Background Events - January-May 1941
Cape Matapan, Battles for Greece & Crete,
Capture of U.110, Enigma codes, Loss of 'Hood',
sinking of 'Bismarck'
Saturday, 1 March
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1130 to cover convoy WN.91 from Pentland Firth. The convoy was attacked by German aircraft from
1935 and 2014.
Steamer FORTHBANK (5057grt) was damaged by
German bombing in convoy WN.91 in 57-53N, 1-57W. Four crew were lost.
She arrived at Invergordon on the 3rd, and on
13th, left under tow for Leith. The steamer
went ashore on the 15th, but was refloated and arrived at Leith on the 17th.
Steamer PENNINGTON COURT (6098grt) in convoy WN.91 was also damaged by the
German bombing, but was able to continue.
Tanker ATHELTEMPLAR (8949grt) was damaged
by German bombing in convoy EN.79 in 57-04N, 1-50W.
Destroyer ERIDGE departed Rosyth at 1800 for Scapa Flow
and en route, was diverted to assist the damaged
tanker. Burnt out, she arrived in tow of ERIDGE and minesweeper SPEEDWELL at Methil Roads on the 3rd. ERIDGE arrived at Scapa Flow for working up exercises on the 3rd.
CURACOA transferred to convoy
EN.79 off Buchan Ness at 2300/1st to cover this convoy to Pentland Firth.
Destroyer QUANTOCK departed Scapa Flow at 1800 to meet steamer BEN MY CHREE and escort her to Kirkwall.
Minesweeping trawler ST DONATS (349grt, T/Skipper
F. L. A. Atkinson RNR) was lost in a collision off the Humber with destroyer COTSWOLD, which had departed Rosyth on 28 February.
The destroyer was repaired at Chatham from 4 to 31 March.
U.552 sank tanker CADILLAC (12,062grt) from
convoy HX.109 in 59-44N, 11-16W. Thirty three crew and two gunners were lost.
Dutch tanker ROTULA (7981grt) was badly damaged by
German bombing in 52-15N, 5-33W. Sixteen crew were killed and the wreck was sunk by a British trawler.
Steamer EMPIRE SIMBA (5691grt) was damaged
by German bombing in 52-21N, 5-23W, and abandoned with engine room and
stokehold flooded. She was towed to Liverpool on the
Light cruiser ARETHUSA arrived at Gibraltar.
Destroyer FIREDRAKE ran aground on the Spanish
coast in the Mediterranean east of Gibraltar, in
36-28N, 4-45W, and was under repair at Gibraltar from 1 March to 24 April. She was sent to Portsmouth for repairs, departed on 24 April and arrived
at Portsmouth on 1 May. FIREDRAKE departed immediately
for Chatham arriving on 2 May. Repairs were completed on 27
Ocean boarding vessel REGISTAN departed Gibraltar for Western Patrol.
A supply convoy for the Afrika Korps departed Naples with steamers AMSTERDAM (8673grt), CASTELLON (2086grt), RUHR (5954grt), and MARITZA (2910grt), escorted by torpedo boats CLIO,
PEGASO, and ORIONE. The convoy arrived without event at
Tripoli on the 3rd.
The return convoy was steamers ALICANTE (2140grt), ARCTURUS (2596grt), WACHTFELS
(8467grt), and LEVERKUSEN (7386grt) escorted by destroyer VIVALDI and torpedo
boats PROCIONE, ORSA, and CALLIOPE which also passed uneventfully, arriving at
Naples on the 3rd.
Minesweeping drifter PLOUGHBOY was severely damaged
by the explosion of three mines close aboard at Malta.
One rating was missing and nine were wounded.
The drifter was beached.
Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, escorted by destroyers
JUNO and GRIFFIN, had arrived at Suez on 23 February, but was unable to enter the Suez Canal due to mining.
They were sent
to Port Sudan to await reopening of the Canal. On 1 March, her aircraft, based ashore, attacked
Greek submarine PAPANICOLIS made an unsuccessful torpedo
attack off Saseno.
Italian submarine GUGLIEMOTTI departed Massawa on
the 3rd, and with submarines ARCHIMEDE and GALILEO
FERRARIS, which departed Massawa about the same time, refuelled from German
tanker NORDMARK on 16 and 17 April. GUGLIEMOTTI was the first Italian
submarine from Massawa to arrive at Bordeaux on 6 May after 64 days at sea.
Italian submarine PERLA departed Massawa during the
night of 1/2 March, and refuelled from German raider ATLANTIS
on the 29th. She was the last Italian submarine from Massawa to
arrive, after 80 days at sea, on 20 May 1941.
Heavy cruiser CORNWALL intercepted Vichy French steamer VILLE DE MAJUNGA
(4972grt) in 34-08S, 10-18E. The steamer was taken to Capetown.
Convoy HX.112 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser RANPURA and
corvettes BITTERSWEET and FENNEL. The corvettes were detached later that day.
Convoy BHX.112 departed Bermuda on 27 February escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser
CALIFORNIA. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.112 on the
4th and the armed merchant cruiser was detached.
On 5 March, heavy cruiser NORFOLK joined the escort. The armed merchant cruiser and
the heavy cruiser were detached on the 14th. Destroyers SARDONYX, SCMITAR,
VANOC, VICEROY, and WALKER, corvette BLUEBELL, and anti-submarine trawler
SYRINGA joined on the 15th. Destroyer VICEROY was detached later that day. On
16 March, destroyer VOLUNTEER joined. Corvette BLUEBELL and trawler SYRINGA
were detached on the 18th and destroyers SARDONYX, SCIMITAR, and WALKER on
the 19th. Destroyers VANOC and VOLUNTEER were detached when the convoy
arrived at Liverpool on the 20th.
Convoy SL.67 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CILICIA to 19 March, corvette ASPHODEL to 11 March, and anti-submarine
trawlers KELT, SPANIARD, and TURCOMAN locally.
Due to German activity in the area, from 3 March
battleship MALAYA to 10 March and destroyers FAULKNOR and FORESTER
to 11 March escorted the convoy. Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and battlecruiser
RENOWN joined the convoy on the 10th and continued to 19 March.
Light cruiser KENYA escorted the convoy from 19 to 21 March.
Destroyers HAVELOCK to 24 March, HESPERUS,
HURRICANE, MANSFIELD, and SALISBURY to 26 March, VERITY to 24 March, VETERAN
to 25 March, and WOLSEY to 26 March, corvettes ARBUTUS and CAMELLIA to 26
March, and catapult ship PEGASUS to 26 March joined the convoy on the 21st.
On the 22nd, destroyers CHELSEA and DOUGLAS joined
to 24 March. Corvette BEGONIA joined on the 23rd to 26 March. The convoy
arrived at Liverpool on the 26th.
