Background Events - January-May 1941
Cape Matapan, Battles for Greece & Crete,
Capture of U.110, Enigma codes, Loss of 'Hood',
sinking of 'Bismarck'
Saturday, 15 February
Submarine CACHALOT laid 50 mines off Norway in minefield FD.30 in 67-55-15N, 14-14-50E and 67-54-42N,
14-43-15E. She also made an unsuccessful torpedo attack at Fro Havet.
German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER arrived in
Brest after sinking eight ships of 34,042grt. Destroyers
KELLY, KIPLING, KASHMIR, JACKAL had departed Plymouth to intercept her, but no contact was made. The heavy cruiser was sent to Germany through the Channel in March to refit her
Destroyers INTREPID, IMPULSIVE, ICARUS of the 20th
Destroyer Flotilla departed Scapa
Flow at 2115 for Plymouth, and arrived at 0900/18th.
The 1st Minelaying Squadron of minelayers SOUTHERN
PRINCE, PORT QUEBEC, AGAMEMNON departed Loch Alsh at 1815 to
lay minefields SN.7B and SN.68 A, escorted by light cruiser AURORA
and destroyers BRIGHTON, LANCASTER, CHARLESTOWN,
were covered by light cruisers EDINBURGH, which departed Scapa Flow at 0429 on the 15th and NIGERIA which had departed Reykjavik after refuelling at 0900/14th.
The minefield was laid on the 17th, and the ships returned to harbour on the 18th; lEDINBURGH and NIGERIA at 1617 and AURORA at 1914.
Convoy WS.5B with nine troopships departed Durban escorted by Australian heavy cruiser AUSTRALIA and light cruiser EMERALD. On the 21st, heavy cruiser HAWKINS joined the
convoy. EMERALD and four transports were detached to Mombasa.
U.123 sank steamer ALNMOOR (6573grt),straggling behind convoy SC.21, in 55N, 13W.
Steamer STOCK FORCE (983grt) was damaged by
German bombing near Outer Dowsing Float, Humber.
Convoy OG.53 departed Liverpool escorted by
destroyer LEAMINGTON, SABRE, SCIMITAR, sloops EGRET and FOLKESTONE, corvettes
ANEMONE, DELPHINIUM, DIANELLA, GLADIOLUS, VERBENA, and anti-submarine trawlers
NORTHERN GEM, NORTHERN WAVE, ST KENAN, WELLARD. Light cruiser ARETHUSA departed Scapa Flow at 2200/18th,
joined the convoy on the 21st and accompanied it to Gibraltar.
SCIMITAR was detached on the 19th,
SABRE on the 20th, LEAMINGTON, EGRET, NEMONE, DIANELLA,
GLADIOLUS, NORTHERN GEM and
NORTHERN WAVE on the 22nd, and VERBENA on the 24th. VERBENA arrived at Gibraltar on the 28th after losing touch with the convoy and
temporarily joined the 13th Destroyer Flotilla, She arrived at Gibraltar on 1 March, escorted by ARETHUSA,
FOLKESTONE, and DELPHINIUM.
German tanker NORDMARK replenished German armed
merchant cruiser PINGUIN at sea.
Destroyers HEREWARD and DECOY arrived at Alexandria from Operation SHELFORD.
Destroyer JERVIS, JAGUAR, JANUS, MOHAWK patrolled
in the Kithera Straits during the night of 15/16 February.
Monitor TERROR departed Derna for Benghazi, escorted by destroyers STUART, VOYAGER, VAMPIRE.
Sunday, 16 February
Battlecruiser REPULSE, escorted by destroyers
INGLEFIELD, MAORI, ZULU, departed Scapa Flow at 2145
for Rosyth for her first refit in twenty three months.
The destroyers arrived back at Scapa Flow at 2315/17th.
Destroyers NAPIER and NIZAM arrived at Scapa Flow at 0800 from Londonderry on completion of escort duties in the Western
Destroyer ESCAPADE departed Scapa Flow at 2000 for Rosyth to clean boilers and repair a
damaged propeller shaft.
The destroyer arrived at 1000/17th.
Convoy OB.287 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers VANOC, RAMSEY, WANDERER,
corvettes NASTURTIUM and PERIWINKLE. Destroyers VANOC and WANDERER and
corvette NASTURTIUM was detached later that day. Destroyer WITCH joined the
convoy on the 17th and was detached later that day. Destroyer RAMSEY and
corvette PERIWINKLE were detached on the 19th. Destroyer MONTGOMERY joined on
the 20th and was detached on the 21st when the convoy dispersed.
Auxiliary minesweeper SOUTHSEA (825grt, T/A/Lt Cdr
C C M. Pawley RNR) was badly damaged on a mine 5.9 cables 240° from North Tyne Pier Light. She was run
aground and declared a total loss. T/Lt (E) G M Barnes RNR, P/T/Sub Lt P Pawsey RNVR and five ratings were
Minesweeping trawler ORMONDE (250grt, Skipper W T
Coull RNR) was sunk by German bombing off Peterhead, seven
miles 90° from Crudsen Scauer.
Coull, T/Lt P F G Hamilton RNVR and seventeen ratings were lost.
British tanker EMPIRE OTTER (4670grt) was sunk on a
British mine 25 miles SW of Hartland Point. The crew were all rescued.
British trawler THOMAS DEAS (276grt) was sunk on a
mine four miles 273° from Spurn
Point. All crew were lost.
British trawler NANIWA (340grt) was sunk by German
bombing in 52-15N, 12-30W. Five crew were lost.
Italian steamer JUVENTUS (4957grt) was sunk by a
Swordfish of 830 Squadron from Malta, three miles NE of Kuriat Island in 35-36N,
British troopship ULSTER PRINCE (3791grt) departed Alexandria, escorted by destroyers ILEX and HASTY, for Suda
Armed boarding vessel FIONA departed Tobruk with
417 prisoners for Alexandria.
Monday, 17 February
Destroyer ATHERSTONE departed Londonderry at 0500 for Scapa Flow, arriving at 1810.
Force H relieved the escorts of convoy WS.6 A.
Battleship RODNEY proceeded to escort arriving
convoy HX.108. The convoy was met on the 18th.
Destroyers ELECTRA, ECLIPSE, BRILLIANT, formerly
with the battleship, arrived at the Faroes on the 17th and then on to Scapa Flow arriving on the 18th at 0730. All three destroyers
had minor weather damage.
Light cruiser EDINBURGH departed Scapa Flow on the 20th and at noon on the 23rd relieved battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN of
the TC.9 escort.
Heavy cruiser NORFOLK escorted two North Atlantic convoys.
Light cruiser PHOEBE remained with convoy WS.6 A as
Convoy WS.6B departed with steamers YOMA (8139grt)
and ADDA (7816grt) from Liverpool and NORTHUMBERLAND (11,558grt), BURMA (7821grt), LLANSTEPHAN
CASTLE (11,299grt), armed merchant cruiser
CILICIA from the Clyde escorted by light cruiser MAURITIUS, which had departed Scapa Flow on the 15th.
Destroyers HESPERUS and HURRICANE escorted the
convoy from the 17th to 20th.
Destroyers PIORUN, GARLAND, LEGION escorted the convoy from the 18th to 20th.
Steamer BURMA returned to the Clyde on the 18th.
Armed merchant cruiser CILICIA was detached on the 20th.
Corvettes CLEMATIS and CALENDULA joined the convoy
on 3 March and escorted it to Freetown, and arrived at Freetown on 5 March with light cruiser MAURITIUS and joined convoy WS.6 A.
Canadian troop convoy TC.9 of WARWICK
CASTLE (20,107grt), DUCHESS OF YORK (20,021grt), ORONTES (20,097grt), DEMPO (17,024grt), JOHANN VAN OLDENBARNEVELDT
(19,429grt), WOLFE (16,418grt) departed
Halifax with battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN and armed merchant
The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the
Light cruiser EDINBURGH, which departed Scapa Flow on the 20th, relieved battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN
on the 23rd. On the 24th, destroyers ASSINIBOINE, HAVELOCK, RESTIGOUCHE, OTTAWA joined the convoy. Destroyer HAVELOCK was detached the next day. The three Canadian
destroyers remained with the convoy until 26 February.
