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

NAVAL EVENTS, JANUARY 1941 (Part 2 of 2)
Wednesday 15th - Friday 31st

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HM ML.1030 in 1941 (Peter Siddall, click to enlarge)

on to Naval events, FEBRUARY 1941

 

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,  15 January

 

The British Prime Minister visited battleship KING GEORGE V at Scapa Flow.

 

The Prime Minister was brought from Scrabster on destroyer NAPIER, arriving at 1240. Minesweepers SHARPSHOOTER and SPEEDY carried some staff members to the battleship.

 

After a luncheon, the battleship, carrying Lord Halifax, the new British ambassador to the US, departed Scapa Flow at 1630 escorted by destroyers SOMALI, MATABELE, TARTAR, BEDOUIN.

 

This operation was codenamed PARCEL.

 

The Prime Minister returned to Scrabster on destroyer NAPIER, departing at 1600/16th.

_____

 

Destroyer COTTESMORE departed Scapa Flow at 1600 for Aberdeen to escort steamer LOCHNAGAR to Stromness, and rendezvoused at 0100/16th. COTTESMORE arrived back at Scapa Flow after the escort duty at 1000/16th.

_____

 

Destroyers LEGION and DOUGLAS departed Scapa Flow at 0430 to meet armed merchant cruisers CHITRAL and LETITIA west of Cape Wrath at noon and escort them to their patrol positions. On the 16th, the destroyers transferred to armed merchant cruiser SALOPIAN and escorted her from the patrol position to Cape Wrath.

_____

 

Convoy FS.388 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer GARTH and sloop FLEETWOOD, and arrived at Southend on the 17th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.389 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VIVIEN and WALLACE, and arrived at Southend on the 17th.

_____

 

Sludge vessel MANCUNIUM (1286grt) was sunk on a mine two miles northeast of Bar Light Vessel, Mersey.

 

All crew saved.

_____

 

British steamer MAYWOOD (1823grt) was damaged on a mine in 51-21N, 3-16W.

 

The steamer was beached in Whitmore Bay, Barry. The steamer was later taken to Barry for drydocking.

_____

 

British steamer KARRI (354grt) was damaged by a mine two miles north of Bar Light Vessel, Mersey.

 

One crewman was lost.

 

The steamer was beached on the 16th at Tranmere. The steamer was taken to Liverpool arriving on 10 April for drydocking.

_____

 

British trawler STALKER (197grt) was damaged by German bombing in Hawke Roads, Grimsby.

 

The trawler anchored in Hawke Road, Grimsby. The trawler later sank but was refloated and repaired.

_____

 

Submarine TETRARCH departed Piraeus after a brief duty with the Greek submarine base at Salamis.

_____

 

Norwegian oil refinery tanker PELAGOS (12,083grt) and whalers STAR XXI (298grt), STAR XXII (303grt), STAR XXIII (357grt), STAR XXIV (361grt), STAR XIX (249grt) were captured by German raider PINGUIN in 59S, 3W.

 

Norwegian whalers STAR XIX and STAR XXIV were scuttled when intercepted by Sloop SCARBOROUGH on 13 March in 45N, 23W.

 

The rest of the tankers and whalers, less the three whalers which escaped to the Falklands, captured on 14 and 15 January later arrived in France.

_____

 

From the 15th to the 17th of January, German tanker NORDMARK embarked food stores from captured British refrigerator ship DUQUESNA (8651grt) at sea.

 

The German tanker then took the British ship in tow.

_____

 

Italian submarine TORELLI sank Greek steamer NEMEA (5101grt) in 52-33N, 24-13W and Norwegian steamer BRASK (4079grt) in 52-45N, 23-59W.

 

Seventeen crew on steamer NEMEA were lost. The steamer was abandoned, but was reboarded on the 16th. Twelve crew was lost on the steamer BRASK. Survivours from steamer BRASK were found on the Greek steamer when she was reboarded. The Greek steamer later sank.

_____

 

Convoy HX.103 departed Halifax, escorted by battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN, destroyer RESTIGOUCHE, corvette ARROWHEAD. The destroyer and the corvette were detached the next day.

 

Convoy BHX.103 departed Bermuda on the 13th escorted locally by armed yacht ELK and ocean escort armed merchant cruiser MONTCLARE. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.103 on the 18th and the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

The battleship was detached on the 26th. On the 27th, destroyer VANQUISHER and corvettes GENTIAN and VERBENA joined the convoy and were detached later that day. On the 28th, destroyers VISCOUNT, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA joined the convoy and were detached on the 31st, and arrived at Liverpool on 1 February.

_____

 

Submarine REGENT sank Italian steamer CITTA DI MESSINA (2472grt), which departed Tripoli on the 11th for Benghazi, escorted by torpedo boat CENTAURO, in 32-59N, 14-11E off Benghazi.

 

 

Thursday,  16 January

 

Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS was damaged by German bombing in dock.

 

Australian light cruiser PERTH, refitting at Malta, was damaged by a near miss which caused underwater damage aft, including her propeller shafts.

 

Destroyer DECOY, which had completed repairs this day from her November 1940 bombing, was struck by bombs.

 

British steamer ESSEX (11,063grt) was damaged by German bombing at Malta during the night of 16/17 January.

 

Steamer ESSEX was damaged further by German bombing on 9 March.

 

Light cruiser PERTH departed Malta at 2200/16th and arrived at Alexandria at 1400/18th.

_____

 

Battleship BARHAM, aircraft carrier EAGLE, light cruiser AJAX and destroyers STUART, DAINTY, HASTY, GRIFFIN departed Suda Bay to return to Alexandria. They were joined outside the net by destroyers VAMPIRE, VENDETTA, WRYNECK from Piraeus. Force X, less destroyers DAINTY, HASTY, WRYNECK, arrived at 0700/18th. The three destroyers arrived a half hour later.

 

Aircraft carrier EAGLE was out of action, her speed reduced to sixteen knots, due to problems with leaking stern glands.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser YORK and destroyers ILEX, WRYNECK, VENDETTA, VAMPIRE departed Suda Bay to make an anti-submarine sweep in the Kaso Strait before convoy AN.12's arrival.

_____

 

Submarine URSULA departed Gibraltar for patrol in the Gulf of Genoa. She arrived at Malta on the 29th.

_____

 

Submarine PARTHIAN departed Piraeus after a brief duty with the Greek submarine base at Salamis.

_____

 

Convoy US008/1 departed Colombo for Suez with Norwegian steamer CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS (16,287grt), British steamers CITY OF LINCOLN (8039grt), DEVONSHIRE (11,275grt), DILWARA (11,080grt), DOMINION MONARCH (27, 155grt), Dutch steamers INDRAPOERA (10,825grt), JOHAN DE WITT (10,474grt), Egyptian steamer KHEDIVE ISMAIL (7290grt), British steamers LANCASHIRE (9557grt), NEVASA (9213grt), Dutch steamers NIEUW HOLLAND (11,066grt) and SLAMAT (11,636grt), British steamers RAJULA (8478grt), ROHNA (8602grt), THURLAND CASTLE (6372grt).

_____

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE, entering Liverpool Bay from Milford Haven, struck a mine.

 

The damaged cruiser was assisted by tugs.

 

The cruiser was under repair at Liverpool from 23 January to 27 June.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1100 to meet convoy WN.69 in Pentland Firth.

 

The ship returned to Scapa Flow after the escort duty at 2230/16th.

_____

 

Convoy FN.385 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 18th.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawler DESIREE (213grt, P/Skipper E. L. Fiske RNR) was sunk on a mine in the Thames Estuary.

 

There were no casualties on the trawler.

_____

 

U.106 sank British steamer ZEALANDIC (10,578grt) in 58-28N, 20-43W.

 

The entire crew and all passengers were lost. Among the passengers was Lt F. J. Wood en route to duty in CEREBUS II, Lt G. W. Holden, two Australian ratings.

 

Destroyer LEGION was detached from the escort of armed merchant cruiser SALOPIAN to assist, but no contact was made.

 

The destroyer arrived at Scapa Flow at 2200/21st.

_____

 

Italian submarine TORELLI sank Greek steamer NICOLAOS FILINIS (3111grt) in 53N, 24W.

 

Three crew were lost.

_____

 

U.96 sank British steamer OROPESA (14,118grt) in 56-28N, 12W.

 

Ninety nine crew, one gunner, six passengers were lost. Included in the passengers lost were T/Sub Lt (E) S. Milliken RNR, T/A/Sub Lt (E) T. M. Phillips RNR, en route to join armed merchant cruiser QUEEN OF BERMUDA.

_____

 

Greek steamer MEANDROS (4581grt) was badly damaged by German bombing in 55-15N, 11-40W.

 

All crew were rescued.

 

The steamer was taken in tow, but lost touch with H. M. ship during night. The wreck was subsequently sunk by a Royal Navy ship.

_____

 

Dutch tanker ONOBA (6256grt) was sunk by German bombing in 55-55N, 12-24W.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

_____

 

British steamer GLADONIA (360grt) was damaged by German bombing off Sunk Light Vessel.

_____

 

British steamer ROMSEY (509grt) was damaged on a mine in 51-41N, 5-09W.

 

The steamer was beached in Dale Road.

_____

 

British steamer SKJOLD (1345grt) was damaged by German bombing north of Lundy Island.

