35‑00W.

 

Eight crew were missing from the steamer. Fourteen crew were made prisoners of war.

 

British units began to sweep for ADMIRAL SCHEER.

 

Aircraft carrier HERMES, light cruiser DRAGON, armed merchant cruiser PRETORIA CASTLE at St Helena swept northward from St Helena.

 

Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE and light cruiser NEPTUNE swept five hundred miles westward from Freetown.

 

However, no British units contacted ADMIRAL SCHEER.

 

 

Monday,  2 December

 

In an appointment announced on 18 October, Admiral Sir J. C. Tovey assumed Commander in Chief, Home Fleet relieving Admiral Sir C. M. Forbes on the 2nd.

 

Tovey had been Vice Admiral, Light Forces in the Mediterranean being relieved by Rear Admiral H. D. Pridham-Wipple in November 1940.

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Battleship KING GEORGE V with destroyers SOMALI (Captain D.6), MASHONA, BEAGLE, BULLDOG departed Rosyth at 1445 for the Scapa Flow exercise area for trials.

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Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK arrived at Scapa Flow at 0700 after escorting convoy EN.34.

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Convoy OB.253 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANSITTART and WESTCOTT and corvettes CANDYTUFT and HONEYSUCKLE. The escort was detached on the 6th.

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Convoy FN.348 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VERDUN and WOLSEY. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 4th.

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Destroyer VIMY departed the Tyne at 1650 for Rosyth arriving at 0700/3rd.

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Destroyer MAORI departed Rosyth for the Tyne for repairs completed on 14 January.

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Destroyer MATABELE was taken in hand at Rosyth for docking and repairs.

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Destroyer CAMPBELTOWN was damaged when destroyer CALDWELL was blown into her while refuelling at Belfast.

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During the night of 2/3 December, German torpedo boats ILTIS and JAGUAR from Cherbourg laid minefield OSKAR off Dover.

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U.37 sank Swedish steamer GWALIA (1258grt) in 39‑22N, 14‑22W, straggling behind OG.46.

 

Sixteen crew were lost on the Swedish steamer.

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U.37 sank British steamer JEANNE M. (2465grt) in convoy OG.46 and attacked another steamer without result in 39‑19N, 13‑54W.

 

Seven crew were killed on the British steamer.

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U.43 in attacks on convoy HX.90 sank British steamer PACIFIC PRESIDENT (7113grt) in 56‑04N, 18‑45W and tanker VICTOR ROSE (12,247grt) in 56‑04N, 18‑30W.

 

The entire crews of both ships were lost.

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U.47 in attacks on convoy HX.90 sank Belgian steamer VILLE D'ARLON (7555grt) in 55‑00N, 19‑30W and badly damaged British tanker CONCH (8376grt) in 55‑40N, 19‑00W.

 

U.95 torpedoed CONCH also later in the morning. U.99 midday on the 3rd sank CONCH in 55‑40N, 19‑00W.

 

Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT rescued the entire crew of steamer CONCH.

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U.47 attacked a straggler (possibly British steamer PENROSE: 4393grt) from HX.90 in 55N, 20W, claimed damaging her but no confirmation is available.

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U.52 in attacks on convoy HX.90 sank British steamers TASSO (1586grt) in 55‑03N, 18‑04W and GOODLEIGH (5448grt) in 55‑02N, 18‑45W, damaged DUNSLEY (3862grt) in 54‑41N, 18‑41W.

 

Five crew were lost from the steamer TASSO. One crewman was lost from the steamer GOODLEIGH.

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U.94 in attacks on convoy HX.90 sank British steamers STIRLINGSHIRE (6022grt) in 55‑36N, 16‑22W and WILHELMINA (6725grt) and W. HENDRIK (4360grt) in 55‑43N, 15‑06W.

 

The entire crew of steamer STIRLINGSHIRE was rescued. Four crew and the naval gunner were lost on the steamer WILHELMINA. Five crew were lost on the steamer W. HENDRIK.

 

Some sources show W. HENDRIK victim of a German bombing attack on the 3rd in 56‑26N 12‑20W.

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U.99 sank armed merchant cruiser FORFAR (Captain N. A. C. Hardy), which had departed convoy HX.90 to join OB.251, in 54‑35N, 18‑18W.

 

Captain Hardy, A/Sub Lt J. W. R. Adams RNR, T/Lt R. Antrobus RNR, T/Lt W. Ascroft RNR, T/Lt Cdr (E) C. H. Bamber RNR, Gunner W. H. Bell Rtd, T/Surgeon Lt B. H. Brindle MB, CHB, (probationary) RNVR, T/Lt Cdr A. F. Campbell RNR, T/Lt (E) J. J. Chrystie RNR, T/Lt Cdr (E) J.B. Davies RNR, T/Lt Cdr (E) F. J. Hobby RNR, T/Lt (E) J. Holiday RNR, Lt Cdr H. Hudson RNR, T/Cdr (E) C. C. Jones RNR, Lt Cdr H. N. Kenworthy RNR, Skipper Lt G. Ladley DSC RNR Rtd, T/Lt Cdr (E) R. G. McIntyre RNR, T/Paymaster Lt E. J. J. Major RNR, T/Cadet D. R. Mackay RNR, T/Sub Lt (E) J. Reilly RNR, T/Cadet J.B. Smith RNR, one hundred and fifty three ratings were lost on the FORFAR.

 

Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT, destroyer VISCOUNT, British steamer DUNSLEY (3862grt) rescued the three officers and eighteen ratings surviving the armed merchant cruiser FORFAR.

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U.101 in attacks on convoy HX.90 sank British steamers KAVAK (2782grt) in 55‑00N, 19‑30W and LADY GLANELY (5497grt) in 55‑00N, 20‑00W, attacked and claimed damaginganother steamer with KAVAK, but no confirmation is available.

 

Twenty four crew and the naval gunner were lost on the steamer KAVAK. The entire crew of the steamer LADY GLANELY was lost.

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U.99 sank Norwegian steamer SAMNANGER (4276grt) west of Ireland.

 

There were no survivors from the Norwegian steamer.

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U.140 sank British steamer VICTORIA CITY (4739grt) west of Ireland.

 

There were no survivors from the steamer.

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British steamer JOLLY GIRLS (483grt) was sunk on a mine 18 cables 101 from North Pier Light, Tyne.

 

The entire crew of the steamer were rescued.

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British trawler KILGERRAN CASTLE (276grt) was sunk by German bombing in 51‑21N, 08‑35W.

 

There were no casualties on the British trawler.

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Light cruiser MANCHESTER, escorted by destroyers HASTY and HEREWARD departed Alexandria for Gibraltar.

 

The ships called at Suda Bay at 0900/3rd. Light cruiser MANCHESTER and heavy cruiser YORK departed Suda Bay at noon. At dark, heavy cruiser YORK was detached and light cruiser MANCHESTER then set off on her own arriving at Gibraltar at 1100/6th.

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Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON departed Alexandria for Suez. She departed Suez that day to meet troop convoy WS.4B coming from the Cape.

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Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE departed Durban.

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Australian destroyers VOYAGER and VENDETTA departed Alexandria and Port Said, respectively, with steamers for convoy AN.8 of five ships, two British. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 6th.

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Australian light cruiser ADELAIDE was escorting the Vancouver Mail Ship.

 

On the 2nd, the light cruiser turned over the escort to New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES off North Cape, Australia.

 

Light cruiser ACHILLES escorted the steamer to the Tasman Sea.