On the 25th, light cruiser AURORA and destroyers
ECHO, ECLIPSE, INGLEFIELD, LEOPARD joined the convoy;
destroyer LEOPARD was with the convoy only on the 25th. Destroyer MISTRAL
joined the convoy on the 26th. Destroyer CHURCHILL escorted the convoy in the
Light cruiser AURORA departed the Faroes and
destroyers INGLEFIELD, ECHO, ECLIPSE departed Scapa Flow at 0445/24th at to give additional escort to
convoy TC.9. The convoy reached the Minches in the evening of 24 February.
Light cruiser EDINBURGH and the destroyers proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving at 0100/27th.
Light cruiser AURORA took the convoy into the Clyde and arrived at Greenock on the 27th.
Light cruiser ARETHUSA arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol.
German tanker NORDMARK replenished German supply
ship ALSTERTOR (3063grt) at sea.
Tanker NORDMARK slipped the tow of captured British
refrigerator ship DUQUESNA.
U.101 sank British steamer GAIRSOPPA (5237grt),
which was straggling behind convoy SL.64, three hundred miles southwest of
There was only survivor from a crew of 83 crew and
U.103 sank Motor tanker EDWY R. BROWN (10,455grt),
which was straggling behind convoy HX.107, in 61N, 18W.
U.69 sank British steamer SIAMESE PRINCE (8456grt)
in 59-53N, 12-12W.
All crew were lost.
French destroyer MISTRAL was sent to search for
Destroyers MAORI and ZULU departed Scapa Flow at 0545/17th to search for this steamer.
Nothing was found of the steamer.
British steamer KYLE RONA (307grt) was lost to
unknown cause n the Irish
British steamer REN REIN (156grt) was lost on a
mine three and a half miles east of Manacles off Falmouth.
Two crew were lost.
Light cruisers ORION and AJAX departed Piraeus to cover the movement of convoys AN.15 and AC.1
during the night of 17/18 February. The cruisers then proceeded to Alexandria.
Destroyers JERVIS, MOHAWK, JAGUAR proceeded to
Heavy cruiser YORK, anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE, destroyer
JANUS returned to Suda Bay. Destroyer JANUS was later recalled to Alexandria to participate in Operate MC.8.
Monitor TERROR arrived at Benghazi.
Submarine PARTHIAN departed Alexandria on a reconnaissance mission for Operation
ABSTENTION under the orders of the Rear Admiral, 3rd Cruiser Squadron.
Convoy BN.16 departed Aden, escorted by destroyer KINGSTON and sloops GRIMSBY and PARRAMATTA. The convoy was dispersed on the 20th.
Tuesday, 18 February
Destroyers MATABELE, ESKIMO, TARTAR departed Scapa Flow at 0530 to meet battleship RODNEY in 61-40N,
25-00W, arriving from HX.108 convoy duty.
All four ships arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0300/23rd.
Light cruiser ARETHUSA departed Scapa Flow at 2200 to join convoy OG.53, which had departed
on the 15th, and arrived at Gibraltar on 1 March.
Convoy OB.288 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer GEORGETOWN. Destroyers ACHATES and ANTELOPE, corvettes
HEATHER and PICOTEE, anti-submarine trawler AYSHIRE joined on the 19th. The
convoy was dispersed on the 22nd.
U.96 sank British steamer BLACK OSPREY (5589grt),
which was straggling behind convoy HX.107, in 61-30N, 18-10W.
Twenty five crew were lost.
French destroyer MISTRAL was sent to search for
this steamer. The search was unsuccessful and the destroyer refuelled at
U.103 sank British steamer SEAFORTH (5459grt) in
All crew were lost on the steamer.
Destroyers MAORI and ZULU at 2300/18th, the
destroyers were ordered to abandon the steamer SIAMESE PRINCE search and
search for this steamer.
At 1040/20th, the destroyers were ordered to return
to Scapa Flow, carryout an anti-submarine search en route. The
destroyers arrived at Scapa
Flow at 1000/21st.
Dutch tanker TARIA (10,354grt) was damaged by
German bombing in 55-20N, 15-50W.
The tanker arrived at Rothesay Bay 20 February
where the oil was transferred to another vessel.
Light cruiser GLASGOW departed Aden to collect Force Z (British troopships GLENGYLE,
GLENEARN, GLENROY) at Durban.
New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES departed Sydney escorting a liner. Off Cape Van Dieman, the
cruiser was detached and proceed to Auckland arriving on the 23rd.
Convoy SC.23 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA. On 6
March, destroyer AMBUSCADE, sloop ABERDEEN, corvettes AUBRETIA and HOLLYHOCK, anti-submarine
trawlers DANEMAN, KING SOL, LADY LILLIAN, ST APOLLO, VISENDA joined the
convoy. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on 8 March. On 8 March,
destroyers BEVERLEY and HARVESTER joined the escort, and arrived at Loch Ewe
on 9 March. Destroyers AMBUSCADE, BEVERLEY, HARVESTER, sloop ABERDEEN, corvette AUBRETIA, trawler ST APOLLO were
detached on 9 March. Corvette HOLLYHOCK and the rest of the trawlers were not
detached until 10 March, and arrived at Loch Ewe on 9 March.
Convoy SL.66 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CORMORIN to 10
Light cruiser KENYA departed
Gibraltar on the
28th to join the convoy.
On 10 March, destroyers MONTGOMERY, VIVIEN, WANDERER, WITCH and corvettes NASTURTIUM,
PERWINKLE, PRIMROSE joined the convoy and escorted it to arrival on 14 March.
Wednesday, 19 February
Light cruiser DIDO and destroyers NAPIER and
BEDOUIN departed Scapa Flow at 2100 to escort the battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH
from Rosyth to Scapa Flow.
Destroyer SOMALI, completing boiler cleaning at Rosyth,
joined the escort to Scapa
Destroyer ECHO arrived at Scapa Flow at 0800 from Loch Alsh after duty escorting the
minelayers in operation SN.68.
Destroyer ELECTRA departed Scapa Flow for Aberdeen to escort troopship AMSTERDAM. However, due to mining in the approaches to Aberdeen, destroyer ELECTRA was diverted to the Humber for docking and repairs.
Destroyer BOADICEA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1800 from Plymouth to carry out working up exercises.
Destroyer QUANTOCK arrived at Scapa Flow from
Greenock at 1500
to carry out working up exercises.
Sloop PELICAN was damaged by mining twelve miles
The sloop was towed to Sheerness and was under
repair until 1 December 1941.
Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE began refitting at Liverpool which was completed on 22 May.
Submarine TIGRIS sank French steamer JACOBSEN
(523grt) off Bayonne and French steamer GUILVINEC (3181grt) sixty miles west
of St Nazaire in 44-48N, 3-01W.
In late February to the first week of March,
Submarine depot ship FORTH and submarines were sent to Halifax. The submarines were to revive the early war
practice of assigning a submarine to cover HX.convoys.
SEVERN arrived at
Halifax on the 27th.
French submarine SURCOUF arrived at Halifax on 3 March.
Submarine THUNDERBO Lt departed Holy Loch on the
19th and arrived at Halifax
on 5 March.
Submarines PORPOISE, TAKU, TRIBUNE departed the
Clyde on 24/25 February. Submarine TAKU broke down en route and returned.
Submarines PORPOISE and TRIBUNE arrived on 11 March.
Submarine TALISMAN departed Holy Loch on 6 March
and arrived at Halifax on 26 March.
Depot ship FORTH departed Aultbrea on 2 March.
Dutch submarine O.15, already at Halifax, was also assigned to this Flotilla.
Sub Lt N. D. M. Parsons and Petty Officer A. Ashby
were killed when their Skua of 801 Squadron, en rute from Donibristle to St
Merryn, crashed in fog at Elidir Fach, near Llanberis.
U.69 sank British steamer EMPIRE BLANDA (5693grt),
which was straggling behind convoy HX.107, in the North Atlantic.
U.103 sank Norwegian steamer BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
(7034grt), which was straggling behind convoy HX.107, in 58-50N, 16-30W.
The crew was rescued by Egyptian steamer MEMPHIS (2085grt). However, twenty nine crew were lost
when MEMPHIS foundered.
The German 1st MTB Flotilla with S.28, S.101, S.102 made a sortie
against the British east coast. British steamer ALGARVE (1355grt) was sunk by S.102 near Sheringham Light
Float, and the entire crew lost.