US Support Force, Atlantic Fleet was formed:
Destroyer Tender PRAIRE (Flagship Rear Admiral A L
Destroyer Squadron 7 (Captain J L Kauffman) -
Division 13 - NIBLACK (DD.13), BENSON, GLEAVES,
Division 14 - MADISON (DD.14),
LANSDALE, HILARY P
JONES, CHARLES F HUGHES
Destroyer Squadron 30 (Captain M Y Cohen) - DALLAS
Division 60 - ELLIS (DD60), BERNADOU, COLE, DUPONT
Division 61- GREER (DD.61), TARBELL, UPSHUR, LEA
Destroyer Squadron 31 (Captain W D.Baker) -
Division 62 - BAINBRIDGE (DD62) OVERTON,
STURTIVANT, REUBEN JAMES
Division 63 - MCCORMICK (DD.63), BROOME, SIMPSON,
Sunday, 2 March
Destroyer COSSACK departed Southampton for
Scapa Flow on
completion of refitting.
On 3 March, the destroyer was damaged by a mine
exploding close aboard 300° SW point of the Isle of Man. The destroyer spent
no time out of service.
Destroyer COSSACK arrived at Scapa Flow at noon on the 4th.
Convoy OB.293 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers CHELSEA, VERITY, and
WOLVERINE, and corvettes ARBUTUS and CAMELLIA. Destroyer BEVERLEY joined the
escort on the 4th. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the
Australian destroyer NESTOR arrived at Scapa Flow at 1130 to carry out working up exercises.
Minesweeper KELLETT was damaged in a collision with
armed boarding vessel NORTHERN REWARD (655grt) off Peterhead.
The minesweeper was repaired in the Humber from 10 March to 9 April.
U.95 sank British steamer PACIFIC (6034grt) from
convoy HX.109 180 miles WSW of Sydero Island, Faroes.
One crewman was rescued.
U.147 sank Norwegian steamer AUGVALD (4811grt) from
convoy HX.109, 150 miles northwest of Loch Ewe.
One crewman was rescued.
British steamer CASTLEHILL (690grt) was sunk by
German aircraft east of Mine Head.
One crewman was rescued.
Dutch steamer SIMALOER (6533grt) was sunk by German
bombing in 56-40N, 10-46W.
Two crew were killed.
Light cruiser ORION returned to Alexandria from
Port Said following the removal of her catapult to allow fitting of
additional close range anti-aircraft guns.
Convoy ANF.16, escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyers VAMPIRE and HOTSPUR, arrived at
Destroyer VAMPIRE was taken in hand at Piraeus for docking and boiler cleaning.
Lt W. L. Le C Barnes of 806 Squadron at Malta was killed when accidently shot while on duty.
Ocean boarding vessel CORINTHIAN departed Gibraltar on Western Patrol.
New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER, coming from convoy US.9
escort, and Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA, which had refuelled in the Seychilles on 26
February, rendezvoused 100 miles east of Addu for joint operations in the
Monday, 3 March
Destroyer WHADDON arrived at Scapa Flow at 1430 from the Clyde to carry out working up exercises.
Destroyer BRILLIANT arrived at Portsmouth at 1000 to refit prior to transfer to the Western
Motor gun boat MGB 12 was mined off Milford Haven.
The gunboat sank in tow on the 6th.
Destroyer BURNHAM, which departed Aultbrea on the
2nd, was damaged in a collision alongside destroyer MALCOLM, which departed
Aultbrea on the 3rd, in the North West Approaches.
Destroyer BURNHAM was repaired at Liverpool completing on 27 April.
Destroyer MALCOLM was repaired at Liverpool completing on 7 April.
British mine destructor ship CORFIELD was damaged
in a collision with British steamer CORMEAD (2848grt) in the Thames Estuary.
The mine destructor ship was repaired at Blackwall
from 5 to 14 March.
Patrol trawler COBBERS (275grt, T/Skipper L. Turner
RNR) was sunk by German bombing off Lowestoft.
Four crew were rescued. Turner and eight ratings
were killed and two ratings were missing.
Auxiliary yacht TINY (5grt) was sunk by German
bombing at South Dock, Sutherland.
British steamer PORT TOWNSVILLE (8661grt) was badly damaged by German
bombing in 52-05N, 5-24W.
Two passengers were lost.
The steamer sank on the 4th.
Battleship WARSPITE, aircraft carrier EAGLE, and
five destroyers departed Alexandria for gunnery and flying exercises.
Following the exercises, destroyer STUART proceeded
to Port Said for escort duty in convoy AN.17.
British steamer KNIGHT OF MALTA (1553grt), which
had departed Alexandria on the 1st escorted by anti-submarine whaler SOUTHERN
MAID with troops for Tobruk, ran aground during the night of 2/3 March two
miles 273° from Ras Azzaz.
There were no casualties.
Destroyer WRYNECK was sent to assist to assess the
possibility of salvage.
The cargo was salved. Salvage of the ship was
abandoned after bombing attacks on corvette PEONY and tug ST ISSEY on the
Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL with destroyers FORTUNE
and DUNCAN departed Gibraltar for flying exercises and returned later that day.
Submarine PANDORA departed Gibraltar and carried out lookout exercises and
anti-submarine exercises with the convoy HG.55 before the convoy sailed.
Convoy HG.55 departed Gibraltar, escorted by sloop SCARBOROUGH, destroyer WRESTLER, submarine PANDORA, and
corvettes COREOPSIS, GENTIAN, and JONQUIL.
Destroyer WRESTLER was detached on the 6th.
Corvettes GENTIAN and JONQUIL on the 10th and corvette COREOPSIS on the 14th.
On 14 March, submarine PANDORA joined convoy OG.55.
Light cruiser ARETHUSA joined the convoy on the
15th and escorted it through the day before continuing to Scapa Flow. Destroyers AMBUSCADE and BULLDOG and corvette
HEARTSEASE joined the convoy on the 17th. On 18 March, corvettes ARABIS,
MALLOW, and VIOLET and anti-submarine yacht PHILANTE joined. The convoy
arrived at Liverpool on the 22nd.
A supply convoy for the Afrika Korps departed Naples with steamers AEGINA (2447grt), ADANA (4205grt), ARTA (2452grt), and SABAUDIA (1590grt)
escorted by destroyers TARIGO and FRECCIA and torpedo boat CASTOR. The convoy
arrived without event at Tripoli
on the 6th.
Light cruiser DAUNTLESS arrived at Penang.
New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES departed Wellington with convoy AP.14. The convoy was escorted to 300
miles southeast of Chatham Island.
The cruiser left the convoy on the 5th and returned
Tuesday, 4 March
Operation CLAYMORE, a raid on the Lofotens, was
Submarine SUNFISH acted as a beacon for landing
Destroyer SOMALI (Captain Caslon, D.6) remained at
Landing ship QUEEN EMMA escorted by destroyers
BEDOUIN and TARTAR proceeded to Svolvaer.