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Destroyer JERSEY arrived at Gibraltar with Admiral of the Fleet the Earl of Cork and Orrery for a Board of Inquiry over the Battle of Spartivento.

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German steamer KLAUS SCHOKE (5830grt) had departed Holtenau on 12 August 1939 for New York. She was only three hundred miles from New York when she diverted for Las Palmas in the Azores.

 

On the 1st, the German steamer left Las Palmas to attempt to return to Germany.

 

Steamer KLAUS SCHOKE attempted to scuttle herself when she was intercepted by Armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA off the Azores on the 2nd in 38‑28N, 22‑15W.

 

On the 3rd, destroyer ENCOUNTER and tug ST DAY departed Gibraltar to bring the prize to Gibraltar.

 

The German steamer sank after an unsuccessful attempt to get to port on the 5th and the destroyer and tug were recalled to Gibraltar.

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Ocean boarding vessel MARSDALE arrived at Gibraltar from Western Patrol, escorted by destroyer ENCOUNTER.

 

 

Tuesday,  3 December

 

Battleship NELSON (Tovey) departed Rosyth escorted by destroyers VIMY, DOUGLAS, KEPPEL.

 

Battleship NELSON and her escorts arrived at Scapa Flow at 0600/4th.

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Destroyers ESCAPADE and BRILLIANT departed Scapa Flow at 0310 to rendezvous with battleship KING GEORGE V in Pentland Firth.

 

Upon joining, destroyers ESCAPADE and BRILLIANT relieved destroyers SOMALI and MASHONA which entered Scapa Flow.

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Destroyers EXMOOR and COTSWOLD departed Scapa Flow at 0001 to rendezvous with armed merchant cruisers CHITRAL and SALOPIAN off the Butt of Lewis in 61N, 15W.

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Light cruisers AURORA and ARETHUSA (Rear Admiral CS 2) departed Scapa Flow at 1100 with destroyers SOMALI (Captain D.6), BEDOUIN, MASHONA, ESKIMO on Operation DN.

 

The operation was a sweep off the southwest Norwegian coast.

 

No contact was made and the ships arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1315/4th.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0830 to escort convoy WN.47 Fast from Pentland Firth until after dark and then to return to Scapa Flow.

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Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Scapa Flow at 1100 to cover convoy WN.47 Slow to Methil.

 

At Methil, the anti-aircraft ship was taken in tow from Methil to Rosyth for maintenance.

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Convoy FN.349 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop WESTON. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 5th.

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Convoy FS.351 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VORTIGERN and sloop EGRET. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 7th.

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Convoy FS.352 departed Methil. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 5th.

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Destroyer ICARUS departed Portsmouth for Dartmouth on 30 November.

 

On the 3rd, destroyer ICARUS departed for minelay GR with destroyers KASHMIR, KIPLING, PUNJABI.

 

A defect on ICARUS delayed the minelay. The defect was corrected the next day, but the escorts were no longer available.

 

Destroyer ICARUS departed Portsmouth on the 7th for Immingham.

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Destroyer CAMPBELTOWN was damaged in a collision with British tanker CONUS (8132grt).

 

Destroyer CAMPBELTOWN was repaired at Liverpool completing on 28 March.

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Destroyer CASTLETON was damaged in a collision in the Western Approaches.

 

Destroyer CASTLETON was taken to Portsmouth for repair, arriving on the 18th. While under repair, she was damaged by German bombing on 18 January 1941.

 

Destroyer CASTLETON repairs were completed on 22 February.

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Catapult ship PEGASUS departed Portsmouth to join the escort of convoy OG.47.

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British trawler SLEBECH (222grt) was damaged by German bombing five miles west, northwest of Skelligs.

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British trawler WILLIAM DOWNES (275grt) was damaged by German bombing five miles west, northwest of Skelligs.

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British steamer QUEBEC CITY (4745grt) was damaged by German bombing in the North Atlantic off the Irish Coast.

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British steamer ROBRIX (292grt) was damaged on a mine two miles 110 from Spurn Light House.

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Convoy HX.93 departed Halifax at 1440 escorted by Canadian destroyer ASSINIBOINE and auxiliary patrol vessels FRENCH and HUSKY.

 

Patrol vessels FRENCH and HUSKY were detached at 1730 and ASSINIBOINE departed at 1655/4th.

 

The ocean escort was Armed merchant cruiser AURANIA, which was detached on the 11th. Battleship RODNEY joined on the 11th and was detached on the 13th. Corvette PICOTEE joined on the 11th and destroyers ACHATES, ACTIVE, ANTELOPE and corvette HEATHER on the 13th. Destroyer ACHATES and corvette HEATHER were detached on the 16th. Anti-submarine trawlers LADY MADELEINE and NORWICH CITY were with the convoy in Home Waters. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 18th.

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Aircraft carrier FURIOUS and anti-aircraft cruiser DIDO departed Freetown for the Clyde where they arrived on the 14th.

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Light cruiser GLASGOW at anchor in Suda Bay was struck by two torpedoes from Italian aircraft and was seriously damaged.

 

The first torpedo at 1540 made a twenty two foot by twenty two hole foot in the starboard side forward. It caused structural damage and flooding.

 

The second torpedo struck at 1541 and hit the starboard side aft. X turret was out of service and two propeller shafts were damaged.

 

T/Surgeon Lt G. R. E. Maxted RNVR, two ratings were lost in the explosions. Three ratings were seriously wounded.

 

Destroyer GLOUCESTER was also in Suda Bay.

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW was able to return under her own power at 2300 later at sixteen knots to Alexandria with light cruiser GLOUCESTER and destroyers HEREWARD and HASTY and given anti-aircraft protection by anti-aircraft ship CALCUTTA.

 

Cruiser GLOUCESTER was detached at 1800/4th to join cruiser YORK covering convoy movements. Ship CALCUTTA was also detached.

 

Cruiser GLASGOW with destroyers HEREWARD and HASTY arrived at Alexandria early on the 5th.

 

After repairs, GLASGOW was able to leave Alexandria in early February 1941 for passage into the Red Sea. She was not, however, up to her capability; her top speed was only twenty four knots and X turret was still disabled.

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW was deployed in the East Indies on convoy and escort duties.

 

The cruiser received further T/repairs at Singapore from 29 June to 29 August 1941.

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW continued damaged until 6 May 1942 when she arrived at the New York Naval Yard. Repairs were completed 7 August 1942.

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Battleships BARHAM and VALIANT departed Alexandria for gunnery practices.  Destroyer HAVOCK setting out collided with VALIANT. HAVOCK was under repair at Malta from 22 December to 20 February.

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Convoy AS.6 of seven ships, four British, departed Pireaus, escorted by anti-submarine trawler LOCH MELFORT. The second trawler of the escort, KINGSTON CORAL, was unable to proceed with defects. The convoy was given anti-aircraft support by CALCUTTA until south of Kaso Strait.

 

Escort ship WRYNECK departed Alexandria on the 5th and joined convoy AS.6.

 

Heavy cruiser YORK and light cruiser GLOUCESTER provided cover for this convoy and convoy AN.8 on the 5th. The convoy arrived at Port Said on the 7th.

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Italian destroyers TIGRE, LEONE, MANIN, SAURO and submarine FERRARIS operated in the Red Sea looking for a Convoy without success.

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German raider KORMORAN departed Gotenhafen raid in the Central and South Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific. She carried 280 moored mines and 40 ground mines for operations.