British steamer GRACIA (5642grt) and British tanker
HOUSANTONIC (5559grt) were sunk by German bombers in 59-39N, 7-24W from
The entire crew was rescued from GRACIA. Three crew
from tanker HOUSANTONIC were lost.
Dutch steamer KARANAN (395grt) was damaged by
German bombing six miles southwest of Lizard.
One crewman and two gunners were lost.
The steamer was towed to Falmouth.
British steamer FULHAM II (1596grt) was damaged by
a mine off Tyne Piers.
One crewman was lost.
The steamer went ashore at Frenchman's Point. The
steamer was later refloated and proceeded to Jarrow in tow.
British tanker ATHELSULTAN (8882grt) was damaged by
German bombing 2¼ miles 120° from May Island.
The steamer anchored in Methil Roads later that
During the night of 19/20 February, British tug
QUEENFORTH (204grt) was damaged by German bombing in King's Dock at Swansea.
The tug was raised in 1942.
For Operation MC.8 the following British forces
Aircraft carrier EAGLE with a destroyer screen
departed Alexandria to exercise flying prior to the Main Fleet's
Force A was composed of battleships BARHAM and
VALIANT and destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, JAGUAR, ILEX, HEREWARD, HERO, HASTY,
DAINTY, DECOY, departing Alexandria at 1630. Aircraft carrier EAGLE joined the force at sea. Force A was
to cover the operation.
Force B was light cruisers ORION, GLOUCESTER, AJAX and destroyers NUBIAN, MOHAWK, DIAMOND. Four
hundred and ten Army personnel were embarked on ORION, three hundred and
seventy four on AJAX and six hundred and fifty seven on GLOUCESTER. Also, carried by this force were 130grt of
equipment, seventeen Bren carriers and other vehicles, sixty motor cycles, a
large quantity of Italian and other guns and ammunition. A crew for destroyer
IMPERIAL, twenty submarine torpedoes, a number of Maltese ratings, one LL
minesweeping gear was carried aboard the ships. ForceB departed Alexandria at 1730.
At Malta, supply ship BRECONSHIRE, steamer CLAN MACAULEY,
destroyers HOTSPUR and HAVOCK were brought away. These ships departed Malta at dusk on the 20th. Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY joined this force. Despite air attacks on this
group, they safely arrived.
Cruiser COVENTRY, destroyer HAVOCK, storeship
BRECONSHIRE arrived at Alexandria at 0745/23rd. Steamer CLAN MACAULEY and
destroyer HOTSPUR arrived at Port Said at 1630; destroyer HOTSPUR then
proceeding to Alexandria.
Force B arrived at Malta at 0630/21st. After unloading the force departed
at 1900. Destroyer DIAMOND remained at Malta for refitting.
Destroyers MOHAWK and NUBIAN were detached from
ForceB during the night of 21/22 February and joined Force A at daylight on
the 22nd. On their arrival, destroyers DECOY and HEREWARD were detached to
Light cruiser GLOUCESTER was detached for Suda
on the 22nd.
On the 22nd, destroyers DAINTY and HASTY were
relieved by destroyers STUART and VAMPIRE. The earlier destroyers proceeded to
duties off Tobruk.
An air strike by aircraft carrier EAGLE during the
night of 22/23 February on Rhodes was cancelled due to bad weather.
ForceB arrived at Alexandria at 1000/23rd and Force A at 1830.
Australian destroyer STUART was damaged by the near
miss of a German bomb off Benghazi.
The destroyer spent no time out of service.
Convoy AC.1 left Benghazi due to air attacks and poor facilities escorted by
anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY,
corvettes GLOXINIA and HYACINTH, two trawlers.
Both corvettes had been damaged by the explosion of
mines in their sweeps. The convoy would be met later in the day by destroyers
STUART and VOYAGER, and arrived at Tobruk on the 20th.
Monitor TERROR remained at Benghazi as an anti-aircraft guard ship.
Submarine UPHOLDER made an unsuccessful attack on
an Italian steamer south east of Gulf of
Light cruiser PHOEBE was detached from convoy WS.6A
to refuel at Gibraltar.
The light cruiser departed that same day and
rejoined the convoy.
Convoy HX.110 departed Halifax. Battleship RAMILLIES joined the convoy on the
21st. The battleship was detached on 3 March. Destroyers HARVESTER, HAVELOCK, HESPERUS joined the convoy on 6 March and
destroyer HURRICANE joined on 8 March. Destroyer HARVESTER was detached on 8
March and destroyers HESPERUS and HURRICANE on 10 March. Anti-submarine
trawler HUDDERSFIELD TOWN joined on 8 March and destroyer
HAVELOCK and the trawler were detached when the convoy
arrived at Liverpool on 11 March.
Thursday, 20 February
Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH departed Rosyth at 1500,
escorted by light cruiser DIDO and destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, NAPIER. The
battleship arrived at Scapa
Flow at 0828 on the 21st
to work up.
Convoy OB.289 departed Liverpool. Escorted by destroyers BURNHAM, DOUGLAS, MALCOLM,
corvettes MALLOW and PETUNIA, anti-submarine trawler NORTHERN SPRAY. The
trawler was detached the next day. The remainder of the convoy escort, less
corvette MALLOW, was detached on the 24th. Corvette MALLOW was detached on
the 25th when the convoy dispersed.
Destroyer ECHO departed
Scapa Flow at 1600
to meet troopship AMSTERDAM (4220grt) off Aberdeen and escort her to Lerwick.
Both ships arrived at Lerwick on the 21st. At 2145,
both ships departed Lerwick for Aberdeen.
Following this duty, destroyer ECHO arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1545/22nd.
Destroyers INTREPID, IMPULSIVE, ICARUS, escorted by
destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KIPLING, JACKAL, laid minefield GS in the English Channel.
P/T/A/Sub Lt (A) J W Ridler RNVR and Naval Airman E
W E Burton were killed when their Shark aircraft of 755 Squadron crashed near
A/Sub Lt (A) T.V. Worrall of 809 Squadron was
killed when his Fulmar crashed on a practice flight northeast of Lee.
British steamer FORT
MEDINE (5261grt) was sunk on a mine in 51-35N, 3-56W. One crewman was lost.
British steamer RIGMOR (1278grt) was sunk by German
bombing in 49-54N, 4-51W. The entire crew was rescued.
Minesweeper BRAMBLE was bombed off Harwich. She was
repaired in the Thames in four days in February.
Minesweeping trawler MARJORY M HASTIE (244grt, T/Lt
R T. Gilling RNR) was mined off the Tyne and went ashore at Whitburn.
The trawler was refloated on 14 March and was
brought into the Tyne.
British tanker D. L. HARPER (12,223grt) was damaged
by German bombing in 58-50N, 12-12W.
The tanker was able to continue her voyage and
arrived at Halifax on 3 March.
British trawler SCARBOROUGH (162grt) was damaged by German bombing in 52-15N,
The trawler was towed back to port with engines
British tanker BRITISH SPLENDOR (7138grt) was
damaged by German bombing one and a quarter miles south of Black Head, near
British steamer ST ROSARIO (4312grt) was damaged by
German bombing in 58-50N, 11-40W.
The steamer was bombed again on the 22nd in 59-40N,
The steamer returned to Rothesay
British steamer ROSENBORG (1997grt) was damaged by German
bombing in 58-49N, 11-40W.
The steamer returned to the Clyde making water.
Convoy HG.54 departed Gibraltar escorted by destroyer FEARLESS, sloop LEITH,and corvettes GERANIUM and JONQUIL.
Submarine TUNA departed Gibraltar escorting convoy HG.54.
Destroyer FEARLESS was detached on the 23rd for
refuelling and rejoined on the 25th with destroyer FURY. Both destroyers and
the corvettes were detached that night.
Six steamers from convoy SLS.64 departed Funchal and joined the convoy.
On 6 March, destroyers BROKE, VANITY, WOLSEY,
SALADIN and corvette ABELIA joined the convoy.
The submarine arrived at Holy Loch on 9 March, and
arrived at Liverpool on 12 March with the four destroyers, sloop LEITH, corvette ABELIA.
Submarine REGENT attacked a convoy composed
ofGerman transports ARTA, (2452grt) HERAKLEA (1927grt), MENES (5609grt),
MARTIZA (2910grt), which departed Naples on the 21st for Tripoli escorted by
Italian destroyers FRECCIA, SAETTA, TURBINE.