Landing ship PRINCESS BEATRIX escorted by
destroyers ESKIMO and LEGION proceeded to Stamsund.
German steamers EILENAU (1404grt), BERNHARD SCHULTE
(1058grt), and FELIX HEUMANN (2468grt) were sunk by demolition charges near
Destroyer TARTAR sank German steamers HAMBURG (5470grt) and PASAJES (1996grt).
German steamer GUMBRINNEN (1381grt) was sunk by with
demolition charges by the Army landing party.
Norwegian steamer MIRA (1152grt) was sunk by
Norwegian fishing vessel MYRLAND (321grt) joined
the British force and proceeded to the Faroes, arriving on the 7th.
The destroyers and landing ships returned to Scapa Flow on the 6th at 1300 without damage. They returned
with 314 Norwegian volunteers, 213 German prisoners, and twelve Quislings.
Battleships NELSON and KING GEORGE V, light
cruisers EDINBURGH and NIGERIA, and destroyers INGLEFIELD, ECHO, ECLIPSE, MAORI, and PUNJABI arrived at Scapa Flow at 1400/6th.
At 2100/6th, troopships QUEEN EMMA and PRINCESS
BEATRIX with destroyer LEGION departed Scapa Flow for
Destroyer ARROW departed Scapa Flow at 0830 to meet steamer BEN MY CHREE off Aberdeen at 1630 and escort her to Thorshavn.
The ships arrived at Thorshavn on the 5th.
After this duty, destroyer ARROW arrived back at
Scapa Flow at 1300/7th.
Destroyer ELECTRA departed the Humber at 1030/completion of repairs. The destroyer proceeded to
Aberdeen where she rendezvoused with steamer AMSTERDAM at 0600/5th.
Destroyer ELECTRA escorted the steamer to Lerwick.
At 2000/6th, both ships departed to return to Aberdeen.
Destroyer ELECTRA arrived back at Scapa Flow after this duty at 1600/7th.
Minelayer PLOVER laid minefield ZME.21 in the Irish Sea. The minelaying continued on the 6th with ZME.22,
ZME.23 on the 14th, ZME.24 on the 20th, ZME.25/26th, and ZME.26 on the 30th
laid by minelayer PLOVER
The series continued in April, completing on 21
British steamer ANONITY (303grt) was sunk on a mine
at one and a half miles southeast of Skegness Pier.
Four crew were lost of a six man crew.
British steamer RUTH II (321grt) was damaged on a
mine two cables NNE of Bar Light Vessel.
British trawler EAST
COAST (192grt) was damaged by German bombing off Fastnet.
British steamer ANGLIAN
COAST (594grt) was damaged on a mine two cables 75° from Bar Light Vessel.
British pilot carrier LYNDIS KITWOOD (20grt) was
damaged on a mine off Skegness.
British cruisers ORION, AJAX, PERTH, and GLOUCESTER departed Suda
with troops for Piraeus.
The troops were disembarked at Piraeus on the 5th.
The cruisers then operate in the Aegean with four destroyers to cover other troop convoys.
Convoy AN.17 of four steamers (British CITY OF NORWICH (6726grt) and ARABISTAN (5874grt), two
others) departed Alexandria escorted destroyer HEREWARD and from Port Said escorted by destroyer STUART.
Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY departed Alexandria on the 5th and joined the convoy at daylight on
This convoy carried the first LUSTRE Force. The
convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 8th.
Convoy AN.16 of British steamer ALAVI (3566grt)
arrived at Piraeus during the forenoon with destroyer GREYHOUND.
Convoy AS.16 of four British, fourteen Greek, and
one other ship departed Pireaus escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyers GREYHOUND and HAVOCK.
Light cruisers AJAX and PERTH departed Piraeus to cover the passage of convoy AS.16 and then
proceeded to Alexandria, via the west of Crete.
Convoy AS.16 arrived at Alexandria on the 7th. The Port Said units arrived on the 8th.
British troopship ULSTER PRINCE (3791grt), escorted by destroyer HOTSPUR,
arrived at Suda Bay
The troopship, after unloading stores and Fleet Air
Arm personnel, embarked the ABSTENTION Commando Unit.
Submarine UTMOST arrived at Malta after an operation in the Gulf of
Light cruiser SHEFFIELD arrived at Gibraltar and was docked for repairs after convoy SL.65
Norwegian tanker KETTY BROVIG (7031grt), captured
by German raider ATLANTIS on 2 February 1941, was sighted by an Australian cruiser seaplane.
The tanker scuttled herself when she was
intercepted by cruiser CANBERRA.
German supply ship COBURG (7400grt), company with the tanker, was pursued by
the heavy cruiser's Walrus aircraft. The Walrus landed alongside the steamer.
The British pilot boarded the steamer and some ship's papers were captured.
German ship COBURG scuttled herself at 8-40S, 61-25E before the heavy
cruiser arrived on the scene.
New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER had departed heavy cruiser
CANBERRA earlier on the 4th, but returned to assist in
rescue of the survivors from the German ships.
Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA and New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER arrived at Mauritius on the 8th with the crews of the German ships.
Convoy BS.18 departed Suez, escorted by sloop CLIVE. Destroyer KINGSTON and sloop YARRA joined on the 8th. The convoy was
dispersed on the 12th.
Convoy BM.4 departed Karachi on the 4th with steamers
TALMA (10,000grt) and VARELA (4651grt), escorted by armed merchant cruiser
ANTENOR from 4 March to 12 March. Further units departed Bombay on the 8th
with steamers EGRA (5108grt), SANTHIA (7754grt), EL MADINA (3962grt), FELIX
ROUSSEL (17, 083grt), NEURALIA (9182grt), RAJULA (8478grt), and ROHNA
(8602grt) and joined the convoy.
Light cruiser EMERALD escorted the convoy from 12
to 15 March. Light cruiser DAUNTLESS escorted the convoy from 13 to 16 March.
The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 16th.
Steamers BAHADUR, JAPAYAMUNA, and JALADUTA departed
Bombay on the 7th for Penang, independently, carrying lorries, petrol, ordnance, and stores. The
convoy arrived at Penang on the 18th. All but TALMA departed on the 24th,
escorted by armed merchant cruiser ANTENOR and light cruiser DURBAN. The convoy arrived at Singapore on the 26th.
Wednesday, 5 March
Destroyer LIDDESDALE arrived at Scapa Flow at 0100 from Rosyth to carry out working up
Battlecruiser REPULSE, aircraft carrier FURIOUS,
armed merchant cruiser ALCANTARA. and steamer STRATHMORE (23, 428grt)
departed the Clyde for Gibraltar,
escorted by destroyers OTTAWA,
ASSINIBOINE, VANSITTART, and CHURCHILL.
The aircraft carrier was carrying aircraft to
Takoradi to be delivered on the 22nd in operation SUMMER.