 

At 0700/7th, German torpedo boats T.1, T.5, T.12 escorted KORMORAN through the Skagerrak.

Armed merchant cruiser KORMORAN successfully passed the Denmark Strait on 12/13 December.

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During the night of 3/4 December, German destroyers GREIF, KONDOR, FALKE, SEEADLER from Cherbourg laid minefield MARIANNE off Dover.

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German steamers IDARWALD (5033grt) and RHEIN (6031grt) departed Tampico to attempt again to return to Germany.

 

Steamer IDARWALD was shadowed by US destroyer BROOME (DD.210) until British cruiser DIOMEDE arrived on the 8th. IDARWALD scuttled herself off the Cuban south coast at 21‑34N, 84‑25W. Attempts to save IDARWALD continue until 9 December.

 

Steamer RHEIN was shadowed by US destroyer SIMPSON (DD.221) which was relieved by US destroyer MACLEISH (DD.220).

 

Steamer RHEIN was intercepted on the 11th by Dutch gunboat VAN KINSBERGEN (Captain J. L. K. Howeke, RNethN) in the Straits of Florida. RHEIN scuttled herself to avoid capture at 24‑55N, 83‑15W.

 

The wreck of RHEIN was scuttled by Light cruiser CARADOC on the 11th.

 

 

Wednesday,  4 December

 

Battleship KING GEORGE V with destroyers ESCAPADE, BRILLIANT, BEAGLE, BULLDOG arrived at Scapa Flow at 1500 after gun trials west of the Orkneys.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1200 to join convoy WN.48, then transfer to convoy EN.36 when met.

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Light cruiser PHOEBE was repairing in the Clyde to complete on the 14th.

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Destroyers DOUGLAS and KEPPEL departed Scapa Flow at 1800 and proceeded to Loch Alsh as additional escorts for Rear Admiral Minelayer for operation SN.10 A.

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Convoy OB.254 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers BLYSKAWICA, GARLAND, VESPER, sloops CHEVREUIL and SANDWICH, corvette HEARTSEASE. The corvette was detached on the 5th. Destroyer BLYSKAWICA and sloop CHEVREUIL were detached on the 6th and the rest of the escort on the 7th.

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Convoy FN.350 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 6th.

 

Convoy FN.351 did not sail.

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Convoy FS.353 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and sloop LOWESTOFT. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 8th.

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Destroyer TYNEDALE arrived at Scapa Flow at 1025 to work up.

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T/Lt (A) R. H. Ridley RNVR, was killed when his Fulmar of 759 Squadron crashed near Shaftesbury.

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U.37 sank Swedish steamer DAPHNE (1513grt) off the southwest coast of Spain, 38-12N, 9-26W, straggling behind convoy OG.46.

 

Eighteen crew were lost on the Swedish steamer.

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U.52 attacked and claimed sinking a steamer west of Ireland, but no confirmation is available.

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British special service vessel EMPIRE SEAMAN (1927grt) was lost.

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Belgian fishing vessel HELENE (145grt) was sunk on a mine in 51‑41N, 05‑09W.

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Light cruiser DESPATCH departed Gibraltar for Bermuda.

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Convoy BS.10 departed Suez, escorted by sloops CLIVE and GRIMSBY. The sloops were detached on the 7th when relieved by light cruiser HOBART, sloops AUCKLAND and INDUS, armed patrol yacht SAGITTA. Destroyers KANDAHAR and KIMBERLEY joined on the 8th. The convoy was dispersed on the 11th.

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Light cruiser DRAGON departed Freetown.

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Light cruiser DAUNTLESS was refitting at Hong Kong.

 

 

Thursday,  5 December

 

Destroyers DOUGLAS, KEPPEL, BATH, ST ALBANS departed Loch Alsh at 1530 escorting minelayers SOUTHERN PRINCE (Rear Admiral Minelaying), MENESTHEUS, PORT QUEBEC, AGAMENOM for minelaying mission SN.10 A.

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE with destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, ESKIMO, BEDOUIN departed Scapa Flow at 1730 to cover this operation.

 

The minelaying was conducted during the night of 7/8 December.

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Destroyers ESCAPADE, SIKH, BRILLIANT, BEAGLE departed Scapa Flow at 0830 escorting Battleship RODNEY as far as 66-00N, 25-00W on passage to cover an Atlantic convoy.

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Polish destroyer PIORUN and Destroyer VIMY departed Scapa Flow at 1800 to rendezvous with armed merchant cruisers LETITIA and WOLFE and auxiliary minelayer MANCHESTER CITY at 0900/7th in 61-00N, 15-00W.

 

The ships were met and safely arrived in the Clyde.

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Destroyer CAMERON was bombed and badly damaged at Portsmouth while in dock refitting. The dock was partially flooded and destroyer CAMERON capsized in dock.

 

Fourteen ratings were killed in the destroyer.

 

Destroyer CAMERON was not refloated until 23 February 1941. She was repaired in fifteen and a half months, completing April 1942, and was used for hull stress testing.

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Submarine SUNFISH sank Finnish steamer OSCAR MIDLING (2182grt) off Stadlandet in 62-03N, 5-06E.

 

There were no survivors from the Finnish steamer.

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Italian submarine ARGO sank British steamer SILVERPINE (5066grt), a straggler from convoy OB.252, in 54‑14N, 18‑08W.

 

Two crew were lost and thirty four missing from the British steamer.

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British steamer WATERLAND (1107grt) at Dover was damaged by German shore guns.

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Motor torpedo boats MTB.32 (SO), MTB.29, MTB.31 attacked German shipping off Flushing.

 

German steamer PARANAGUA (6062grt) was sunk in the attack.

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Convoy AN.9 with troopship ULSTER PRINCE and oiler BRAMBLELEAF departed Port Said, escorted by VOYAGER and VENDETTA. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 7th.

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Italian torpedo boat CALIPSO was sunk on a mine east of Tripoli, laid by Submarine RORQUAL on 5 November.

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Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed Gibraltar for Azores patrol.

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German raider THOR and Armed merchant cruiser CARNARVON CASTLE engaged southeast of Rio de Janiero in 31‑00S, 43‑15W.

 

The armed merchant cruiser was badly damaged and six ratings were killed. A/Cdr E. A. E. McGlashan, T/Lt P. N. Illingworth RNR, T/Lt (E) J. F. Bell RNR, seventeen ratings were wounded.

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND and light cruisers ENTERPRISE and NEWCASTLE searched for the German merchant cruiser on the 7th, but no contact was made.

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New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES met British troopship DOMINION MONARCH (27, 155grt) in the Tasman Sea and escorted her to Wellington arriving on the 7th.

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German steamer AUGSBURG (6512grt) at Dairen was sold to Japan and renamed TEIRYU MARU.

 

 

Friday,  6 December

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA arrived at Scapa Flow at 0900 after escorting convoy EN.36.

 

The cruiser departed Scapa Flow at 1400 to join convoy WN.49.

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Destroyer BEVERLEY departed Scapa Flow at 1530 and destroyer BURNHAM departed Scapa Flow at 1800.

 

Both destroyers had completed their working up at Scapa Flow and were en route to Belfast to join the Western Approaches Command.

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Destroyer BEAGLE with a damaged steering gear, escorted by destroyer SIKH, arrived at Scapa Flow at 2359 after being detached from battleship RODNEY's screen.

