Background Events - January-May 1941
Cape Matapan, Battles for Greece & Crete,
Capture of U.110, Enigma codes, Loss of 'Hood',
sinking of 'Bismarck'
Saturday, 1 February
Destroyers SOMALI, ECLIPSE, ESKIMO, NAPIER departed
Scapa Flow at 0830 to meet battleship KING GEORGE V in 62N, 25W at 1600/3rd
and escort her to Scapa Flow.
Destroyer NAPIER was detached from the escort and
arrived at Greenock at 1400/6th.
The battleship and the three destroyers arrived at
Scapa Flow at 1300/6th.
Convoy OB.281 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers MONTGOMERY, WILD SWAN,
WITCH and corvettes CAMPANULA, PERIWINKLE, PIMPERNEL. The escorts were
detached on the 5th when the convoy dispersed.
Destroyer KEPPEL departed Scapa Flow at 0200 to escort armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA from the Butt of Lewis to her patrol position.
Following this duty, the destroyer arrived back at
Scapa Flow at 1520/3rd.
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1300 to escort convoy WN.77 until dark.
The ship returned to Scapa Flow at 2300.
Submarine SEALION unsuccessfully attacked a German
convoy off Stadlandet in 62-11N, 5-24E.
German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER departed Brest to raid west of Biscay.
U.48 sank Greek steamer NICOLAOS ANGELOS (4351grt)
in 59N, 17W.
The Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria as a diversion for operations by Force H in
Light cruiser ORION, anti-aircraft cruiser
BONAVENTURE, destroyers ILEX, HERO, HEREWARD departed Alexandria at 0300.
After leaving harbour, the destroyers proceeded to
the northeast to sweep the waters around Rhodes on the night of 1/1 February. The destroyers were then to proceed to
to arrive by 0700/2nd.
The cruisers proceeded past Kaso
Strait and then turned towards Suda Bay
and met the three destroyers at 0430/2nd.
Battleships WARSPITE and BARHAM, aircraft carrier
EAGLE, destroyers JERVIS, JUNO, JANUS,
NUBIAN, MOHAWK, DIAMOND, DEFENDER, WRYNECK, VENDETTA, VAMPIRE.
Light cruiser AJAX, Australian light cruiser PERTH, destroyer JAGUAR departed Suda
at 2200/1st and joined the Main Force.
When these ships joined the Main Force, destroyer WRYNECK
was detached to return to Alexandria, via the Western Desert.
Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE was detached to
return to Alexandria due to her shortage of ammunition.
At 1800/2nd, light cruisers ORION, PERTH, AJAX with destroyers ILEX and HEREWARD were detached to
cover the movements of destroyers DEFENDER and DECOY.
Destroyer HERO was detached from the ORION force to
the Main Force.
RAF personnel were embarked on destroyer DEFENDER
which was proceed to Malta for refitting. The destroyer arrived at 0800/3rd.
Destroyer DECOY was brought out from Malta, joining the Main Force at 1100/3rd.
At 0900, Vice Admiral, Light Forces rejoined the
Main Force. At 0930, light cruisers AJAX and PERTH were detached for duty in the Aegean and to cover convoys. Destroyers VAMPIRE and VENDETTA were detached
to fuel at Suda
and then escort convoy AS.14 to Alexandria and Port Said.
At 1800/3rd, light cruiser ORION with defects and
destroyer ILEX with her anti-submarine gear out of action were detached to
At 1800, destroyer HASTY and corvettes HYACINTH and
SALVIA departed Suda Bay escorting British steamers ETHIOPIA and LEVERNBANK.
Destroyer DAINTY, after towing tanker DESMOULEA to
departed Suda Bay
at 1400 to join convoy AN.14 before dark.
Convoy BN.14 departed Aden, escorted by light cruiser CALEDON, destroyer KINGSTON, sloops
SHOREHAM. The convoy was dispersed on the 3rd.
Sunday, 2 February
Light cruisers ARETHUSA and AURORA and destroyers
MATABELE, TARTAR, INTREPID, IMPULSIVE departed Scapa Flow at 0830 for minelaying operation EA.
Mines were to be laid at Fro Havet, but bad weather
prevented the operation. The ships, less light cruiser AURORA, arrived back
at Scapa Flow at 1000/3rd. Light cruiser AURORA arrived at 1100.
The operation was cancelled and destroyers INTREPID
and IMPULSIVE departed Scapa
Flow for Immingham on the
Light cruiser DIDO, refitting in the Tyne since 17 December, arrived at
Scapa Flow for operations.
Light cruiser NAIAD departed Scapa Flow for refitting in the Tyne.
Destroyers BRIGHTON and LANCASTER departed
independently during the evening after practices for Loch Alsh.
The destroyers arrived at 0900 and 1300,
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1430 to cover convoy WN.78 as far as the
latitude of Buchan Ness.
The ship returned to Scapa Flow at 2300.
Convoy FN.398 departed Southend, escorted by
destroyers PYTCHLEY, WESTMINSTER, WOLFHOUND, and arrived at Methil on the 4th.
Convoy FS.402 departed Methil, and arrived at
Southend on the 4th.
Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK was docked at Leith for collision damages.
Submarine SUNFISH unsuccessfully attacked a German
steamer off Kristiansand.
Naval trawler ALMOND (505grt, T/Skipper A. E.
Johnson RNR) was sunk on a mine off Falmouth.
Johnson, T/Skipper J. C. Cutter RNR, seventeen ratings were lost in the trawler.
British steamer THE SULTAN (824grt) was sunk by
German bombing in 51-43N, 1-26E.
One crewman and one gunner were lost. Trawler LORD
ST VINCENT rescued twelve survivors.
British steamer WAZIRISTAN (5135grt) was damaged by a near miss of German
bombing in 61-21N, 11-12W.
Anti-submarine trawler LORD MIDDLETON stood by the
Destroyer DOUGLAS departed Scapa Flow at 1215/3rd to assist the steamer.
The steamer was damaged by a near miss. She was
taken in tow by tug BANDIT on the 6th, escorted by destroyer DOUGLAS.
The destroyer was ordered to proceed to Skaalefjord
for refuelling. She arrived at daylight on the 7th and departed after
refuelling at 1440 to return to her escort duty.
The steamer arrived at Kirkwall on the 10th. The destroyer arrived at
Scapa Flow at 0900. At 1330/10th, destroyer DOUGLAS departed
Scapa Flow for Londonderry to
operate in the Western Approaches.
Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL launched eight torpedo
planes against the hydroelectric San Chiara Ula Dam on Lake
Tirso in Sardinia, Operation PICKET.
No success was obtained in destroying the dam or
One Swordfish of 810 Squadron was shot down and its
crew of Lt M. J. A. O'Sullivan, Sub Lt (A) R. B. Knight, Petty Officer L. C.
Eccleshall made prisoners of war.
A Skua of 800 Squadron force landed in the sea. Sub
Lt A. M. Tritton and his crewman were rescued.
Operation RESULT, bombardment of Genoa, was cancelled due to bad weather.
Force H returned to Gibraltar on the 4th.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE, operating in the Red
Sea, was found to have
half of her starboard bracket bush missing.
The cruiser could operate on only one propeller
shaft. A replacement was sent from Malta on anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE in March.
Netlayer PROTECTOR departed Alexandria with the second half of the anti torpedo boom for
The netlayer was to pass the Kithera Straits during
the night of 3/4 February.
Submarines TETRARCH and ROVER departed Alexandria and Malta, respectively, for patrols off Tripoli.
Force K, aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE and heavy
cruiser HAWKINS were operating off Italian Somaliland
in the area of German armed merchant cruiser ATLANTIS.
Aircraft from aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE dropped
mines in Mogadishu harbour.
After the mining, nine Albacore aircraft attacked
shore installations at Mogadishu in Operation BREACH.
