Naval History Homepage and Site Search

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

NAVAL EVENTS, JANUARY 1941 (Part 1 of 2)
Wednesday  1st – Tuesday 14th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Polruan, minesweeper (David Hill, click to enlarge)

on to JANUARY 1941, 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 - January-May 1941

Battle of Cape Matapan, Battles for Greece & Crete, Capture of U.110, Enigma codes, Loss of 'Hood', sinking of 'Bismarck'


 

 

1941

           

 

Wednesday,  1 January

 

Destroyers DUNCAN, FIREDRAKE, FOXHOUND, JAGUAR, HERO departed Gibraltar on 31 December on a RATION operation. Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE departed Gibraltar on the 1st to support.

 

On the 1st, the destroyers intercepted French convoy K.5 of four ships, French steamer CHANTILLY (9986grt), French tankers OCTANE (1950grt) and SUROIT (554grt), Danish steamer SALLY MAERSK (3252grt), escorted by armed trawler LA TOULONAISE, in the Gibraltar Straits, coming from Casablanca, having departed on 30 December, for Oran.

 

Destroyer JAGUAR fired on steamer CHANTILLY. Two on the steamer were killed and four were wounded. The convoy was taken towards Gibraltar. A storm caused dispersal of the convoy. Steamer CHANTILLY arrived at Gibraltar on the 2ndand tankers OCTANE with an armed guard from destroyer HERO and SUROIT with an armed guard arrived on the 3rd. The Danish ship with an armed guard from destroyer FIREDRAKE also arrived at Gibraltar.

 

Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruiser SHEFFIELD, destroyers FAULKNOR, FORTUNE, FURY departed Gibraltar to support this operation and sweep in the western Mediterranean.

 

The ARK ROYAL force arrived back at Gibraltar on the 4th. Steamer CHANTILLY and tanker OCTANE proceeded to England in convoy HG.57 on 24 March.

_____

 

Italian submarine BAGNOLINI attacked armed boarding vessel NORTHERN PRIDE in 54N, 14W without success.

_____

 

Light cruisers ARETHUSA and AURORA and destroyers BEDOUIN, MASHONA, MATABELE, TARTAR departed Scapa Flow at 0830 to cover destroyers INTREPID and ICARUS departing to lay mines off Jaederens Point and Obrestad in Operation DZ.

 

Destroyer ICARUS damaged her mine rails casting off from depot ship MAIDSTONE. The ships returned to port at 1109 while destroyer ICARUS was repaired.

 

The force departed again at 0800/2nd for the operations.

 

During the morning, destroyers BEDOUIN and MASHONA were detached for forty five minutes to search for a submarine reported by a trawler in 58-57N, 2-12W.

 

The mines were laid and all ships arrived back at 1415/3rd.

_____

 

Light cruisers MANCHESTER and NIGERIA arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol.

 

Light cruiser NIGERIA had serious engine room defects.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0930 to carry out exercises, then join convoy WN.62 until dark.

 

The ship arrived back at Scapa Flow at 2330.

_____

 

Convoy OB.268 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers VETERAN and WOLVERINE, sloop DEPTFORD, corvettes ARBUTUS, DELPHINIUM, ERICA. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the 4th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.373 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIMIERA and sloop WESTON, and arrived at Methil on the 3rd.

_____

 

Convoy FS.377 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WOLFHOUND and sloop EGRET, and arrived at Southend on the 3rd.

_____

 

Destroyer MEYNELL arrived at Scapa Flow from Rosyth for working up.

_____

 

Destroyer WHITSHED arrived at Scapa Flow from the Nore for working up.

_____

 

British steamer ATTENDANT (1016grt) was damaged on a mine one cable east of 9 Buoy, Sheerness.

 

The steamer was beached, was later refloated and towed to Gravesend for drydocking.

_____

 

Convoy SL.61 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser BULOLO to 18 January and anti-submarine trawlers KELt and TURCOMAN to 3 January.

 

On the 18th, destroyer VETERAN and corvette DELPHINIUM joined the convoy. On the 19th, corvette ARBUTUS joined and on the 20th, corvette CAMELLIA joined. These four were detached on the 21st.

 

On the 22nd, destroyer WOLVERINE joined and on the 23rd, anti-submarine trawler LEEDS UNITED joined. These escorted the convoy to arrival at Liverpool on the 24th.

_____

 

Convoy SLS.61 departed Freetown escorted by anti-submarine trawlers BENGALI and SPANIARD to 7 January, and arrived at Liverpool on the 26th.

_____

 

Convoy HX.100 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser COMORAN, corvette COLLINGWOOD, escort vessel OTTER. The corvette and the patrol vessel were detached the next day. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 12th.

 

Convoy BHX.100 departed Bermuda on 30 December escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser MONTCLARE. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.100/4thand the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

On the 13th, destroyers VANQUISHER, VISCOUNT, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA and corvettes GENTIAN and RHODODENDRON joined the convoy. Destroyer WHITEHALL was with the convoy on the 13th. Destroyers VANQUISHER and WINCHELSEA and corvette RHODODENDRON were detached on the 16th and destroyer VISCOUNT and corvette GENTIAN the next day, and arrived at Liverpool on the 18th.

_____

 

A Fulmar of 803 Squadron from aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE failed to return from a reconnaisance flight. Petty Officer H A Glover and Petty Officer R F Hurford were both killed.

 

 

Thursday,  2 January

 

The 1st Minelaying Squadron, escorted by destroyers DOUGLAS, KEPPEL, OURAGAN, which had arrived at Loch Alsh on the 1st, departed Loch Alsh to lay mines in SN 6 and SN 65.

 

Destroyer BEAGLE departed Scapa Flow at 0900 to join the destroyer escort.

 

The operation was screened by light cruiser EDINBURGH, which departed Scapa Flow at 1000/2nd.

 

Battlecruiser HOOD and destroyers ECHO, ELECTRA, SIKH, ESKIMO departed Scapa Flow at 1600/2ndand provided cover for the operation.

 

The minefield was laid and the minelayers returned to Loch Alsh on the 5th.

 

The battlecruiser force arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0930/5th.

 

Destroyer OURAGAN arrived at Scapa Flow at 1300/5th after being detached from the minelayers due to a shortage of fuel.

 

Destroyer BEAGLE and the minelayers arrived at Loch Alsh at 1700/5th. Destroyer BEAGLE was then sailed for Greenock to join the escort of convoy WS.5B.

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH arrived at 1801 on the 5th at Scapa Flow.

 

At 2345/5th, destroyers DOUGLAS and KEPPEL arrived at Scapa Flow after escorting the minelayers to the Minches.

_____

 

Light cruiser NAIAD departed Scapa Flow and relieved light cruiser PHOEBE at Oban on guard duties. Light cruiser PHOEBE had been at Oban on anti-aircraft guard duties since 24 December.

 

On relief, light cruiser PHOEBE proceeded to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE laid mines in minefield ZME.10 in St Georges Channel.

_____

 

Light cruiser EMERALD was recommissioned at Devonport after a refit lasting from October to the end of December.

_____

 

Destroyer SOMALI departed Scapa Flow at 1530 for Rosyth to carry out repairs to a damaged gun shield.

 

The destroyer arrived at Rosyth at 0630/3rd.

_____

 

British P/T/Midshipman J. E. R. Rainford RNVR, was killed when his Fulmar of 807 Squadron collided with another Fulmar at Yeovilton. The other Fulmar safely landed.

_____

 

German tanker NORDMARK (15,000grt) refuelled German raider THOR.

 

The tanker also embarked diesel oil from captured Norwegian tanker STORSTAD (8998grt).

_____

 

U.65 sank British steamer NALGORA (6579grt) in 22-24N, 21-11W.

 

All passengers and crew were rescued.

_____

 

British steamer LOCH DEE (5252grt) was struck by a German delayed action bomb at Cardiff.

 

The bomb exploded at 0150/3rd. One crewman was killed.

_____

 

The British fleet departed Alexandria to cover ground operations in Libya for operation MC.5.