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Destroyer MATABELE departed Rosyth at 2200 for Scapa Flow after docking and repairs.

 

The destroyer arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100/7th.

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Convoy FN.352 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VANITY and WESTMINSTER. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 8th.

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Convoy FS.354 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers WALLACE and WOLFHOUND. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 8th.

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Convoy FS.355 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VALOROUS and VERSATILE. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 9th.

______

 

Submarine UNBEATEN was damaged by gales while alongside submarine depot ship TITANIA in the Clyde.

 

The submarine arrived at Barrow to repair on the 17th. Repairs were completed on the 30th.

______

 

Minesweeper SALAMANDER was damaged in a gale.

 

The minesweeper underwent repairs and refit at Grimsby from 20 January to 10 March.

______

 

British steamer SUPREMITY (554grt) was sunk on a mine west, southwest, three cables from EastOaze Light Vessel, Thames Estuary.

 

One crewman was lost on the British steamer.

______

 

U.43 sank Norwegian steamer SKRIM (1902grt) west of Ireland.

______

 

German trawler JUPITER (218grt) was sunk by enemy action.

______

 

Convoy HX.94 departed Halifax at 1435 escorted by Canadian destroyer ASSINIBOINE, corvettes TRILLIUM and WINDFLOWER, auxiliary patrol vessels ELK and HUSKY.

 

At 1745, the ocean escort, Armed merchant cruiser RAJPUTANA joined the convoy and at 1725/7th, Canadian destroyer ASSINIBOINE returned to Halifax. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 18th.

 

Destroyer SCIMITAR and corvettes and ARABIS and MALLOW joined on the 18th. Corvette ARABIS was detached on the 19th, destroyer SCIMITAR was detached on the 20th as were the Canadian corvettes were detached that day. Corvette MALLOW was detached on the 22nd. Anti-submarine trawlers NORTHERN DAWN and WELLARD were with the convoy in Home Waters. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 22nd.

______

 

Light cruisers ORION and AJAX and Australian light cruiser SYDNEY departed Alexandria to cover convoy movements.

 

The cruisers called at Suda Bay on the 7th before proceeding to Piraeus, where they arrived on the 8th.

 

Light cruiser ORION then returned to Alexandria, ARRIVING On the 10th. Cruisers AJAX and SYDNEY remained in the Aegean until departing Piraeus on the 10th for Suda Bay.

______

 

Italian steamers OLIMPIA (6040grt) and CARNIA (5451grt) departed Durazzo escorted by torpedo boat RIBOTY on the 5th.

 

Submarine TRITON on the 6th attacked and badly damaged Italian steamer OLIMPIA (6040grt) in 41‑06N, 18‑39E.

 

Italian torpedo boats ALTAIR and ANDROMEDA attacked submarine TRITON, but the submarine escaped.

______

 

German raider ORION sank Australian steamer TRIONA (4413grt) near Nauru Island in the South Pacific in 5‑12S, 165‑39E.

 

Four natives were lost on the steamer. The remainder of the crew were made prisoners of war.

 

 

Saturday,  7 December

 

Destroyer SABRE, returning to Londonderry after escorting convoy SC.13, was damaged by heavy seas northwest of Ireland.

 

Destroyer SABRE was repaired at Belfast completing on 18 January.

______

 

Convoy OB.255 departed Liverpool escorted by corvette ARBUTUS. The convoy was joined the next day by destroyers CHELSEA, COTTESMORE, VERITY, VETERAN, WOLVERINE and corvette CAMELLIA. Corvette ARBUTUS was detached on the 8th and the rest of the escort on the 10th.

______

 

Convoy FN.353 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VORTIGERN and sloop EGRET. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 9th.

 

Convoy FN.354 did not sail.

______

 

Minelayers SOUTHERN PRINCE, MENESTHEUS, PORT QUEBEC, AGAMEMNON laid minefield SN.10 A, east of Iceland at Seidisfjord and from the northern end of the Faroes - Iceland minefield, escorted by destroyers BATH, KEPPEL, DOUGLAS, ST ALBANS during the night of 7/8 December.

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE, light cruiser ARETHUSA, destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, ESKIMO, BEDOUIN were at sea to cover this operation.

 

The REPULSE group arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1450/10th.

______

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA transferred to convoy EN.37 for escort to Pentland Firth.

______

 

A northerly gale at Scapa Flow interfered with the exercises and delayed undocking of Destroyer BRADFORD.

______

 

Destroyer BROADWAY was damaged in a collision with an unknown ship at Scapa Flow.

 

Destroyer BROADWAY departed Scapa Flow at 1530/9th en route to Hull. The destroyer arrived in the Humber at 1805/11th and began repairs completed on 7 January.

______

 

Submarine SUNFISH damaged Norwegian tanker DIXIE (1715grt) in 62-10N, 5-05E.

______

 

British steamer YEWARCH (827grt) was damaged by German bombing off Dudgeon Buoy, Humber.

______

 

British steamer HERTFORD (10,923grt) was damaged by a mine in 35‑30S, 135‑25E, west of Kangaroo Island, near Adelaide.

______

 

Minesweeping trawler CAPRICORNUS (219grt, T/Skipper B. J. Savage RNR) was sunk by a mine two miles 94 from Nore Light Vessel.

______

 

Minesweeping trawler CORTINA (213grt, T/Skipper T. A. Phillipson RNR) was sunk in a collision off the Humber.

______

 

U.99 sank Dutch steamer FARMSUN (5237grt), a straggler from convoy OB.252, in 52‑11N, 22‑56W.

 

Eleven crew were killed and one missing on the steamer. Four crew later died. Destroyer AMBUSCADE later picked up fifteen survivors and arrived with them at Greenock on the 21st.

______

 

U.65 refuelled at sea from German supply ship NORDMARK.

______

 

Battleship RAMILLIES, aircraft carrier ARGUS, troopship FRANCONIA (20,175grt), destroyers KELVIN, ECLIPSE, WRESTLER, VELOX departed Gibraltar to join Aircraft carrier FURIOUS and anti-aircraft cruiser DIDO, returning from Takoradi, in 37‑50N, 17‑30W.

 

After the rendezvous, destroyer VELOX returned to Gibraltar and the other ships went on to England.

______

 

Submarine TRIUMPH arrived at Gibraltar after patrol eastwards of the Straits.

______

 

Anti-aircraft ship CALCUTTA arrived at Alexandria after covering convoy AS.6.

 

Light cruiser GLOUCESTER and heavy cruiser YORK arrived at Alexandria after covering convoys.

______

 

Monitor TERROR, gunboat LADYBIRD, minesweeper BAGSHOT departed Alexandria as Force A for Mersa Matruh.

 

The monitor and gunboats operated supported by destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, NUBIAN during the night of 8/9 December.

 

Monitor TERROR and gunboat LADYBIRD bombarded Sidi Barrani.

Gunboat APHIS bombarded Maktila.

______

 

German raider KOMET sank Norwegian steamer VINNI (5181grt) five miles south of Nauru Island in South Pacific.

 

There were no casualties on the Norwegian steamer.

______

 

Submarine REGULUS (Lt Cdr F.B. Currie), which departed on patrol on 23 November, was declared lost after failing to return from a patrol in the Straits of Otranto.

 

Lt Cdr Currie, Lt Sir G. P. G. Muntz, Lt O. C. Round, Lt A. M. Green, Warrant Engineer W. R. Fielden, the fifty ratings of the crew were lost with REGULUS.

