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

NAVAL EVENTS, FEBRUARY 1941 (Part 1 of 2)
Saturday 1st – Friday 14th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Lotus, corvette in 1942 (CyberHeritage, click to enlarge)

on to FEBRUARY 1941, Part 2

 

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

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

 


Background Events - January-May 1941

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


 

 

1941

 

           

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 Operation MC.4.

 

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 Suda Bay 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 Bay 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 Bay 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 Alexandria.

_____

 

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 Suda Bay, 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 INDUS and 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 4th.

_____

 

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 Scapa Flow independently during the evening after practices for Loch Alsh.

 

The destroyers arrived at 0900 and 1300, respectively.

_____

 

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 steamer.

 

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 the facilities.

 

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 Suda Bay.

 

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 Kismayu.

_____

 

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 herself.

_____

 

Australian light cruiser SYDNEY arrived in Australian waters.

_____

 

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 dispersed.

_____

 

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 refuelling.

 

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 convoy OB.281.

_____

 

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 56-54N, 20-22W.

 

The armed boarding vessel had been detached from the convoy with armed yacht PHILANTE, corvette ARBUTUS, British steamer COPELAND (1526grt).

 

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 killed.

 

 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 attack.

_____

 

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 January.

_____

 

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 to repair.

_____

 

Convoy ASF.14 of British steamers LANARKSHIRE, ETHIOPIA, PORT HALIFAX 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 KORMORAN.

_____

 

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 ALBANS, CHARLESTOWN.

 

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 casualties.

 

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 55-46N, 22-36W.

 

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 Alexandria.

_____

 

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. sweeping.

 

Corvettes SALVIA and HYACINTH arrived at Alexandria on the 5th. The other two corvettes arrived the next day.

_____

 

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 MARY (81,235grt).

 

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 6th.

 

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 WS.6.

_____

 

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 at Plymouth.

 

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 steamer.

 

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 the convoy.

 

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 Benghasi.

 

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 1300.

 

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 9 February.

 

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 55-39N, 15-56W.

 

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, JUPITER.

 

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 Desert.

_____

 

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 Bay.

 

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 weather.

 

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 Bay 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 hull gland.

 

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 CS.2.

 

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 10th.

 

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 location.

 

 

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 Scapa Flow.

 

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 the 12th.

_____

 

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 Bay.

 

The minesweeper was repaired at Rosyth from 8 to 22 February.

_____

 

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 returning.

_____

 

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 VAMPIRE.

_____

 

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 Harbour.

_____

 

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 BRANDENBURGH (1473grt).

 

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 JURA.

 

Four crew and one gunner were lost on steamer DAGMAR I.

 

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 13th.

_____

 

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 bombardment.

 

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 ALAN (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 submarine.

_____

 

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 EMPIRE ARUN.

 

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 Somaliland when 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 SL.65/13th.

 

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 March.

 

 

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 uneventful.

_____

 

Submarine UNIQUE unsuccessfully attacked German steamer ANKARA arriving in convoy (see entry 8 February) off Tripoli.

_____

 

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 (4934grt).

 

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.

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Ocean boarding vessel MARSDALE departed Gibraltar on Western Patrol.

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British fishing vessel CALEDONIAN (8grt) was lost on a mine.

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Submarine TIGRIS sank French fishing trawler RENE CAMALEYRE (243grt) in 43-30N, 1-42E in the Bay of Biscay.

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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 Bay 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.

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British troopship ULSTER PRINCE arrived at Alexandria with prisoners from Tobruk.

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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.

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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 only.

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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 the 18th.

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Submarine UTMOST damaged Italian steaamer MANFREDO CAMPIERO (former MAULY, 5463grt) off Tripoli in 35-41N, 23-01E.

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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.

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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.

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Italian steamers INTEGRITAS (5952grt), MARGHERA (4531grt), CARSO (6275grt) were scuttled at Kismaya.

 

Steamer CARSO was salved as EMPIRE TANA.

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New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES departed Wellington with convoy ZT 2. The convoy safely arrived at Sydney on the 18th.

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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.

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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.

 

In Pentland 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.

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Heavy cruiser NORFOLK arrived at Scapa Flow after duty in the South Atlantic.

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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.

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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.

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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 signal.

 

Pyle, P/T/Sub Lt C. E. Oates RNR, T/Sub Lt D. H. Owens RNVR, all the ratings were lost in the trawler.

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Destroyer RIPLEY was damaged in a collision with destroyer BURWELL and anti-submarine trawler NOTRE DAME DE FRANCE (433grt) at Devonport.

 

The destroyer was repaired at Devonport completing on 3 March.

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U.96 sank motor tanker CLEA (8074grt), which was straggling behind convoy HX.106, in the Northwest Approaches.

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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.

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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.

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British steamer CAPE RODNEY (4512grt) was damaged by German bombing off Girdleness.

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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.

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British operation COMPOSITION.

 

Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE air attacked Massawa.

 

Italian steamer MONCALIERI (5723grt) was damaged by the bombing and later scuttled.

 

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.

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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 0800/15th.

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Destroyer KEPPEL at Londonderry was transferred to the Western Approaches, while destroyer COTTESMORE departed Londonderry for the Nore following working up.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU refuelled at sea from German tankers SCHLETTSTADT (8028grt) and ESSO HAMBURG (9847grt).

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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.

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Italian submarine BIANCHI sank British steamer BELCREST (4517grt), which was straggling behind convoy SC.21, in 54N, 21W.

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U.101 sank British steamer HOLYSTONE (5462grt) in the North Atlantic.

 

There were no survivors.

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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 Harbour.

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Submarine ROVER damaged Italian tanker CESCO (6161grt) off Calabria in 38-45N, 17-25E.

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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.

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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.

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Kismaya, 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.

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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 the 17th.

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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.           

 
 

on to Naval Events FEBRUARY 1941, Part 2
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revised 7/4/12
further editing is required


 

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