Heavy cruiser SHROPSHIRE and light cruisers CERES and COLOMBO were blockading the port of
Norwegian tanker KETTY BROVIG (7031grt) was
captured by German armed merchant cruiser ATLANTIS north of Madagascar.
On 4 March, the tanker was intercepted by British
warships off Italian
Somaliland and scuttled
Australian light cruiser SYDNEY arrived in
During the night of 2/3 February, Italian
destroyers PANTERA, TIGRE, LEON from Massawa made an unsuccessful attack on a
Convoy in the Red Sea.
Convoy BS.14 departed Suez. The convoy was joined by light cruiser CALEDON and sloops FLAMINGO and INDUS. The convoy was dispersed on the 8th.
Monday, 3 February
Minesweeping trawler ARCTIC TRAPPER (352grt,
T/Skipper L. M. Harvey RNR) was sunk by German bombing off Ramsgate.
Harvey, T/A/Lt R. S. Meirick RNVR, fifteen ratings
were lost on the trawler.
Convoy OB.282 departed Liverpool, escorted by
destroyers ACHATES, ANTELOPE, ANTHONY, GEORGETOWN, sloop FLEETWOOD, corvette
HEATHER, anti-submarine trawlers AYRSHIRE and LADY MADELEINE. On the 5th,
trawler LADY MADELEINE was detached. Corvette PICOTEE joined on the 6th.
Destroyers ACHATES, ANTELOPE, ANTHONY, sloop FLEETWOOD, trawler AYRSHIRE were
detached on the 7th. On the 8th destroyer GEORGETOWN and corvette HEATHER were detached when the convoy
Convoy FS.403 departed Methil, and arrived at
Southend on the 5th.
Motor anti-submarine boat MA/SB.12 was mined off
Milford Haven. The boat sank in tow on the 6th.
Naval drifter MIDAS (89grt, Skipper H. Holden RNR) was sunk in a collision off Dungeness.
Destroyer WILD SWAN, corvette ANEMONE, minesweeper
FITZROY departed Loch Ewe for Londonderry for
Destroyer WILD SWAN and corvette ANEMONE joined
destroyers WITCH and MONTGOMERY, corvettes CAMPANULA, PERIWINKLE, PIMPERNEL
to escort convoy HX.105.
The destroyers were detached en route to escort
U.107 sank British steamer EMPIRE CITIZEN
(4683grt), from convoy OB.279, in 58-12N, 23-22W.
Of sixty nine crew, two gunners, twelve passengers,
only four crew and one gunner were rescued.
U.107 badly damaged Ocean boarding vessel CRISPIN
(5051grt, A/Commander B. Moloney DSO RNR), after being detached from convoy OB.280, in
The armed boarding vessel had been detached from
the convoy with armed yacht PHILANTE, corvette ARBUTUS, British steamer
Moloney, T/Lt B. W. Freeman RNVR, Midshipman R. H.
Holmes RNR, T/A/Sub Lt (E) W. Mulcahy RNVR, T/Lt (E) N. B.
Smith-Cross, Lt Cdr S. T. Whiteside RNR, thirteen ratings were missing and one rating was
Lt G. L.
Fraser RNR, RAF flight officers G. Henderson and R. W. G.
Holdsworth were wounded on the vessel.
The vessel sank on the 4th.
British steamer DIONE II (2660grt) in convoy SC.20
was damaged by German bombing in 55-40N, 14-23W.
The steamer was sunk the next day in a submarine
British steamer CALYX (212grt) was damaged on a
mine eight miles northeast of Bar Light Vessel.
The steamer arrived at Liverpool on the 3rd with engine damage.
During the night of 3/4 February, minefield RUGEN
was laid by German minelayers TANNENBERG and BRUMMER, escorted by the 1st and
2nd Torpedo Boat Flotilla and torpedo boat FALKE off the Norwegian coast.
Same force composition as minefield began on 26
Convoy AS.14 of six ships, two of which were
British, departed Piraeus escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY and corvettes SALVIA and HYACINTH.
Destroyers VAMPIRE and VENDETTA relieved the
corvettes on the 4th, and arrived at Alexandria with cruiser COVENTRY and destroyer VAMPIRE on the 6th. The Port Said section was escorted by destroyer VENDETTA which
arrived at Alexandria on the 7th.
Destroyer VENDETTA, en route from Port Said to Alexandria, developed a mechanical defect requiring ten days
Convoy ASF.14 of British steamers LANARKSHIRE, ETHIOPIA,
departed Piraeus escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyers HASTY and DAINTY, and arrived at
Alexandria on the 6th.
On the 1st, Italian steamers MULTEDO (1130grt),
GIOVINEZZA (2362grt), UTILITAS (5342grt) departed Benghazi for Tripoli escorted by torpedo boats CIGNO and CENTAURO.
Italian steamer MULTEDO was lost in the Gulf of
Sirte in probably a marine assident. Attacks by submarine TRUANT did not
account for the loss. Three torpedoes fired by submarine TRUANT missed
steamers GIOVENEZZA and UTILITAS.
A Swordfish of 815 Squadron from Maleme forced
landed on Antikythera Island. Lt A. W. B. Drayson and Lt J. A. Caldecott-Smith were uninjured.
British steamer DERWENTHALL (4934grt) was damaged
by a mine in the Suez Canal.
The steamer sustained no casualties.
The rudder was blown off. The steamer arrived at
Suez on 28 March in tow. Steamer DERWENTHALL was towed
to Calcutta for repairs.
Heavy cruisers NORFOLK and DORSETSHIRE departed Freetown to search for German armed merchant cruiser
Convoy HX.107 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser LACONIA and corvettes MAYFLOWER and SNOWBERRY. The
corvettes were detached the next day and the armed merchant cruiser on the
16th. On the 17th, corvette HOLLYHOCK joined the convoy. On the 18th,
destroyer SABRE joined the escort and on the 20th, destroyers ARROW and
WANDERER and corvette NASTURTIUM joined. Destroyers ARROW, SABRE, WANDERER
and corvettes HOLLYHOCK and NASTURTIUM were detached on the 20th, and arrived
at Liverpool on the 20th.
Tuesday, 4 February
The 1st Minelaying Squadron with minelayers
SOUTHERN PRINCE, AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS, PORT QUEBEC departed Loch Alsh on the 4th to lay
minefield SN.7A, escorted by destroyers BRIGHTON, LANCASTER, ST
Light cruiser NIGERIA was the escort for the operation.
Battleship RODNEY and destroyers INGLEFIELD,
ELECTRA, ECHO, BRILLIANT departed at 2105 from Scapa Flow to cover.
En route to the operation, minelayer MENESTHEUS
exploded a mine nearby damaging her engines. This mine was twenty miles off
the western end of minefield SN.3. There was no hull damage and no
Minelayer MENESTHEUS was taken in tow by minelayer
AGAMEMNON and arrived at Loch Alsh at 1115/7th.
The mines were laid on the 6th.
Battleship RODNEY, light cruiser NIGERIA, destroyers INGLEFIELD, ECHO, ELECTRA, BRILLIANT arrived at Scapa Flow at 1530/7th.
Minelayer TEVIOTBANK, escorted by destroyer
MEYNELL, departed Immingham on the 3rd. The minelayer laid minefield BS.50
off the East coast of England on the 4th.
This operation had been cancelled several times
prior due to weather. The operation was first attempted on 18 January, when
the minelayer and destroyer IMPULSIVE departed Immingham. Bad weather forced
cancellation and the minelayer arrived at Rosyth and the destroyer returned
to Immingham. On 24 January, minelayer TEVIOTBANK, escorted by destroyer
WITHERINGTON, departed, but again was forced to return. On 30 January, the
minelayer, escorted by destroyer QUORN, was forced to turn back from Spurn
Point due to weather.
Polish destroyer PIORUN departed Scapa Flow for
Greenock at 1100
to form part of the escort for convoy WS.6.
The destroyer arrived at 2000/5th.