______

 

Convoy SL.58 departed Freetown escorted by heavy cruiser KENT, returning to England for repairs, to 23 December, sloop BRIDGEWATER to 8 December, anti-submarine trawler TURCOMAN to 9 December.

 

On the 23rd, destroyers KELVIN and KIPLING joined the convoy for the day and escorted the heavy cruiser to Plymouth. Destroyer SHIKARI joined on the 24th. On the 25th, destroyer BROKE, corvettes ANEMONE, HELIOTROPE, LA MALOUINE, anti-submarine trawlers ST KENAN and ST ZENO joined. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 28th.

______

 

Convoy SLS.58 departed Freetown escorted by anti-submarine trawlers KELt and SPANIARD to 9 December.

 

Ocean boarding vessel MARSDALE was involved in the escort of the convoy.

 

On the 29th destroyers HARVESTER and HIGHLANDER joined the convoy for the day only. Also on the 29th, sloop WELLINGTON joined and was detached on the 31st. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 2 January.

 

 

Sunday,  8 December

 

Destroyers COSSACK (Captain D.4) and SIKH departed Scapa Flow at 0900 to rendezvous at 1000/11th in 55N, 22W with Battleship RAMILLIES, aircraft carrier FURIOUS, armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA, troopship FRANCONIA.

 

The destroyers provided additional escort for the warships to the Clyde.

______

 

Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE was escorted from the Clyde to Skerryvore by destroyer AMBUSCADE.

 

Polish destroyer PIORUN and Destroyer VIMY, escorting armed merchant cruisers, were detached at 2115 to proceed to Belfast to provide additional escort for the aircraft carrier.

 

Destroyers PIORUN and VIMY arrived at Belfast at 1047 on the 9th.

______

 

Convoy OB.256 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers BROKE, SALADIN, SARDONYX, corvette LA MALOUINE, anti-submarine trawlers ST KENAN and VIZALMA. The escort was detached on the 12th.

______

 

Convoy FS.356 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop WESTON. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 10th.

______

 

Convoy FS.357 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 11th.

______

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1900 after covering convoy EN.37.

______

 

Destroyers MATABELE, BULLDOG, BEAGLE, PYTCHLEY departed Scapa Flow at 0930 to screen battleship KING GEORGE V during trials west of the Orkneys.

 

The ships arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1810.

______

 

Destroyer BRADFORD departed Scapa Flow at 1500 after docking for repairs.

 

The destroyer proceeded to Londonderry to join the Western Approaches command.

______

 

Destroyer WINDSOR was mined off Aldeburgh.

 

Destroyer WINDSOR was towed to Harwich by destroyer GARTH and later to Sheerness. She was repaired to Chatham to complete on 24 April after seventeen weeks.

______

 

British steamer ACTUALITY (311grt) was sunk on a mine three miles south of Mouse Light Vessel.

 

All six crew were lost.

______

 

British steamer TREVERBYN (5281grt) was damaged by German bombing in 59‑00N, 14‑24W.

______

 

U.103 sank British steamer CALABRIA (9515grt) in 52‑43N, 18‑07W.

 

One hundred and twenty nine crew, one naval gunner, two hundred and thirty passengers on the steamer were lost. There were no survivors.

 

Steamer CALABRIA was to have been renamed EMPIRE INVENTOR, but was lost before she could be renamed.

______

 

U.140 sank Finnish sailing vessel PENANG (1997grt) and British steamer ASHCREST (5652grt) off Bloody Foreland.

 

There were no survivors from ASHCREST.

______

 

Convoy SC.15 departed St Johns at 1000 with an ocean escort of Armed merchant cruiser CILICIA.

 

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 23rd.

______

 

Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and destroyers FAULKNOR, FIREDRAKE, FURY departed Gibraltar for patrol in the Atlantic and flying off exercises.

 

They also covered Light cruiser MANCHESTER, which departed Gibraltar at the same time escorted by destroyer JERSEY, returning to Plymouth after COLLAR operations.

 

The ARK ROYAL force returned to Gibraltar on the 11th.

 

The MANCHESTER group arrived at Plymouth on the 11th. Destroyer JERSEY remained at Plymouth. Light cruiser MANCHESTER went to Scapa Flow, arriving on the 13th.

______

 

Convoy AS.8's sailing was postponed. Destroyers VENDETTA and VOYAGER, standing by to escort the convoy, returned to Alexandria.

______

 

Submarine REGENT made an unsuccessful attack on an Italian ship off the Libyan coast.

______

 

Light cruiser PRIMAUGUET departed Casablanca for Dakar at the beginning of December.

 

French light cruiser PRIMAUGUET departed Dakar on the 5th with 1200 tons of gold and arrived at Casablanca on the 8th.

______

 

German raider ORION sank Australian steamers TRIADIC (6378grt) at 00‑43S, 167‑20E and TRIASTER (6032grt) at 00‑54S, 167‑24E near Nauru Island in the South Pacific.

 

One native was lost and eleven British crew were taken prisoner on the steamer TRIADIC. Fourteen British crew and one passenger were made prisoners of war from steamer TRIASTER.

______

 

German raider KOMET sank British steamer KOMATA (3900grt) east of Nauru Island in the South Pacific.

 

Two crew were killed on the steamer KOMATA.

______

 

New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES departed Wellington to search for a German raider.

 

The search was later cancelled and the light cruiser arrived back.

 

 

Monday,  9 December

 

Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK completed refitting at Rosyth.

 

The ship proceeded to Methil under tow.

 

The anti-aircraft ship departed Methil at 1830/10th escorting convoy EN.39.

______

 

Convoy FN.355 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers QUORN, WALLACE, WOLFHOUND, WOOLSTON and sloop LOWESTOFT. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 11th.

______

 

Polish destroyer PIORUN and Destroyer VIMY departed Belfast at 2030 escorting Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE to the Clyde.

 

Destroyer BURNHAM was also in the escort.

______

 

Destroyers ESCAPADE and BRILLIANT arrived at Scapa Flow at 1300 after escorting Battleship RODNEY.

______

 

Destroyers MATABELE, BULLDOG, ELECTRA departed Scapa Flow at 1730 escorting Battleship KING GEORGE V for trials west of the Orkneys.

 

The destroyers arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1900/10th.

______

 

Destroyer BROADWAY, which was damaged in a collision on the 7th, departed Scapa Flow at 1530 to meet convoy WN.50 in the Pentland Firth and act as additional escort until daylight on the 10th.

 

Destroyer BROADWAY then to convoy FS.59 at Methil for passage to the Humber.

 

The destroyer arrived at Hull at 1805/11th for repairs.

______

 

Convoy OG.47 with thirty ships departed Liverpool and Bristol escorted by destroyer WILD SWAN, sloop LEITH, corvettes GARDENIA, FLEUR de LYS, PRIMULA.

 

British CAM ship PEGASUS, destroyer HIGHLANDER, corvettes CAMPANULA and PERIWINKLE departed Portland and met the convoy.

 

Corvettes FLEUR de LYS with a damaged asdic dome and CAMPANULA with an engine room defect on the 12th were detached to Londonderry.

 

Destroyer WILD SWAN, corvette GARDENIA and CAM ship PEGASUS were detached on the 15th. The convoy and sloop LEITH arrived at Gibraltar on the 21st.

______

 

Auxiliary minelayer MANCHESTER CITY and armed merchant cruiser DUNNOTTAR CASTLE were in a collision.