Submarine REGENT torpedoed transport MENES.
Submarine REGENT was damaged in the counterattack
by destroyer SAETTA and arrived at Malta on 1 March.
The transport was taken in tow by destroyer SAETTA,
arriving at Tripoli with the convoy on the 20th.
Naval trawler OUSE (462grt, Sub Lt W.V. Fitzmaurice
RNR) was sunk by a mine at Tobruk.
Fitzmaurice and eight ratings were wounded. These
nine were all that survived.
A/Sub Lt E. P. Ede RNR, Gunner J. Edwards, ten ratings were lost.
Convoy AS.15 of six British, twelve Greek, three
other ships departed Piraeus
escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyers GREYHOUND and WATERHEN.
Cruiser CALCUTTA was detached from the convoy and arrived at Alexandria on the 23rd, and arrived at Alexandria with destroyer WRYNECK and Port Said with destroyer GREYHOUND on the 24th.
Destroyer GREYHOUND remained at Port Said for the next northbound convoy.
New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER took over convoy US 9 composed of steamers AQUITANIA (44,786grt), MAURETANIA (35,739grt), NIEUW AMSTERDAM (36,287grt) from
Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA
150 miles west of Ceylon, and arrived at Bombay on the 22nd.
The light cruiser departed Bombay on the 22nd to search off the Maldives for German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER.
German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER captured
British tanker BRITISH ADVOCATE (6994grt) and Greek steamer GRIGORIOS C II
(2546grt) west of Seychilles.
The Greek steamer was sunk and her twenty seven man
crew was taken prisoner.
Italian armed merchant cruiser RAMB I departed
Massawa for Japan.
British steamer DUQUESA, captured by German heavy
cruiser SCHEER on 18 December 1940, was scuttled on the 20th at Mogadishu.
Convoy BS.16 departed Suez. The convoy was joined on the 21st by destroyer
KINGSTON and sloops FLAMINGO and HINDUSTAN. Sloop FLAMINGO was detached on the 23rd. The
convoy was dispersed on the 25th.
Convoy BA.1 departed Bombay, escorted by armed merchant cruiser ANTENOR, and arrived
at Aden. The ships of the convoy joined convoy WS.5B and
proceeded to Suez.
Friday, 21 February
Destroyer BOADICEA departed Scapa Flow at 2100 for Rosyth to carry out repairs to her
The destroyer arrived at Rosyth on the 22nd and was
under repair until 3 March.
Destroyer CLARE, which departed Plymouth on the 20th, was damaged in a collision with
British steamer PETERTOWN (5221grt) in 50-47N, 4-50W.
Destroyer CLARE arrived at Plymouth on the 22nd. The destroyer was repairing and converting
to a long range escort until 14 October 1941 at Portsmouth.
German aircraft attacked the British facilities at
Skaalefjord. These facilities included British oiler WAR PINDARI and oil
Anti-submarine trawler LINCOLN CITY (398grt, P/T/Lt F. A. Seward RNR) was sunk by German bombing at Thorshavn.
Anti-submarine trawler LEICESTER CITY (422grt) shot down a German bomber.
Submarine CACHALOT was on patrol off Vestfjord.
German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER sank British steamer
CANADIAN CRUISER (7148grt) in 6-36S, 47-18E.
The entire crew was taken prisoner.
Ocean boarding vessel REGISTAN arrived at Gibraltar
with French steamer FORT RICHEPANSE (3485grt), which she had captured in
30-47N, 18-59W on the 9th.
Battleship MALAYA relieved Force H escorting convoy WS.6A and remained with the convoy
until 1 March when the convoy arrived at
Convoy WS.6B joined at Freetown.
On 3 March, the convoy departed Freetown escorted by light cruisers PHOEBE and BIRMINGHAM and armed merchant cruiser CATHAY.
Heavy cruiser CATHAY was relieved by heavy cruiser
CORNWALL on 11 March.
Sent ahead as a fast section, steamers SCYTHIA, ALMANZORA, BERGENSFJORD, LLANGIBBY
CASTLE, RUAHINE arrived at Capetown on 21 March. They departed after
watering for Durban on 22 March, escorted by light cruiser PHOEBE. The
section arrived at Durban on 26 March, and arrived at Capetown on 22 March.
The Capetown convoy sailed on 27 March escorted by
heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE.
On 1 April, the Durban section sailed escorted by heavy cruiser CORNWALL and light cruiser PHOEBE. The two sections
rendezvoused on 2 April.
Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE was detached on 7 April
CASTLE and CITY OF ATHENS were detached to Mombasa on 8 April.
On 10 April, steamer TALAMBA (8018grt) joined the
convoy from the Seychilles escorted by light cruiser GLASGOW. The light
cruiser remained with the convoy until 13 April.
Light cruiser PHOEBE was detached on 10 April.
Heavy cruiser CANBERRA was with the convoy on 10 April only.
Heavy cruiser CORNWALL was detached on 17 April.
At Perim, the convoy dispersed and the ships
Light cruiser EMERALD was relieved in convoy WS.5B
by Heavy cruiser HAWKINS.
Battleship WARSPITE was docked at Alexandria for repairs.
The battleship was undocked on the 24th.
Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE aircraft raided
Submarine URSULA attacked a convoy of Italian
steamers SABBIA (5788grt) and SILVIA TRIPCOVICH (2365grt), which departed
Trapani on the 21st escorted by torpedo boat MONTANARI.
Submarine URSULA damaged Italian steamer SABBIA in
The submarine was damaged in the counterattack.
Steamer SILVIA TRIPCOVICH continued, unescorted.
Steamer SABBIA, accompanied by torpedo boat
MONTANARI, arrived at Tripoli
on the 24th.
Saturday, 22 February
Light cruiser AURORA, which joined off Cape Wrath, arrived at Scapa Flow at 1534 with British transports QUEEN EMMA and
PRINCESS BEATRIX from the Clyde.
At 2130, light cruiser AURORA departed Scapa Flow carrying anti-aircraft guns and four gun crews
from battleship NELSON to strengthen the anti-aircraft defenses at
Destroyer AVON VALE departed Greenock at 1645 for Scapa
Flow to carry out working
The destroyer arrivedat Scapa Flow at 1430/23rd.
Destroyer ICARUS, escorted by destroyers BERKELEY,
TYNEDALE, VANSITTART, laid minefield JK in the English Channel.
U.96 sank British tanker SCOTTISH STANDARD
(6999grt), which was straggling behind convoy OB.287 after being damaged by
German bombers in 59-09N, 16-18W on the 20th, in 59-20N, 16-12W.
Five crew were lost on the tanker. The survivors
were rescued by destroyer MONTGOMERY.
Italian submarine MARCELLO was sunk west of the
Hebrides by destroyer MONTGOMERY.
Also in the escort group with MONTGOMERY were destroyer HURRICANE and corvette PERIWINKLE.
U.108 sank Dutch steamer TEXELSTROOM (1617grt) in
British tanker LUXOR (6554grt) was damaged by German bombing at Swansea.
British steamer KINGSTON HILL (7628grt) was damaged
by German bombing in 59-44N, 12-33W.
The steamer arrived at Loch Ewe under tow on the
British steamer KEILA (3621grt) was damaged by
German bombing in 59-44N, 12-33W.
The steamer reached the Clyde under her own power.
German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER sank Dutch
steamer RANTAU PANDJANG (2542grt) at 8-24S, 51-35E.
Two crew were lost and the rest were taken
A Walrus from Light cruiser GLASGOW sighted SCHEER
and the Admiralty ordered all British units to converge on that location in
an attempt to sink SCHEER.
Aircraft carrier HERMES and light cruiser CAPETOWN
came out from Mombasa. Heavy cruisers AUSTRALIA and HAWKINS were detached from convoy WS.5 B.
Light cruiser EMERALD recently detached from convoy WS.5 B. Australian heavy
cruiser CANBERRA was released from convoy US 9 after being relieved by light cruiser LEANDER.
Heavy cruiser SHROPSHIRE was called from patrol to the south of SCHEER.
Light cruiser ENTERPRISE was called from patrol to the north of SCHEER.
However, SCHEER was able to lose the seaplane and
escaped back into the South
The search was called off on the 24th.