_____

 

British steamer LLANWERN (4966grt) was damaged by German bombing at Avonmouth.

_____

 

French light cruiser LAMOTTE PICQUET escorted by sloops AMIRAL CHARNER and DUMONT D'URVILLE and old sloops TAHURE and MARNE as Task Force 7 sortied from Saigon.

 

 

Friday,  17 January

 

Light cruiser NAIAD arrived at Scapa Flow after duty escorting convoy WS.5B.

_____

 

Corvette RHODODENDRON was damaged by mining in Liverpool Harbour.

 

The corvette was repaired in three months at Liverpool.

_____

 

Convoy FN.386 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 19th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.390 departed Methil, escorted by destroyer VERDUN and sloop EGRET, and arrived at Southend on the 19th.

_____

 

U.96 sank British steamer ALMEDA STAR (14,935grt) in 58-16N, 13-40W.

 

All crew, gunners, passengers were lost. The passengers included 142 Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy officers and ratings and thirty five other ratings en route to Piarco, Trinidad for duty in the Fleet Air Arm base HMS GOSHAWK. Lt Cdr N. G. R. Crawford, Lt J. C.B. Boucher, Lt A. W. N. Dayrell, DSC, of the Instructional Staff, Lt (A) G. V. Aylott and T/Lt (A) R. V. Wrightson RNVR, of 749 Squadron, T/Lt (A) G. A. Alderson RNVR, T/Lt (A) P. G. Aldrich-Blake RNVR, T/Lt (A) L. F. Findlay RNVR, T/Lt (A) G. Williamson RNVR, T/Sub Lt (A) C. J. Davis RNVR, T/Sub Lt (A) D. F. A. McBain RNVR, of 750 Squadron, Lt (A) M. D. Donati, Sub Lt (A) M. H. N. Allen, T/Lt (A) R. W. Anderson RNVR, T/Lt (A) J. Carr RNVR, T/Lt (A) H. C. Friday RNVR, T/Lt (A) E. M. Lamb RNVR, T/Lt (A) W. A. Richardson RNVR, T/Sub Lt (A) J. S. Rowson RNVR, P/T/Sub Lt (A) M. A. Manuel RNVR, P/T/Sub Lt (A) T. H. Trubridge RNVR, of 752 Squadron, eighty two ratings from GOSHAWK, including Chief Petty Officer Airman A. W. Dicks, Petty Officer Airmen S. E. Andrews, W. S. Bath, I. H. Cook,B. W. A. Evans, E. G. Paksell, thirty nine ratings, including Petty Officer Airman D. A. C. Wynell-Sutherland, from DAEDALUS were lost.

 

Destroyer DOUGLAS was detached from the escort of armed merchant cruiser SALOPIAN to assist, but was low on fuel and had to proceed to Scapa Flow, arriving at 2200. Destroyer ST ALBANS, also escorting cruiser SALOPIAN, was sent in her place.

 

Destroyers BEAGLE and BRILLIANT, after escorting convoy WS.5B, refuelled at Londonderry and were sent to search and sweep in the area.

 

Destroyers SOMALI, MATABELE, BEDOUIN, TARTAR, completing their escort of battleship KING GEORGE V, were ordered to carry out an anti-submarine search along the latitude of 58 N, north of Rockall. If no results were obtained, the destroyers were then ordered to return to Scapa Flow.

 

On the 18th, destroyer BEAGLE was detached to escort steamer JAMAICA PLANTER clear of the danger zone to the Minches. The destroyer then arrived at Scapa Flow at 0700/20th.

 

At 0700/20th, an unsuccessful attack was made on a submarine contact in 59-40N, 17-52W by the SOMALI group.

 

At 0802 on the 21st, destroyer TARTAR attacked a submarine contact.

 

Destroyer BRILLIANT arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100/22nd.

 

Destroyer SOMALI developed hull defects on the 22nd. This, all the destroyers low on fuel, caused the 6th Destroyer Flotilla destroyers to proceed to Loch Alsh, arriving at 1830/22nd.

 

The destroyers were able to depart Loch Alsh at 1815/23rd to return to Scapa Flow, arriving at 0500/24th.

_____

 

Destroyers LANCASTER departed Portsmouth and BRIGHTON departed Plymouth en route to Scapa Flow for working up exercises.

 

Destroyer BRIGHTON arrived at 1630/19th.

 

Destroyer LANCASTER, after being held up by bad weather, arrived at Scapa Flow at 1200/21st.

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Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1130 to meet convoy WN.70. However, the convoy was delayed and the ship was recalled to Scapa Flow, arriving at 1430.

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British tanker ATHELDUKE (8966grt) was damaged on a mine in 51-21N, 3-20W.

 

The tanker was beached in Whitmore Bay.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer THOROY (2671grt) was damaged by German bombing at Avonmouth.

_____

 

Panamanian tanker NORVIK (9555grt) was damaged by German bombing at Swansea.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer NOVASLI (3204grt) was damaged by German bombing in the drydock at Swansea.

_____

 

Operation BLUNT was to have taken place. This was a raid on Kaso by naval forces and Commando troops from Crete.

 

The operation was postponed for twenty four hours.

 

Heavy cruiser YORK and destroyers ILEX, MOHAWK, JUNO, HEREWARD for the operation were operating north of Kaso Straits.

 

Minesweeper FAREHAM stood by at Candia.

 

On the 18th, the operation was cancelled.

 

Heavy cruiser YORK proceeded to Piraeus for escort duty with convoy AN.12. The destroyers returned to Alexandria.

_____

 

Destroyers GREYHOUND, JANUS, DEFENDER departed Alexandria to escort convoy AS.12 from Piraeus to Port Said.

_____

 

Convoy AS.11 arrived at Port Said escorted by corvettes PEONY and GLOXINIA.

_____

 

Corvettes HYACINTH and SALVIA departed Port Said with two merchant ships for Alexandria arriving that day.

_____

 

Monitor TERROR and gunboat APHIS departed Alexandria at 1800 for Operation IS 1, the bombardment of Tobruk during the nights of 18/19 and 19/20 January.

 

Light cruiser ORION, anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE, destroyers JERVIS, NUBIAN, HERO departed Alexandria at 0400/18th to support this operation. The cruisers operated northeast of Tobruk and the destroyers to the west.

 

Bad weather postponed the operation for twenty four hours.

 

Monitor TERROR and gunboats GNAT and LADYBIRD bombarded positions at Marsa el Shal near Tobruk during the night of 20/21 January.

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Convoy HG.51 departed Gibraltar, escorted by sloop FOLKESTONE. Destroyer FIREDRAKE joined the escort on the 18th and continued with the convoy until 20 January.

 

On the 30th, destroyer VOLUNTEER and corvettes BLUEBELL and CANDYTUFT joined the escort. Sloops EGRET and LONDONDERRY joined on the 31st. Destroyer WESTCOTT was involved in local escort duties near the destination, and arrived on 3 February at Liverpool.

_____

 

French submarine ATALANTE arrived at Oran after departed Toulon on the 14th. The submarine departed Oran on 18 February and arrived at Casablanca on the 20th.

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Convoy BN.13 departed Aden, escorted by light cruiser CALEDON, destroyer KIMBERLEY, sloops FLAMINGO, INDUS, PARRAMATTA, SHOREHAM, gunboat CRICKET. The destroyer, sloop SHOREHAM, the gunboat were detached on the 18th, sloop PARRAMATTA on the 20th, light cruiser CALEDON and sloop INDUS on the 21st, sloop FLAMINGO on the 22nd. Sloop CLIVE joined on the 22nd and the convoy arrived at Suez on the 24th.

_____

 

A French force led by light cruiser LAMOTTE PICQUET attacked a force of Siamese warships in Indo Chinese waters.

 

Without loss to themselves, the French damaged Siamese coastal defense ships SRI AYUTHIA and DONBURI and sank torpedo boats TRAD, SONGHKLA, CHOMBURI during operations in the Kho Chang Archipelago in the Gulf of Siam.

 

Defense ship DONBURI was badly damaged and stranded. When the ship was towed off, she sank.

 

Defense ship SRI AYUTHIA was torpedoed by LAMOTTE PICQUETT and beached in the River Chantaboum.

 

 

Saturday,  18 January

 

Destroyer CASTLETON, under repair at Portsmouth, was damaged by near misses of German bombing.

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Destroyers KELLY, KIPLING, KASHMIR, JACKAL arrived at Plymouth from Greenock for anti-submarine duties.

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Convoy OB.275 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers MONTGOMERY, WILD SWAN, WITCH, sloop ABERDEEN, corvettes CAMPANULA, FLEUR DE LYS, GARDENIA, PERWINKLE. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the 22nd.

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Convoy FS.391 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VALOROUSD and VORTIGERN, and arrived at Southend on the 20th.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser ASTURIAS captured Vichy French steamer MENDOZA (8199grt) sixty miles east of Montevideo.

 

The steamer was taken to Freetown, arriving on 1 February.

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British tanker BRITISH UNION (6987grt) was sunk by German raider KORMORAN at 26-34N, 30-58W.

 

Thirty six crew were taken prisoner. Eight crew were rescued and one died.

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Norwegian tanker SANDEFJORD (8038grt) was captured in the South Atlantic by German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER.