Convoy FN.399 departed Southend, escorted by
destroyers HOLDERNESS and WOOLSTON. Corvette SNAPDRAGON joined on the 6th,
and arrived at Methil on the 6th.
Convoy FN.400 departed Southend, escorted by
destroyers VANITY, VORTIGERN, WORCESTER, and arrived at Methil on the 6th.
Naval drifter IMBAT (92grt) was sunk in a collision
at Scapa Flow.
Minesweepers KELLETT and LEDA collided at Aberdeen.
There was very minor damage to minesweeper KELLETT.
Minesweeper LEDA was repaired at Leith from 4 February to 9 June.
British steamer GWYNWOOD (1177grt) was sunk by a
parachute mine in the Humber anchorage.
Nine crew and two gunners were lost.
U.52 sank Norwegian steamer RINGHORN (1298grt) in
Fourteen crew were lost. Five crew were rescued.
U.93 sank British steamer DIONE II (2660grt), which
was straggling behind convoy SC.20, in 55-50N, 10-30W.
Only one crewman was rescued.
U.123 sank British steamer EMPIRE ENGINEER
(5358grt), which was last seen 2 February straggling behind convoy SC.20,
west of Ireland.
Greek steamer CALATATIS (4443grt) was sunk by
German bombing in 56-27N, 13-40W.
Eighteen crew were missing from the steamer.
British troopship ULSTER PRINCE (3791grt) and steamer DEVIS (6054grt)
departed Alexandria at noon with troops from Tobruk.
When news of aerial mining of Tobruk
Harbour was received, the ships were recalled to
As there were no magnetic minesweepers available
for Tobruk, Corvettes PEONY, GLOXINIA, SALVIA, HYACINTH were recalled to
Alexandria from the Kithera Patrol for refitting for L. L.
Corvettes SALVIA and HYACINTH arrived at Alexandria on the 5th. The other two corvettes arrived the
Submarine TRUANT attacked Italian steamer CALINO
(5186grt) was the steamer was departing Benghasi
Harbour, escorted by torpedo boat LA FARINO. No damage was done.
Greek steamer AGHIOS GEORGIOS (3283grt) was sunk on
a mine in the Suez Canal.
Two crew were killed and one was missing.
The wreck was removed to clear the canal.
Australian troop convoy US.9 departed Sydney with troopships AQUITANIA (44,786grt), MAURETANIA (35,739grt), NIEUW AMSTERDAM (36,287grt), QUEEN
From 4 to 6 February, Australian light cruiser
HOBART escorted the convoy from Sydney to Fremantle.
On the 12th, the convoy departed Fremantle escorted
by Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA.
On the 16th, liner QUEEN MARY was detached to Singapore.
Off Colombo on the 20th, heavy cruiser CANBERRA was relieved by New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER.
Wednesday, 5 February
Aircraft carrier FURIOUS arrived in the Clyde from Operation MONSOON, flying off Hurricanes to Takoradi.
The aircraft carrier began refitting at Greenock.
Light cruiser PHOEBE at 1153 departed Scapa Flow for the
Clyde arriving on
The light cruiser departed the Clyde on the 8th to escort convoy WS.6 from the
Clyde through to the Mediterranean, then join the Mediterranean Fleet for operations.
Destroyers NIZAM, COTTESMORE, ATHERSTONE, KEPPEL
departed Scapa Flow at 1115.
Destroyer NIZAM proceeded to Greenock, where she arrived at noon on the 6th.
Destroyers COTTESMORE, ATHERSTONE, KEPPEL proceeded
to Londonderry, where they arrived at 0900/6th to escort convoy
Light cruiser NEPTUNE arrived at Scapa Flow at 1806 on the 5th after duty in the South Atlantic.
On the 8th, the light cruiser proceeded to Plymouth, then on to Chatham for refitting. The ship was under refit from March
to 1 May.
The light cruiser was damaged by bombing on the 9th
On the 16th while in dockyard at Chatham, she was damaged again.
Damage from both bombings and the refit were
completed on 1 May.
British steamer MERCHANT ROYAL (5008grt) was in
convoy WN.74, escorted by escort vessel JASON and minesweeping trawlers
CAPE NYMEMTSKI (422grt) and NORTH COATES (277grt), five miles northwest of
Duncansby Head when her steering gear was disabled.
Escort vessel JASON was ordered to assist the
Light cruiser AURORA departed Scapa Flow to join.
Tug ABEILLE 4 was sent from Peterhead to take the
steamer in tow.
Submarine SEALION sank Norwegian steamer RYFYLKE
(1151grt) two miles north of Kvitenaes Point near Stadlandet.
Anti-submarine trawler TOURMALINE (641grt, Lt H. P.
Carse RNVR) was sunk by German bombing off North Foreland.
T/Sub Lt (A) S. G. Burden RNVR, of HMS KESTREL, was
killed when his Fulmar, being ferried from Worthy Down, crashed Minerva
Mountain, near Wrexham.
Special service vessel MINNIE DE LARINAGA (5046grt)
was sunk as a blockship at Dover.
Convoy OG.52 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers BELMONT, VANQUISHER, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA, sloops EGRET and WESTON, corvette
GENTIAN, anti-submarine trawler RUBENS.
On the 6th, ocean boarding vessel REGISTAN escorted
On the 9th, sloop SCARBOROUGH relieved the destroyers and sloops of the escort.
Destroyer ISIS from Gibraltar joined the convoy on the 20th, and arrived at
Gibraltar on the 21st, escorted by destroyer ISIS, sloop
SCARBOROUGH, corvette GENTIAN.
Greek steamer IOANNIS M. EMBIRICOS (3734grt) was
sunk by German bombing in 55-41N, 12-26W.
The crew were all rescued.
Captain A. L. Poland DSO, DSC, succeeded Captain H.
Hickling as commander of the Inshore Squadron.
Captain Hickling, formerly of light cruiser
GLASGOW, had been appointed to this command on 8 January.
A motor schooner was mined at Tobruk. Lost on the
schooner was the Assistant King's Harbour Master, Tobruk, Lt Cdr J. Cochrane.
British steamer RANEE (5060grt) was sunk by a mine
in the Suez Canal.
Nine crew were lost.
The forepart of the wreck was taken to Port Said for Navy use.
Submarine UPRIGHT made an unsuccessful torpedo
attack on Italian shipping off Kerkenah.
Submarine OTUS left her station in the Azores patrol, which began on 17 January, for
Portsmouth, arriving on the 12th.
The submarine was relieved by submarine TUNA on the
6th which came from Holy Loch after patrol off Gironde.
The patrol was terminated on the 12th and the
submarine proceeded to Gibraltar, arrriving on the 16th.
Italian convoy of steamers ESPERIA (11,398grt),
CONTE ROSSO (17,879grt), MARCO POLO (12,272grt), CALITEA (4013grt), escorted
by destroyers FRECCIA, SAETTA, TARIGO departed Naples for Tripoli. The convoy
was joined by light cruiser GIOVANNI DELLA BANDE NERE on the 6th. The convoy
safely arrived at Tripoli on the 7th. The convoy made an uneventful return
trip from 9 to 11 February.
Italian steamer SNIA AMBA (2532grt) was scuttled at
The steamer was later salved.
Heavy cruiser CORNWALL was refitting at Simonstown from 5 to 22 February.
Heavy cruiser CORNWALL departed Simonstown on the 28th.
Thursday, 6 February
Battleship KING GEORGE V, escorted by destroyers
SOMALI, ECLIPSE, ESKIMO arrived at Scapa Flow at
The fourth destroyer, NAPIER, was detached north of
the Minches to the Clyde arriving at 1400.