 

Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, escorted by destroyers GREYHOUND, GRIFFIN, ILEX, JUNO departed in the morning to embark aircraft.

 

Battleships WARSPITE, BARHAM, VALIANT, light cruiser GLOUCESTER and heavy cruiser YORK of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron, anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, destroyers JANUS, NUBIAN, MOHAWK, WRYNECK, DIAMOND, VENDETTA, GALLANT departed Alexandria at 1830.

_____

 

Monitor TERROR and gunboats LADYBIRD and APHIS bombarded Bardia.

 

Destroyer VOYAGER and monitor TERROR were unsuccessfully attacked by aircraft.

_____

 

Italian steamer ALBANO (2364grt) was sunk on a mine one mile east of Cape Laghi, Albania.

_____

 

Convoy SC.18 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser LACONIA, which was detached on the 14th. On the 14th, destroyer WESTCOTT and corvettes CANDYTUFT and HONEYSUCKLE joined the escort. Ocean boarding vessel CRISPIN and sloop WELLINGTON joined on the 15th. Destroyer WESTCOTT was detached on the 17th and the remainder of the escort on the 18th, and arrived at Liverpool on the 19th.

 

 

Friday,  3 January

 

Destroyer LEGION arrived at Scapa Flow at 2200 from the Clyde to carry out working up exercises.

_____

 

Destroyer LINCOLN departed Scapa Flow for Belfast after completing working up exercises.

 

The destroyer arrived at Belfast at 1600/4th.

_____

 

Destroyer COSSACK departed Scapa Flow at 0800 for Southampton for refitting.

_____

 

Convoy OB.269 departed Liverpool, escorted by corvette ANEMONE. On the 4th, destroyers SARDONYX and SHIKARI, corvette LA MALOUINE, anti-submarine trawlers ST KENAN, ST ZENO, VIZALMA, WELLARD joined. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the 6th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.374 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 5th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.378 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WOLSEY and sloop LOWESTOFT, and arrived at Southend on the 5th.

_____

 

Naval drifter NEW SPRAY (70grt) was lost in a gale off Sheerness.

_____

 

British steamer PINEWOOD (2466grt) was sunk on a mine one and a half miles south of Pier, Southend.

 

Six crew were lost. Eighteen crew were rescued.

_____

 

Finnish steamer LIISA (1460grt) was sunk by British bombing at Bremen.

 

The steamer was later salved.

_____

 

Finnish steamer YRSA (2803grt) was sunk by British bombing in the Kiel Canal.

 

The bridge across the Kiel Canal received a direct hit and fell upon the steamer. The steamer sank in the canal. The steamer was subsequently raised and the canal reopened.

_____

 

The Mediterranean Fleet bombarded Bardia.

 

Destroyers JANUS, JUNO, GREYHOUND, ILEX, GRIFFIN streamed twin speed destroyer sweep equipment.

 

Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, light cruiser GLOUCESTER, heavy cruiser YORK, destroyers WRYNECK, DIAMOND, GALLANT, VENDETTA parted company with the Fleet to operate aircraft as necessary.

 

Destroyers VOYAGER and DAINTY joined from Sollum.

 

The Battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, BARHAM, escorted by destroyers ILEX, GREYHOUND, JUNO, JANUS, GRIFFIN bombarded Bardia from 0810 to 0855.

 

Anti-aircraft protection was provided by anti-aircraft ship CALCUTTA, escorted by destroyers NUBIAN and MOHAWK and DAINTY and VOYAGER after being detached from Force W.

 

Monitor TERROR, escorted initially by destroyer DAINTY and Australian VOYAGER, gunboats LADYBIRD and APHIS bombarded Bardia before and after the fleet bombardment, as Force W.

 

Gunboat APHIS received slight damage from a near miss of an air bomb.

 

Two crew were killed and three wounded on the gunboat.

 

At 1000, light cruiser GLOUCESTER, heavy cruiser YORK, anti-aircraft ship CALCUTTA were detached to Alexandria. Destroyers WRYNECK and VENDETTA were detached to Sollum.

 

Monitor TERROR and the gunboats returned to Alexandria that evening.

_____

 

Submarines TRIUMPH and UPHOLDER departed Gibraltar for patrol west of Sicily. Following the patrol, the submarines arrived at Malta on the 12th.

_____

 

Convoy BS.12 departed Suez. Sloops CLIVE and GRIMSBY joined on the 4th. The sloops were relieved by light cruiser LEANDER, destroyer KIMBERLEY, sloops FLAMINGO, HINDUSTAN, YARRA on the 6th. The convoy was dispersed on the 11th.

 

 

Saturday,  4 January

 

Light cruiser ARETHUSA departed Scapa Flow to relieve light cruiser NAIAD on guard duties at Oban.

 

When relieved, light cruiser NAIAD proceeded to the Clyde.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow to join convoy WN.63 from Pentland Firth until dark.

 

The ship arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0830/5th.

_____

 

Destroyers ICARUS and INTREPID departed Scapa Flow at 0200 for Rosyth en route to the Nore.

_____

 

Destroyer NAPIER and Polish destroyer PIORUN departed Scapa Flow at 2000 to meet and escort armed merchant cruisers WOLFE and CILICIA from the North Minches to their Northern Patrol stations. The destroyers then escorted armed merchant cruisers LETITIA and CHITRAL from the patrol area to the North Minches.

_____

 

Destroyer LEAMINGTON departed Scapa Flow at 1800 for Londonderry after completing working up exercises.

_____

 

Convoy FN.375 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VANITY and WESTMINSTER, and arrived at Methil on the 6th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.379 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VIVIEN and WALLACE, and arrived at Southend on the 6th.

 

Convoy FS.380 was cancelled.

_____

 

Battleships WARSPITE, BARHAM, VALIANT, aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, destroyers ILEX, JANUS, JUNO, GREYHOUND, GRIFFIN, DIAMOND, GALLANT, VOYAGER, DAINTY arrived at Alexandria.

_____

 

Italian torpedo boat PEGASO, escorting Italian steamers EZILDA CROCE (1230grt) and PALLADE (1131grt) from Tripoli, was attacked by British torpedo planes near Cape Bon.

 

No damage was done, and arrived at Palermo on the 5th and Naples on the 9th.

_____

 

In air operations from Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, Lt I. Easton and Naval Airman J. A. Burkey in a Fulmar of 803 Squadron failed to return from a reconnaissance flight over Dakar.

 

It was later found that they had been shot down and interned at Dakar by French Vichy forces.

 

Both were liberated at the end of 1942.

_____

 

Convoy BN.12A departed Suez, escorted by sloop YARRA, and arrived at Port Sudan on the 6th.

_____

 

Destroyer STRONGHOLD began minelaying around Singapore. By 8 March, the destroyer had laid Minefield No.2 of six lines of mines and Minefield No.3 of eleven lines of mines.

 

 

Sunday,  5 January

 

Light cruiser EMERALD was damaged while leaving dockyard at Plymouth.

 

The damage was assessed to require four to seven days to repair. She was able to depart Portsmouth on the 12th for the South Atlantic.

_____

 

Convoy OB.270 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers WILD SWAN and WITCH, corvettes CAMPANULA, FLEUR DE LYS, GARDENIA, PERIWINKLE. Sloop ABERDEEN joined on the 6th. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the 8th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.376 departed Southend, escorted destroyer WOLFHOUND and sloop EGRET, and arrived at Methil on the 7th.

_____

 

Sloop LOWESTOFT, arriving with convoy FS.378, was damaged by a mining in the Thames Estuary.

 

The sloop was able to arrive at Sheerness on the 5th.

 

The sloop was repairing to 3 October at Chatham.

_____

 

Destroyer CHURCHILL departed Scapa Flow at 1200 for the Clyde following working up.

_____

 

Destroyer SOUTHDOWN departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth at 2000 following working up.

_____

 

Destroyers BLENCATHRA and TYNEDALE departed Scapa Flow at 2030 for Portsmouth following working up.

_____

 

Destroyers COTTESMORE at 1030 and BELMONT at 1400 arrived at Scapa Flow to work up.

_____

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE laid mines in minefield ZME.11 in St Georges Channel.