The aircraft carrier, light cruiser DRAGON, and
destroyers DUNCAN and FOXHOUND departed Freetown on the 18th.
The aircraft carrier arrived at Takoradi on the
22nd, escorted by light cruiser DRAGON, which landed passengers and to refuel
the destroyers. Light cruiser DRAGON then proceeded to Lagos to refuel.
The aircraft carrier and the destroyers arrived
back at Freetown on the 25th.
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0900 and join convoy EN.81 off Aberdeen at 1600.
The ship remained with the convoy until midnight. The ship arrived at Scapa Flow at 0730/6th.
Convoy OB.294 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers WANDERER, WITCH, MONTGOMERY, and VIVIEN and corvettes NASTURTIUM, PERIWINKLE,
When the convoy was dispersed on the 9th, the
escorts proceeded to join convoy SL.66.
Tug SILVERSTONE (58grt) was sunk on a mine three
miles above Rochester Bridge, Medway.
Tug SILVERSTONE was towing barges ROCKSTONE
(96grt), SANDSTONE (96grt), STONECURB (96grt), and CESTONE (96grt).
Barges ROCKSTONE and SANDSTONE were lost with the
The entire crew on the tug were lost.
U.95 sank Swedish steamer MURJEK (5070grt) in the
There were no survivors on the steamer.
German torpedo boats ILTIS and JAGUAR laid
minefield AUGBURG off Eastbourne.
German steamer STOLZENFELS (7512grt) was sunk by
war cause near Schiermonnikoog.
After reports of shipping at sea, Submarines
UPRIGHT and UTMOST departed Malta for patrol on the Tripoli convoy routes. Submarine TRUANT departed for a
coastal patrol in the Gulf of Sirte.
Submarine TRIUMPH sank Italian steamers MARZAMEMI
(958grt) and COLOMBO LO FARO
(897grt) in 37-54N, 15-46E off Calabria.
Convoy ANF.17 of six British and two other ships departed
Alexandria escorted by destroyers ILEX, HERO, and HASTY.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA joined the convoy at noon on the 6th. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 8th with destroyer HERO. Cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyers ILEX and HASTY left the convoy to
arrive at Suda Bay
during the morning of 8 March.
Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, escorted by destroyers
JUNO and GRIFFIN, departed Port Sudan for Suez.
An Italian convoy of steamers CASTELLON (2086grt),
RUHR (5954grt), and MARITZA (2910grt) departed
Tripoli escorted by Italian armed merchant cruiser RAMB
III and torpedo boats ORIONE and PEGASO. The convoy
arrived at Naples on the 7th.
Lt D. M. Cheeke DSC, Lt (A) R. S. Illingworth, and
Leading Airman G. Mitchell of 700 Squadron from heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE
were killed when their Walrus crashed into a hillside at Port Victoria in the
Light cruiser MAURITIUS arrived at Freetown with convoy WS.6B.
Convoy HX.113 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser ALANIA and
corvettes BITTERSWEET and FENNEL.
Convoy BHX.113 departed Bermuda on the 3rd escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser PRINCE
DAVID. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.113 on the 8th and the armed
merchant cruiser was detached.
Battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN joined on the 15th and
the armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 16th. The battleship was
detached on the 16th. On 17 March, destroyers KEPPEL, LINCOLN, SABRE, VENOMOUS, and WOOLSTON, corvette
SUNFLOWER, and anti-submarine trawler WELLARD joined the escort. Trawler
WELLARD was detached on the 19th and the escort, less the two corvettes which
had departed at the start, on the 20th. The two corvettes were detached when
the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 21st.
Ocean boarding vessel CORINTHIAN captured French
trawler BIJOU BIHON (112grt) in 32-59N, 12-19W and sent her to Gibraltar.
Convoy BN.18 departed Aden, escorted by sloop YARRA. Destroyer KINGSTON joined for escort during 8 March. The convoy
arrived at Suez on the 11th.
Thursday, 6 March
Destroyer ACTIVE arrived at Scapa Flow at 1630 from Greenock to join the Home Fleet.
Minesweeping trawler KERYADO (252grt, Chief Skipper
H. C. Gue RNR) was sunk on a mine eight miles south of Newhaven.
Nine ratings were lost on the trawler.
British barge QUEEN WASP (196grt) and echo sounding
boat MOUSE were lost in Falmouth Inner Harbour while attempting to recover a mine.
P/T/Sub Lt R. B. Sutherland RNVR, and five ratings
from VERNON were killed in the explosion. Four men were
Tug SUN VII (202grt) was sunk on a mine 1-2 miles 60° from
North Knob Buoy, Barrow Deep.
Five crew were lost.
Norwegian tanker MEXICO (3017grt) was sunk on a mine in 51-53N, 1-37E.
Ten crew were lost and twenty three were rescued.
British steamer EILIAN HILL (781grt) was damaged on
a mine off Nell's Point, Barry Island.
German minelayers BRUMMER, COBRA, and KONIGIN
LUISE, escorted by the 5th Minesweeper Flotilla, laid mines forty five miles
east of the Outer Skerries in minefield WOLLEN during the night of 6/7 March.
Battlecruiser RENOWN with destroyers FORTUNE,
DUNCAN, and VELOX departed Gibraltar to conduct exercises. They were joined at sea by
destroyers FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, and FOXHOUND.
The ships arrived back at Gibraltar on the 7th.
Italian submarine ANFITRITE was sunk at 0715 by
destroyer GREYHOUND in Kaso Strait, in 34-55N, 23-45E.
The Commanding Officer and thirty eight prisoners
Destroyer GREYHOUND was escorting convoy AS.16 with
destroyer HAVOCK at this time.
Battleships BARHAM and VALIANT and destroyers
JERVIS, JANUS, JAGUAR, HOTSPUR, VOYAGER, and WATERHEN departed Alexandria at 0700/6th to carry out gunnery exercises. The
force, designated Force A, then proceed to the west of Crete to operate from Suda Bay
in support of the LUSTRE operations.
Troops were embarked on heavy cruiser YORK and light cruisers BONAVENTURE and GLOUCESTER which sailed at noon as convoy AG.1.
British steamers CLAN MACAULEY (10,492grt) and
CINGALESE PRINCE (8474grt), loaded with tanks, departed Alexandria as convoy AG.2, escorted by destroyers NUBIAN,
MOHAWK, and WRYNECK, for Piraeus.
Convoy AG.1 arrived at Piraeus on the 7th and the troops and cargo were
disembarked. Convoy AG.2 arrived at Piraeus on the 8th and the cargo was safely disembarked.
The cruisers of AG.1 departed Piraeus the same day and returned as convoy GA.1, arriving
at Alexandria on the 8th.
Convoy AG.2 arrived at Piraeus on the 8th.
Convoys AN.17 and AS.16 were attacked by Italian
bombing south of the Kaso Straits.