Off Newfoundland, German battleship GNEISENAU sank British steamer
TRELAWNEY (4689grt) in 47-12N, 40-13W, British tanker HARLESDEN (5483grt) in
47-12N, 40-18W, British steamer KANTARA (3237grt) in 47-12N, 40-13W from
dispersed convoy OB.285, British steamer A. D. HUFF (6219grt) in 47-12N,
40-13W from dispersed convoy OB.286.
One crewman was killed TRELAWNEY and the rest were
Seven crew were lost on HARLESDEN and the rest were
The entire crew of the KANTARA were made prisoners.
Two crew were killed and the rest taken prisoner
from A. D. HUFF.
German battleship SCHARNHORST sank British tanker
LUSTROUS (6156grt) in 47-12N, 40-13W.
All crew from LUSTROUS were taken prisoner.
German minelayers BRUMMER, COBRA, KONIGIN LUISE and
escorted by the 5th Minesweeping Flotilla from Bergen laid minefield SWINE between the Shetlands and
Monitor TERROR was damaged by the near miss of an
air bomb off Benghazi at dawn.
As the monitor was leaving Benghazi for Tobruk, she was damaged by striking two mines.
The monitor was further damaged at 1825/23rd in an
Italian air attack. Minesweeper FAREHAM and
corvette SALVIA attempted to tow the monitor.
Destroyers DAINTY and HASTY were sent to her assistance,
but destroyer HASTY never made contact. Destroyer DAINTY, delayed by defects,
was unable to leave Tobruk until 0530.
The monitor sank at 0415/24th off Derna in 32-59N,
22-32E. There were no casualties. The crew were taken on corvette SALVIA and
Australian light cruiser PERTH was sailed at 0330 from Alexandria to assist. Light cruiser AJAX and destroyers MOHAWK and NUBIAN were also to
depart Alexandria on the 24th to support monitor TERROR. However,
when word of the monitor's loss, the sailing was cancelled.
There were no casualties in the loss of the
Polish ship WARSAWA (2487grt), British steamer
KNIGHT OF MALTA (1553grt), armed boarding vessel CHAKLA arrived at Tobruk
with stores and personnel.
At Tobruk, anti-submarine whaler SOUTHERN SEA was damaged in a collision with a lighter.
Submarine REGENT unsuccessfully attacked Italian
shipping off Tripoli.
Sunday, 23 February
Destroyer BRILLIANT departed Scapa Flow at 1530 to meet submarine SUNFISH off Bell Rock
and escort her to Scapa
Destroyer BEDOUIN departed Scapa Flow at 0800/24th to reinforce the submarine escort.
The ships arrived at Scapa Flow at 2100/24th.
Convoy OB.290 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers VANQUISHER, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA, sloops ENCHANTRESS and WESTON,
corvettes CAMPANULA and PIMPERNEL. The escort, less sloop WESTON, was
detached on the 26th. On the 27th, sloop WESTON was detached when the convoy
U.107 and Italian submarine BIANCHI sank ocean
boarding vessel MANISTEE (5360grt, Lt Cdr E. H. Smith RNR) in 59-30N, 21W.
Smith, T/Sub Lt (E) J. Allison RNR, T/Paymaster Sub Lt J. Berkeley RNR, T/Surgeon Lt L. R. Blair RNVR, P/T/Sub Lt T. B.
Bryson RNR, T/Sub Lt (E) O. A. Cochrane RNR, T/Lt F. Davies RNVR, T/Lt (E) R. E. Duff RNR, T/Lt Cdr (E) J. G. Duncan RNR, T/Lt A. C. Gravelle RNR, T/Sub Lt C. B. Jackaman RNR, T/Lt N. A. H. Lawrie RNVR, Lt E. B. D. MacFarren
RNR, T/Paymaster Lt G. F. J. Nathan RNR, Paymaster Midshipman J. J. M. Reynolds RNR, T/Lt D. W. Seabrook RNR, Gunner S. W. Tarrant, T/Sub Lt C. R. Webster
RNR, T/Midshipman D. M. Williams RNR, one hundred and twenty two ratings were missing
on the ship.
Destroyer CHURCHILL was dispatched to search for
survivors, but found none.
British tanker WAR PINDARI was unsuccessfully
attacked by German bombing at Skaalefjord.
A German Kondor aircraft sighted dispersed convoy
OB.288. This sighting led U.boats to the convoy.
U.96 sank British steamer HUNTINGDON (10,946grt) from
convoy OB.288 in 58-25N, 20-23W.
The entire crew was rescued by Greek steamer
PAPALEMOS (3478grt) of the convoy.
U.69 sank British steamer TEMPLE
MOAT (4427grt), which was straggling behind convoy OB.288, in 59-27N,
U.95 sank British
NELSON (3807grt) and ANGLO PERUVIAN (5457grt) from convoy OB.288 in 59-30N,
The submarine also claimed damaging another ship,
but no confirmation is available.
British steamer SHOAL FISHER (698grt) was sunk on a
mine in 50-10N, 4-50W.
The entire crew was rescued and taken to Falmouth.
German merchant ships ANKARA (4768grt), REICHENFELS (7744grt), KYBFELS
(7764grt), MARBURG (7564grt) departed Naples for Tripoli escorted by Italian destroyers AVIERE and GENIERE
and torpedo boat CASTOR at 1900/23rd. The convoy was covered by Italian light
cruisers BANDE NERE and DIAZ with destroyers ASCARI and CORAZZIERE.
The light cruisers also covered a return convoy of
steamers ARTA (2452grt), NIRVO (5164grt), GIOVINEZZA (2362grt), which
departed Tripoli 0530/24th escorted by torpedo boat PAPA.
British steamer KNIGHT OF MALTA (1553grt) and
Egyptian steamer STAR OF MEX (1116grt) departed Tobruk for Alexandria with personnel.
Submarine UPRIGHT sank Italian steamer SILVIA
TRIPCOVICH (2365grt) off Kuriat Island in 34-33N, 11-45E.
Greek submarine NEREUS reported sinking an Italian
transport off Valona in 40-07N, 18-57E.
Battleship RESOLUTION departed Gibraltar, escorted by destroyers JERSEY, JUPITER, DUNCAN, VELOX, for Portsmouth.
Destroyers DUNCAN and VELOX returned to Gibraltar.
Destroyer WRESTLER arrived at Gibraltar after refitting in England.
Ocean boarding vessel MARSDALE arrived from Western
Patrol with French steamers PLM 13 and LORIENT
whom she had captured at 28-12N, 12-23W on the 18th.
Convoy HX.111 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser AURANIA and
corvette COLLINGWOOD. The corvette was detached the next day. The armed
merchant cruiser left the escort on 7 March. On 8 March, destroyer BEVERLEY
and corvettes ARBUTUS and CAMELLIA joined the escort. Destroyers CHELSEA,
VERITY, WOLVERINE joined on 10 March and corvette CAMELLIA was detached, and
arrived at Liverpool on 12 March.
Monday, 24 February
Destroyer KELVIN arrived at Scapa Flow from the
Tyne at 1200 to
carry out degaussing range trials.
Following the trials, the destroyer departed Scapa Flow at 1830 for Plymouth.
Destroyer ATHERSTONE departed Scapa Flow at 2000 for Rosyth following her working up
Destroyers INTREPID and IMPULSIVE laid minefield GT
in the English Channel.
Minesweeping trawler ERIMO (265grt, Skipper T.
Catchpole RNR) was seriously damaged in the approaches to Swansea.
Minesweeper BLACKPOOL was machine gunned by German aircraft off the
northeast coast of Scotland.
The minesweeper had no time out of action.
U.123 sank Dutch steamer GROOTEKERK (8685grt) in
The entire crew were lost.
U.96 sank Norwegian steamer SVEIN JARL (1908grt) in
U.95 sank British steamer MARSLEW (4542grt), from
dispersed convoy OB.288, in 59-18N, 21-30W.
U.97 sank from convoy OB.289 British steamer
MANSEPOOL (4894grt) in 61-01N, 12-00W and British steamer JONATHAN HOLT (4973grt), in 61-10N, 11-55W.
Two crew were lost on the steamer MANSEPOOL.
Thirty nine crew, two gunners, eleven passengers
were lost on the steamer JONATHAN HOLT.
U.96 sank British steamer SIRIKISHNA (5458grt), from
dispersed convoy OB.288, in 58N, 21W.
Convoy Commodore Rear Admiral R. A. A. Plowden Rtd
was lost in the steamer.