_____

 

Lt Cdr W. E. Fletcher, commanding officer of barrage balloon vessel trawler HASLEMERE, drowned attempting to rescued a downed pilot near East Knock John Buoy in the English Channel.

_____

 

Italian submarine CAPPELLINI sank British steamer SHAKESPEAR (5029grt) from dispersed convoy OB.262 at 18-05N, 21-10W.

 

Eighteen crew and two gunners were lost on the steamer. The survivors were towed in their boats to within sight of land.

_____

 

British steamer TEMPLE MOAT (4427grt) was damaged by German bombing in 55-20N, 18-55W.

 

One crewman was killed.

 

The steamer arrived at Gareloch on the 9th.

_____

 

Dutch steamer ALIOTH (5483grt) was damaged by German bombing near Cork Light Vessel.

 

The steamer grounded in entrance to the fairway at Harwich. Steamer ALIOTH was refloated and arrived at Ipswich on the 10th.

_____

 

German auxiliary patrol vessel Vp.306 (trawler FRITZ HINCKE, 391grt) was sunk on a mine near Ymuiden.

_____

 

Light cruiser KENYA and corvettes CLEMATIS, CYCLAMEN, GERANIUM, JONQUIL arrived Gibraltar escorting British troopship EMPIRE TROOPER (13,994grt) from Ponta Delgada.

 

The troopship's troops were disembarked at Gibraltar and the troopship began repairs completed in March.

 

Aircraft carrier ARGUS, heavy cruiser BERWICK, destroyers FORESTER, FURY, FOXHOUND, WISHART departed Gibraltar to cover as they proceeded northwards.

 

On the 6th, destroyers FORESTER, FURY, FOXHOUND arrived back at Gibraltar. On the 7th, destroyer WISHART was detached and returned to Gibraltar. Heavy cruiser BERWICK proceeded to Portsmouth. Repairs to the cruiser were begun on the 17th and were completed on 10 May. Aircraft carrier ARGUS proceeded to the Clyde, arriving 14 January.

_____

 

Italian coastal steamer VULCANO (273grt) was sunk on a mine at Tobruk.

_____

 

American heavy cruiser LOUISVILLE arrived at Simonstown to embark British gold to be deposited in American banks. The heavy cruiser departed Simonstown on the 6th and arrived in New York on the 22nd.

 

 

Monday,  6 January

 

Due to suspected raider D/F signals, battlecruiser REPULSE with destroyers BEDOUIN, ELECTRA, ESCAPADE departed Scapa Flow at 0401 to cover convoy HX.99.

 

Destroyer MASHONA setting out on this sortie collided with destroyer SIKH at buoy at Scapa Flow.

 

The destroyer was unable to proceed and was taken to West Hartlepool for docking on the 9th.

 

Destroyer SIKH was docked at Scapa Flow for temporary repairs. The destroyer departed Scapa Flow for the Tyne on the 18th, escorted by destroyer PUNJABI but was forced to return due to a snow storm. The destroyer sailed again at 1000/20th escorted by destroyer WHITSHED and arrived in the Tyne at noon on the 21st. Destroyer WHITSHED continued to Chatham to return to the Nore Command.

 

Light cruisers MANCHESTER and EDINBURGH departed Scapa Flow at 0401 and proceeded to position 63N, 04W.

 

Armed merchant cruisers CHITRAL, LETITIA, WOLFE, CILICIA at sea were advised of the signals. Armed merchant cruisers CHITRAL and LETITIA returned to the Denmark Strait.

 

Later this day, destroyers NAPIER and PIORUN and armed merchant cruisers CHITRAL and LETITIA refuelled at Reykjavik. When refuelling was completed, the destroyers escorted the cruisers to the Minches. The destroyers arrived back at Scapa Flow after this duty on the 11th.

 

Battlecruiser RENOWN and destroyers BEDOUIN, ESCAPADE, ELECTRA arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1940/7th.

_____

 

Destroyer BRILLIANT departed Scapa Flow at 0110 for Greenock to join destroyer BEAGLE in the escort of convoy WS.5B.

 

Destroyer BRILLIANT arrived at Greenock at 1700.

_____

 

Destroyer SOMALI arrived at Scapa Flow from Rosyth following repairs to her gun shield.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow to escort convoy WN.64 from the Pentland Firth to moonset.

The ship arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1000/7th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.377 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 8th.

_____

 

Tug LION (87grt) was sunk on a mine two and a half cables 320° from No. 5 Medway Buoy.

 

All crew were lost.

_____

 

British trawler GADRA (219grt) was sunk on a British mine one and a half miles off Myling Head, Faroes.

 

Seven crew of a ten man crew were lost.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier EAGLE with four destroyers departed Alexandria for flying exercises.

_____

 

Light cruisers GLOUCESTER and SOUTHAMPTON embarked twenty five officers and 484 other ranks of Army and RAF for Malta.

 

The light cruisers and destroyers ILEX and JANUS departed Alexandria at 1315.

 

This group was designated Group B for Operation MC.4.

_____

 

The 9th Italian Destroyer Division of destroyers ALFIERI, CARDUCCI, FULMINE, GIOBERTI and the 14th Torpedo Boat Division of torpedo boats PARTENOPE, PALLADE, ROMEDA, ALTAIR shelled Greek positions at Porto Palmermo in Albania.

_____

 

U.124 sank British steamer EMPIRE THUNDER (5965grt) in 59-14N, 12-43W.

 

Nine crew were lost.

_____

 

Greek steamer ANTONIS (3729grt) was sunk by German raider KORMORAN at 8-17N, 23-32W.

 

The entire crew was made prisoners of war.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser NORFOLK, which departed the UK on 18 December for the South Atlantic, was attached to the South Atlantic Command.

 

The heavy cruiser was involved immediately in searching for the German raider KORMORAN on the SL.convoy route.

 

Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE was searching for the armed merchant cruiser at the last known position.

 

This search continued until 29 January.

_____

 

Convoy HX.101 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser AUSONIA, corvette COLLNGWOOD, patrol vessel OTTER. The corvette and the patrol vessel were detached the next day.

 

Convoy BHX.101 departed Bermuda on the 3rdescorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser RAJPUTANA. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.101 on the 9th and the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

On the 17th, the armed merchant cruiser was detached and destroyer AMBUSCADE, corvettes AUBRETIA, HEARTSEASE, HOLLYHOCK, anti-submarine trawlers ANGLE, DANEMAN, LADY LILLIAN joined. Corvette AUBRETIA and the three anti-submarine trawlers were detached later that day. Destroyer AMBUSCADE was detached on the 20th, corvette HOLLYHOCK on the 21st, corvette HEARTSEASE on the 22nd, and arrived at Liverpool on the 22nd.

_____

 

German tanker NORDMARK replenished German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER at sea.

_____

 

New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER departed escort of convoy BN.12 and took over convoy BS.12 in the Red Sea.

 

Convoy BS.12 arrived at Aden on the 11th.

_____

 

New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES departed Auckland escorting British steamer EMPRESS OF RUSSIA (16,810grt) to Fiji.

 

They arrived on the 9th. The light cruiser departed Fiji on the 10th to return to Auckland.

 

 

Tuesday,  7 January

 

Light cruiser MAURITIUS arrived at Scapa Flow to work up and join the 10th Cruiser Squadron.

_____

 

Light cruisers MANCHESTER and EDINBURGHarrived at Scapa Flow at 1540 from patrol.

_____

 

Destroyer KELLY departed Scapa Flow at 1900 and proceeded to Greenock, arriving the next day.

 

The destroyer's working up was completed and she joined destroyers KIPLING, KASHMIR, JERSEY of the Flotilla.

 

On the 18th, the four destroyers arrived at Plymouth for duty in the Western Approaches.

_____

 

Destroyer MEYNELL departed Scapa Flow at 1400 to proceed to Aberdeen and escort steamer BEN MY CHREE to Lerwick and back to Aberdeen.

 

The ships arrived at Lerwick at 0930/8th.