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Greek steamer CHELATROS (3489grt) was damaged by German bombing at Swansea.

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German steamer GODFRIED BUEREN (4664grt) was sunk on a mine in the Kattegat.

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Light cruiser GLOUCESTER departed Alexandria at 0500 for Port Said to hoist out her DCT which was damaged in the 11 January bombing.

 

The DCT was found beyond repair. Light cruiser GLOUCESTER departed Alexandria on 13 February for Port Said where damaged light cruiser LIVERPOOL's DCT was fitted on GLOUCESTER.

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Sub Lt A. S. Griffith was killed when his Fulmar of 806 Squadron from aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS was shot down off Malta.

 

A second Fulmar of the Squadron was also shot down on this date, but the crew was rescued.

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Italian steamer LELIO (1384grt) was sunk on a mine at La Spezia.

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Convoy BS.12 D.departed Port Sudan, escorted by destroyer KIMBERLEY and sloop YARRA. The convoy was dispersed off Aden on the 20th.

 

 

Sunday,  19 January

 

Light cruiser GALATEA, repairing since 17 October at Chatham, departed Sheerness.

 

The light cruiser arrived at Scapa Flow on the 20th to rejoin the Fleet.

 

CS.2 transferred to light cruiser GALATEA on the 23rd.

_____

 

Destroyer BOREAS, under repair at London, was damaged by German bombing.

_____

 

Corvette HONEYSUCKLE was damaged by mining off Bar Light Vessel.

 

The corvette was repaired in three months at Liverpool.

_____

 

Convoy OG.50 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers MALCOLM, SHIKARI, SKATE, sloop DEPTFORD, corvettes ARABIS and LA MALOUINE, anti-submarine trawlers LADY ELSA, WELLARD, ZENO, ocean boarding vessel MARSDALE.

 

The destroyers, corvettes, trawlers were detached on the 20th and the ocean boarding vessel on the 22nd.

 

Sloop DEPTFORD escorted the convoy through to Gibraltar, arriving on the 31st.

_____

 

Convoy FN.387 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 21st.

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Convoy FN.388 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 21st.

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British steamer BONNINGTON COURT (4909grt) was sunk by German bombing 9.5 cables 275°  from Sunk Light Vessel.

 

Two crew were lost.

_____

 

Dutch steamer DIANA (312grt) was sunk by a mine in 51-18N, 3-10W.

 

Two crew were rescued.

_____

 

British steamer ZELO (2294grt) was damaged by German bombing off Sunk Light Vessel.

_____

 

Italian submarine NEGHELLI attacked Greek destroyer PSARA in the Aegean.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyers GREYHOUND, DEFENDER, JANUS departed Piraeus at 0800 escorting convoy AS.12 of steamers CLAN CUMMING (7264grt), CLAN MACDONALD (9653grt), EMPIRE SONG (9228grt) from Pireaus to Alexandria.

 

British steamer CLAN CUMMING was damaged by a torpedo at 1153 from Italian submarine NEGHELLI off Piraeus near San Giorgio Island in 37-15N, 24-04E.

 

The steamer was able to arrive back at Piraeus at 1900 under its own steam with torpedo damage forward, escorted by destroyer JANUS.

 

The submarine was sunk by destroyer GREYHOUND off Crete.

 

The other two ships of the convoy arrived at Port Said on the 21st.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyers GREYHOUND, JUNO, DEFENDER proceeded to Alexandria.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS in dock at Valletta, Malta, was damaged by two misses of air bombs.

 

The aircraft carrier was thrown against the wharf and sustained damage below the water line. Her port turbine was fractured and the boiler room flooded.

 

Destroyer IMPERIAL in dock from her October mining was near missed, but not damaged when debris from the dock was blown into the dock.

 

A Fulmar of 806 Squadron from ILLUSTRIOUS was shot down after shooting down a JU 87. Lt R. S. Henley and Naval Airman A. S. Rush were both picked up.

_____

 

On the 19th, operation IS 1 was cancelled due to bad weather.

 

The cruisers and destroyers were withdrawn for other operations and proceeded to Suda Bay.

 

Gunboat APHIS was having problems with the weather. Two destroyers and an aircraft were sent to assist her.

 

The gunboat was found at 1300 off Damietta. Destroyer GRIFFIN escorted the gunboat to Port Said arriving at 0700/20th.

Gunboat APHIS was under repair until 27 January at Port Said.

_____

 

Convoy AN.12 arrived at Piraeus on the 18th. Escorting heavy cruiser YORK also arrived at Piraeus.

_____

 

Light cruiser AJAX departed Alexandria for Suda Bay.

_____

 

Destroyer DECOY, under repair in dock at Malta, was damaged by German bombing.

 

However, her completion was not delayed.

_____

 

Convoy BS.13 departed Suez. The convoy was joined on the 20th by sloops CLIVE and GRIMSBY. The sloops were relieved on the 22nd by light cruiser CALEDON and sloops FLAMINGO, INDUS, PARRAMATTA. The convoy was dispersed on the 27th.

_____

 

Convoy SLS.63 departed Freetown, and arrived at Liverpool on 13 February.

 

 

Monday,  20 January

 

A possible breakthrough of a German raider through the Iceland-Faroes passage was detected by W/T traffic.

 

Light cruisers ARETHUSA and NIGERIA departed Scapa Flow for patrol at 0600.

_____

 

Light cruiser AURORA and destroyers ESCAPADE, ECLIPSE, ECHO, ELECTRA departed Scapa Flow at 1030 to meet battleship PRINCE OF WALES off Liverpool.

 

When the battleship's departure was delayed until 25 January, the escort ships were ordered back to Scapa Flow, arriving at 0815/20th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.276 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers ANTELOPE and ANTHONY, corvettes ORCHIS and PICOTEE, seaplane carrier PEGASUS, anti-submarine trawlers ARAB, AYRSHIRE, LADY MADELEINE. Corvette PICOTEE was detached on the 23rd and the remainder of the escort on the 24th when the convoy dispersed.

_____

 

Destroyer BELMONT departed Scapa Flow at 1715 for Liverpool after completing her working up exercises.

 

The destroyer arrived at 1000/22nd.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawler RELONZO (245grt, T/Skipper A. E. Slater RNR) was sunk on a mine in Crosby Channel, liverpool.

 

Slater, T/Skipper W. Copeman RNR, seventeen ratings were lost on the trawler.

_____

 

Dutch steamer BARNEVELD (5597grt) was captured by German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER at 1200 miles from Freetown in 7S, 3E.

 

T/Instructor Lt C. L. Broad, BSc, en route to light cruiser AJAX, Surgeon Lt Cdr W. Greaves MB, CHB, en route to destroyer depot ship WOOLWICH, Lt A. R. Cheyne, en route to submarine depot ship MEDWAY, were captured and made prisoners of war.

 

The steamer was sunk the next day by the heavy cruiser.

_____

 

Dutch steamer HEEMSKERK (6516grt) was badly damaged by German bombing in 53-43N, 16-07W.

 

Eight crew were missing. The rest were rescued.

 

The steamer sank on the 21st.

_____

 

British steamer TREGARTHEN (5201grt) was damaged by German bombing in 55-54N, 7-00W.

 

The steamer arrived at Oban.

_____

 

U.94 sank British steamer FLORIAN (3174grt) in the North Atlantic west of the Faroes.

_____

 

Italian submarine MARCELLO sank Belgian steamer PORTUGAL (1550grt) in 50N, 19W.

 

Steamer PORTUGAL reported missing after 20 January. German intelligence identified this ship as Greek steamer ELENI (5655grt).

_____

 

British steamer VASCO (2878grt) was damaged by German bombing at Pireaus.

 

One crewman was killed and eight were wounded.

_____

 

British steamer STANPARK (5103grt) was sunk German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER at 9-27S, 3-00W.

 

The entire crew was taken prisoner.

_____

 

Destroyer GALLANT, which had been mined on the 10th, was paid off into dockyard hands after damage by German bombing in Malta Harbour.

 

The anti-aircraft guns from destroyer GALLANT were fitted on store ship BRECONSHIRE.

_____

 

For Operation MBD 2, also called Operation INSPECTION, the extraction of damaged aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS from Malta, the following forces were organised.

 

Force A - Destroyers JERVIS (D.14), JUNO, JANUS, GREYHOUND to operate in the vicinity of Suda Bay.

 

Force A departed Suda Bay on the 21st for Malta.

 

Force B - Light cruisers ORION (VA LF) and AJAX, anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE, heavy cruiser YORK and destroyers ILEX (D.2) and HERO to operate in the vicinity of Suda Bay.

 

Force C - Battleships BARHAM and VALIANT, light cruiser PERTH, destroyers STUART, NUBIAN, MOHAWK, HASTY, DIAMOND, GRIFFIN came to short notice at Alexandria.

 

On the arrival of the convoy AS.12 escorts at Alexandria, destroyer HEREWARD relieved destroyer STUART in the Force C screen.

_____

 

Convoy AN.13 departed Alexandria at 1800 escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY and destroyers WRYNECK and VENDETTA with British steamers ULSTER PRINCE (3791grt), LANARKSHIRE (9816grt), PORT HALIFAX (5820grt).