______

 

British steamer ROYAL SOVEREIGN (1527grt) was sunk on a mine in 51‑24N, 03‑08W.

 

One crewman was lost from the British steamer.

______

 

U.103 sank British steamer EMPIRE JAGUAR (5186grt) in 51‑34N, 17‑35W.

 

There were no survivors from the British steamer.

______

 

Convoy HG.48 with nineteen ships departed Gibraltar.

 

Sloop DEPTFORD escorted the convoy from 10 to 23 December.

 

Destroyer VIDETTE escorted the convoy from 10 to 13 December.

 

Destroyer CALDWELL joined from convoy OB.260/18th and escorted the convoy until 23 December.

 

Sloop SCARBOROUGH, destroyer VANSITTART, corvettes BLUEBELL and HONEYSUCKLE joined the convoy from convoy OB.260/20th. They remained with the convoy until 23 December.

 

Destroyer WESTCOTT also joined the convoy on the 20th and remained with it until 23 December.

 

In Home Waters, destroyer VANSITTART escorted the Clyde section and corvette BLUEBELL escorted the Oban section. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 23rd.

______

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND arrived on the South America Station to join flagship heavy cruiser HAWKINS and light cruiser ENTERPRISE.

______

 

French sloop COMMANDANT BORY departed Toulon escorting submarines LA VESTALE, LA SULTANE, L'ARETHUSE, L'ARCHIMEDE for Dakar. They called and Oran on 13 and 14 December, passing Gibraltar on the 15th. The ships arrived at Casablanca on the 16th.

 

 

Tuesday,  10 December

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE with destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, BEDOUIN, ESKIMO arrived at Scapa Flow at 1450 from the SN.10A covering operation.

______

 

Light cruiser NIGERIA arrived at Scapa Flow after repairing defects at Devonport since 1 November.

______

 

Light cruiser KENYA departed Scapa Flow for Devonport to correct defects similar to those of cruiser NIGERIA.

 

The cruiser was taken in hand for repairs on the 13th.

______

 

Convoy FN.356 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VALOROUS and VERSATILE. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 12th.

______

 

Convoy FS.358 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers BROADWAY, VERDUN, WOLSEY. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 12th.

______

 

Destroyer COTSWOLD departed Scapa Flow at 1200 to meet British steamer BEN MY CHREE and escort her to Lerwick.

 

Following disembarkation at Lerwick, the steamer was escorted to Aberdeen.

______

 

Destroyers SOUTHDOWN, BRILLIANT, EXMOOR, PYTCHLEY departed Scapa Flow at 2200 to rendezvous with Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH in 52-28N, 5-28W.

 

The destroyers relieved the escorts under Captain D.5 at 1600/12th and escorted the battleship to Rosyth.

______

 

After a crossing of M.3 Loop at 2016, destroyer TYNEDALE departed Scapa Flow to patrol Nevi Kerry Boom.

 

Destroyer ESCAPADE was brought to one half hour notice.

 

At 2310, destroyer TYNEDALE was withdrawn from the patrol and destroyer ESCAPADE returned to one hour notice.

______

 

Submarine UPHOLDER departed Portsmouth for patrol in Biscay.

 

After the patrol, the submarine arrived at Gibraltar on the 23rd.

______

 

Submarine TRIBUNE attacked a German tanker off Ile de Yeu in the Bay of Biscay, without success.

______

 

Faroes trawler TOR I (287grt) was sunk on a mine in 65-20N, 12-40W.

______

 

German coastal steamer THOR (109grt) was sunk by gunfire near Cherbourg.

______

 

Convoy HX.95 departed Halifax at 1401 escorted by Canadian destroyer RESTIGOUCHE and auxiliary patrol vessel FRENCH.

 

At 1700, patrol vessel FRENCH departed the convoy and at 1555/11th, destroyer ASSINIBOINE departed the convoy.

 

Ocean escort was Armed merchant cruiser AUSONIA, which was detached on the 22nd. Destroyer VETERAN, sloop ABERDEEN, corvettes ARBUTUS and CAMELLIA joined on the 24th. Destroyer WOLVERINE joined on the 25th. The sloop and corvette ARBUTUS were detached on the 26th.

 

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 27th.

______

 

Force C of battleships BARHAM and VALIANT, anti-aircraft ship COVENTRY, destroyers GALLANT, VAMPIRE, VENDETTA, VOYAGER, WRYNECK, DAINTY, JUNO departed Alexandria to bombard Sollum.

 

Force D of aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS with cruisers GLOUCESTER and YORK and destroyers ILEX, HERO, HASTY departed Alexandria to attack El Adem airdrome at Tobruk.

 

Destroyer HEREWARD departed Alexandria and joined destroyers JERVIS, NUBIAN, JANUS forming Force B.

 

Destroyers HYPERION, MOHAWK, DIAMOND departed Alexandria on the 11th to join Force C.

 

On the 12th, Forces C and D.sailed for Alexandria leaving destroyers HYPERION, MOHAWK, DIAMOND to patrol between Ras el Melh and Mersa Matruh. Anti-aircraft ship COVENTRY remained to search for an X lighter reported in distress between Mersa Matruh and Barrani.

 

On the 13th, Forces C and D.arrived at Alexandria.

______

 

Organisational changes in the Italian Naval Staff were made.

 

Naval Chief of Staff, Admiral Cavagnari was replaced by Admiral Riccardi.

 

The Commander of the Italian Fleet became Admiral Iachino, former commander of the 2nd Squadron. His predecessor Admiral Campioni became Deputy Chief of Staff, replacing Admiral Somigli.

 

Battleship VENETO with two destroyer divisions:Admiral Iachino

 

5th Division - battleships CESARE and DORIA with one destroyer division:Admiral Bruto Brivonesi

 

1st Cruiser Division - heavy cruisers ZARA, POLA, FIUME, GORIZIA with two destroyer divisions: Admiral Cattaneo

 

3rd Cruiser Division - heavy cruisers TRIESTE, TRENTO, BOLZANO with one destroyer division:Admiral Sansonetti

 

7th Cruiser Division -  light cruisers EUGENIO, AOSTA, MONTECUCCOLI with two destroyer divisions:Admiral Casardi

 

8th Cruiser Division - light cruisers ABRUZZI, GARIBALDI, ATTENDOLO with one destroyer division:Admiral Legnani

 

9th Cruiser Division - light cruisers BANDE NERE and DIAZ with two destroyer divisions:Admiral Marenco

______

 

Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON, en route from Aden to meet Troop Convoy WS.4B, bombarded Kismayu.

 

Japanese steamer YAMAYURI MARU (5028grt) was damaged.

______

 

Light cruiser NEWCASTLE departed Freetown for patrol in the Rio area.

______

 

Italian steamer MARANGONA (5257grt) was sunk twenty seven miles south of Pantelleria in 36-13N, 11-59E on an Italian mine.

 

 

Wednesday,  11 December

 

Due to the threat of German bombing, battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH was moved from Portsmouth to complete her refit.

 

On the 11th, battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH departed Portsmouth, escorted by destroyers KASHMIR, KIPLING, PUNJABI, JUPITER. They were joined by destroyer HOLDERNESS from Devonport.

 

When a German submarine was reported nearby by aircraft in 50‑26N, 5‑20W, Free French destroyer LE TRIOMPHANT and Destroyers JERSEY, WRESTLER, MONTGOMERY were hunting.