 

Destroyer MEYNELL arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1530/9th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.381 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers GARTH and VERSATILE, and arrived at Southend on the 9th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.382 departed Methil, destroyer VIMIERA and sloop WESTON, and arrived at Southend on the 9th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.383 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VERDUN and sloop LONDONDERRY, and arrived at Southend on the 10th.

_____

 

Motor torpedo boats MTB.32 and MTB.34 laid minefield PW.1 in Zuydcote Pass.

 

German torpedo boats KONDOR and WOLF laid minefield RENATE off Dover on the 7th.

 

Returning, torpedo boat WOLF was mined and sunk north of Dunkirk in British minefield PW.1 on the 7th.

 

Motor torpedo boats laid seven more PW minefields in January.

_____

 

Italian submarine NANI was sunk by Corvette ANEMONE, en route to join convoy HX.99, south of Iceland in 60-15N, 15-27W.

 

French corvette LA MALOUINE assisted in the attack.

_____

 

British steamer H. H. PETERSEN (975grt) was sunk on a mine in 52-22N, 2-05E.

 

The crew was rescued.

_____

 

Convoy OG.49 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer ANTHONY and sloop ROCHESTER. The convoy was join the next day by destroyers ANTHONY and GEORGETOWN, armed boarding vessels CRISPIN and MANISTEE, seaplane tender PEGASUS, corvettes HEATHER and PICOTEE.

 

On the 11th, destroyers ANTELOPE, ANTHONY, GEORGETOWN, seaplane tender PEGASUS, corvettes HEATHER and PICOTEE were detached. On the 14th, the ocean boarding vessels were detached.

 

Convoy OG.49 arrived at Gibraltar on the 21st, escorted by sloop ROCHESTER.

_____

 

Force H sortied from Gibraltar on the 7th to cover theEXCESS convoy. Units participating were battlecruiser RENOWN, battleship MALAYA, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruiser SHEFFIELD, destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FORTUNE, FIREDRAKE, FOXHOUND, FURY, DUNCAN.

 

Operation MC.4, the EXCESS convoy, which arrived in convoy WS.5 A, had departed Gibraltar on the 6th, The convoy consisted of British steamers ESSEX (11,063grt), en route to Malta, CLAN CUMMING (7264grt), CLAN MACDONALD (9653grt), EMPIRE SONG (9228grt), en route to Pireaus. Another merchant ship, NORTHERN PRINCE (10,917grt) was to have participated, but she ran aground at Gibraltar. The four hundred troops on NORTHERN PRINCE were embarked in anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE.

 

The EXCESS convoy was escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE and destroyers HEREWARD, JAGUAR, HASTY, HERO.

 

Battleship MALAYA was with the EXCESS convoy until Force H returned to Gibraltar twenty five miles north of Bizerte.

 

The British Fleet with battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT, aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, destroyers JERVIS, NUBIAN, MOHAWK, DAINTY, GREYHOUND, GALLANT, GRIFFIN of Force A departed Alexandria on the 7th to cover the EXCESS convoy.

 

Heavy cruiser YORK and light cruiser ORION of Force D.departed Alexandria at 0300 to cover the passage of Force C through the Kaso Strait.

 

Force C was oiler BRAMBLELEAF and corvettes SALVIA, HYACINTH, GLOXINIA, PEONY.

 

Force C refuelled the corvettes at Suda Bay on the 8th and proceeded independently to Malta.

 

Light cruisers AJAX and PERTH departed Piraeus to rendezvous light cruiser ORION and heavy cruiser YORK at Suda Bay at 0800/8th.

 

Later on the 8th, light cruisers ORION, AJAX, PERTH departed Suda Bay to cover Force C and for the EXCESS operation.

 

Light cruiser AJAX was detached to return to Alexandria.

 

Convoy MW.5 1/2 departed Alexandria at 1400 with transport BRECONSHIRE and steamer CLAN MACAULAY for Malta, anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, destroyers DEFENDER and DIAMOND.

 

Submarines TRIUMPH and UPHOLDER were at sea south of Sardinia.

 

Submarine PANDORA was at sea to the east of the other two submarines.

_____

 

Submarine USK departed Gibraltar on the 7th and arrived at Malta on the 17th.

_____

 

Submarine ROVER attacked a convoy in 32-15N, 23-36E. Italian steamer EDDA (6106grt) was not damaged.

 

Torpedo boats CLIO and CASTORE counter-attacked and damaged the submarine.

 

The damage required thirteen days to repair at Malta.

_____

 

During the night of 7/8 January, Italian destroyers VIVALDI, MALOCELLO, DA NOLI, TARIGO and torpedo boats SAGITTARIO and VEGA laid minefields X 2 (180 mines) and X 3 (180 mines) north of Cape Bon.

 

 

Wednesday,  8 January

 

The flag of CS 18 was transferred from Light cruiser MANCHESTER to light cruiser EDINBURGH.

 

Light cruiser MANCHESTER departed Scapa Flow at 0128 on the 11th for refitting and stiffening in the Tyne.

_____

 

Light cruiser ARETHUSA arrived at Scapa Flow after guard ship duties at Oban.

_____

 

Convoy OB.271 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers VANQUISHER, VISCOUNT, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA and corvettes GENTIAN and RHODODENDRON. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the 12th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.378 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 10th.

 

Convoy FN.379 did not sail.

_____

 

Destroyers JACKAL and BROADWAY arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100 from Plymouth to carry out exercises and working up.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1300 to escort convoy WN.65 from the Pentland Firth until moonset.

 

The cruiser arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1000/9th.

_____

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE laid mines in minefield ZME.12 in St Georges Channel.

_____

 

Minelayer TEVIOTBANK, escorted by destroyer INTREPID, laid minefield BS.48 off the East Coast of England.

_____

 

Trinity House Tender STRATHEARN (683grt) was sunk on a mine in 51-45N, 1-10E.

 

Fifteen crew and passengers were lost.

_____

 

British steamer CLYTONEUS (6278grt) was sunk by German bombing in 56-23N, 15-28W.

 

The entire crew was rescued by armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE BAY and destroyer WILD SWAN.

_____

 

Naples was bombed by British Malta based bombers.

 

Italian battleship CESARE was damaged by three near misses, but later repaired at La Spezia.

 

Battleship VENETO, escorted by the 19th Destroyer Division, was sent to La Spezia to take her out of the reach of Malta bombers.

_____

 

Force A refuelled destroyers at Suda Bay, arriving at 1230. The Force departed at 1400.

 

Force B, the British GLOUCESTER force, arrived at Malta during the morning and disembarked their troops.

 

Destroyer JANUS remained at Malta for docking.

 

Force B then departed to join the EXCESS convoy.

 

Australian light cruiser SYDNEY, completed of her refit, departed Valletta, escorted by Australian destroyer STUART. These ships rendezvoused with Force D. They all then joined Force A at 1030/9th southeast of Malta.

 

Light cruiser SYDNEY and destroyer STUART were detached from Force A at 1240 for Alexandria.

 

Force D was detached from Force A at 1330 to cover the convoys and provide anti-aircraft support for convoy ME.6 on the 10th.

_____

 

Convoy AS.10 of seven British and three other ships, escorted by five Greek destroyers, departed Piraeus, and arrived at Suda Bay on the 8th and at Port Said on the 10th.

_____

 

Convoy HG.50 departed Gibraltar escorted by corvettes GERANIUM and JONQUIL until 12 January.

 

On the 12th, the corvettes were relieved by sloop SCARBOROUGH.

 

French corvette LA MALOUINE joined the conovy on the 20th. On the 21st, destroyers HESPERUS, JACKAL, MALCOLM, SHIKARI, SKATE, SKEENA, corvete ARABIS, anti-submarine trawler WELLARD joined the convoy. Corvette ARABIS was detached on the 23rd and destroyer SKATE on the 24th, and arrived at Liverpool on the 26th.

 

 

Thursday,  9 January

 

Convoy FS.384 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer WOLFHOUND and sloop EGRET. Patrol sloops GUILLEMOT and SHELDRAKE were with the convoy on the 10th, and arrived at Southend on the 11th.