Seven ships departed Avonmouth, five ships from
Liverpool, ships from the Clyde to form Convoy WS.6A. The convoy was composed of steamers LLANDAFF
CASTLE (10,786grt), NOVA SCOTIA (6796grt), ASCANIUS (10,048grt),
LEOPOLDVILLE (11,509grt), CONSUELO (4847grt), OPAWA (10,354grt), CITY OF ATHENS (6558grt), BURDWAN (6069grt), KINA II
(9823grt), CAPE HORN (5643grt), CITY OF MARSEILLES (8317grt), SCYTHIA (19,761grt),
ALMANZORA (15,551grt), Norwegian BERGENSFJORD (11,015grt), LLANGIBBY CASTLE
(11,951grt), RUAHINE (10,870grt), SALWEEN (7063grt). The convoy was escorted
by heavy cruiser NORFOLK, light cruisers PHOEBE, EDINBURGH, BIRMINGHAM.
Cruiser EDINBURGH was to proceed with the convoy as
far as Freetown, then return.
Cruiser BIRMINGHAM was to proceed with the convoy to Capetown.
Destroyer BROADWATER escorted the convoy from 6 to
Destroyers COTTESMORE, ATHERSTONE, KEPPEL escorted
the convoy from 6 to 12 February. The destroyers arrived at Londonderry at 1330/13th after the escort duty.
Destroyers RESTIGOUCHE and ST LAURENT escorted the convoy from 7 to 12 February.
Destroyers LEGION and PIORUN escorted the convoy
from 8 to 12 February.
Destroyer GARLAND escorted the convoy from 8 to 9 February.
Light cruiser EDINBURGH was detached for fleet
operations after the enemy sighting by battleship RAMILLIES.
When convoy SLS.64 was attacked on the 12th, the convoy turned
back for twenty four hours.
Battleship RODNEY and destroyers ELECTRA, ECLIPSE,
BRILLIANT, which departed Scapa
Flow on the 12th, were
with the convoy on the 15th until dusk on the 16th.
Destroyer BEAGLE departed Scapa Flow at 1400 for Aberdeen. At 2300, the destroyer met steamer BEN MY CHREE and escorted her to Lerwick.
The ships arrived at Lerwick at 0950. The destroyer
remained to escort the steamer back to Aberdeen.
Destroyer BEAGLE was recalled from Lerwick on the
8th and arrived off Scapa
Flow at 1730. She was
sent to Aberdeen to meet troopship AMSTERDAM and escort her to Scapa Flow.
The destroyer and troopship arrived at Scapa Flow at 0900/9th. Destroyer BEAGLE then sailed at 1130
for Liverpool for refitting.
Destroyer BEAGLE arrived at Liverpool at 0900/10th.
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at noon and joined convoy WN.80 far as the latitude of Buchan Ness.
The ship arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0400/7th.
U.107 sank Canadian steamer MAPLECOURT (3388grt) in
All the crew were lost.
The German 2nd MTB Flotilla made a sortie against the English east
coast with S.30, S.54, S.58, S.59.
British steamer ANGULARITY (501grt) was sunk by
German S.30 off the east coast between Ipswich and Newcastle.
One of the crew were picked up by the S-boat and
taken prisoner. Two crew were lost.
Benghazi was captured by the British Army.
Force H departed Gibraltar in three groups for the bombardment of Genoa, Operation RESULT.
Group 1 was composed of battlecruiser RENOWN,
battleship MALAYA, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruiser SHEFFIELD.
Group 2 was destroyers FEARLESS, FOXHOUND,
FORESIGHT, FURY, ENCOUNTER, JERSEY.
Group 3 was destroyers DUNCAN, ISIS, FIREDRAKE,
Groups 1 and 2 departed with convoy HG.53 into the
Atlantic, but turned back into the Mediterranean. The
convoy continued escorted by destroyer VELOX and sloop DEPTFORD.
Group 3 carried out an anti-submarine search east
of the Straits of Gibraltar and then joined Groups 1 and 2.
Heavy cruiser YORK and anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE departed
Alexandria for Suda Bay
to operate in the Aegean.
These cruisers relieved light cruisers AJAX and PERTH which proceeded to Alexandria, arriving that day.
Destroyers DECOY and DIAMOND departed Alexandria for duty in the Inshore Squadron in the Western
British hoppers No.34 (1500grt) and No.39
(1500grt), which was involved in minesweeping, were sunk in the Suez Canal on mines.
T/Electrician Sub Lt A. H. Jones RNVR and one
rating were lost on No.39.
Convoy HG.53 departed Gibraltar, escorted by destroyer VELOX and sloop DEPTFORD.
The destroyer was detached on the 11th. The convoy was joined on the 18th by
sloop LONDONDERRY, on the 20th by destroyer FURY, on on the 22nd by
destroyers LEAMINGTON and SABRE and corvette ANEMONE. Destroyer FURY was
detached on the 23rd, and arrived at Liverpool on the 24th.
Friday, 7 February
Anti-aircraft ship CAIRO arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100 to work up after refitting.
British steamer BAY FISHER (575grt) was sunk by
German bombing three and a half miles northeast of Bell Rock.
Seven crew and one gunner were lost.
British steamer SCOTTISH COOPERATION (513grt) was
damaged on a mine two miles southwest of Workington Pier, Solway Firth.
The steamer was beached and then returned to
Workington later on the 7th.
Australian light cruiser PERTH arrived at Alexandria for inspection by the Australian Prime Minister.
The light cruiser was docked for refitting and
repairs from 7 to 23 February for the bombing damage received at Malta on 16 January.
Destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, JAGUAR, MOHAWK departed
Alexandria at 0100 to act as an anti-submarine force, then
proceed to Suda
The destroyers were ordered to sweeps of the
Kithera and Elaphonisos Channels during the night of 8/9 February, through
Kaso Straits and around Rhodes on 9/10 February, sweep through Scarpanto Straits
and around Stampalia on 10/11 February.
The sweep on 9/10 February was cancelled due to bad
These sweeps were supported by heavy cruiser YORK and anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE.
On 11/12 February, a sweep of Kithera Channel was conducted.
Netlayer PROTECTOR departed Suda
to load anti torpedo nets captured at Tobruk and transport them to Alexandria.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE departed Aden for Suez for repairs prior to reinforcing the Mediterranean
Fleet. The cruiser could operate on only one propeller shaft.
The cruiser arrived at Suez on the 11th and was docked. It was found that one
shaft would have to be renewed, due to the half of the starboard A bracket
bush was missing. The shaft was removed and a cover plate was fitted on the
A replacement was brought from Malta on anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE in March.
However, CARLISLE was unable to be docked for the work until 0825 on
13 March. The anti-aircraft cruiser was undocked at 1700 on 15 March.
Armed merchant cruiser LETITIA was badly damaged in
a grounding on Litchfield Shoal at Halifax during a winter gale.
The cruiser was refloated on the 9th and arrived at
Halifax that day. No dockyard space was available and
repairs were not begun until 15 April. The ship departed Halifax on 24 April for Newport News.
The cruiser was arriving on 30 April for repairs
and conversion to a troopship completed on 1 December.
New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES departed Auckland escorting a liner towards Panama.
The cruiser was detached at Chatham
Island and returned to Wellington to refuel.
Saturday, 8 February
German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU
sighted convoy HX.106 east of Newfoundland.
Battleship RAMILLIES, in the escort of the convoy,
sighted and reported the battleships. No attack was attempted.
The German battlecruisers began searching for
convoy SC.22 expected to soon arrive in the area.
Light cruiser GALATEA (CS 2), battlecruiser REPULSE,
light cruisers NIGERIA, ARETHUSA, AURORA, destroyers MATABELE, PUNJABI,
ESKIMO departed Scapa Flow at 1830 for position 62-30N, 16-00W.
Battleship NELSON, light cruisers MAURITIUS and
DIDO, destroyers ELECTRA, ECLIPSE, TARTAR departed at 1900 to reach a
position seventy miles 140° from
Battleships RODNEY and KING GEORGE V and destroyers
BEDOUIN, MAORI, ZULU, BRILLIANT, BOREAS departed Scapa Flow during the forenoon of 9 February to reach
position 65-00N, 8-30W.
Light cruiser EDINBURGH was ordered to leave convoy
WS.6 A and join the battleship group.