No damage was done, but the destroyers used from
thirty to fifty per cent of their ammunition repelling the attacks.
Light cruiser AJAX and Australian light cruiser PERTH arrived at Alexandria from the
Corvette SALVIA departed Tobruk to return with
defects to Alexandria.
Friday, 7 March
Heavy cruiser LONDON, escorted by destroyer
MATABELE, which had set off from Scapa Flow earlier in the day, arrived at
Scapa Flow at 1500 after refitting.
Destroyer MASHONA, which departed Hartlepool at 0035, had also been detailed to escort the
cruiser LONDON, but did not make contact. The destroyer arrived
at Scapa Flow at 1600.
Light cruiser DIDO parted company with convoy SL.65
and arrived in the Clyde.
The cruiser sustained structural damage from heavy
weather during this duty.
Cruiser DIDO was repaired in the Clyde and departed on the 22nd for
Destroyer NIZAM departed Scapa Flow at 1600 for Greenock on completion of working up exercises.
The destroyer arrived at Greenock at 1000/8th.
Motor torpedo boat MTB.28 was lost by fire at Portsmouth.
Submarine PORPOISE made an unsuccessful torpedo
attack against a German submarine in 57-50N, 19-50W.
Convoy OG.55 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers ACHATES, BOREAS, and
RAMSAY, sloops EGRET and WESTON, corvettes, AZALEA, FLEUR DE LYS, HEATHER,
PICOTEE, and SNOWDROP, anti-submarine trawlers ARAB, AYRSHIRE, KINGSTON
CHRYSOLITE, and LADY MADELEINE.
Trawler KINGSTON CHRYSOLITE joined the convoy on
the 7th. Destroyers ACHATES and BOREAS, corvettes HEATHER and SNOWDROP, and
the trawlers were detached on the 12th. On 14 March, submarine PANDORA and
corvette COREOPSIS joined the convoy. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on the 21st with destroyer RAMSAY, sloop EGRET,
submarine PANDORA, corvettes AZALEA, COREOPSIS, and FLEUR DE LYS, and trawler
Convoy OB.293 was sighted by U.47.
German submarines U.47, U.99, U.70, and U.A
attacked the convoy.
U.99 torpedoed British whaling vessel TERJE VIKEN
(20,638grt) in 60N, 12-50W.
The entire crew of the whaling vessel was rescued.
The wreck of the whaling vessel was sunk by two
Destroyers and one corvette on the 14th.
U.70 damaged British steamer DELILIAN (6423grt) in
Steamer DELILIAN returned to Glasgow.
U.70 damaged Dutch motor tanker MIJDRECHT (7493grt)
in 60-31N, 13-52W.
The tanker arrived in Rothesay
with extensive damage. Tanker MIJDRECHT was temporarily repaired at Govan.
U.70 claimed hitting two more ships in the convoy
before being lost herself.
Submarine U.70 was forced to the surface after an
attack by corvettes ARBUTUS and CAMELIA and her commanding officer and twenty
four men were picked up. Twenty ratings were lost.
U.99 sank British tanker ATHELBEACH (6568grt) in
Seven crew were lost on tanker ATHELBEACH.
Convoy escorts destroyers WOLVERINE and VERITY and
corvettes ARBUTUS and CAMELLIA made further anti-submarine attacks.
U.47 was lost at this time, probably to marine
accident. All forty eight crew were lost in the submarine.
U.A was damaged by destroyer WOLVERINE.
On 8 March, U.74 attacked a ship, escorted by two destroyers
in the area.
U.37 sank Greek steamer MENTOR (3050grt) from dispersed convoy OB.292 in 59-30N,
Seven crew were lost on the steamer.
The German 1st MTB Flotilla of S.26, S.27, S.28, S.29, S.39, S.101,
and S.102 and 3rd MTB Flotilla of S.31, S.57, S.59, S.60, and S.61 made
a sortie against convoys FN.426 and FS.429 off Yarmouth and Cromer during the
night of 7/8 March.
Convoy FS.429 was escorted by destroyer PYTCHLEY
and patrol sloop PUFFIN. Convoy FN.426 was escorted by destroyers VERSATILE,
BERKELEY, and patrol sloop SHELDRAKE.
Destroyers WORCESTER (D.16, Captain Halsey aboard)
and WHITSHED were dispatched to cover both convoys.
Before midnight, five steamers were sunk.
British steamer DOTTEREL (1385grt) was badly damaged
by S.29 off Number 6 Buoy, Southwold.
The steamer went ashore in 52-41N, 1-59E. There was
no possibility of salvage.
Eight crew were lost on the steamer. Lt C. W. C.
Checucci and two ratings of patrol sloop SHELDRAKE was lost trying to board
the steamer. Nineteen survivors were rescued.
Sloop SHELDRAKE was near missed by a torpedo.
British steamer KENTON (1047grt) was sunk by S.31
in 52-57N, 1-30W.
Four crew were lost on the steamer.
British steamer CORDUFF (2345grt) was sunk by S.28 off
Number 8 Buoy near Cromer.
Fourteen crew were rescued, two taken as prisoner,
and seven lost.
British steamer BOULDERPOOL (4805grt) was sunk by
S.61 in 52-58N, 1-28E, ten miles south of Sheringham Buoy.
The crew was rescued.
British steamer RYE (1048grt) was sunk by an S.27 off Cromer.
The entire crew of twenty two and two gunners were
After midnight, two more ships were sunk.
British steamer TOGSTON (1547grt) was sunk by
S.102, two miles 305° from Smith's Knoll.
Eight crew were missing from the steamer.
British steamer NORMAN QUEEN (957grt) was sunk byS
102 off S. Haisborough Buoy, east of Cromer.
Twelve crew and two gunners were lost on the
steamer. One crewman was taken as a prisoner of war.
British steamer FLASHLIGHT (934grt) was sunk by
German bombing in 53-34N, 00-49E.
The entire crew was rescued.
Destroyers FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE, and
FOXHOUND departed Gibraltar at 2300 to rendezvous with Battlecruiser REPULSE,
aircraft carrier FURIOUS, and troopship STRATHMORE and escort them into Gibraltar.
Light cruisers ORION and AJAX and Australian light cruiser PERTH, comprising convoy AG.3, departed Alexandria with 1900 troops for Piraeus arriving at 1000/8th.
The cruisers were ordered to remain in the Aegean to cover convoys.
Convoy AN.18 of two British, two Greek, and one
other ship departed Alexandria and Port
by destroyer HAVOCK and corvette HYACINTH. The convoy was later joined by
anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA
and destroyer ILEX. Destroyer GREYHOUND operated in the area of the convoy.
The convoy arrived at Piraeus
on the 11th.
Greek personnel ships CORINTHIA (3701grt), IONIA (1936grt), HELLAS (2295grt), and MARIE MAERSK (8271grt) departed
Piraeus on the 7th as convoy GA.1 1/2, escorted by Greek
destroyers SPETSAI and HYDRA. The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 10th.