_____

 

Naval drifter DUSKY QUEEN (40grt) was lost when she ran aground in the Dover Straits.

_____

 

Minesweeper SALTBURN was damaged by the near miss of a German air bomb in Portsmouth dockyard.

 

The minesweeper spent no time out of service.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, escorted by RENOWN, SHEFFIELD, destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FURY, FORTUNE, FIREDRAKE, flew five Swordfish of 821X Squadron to Malta.

 

A Swordfish of 818 Squadron, returning from a diversionary raid on Cagliari, force landed in the sea 130 miles from the Fleet. Lt A. H. Appleton and Sub Lt R. I. W. Goddard were rescued by destroyer FOXHOUND.

 

Two Italian bombers were shot down by a Fulmar of 808 Squadron. One crewman from one bomber was picked up by destroyer FOXHOUND; two crew of the other bomber were picked up by destroyer FORESTER.

 

Force H reversed course and returned to Gibraltar after the EXCESS convoy was joined by light cruisers GLOUCESTER and SOUTHAMPTON and destroyer ILEX off Cape Bon.

 

At that time, light cruiser BONAVENTURE and destroyer JAGUAR were detached to Malta and returned to the force shortly before dusk that evening.

_____

 

Submarine PANDORA sank Italian steamers PALMA (2715grt) and VALDIVAGNA (5400grt) in 39-15N, 9-44E off Cape Carbonara, Sardinia.

_____

 

Submarine PARTHIAN (4208grt) sank Italian steamer CARLO MARTINOLICH (4208grt) in 38-28N, 16-44E off Calabria.

_____

 

Submarine ROVER unsuccessfully attacked a small steamer with artillery in 32-23N, 23-21E.

_____

 

Greek submarine NEREUS unsuccessfully attacked a steamer off Brindisi.

_____

 

Greek submarine TRITON unsuccessfully attacked an Italian submarine off Otranto.

_____

 

Italian coastal steamer GIOVANNI MARI (636grt) was sunk on a mine twelve miles from Bardia.

_____

 

Italian destroyers ASCARI, CARABINIERE, FOLGORE, FULMINE bombarded Greek positions at Porto Palmermo, Albania.

_____

 

Italian submarine BEILUL fired torpedoes at two ships in a convoy in 35-25N, 26-28E.

_____

 

U.105 sank British steamer BASSANO (4843grt) in 57-57N, 17-42W.

 

One crewman was lost. The rest of the crew and passengers were rescued by destroyer WILD SWAN and armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE BAY.

_____

 

Italian submarine GLAUCO reported shelling an 8000 ton steamer in 53N, 17W.

 

The submarine claimed two shell hits, but no confirmation is available.

_____

 

British steamer DORSET COAST (646grt) was damaged on a mine in 51-24N, 3-08W.

 

The steamer was brought into Penarth Dock.

_____

 

French trawler URANIA departed Saint Pierre et Miquelon for Casablanca on 28 December.

 

The trawler was intercepted by a British ocean boarding vessel on the 9th and sent into Gibraltar arriving on the 11th.

 

 

Friday,  10 January

 

Direction finding readings 300 miles west of Bloody Foreland caused a sortie from Scapa Flow. Battlecruisers HOOD (VA BCS) and REPULSE, light cruisers EDINBURGH (VA 18th CS) and BIRMINGHAM, destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, TARTAR, ESKIMO, ESCAPADE, ECLIPSE departed Scapa Flow at 0101 on the 11th.

 

When no contact was made, the ships arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0100/13th.

 

Before arriving, battlecruiser HOOD was detached to Rosyth for refitting. She was joined by destroyers ECHO, ELECTRA, KEPPEL, which departed Scapa Flow at 2300/12th, in Pentland Firth and arrived at Rosyth on the 13th.

_____

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE laid mines in minefield ZME.14 in St Georges Channel during the night of 10/11 January.

_____

 

Destroyer JACKAL departed Scapa Flow at 1000 for Devonport following a short series of exercises.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow to escort convoy WN.66 from Pentland Firth to the latitude of Buchan Ness.

 

The ship arrived back at Scapa Flow on the 11th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.272 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer WESTCOTT, ocean boarding vessel CRISPIN, sloop WELLINGTON, corvettes CANDYTUFT and HONEYSUCKLE, anti-submarine yacht SURPRISE. The yacht was detached later that day and the corvettes on the 13th. The remainder of the escort was detached on the 14th when the convoy dispersed.

_____

 

Convoy FN.380 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 12th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.385 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VESPER and WOOLSTON, and arrived at Southend on the 13th.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship TYNWALD, while fitting out at Portsmouth, was damaged by German bombing.

_____

 

British P/T/Sub Lt W. D. C. Hughes RNVR, P/T/Sub Lt N. A. Koelges RNVR, were killed when their Swordfish of 812 Squadron crashed near Halton.

_____

 

British steamer MIDDLESEX (9583grt) was sunk on a mine at 0.8 miles 198° from Flat Holm Island.

 

The entire crew were rescued.

_____

 

German tanker NORDMARK replenished German supply ship EUROFELD (5947grt) at sea.

_____

 

Dawn - EXCESS convoy escorts encountered Italian torpedo boats VEGA and CIRCE off Cape Bon. Light cruisers SOUTHAMPTON and BONAVENTURE, escorted by HEREWARD and JAGUAR, sank VEGA, but BONAVENTURE expended 75% of her ammunition and there were no reserves in Alexandria. One rating was killed and four were wounded, with one dying of wounds on 4 April, in cruiser BONAVENTURE.

 

Torpedo boat CIRCE escaped with only splinter damage, but she was attacked later in the day by Malta based aircraft.

 

At 0815, the EXCESS convoy and its escorts, undamaged, joined Cunningham's Force A.

 

At 0834, destroyer GALLANT (Lt Cdr C. P. F. Brown) struck a mine off Pantelleria in 36-27N, 12-11E. The destroyer's bow was blown off.

 

Fifty eight ratings were killed and twenty five were wounded.

 

A Fulmar of 806 Squadron from aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS was shot down sixty miles southwest of Malta. Sub Lt I. L. F. Lowe was wounded, but was rescued by destroyer JAGUAR. Naval Airman R. D. Kensett was killed.

 

Destroyers HEREWARD and JAGUAR joined Force A.

 

At 1000, light cruisers GLOUCESTER and SOUTHAMPTON were ordered to stand by destroyer GALLANT. Off Malta, the cruisers were detached at 0500/11th.

 

Destroyer GALLANT was towed to Malta by destroyer GRIFFIN and escorted by light cruiser BONAVENTURE and destroyer MOHAWK.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE and destroyer JAGUAR remained at Malta to return to Gibraltar. However, on the 14th, they sailed with light cruiser ORION to Alexandria. Cruiser BONAVENTURE carried non essential personnel from aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS. The ships arrived at Alexandria on the 16th.

 

At 0800/10th, convoy MW.5 1/2 arrived at Malta.

 

On the 10th, convoy ME.6 of steamers VOLO (1587grt), former Italian RODI (3220grt), PONTFIELD (8290grt), ULSTER PRINCE (3791grt), DEVIS (6054grt), Norwegian tanker HOEGH HOOD (9351grt), tanker TROCAS (7406grt), oiler PLUMLEAF (5916grt) departed Malta at 0700 escorted by corvettes PEONY, SALVIA, GLOXINIA, HYACINTH departed Malta at 0700. Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA joined the convoy later in the day for anti-aircraft support.

 

Convoy ME.5 1/2 of steamers WAIWERA (10,800grt) and LANARKSHIRE (9816grt) departed Malta at 1130 escorted by destroyer DIAMOND.

 

Both convoys safely arrived at Alexandria on the 13th.

 

Destroyer JANUS departed Malta at 1200 and joined Force A.

 

Steamer ESSEX (11,063grt) arrived at Malta at 2045 escorted by destroyer HERO.

 

Heavy cruiser YORK was detached at 1830 to join the EXCESS convoy.

 

At 1235 to 1245, heavy air attacks on Cunningham's force in 36-00N, 13-12E. ILLUSTRIOUS was hit by six bombs and was forced to retire to Malta for repairs escorted by HASTY and JAGUAR.