 

Corvettes SALVIA and HYACINTH proceeded in company to establish a patrol in the Kithera Straits

 

The Kithera Straits patrol began on the 22nd with the corvettes, anti-submarine trawler KINGSTON CYANITE, Sutherland aircraft from Scaramanga in the Piraeus area, and arrived at Suda Bay on the 22nd and Piraeus on the 23rd.

_____

 

Anti submarine trawlers SOUTHERN ISLE and SOUTHERN MAID of the 22nd Anti Submarine Group departed Alexandria to relieve anti-submarine trawler AMBER at Sollum.

 

Minesweeping trawlers MILFORD COUNTESS and ARTHUR CAVANAGH and boom working vessel MAGNET departed also departed Alexandria for Sollum to begin work clearing Tobruk Harbour.

_____

 

Convoy SL.63 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CANTON to 9 February, sloop MILFORD to 24 January, corvettes CLEMATIS to 22 January and CYCLAMEN to 24 January.

 

On 7 February, destroyers ACHATES and ANTELOPE joined. On 8 February, corvette PICOTEE joined for the day only.

 

On the 9th, the destroyers were relieved by destroyers ANTHONY for the day only andGEORGETOWN, sloop FLEETWOOD for the day only, corvette HEATHER to 10 February, anti-submarine trawler AYRSHIRE for the day only, and arrived on 10 February.

 

 

Tuesday,  21 January

 

Destroyer INTREPID and submarine SEALION took part in a special exercise off Blyth.

 

Following the exercise, destroyers INTREPID and IMPULSIVE converted to minelayers and sailed to Scapa Flow to arrive on the 24th.

_____

 

Destroyer DOUGLAS departed Scapa Flow at 1600 for Aberdeen to escort steamer BEN MY CHREE to Lerwick.

 

The destroyer was recalled at 2100 was the steamer was delayed by bad weather. Destroyer DOUGLAS arrived at Scapa Flow at 1030/22nd.

 

The destroyer departed at 1445/23rd to meet the steamer. The steamer was delayed, but the destroyer was ordered to await her departure.

 

The steamer was escorted to Lerwick. Destroyer DOUGLAS was recalled to Scapa Flow at 1900 and arrived at 0230/26th.

_____

 

Destroyer LEGION in a storm westward of Cava Island dragged anchors and fouled the Hoy Boom.

 

With the aid of tugs, the destroyer was cleared and she was towed to an anchorage on the eastern side of the Flow.

_____

 

Convoy FN.389 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on 23 December.

_____

 

Minesweeper TEDWORTH was extensively damaged in a gale in the Clyde.

_____

 

British steamer TEMPLE MEAD (4427grt) was sunk by German bombing 54-14N, 14-30W.

 

Fourteen crew were lost.

_____

 

Tug ENGLISHMAN (487grt) was sunk by German bombing forty miles west of Tory Island.

 

The crew of seventeen and one gunner were all lost.

_____

 

German steamer BRECHSEE (688grt) was sunk on a mine off Malmo.

_____

 

Light cruiser ORION joined heavy cruiser YORK at Piraeus.

 

Light cruiser AJAX and anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE covered convoy AN.13 through the Kaso Straits during the night of 21/22 January.

 

Heavy cruiser YORK and light cruiser ORION called at Suda Bay at 1600/22nd to oil.

 

At 0800/23rd, heavy cruiser YORK and light cruisers ORION, AJAX, BONAVENTURE and destroyers ILEX and HERO rendezvoused in 36-00N, 24-02E for operation MBD 2.

 

Destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, JUNO, GREYHOUND departed Suda Bay for Malta during the evening of 21 January and arrived on the 22nd.

 

The 1st Battle Squadron at Alexandria remained in harbour until 22 January.

_____

 

A British attack on Tobruk was supported at sea by monitor TERROR, gunboats LADYBIRD and GNAT, destroyers STUART, VAMPIRE, VOYAGER.

_____

 

During the night of 21/22 January, Australian destroyer VAMPIRE sank Italian schooner DIEGO (63grt) west of Tobruk.

 

The destroyer took the crew of ten prisoner.

_____

 

Convoy HX.104 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser RAJPUTANA and corvettes ARROWHEAD EYEBRIGHT, SPIKENARD. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on 21 February.

 

On 3 February, destroyers ARROW and CHURCHILL and corvettes AUBRETIA and HOLLYHOCK joined the escort. Destroyer CHURCHILL and corvette AUBRETIA were detached on 6 February and the remainder of the escort on 8 February, and arrived at Liverpool on 8 February.

 

Convoy BHX.104 departed Bermuda on the 21st escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser ALAUNIA. The convoy was routed direct to Liverpool.

 

Battleship KING GEORGE V escorted the convoy from 31 January to 3 February. The armed merchant cruiser remained with the convoy until 4 February. On 5 February, destroyers HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, LINCOLN, SHIKARI, SABRE, corvettes CLARKIA and GLADIOLUS, anti-submarine trawlers NORTHERN WAVE and WELLARD joined. Destroyer HAVELOCK and corvette CLARKIA were detached on 7 February. Destroyers HESPERUS, LINCOLN, SHIKARI were detached on 8 February. The remaining corvette and the two trawlers escorted the convoy into Liverpool arriving on 9 February. Anti submarine trawler LEEDS UNITED escorted the Milford Haven local section.

 

 

Wednesday,  22 January

 

Light cruisers ARETHUSA and NIGERIA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1805 after patrol.

_____

 

German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU departed Kiel to raid in the North and Central Atlantic in Operation BERLIN.

 

British Admiral Tovey departed Scapa Flow at 2320/25th to intercept with battleships NELSON and RODNEY, battlecruiser REPULSE, lights cruisers ARETHUSA, GALATEA, AURORA of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, MAURITIUS, NAIAD, PHOEBE of the 15th Cruiser Squadron, EDINBURGH and BIRMINGHAM of the 18th Cruiser Squadron, destroyers BEDOUIN (T/D.6) MATABELE, TARTAR, PUNJABI, ESCAPADE, ECHO, ELECTRA, BEAGLE, BRILLIANT, KEPPEL, PIORUN.

 

On the 27th, battleship RODNEY, light cruisers EDINBURGH, BIRMINGHAM, MAURITIUS, destroyers BEAGLE, BRILLIANT, KEPPEL, PIORUN were directed to return to Scapa Flow.

 

Barring developments at sea, the ships would remain at Scapa Flow until 30 January when they would sail to relieve units still on patrol.

 

Battleship RODNEY, light cruisers EDINBURGH, BIRMINGHAM, MAURITIUS, destroyers BRILLIANT and BEAGLE arrived back at Scapa Flow at 2345/28th.

 

Destroyers KEPPEL and PIORUN arrived at Scapa Flow at 0700/29th.

 

On the 30th, light cruisers NAIAD and PHOEBE arrived at Scapa Flow at 1105 and light cruisers GALATEA and ARETHUSA arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol at 1125.

 

Battleships NELSON, battlecruiser REPULSE, destroyers BEDOUIN, MATABELE, TARTAR, ESCAPADE, ELECTRA, ECHO, PUNJABI arrived at Scapa Flow at 1700/30th after having covered convoy HX.103 on the 29th.

 

Light cruiser AURORA arrived back at Scapa Flow on the 30th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.277 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers VANQUISHER, VISCOUNT, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA and corvettes GENTIAN and VERBENA. The corvettes were detached on the 26th and the destroyers on the 27th when the convoy was dispersed.

_____

 

Convoy FS.392 departed Methil, and arrived at Southend on the 24th.

 

Convoy FS.393 cancelled.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawler LUDA LADY (234grt, Skipper W. F. Sommers RNR) was sunk on a mine in the Humber.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

_____

 

Naval tug ST CYRUS (810grt, T/A/Lt Cdr P. Allan RNR) was sunk on a mine off the Humber.

 

Allan, T/Lt (E) W. D. Hewitt RNR, most of the crew were lost in the tug.

_____

 

German torpedo boat T.1 was damaged when she ran aground off Kristiansand.

 

T/repairs were done at Horten. She departed on 10 February for Gotenhafen, where the repairs were completed in July.

_____

 

British steamer JAMAICA PLANTER (4098grt) was damaged by a mine 2500 yards 196° from Neil's Point, Barry Island.

 

The steamer was beached in Old Harbour, Barry. refloated and beached Whitmore Bay, 13 February.

_____

 

Greek steamer KAPETAN STRATIS (3574grt) was sunk by German bombing in 54-34N, 12-08W.

 

The entire crew was lost.

_____

 

Tobruk was recaptured by the British.

 

The Italians scuttled their coastal defense ship SAN GIORGIO to prevent it from falling into British hands.

 

The operation was supported offshore by monitor TERROR, gunboats LADYBIRD and GNAT, destroyers STUART, VAMPIRE, VOYAGER.

 

Monitor TERROR and gunboat GNAT returned to Alexandria late on the 21st.

 

The gunboat began boiler cleaning.

 

Destroyer VOYAGER with defects and a damaged anti-submarine dome was ordered to return to Alexandria.

 

Destroyer DEFENDER departed Alexandria at 0800/23rd to relieve destroyer VOYAGER.

_____

 

Italian liner LIGURIA (15,354grt), immobilised since bombing damage on 5 July, was sunk by British bombing at Tobruk.