Destroyers KELLY, KIPLING, KASHMIR departed Plymouth at 0140/9th for Scapa Flow. Destroyer JACKAL departed Plymouth at 0800/9th.
Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, IMPULSIVE were ordered
to Scapa Flow from the Humber. The
destroyers arrived at Scapa
Flow at 1130/10th.
Submarines URGE and CACHALOT were ordered to patrol
areas off Stadlandet.
The British 801 Squadron which had just arrived in
Cornwall were ordered to return to Hatston. The Squadron arrived
back at Hatston on the 10th.
Destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KIPLING arrived at Skaalefjord at 1800 to refuel at Skaalefjord on
The three K destroyers were ordered to depart
Skaalefjord at 2220 to search for a submarine reported by battleship NELSON
in 60-59N, 12-44. Destroyer JACKAL was ordered to join the Ks at this
At 0300/10th, British steamer EMPIRE PRODUCER
reported she was being chased by a submarine in 59-25N, 09-07W. Destroyers
KELLY, KASHMIR, KIPLING, JACKAL were sent to this position.
On the 10th at 2045, light cruiser MAURITIUS attacked a submarine contact in 60-59N, 12-44W.
Destroyers JACKAL and KELLY were sent to search for
the submarine attacked by light cruiser MAURITIUS.
After no contact, the Fleet returned to Scapa Flow, less destroyer BOREAS which joined the destroyer
KELLY group and light cruisers ARETHUSA and NIGERIA sent to Reykjavik at 2100/12th to refuel prior to resuming patrol.
Light cruisers DIDO and MAURITIUS arrived at 1650/11th.
Battleship NELSON and destroyers ELECTRA, ECLIPSE,
TARTAR arrived at Scapa
Flow at 1825/11th.
At 1830/11th, light cruiser EDINBURGH arrived at
At 2045/11th, battleships RODNEY and KING GEORGE V
with destroyers BEDOUIN, ZULU, MAORI, INGLEFIELD, BRILLIANT arrived at Scapa Flow.
On the 12th, destroyer JACKAL arrived at Scapa Flow at 130 to refuel. She departed at 2100 to rejoin
destroyer KELLY at Londonderry, where she arrived at 1600/13th.
Destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KIPLING, BOREAS were submarine hunting in area 59-23N, 8-45W.
Following the sweep, destroyer BOREAS was to be
detached to Scapa Flow and the other destroyers proceeded to Londonderry.
However, destroyer BOREAS developed boiler defects
and the search was called off. The destroyer was sent to Scapa Flow, escorted by destroyer KIPLING.
Destroyers KELLY and KASHMIR proceeded to Londonderry, via the Minches.
On the 13th, off Dunnet Head, destroyer KIPLING
with destroyer BOREAS in tow rendezvoused with tug BANDIT. Destroyer KIPLING
proceeded to Londonderry arriving at 0830/14th. Destroyer BOREAS in tow of
tug BANDIT arrived at Scapa
Flow at 2100.
Light cruisers AURORA and GALATEA arrived at Scapa Flow at 0138 on the 13th.
Battlecruiser REPULSE and destroyers ESKIMO,
MATABELE, PUNJABI arrived at Scapa
Flow at 0310/13th.
Destroyer PUNJABI was docked with defects which
prevented her from sailing through the end of February.
Destroyer SOMALI departed Scapa Flow at 2030 for repairs at docking at Rosyth.
Convoy OB.283 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers BURNHAM, SALADIN,
SARDONYX, SKTA, corvettes KINGCUP and LA MALOUINE, anti-submarine trawlers
NORTHERN PRIDE, ST ELSTAN, VIZALMA. Destroyer BURNHAM was detached on the
11th. The remainder of the escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on
Minesweeper HEBE, which had just completed a major
refit and was en route for trials was damaged in a collision with an unknown
ship in Great Fraserburgh
The minesweeper was repaired at Rosyth from 8 to 22
Belgian steamer HENRI JASPAR (5760grt) was damaged
by a mine off Sully Island in 51-23N, 03-09W.
One crewman was missing.
The steamer was beached at Sully
Island. She was later refloated and docked at
Cardiff on the 23rd.
In operations of 830 Squadron from St ANGELO, Sub
Lt (A) C. C. Thornton RNVR, was shot down in a raid on Tripoli.
Thornton and Leading Airman F. W. Pickles were made
a prisoner of war.
Italian battleships VENETO, CESARE, DORIA with destroyers MAESTRALE,
LIBECCIO, GRECALE, SCIROCCO of the 10th Destroyer Division and GRANATIERE,
FUCLIERE, BERSAGLIERE, ALPINO of the 13th Destroyer Division departed from
La Spezia. Destroyer CAMICIA NERA of the 11th Destroyer
Division departed Naples and joined.
Italian heavy cruisers TRENTO, TRIESTE, BOLZANO with destroyers CORAZZIERE and CARABINIERE of the
12th Destroyer Division departed Messina.
These forces rendezvoused west of Bonifacio
Strait on the 9th.
The first convoy of Afrika Korps troops departed
Naples with German steamers ANKARA (4768grt), ARCTURUS (2596grt), ALICANTE (2140grt) escorted by destroyer TURBINE and
torpedo boats ORSA, CANTORE, MISSORI. The convoy put into Palermo to avoid Force H on the 8th, remaining until 10
February. The convoy was unsuccessfully attacked by Malta aircraft on the 14th when the convoy was
Submarine URSULA made an unsuccessful torpedo
attack on Italian shipping off Tunisia.
Submarine ROVER made an unsuccessful torpedo attack
on Italian shipping off Calabria.
Polish steamer WARSAWA (2487grt) and British petrol
ship HANNE (1360grt) departed Alexandria for Tobruk, escorted by Australian destroyer
Dutch tanker ADINDA (3359grt) was damaged by two
mines at Tobruk.
Seventeen crew were lost.
Tanker ADINDA departed Tobruk on the 26th escorted
by tug ST ISSEY. They arrived at Alexandria on the 27th.
The tanker was temporarily repaired at Alexandria and Suez and was sent on to Bombay in September for permanent repairs.
Former Italian steamer RODI (3220grt) was damaged
by a mine exploding close aboard in Tobruk
Ocean boarding vessel MARSDALE arrived at Gibraltar from Western Patrol.
Convoy SC.22 departed Halifax, escorted by submarine SEVERN, which was detached later that day. Destroyers ACHATES, ANTELOPE,
GEORGETOWN and corvette HEATHER joined on the 24th. The
destroyers were detached on the 28th. Anti-submarine trawler LEEDS UNITED joined the convoy on the 28th, and arrived at
Liverpool on the 28th.
Light cruiser DANAE completed refitting at Singapore.
Sunday, 9 February
Destroyer ESCAPADE departed Scapa Flow at 2145 to search for the survivors of a crashed
aircraft off Wick.
No trace was found.
Troopship AMSTERDAM departed
Scapa Flow at 2300
and destroyer ESCAPADE joined her and escorted her to Aberdeen.
The destroyer arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1600.
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0945 to escort convoy WN.81 until dark.
The ship then escorted convoy EN.69 from off Buchan
Ness to Pentland Firth.
At 1030/10th, the ship transferred to convoy WN.82
and remained with it until dark.
At 2330/10th, the ship arrived back at Scapa Flow.
Convoy OB.284 departed Liverpool, eoscted by destroyers VANOC and VOLUNTEER, sloop
ABERDEEN, corvettes FLEUR DE LYS and TULIP. Destroyer
CALDWELL joined on the 10th.
Sloop ABERDEEN and the corvettes were detached on the 12th. The
escort was detached on the 13th when the convoy dispersed.
U.37 sighted convoy HG.53 east of the Azores.
Submarine U.37 sank steamers COURLAND (1325grt) and ESTRELLANO (1983grt) in 35-53N, 13-13W.
Three crew were lost on steamer COURLAND.