 

Eighty three officers and men were killed on the aircraft carrier. Lt P. M. Gregory of air staff, A/Sub Lt H. N. Loudon, A/Sub Lt (A) J. Marshall, Petty Officer Airman J. D. Bushell of 806 Squadron, Lt N. McI. Kemp, Lt (A) F. S. Beales, Sub Lt (A) A. L. O. Wray RNVR RNVR, of 815 Squadron, Lt E. W. Clifford, Lt (A) R. G. Skelton, P/Sub Lt (A) A. F. X. Mardel-Ferreira RNVR, P/T/Sub Lt (A) E. A. Perkins RNVR, of 819 Squadron, T/Lt (E) N. H. Pitts, Gunner W. R. Anstis, P/Lt A. G. E. Manisty, RM, were killed. Sixty six ship ratings, A/Flying Officer J. W. Harris, RAF, fifteen RAF ratings, thirty three FAA ratings were lost. Marshall and Petty Officer N. E. Tallack were killed when their Skua, which would not start, was destroyed on the deck in the bombing.

 

Officers wounded were Cdr G. H. Beale, T/Sub Lt (A) W. H. Clisby RNVR, of 806 Squadron P/T/Paymaster Sub Lt A. V. Drummond RNVR, Lt G. R. M. Going of 819 Squadron, Boatswain D.B. Howe, Lt H. R.B. Janvrin of 815 Squadron, Lt R. F. Kipling, Sub Lt (A) I. L. F. Lowe of 806 Squadron, Lt (A) W. D. Morford of 819 Squadron.

 

Five Swordfish aircraft were destroyed in the bombing and four others were damaged, but repairable. Five Fulmars of 806 Squadron were lost.

 

The aircraft carrier arrived at Malta at 2145.

 

Battleship WARSPITE was also hit by a bomb, but it did not cause damage.

 

Battleship VALIANT was near missed by several bombs. One rating was killed and two were wounded by splinters.

_____

 

Italian submarine SETTIMO fired torpedoes at a light cruiser in 35-22N, 16-15E.

 

Italian submarine SETTIMO attacked British units escorting the EXCESS convoy that night and into the morning of 12 January, without success.

_____

 

In Operation MONSOON, aircraft carrier FURIOUS departed Freetown on the 6th with light cruiser DELHI and destroyers ISIS and ENCOUNTER.

 

On the 10th, thirty nine Hurricanes and nine Fulmars were flown off to Takoradi, the aircraft carrier and light cruiser NEPTUNE departed Takoradi.

 

The light cruiser was detached to Lagos for fuelling on the 10th.

 

The aircraft carrier departed Freetown on the 16th, escorted by light cruiser NEPTUNE and destroyers ISIS and ENCOUNTER. The ships proceeded to Gibraltar due to a shortage of fuel in the ships.

 

Aircraft carrier FURIOUS arrived back in the Clyde on 5 February and began refitting at Greenock.

_____

 

Convoy SL.62 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser PRETORIA CASTLE to 28 January.

 

On the 28th, corvette MALLOW and anti-submarine trawlers NORTHERN PRIDE and ST ELSTAN joined to 3 February.

 

Destroyers JACKAL to 1 February, SALADIN, SKATE and corvette KINGCUP joined on the 30th and destroyers SARDONYX and SCIMITAR and corvette ANEMONE joined on the 31st, and arrived at Liverpool on 3 February.

_____

 

Convoy SLS.62 departed Freetown. The convoy was escorted by sloop FOLKESTONE from 25 January to 4 February.

 

On the 30th, destroyer VOLUNTEER and corvette TULIP joined the convoy and escorted it to 4 February.

_____

 

French steamer CANTAL (3178grt) departed Fort de France for Casablanca on 28 December.

 

The steamer was intercepted by British ocean boarding vessel MARON at 29-35N, 21-20W and sent to Gibraltar, arriving on the 14th.

 

The steamer was sent to England in convoy HG.57 on 24 March.

_____

 

Convoy BS.12B departed Suez, escorted by sloops CLIVE and GRIMSBY, and arrived at Port Sudan on the 13th.

 

 

Saturday,  11 January

 

In German bombing attacks on the Vosper yard at Portsmouth, Motor torpedo boats MTB.37, MTB.39, MTB.40, MTB.74, MTB.75, MTB.108 were destroyed on the stocks.

_____

 

Convoy FN.381 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 13th.

_____

 

Naval drifter UBEROUS (92grt, Skipper M. M. Anderson RNR) was lost when she ran aground off Londonderry.

_____

 

Convoy rescue ship BEACHY (1600grt) was sunk by German bombing in 53-29N, 16-24W.

 

Five crew were killed. Anti submarine trawler ARAB rescued the survivors of the ship on the 29th.

_____

 

Swedish steamer BERTHA (1216grt) was sunk by mining between Saltholm and Middelgrund.

 

Thirteen crew were rescued. Four crew were missing.

_____

 

British tanker BRITISH FIDELITY (8465grt) was damaged on a mine in 51-22N, 3-05W.

 

The tanker's engines were totally disabled. She was towed to Cardiff.

_____

 

British steamer GREYFRIARS (1142grt) was damaged by German bombing one mile west of 59A Buoy, off Grimsby.

 

Five crew were lost.

 

The steamer drifted ashore near Chapel St Leonards during the night of 11/12 January. The steamer was refloated on the 14th and was towed to Hull.

_____

 

British fishing vessel ORIOLE (172grt) was sunk on a British mine two and a half miles north of Stakken North Point, Faroes.

 

The entire crew was lost.

_____

 

Light cruisers GLOUCESTER and SOUTHAMPTON with destroyer DEFENDER steaming from Malta to join convoy ME.6 was attacked by German bombers in 34-54N, 18-24E at 1500.

 

Light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON was badly damaged at 1605. Light cruiser GLOUCESTER picked up thirty three officers and 678 ratings of which four officers and fifty eight ratings were wounded. Destroyer DIAMOND picked up sixteen wounded ratings.

 

Light cruisers ORION and PERTH and destroyers JERVIS and JANUS were detached at 1645 to assist.

 

However, destroyers JUNO and NUBIAN, low on fuel, were detached to join the convoy. Destroyer HERO joined the Force A screen.

 

Destroyers MOHAWK and GRIFFIN, after delivering destroyer GALLANT, departed Malta to 1700 to assist.

 

Lt Cdr S. H. Balfour, Lt Cdr J. F. C. Barker-Hahlo, Midshipman G. E. Davidson, Commissioned Gunner A. W. Davis, Lt (D) D. J. Fairweather, Cdr (E) R. W. Fyfe, Paymaster Sub Lt C. K. Gray, Lt (E) J. A. Guest, Paymaster Midshipman A.B. Holmes, T/Paymaster Sub Lt V.B. Lloyd-Smith RNVR, Midshipman J. M. Mocatta, Surgeon Lt T. J. Morton RNVR, T/Instructor Lt J. E. Oliver, P/T/Sub Lt L. F. Page RNR, A/Lt R. H. S. Pemberton, Gunner H. C. Player, Paymaster Lt N. L. C. Richards, Paymaster Midshipman E. Roynon-Jones, Major H. E. F. Shackleton, RM, Warrant Engineer F. J. White, fifty nine ratings, fifteen RAF ratings were killed. Cdr C.B. Tinley, OBE, Commissioned Gunner L. C. Koester died of wounds on the 17th and 12 January, respectively. T/A/Surgeon Lt Cdr W. C. Sloan RNVR, was wounded.

 

Light cruiser GLOUCESTER was struck on the roof of the forward 6" director. The bomb passed through five decks without exploding.

 

Sub Lt R. H. Basford, SARNVR, one rating, seven Marines were killed on light cruiser GLOUCESTER and T/Lt (E) J.B. E. Mattei and thirteen ratings were wounded.

 

Light cruisers ORION and PERTH and destroyer JERVIS and JANUS joined that night. Light cruiser ORION scuttled light cruiser SOUTHAMPTON.