 

The liner was later salved.

_____

 

An Italian convoy of passengers ships ESPERIA, CONTE ROSSO, MARCO POLO and steamer VICTORIA departed Naples for Tripoli on the 22nd, escorted by destroyers FRECCIA and SAETTA to Trapani, then VIVALDI, TARIGO, MALOCELLO, DA NOLI of the 14th Destroyer Division.

 

Submarine UNIQUE fired torpedoes at the convoy off Kerkenah. Steamer ESPERIA was missed in the attack. The convoy did not know it had been attacked and arrived safely at Tripoli on the 24th.

_____

 

Convoy SC.20 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser RANPURA and patrol vessel OTTER. The patrol vessel was detached the next day and the armed merchant cruiser on 4 February. On 4 February, destroyer HARVESTER, corvettes ARBUTUS, CAMELLIA, ERICA, anti-submarine yacht PHILANTE joined the escort. The escort was detached on 8 February and the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 8 February.

 

 

Thursday,  23 January

 

Norwegian steamers ELIZABETH BAKKE (5450grt), JOHN BAKKE (4718grt), TAI SHAN (6962grt), TAURUS (4767grt), RANJA (6355grt) under the direction of British Captain R. D. Binney escaped from Gotenburg in Operation RUBBLE.

 

Binney, the temporary attache to Stockholm, was on steamer TAI SHAN. One rating from destroyer HUNTER returned to England aboard the steamer.

 

The steamers narrowly miss German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU in the Kattegat.

 

Light cruisers NAIAD (CS 15) and AURORA departed Scapa Flow at 2250/23rd to meet the ships.

 

Light cruisers EDINBURGH and BIRMINGHAM and destroyers ESCAPADE, ECHO, ELECTRA departed Scapa Flow at 0130/24th.

 

The ELIZABETH BAKKE was the fastest of the five and proceeded independently.

 

Light cruisers NAIAD and AURORA met steamers TAURUS and TAI SHAN. They turned these steamers over the CS 18 group and returned to meet JOHN BAKKE and RANJA. These two steamers were under air attack when the cruisers found them. Steamer RANJA was strafed by a German aircraft and her First Officer was wounded.

 

Steamer TAURUS arrived at Kirkwall at 0430/25th escorted by destroyer ELECTRA.

 

Steamer TAI SHAN arrived at Kirkwall at 0536.

 

Steamer JOHN BAKKE arrived at Kirkwall at 0700 with light cruiser AURORA.

 

Steamer ELIZABETH BAKKE arrived at Kirkwall, unescorted at 0903. Destroyer ECHO had been sent to escort the steamer into harbour, but did not contact her.

 

Tanker RANJA arrived at Kirkwall at 0815 with light cruiser NAIAD.

 

The escorting warships all proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving during the morning of 25 January, the destroyers arriving independently.

_____

 

Convoy FN.390 departed Southend, and arrived at Methil on the 25th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.394 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers COTSWOLD and WESTMINSTER, and arrived at Southend on the 25th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.395 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VANITY, VERSATILE, WALLACE and sloop FLEETWOOD, and arrived at Southend on the 26th.

_____

 

Destroyer ATHERSTONE arrived at Scapa Flow to work up after repairs.

_____

 

Destroyer ECLIPSE departed Scapa Flow for boiler cleaning at Rosyth, where she arrived at 0800/24th.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawler COUTIER (255grt) T/Lt G. Ashton, DSC) was damaged by mining and brought into Milford Haven.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawler RONSO (248grt, T/Skipper H. G. Harris RNR) was badly damaged on a mine 2.9 miles 49° from South Foreland.

 

The trawler was repaired and restored to service.

_____

 

British steamer LURIGETHAN (3564grt) was sunk by German bombing in 53-46N, 16-00W.

 

Fifteen crew and one gunner were lost on the steamer.

_____

 

British steamer LANGLEGORSE (4524grt) was sunk by German bombing from convoy SL.61 in 53-19N, 13-11W.

 

The entire crew was lost.

_____

 

British steamer MOSTYN (1859grt) was sunk by German bombing in 54-30N, 14-52W.

 

Two crew were lost.

 

A tug was sent to assist on the 25th, but she was unable to locate the steamer.

_____

 

During the night of 23/24 January, German minelayers ROLAND, COBRA, KAISER, SKAGERRAK, escorted by destroyer RICHARD BEITZEN and torpedo boats ILTIS and SEEADLER laid mines off the British south coast in Operation SW b.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS escorted by destroyers JERVIS, JUNO, JANUS, GREYHOUND departed Malta.

 

Cruisers YORK, ORION, AJAX, BONAVENTURE and destroyers ILEX and HERO under Pridham-Wipple from Suda Bay were to join the aircraft carrier.

 

This movement was covered by battleships BARHAM and VALIANT, light cruiser PERTH, destroyers HEREWARD, NUBIAN, MOHAWK, HASTY, DIAMOND, GRIFFIN.

 

On the 24th, the Pridham Wipple force was attacked by German bombing. Destroyer HERO, which had become detached due to a breakdown of her steering gear, was singled out.

 

Light cruiser AJAX was damaged by the near miss of German bombing in the Mediterranean.

 

The damage did not cause the cruiser any time out of service.

 

No damage was done to any of the ships.

 

Pridham-Wipple was not located and ILLUSTRIOUS finally joined the main force.

 

The forces involved in MBD.2 arrived at Alexandria on the 25th.

_____

 

Monitor TERROR departed Alexandria at 1800 for Sollum to rejoin the Inshore Squadron and later act as anti-aircraft guard ship at Tobruk.

_____

 

Operation PARALLAX, the clearing of Tobruk Harbour and establishing the port as a base, began.

 

Minesweeping trawlers ARTHUR CAVANAGH and MILFORD COUNTESS and boom working vessel MAGNET were specifically deployed for PARALLAX.

_____

 

Destroyer THRACIAN and minelayer MAN YEUNG laid mines in the approaches to Hong Kong.

 

 

Friday,  24 January

 

Battleship KING GEORGE V, which had departed Scapa Flow on the 15th, was met in Chesapeake Bay by US destroyer LANSDALE.

 

The new British ambassador to the United States was safely delivered.

_____

 

Light cruiser PHOEBE arrived at Scapa Flow after escort duty with convoy WS.5B.

_____

 

Convoy OB.278 departed Liverpool, esocted by estroyers SALADIN, SARDONYX, SKATE, corvettes ANEMONE, KINGCUP, MALLOW, anti-submarine trawlers NORTHERN PRIDE and ST ELSTAN. The escort was detached on the 27th when the convoy dispersed.

_____

 

Destroyer INGLEFIELD departed the Nore for Scapa Flow after repair at 1700, and  arrived at 1730/26th.

_____

 

British steamer CORHEATH (1096grt) was sunk on a mine one mile 270° from Botany Buoy in Thames Estuary. Three crew were lost.

_____

 

British steamer TASMANIA (6405grt) was damaged on a mine 11½  miles 90° from Rattray Head. She was unable to enter Aberdeen due to bad weather and returned to Methil, arriving at Methil on the 25th. She left Leith in tow for the Tees on 3 February.

_____

 

U.123 sank Norwegian steamer VESPASIAN (1570grt) in 55N, 15W.

_____

 

German raider ATLANTIS sank British steamer MANDASOR (5144grt) 300 miles east of the Seychilles in 4-18S, 61-00E. Two British crew were lost, one died and sixteen were taken prisoner. Two native crew were lost and 60 taken prisoner.

 

Cruisers CANBERRA, LEANDER, SYDNEY, COLOMBO were brought to the area to search, but no contact was made.

 

Cruiser LEANDER departed Colombo on the 24th and searched the area.

 

Australian light cruiser SYDNEY remained in the area for three days.

 

After searching, cruiser LEANDER refuelled at Addu Island on the 27th and arrived back at Colombo on the 30th.

_____

 

Submarine TRIUMPH, which was unable to leave her dock at Malta due to bombing on the 21st, was successfully cleared from the dock on the 24th. The submarine was able to proceed on patrol at 1830.

_____

 

Submarine UPHOLDER departed Malta to patrol off Tripoli.

_____

 

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

 

The tanker also contacted captured Norwegian tanker SANDEFJORD on the 24th.

 

 

Saturday,  25 January

 

Battleship KING GEORGE V departed Chesapeake Bay to escort convoy BHX.104, which included 24 tankers, to England.

 

On the 29th, the convoy was met by escort ships and the battleship proceeded to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Convoy FN.391 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WOLFHOUND and sloop LONDONDERRY. Patrol sloop WIDGEON joined on the 26th, and arrived at Methil on the 27th.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruisers WOLFE and CIRCASSIA departed the Clyde for Northern Patrol.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0930 to escort convoy WN.73 until after dark.

 

The ship arrived back at Scapa Flow at 2230.

_____

 

French destroyer OURAGAN departed Scapa Flow for Greenock following working up exercises.

 

The destroyer arrived at 1000/26th.

_____

 

German steamers DUISBERG (7389grt) and INGO (3950grt) departed Palermo escorted by armed merchant cruiser LAGO TANA for Tripoli. From Trapani, armed merchant cruiser CARALIS relieved LAGO TANA.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS and supporting forces arrived at Alexandria.