Thirty crewwmen were rescued by British steamer
Six crew were lost on steamer ESTRELLANO.
German Kondor bombers sank British steamers JURA
(1759grt), DAGMAR I (2471grt), VARNA (1514grt), BRITTANIC (2490grt), Norwegian steamer
TEJO in 35-42N, 14-38W.
Fifteen crew and two gunners were lost on steamer
Four crew and one gunner were lost on steamer
One crewman was lost on the steamer BRITTANIC.
All crew on steamer VARNA were rescued.
Steamer VARNA did not sink until 16 February in 44-55N, 22-30W.
Four crew were lost on steamer TEJO.
Submarine VELOX picked up twenty six survivors from
these ships and arrived back at Gibraltar on the
In Operation RESULT, Genoa was bombarded by battlecruiser RENOWN and
battleship MALAYA of Force H from 0714 to 0744. Italian battleship DUILO was
at Genoa at this time, but was not damaged in the
Light cruiser SHEFFIELD bombarded Pisa.
Aircraft from aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, which was
escorted by destroyers DUNCAN, ISIS, ENCOUNTER, raided Leghorn and laid mines in the entrance to La Spezia.
A/Sub Lt (A) N. G. Attenborough, A/T/Sub Lt (A) S.
W. Foote RNVR, Leading Airman G. W. Halifax in a Swordfish of 820 Squadron
were lost in the ARK ROYAL raid on Leghorn.
Destroyers JUPITER and FIREDRAKE were off Majorica
simulating radio traffic for Force H.
Armed boarding vessels ROSAURA and CHAKLA, escorted
by destroyer VOYAGER, departed Alexandria for Tobruk.
British troopship ULSTER PRINCE with 1300 troops, escorted by destroyer
STUART, departed Alexandria for Tobruk.
Submarines USK and TRUANT off Tripoli and UTMOST off Tunisia made unsuccessful attacks on Italian shipping.
British steamer CRISTA (2590grt) was damaged on a
mine at Tobruk.
Ocean boarding vessel MARON departed Gibraltar for Western Patrol.
Italian coastal steamers IV NOVEMBRE (61grt), TENAX
(115grt), ROSANNA (205grt) were lost in stranding on the Sirte coast.
Convoy BN.15 departed Aden, escorted by sloops SHOREHAM and YARRA, and
arrived at Suez on the 16th.
Convoy HX.108 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser MALOJA and
corvettes MAYFLOWER and SNOWBERRY. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on
the 18th. Battleship RODNEY proceeded with the convoy on the 18th to 20
February. On the 24th, destroyers MONTGOMERY, WANDERER, WITCH and
anti-submarine trawler YORK CITY joined the convoy. Corvette PERIWINKLE joined the
escort on the 25th. Corvette PERIWINKLE was detached on the 26th. The
remainder of their escort was detached when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 27th.
Monday, 10 February
Naval drifter BOY
(109grt, Skipper E. H. Crowe DSC RNR) was sunk in a collision in the Thames Estuary.
U.37 sank British steamer BRANDENBURG (1473grt) from convoy HG.53 in 36-10N, 15-38W.
The entire crew on the steamer were lost, along
with the thirty survivors of the steamer COURLAND.
Sloop DEPTFORD made an anti-submarine attack on the
U.52 sank British steamer CANFORD CHINE (3364grt),
which was straggling behind convoy OG.52, in 55N, 15W.
The entire crew were lost.
British steamer BENMACDHUI (6869grt) was damaged by
German bombing in 52-42N, 2-00E.
The steamer arrived at Tees on the 12th under her own power.
Destroyer DIAMOND at Tobruk reported her stern
glands were leaking seriously on the 10th. Destroyer HEREWARD was sent
immediately from Alexandria to relieve her.
Destroyer DIAMOND departed Tobruk on the 12th
escorting tug ST ISSEY and damaged steamers CRISTA and RODI for Alexandria.
These ships arrived at Alexandria on the 16th.
Submarine REGENT departed Alexandria to relieve submarine TRUANT on patrol off Tripoli.
Submarine TRUANT proceeded to Malta, arriving on the 13th.
Submarine ROVER unsuccessfully attacked an Italian
submarine off Calabria.
During the night of 10/11 February, eight Italian
and two German ships escaped from Kismaya.
Italian steamers ADRIA (3809grt), SAVOIA (5490grt),
ERMINIA MAZZELLA (5644grt), MANON (5594grt), LEONARDO DA VINCI (7515grt) were
captured by Heavy cruiser HAWKINS.
Steamer SAVOIA was later used by the British as
Steamer ERMINIA MAZZELLA was used as IMPALA and
later as AGULHAS.
Steamer LEONARDO DA VINCI was later used by the
British as EMPIRE CLYDE.
German steamer UCKERMARK (7021grt) scuttled herself
on the 12th off Italian
intercepted by Aircraft carrier EAGLE aircraft and light cruiser CERES.
Italian steamer PENSILVANIA (6861grt) was sunk on
the 13th by Aircraft carrier EAGLE aircraft and heavy cruiser HAWKINS.
German steamer ASKARI (590grt) was sunk on the 13th
by Aircraft carrier EAGLE air.
Of the ten ships from Kismaya, only Italian
steamers DUCA DEGLI ABRUZZI (2315grt) and SOMALIA (2699grt) escaped and arrived at Diego Suarez.
Convoy BS.15 departed Suez, escorted by sloops CLIVE and HINDUSTAN. The convoy was dispersed on the 16th.
Convoy SL.65 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser BULOLO to 2
March, sloop MILFORD to 13 February, corvettes ASPHODEL and CALENDULA
to 13 February.
Convoy SLS.65 also departed Freetown on the 10th. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy
Light cruiser KENYA joined on the 13th to protect convoys SL.65 and
SLS.65. The light cruiser was relieved on the 20th by
light cruiser SHEFFIELD, which departed Gibraltar on the 18th, to 1 March. Light cruiser KENYA arrived at Gibraltar on the 22nd. On 2 March, anti-aircraft cruiser
DIDO joined and continued to 7 March.
Destroyers BRIGHTON, BROADWAY, CALDWELL,
ROCKINGHAM, VANOC,VOLUNTEER, WALKER, sloop FLEETWOOD, corvettes DIANELLA and
TULIP, anti-submarine yacht PHILANTE, catapult ship PEGASUS joined the escort
on 4 March. Destroyers MANSFIELD and WOOLSTON joined on 5 March.
Cruiser DIDO, destroyers MANSFIELD and WOOLSTON,
anti-submarine yacht PHILANTE were detached on 7 March, and arrived on 8
Tuesday, 11 February
Monitor EREBUS, escorted by destroyers QUORN,
EGLINTON and one other, bombarded Ostend between 0100 and 0140 in Operation PX.
Convoy OB.285 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers ARROW, BLYSKAWICA, MISTRAL
and anti-submarine trawlers DANEMAN and ST APOLLO. Destroyer BLYSKAWICA was
detached on 13 January. Most of the other escorts were detached prior to
dispersal on the 17th when only destroyer MISTRAL was still with the convoy.
Submarine SNAPPER ( Lt G.V. Prowse) was sunk by
German minesweepers M.2, M.13, M.25 southwest of Ushant in 47-52N, 5-47W after SNAPPER fired torpedoes at the minesweepers.
Prowse, Lt E. B. Talbot, Lt E. A. E. Ashby RNR, Sub Lt G. M. H. Alston, Warrant Engineer D. P.
Halloran, thirty seven ratings were lost with the submarine.
British steamer ICELAND (1236grt), a straggler from convoy HG.53, was sunk
by German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER in 37-03N, 19-50W.
The crew was taken prisoner.
Minelayer PLOVER laid minefield ZME.16 in the Irish Sea.
This series continued in February with the
minelayer laying ZME.17 on the 15th, ZME.18 on the 18th, ZME.19 on the 21st,
ZME.20 on the 24th. This series continued in March and April.