 

Light cruiser GLOUCESTER's Walrus returned to the ship during the attack. The Walrus ditched alongside destroyer DIAMOND which took off the crew then scuttled the aircraft.

_____

 

Battleship BARHAM, aircraft carrier EAGLE, light cruiser AJAX, destroyers STUART, WRYNECK, VENDETTA, VAMPIRE, VOYAGER departed Alexandria as Force X to cover the EXCESS convoy in the Aegean and later launch an air strike on Rhodes.

This force joined Force A west of Crete at 0730/12th.

 

Force X were sent to Suda Bay to refuel, where the force was reinforced by destroyers ILEX, JUNO, HASTY, MOHAWK, GRIFFIN.

 

After refuelling, battleship BARHAM, aircraft carrier EAGLE, light cruiser AJAX with destroyers STUART, JUNO, HEREWARD, HASTY, DAINTY departed Suda Bay on the 13th. Destroyers ILEX, WRYNECK, VAMPIRE, VENDETTA, after sweeping in Kithera Strait at dawn joined the Force at noon.

 

DestroyersVAMPIRE and VENDETTA were detached to investigate explosions which proved to be underwater volcanic activity. The destroyers then patrolled in Kaso Strait.

 

Destroyers ILEX and WRYNECK were detached to sweep towards Stampalia and then with VAMPIRE and VENDETTA proceeded to Piraeus to escort the EXCESS convoy to Alexandria.

 

An air strike scheduled for the evening of 13 January on Rhodes was cancelled due to poor weather conditions.

 

On the 14th, four Swordfish were sent to search the Libyan coast between Derna and Tolmeita. Lt (A) D. R. Hoar, A/Sub Lt (A) G. J. Woodley RNVR, Naval Airman H. J. S. Frank of 824 Squadron from aircraft carrier EAGLE were lost when their Swordfish ditched after running out of fuel. A search by destroyer MOHAWK did not locate the crew.

 

Later on the 14th, an air strike of eight Swordfish were flown off to strike at an Italian convoy, but returned without making contact that evening.

_____

 

Convoy BN.12A departed Aden, escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE and destroyers KANDAHAR and KIMBERLEY, and arrived at Suez on the 15th.

_____

 

Convoy HX.102 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser VOLTAIRE.

 

Convoy BHX.102 departed Bermuda on the 9th escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser RANPURA. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.102 on the 15th and the armed merchant cruiser was detached. The convoy was joined on the 23rd by destroyers WILD SWAN and WITCH, sloop ABERDEEN, corvettes CAMPANULA, FLEUR DE LYS, GARDENIA, PERIWINKLE. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 22nd. Destroyers WILD SWAN and WITCH were detached on the 25th and corvette GARDENIA on the 27th. On the 28th, sloop ABERDEEN and corvettes CAMPANULA, FLEUR DE LYS, PERIWINKLE were detached, and arrived at Liverpool on the 29th.

 

 

Sunday,  12 January

 

Italian battleships VENETO and DORIA, the 3rd Cruiser Division, eight destroyers, which had put to sea earlier, returned to La Spezia thinking aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS was still operational.

_____

 

Battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT, light cruiser GLOUCESTER, destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, GREYHOUND, DIAMOND, VOYAGER, HERO, DEFENDER proceeded to Alexandria.

_____

 

Light cruisers ORION and PERTH, heavy cruiser YORK, destroyers MOHAWK and GRIFFIN, Force X proceeded to Suda Bay to refuel.

_____

 

Steamers CLAN CUMMING, CLAN MACDONALD, EMPIRE SONG of the EXCESS convoy arrived at Pireaus at 1000.

_____

 

Australian light cruiser SYDNEY passed through the Suez Canal to return to Australia after duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

_____

 

Netlayer PROTECTOR, having completed laying anti torpedo net at Bardia, departed for Alexandria after embarking 1058 prisoners.

_____

 

Convoy  WS.5B departed Avonmouth with four ships and Liverpool with six ships on the 7th. The ships were anchored in Moelfre Bay from 8 to 11 January, because fog delayed the departure of the eleven ships of the Clyde section.

 

Destroyer VANSITTART escorted the Bristol Channel portion of the convoy.

 

Heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA and destroyers HIGHLANDER, HARVESTER, WITHERINGTON escorted the Liverpool section to Moelfre Bay and provided anti-aircraft protection with anti-aircraft cruiser NAIAD.

 

Destroyers OTTAWA, LEOPARD, CHURCHILL, LINCOLN, WATCHMAN, FEARLESS, BEAGLE, BRILLIANT escorted the five ships of the Clyde section able to sail.

 

Destroyer FORESIGHT departed Liverpool 8 January and joined the convoy in Moelfre Bay.

On the 11th, the ships in Moelfre Bay moved to Belfast Lough to take on water.

 

The Clyde section rendezvoused with the other sections on the 12th.

 

Convoy WS.5B of steamers DUCHESS OF BEDFORD (20,123grt), FRANCONIA (20,175grt), CAPETOWN CASTLE (27,000grt), NEA HELLAS (16,991grt), ARUNDEL CASTLE (19,118grt), EMPRESS OF JAPAN (26,032grt), WINDSOR CASTLE (19,141grt), MONARCH OF BERMUDA (22,424grt), ATHLONE CASTLE (25,564grt), EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA (21,833grt), PENNLAND (16,082grt), BRITANNIC (26, 943grt), WINCHESTER CASTLE (20,012grt), ORMONDE (14,982grt), DURBAN CASTLE (17,388grt), SAMARIA (19,597grt), DUCHESS OF RICHMOND (20,022grt), HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN (14,135grt), HIGHLAND PRINCESS (14,172grt), DUCHESS OF YORK (20,021grt).

 

Escorting the convoy were destroyers WITHERINGTON and LEOPARD to 14 January. Destroyers LINCOLN, VANSITTART, FEARLESS, BRILLIANT, WATCHMAN, BEAGLE, JACKAL, LEAMINGTON to 16 January. Destroyers HIGHLANDER and HARVESTER to 16 January.

 

Anti-aircraft cruisers NAIAD and PHOEBE proceeded with the convoy until 15 January. Cruiser PHOEBE took steamers MONARCH OF BERMUDA and CAPETOWN CASTLE to Gibraltar, arriving at 1500/18th.

 

Steamers MONARCH OF BERMUDA and CAPETOWN CASTLE embarked the troops which had been carried by troopship EMPIRE TROOPER.

 

These two steamers departed Gibraltar for Freetown on the 19th escorted by destroyers ISIS, ENCOUNTER, DUNCAN, FEARLESS, FURY. The destroyers joined aircraft carrier FURIOUS and light cruiser NEPTUNE. They arrived off Gibraltar on the 22nd, but could not enter due to bad weather. The ships arrived at Gibraltar on the 23rd.

 

Light cruiser PHOEBE departed Gibraltar on the 19th to return to England.

 

Light cruiser EMERALD departed Portsmouth.

 

Battleship RAMILLIES was with the convoy until 17 January. Heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA and light cruiser EMERALD remained with the convoy arriving at Freetown on the 25th.

 

Corvettes ASPHODEL and CALENDULA joined the convoy on the 21st. Destroyer VELOX joined the convoy on the 22nd and destroyer VIDETTE and corvette CLEMATIS joined the convoy on the 24th. The convoy departed Freetown, minus DUCHESS OF YORK, plusBritish steamer CAMERONIA (16,297grt), escorted by destroyers FAULKNOR and FORESTER, sloop MILFORD, corvettes CYCLAMEN and CLEMATIS to 1 February.

 

Light cruiser EMERALD arrived at Capetown on 8 February with ATHLONE CASTLE, CAPETOWN, CASTLE, ARUNDEL CASTLE, WINCHESTER CASTLE, DURBAN CASTLE, MONARCH OF BERMUDA, DUCHESS OF BEDFORD, EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA, EMPRESS OF JAPAN. The light cruiser then on to Simonstown.