Italian submarine BIANCHI sank British steamer
LINARIA (3385grt), from dispersed convoy OB.288, in 61N, 25W.
U.73 sank British steamer WAYNEGATE (4260grt), from
dispersed convoy OB.288, in 58-50N, 21-47W.
The entire crew was rescued by French destroyer
U.97 sank British tanker BRITISH GUNNER (6894grt)
from convoy OB.289 in 61-09N, 12-04W.
Three crew were lost from the tanker.
U.97 damaged Norwegian tanker G. C. BROVIG
(9718grt) from convoy OB.289 in 61-04N, 14-24W.
The steamer was badly damaged. She arrived at
Stornoway on the 26th assisted by Royal Navy units.
U.48 sank British steamer NAILSEA LASS (4289grt),
which was straggling behind convoy SLS.64, sixty miles southwest of Fastnet.
Five crew were killed and two were taken prisoner.
Twenty nine crew were later rescued.
Destroyers DAINTY (Cdr M. S. Thomas DSO) and HASTY
were leaving Tobruk at dusk when destroyer DAINTY was sunk in an air attack.
P/T/Surgeon Lt W. G. Cuthbertson RNVR, T/Lt (E) E
M. McAllister and twelve ratings were killed.
One rating died of wounds. A/Gunner (T) R. G.
Humphreys and seventeen ratings were wounded.
Destroyer HASTY and trawler MARIA GIOVANNI rescued
The destroyer arrived at Alexandria with 140 survivors, including the Commanding
Officer and four officers on the 25th.
Destroyer HASTY was relieved in the Inshore
Squadron by destroyer WATERHEN, which departed Alexandria on the 26th.
Italian convoy of troopships ESPERIA (11,398grt),
CONTE ROSSO (17,879grt), MARCO POLO (12,272grt), VICTORIA (13,098grt)
departed Naples escorted by destroyers BALENO and CAMICIA NERA and
torpedo boat ALDEBARAN.
Light cruisers BANDE NERE and DIAZ and destroyers
ASCARI and CORAZZIERE covered the convoy.
Italian light cruiser DIAZ (flagship of Admiral
Moriondo) was sunk by Submarine UPRIGHT on the 25th off Sfax in 34-33N,
Submarine UPRIGHT unsuccessfully attacked a
destroyer in this force.
Convoy BN.17 departed Suez, escorted by sloops SHOREHAM and YARRA. The convoy
was dispersed on the 27th.
Convoy BS.17 departed Suez. Sloops CLIVE and HINDUSTAN joined the convoy on the 25th. The sloops were
detached that night. Sloops FLAMINGO and YARRA joined the convoy. The convoy
was dispersed on 3 March.
Destroyers ENCOUNTER and ISIS departed Gibraltar for a trip around the Cape to Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Fleet. Ocean boarding
vessel MARSDALE, en route to Western Patrol, sailed in company.
The destroyers arrived at Freetown on 3 March.
Destroyer ISIS departed Freetown on 5 March for St Helena. The destroyer departed St Helena on 9 March.
Destroyer ENCOUNTER departed Freetown on 9 March and joined destroyer ISIS at sea.
The destroyers arrived at Simonstown on 13 March
and departed on 16 March. They arrived at Durban on 18 March and departed on 25 March. The two
destroyers arrived at Mombasa
on 29 March and departed on 31 March. Destroyers ENCOUNTER and ISIS arrived at Aden on 4 April and departed on 5 April. They departed
Suez on 8 April and arrived at Alexandria on 9 April.
New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER joined a convoy en route
from Colombo to Bombay.
New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES departed Auckland.
On the 26th, the cruiser joined convoy AP 13 and
escorted it to 450 miles northeast of Chatham
The cruiser returned to Wellington arriving on 2 March.
Tuesday, 25 February
Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH departed Scapa Flow at 0500 escorted by destroyers NAPIER, NIZAM,
BEDOUIN, MATABELE for gun and full power trials.
The ships arrived back later in the day.
Turbine defects developed in the battleship on the
27th. These were repaired and trials were completed on 14 March.
Destroyer BRILLIANT departed Scapa Flow at 2100 for Portsmouth to undergo repairs prior to transferring to the
Destroyer MENDIP arrived at Scapa Flow at 1030 from the Tyne to complete working up after repairs.
Escorting convoy FN.417, destroyer EXMOOR ( Lt Cdr R. T. Lampard) was sunk by German S.30 off the Lizard.
Lampard, Sub Lt C H M Beckwith, T/Sub Lt A A H
Weeks RNVR, Commissioned Engineer S H Young, one hundred and one ratings were
lost with the destroyer.
Thirty two survivors, including Lt J. K. Hamilton,
A/T/Sub Lt D. S. Thorp RNVR, Surgeon Lt J. F. Hughes MRCS, LRCP, Gunner E.
Whiteside, Midshipman H. D. Barr RNR, were rescued by patrol sloop SHEARWATER and
patrol trawler COMMANDER EVANS (344grt).
British sailing barge GLOBE (54grt) was sunk on a
mine 6100 yards 79° from Garrison
Two crew were lost.
Convoy OG.54 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer LINCOLN.
Destroyers KEPPEL, SHIKARI, VENOMOUS, sloop
ROCHESTER, corvettes DIANELLA, KINGCUP, LA MALOUINE, SUNFLOWER,
anti-submarine yacht PHILANTE joined the convoy on the 26th. Corvette
COREOPSIS joined on the 27th.
Corvette KINGCUP was detached on the 27th and
corvette COREOPSIS on the 28th. On 2 March, yacht PHILANTE and corvettes
DIANELLA and SUNFLOWER were detached. Destroyers KEPPEL and VENOMOUS were
detached on 3 March. On 4 March, destroyers LINCOLN and SHIKARI were detached.
On 6 March, Dutch submarine O.21 joined the convoy
escort, and arrived at Gibraltar on 14 March with sloop ROCHESTER, corvette LA MALOUINE, the Dutch submarine.
German torpedo boats ILTIS and JAGUAR laid
minefield AUGSBURG A off Eastbourne.
Battlecruiser RENOWN and aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL
arrived at Gibraltar, escorted by destroyers FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND,
FIREDRAKE, FORTUNE, after escorting convoys in the Atlantic.
The destroyers had departed Gibraltar on the 22nd to escort the battlecruiser and
In Operation ABSTENTION and Operation MAR 2, a special assault force of 500 men were
embarked on destroyers DECOY and HEREWARD at Suda
The main garrison for Castelelorizo was embarked in
armed boarding vessel ROSAURA, which departed Alexandria on the 23rd for Famagusta.
Gunboat LADYBIRD departed Famagusta at 2230/23rd.
Submarine PARTHIAN acted as a beacon for the
After an attack on the island during the night of
24/25 February, destroyers DECOY and HEREWARD landed the commandoes before
dawn on the 25th.
However, eight of the ten boats from HEREWARD lost
their bearings and returned to destroyer DECOY. They were later landed in
Gunboat LADYBIRD arrived at daylight on the 25th
and landed a party of twenty four Marines.
This operation was covered by light cruisers
BONAVENTURE and GLOUCESTER.
Gunboat LADYBIRD was damaged by a bomb hit during
the morning while in harbour.
The Marines from LADYBIRD were reembarked on the gunboat.
The gunboat then proceeded to Famagusta, Cyprus.
The attempt to take the island was unsuccessful,
due to delays of armed boarding vessel ROSAURA.
In response to the landing, Italian destroyers
SELLA and CRISPI and torpedo boats LUPO and LINCE took on 240 men at Rhodes and left for Castelorizzo.
During the night of 25/26 February, destroyer
HEREWARD contacted the Italian torpedo boats, but tried to concentrate with
destroyer DECOY before attacking. Destroyer DECOY, escorting ROSAURA, did not
Destroyer HEREWARD lost touch with the Italian
ships and made no attack.
Italian torpedo boat LUPO arrived at Castelorizzo
soon after 0001/26 February and entered the harbour. However, a storm blew up
before disembarkation had progressed very far.
At 0230/26th, the British ships involved in
ABSTENTION were ordered to return to Alexandria. Light cruiser GLOUCESTER, anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE, destroyer
DECOY arrived at Alexandria at 2000/26th. Destroyer HEREWARD and armed
boarding vessel ROSAURA arrived at 0400/27th.