German bombing attacks on the Malta shipyard caused additional damage during the night
of 7/8 March.
British steamer ESSEX (11,063grt) was struck by
three bombs and further damaged.
Destroyer IMPERIAL was slightly damaged by
splinters from the German bombing.
Light cruiser EMERALD arrived at Colombo.
Saturday, 8 March
Destroyer MATABELE departed Scapa Flow at 0815 for Scrabster to embark the body of the
late Air Vice Marshal Breese and provide facilities for a burial at sea.
The destroyer arrived back at Scapa Flow later in the day.
Destroyer GURKHA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1400 from Greenock to carry out working up exercises.
Convoy OB.295 departed Liverpool, escorted by corvette HELIOTROPE and
anti-submarine trawler NORTHERN DAWN. On 9 March, destroyers ECHO, ELECTRA, INGLEFIELD, SARDONYX, SCIMITAR, and
VALOROUS, corvettes ARABIS, MALLOW, and VIOLET, and anti-submarine trawlers
NORTHERN GEM, and NORTHERN WAVE joined the escort.
Destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, and ECHO departed
Scapa Flow at 2200
to join convoy OB.295 at 1440/10th in 58-08N, 5-43W.
The destroyers returned to Scapa Flow at 1300/15th.
Destroyer BEVERLEY, operating in the Western
Approaches, broke down with her port engine inoperative.
The destroyer was asssisted by destroyer HARVESTER.
Destroyer BEVERLEY proceeded to the Tyne for repairs completed on 31 May.
UA torpedoed British steamer DUNAFF HEAD (5258grt)
from convoy OB.293 in 60-33N, 18-50W.
Five crew were lost on the steamer.
Aircraft from Battleship MALAYA, escorting convoy
SL.67 with armed merchant cruiser CILICIA and
corvette ASPHODEL, sighted German battlecruisers GNEISENAU and SCHARNHORST
350 miles north of Cape Verde
Islands. Later the battleship sighted the German ships
Destroyer FORESTER patrolling nearby also reported
A Swordfish from MALAYA ran out of fuel on the 8thshadowing the German ships and its crew of
Lt G. R. Brown DSC, Sub Lt R. G. Drake, and
TAG R. H. George were picked up by Spanish steamer
CABO DE BUERNA ESPERANZA and interned in the Spain.
Battleship MALAYA and destroyer FAULKNOR joined destroyer FORESTER and proceeded
towards the German ships, but no action ensued as the German ships withdrew.
Battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL,
light cruiser ARETHUSA, and destroyers VELOX and WRESTLER departed Gibraltar at 2115/7th towards SL.67.
Destroyers FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE, and
FOXHOUND met battlecruiser REPULSE and aircraft carrier FURIOUS.
The battlecruiser and aircraft carrier were placed
under the command of Force H
Liner STRATHMORE was detached and FEARLESS,
FORTUNE, and FORESIGHT escorted her to Gibraltar, arriving on the 10th. Battlecruiser REPULSE and
aircraft carrier FURIOUS with destroyer FOXHOUND arrived at Gibraltar on the 10th. Light cruiser ARETHUSA also arrived
back at Gibraltar on the 10th.
German submarines U.105 and U.124 attacked convoy
SL.67 on the 8th.
Submarine U.105 sank British steamer HARMODIUS
(5229grt) at 20-35N, 20-40W.
Eleven crew was lost on the steamer.
Submarine U.124 sank British steamer NARDANA
(7974grt) at 20-51N, 20-32W.
Nineteen crew were lost on the steamer.
Submarine U.124 sank British steamer HINDPOOL
(4897grt) at 20-51N, 20-32W.
Twenty eight crew were lost.
Submarine U.124 sank British steamer TIELBANK
(5084grt) at 20-51N, 20-32W.
Four crew were lost on the British steamer.
Submarine U.124 sank British steamer LAHORE (5304grt) at 21-03N, 20-38W.
The entire crew were rescued from the steamer.
Submarine U.124 also claimed two more ships hit by
Destroyers FAULKNOR and FORESTER rescued over three
hundred survivors from the sunken merchant steamers. The destroyers arrived
at Gibraltar on the 16th.
Force H escorted convoy SL.67 until Light cruiser
KENYA relieved them on the 19th for the final leg to
German tanker NORDMARK replenished German heavy
cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER at sea.
Norwegian steamer NURGIS (700grt) was sunk by
German bombing seven miles west by north of Lizard.
The entire crew was rescued.
Dutch steamer PRINS FREDERIK HENDRIK (128grt) was
sunk by German bombing in 52-20N, 5-37W.
Eight crew were lost on the steamer.
Convoy AS.17 of four British ships departed Piraeus escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY and destroyers STUART and HEREWARD. The convoy
arrived at Alexandria on the 12th.
Convoy ANF.18 of five British ships departed Alexandria escorted by destroyer GREYHOUND. The convoy joined
convoy AN.18 escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyer ILEX. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 11th. Convoy ANF.18 with destroyers ILEX, GREYHOUND, and HAVOCK at
0750. Convoy AN.18 with anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyer ILEX at 1800.
Battleships BARHAM and VALIANT and destroyers
JERVIS, JANUS, JAGUAR, HOTSPUR, VOYAGER, and WATERHEN departed Suda
to cover movements of convoys through Kithera Straits.
Destroyer HOTSPUR rescued Lt R. A. Brabner and Lt
J. A. Shuttleworth from a Fulmar of 806 Squadron which had force landed in
on the 10th.
The British ships arrived at Suda
late on the 10th.
Egyptian steamer STAR OF MEX (1116grt), en route to Tobruk from Alexandria with petrol, ran aground near British steamer
KNIGHT OF MALTA off Ras Assaz at 0650.
Corvette PEONY was sent to assist the tanker. The
corvette was able to tow the tanker off successfully.
Steamer STAR OF MEX was sailed to Alexandria for repairs, escorted by anti-submarine whaler
Minesweeping boat DART was sunk on a mine in the
Two crew were killed and two were seriously
A German supply convoy of steamers ALICANTE (2140grt), ARCTURUS (2596grt), WACHTFELS
(8467grt), and RIALTO (6099grt), escorted by destroyers FULMINE, BALENO,
and TURBINE, departed Naples
for Tripoli, arriving on the 12th without event.
On 12 March, steamers ARCTURUS and WACHTEFELS and
destroyers LAMPO and FULMINE departed Tripoli to return to Naples, arriving on 14 February.
Sunday, 9 March
Destroyers ZULU and MAORI departed Scapa Flow at 1630 and destroyer COSSACK departed Scapa Flow at 1800 to rendezvous with the 1st Minelaying
Squadron in the Minches for escort duty.