British trawler JOHN DUNKIN (202grt) was sunk by
German bombing 13 miles N by E of Buckie. One crewman was lost.
British trawler EAMONT (227grt) was badly damaged
by German bombing in 58-15N, 3-26W.
The crew of ten were all rescued.
The trawler dragged ashore in bad weather on the
12th and broke in two.
British steamer CANTICK HEAD (488grt) was damaged
by German bombing thirty miles northwest of Kinnaird Head.
British steamer JAMAICA PRODUCER (5464grt) was
chased by a German submarine in 59-25N, 9-07W.
Destroyer JACKAL was sent to assist her.
No damage was done to the steamer.
Destroyer BURNHAM was sent to search for the
submarine in 59-25N, 9-07W.
Destroyer BURNHAM was unable to locate the
submarine. She left the area to join the escort of convoy HX.106.
Destroyer JACKAL after an unsuccessful search
proceeded to Skaalefjord.
Force H arrived at Gibraltar after RESULT.
Italian Admiral Iachino, which had been at sea with
considerable forces, was misled by aerial reports which mistook French
convoys for Force H. Force H had escaped undamaged.
Destroyers ILEX and HERO departed Alexandria for exercises.
Destroyer HEREWARD was sent from Tobruk to Alexandria to collect the advance clearance party for
Operation SHELFORD, the clearance of Benghazi harbour.
The destroyer arrived at Alexandria at 0100, collected the personnel and the stores
from armed boarding vessel FIONA and departed at 0430
Destroyer DECOY left Tobruk with minesweeping
trawlers ARTHUR CAVANAGH and MILFORD COUNTESS for Benghazi.
Submarine TRIUMPH departed Malta on a special operation.
The operation was cancelled on the 13th and the
submarine was recalled.
Submarine TRUANT made two unsuccessful attacks
against Italian stamer BAINSIZZA in 33-36N, 12-53E and 33-46N, 12-57E.
The steamer had departed Tripoli at 0830/11th for
Palermo and Naples with SABAUDIA, MOTIA, UTILITAS, escorted by escort ship
DEFFENU and torpedo boat MISSORI. After the attacks, the convoy returned to
Tripoli until 2330 that night.
The remainder of the convoy's passage was
Submarine UNIQUE unsuccessfully attacked German
steamer ANKARA arriving in convoy (see entry 8 February) off
Naval whaler SOUTHERN FLOE (344grt, T/Lt J. E. J.
Lewis, SARNVR) was sunk on a mine off Tobruk.
Lewis, T/Sub Lt D. N. Walton, SARNVR, T/Sub Lt A.
E. Fairley, SARNVR, T/Sub Lt I. M. Innes, SARNVR, all but one rating, which
was later picked up by destroyer VOYAGER, were lost with the whaler.
French large destroyer TERRIBLE departed Toulon and arrived at Oran on the 12th. She departed on the 14th and arrived
at Casablanca on the 15th. The destroyer went on and joined
Force Y at Dakar, arriving on the 25th, replacing large destroyer
AUDACIEUX which was damaged on 23 September during MENACE.
Destroyer THRACIAN and minelayer MAN YEUNG laid mines in the approaches to Hong Kong.
Wednesday, 12 February
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0600 to meet convoy EN.70 and provide
anti-aircraft support from daylight until the convoy arrived in Pentland Firth.
The ship arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1320.
Force H with battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier
ARK ROYAL, light cruiser SHEFFIELD, destroyers WISHART, JERSEY, FOXHOUND, FIREDRAKE, FURY departed
Gibraltar to cover convoy HG.53.
That evening, Force H was ordered to cover convoy
WS.6, relieving battleship RODNEY. Battlecruiser RENOWN and aircraft carrier
ARK ROYAL covered convoy WS.6 from 17 to 21 February.
Light cruiser SHEFFIELD was detached on the 13th.
The destroyers returned to Gibraltar on the 16th.
German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER made attacks on
yet unescorted SLS.64 of 19 steamers.
Heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER sank British steamer
WARLABY (4876grt) in 37-12N, 21-20W, British steamer WESTBURY (4712grt) in
37-10N, 21-20W, British steamer OSWESTRY GRANGE (4684grt) in 37-10N, 21-20W,
British steamer SHREWSBURY (4542grt) in 36-46N, 20-12W, British steamer
DERRYNANE (4896grt) in 37-12N, 21-20W, Norwegian steamer BORGESTAD (3924grt)
in 37-10N, 21-20W, Greek steamer PERSEUS (5172grt) in 37-10N, 21-20W.
Three crew were rescued from the steamer WARLABY.
Five crew from steamer WESTBURY were lost.
Five crew were lost on steamer OSWESTRY GRANGE.
Thirty seven survivors landed at Madiera by British steamer LORNASTON
Twenty crew were lost from steamer SHREWSBURY.
All the crew from steamer DERRYNANE were lost.
All the crew from steamer BORGESTAD were lost.
Fourteen crew were lost on the Greek steamer.
British steamer LORNASTON (4934grt) was damaged by
the heavy cruiser in 37-12N, 21-20W.
Ocean boarding vessels CAMITO, CORNINTHIAN, CAVINO,
MARON were sent to search for survivors from this convoy. Ocean boarding
vessel CAMITO rescued some of the survivors from the British ships.
Light cruiser SHEFFIELD was sent to escort the surviving ships of the
convoy. She arrived back at Gibraltar on the 17th.
Battleship MALAYA, escorted by destroyers FIREDRAKE, FOXHOUND,
JERSEY, was detached from Force H to escort convoy HG.53.
Battleship MALAYA and her destroyers returned to
Gibraltar on the 15th. The convoy was joined by destroyers
LEAMINGTON and SABRE and corvette ANEMONE from convoy OG.53
and sloop LONDONDERRY.
Force H was involved in escorting convoy WS.6 A for
a time and was relieved on the 19th by battleship MALAYA, which departed Gibraltar on the 17th.
Ocean boarding vessel MARSDALE departed Gibraltar on Western Patrol.
British fishing vessel CALEDONIAN (8grt) was lost
on a mine.
TIGRIS sank French
fishing trawler RENE CAMALEYRE (243grt) in 43-30N, 1-42E in the Bay of Biscay.
For Operation SHELFORD, Light cruisers ORION and
AJAX departed Alexandria at 0730 to rendezvous in the Aegean in 34-00N, 21-00E with heavy cruiser
YORK, anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE, destroyers
JERVIS, JAGUAR, JANUS, MOHAWK which departed Suda
at 1700 to join.
Gunboat APHIS entered Benghazi
Harbour at daylight on the 12th.
Armed Boarding Vessel CHAKLA (with Senior Naval
Officer, Inshore Squadron, Captain A. L. Poland) with destroyers STUART,
VOYAGER, VAMPIRE, minesweeper FAREHAM, minesweeping corvettes PEONY and
HYACINTH departed Tobruk at 0730 to arrive at Benghazi early on the 13th.
British troopship ULSTER PRINCE arrived at Alexandria with prisoners from Tobruk.
British steamer CINGALESE PRINCE (8474grt) departed
Haifa for Tobruk, unescorted.
The steamer was carrying a number of lighters and
other important cargo.
Destroyer DAINTY was sent from Alexandria to escort the steamer.
Light cruiser GLASGOW departed Alexandria for Port Said and Suez. She had received partial repairs only for her
December 1940 torpedo damage.
The cruiser was being detached for convoy work
British gunboat CRICKET arrived at Port Said to join the Mediterranean Fleet.
However, due to her poor condition, she remained at
Port Said and was placed in care and maintenance status on
Submarine UTMOST damaged Italian steaamer MANFREDO
CAMPIERO (former MAULY, 5463grt) off Tripoli in 35-41N, 23-01E.
The 2nd Afrika Korps convoy departed Naples with steamers ADANA (4205grt), AEGINA (2447grt), KYBFELS (7764grt),
RUHR (5954grt) escorted by destroyer CAMICIA NERA and torpedo boat
PROCIONE, and arrived at Tripoli
on the 14th.