The garrison on ROSAURA was transferred to
destroyers DECOY and HEREWARD.
Destroyers HOTSPUR and VAMPIRE departed Alexandria for Port Said to escort convoy AN.16.
British troopship ULSTER PRINCE also departed Alexandria for Port Said to embark military personnel for Greece and
British tanker TYNEFIELD (5856grt) was damaged by
German bombing at Tobruk.
One crewman was lost.
The forecastle was wrecked.
Tanker TYNEFIELD, escorted by anti-submarine
trawler WOLBOROUGH, arrived at Alexandria on 6 March.
After repairs, the tanker sailed for Aden on 30 June.
Naval whaler SARNA (268grt, T/Skipper C. Sarel
RNR) of the 142nd Minesweeping Group was sunk on a
mine in the Suez Canal.
The Skipper of the whaler was able to beach his
ship clear of the channel.
One rating was missing and one crewman was injured.
Wednesday, 26 February
Heavy cruiser NORFOLK departed
Scapa Flow at 1247
to meet convoys HX.112 and SC.24 in 52W.
Destroyer GEORGETOWN, which departed Aultbrea on the 20th, was in a
collision with an unknown ship.
The destroyer arrived in the Clyde on the 28th. She was repaired in the
Tyne completing in early June.
Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, IMPULSIVE, escorted by
destroyers VANSITTART and WIVERN, laid minefield JL in the English Channel during the night of 26/27 February.
In a minelaying operation from North Coates, a
Swordfish of 812 Squadron forced landed and Sub Lt E. David and Sub Lt K. J.
Cole were killed.
P/T/Sub Lt (A) J. Stafford-Clark RNVR, was killed
when his Miles Master of 760 Squadron crashed near Somerton Erleigh. P/A/Sub
Lt (A) J. E. Scott RNVR, also in the aircraft, was not hurt.
British steamer MINORCA (1123grt) was sunk by German S.28 in 53-04N, 1-21E, off Cromer.
Seventeen crew and two passengers were lost. Two
crew and one passengers were rescued.
Dutch steamer AMSTELLAND (8156grt) was badly
damaged by German bombing in 54-12N, 16W.
The steamer was taken in tow, but was abandoned on
the 28th in a sinking condition.
Dutch steamer BEURSPLEIN (4368grt) was badly
damaged by German bombing in 54-12N, 16W.
Twenty one crew were lost. The ship was abandoned
on fire on the 27th and later sank.
German bombers sank British steamers MAHANADA
(7181grt) in 54-07N, 17-06W, SWINBURNE (4659grt) in 54-00N, 16-58W, LLANWERN
(4966grt) in 54-07N, 17-06W from convoy OB.290.
Three crew were lost on steamer MAHANADA.
The entire crew of steamer SWINBURNE were rescued.
Twenty five crew and two gunners were lost on
In attacks on convoy OB.290, U.47 sank Belgian
steamer KASONGO (5254grt) in 55-50N, 14-20W, damaged British tanker DIALA
(8106grt) in 55-50N, 14W, damaged Swedish steamer RYDBOHOLM (3197grt) in
55-32N, 14-24W, sank Norwegian steamer BORGLAND (3636grt) in 55-50N, 14W.
Six crew were lost on steamer KASONGO.
One crewman was lost from steamer DIALA. The
steamer arrived in the Clyde on the 28th.
Steamer RYDBOHOLM was sunk by bombing later on the
26th. She was abandoned and sank in 55-48N, 14-25W.
Twenty six crew and two passengers were saved from
The entire crew of steamer BORGLAND were rescued.
U.70 sank Swedish steamer GOTEBORG (820grt) southeast of Iceland.
British power barge BRACKELIER (230grt) and barge
MONARCH, under tow, were sunk on mines eighty feet off Alexandra Jetty, at
the entrance to Alexandra Dock, Hull.
Two crew were lost from the power barge and one
crewman were rescued from barge MONARCH.
Greek steamer KYRIAKOULA (4340grt) was sunk by
German bombing in 55-02N, 16-25W.
The vessel was not hit, but the bombs fell
alongside the steamer which had already been abandoned.
The entire crew was rescued.
Norwegian steamer SOLFERINO (2580grt) was sunk by
German bombing in 55-02N, 16-25W.
Three crew were lost.
Norwegian steamer TENERIFFA (5655grt) was sunk by
German bombing in 51-30N, 4-55W.
The entire crew was rescued.
British steamer EMPIRE STEELHEAD (7744grt) was
damaged by German bombing at ten miles 80° from Cromarty. The steamer was set
on fire. She was towed to an anchorage of Invergordon.
British steamer MELMORE HEAD (5273grt) was damaged
by German bombing in 55-07N, 16-00W from convoy OB.290.
The steamer was abandoned. She was towed into Kames
on 5 March and then to Rothesay Bay
where she was beached pending repair.
British steamer LEEDS CITY (4758grt) was damaged by German bombing in 54-00N,
17-45W from convoy OB.290.
On 6 March, the steamer was towed into the Clyde.
Dutch steamer SURINAME (7915grt) was damaged by German bombing in 54-12N,
The steamer arrived at St Michaels on 5 March.
British trawler HOPTON (202grt) was damaged by
German bombing six miles east, southeast of Girdleness.
German lugger SCHAUMBURG-LIPPE (200grt) was sunk on
a mine in the Elbe.
Convoy AN.16 of British steamer ALAVI (3566grt) and
four Greek ships departed Port Said for Piraeus and Port Said escorted by destroyer GREYHOUND. Destroyer HAVOCK
joined the convoy.
Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY joined on the 28th.
On the 28th at 1925, cruiser COVENTRY's temporary bow was badly shaken and the cruiser
was forced to hove to. At 2306, the cruiser was ordered to return to Alexandria. The cruiser arrived at Alexandria at 1500 on 1 March.
Destroyer GREYHOUND continued with the convoy.
The convoy arrived at Piraeus on 3 March.
Ocean boarding vessel CORINTHIAN arrived at Gibraltar from Western Patrol.
Thursday, 27 February
Light cruiser DIDO departed Scapa Flow to escort convoy SL.65.
Destroyer LEGION arrived at Scapa Flow at 1600 from Greenock to take part in Operation CLAYMORE.
Destroyer ARROW was transferred to the Home Fleet
at Scapa Flow from the Western Approaches.
Convoy OB.291 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer CALDWELL. On the 27th
destroyers VOLUNTEER and WALKER, sloop FLEETWOOD, corvette TULIP, seaplane
carrier PEGASUS joined the escort. The escorted was detached when the convoy
dispersed on 3 March.
French destroyer MISTRAL was damaged in a collision
with British oiler BLACK RANGER.
There was slight damage to the destroyer.
German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU
refuelled at sea from tankers ERMLAND (6528grt) and FRIEDRICH BREME
One hundred and eighty prisoners from the sunken
British ships were transferred to the tankers.
Submarine TAKU, which had departed the Clyde on the 24th, broke down in the
Atlantic when the after hydroplane was carried away in heavy weather.
Sloop ENCHANTRESS, corvette GLADIOLUS, tug SALVONIA
were sent to assist the submarine.
Submarine TAKU arrived at Londonderry on 10 March. She was under repair from 16 to 21
Destroyer CHESTERFIELD, which departed Londonderry on the 27th, collided with submarine H 32 off
The destroyer was able to continue on her duties.
The damage was later repaired and required one week to complete.
Minesweeping trawler REMILLO (266grt, Skipper H. H.
Jarvis RNR) was sunk on a mine off the Humber. 1.76 miles 274° from Spurn
Point Light House.
Jarvis and sixteen ratings were lost on the trawler.
Convoy OB.292 departed Liverpool escorted by French destroyer OURAGAN, destroyer
AMBUSCADE, sloop ABERDEEN, corvette HOLLYHOCK, anti-submarine trawlers KING
SOL, DANEMAN, ST APOLLO.
When the convoy was dispersed on 6 March, the
escorts proceeded to escort convoy SC.23.
British steamer STANWOLD (1020grt) was lost to
unknown cause ten miles west, southwest of Selsey.
German bombers sank British steamer OLD CHARLTON
(1562grt) in 51-57N, 1-40W.
One crewman was lost. Steamer CATHERINE HAWKSFIELD
rescued the survivors.
British steamer BLACKTOFT (1109grt) was damaged by
German bombing in 51-57N, 1-40E.