1st Minelaying Squadron of minelayers SOUTHERN
PRINCE, AGAMEMNON, PORT QUEBEC, and MENESTHEUS departed Loch Alsh to lay
minefield SN.68 B, escorted by destroyer ST MARYS.
Light cruisers EDINBURGH and NIGERIA departed
Scapa Flow at 2335
the same day to cover. They rendezvoused with the minelayers on the 10th.
The mines were laid on the 11th.
The ships arrived back on the 12th. Cruisers EDINBURGH arrived at 1919 and NIGERIA at 2105 at Scapa Flow. Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, and ZULU refuelled at
Loch Alsh on the 13th.
Destroyers COSSACK, ZULU, and MAORI departed Loch
Alsh at 0835/14th and joined convoy OB.297 at 1100 in the Minches.
Battleships KING GEORGE V and RODNEY escorted by
destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, TARTAR, MATABELE, and ESKIMO departed
Scapa Flow at 0740 to cover the convoy route.
The destroyers arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1130/13th.
Battleship KING GEORGE V proceeded to Halifax arriving on the 15th. The battleship departed
Halifax on the 17th escorting convoy HX.115. She arrived
at Scapa Flow on the 31st.
Battleship RODNEY escorted convoy HX.114. She then
proceeded to Reykjavik to refuel arriving on the 24th. Battleship RODNEY
proceeded to Halifax arriving on the 31st.
Destroyers MASHONA and ACTIVE departed Scapa Flow at 0600 to rendezvous with armed merchant cruiser
AUSONIA in 61N, 15W and escort her to the Minches.
After this duty, both destroyers arrived back at
Scapa Flow at 1715/11th.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1100 to meet convoy WN.95 in Pentland Firth and provide cover.
The ship after this duty transferred to convoy
On arrival in Pentland Firth on the 10th, ship CURACOA transferred to convoy
Off Aberdeen, the ship parted company and arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0330/11th.
Anti-submarine trawler GULFOSS (730grt, T/Skipper
A. Hill RNR) was sunk on a mine in the English Channel.
T/Sub Lt G. K. Swindells RNVR, and nine ratings
were missing on the trawler.
Hill was wounded.
Minesweeping trawler HATSUSE (295grt, Skipper G.
Stewart RNR) was mined 1.2 miles 180° from Penlee Point. She was beached in Cawsand
in a sinking condition, salved and
taken to Plymouth on the 11th for repair.
Greek steamer MARATHON (7296grt) was sunk by German battlecruiser SCHARNHORST at 21N, 25W.
The entire crew were taken prisoner.
In German bombing attacks on convoys EN.83 and
WN.95, British steamer ESMOND (4976grt) was damaged off Buchan Ness in
57-21N, 1-38W. She sustained seven casualties.
British steamer SYLVIA BEALE (1040grt) was damaged
by German bombing five miles ENE off
British cruisers YORK, BONAVENTURE, and GLOUCESTER departed Alexandria at noon as convoy AG.4.
The cruisers arrived at Pireaus on the 10th. After
disembarkation, the cruisers sailed to arrived at Suda
at 0630/11th to take over the Aegean patrol duties.
British cruisers ORION and AJAX and Australian light cruiser PERTH arrived at Suda
at 0630/10th for fuel. They sailed that day for Alexandria.
Cruisers ORION and PERTH arrived at Alexandria to fit additional anti-aircraft weapons.
Cruiser AJAX was detached to Port Said, to arrive at 0630/12th, to have her catapult
removed prior to anti-aircraft gun installations.
Destroyers NUBIAN and MOHAWK, formerly of convoy
AG.2, oiled at Suda Bay and then joined the British Force A west of the
A German supply convoy of steamers ANKARA
(4768grt), KYBFELS (7764grt), MARBURG (7564grt), and REICHENFELS (7744grt)
escorted by destroyers VIVALDI, DA NOLI, MALOCELLO, FOLGORE, and LAMPO, which
departed Naples on the 5th and arrived at Palermo on the 8th, departed
Palermo on the 9th.
Italian steamers SEBASTINO VENIER (6311grt) and
ANDREA GRITTI (6338grt) which departed Naples on the 6th escorted by torpedo
boat ALCIONE, arrived at Palermo on the 8th. The convoy was joined by torpedo
boats PALLADE and POLLUCE from Palermo.
Both convoys were joined by torpedo boats CLIO and
CENTAURO from Tripoli. The German convoy arrived at Tripoli at noon on the 10th and the Italian convoy at 1330/11th.
An Italian convoy of steamers TANARO , CAFFARO
(6476grt), FENICIA (2584grt), and CAPO VITA (5683grt) escorted by torpedo boat PAPA and armed
merchant cruiser DEFFENU, departed Palermo, via Trapani, for Tripoli. When the convoy departed Trapani, it was escorted by merchant cruiser DEFFENU only.
Steamer CAFFARO was detached with mechanical
problems and returned with steamer TANARO to Trapani.
Submarine UTMOST sank Italian steamer CAPO VITA in 36-09N, 11-07E in the Gulf of
Submarine UTMOST made an unsuccessful attack on
Italian steamer FENICIA was sunk by submarine
UNIQUE on the 10th in 34-19N, 12-40E, sixty miles southeast of Kerkenah.
Convoy GA.2 of empty personnel ships departed Piraeus escorted by destroyers JAGUAR, WRYNECK, and
VAMPIRE. The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 11th.
Two Greek destroyers patrolled between Santorin
Island and Kaso
Straits during the night of 9/10 March.
Destroyer VENDETTA departed Alexandria for Port Said for escort duties in convoy AN.19.
Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE and destroyers JUNO and GRIFFIN departed Port Said at 1900 for Alexandria, arriving on the 10th.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE, which traveled through the Canal with the aircraft carrier,
accompanied the ships from Port Said to Alexandria.
Sloop GRIMSBY, which also traveled with these ships through the
Canal, remained at Port
convoy AN.19 duties.
French submarine depot ship JULES VERNE, escorted
by destroyers ALBATROS and TEMPETE passed Gibraltar westbound on the 9th.
Both escort ships had come from Casablanca. Destroyer TEMPETE arrived at Oran with convoy K 28 on the 1st and destroyer ALBATROS
with convoy K 29 on the 3rd. The submarine depot ship departed Bizerte on the 4th and arrived at Casablanca on the 10th.
Monday, 10 March
Captain W. N. T. Beckett MVO, DSC, commanding
officer of the heavy cruiser EXETER completing repairs at Devonport, died.
Captain O. L. Gordon took over command of the
cruiser on the 11th.
On the 24th, cruiser EXETER departed Devonport to work up at Scapa Flow.