 

Heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA with PENNLAND, NEA HELLAS, BRITANNIC, FRANCONIA, SAMARIA, CAMERONIA, DUCHESS OF RICHMOND, ORMONDE, WINDSOR CASTLE, HIGHLAND PRINCESS, HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN arrived at Durban on 11 February. The convoy departed Capetown on 12 February, escorted by light cruiser EMERALD and from Durban on 15 February, escorted by heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA. The two sections rendezvoused off Durban.

 

On 21 February, liners EMPRESS OF JAPAN, WINDSOR CASTLE, ORMONDE, EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA, escorted by light cruiser EMERALD, were detached to Mombasa.

 

Convoy WS.5B continued to Suez escorted by heavy cruisers AUSTRALIA and HAWKINS, arriving on 3 March. Australian sloop PARRAMATTA was the Red Sea escort for the convoy.

 

On 22 February, the cruisers were detached to hunt the German heavy cruiser SCHEER. This duty continued until 26 February.

 

This section departed Mombasa on 24 February as convoy WS.5 X escorted by light cruiser ENTERPRISE. Light cruiser CAPETOWN joined convoy WS.5 X on 27 February and they arrived at Bombay on 3 March.

 

On 5 March, EMPRESS OF JAPAN and AQUITANIA departed Bombay escorted by light cruiser ENTERPRISE. They were joined by light cruiser DURBAN on 8 March. Light cruiser ENTERPRISE departed the convoy on 9 March. On 11 March, the convoy arrived at Singapore.

_____

 

Convoy SC.19 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser AURANIA and corvette ARROWHEAD. The corvette was detached the next day. On the 26th, the armed mechant cruiser was detached and corvettes HEATHER and PICOTEE, anti-submarine trawler LADY MADELEINE, seaplane carrier PEGASUS joined the escort. On the 27th, destroyers ANTELOPE and ANTHONY joined and on the 29th, destroyers JACKAL, SARDONYX, SCIMITAR. Destroyer JACKAL was detached later that day. On the 30th, destroyers SARDONYX and SCIMITAR were detached. On the 31st, destroyers ANTELOPE and ANTHONY seaplane carrier PEGASUS, anti-submarine trawler LADY MADELEINE were detached. On 1 February corvettes HEATHER and PICOTEE were detached and the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 2 February.

_____

 

Destroyer MONTGOMERY departed Scapa Flow at 0900 for Liverpool on completion of working up exercises.

 

The destroyer arrived at 1300/13th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.273 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer AMBUSCADE, corvettes AUBRETIA, HEARTSEASE, HOLLYHOCK, anti-submarine trawlers ANGLE, DANEMAN, LADY LILLIAN. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the 16th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.382 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 14th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.386 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VANITY and WESTMINSTER, and arrived at Southend on the 14th.

_____

 

Minelayer TEVIOTBANK, escorted by destroyer INTREPID, laid minefield BS.49, off the East Coast of England.

_____

 

British trawler STRATHRYE (212grt) was sunk by a mine in 50-35N, 3-59W.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

_____

 

British trawler OYAMA (340grt) was lost to unknown cause in the North Atlantic.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer TIJUCA (5498grt) was damaged by mining in 51-23N, 3-10W.

 

The steamer arrived at Barry.

_____

 

Convoy BS.12C departed Port Sudan, escorted by light cruiser CALEDON and sloops FLAMINGO and HINDUSTAN. The escorts were detached on the 15th and the convoy arrived at Aden on the 16th.

 

 

Monday,  13 January

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE, light cruisers EDINBURGH and BIRMINGHAM with destroyers SOMALI, TARTAR, ESKIMO, BEDOUIN, ESCAPADE, ECLIPSE arrived at Scapa Flow at 0100.

 

Destroyer ESKIMO was found to have defects to rudder requiring docking.

_____

 

Convoy FS.387 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VERSATILE and VIMIERA, and arrived at Southend on the 16th.

_____

 

British steamer WOOLER (507grt) was damaged by German bombing at Victoria Wharf, Plymouth.

 

The steamer arrived Southampton in tow on 2 February.

_____

 

Light cruisers ORION and PERTH arrived at Piraeus at 0230 to embark passengers from the EXCESS convoy. PERTH also embarked a number of RAF personnel from aircraft carrier EAGLE for Malta.

 

The cruisers departed at 0600 that morning and proceeded to Malta.

 

 

Tuesday,  14 January

 

Battleship RODNEY, with destroyers ECHO, ELECTRA, KEPPEL, arrived back at Scapa Flow after repairing weather damage at Rosyth.

_____

 

Destroyer PUNJABI arrived at Scapa Flow after temporary duties in the Western Approaches.

_____

 

Destroyer ESKIMO departed Scapa Flow for Immingham for rudder repairs.

_____

 

Destroyer BROADWAY departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde after completing working up exercises.

 

The destroyer arrived at Greenock at 1600/15th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.274 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers VETERAN and WOLVERINE and corvettes ARBUTUS, CAMELLIA, DELPHINIUM, ERICA. Destroyer BEVERLEY joined on the 15th. The three destroyers were detached on the 16th. The remainder of the escort was detached on the 17th when the convoy dispersed.

_____

 

Convoy FN.383 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 16th.

 

Convoy FN.384 did not sail.

_____

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE laid mines in minefield ZME.15 in St Georges Channel.

_____

 

Minesweeper FITZROY was damaged by mining in the North Sea.

 

The ship was beached at Harwich. Repair from 30 January to 31 May was done at Sheerness.

_____

 

Light cruiser ORION and Australian light cruiser PERTH

landed troops at Malta.

 

Light cruiser PERTH with machinery defects was berthed at Malta from 14 to 17 January.

 

Light cruisers ORION and BONAVENTURE and destroyer JAGUAR departed Malta for Alexandria, arriving on the 16th.

_____

 

Convoy AN.12, escorted by five Greek destroyers departed Port Said for Piraeus with twenty four ships, five of which were British.

 

Minesweeper DERBY was in the escort of convoy AN.12. On the 17th, the minesweeper was detached to Suda Bay to relieve minesweeper FAREHAM.

 

Convoy AS.11 departed Piraeus with ten ships of which three were British.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, escorting convoy AS.11, was detached at dusk on the 15th to join convoy AN.12 at daylight on the 17th.

 

Corvettes PEONY and GLOXINIA departed Suda Bay on the 13th and joined AS.11, escorting it to Port Said. The corvettes then proceeded to Alexandria, arriving 20 January.

_____

 

Destroyers ILEX, WRYNECK, VENDETTA, VAMPIRE departed Suda Bay to join the EXCESS convoy.

 

The destroyers arrived back at Suda Bay at 0900/16th when it was found the destroyers were not required.

_____

 

Submarine ROVER arrived at Malta from patrol with battery defects.

_____

 

Corvettes HYACINTH and SALVIA arrived at Port Said from EXCESS convoy duty.

 

On the 16th, the corvettes departed Port Said escorting two steamers to Alexandria, where they arrived on the 17th.

_____

 

Italian submarine CAPPELLINI sank British steamer EUMAEUS (7472grt) at 8-55N, 15-03W.

 

Twelve crew and about fifteen naval ratings were lost.

 

Walrus aircraft from seaplane carrier ALBATROSS dropped life rafts to the survivors.

_____

 

German raider PINGUIN captured Norwegian oil refinery ships OLE WEGGER (12,201grt) and SOLGLIMT (12,246grt) and Norwegian whalers POL VIII (298grt), POL X (354grt), POL IX (354grt), TORLYN (247grt), GLOBE VIII (297grt), POL VII (338grt), THORARINN (249grt) in 59S, 3W.

 

Whalers GLOBE VIII, POL VII, THORARINN escaped to the Falkland Islands.

_____

 

German pilot ship BORKUM (280grt) was lost when she was stranded at Hubert Gat.

_____

 

New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER departed Aden for Colombo carrying out an anti raider patrol en route.

 

The light cruiser arrived at Colombo on the 21st and was assigned to the 4th Cruiser Squadron of the East Indies Station.  

 
 

on to Naval Events, JANUARY 1941, Part 2
or return to RN Day-by-Day Homepage

revised 7/4/12
further editing is required


 

if any ads offend, please contact Naval-History.Net