 

Australian light cruiser PERTH departed Alexandria the same day for Suda Bay to arrive during the morning of 26 January.

_____

 

Netlayer PROTECTOR, escorted by destroyers DAINTY and JAGUAR, departed Alexandria with the first half of the anti torpedo boom for Suda Bay.

 

On arrival at Suda Bay, the destroyers were detached to Kithera patrol.

_____

 

Convoy AS.13 departed Pireaus for Port Said, escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY and destroyers WRYNECK and VENDETTA. Minesweeper FAREHAM joined the convoy from Suda Bay, and arrived on the 27th at Port Said with destroyer WRYNECK.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY, destroyer VENDETTA, minesweeper FAREHAM arrived at Alexandria at 0700/27th.

_____

 

Convoy BS.13A departed Suez, escorted by sloop GRIMSBY. The sloop was relieved by destroyer KANDAHAR and sloop YARRA. The convoy was dispersed on 1 February.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier HERMES and light cruiser ENTERPRISE, operating as Force J, intercepted Vichy French steamer SONTAY (8917grt) and took her to Durban.

_____

 

Convoy HX.105 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA. On the 27th, submarine PORPOISE was with the convoy for that day only. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on 6 February.

 

There was no BHX.105; the merchant ships presumably going to the UK direct in BHX.104.

 

Destroyers MONTGOMERY, WILD SWAN, WITCH, corvettes CAMPANULA, PERIWINKLE, PIMPERNEL joined the convoy 6 February. The escort was detached on 9 February, and arrived at Liverpool on 9 February.

 

 

Sunday,  26 January

 

Submarine CACHALOT laid fifty mines in minefield FD.28 in 62-57-30N, 6-52-40E off Bud.

_____

 

Destroyer MAORI arrived at Scapa Flow at 1030 following refitting in the Tyne.

 

Destroyer MAORI departed Scapa Flow with destroyers DOUGLAS, COTTESMORE, MEYNELL at 1745 to meet battleship PRINCE OF WALES off Liverpool and escort her to Rosyth.

 

The destroyers were later recalled and the ships arrived back at Scapa Flow at 2300.

_____

 

Destroyer INGLEFIELD arrived at Scapa Flow at 1730 from refitting in the Nore.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1030 to escort convoy WN.74 until dark.

 

The ship returned to Scapa Flow at 2230.

_____

 

Destroyers JERSEY and JUPITER arrived at Gibraltar from England.

_____

 

Convoy OG.51 departed Liverpool, escorted by sloop LEITH and corvettes BLUEBELL, CANDYTUFT, TULIP.

 

The corvettes were detached on the 28th and the convoy was joined by destroyer WESTCOTT, which remained with the convoy until 29 January. On the 29th, destroyer VOLUNTEER joined the convoy and remained until 30 January. Corvette KINGCUP joined the convoy on the 31st and left that evening, and arrived at Gibraltar on 8 February, escorted by sloop LEITH.

_____

 

Convoy FN.392 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers COTSWOLD and WESTMINSTER and patrol sloop PUFFIN. The sloop was detached on the 27th, and arrived at Methil on the 28th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.396 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VIVIEN and WOOLSTON. Patrol sloop WIDGEON joined on the 27th, and arrived at Southend on the 28th.

_____

 

British steamer MERIONES (7557grt) was sunk by German bombing in 52-53N, 1-47E while ashore Haisborough Sands.

 

The crew were all rescued.

 

The steamer was a constructive total loss.

_____

 

Dutch steamer BEEMSTERDIJK (6869grt) was badly damaged on a mine twelve miles off Smalls bearing 290.

 

Thirty nine crew of a forty two man crew were lost.

 

The steamer anchored at 0930/27th in 51-17N, 6-23W. The steamer subsequently sank.

 

The steamer probably sank on a British mine.

_____

 

Swedish steamer BELGIA (2023grt) in convoy FN.92 was damaged by German bombing near Sunk Light Vessel.

 

The steamer drifter ashore at Frinton on the 27th on fire. Six crew were killed. Twenty survivors were rescued by destroyer COTSWOLD.

 

The steamer arrived at Harwich on 14 February in tow of two tugs. The ship was repaired and renamed EMPIRE BELL.

_____

 

In convoy FS.395, escorted by destroyer WALLACE and trawlers LORD ST VINCENT and REIDS, British steamer GWYNWOOD (1177grt) was damaged by German bombing abreast No. B3 Buoy, Barrow Deep.

 

The steamer arrived at Gravesend on the 28th leaking from near misses.

 

British steamer GRANGETOFT (975grt) was damaged by German bombing off B4 Buoy, Barrow Deep.

_____

 

British steamer CATFORD (1568grt) was damaged by a mine off Oaze Bank.

 

The steamer beached. She was refloated and arrived at Gravesend on the 27th in tow.

_____

 

British steamer SANDHILL (586grt) was damaged by a mine in 53-43N, 3-15W.

_____

 

On 26/27 January, German minelayers TANNENBURG, BRUMMER, KONIGIN LUISE, HANSESTADT DANZIG escorted by torpedo boats T.12 and FALKE and minesweepers M.15 and M.22 from Stavanger laid mines in defensive minefield POMMERN off Norway.

 

On 27/28 January, the same minelayers, escorted by torpedo boats T.12 and T.5 laid minefield ODER.

_____

 

Submarine UPHOLDER unsuccessfully attacked a steamer off Kerkenah.

_____

 

U.105 sank Dutch steamer HEEMSKERCK (6516grt), which was straggling from convoy SL.61.

 

The steamer was already damaged and burning from German air attack on the 20th when the submarine torpedoed her.

_____

 

Convoy SLG 1 departed Freetown with troopships KENYA (9890grt) and Polish SOBIESKI (11,030grt) escorted by light cruiser DUNEDIN and destroyers VELOX and VIDETTE.

 

On 2 February, corvettes GERANIUM and JONQUIL joined, and arrived at Gibraltar on 5 February with the entire escort force.

 

 

Monday,  27 January

 

Light cruiser KENYA and destroyers KELLY and KASHMIR departed Plymouth to sweep for the German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER.

 

The light cruiser arrived at Greenock on the 31st.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0600 for Liverpool to provide air escort for the battleship PRINCE OF WALES to Rosyth.

_____

 

Convoy FN.393 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers QUORN, VANITY, VERSATILE, and arrived at Methil on the 29th.

_____

 

Convoy FS.397 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers VALOROUS andVIMIERA, and arrived at Southend on the 30th.

 

Convoy FS.398 was cancelled.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawler DAROGAH (221grt, T/Skipper J. Harrison RNR) was sunk on a mine eight cables 230° from No. 3 Sea Reach Buoy in the Thames Estuary.

_____

 

British steamer RINGWALL (407grt) was sunk on a mine in the Irish Sea, south of the Isle of Man.

_____

 

British trawler CAERPHILLY CASTLE (275grt) was sunk by German bombing in 52-35N, 12-00W.

 

Three crew were lost.

_____

 

British barge HEDON (73grt) was lost.

_____

 

Light cruiser AJAX departed Alexandria for Suda Bay to join light cruiser PERTH there.

 

Light cruiser AJAX carried a quantity of supplies to establish the Fleet Air Arm aerodrome at Maleme.

_____

 

Australian destroyer VOYAGER departed Alexandria to relieve destroyer DEFENDER on patrol in the Inshore Patrol.

_____

 

Tobruk Harbour was opened to British sea traffic.

 

Troopship ULSTER PRINCE (3791grt) arrived and embarked prisoners at Tobruk. She departed the morning of 28 January for Alexandria.

 

British ships CINGALESE PRINCE, ROSAURA, CHAKLA arrived at Tobruk and unloaded personnel and stores. The disembarkation was hampered by a severe sandstorm.

_____

 

Destroyers FORESIGHT, JERSEY, ENCOUNTER departed Gibraltar to patrol west of Cape Spartel.

 

Destroyer FOXHOUND departed Gibraltar escorting steamer NORTHERN PRINCE until dark. The destroyer then joined the Cape Spartel patrol.

_____

 

Convoy HG.52 departed Gibraltar.

 

On 20 February, destroyer WINCHELSEA joined the convoy and escorted it to to Liverpool, arriving on 15 February.

 

There is no information on the other escorts of the convoy.

_____

 

Swordfish of 830 Squadron from Malta sank German steamer INGO (3950grt) off Cape Bon in 34-27N, 14-11E.

 

Italian torpedo boat ORIONE arrived on the scene and picked up survivors.

 

 

Tuesday,  28 January

 

Light cruiser NAIAD on blockade duty sighted German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU at 0649 briefly to the east of Iceland. However, the German ships turned away at high speed and were gone before a definite sighting was made.

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE and destroyers BEDOUIN, TARTAR, MATABELE, PUNJABI were ordered at 0738 to join cruiser NAIAD.

 

At 1601, both of destroyer TARTAR's steering units were out of action.

_____

 

Battleship PRINCE OF WALES departed Liverpool for Rosyth.

 

Light cruiser NIGERIA and destroyers INGLEFIELD, MAORI, NIZAM departed Scapa Flow at 0900/29th to meet battleship PRINCE OF WALES, escorted by destroyer HIGHLANDER and anti-aircraft ship CURACOA off Cape Wrath.