French submarines IRIS, VENUS, PALLAS, CERES
departed Toulon on the 6th and arrived at Oran on the 9th. They departed Oran on the 11th, escorted by armed trawler LA HAVRAISE
and passed Gibraltar on the 12th. They arrived at Casablanca on the 13th.
Italian steamers INTEGRITAS (5952grt), MARGHERA
(4531grt), CARSO (6275grt) were scuttled at Kismaya.
Steamer CARSO was salved as EMPIRE TANA.
New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES departed Wellington with convoy ZT 2. The convoy safely arrived at
Sydney on the 18th.
New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER relieved Light cruiser
DAUNTLESS of the escort of a troopship three hundred miles east of Ceylon.
The cruiser and the troopship arrived at Colombo on the 12th.
Thursday, 13 February
Anti-aircraft ship CAIRO departed
Scapa Flow at 1330
for Greenock on completion of working up exercises.
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1100 to provide cover for convoy WN.83. At
2200, the ship transferred to convoy EN.71.
Firth at 0930/14th, ship
CURACOA left convoy EN.71. While transferring to convoy WN.84, damage was
caused by heavy seas and she returned to Scapa Flow, arriving at 1330.
Heavy cruiser NORFOLK arrived at Scapa Flow after duty in the South Atlantic.
Convoy OB.286 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer WOLVERINE, sloop FLEETWOOD,
corvettes ARBUTUS, CAMELLIA, ERICA. Destroyer HARVESTER joined on the 15th.
The convoy was dispersed on the 17th.
Destroyer ANTHONY was damaged by splinters from a
near miss of a German bomb at Glasgow.
The destroyer spent no time out of service from
this damage, but did begin refitting at Glasgow.
Anti-submarine trawler RUBENS (320grt, T/Skipper H.
G. Pyle RNR) was sunk by German bombing in 48-50N, 14-20W. The
trawler had separated from convoy OG.52 as a result of a misunderstood
Pyle, P/T/Sub Lt C. E. Oates RNR, T/Sub Lt D. H. Owens RNVR, all the ratings were
lost in the trawler.
Destroyer RIPLEY was damaged in a collision with destroyer
BURWELL and anti-submarine trawler NOTRE DAME DE FRANCE (433grt) at
The destroyer was repaired at Devonport completing
on 3 March.
U.96 sank motor tanker CLEA (8074grt), which was
straggling behind convoy HX.106, in the Northwest Approaches.
U.103 damaged motor tanker ARTHUR F CORWIN
(10,516grt), straggling behind convoy HX.106, in 60-25N, 17-11W.
U.96 sank this tanker three hours later.
All the crew from the tanker were lost.
Destroyers ELECTRA, ECLIPSE, BRILLIANT en route to
refuel at Skaalefjord made a sweep through this area on the 14th.
British steamer WESTCLIFFE HALL (1900grt) was damaged by German bombing 2¼ miles
10° from Whitby High Light. She
arrived in the Tees with steering gear damaged.
RODNEY (4512grt) was damaged by German bombing off Girdleness.
Light cruiser GLOUCESTER departed Alexandria for Port Said to fit damaged cruiser LIVERPOOL's DCT.
The light cruiser returned to Alexandria on the 15th with the unit in place.
British operation COMPOSITION.
Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE air attacked Massawa.
Italian steamer MONCALIERI (5723grt) was damaged by the bombing and later
A/Sub Lt (A) J. H. Jefford, Sub Lt (A) C. P. Simpson,
Leading Airman F. H. Shiel of 826 Squadron and A/Sub Lt (A) D. M. R.
Wynne-Roberts RNVR, P/T/A/Sub Lt (A) M. G. C. Keeley RNVR, Leading Airman W.
M. Brown of 829 Squadron were shot down and made prisoners of war. They were
liberated when Massawa fell to British forces in April.
Convoy HX.109 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser AUSONIA,
destroyer ANNAPOLIS, patrol vessel OTTER. The destroyer and the patrol
vessel were detached on the 14th. On26 February, destroyers BURNHAM, DOUGLAS,
MALCOLM, corvettes CLARKIA, MALLOW, PETUNA, anti-submarine trawler NORTHERN
SPRAY joined the escort. The trawler was detached later that day. On the 2nd,
destroyer DOUGLAS was detached, destroyers BURNHAM and MALCOLM and
corvettes CLARKIA and PETUNA were detached. Corvette MALLOW was detached when
the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 4 March.
Friday, 14 February
Destroyer ECHO departed
Scapa Flow at 2000
for Loch Alsh to act as additional escort for operation SN.68, and arrived at
Destroyer KEPPEL at Londonderry was transferred to the Western Approaches, while
destroyer COTTESMORE departed Londonderry for
the Nore following working up.
Motor torpedo boat MTB.41 ( Lt Cdr J C Cole) was sunk on a mine in the
North Sea. Cole, Sub Lt P R C Guinness and T/A/Sub Lt H H
Nalder RNVR were lost.
Canadian destroyer ST LAURENT was damaged by the near miss of German bombing in
the North West Approaches.
The destroyer spent no time out of service. The
destroyer arrived at Greenock on the 15th.
Minelayer TEVIOTBANK departed Immingham, escorted
by destroyer WHITSHED. She was damaged by two near misses of German bombing
off Flamborough Head.
The minelayer was repaired in the Humber completing on 8 March.
German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU
refuelled at sea from German tankers SCHLETTSTADT (8028grt) and ESSO HAMBURG (9847grt).
British steamer ELISABETH MARIE (616grt) was sunk
by German bombing in 54-58N, 12-30W.
One crewman was lost on the steamer. Canadian
destroyer OTTAWA rescued the survivors.
Italian submarine BIANCHI sank British steamer
BELCREST (4517grt), which was straggling behind convoy SC.21, in 54N, 21W.
U.101 sank British steamer HOLYSTONE (5462grt) in
the North Atlantic.
There were no survivors.
British steamer MOORLANDS (420grt) was damaged by
German bombing two miles north of Sands End Bay, off Banff.
The steamer was bombed again on the 20th in Buckie
Submarine ROVER damaged Italian tanker CESCO
(6161grt) off Calabria in 38-45N, 17-25E.
Convoy AN.15, composed of six British and fourteen
Greek ships, departed Port Said escorted by destroyers GREYHOUND and WATERHEN
and from Alexandria escorted by destroyer HASTY.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA joined the convoy on
the 16th, and arrived at Suda Bay on the 18th and Pireaus on the 19th.
Convoy AC.1 departed Alexandria for Benghazi
escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY, minesweeping corvettes SALVIA and
GLOXINIA, minesweeping whalers SOUTHERN ISLE and SOUTHERN MAID.
Two steamers were diverted to Tobruk.
The other two steamers, British PALERMO (2928grt)
and Belgian ESCAUT (1087grt), of the convoy arrived at Benghazi on the 18th.
Italian East Africa,
was captured by the British.
British Force T for these operations was composed
of heavy cruisers SHROPSHIRE and HAWKINS, aircraft carrier HERMES, light
cruisers CERES and CAPETOWN, destroyer KANDAHAR.
A Convoy of a small store ship and Belgian petrol
carrier ESCAUT for Benghazi departed Alexandria.
Monitor TERROR and anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY accompanied this convoy. Monitor TERROR arrived on
Convoy SLG.1A of troopships KENYA and SOBIESKI departed Gibraltar escorted by light cruiser DUNEDIN and destroyers FORESIGHT and FORTUNE. The two F
class destroyers were detached on the 16th. Destroyers WISHART and VIDETTE
departed Gibraltar at the same time and covered in the local
approaches before proceeding south to Freetown.
On the 20th, destroyers GARLAND, HESPERUS, HURRICANE, LEGION, PIORUN joined the
convoy, and arrived at the Clyde on the 22nd.