 

The submarine hunt delayed the battleship's progress twenty four hours.

 

Because of the delay, the Scapa Flow destroyers went to Greenock to refuel. The destroyers departed Greenock at 1850/12th.

 

En route to the Clyde, the original escorting destroyers were relieved by destroyers SOUTHDOWN, EXMOOR, PYTCHLEY, BRILLIANT at 1600/13th. The British force safely arrived the next day.

 

The battleship went on to Rosyth arriving at 1330/15th. The battleship's refit was completed at the end of January.

______

 

Destroyers MATABELE, ESCAPADE, ELECTRA, BULLDOG departed Scapa Flow at 1030 to meet Battleship RODNEY in 59-32N, 26-00W and escort her to Scapa Flow.

______

 

Convoy OB.257 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers ACHATES, ACTIVE, ANTELOPE, corvettes HEATHER and PICOTEE, anti-submarine trawlers LADY MADELEINE and NORWICH CITY. The escort was detached on the 13th.

______

 

Convoy FN.357 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop WESTON. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 13th.

______

 

Convoy FS.359 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VORTIGERN and sloop EGRET. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 14th.

______

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0930 to cover convoy WN.51. The cruiser parted company with the convoy after dark and returned to Scapa Flow.

______

 

Destroyer NAPIER was completed. She underwent trials at Scapa Flow and was assigned to the 7th Destroyer Flotilla operating with the Home Fleet.

______

 

Submarine UNIQUE departed Portsmouth for patrol in Biscay.

 

After the patrol, the submarine arrived at Gibraltar on the 23rd.

______

 

Submarine USK departed Portsmouth for patrol off Fecamp.

 

After the patrol, the submarine arrived at Gibraltar on the 23rd.

______

 

British steamer SAXON QUEEN (482grt) was damaged by German bombing near Sunk Head Buoy, Thames Estuary.

______

 

British trawler ROBINIA (208grt) was sunk on a British defensive minefield in 65‑20N, 12‑40W.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

______

 

Swedish steamer TOR (1130grt) was damaged by German bombing near Sunk Head Buoy, Thames Estuary.

______

 

U.94 sank British steamer EMPIRE STATESMAN (5306grt) west of Ireland.

 

There were no survivors from the steamer.

______

 

U.96 in attacks on convoy HX.92 sank British steamer ROTORUA (10,890grt, Convoy Commodore Rear Admiral J. U. P. Fitzgerald Rtd) in 58‑56N, 11‑20W and Dutch steamer TOWA (5419grt) in 58‑50N, 10‑10W. The convoy SO was on destroyer VETERAN.

 

Sixteen crew, including Rear Admiral Fitzgerald, two gunners, three passengers were lost on the steamer ROTORUA. Two crew were picked up by the submarine and made prisoners of war. Destroyer MASHONA rescued the crew of steamer ROTORUA one hundred and ten miles west of St Kilda.

 

Eighteen crew were lost from the Dutch steamer TOWA. Destroyer MATABELE picked up sixteen survivors.

 

British steamer CARDITA (8237grt) reported making a direct hit on the German submarine.

 

Destroyer MATABELE and her destroyers were detached to assist to and to search for the submarine before joining battleship RODNEY.

______

 

Two Swordfish aircraft of 818 Squadron from aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL collided off Europa Point.

 

Sub Lt S. G. J. Appleby, Sub Lt J. W. A. Grant, Leading Airman L. O. Clark of one aircraft were killed. The other crew was rescued.

______

 

Submarine TRUANT damaged Italian torpedo boat ALCIONE in 35-29N, 24-11E.

______

 

Convoy BS.10A departed Port Sudan, escorted by sloop YARRA. The convoy was dispersed on the 16th.

 

 

Thursday,  12 December

 

Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE joined the Home Fleet at 1430 at Scapa Flow escorted by destroyers DOUGLAS, KEPPEL, VIMY.  FORMIDABLE detached with heavy cruiser NORFOLK to Freetown as Force K and departed Scapa Flow on the 18th.

______

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH arrived back at Scapa Flow. She had left Home Waters on the 17 November to escort convoy WS.4B.

______

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1515 after convoy WN.51 escort.

______

 

Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Methil at 2230 to escort convoy EN.40.

______

 

Convoy OB.258 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers VANQUISHER, VISCOUNT, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA and corvettes GENTIAN and HIBISCUS. The escort was detached on the 15th.

______

 

Convoy FN.358 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 14th.

______

 

In a minelaying mission to Brest, a Swordfish of 812 Squadron was lost and P/T/Sub Lt (A) E. M. Hamilton RNVR, P/T/Midshipman (A) P. N. Lofts RNVR, were killed.

______

 

U.96 in attacks on convoy HX.92 sank Swedish steamer STUREHOLM (4575grt) northwest of Flannan Island and Belgian steamer MACEDONIER (5227grt) in 57‑52N, 08‑42W.

 

There were no survivors from steamer STUREHOLM. Four crew were lost on the Belgian steamer.

______

 

Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS aircraft bombed Italian barges off Bardia.

______

 

Destroyer JANUS after refuelling gunboats APHIS and LADYBIRD evacuated 200 prisoners of war from Mersa Matruh to Alexandria.

 

Destroyer JUNO arrived at Alexandria from Mersa Matruh on the 13th with 450 prisoners of war.

______

 

Armed boarding vessel CHAKLA and netlayer PROTECTOR departed Alexandria for Sidi Barrani with supplies and to embark prisoners of war.

 

Armed boarding vessel FIONA, off Gavdo Island, also proceeded to Mersa Matruh to embark prisoners of war.

______

 

Monitor TERROR and minesweeper BAGSHOT arrived at Alexandria.

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Australian light cruiser PERTH arrived at Aden for escort duty in the Red Sea until 22 December.

 

The light cruiser passed through the Suez Canal on the 23rd and arrived at Alexandria on the 24th for duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

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Australian light cruiser HOBART departed Aden for Fremantle where she arrived on the 28th.

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Submarine PROTEUS, which had arrived at Gibraltar on the 9th, departed Gibraltar for refitting at Portsmouth, arriving on the 20th.

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Convoy BS.10B departed Suez. The convoy was joined on the 14th by light cruiser PERTH, anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE, destroyer KINGSTON. Sloop INDUS joined on the 17th. The convoy was dispersed on the 17th.

 

 

Friday,  13 December

 

Light cruiser MANCHESTER arrived at Scapa Flow.

 

The light cruiser had been absent from Home Waters since departing on 15 November for COLLAR operations in the Mediterranean.

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Destroyer MAORI was machine gunned by a German aircraft while repairing in the Tyne.

 

Destroyer MAORI had no further time out of service.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1430 after escorting convoy WN.51.

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Convoy FS.360 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WOOLSTON and sloop LOWESTOFT. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 15th.

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Destroyer KEPPEL departed Scapa Flow at 1415 for Rosyth for repairs.

 

The destroyer arrived at Rosyth at 0500/14th.

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The Destroyer COTSWOLD arrived at Scapa Flow at 1540 after escorting British steamer BEN MY CHREE from Lerwick to Aberdeen.

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Destroyer LINCOLN arrived at Scapa Flow at 1030 from Milford Haven to work up.

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British Lt G. F. Russell was killed when his Martlett of 802 Squadron crashed near Inverary.

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U.43 damaged British steamer ORARI (10,350grt) in 49‑50N, 20‑55W.

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German steamer SCHWALBE (842grt) was lost in a stranding off the Finnish south coast.