The steamer was taken in tow and arrived at Harwich
on the 28th.
British steamer NEWLANDS (1556grt) was damaged by
German bombing in Barrow Deep.
The steamer was considerably damaged by a bomb
which failed to explode.
German bombers attacked British steamer ANCHISES
(10,000grt) in 55-30N, 13-17W.
The steamer was attacked again the next day 140
miles west of Bloody Foreland and sunk.
Thirteen crew and three passengers were lost. The
most of crew were picked up by Canadian destroyer ASSINIBOINE. Later the Captain and a skeleton crew were taken
off by corvette KINGCUP.
British steamer NOSS HEAD (438grt) was lost to
unknown cause in the vicinity of Gardenstown, E. Scotland.
Italian submarine BIANCHI attacked British steamer
EMPIRE ABILITY (7603grt) in convoy OB.290 in 54N, 14W without success.
British trawler CHRISTABELLE (203grt) was sunk on a
British mine in 61-27N, 6-05W.
Ten crew were lost.
British steamer CAPE
CLEAR (5085grt) was damaged on a mine in 53-27N, 4-01W.
The steamer anchored off Bar Light Vessel with
engine room problems. She was docked at Liverpool on 1 March.
German steamer ADELE OHLROGGE (1371grt) was sunk on
a mine in the Jade.
Italian armed merchant cruiser RAMB I (3667grt) was
sunk in the Indian Ocean at 1N, 70E by New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER, which had left convoy US 9 at Bombay on the 22nd.
The light cruiser picked up 103 survivors and took
them to Addu arriving on the 28th.
Operation ABSTENTION continued.
Destroyers DECOY and HASTY departed Alexandria at 0700.
Destroyer DECOY was carrying half the ROSAURA
Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE and Australian
light cruiser PERTH and destroyers HERO and JAGUAR departing Alexandria in the forenoon.
Destroyer HERO was carrying half the ROSAURA
Destroyers DECOY and HERO landed the troops.
Italian torpedo boats LUPO and LINCE returned to
Castelorizzo. The two torpedo boats and two MAS boats landed troops at Castelorizzo.
Italian destroyers CRISPI and SELLA arrived later
the same day to land troops.
Destroyer JAGUAR engaged Italian destroyers CRISPI
inside the harbour. Both destroyers launched torpedoes, but neither ship was
hit. Destroyer JAGUAR reported hitting CRISPI with two gunfire hits.
The British ships withdrew to Suda
At 0600/28th, light cruiser AJAX with destroyer NUBIAN departed Alexandria to take charge of the Aegean forces.
Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE, screening
destroyers DECOY and HERO, detached light cruiser PERTH and destroyers HASTY and JAGUAR to join the AJAX group.
At dark on the 28th, cruiser BONAVENTURE proceeded
Destroyers HERO and DECOY were ordered to land the
Commando unit for ABSTENTION at Suda
and return to Alexandria.
Destroyers NUBIAN, HASTY, JAGUAR carried out a
sweep after dark on the 28th between Castellerizo and Rhodes.
Radio traffic from an Italian warship was detected
between Castellerizo and Rhodes, but the destroyers were unable to make
Cruisers AJAX and PERTH covered the passage of convoys AN.16 and ANF.16 through the Kaso Straits during the night of 28
The British troops on Castellorizo surrendered to
Destroyers HERO and DECOY arrived at Suda
during the morning of 1 March. They sailed again that day for Alexandria, arriving at 1500 on 2 March.
Destroyers NUBIAN, JAGUAR, HASTY arrived at Alexandria at 1800 on 1 March.
Convoy ANF.16 of two British, one Greek, two other ships
departed Ports Said escorted by destroyers VAMPIRE and HOTSPUR. The convoy
was joined by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, and arrived at Piraeus on 2 March.
Friday, 28 February
Rear Admiral L. H. K. Hamilton DSO, succeeded Rear
Admiral R. H. C. Hallifax as Rear Admiral Destroyers, Home Fleet.
Destroyer BOREAS departed Scapa Flow at 0930 for Greenock to join destroyer ARROW escorting destroyer depot ship
Destroyer BOREAS arrived at Greenock at 1000 on 1 March.
On 1 March at 1400, destroyer depot ship TYNE and destroyers ARROW and BOREAS departed
Greenock for Scapa Flow, where they arrived at 1800 on 2 March.
Depot ship TYNE relieved depot ship MAIDSTONE.
Rear Admiral Hamilton transferred his flag to depot
ship TYNE at 0900 on 3 March. Depot ship MAIDSTONE departed
Scapa Flow at 1815
on 3 March escorted by destroyers BOREAS and MENDIP for Greenock.
The ships arrived at Greenock at 0830 on 5 March. Destroyer MENDIP departed
Greenock and arrived back at Scapa
Flow at 0800 on 6 March.
Depot ship MAIDSTONE was docked at the Clyde for refitting prior to departing for
Gibraltar on 21 March.
Destroyers NAPIER and ZULU departed Scapa Flow at 2100 for Rosyth to escort battlecruiser REPULSE
Battlecruiser REPULSE, escorted by destroyers
NAPIER, ZULU, BOADICEA departed Rosyth at 1030 on 3 March.
On 4 March, destroyer ZULU was detached with engine
room defects and arrived at Scapa
Flow at 1245 on 4 March.
Battlecruiser REPULSE and destroyers NAPIER and
BOADICEA arrived at Greenock late on 4 March. Destroyer BOADICEA then sailed
again and arrived back at Scapa
Flow during the morning
of 5 March.
Destroyers SOMALI (Captain Caslon), BEDOUIN,
TARTAR, ESKIMO, LEGION and landing ships QUEEN EMMA and PRINCESS BEATRIX
departed Scapa Flow at 2345 to participate in Operation CLAYMORE.
Tovey departed Scapa Flow at 1445 on 2 March in battleship KING GEORGE V
with battleship NELSON, light cruisers EDINBURGH and NIGERIA, destroyers INGLEFIELD, MAORI, PUNJABI, ECHO, ECLIPSE.
Destroyer MAORI attacked a submarine contact on 3
On 4 March, the two light cruisers were detached to
close support for the Caslon force.
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA arrived at Scapa Flow at 2100 from Rosyth after boiler cleaning and
Light cruiser KENYA departed
Gibraltar to join
Convoy OB.292 departed Liverpool.
Italian submarine BIANCHI sank British steamer
BALTISTAN (6803grt) from convoy OB.290 in 51-52N, 19-55W.
Two crew were killed, forty five crew missing and four
passengers missing. The passengers were P/T/A/Sub Lt (A) G. G. Isaacs RNVR,
P/T/Sub Lt (A) T. Dibble, en route to GREBE, Lt Cdr (A) J. H. Sender and
P/T/A/Sub Lt (A) E. C. Atkinson RNVR, en route to aircraft carrier EAGLE.
Fourteen crew and four passengers were rescued.
U.99 attacked British steamer HOLMELEA (4223grt),
from dispersed convoy OB.290 without success.
The steamer was sunk by U.47 with artillery in
One crewman was killed and twenty seven were
missing. Eleven crew were rescued.
U.108 sank British steamer EFFNA (6461grt) in
The entire crew was lost.
British steamer CABENDA (534grt) was lost on a mine
in 51-34N, 3-54W.
One crewman was lost.
Light cruiser ORION departed Alexandria for Port Said where her
catapult was removed to make way for additional close range anti-aircraft
Motor anti-submarine boat MA/SB.3 was beached after
damage by a mine in the Suez
Canal. There were no
serious personnel casualties and she was refloated and towed to Suez on 3 March.
Convoy SC.24 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser WOLFE and
corvette COLLINGWOOD. The corvette was detached on 1 March and the armed
merchant cruiser on 15 March. On 15 March, destroyers VANQUISHER, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA joined the convoy. On 16 March,
corvettes CAMPANULA, FREESIA, PIMPERNEL joined the escort, and arrived at
Liverpool on 19 March.
operations - Involved in the operations
were aircraft carrier HERMES, heavy cruiser SHROPSHIRE, light cruisers CAPETOWN and CERES and destroyers GRIFFIN, KANDAHAR, KINGSTON, KIMBERLEY. SHROPSHIRE bombarded Italian positions in Italian Somaliland.
Light cruiser DESPATCH was refitting at Bermuda.