 

The ships arrived at Rosyth on the 30th at 1445.

 

Light cruiser NIGERIA and destroyers INGLEFIELD, MAORI, NIZAM back arrived at Scapa Flow at 0200/31st.

_____

 

Convoy OB.279 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers ARROW, MISTRAL, OURAGAN, corvettes AUBRETIA and HOLLYHOCK, anti-submarine trawler KING SOL. Destroyer CHURCHILL joined on the 29th. The destroyers were detached on 1 February and the remainder of the escort on 2 February when the convoy dispersed.

_____

 

Convoy FN.394 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer WALLACE and sloop FLEETWOOD, and arrived at Methil on the 30th.

_____

 

Corvette BLUEBELL was in a collision with Destroyer WESTCOTT in the Western Approaches.

 

Tug SALVONIA stood by the damaged corvette, which proceeded to Londonderry accompanied by destroyer WESTCOTT.

 

Corvette BLUEBELL departed Londonderry on the 30th for Liverpool, but had to shelter from weather at Belfast on 4 and 5 February. The corvette arrived at Lierpool on 5 February. Repairs were completed at Cammell Laird on 4 March.

 

The damage to the destroyer was slight and was repaired at Liverpool on the 29th.

_____

 

British tanker WAR PINDARI, which had come from the Clyde, departed Scapa Flow at 1000 escorted by destroyers NAPIER and SOMALI.

 

The tanker proceeded to the Skaalefjord, Faroes, arriving on the 29th, to refuel destroyers operating at sea.

_____

 

Italian submarine TORELLI sank British steamer URLA (5198grt), which was straggling from convoy HX.102, in 54-54N, 19W.

 

All the crew were rescued.

_____

 

British steamer PANDION (1944grt) was sunk by German bombing in 55-34N, 10-22W.

 

The steamer anchored off Loch Swilly. She was grounded and later abandoned. The steamer broke in two due to heavy weather.

_____

 

British steamer GRELROSA (4574grt) was sunk by German bombing in 55-12N, 15-41W.

 

Five crew were lost.

_____

 

British steamer oil refinery TAFELBERG (13,640grt) was badly damaged on a mine in 51-21N, 3-16W.

She was beached at Porthkerry, refloated and taken to Whitmore Bay, then reconstructed as a tanker and renamed EMPIRE HERITAGE.

_____

 

British steamer BARON RENFREW (3635grt) was damaged by German bombing in 55-50N, 10-18W.

 

The steamer had engine room damage. Corvette CANDYTUFT stood by the damaged steamer. Sloop LEITH was also in the escort of this convoy. The steamer was taken in tow for Loch Lathaich and anchored about 7 February.

 

Steamer BARON RENFREW was taken to the Clyde under tow arriving on 25 February. She was later taken to Glasgow.

_____

 

Greek steamer KATE (5197grt) was sunk on a mine in Greek waters N. Akres, Griva.

_____

 

Submarine RORQUAL laid 29 mines two miles off Sansego Island and twenty one mines off Ancona.

 

On the 31st, Italian torpedo boat FRANCESCO STOCCO was mined off Fiume on the first barrage. The boat broke into two parts and was towed into Fiume on the 27th and 10 February.

 

On 27 February, Italian steamer ISCHIA (5101grt) was mined off Monfredonia on the second barrage.

_____

 

Submarine UPHOLDER damaged steamer DUISBERG (7389grt) off Cape Bon.

 

Italian torpedo boat ORIONE with INGO's survivors stood by DUISBERG until a tug arrived. The steamer was towed into Tripoli.

_____

 

Greek submarine PAPANICOLIS unsuccessfully attacked a large tanker off Brindisi.

_____

 

Light cruiser AJAX and Australian light cruiser PERTH were operating in the Aegean.

_____

 

Convoy AN.14 departed Port Said for Piraeus, escorted by corvette GLOXINIA.

 

Bad weather prevented the Alexandria section from sailing.

 

British steamer LEVERNBANK (5150grt) and tanker DESMOULEA (8120grt) departed Alexandria on the 29th, escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and corvette PEONY, to overtake the convoy.

 

British steamer ETHIOPIA (5574grt), carrying RAF personnel for Crete and Greece, departed Port Said during the morning of 29 January, escorted by destroyer HASTY to overtake the convoy and pass through Kaso Straits during the night of 30/31 January.

 

The Port Said section was delayed by weather and the Alexandria section and steamer ETHIOPIA continued independently.

 

Destroyers DAINTY and JAGUAR swept the Kaso Strait prior to the convoy's passage.

 

At daylight on the 31st, anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyer JAGUAR joined convoy AN.14. Destroyer DAINTY remained with the two Alexandria ships.

 

Light cruisers AJAX and PERTH provided cover for all these movements.

_____

 

Submarine TRUANT departed Alexandria to patrol off Benghazi.

_____

 

Netlayer PROTECTOR was ordered to sail from Suda Bay to collect prisoners at Tobruk and take them to Alexandria.

 

The vessel sailed from Suda Bay during the morning of 29 January to arrive at Tobruk on the 30th. She was escorted by destroyer JAGUAR to latitude 35N.

 

The netlayer arrived at Tobruk on the 30th.

_____

 

Battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, destroyers FORESIGHT, ENCOUNTER, FIREDRAKE, JERSEY, joined later by destroyers FOXHOUND and JUPITER, departed Gibraltar to exercise.

 

That evening, destroyer FIREDRAKE attacked a submarine contact.

 

On 29 December, battlecruiser RENOWN entered Gibraltar, followed later in the afternoon by aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL.

 

 

Wednesday,  29 January

 

Destroyers INTREPID and IMPULSIVE arrived at Scapa Flow at 1045 from the Humber.

_____

 

Destroyer LEGION departed Scapa Flow for Greenock to refit radio direction finding equipment.

 

The destroyer arrived on the 30th.

_____

 

Destroyer ECLIPSE arrived at Scapa Flow from Rosyth after boiler cleaning.

_____

 

Convoy FN.395 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers SOUTHDOWN, VIVIEN, WOOLSTON, and arrived at Methil on the 31st.

_____

 

Convoy FS.399 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers WESTMINSTER and WOLFHOUND. Destroyer PYTCHLEY joined on the 30th, and arrived at Southend on the 31st.

_____

 

Destroyer COTTESMORE departed Scapa Flow at 1700 for Aberdeen to escort steamer BEN MY CHREE.

 

The steamer arrived at Scapa Flow at 1030/30th. The destroyer had become separated during the night.

 

At 1300/31st, the steamer departed Scapa Flow, escorted by destroyer COTTESMORE, for Aberdeen.

 

The destroyer arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1100 on 1 February.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND departed Buenas Aires to patrol off South America.

_____

 

Light cruiser NEPTUNE departed Gibraltar for Scapa Flow arriving on 5 February.

_____

 

German raider KORMORAN sank British steamer EURYLOCHUS (5723grt) carrying crated aircraft to Takoradi at 8-15N, 25-04W.

 

Fifteen crew were lost and thirty eight were taken prisoner. Twenty eight survivors were picked up by Spanish steamer MONTE TEIDE (6202grt).

 

British steamer AFRIC STAR (11,900grt) was sunk by German raider KORMORAN at 8N, 25W, four hundred miles west of St Vincent.

 

All crew were made prisoners of war.

 

Heavy cruiser NORFOLK was sent to protect SL convoy routes.

 

Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE was sent to the EURYLOCHUS sinking area.

_____

 

U.93 sank British steamer KING ROBERT (5886grt), British tanker W.B. WALKER (10,468grt), Greek steamer AIKATERINI (4929grt) from convoy SC.19 in 56N, 15-23W.

 

All crew were rescued from steamer KING ROBERT.

 

Four crew were lost on the tanker. The ship broke in two. Destroyer ANTHONY and anti-submarine trawler ARAB assisted tanker W.B. WALKER. The bow was sunk by destroyer ANTHONY.

 

All crew were rescued by the Greek steamer.

_____

 

U.94 sank British steamer WEST WALES (4354grt), which was straggling from convoy SC.19, in 56N, 15-23W.

 

Sixteen crew were lost on the steamer.

_____

 

U.106 sank Egyptian steamer SESOSTRIS (2962grt), which was straggling from convoy SC.19, in 56N, 15-23W.

_____

 

British steamer WESTMORELAND (8967grt) was damaged on a mine three miles 270° from Bar Light Vessel.

 

The steamer abandoned by the crew.

 

The steamer was assisted by destroyer WILD SWAN, barrage balloon vessel VIGILANT, rescue tugs ALFRED, COBURG, SLONE, WAPPING, ALEXANDER.

 

The ship was later reboarded. The steamer arrived at Liverpool on the 31st in tow.

_____

 

Submarine UPRIGHT departed Malta to patrol the Tunisian coast route from Sicily to Tripoli.

_____

 

Minesweeper STOKE, minesweeping off Tobruk, lost her sweeping gear.

 

Minesweeper HUNTLEY relieved the minesweeper off Tobruk.

_____

 

British steamers DEVONSHIRE and DILWARA, formerly of convoy US.008/1, departed Port Said escorted by destroyer WRYNECK.

 

On arrival at Haifa, the destroyer returned to Alexandria.