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Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FURY, ISIS departed Gibraltar on the 12th. They were ordered to intercept a French convoy six miles off Cape Tresforcas, Spanish Morocco.

 

At 0956, destroyer FORESTER intercepted French trawler AVANT GARDE (780grt), which was taken to Gibraltar.

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Destroyers HEREWARD and HYPERION were investigating a barge near Bardia.

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Italian submarine NEGHELLI torpedoed Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY in 32‑37N, 26‑44E at 2042.

 

There were no casualties in the cruiser.

 

Light cruiser COVENTRY was joined and assisted by destroyers HYPERION, DIAMOND, MOHAWK at 0015/14th and destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, HEREWARD at 0535.

 

Light cruiser COVENTRY lost most of her bow below the waterline. The cruiser returned stern first to Alexandria arriving on the 14th, escorted by destroyers JERVIS and JANUS. She was docked for T/repairs at Alexandria on the 15th.

 

The ship departed Alexandria on the 29th, but her T/repairs would not stand up to the heavy sea. COVENTRY returned to Alexandria.

 

Repairs were completed on 20 January.

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Submarine TRUANT sank Italian steamer SEBASTINO BIANCHI (1546grt) east, northeast of Cape Spartivento in 37‑50N, 16‑15E.

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Sub Lt (A) R. H. Thompson RNVR, P/T/Sub Lt (A) A. E. Dyer RNVR, of 830 Squadron based in ST ANGELO were lost, in an attack on Tripoli Harbour.

 

 

Saturday,  14 December

 

Battleship RAMILLIES, aircraft carriers FURIOUS and ARGUS arriving from the Mediterranean, anti-aircraft cruisers DIDO and CAIRO, destroyers KELVIN, ECLIPSE, COSSACK, SIKH arrived in the Clyde at 1410.

 

Battleship RAMILLIES went to Plymouth for a refitting completed 3 January.

 

Aircraft carrier FURIOUS went to Liverpool escorted by destroyers KELVIN and BRADFORD arriving on the 15th.

 

On the 14th, destroyer BRADFORD sustained damage to her propellers and was taken in tow by tugs EMPIRE HENCHMAN and ABBEVILLE.

 

The destroyer was delivered to Belfast.

 

Destroyers COSSACK and SIKH departed Greenock later in the day and arrived at Scapa Flow at 2300/15th.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser DIDO was escorted by destroyer ECLIPSE and proceeded to Scapa Flow.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0930 to rendezvous with Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH off Tiumpan Head at 1830 and provide additional escort to Rosyth.

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Convoy OB.259 departed Liverpool escorted by corvette ARABIS. The corvette was detached that night. On the 15th, destroyers SCIMITAR, SHIKARI, SKATE, corvette MALLOW, anti-submarine trawlers NORTHERN DAWN and WELLARD joined. Destroyer SHIKARI was detached on the 16th and the remainder of the escort on the 17th.

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Convoy FN.359 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VERDUN and WOLSEY. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 16th.

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Convoy FS.361 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VANITY and WESTMINSTER. Patrol sloop WIDGEON joined on the 15th. The convoy arrived at Southend on the 16th.

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Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK arrived at Scapa Flow at 1430 from convoy EN.40.

 

Due to the weather, she was moored north of Cava Island. Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK was damaged when British steamer EMPIRE HAWKBILL (5724grt) dragged anchor and fouled the anti-aircraft ship.

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Destroyers DOUGLAS and BEAGLE departed Scapa Flow at 2200 to rendezvous with Armed merchant cruiser WOLFE off the Butt of Lewis and escort her to Reykavik.

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Italian submarine TARANTINI was sunk by Submarine THUNDERBOLt off Bordeaux in 45‑25N, 01‑22W.

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Hunt-class destroyer BLENCATHRA was completed. Following working up, she was assigned to the 21st Destroyer Flotilla operating from the Nore.

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Free French torpedo boat BRANLEBAS (Lt Cdr H. C. J. McRae, RN), under RN control, had her back broken and was lost in a storm 25 miles SSW off the Lizard off Eddystone Rocks.

 

McRea, Lt E. J. King-Wood RNR, Sub Lt G. L. Keeble, Commissioned Engineer S. G. Hodgson, T/A/Gunner (T) E. C. Balls and  most of the crew were lost in the French ship.

 

On the 18th, French destroyer MISTRAL arrived at Plymouth with three survivors.

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U.96 sank British steamer WESTERN PRINCE (10,926grt) in 59‑32N, 17‑47W and damaged British steamer EMPIRE RAZORBILL (5118grt) in 59‑31N, 13‑15W.

 

Ninety nine crew of a 108 man crew were rescued from steamer WESTERN PRINCE. Fifty passengers of the sixty one embarked were rescued.

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U.100 sank British steamers KYLEGLEN (3670grt) in 58‑00N, 25‑00N and EUPHORBIA (3380grt) west of Ireland.

 

There were no survivors from either steamer.

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Convoy HX.96 departed Halifax at 1300. Ocean escort was Armed merchant cruiser RANPURA, which was detached on the 29th. The convoy was escorted into Liverpool by destroyers VENOMOUS and WILD SWAN, sloop ROCHESTER, corvettes FLEUR DE LYS and GARDENIA. They arrived at Liverpool on the 30th.

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Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, battlecruiser RENOWN, light cruiser SHEFFIELD, destroyers FAULKNOR, FIREDRAKE, FORESTER, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE, FURY, DUNCAN, ISIS, ENCOUNTER departed Gibraltar to patrol in the area of the Azores in reports of an invasion force near the islands.

 

Battlecruiser RENOWN and aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL arrived back at Gibraltar on the 19th without contact.

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Destroyers HYPERION, HEREWARD, DIAMOND, MOHAWK were detached from screening anti-aircraft ship COVENTRY for a sweep off the Libyan coast.

 

Destroyers HEREWARD and HYPERION sank Italian submarine NAIADE off Bardia in 32‑03N, 25‑26N.

 

Three officers and twenty two ratings were rescued.

 

The four destroyers arrived at Alexandria on the 15th.

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Australian destroyers VAMPIRE, VOYAGER, VENDETTA departed Alexandria to carry out an anti-submarine sweep and cover the bombarding squadron between Sollum and Mersa Matruh.

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Destroyer GALLANT departed Alexandria to join convoy AN.10 of eight ships, three British, which departed Port Said on the 15th. The convoy was covered by light cruisers AJAX and SYDNEY.

 

Convoy AN.10's escort was taken over by Greek destroyers on the 15th and destroyer GALLANT returned to Suda Bay. The convoy arrived at Pireaus on the 17th.

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Armed boarding vessel FIONA with 1600 prisoners and auxiliary schooners FAROUK with 200 and FAWZIA with 1300 arrived at Alexandria. After disembarking the prisoners, the ships returned to Mersa Matruh.

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Italian heavy cruiser POLA was damaged by British bombing at Naples, resulting in the Fleet being divided into two sections to protect it from air attack, half to Maddalena and the other half to Cagliari. Heavy cruisers ZARA and GORIZIA departed Naples for Maddalena. They returned to Naples on the 20th and departed again on the 22nd, when they proceeded to Taranto, arriving on the 23rd.

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German raider ATLANTIS was damaged in grounding at Kerguelen Island in the Indian Ocean.                                                                              

 
 

on to Naval Events, DECEMBER 1940, Part 2
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revised 7/4/12
further editing is required