 

 

Thursday,  30 January

 

Destroyer BOREAS arrived at Scapa Flow from the Nore to join the Home Fleet.

_____

 

Submarine SUNFISH attacked an escorted convoy off Kristiansand. The submarine unsuccessfully fired torpedoes against a tanker.

_____

 

German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU refuelled at sea from German tanker ADRIA (6358grt).

 

Following the refuelling, the German ships ran the Denmark Strait on 2 February.

 

On 5 February, the battleships refueled from German tanker SCHLETTSTADT (8028grt) south of Cape Farewell.

_____

 

Derna was captured by the British.

_____

 

The British Suez Canal Company's Dredger was sunk by German bombing in Lake Timsah.

_____

 

Submarine UPHOLDER attacked a convoy of Italian steamers MOTIA (2473grt) and DELFIN (5322grt), which departed Palermo on the 27th for Tripoli, unsuccessfully in 32-55N, 12-41E, thirty miles north of Zavia.

 

The submarine was counter-attacked by convoy escort torpedo boat ALDEBARAN.

_____

 

Destroyer VIMIERA, which departed Rosyth on the 27th, was damaged by German aircraft machine gunning while joining convoy FS.397 in the North Sea.

 

The damage caused no time out of service and reach Rosyth on 2 February after the convoy escort.

_____

 

U.94 sank British steamer RUSHPOOL (5125grt), which was straggling from convoy SC.19, in 56N, 15-42W.

 

The entire crew of forty men was rescued by destroyer ANTELOPE.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer AUSTVARD (3677grt) was sunk by German bombing 130 miles west of Galway Island.

 

Twenty three crew of a twenty eight man crew were lost.

_____

 

Belgian steamer OLYMPIER (5266grt) was badly damaged by German bombing 250 miles southwest of Ireland.

 

The steamer was attacked again on the 31st in 56-04N, 11W.

_____

 

German steamer KONIGSBERG (2530grt) was sunk on a mine near ELBE I lightship.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier EAGLE was undocked and proceeded to sea for exercises escorted by destroyers GREYHOUND, GRIFFIN, JUNO, two other destroyers.

 

The British ships returned to Alexandria the next day.

_____

 

Convoy HX.106 departed Halifax, escorted by battleship RAMILLIES and corvette COLLINGWOOD. The corvette was detached the next day.

 

Convoy BHX.106 departed Bermuda on the 28th escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser MALOJA. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.106 on 2 February and the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

The battleship was detached on 10 February. On 12 February, destroyers BURNHAM, MALCOLM, SALADIN, SARDONYX, SKATE and corvette LA MALOUINE joined the escort. Destroyer SALADIN departed the escort on 14 February and destroyers BURNHAM and MALCOLM on 15 February. On 15 February, corvette KINGCUP and anti-submarine trawlers NORTHERN PRIDE and VIZALMA joined the escort. Destroyer SARDONYX and corvettes KINGCUP and LA MALOUINE were detached and the remainder on 18 February, and arrived at Liverpool on 18 February.

_____

 

Convoy SL.64 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser ARAWA to 17 February and corvettes ASPHODEL and CALENDULA to 2 February.

 

Destroyer HARVESTER, sloop FLEETWOOD, corvettes ARBUTUS, CAMELLIA, ERICA joined on 17 February. Destroyer WOLVERINE joined on 18 February. All were detached on 20 February. Anti submarine trawler YORK CITY joined on 22 February, and arrived on 22 February.

_____

 

Convoy SLS.64 departed Freetown.

 

On 12 February, the convoy dispersed when attacked by German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER.

 

 

Friday,  31 January

 

Destroyer ZULU arrived at Scapa Flow at 1730 from Rosyth on completion of refitting.

_____

 

Destroyer MEYNELL departed Scapa Flow at 2300 on completion of working up.

 

The destroyer arrived at Rosyth at 1100 on 1 February, en route to the Nore.

_____

 

Convoy OB.280 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers BEVERLEY and HARVESTER, corvettes ARBUTUS, CAMELLIA, ERICA, anti-submarine yacht PHILANTE, ocean boarding vessels CAVINA, CORINTHIAN, CRISPIN. The ocean boarding vessels were detached on 3 February and the remainder of the escort on 4 February when the convoy was dispersed.

_____

 

Convoy FN.396 departed Southend, escorted by destroyers VALOROUS and VIMIERA, and arrived at Methil on 2 February.

 

Convoy FN.397 did not sail.

_____

 

Convoy FS.400 departed Methil, escotted by destroyers VANITY and VORTIGERN, and arrived at Southend on 2 February.

_____

 

Convoy FS.401 departed Methil, and arrived at Southend on 2 February.

_____

 

Italian submarine DANDOLO sank British steamer PIZARRO (1367grt) in 49-03N, 19-40W.

 

Twenty three crew of a twenty nine man crew were missing.

_____

 

British steamer ROWANBANK (5159grt) was sunk by German bombing from convoy SL.62 in 57-00N, 16-30W.

_____

 

Naval collier BOTUSK (3091grt) and Dutch steamer EMMAPLEIN (5436grt) both in convoy HX.103 were sunk on British mines six miles northeast of North Rona Island.

 

Three crew were killed and one was missing on the British ship. Corvette VERBENA rescued eleven survivors.

 

Thirty four crew were rescued from the Dutch ship by cable ship ARIEL and two corvettes.

 

German submarines were suspected and anti-submarine whalers BUTTERMERE and WINDERMERE were sent from Stornoway to investigate.

 

Aircraft and later destroyers BEAGLE and DOUGLAS, which departed Scapa Flow at 1515, were also involved in the search.

 

The destroyers arrived back at 1800 when it was determined the ships had struck mines.

_____

 

Dutch balloon barrage vessel SATURNUS (200grt) was damaged in a mining.

 

The vessel was abandoned and went ashore at Maughold Head. The Dutch ship was later refloated and arrived at Douglas.

_____

 

British steamer SPEYBANK (5154grt) was taken in prize in the Indian Ocean by German raider ATLANTIS.

 

The steamer was sailed to Japan.

_____

 

British Force H departed Gibraltar with battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruiser SHEFFIELD, ten destroyers for Operations PICKET and RESULT.

 

Group 1 was battlecruiser RENOWN, battleship MALAYA, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruiser SHEFFIELD.

 

Group 2 was destroyers FEARLESS (D.8), FOXHOUND, FORESIGHT, FURY, FIREDRAKE, JERSEY.

 

Group 3 was destroyers DUNCAN (D.13), ISIS, ENCOUNTER, JUPITER.

 

Group 4 was tanker ORANGELEAF and anti-submarine trawlers ARCTIC RANGER and HAARLEM.

_____

 

Minesweeper HUNTLEY (Lt Cdr E. S. Cotsell RNR) was lost en route to Derna, thirty miles west of Mersa Matruh.

 

Cotsell (dying of wounds on 2 February) and twelve crew were killed in the minesweeper. Five crew were missing. Twenty six crew were wounded.

_____

 

British hospital ship DORSETSHIRE (9717grt) was damaged by German bombing in the Gulf of Sollum.

 

The ship attacked again on 1 February.

_____

 

Egyptian steamer SOLLUM (1290grt) was bombed near Sidi Barrani and was run aground.

_____

 

Destroyers GREYHOUND and GRIFFIN were ordered to depart Alexandria and proceed at 2200 to Port Said. The destroyers were then to continue to Aden for escort duties.

 

While leaving harbour, destroyer GREYHOUND collided with battleship WARSPITE.

 

The destroyer was docked for the damage. She was replaced by destroyer JUNO.

 

Battleship WARSPITE's bulge was damaged. Emergency repairs were completed at Alexandria on 1 February.

_____

 

British tanker DESMOULEA (8120grt) was damaged by an Italian S boat in 35-20N, 25-34E.

 

The tanker was towed to Suda Bay by destroyer DAINTY, arriving at 0800 on 1 February. The cargo was discharged into British tanker EOCENE (4216grt).

 

The tanker arrived at Suez on 6 May for use as a temporary storage vessel, pending repairs.

 

Corvette PEONY with convoy AN.14 was missed by aircraft torpedoes forty miles from Suda Bay.

_____

 

Italian tug URSUS (407grt), on passage from Lissa to Curzola, was sunk by Submarine RORQUAL gunfire.

 

The tug was towing barge GM 239 which was also damaged. The barge was later towed into Dubrovnik.

_____

 

Convoy SC.21 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser MONTCLARE, which was detached on 13 February. On 13 February, corvettes FLEUR DE LYS and TULIP joined the convoy. On 14 February, destroyers CALDWELL, VANOC, VOLUNTEER joined. Sloop ABERDEEN joined on 15 February. On 16 February destroyer CALDEWELL and sloop ABERDEEN were detached and on 17 February, anti-submarine trawlers HUDDERSFIELD TOWN and YORK CITY joined. The escort was detached on 18 February, the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 18 February.

_____

 

Light cruiser DAUNTLESS arrived at Penang.

_____

 

New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER departed Colombo on patrol.

 

 

January, miscellaneous

 

Two Greek destroyers swept in the Adriatic. Later four Greek destroyers bombarded Valona on the report of two Italian light cruisers being there.            

 

on to Naval events, FEBRUARY 1941
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