Convoy OB.296 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer VANQUISHER and corvettes
CAMPANULA, FREESIA, and PIMPERNEL. The escort was joined on the 11th by
destroyers WHITEHALL and WINCHELSEA and on the 12th by destroyer
VICEROY. On 13 March, destroyer VICEROY was detached. The three corvettes
were detached on the 14th. The remaining three destroyers were detached on
the 15th when the convoy was dispersed. destroyer CALDWELL joined on 10
Destroyer WORCESTER, escorting convoy FN.428 drove
off three German S-boats off the coast of Norfolk.
Destroyer SOUTHDOWN, escorting convoy FS.429A drove
off German S-boats off Sheringham.
There was no damage to either convoy.
Submarine H.28 was in a collision with an unknown
merchant ship in the Irish
The submarine was repaired at Belfast from 12 March to 14 April.
British steamers CORINIA (870grt), SPARTA (708grt), and WATERLAND (1107grt) were sunk on
mines in 50-55N, 00-35E.
Nine crew and five gunners were lost on steamer
Nine crew were missing on steamer SPARTA.
Five crew and two gunners were lost on steamer
U.552 sank Icelandic trawler REYKJABORG (687grt)
459 miles southeast of Iceland.
Two crew from the trawler were saved.
German tanker NORDMARK met German supply ship
ALSTERUFER (2704grt) on the 10th. On 11 March, the tanker replenished the
Norwegian steamer BUR (4343grt) was damaged by German bombing in 52-12N,
The ship put into Fishguard during the evening of
10 March in a sinking condition. The ship was beached on Goodwick Sands and
later repaired at Barry.
Dutch steamer LIBRA (391grt) was damaged by near
misses of German bombing in 52-05N, 5-51W.
The steamer was towed into Swansea.
German minelayers KONIGIN LUISE and COBRA, escorted
by the 5th Minesweeping Flotilla, laid minefield PREGEL during the night of 10/11
March extending the Westwall minefield northwards.
Damaged Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS departed Alexandria, escorted by destroyers JUNO and GRIFFIN, for Port Said.
Due to mining, the transit of the aircraft carrier
through the Canal was delayed. The destroyers returned to Alexandria on the 11th.
Aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS was able to begin her
transit of the Canal on the 15th.
The aircraft carrier was en route for repairs in
States. These repairs required eleven months to complete.
Battlecruiser REPULSE, aircraft carrier FURIOUS,
anddestroyers DUNCAN and FOXHOUND departed Gibraltar to protect the SL.convoy route.
They relieved battleship MALAYA of convoy SL.67.
Battleship MALAYA and destroyers FAULKNOR and FORESTER then proceeded to
Destroyers VERITY, VETERAN, HESPERUS, HAVELOCK, and HURRICANE from convoy OB.298 joined convoy
Convoy SL.67 was also soon joined by destroyers
DOUGLAS, CHELSEA, WOLSEY, MANSFIELD, SALISBURY, BROKE, and SALADIN.
Dutch submarine O.23 arrived at Gibraltar from England.
Convoy SC.25 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser LACONIA and submarine THUNDERBOLT. The submarine was detached
on the 15th and the armed merchant cruiser on the 24th. On 26 March,
destroyers CHESTERFIELD, GARLAND, and OTTAWA, sloop WESTON, and corvettes
HEATHER, HEPATICA, and PICOTEE joined the escort. The escorts were detached
when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 29th.
Convoy BN.19 departed Aden, escorted by sloop AUCKLAND. The convoy arrived at Suez on the 17th.
Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA and New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER departed Mauritius to patrol 400 miles southeast of Madagascar with armed merchant cruiser CITY OF DURBAN.
On 20 March, light cruiser LEANDER left for patrol
and returned to Mauritius arriving on the 22nd. She refuelled and departed
the same day to patrol a line between Mauritius and Madagascar.
Tuesday, 11 March
Destroyer ESCAPADE departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow following repairs, and arrived at 0730/12th.
Destroyer WITHERINGTON was damaged by German
bombing while alongside the jetty at Portsmouth.
The destroyer was towed to a mud bank and beached.
Repair was completed in five and a half months at Portsmouth.
In this heavy bombing at Portsmouth during the night of 10/11 March, the following
officers of HMS VERNON were killed A/Sub Lt L. Farman, Lt Cdr G. R. Murray,
Lt Cdr W. H. Newman (ret), T/Paymaster Sub Lt J. A. Hewlett RNVR,
Commissioned Electrician W. J. Gulliford and Lt H. Mould (ret). Lt J. H.
Rogers RNVR, also of VERNON,
died of injuries from this raid of 15 March.
Gunner J. Apps (ret), A/Sub Lt J. A. Stobbs, and
Skipper J. Watt RNR, of HMS EXCELLENT were also killed in this air
Destroyer TYNEDALE was damaged by near misses
German bombing while berthed at Pitch House Jetty at Portsmouth.
The destroyer was repaired in nine days.
Destroyer SHERWOOD, under repair at Portsmouth, was damaged by a near miss of German bombing.
During the night of 10/11 March, Minesweeping
trawler REVELLO (230grt, A/T/Lt Cdr L. C. Gilbert RNR) was sunk by German bombing at Portsmouth.
T/Lt J. P. Thorpe RNVR, was lost in trawler
The trawler was raised and drydocked on 20 August.
The ship was repaired and recommissioned.
Monitor MARSHALL SOULt and four minesweeping
trawlers were damaged by German bombing at Portsmouth.
Destroyer CATTISTOCK in the North Sea was damaged by German bombing.
The damage required five days to repair.
German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU
refueled at sea from German tankers ERMLAND (6528grt) and UCKERMARK
After refueling, the four ships in a line thirty
miles apart swept for British shipping.
Halifax for Freetown, arriving on the 25th for patrol duties.
U.106 sank British steamer MEMNON (7506grt) at
Five crew were lost on the steamer. One gunner and
three passengers were taken prisoner. Twenty crew were detained but were
U.37 damaged Icelandic trawler FRODI (97grt) with
gunfire 200 miles southeast of Reykjavik.
Five crew were killed. The trawler arrived at Vestmann
Island on the 12th. She put back to
Reykjavik on the 15th.
British steamer TREVETHOE (5257grt), from convoy
FS.32, was sunk by S.28 in 52-46N, 1-57E, east of Orfordness during the night
of 11/12 March.
One gunner was lost on the steamer.
British steamer ROYAL STAR (7900grt) was damaged by German bombing at
British trawler ABERDEEN (163grt) was sunk by near misses of German bombing
in Cardigan Bay.
Eight crew of a ten man crew were lost.
During the night of 11/12 March, British steamers
CONTRACTOR (6004grt), NOVELIST (6133grt), and MARKHOR (7917grt) and Swedish
steamer STELLA (1189grt) were damaged by German bombing at Manchester.
Steamer CONTRACTOR was damaged by a near miss.
Steamer NOVELIST had direct hit through number 2
Steamer MARKHOR sustained a direct hit. She was
repaired at Glasgow.
Steamer STELLA was sunk at her berth. She was refloated
in October 1941 with a broken back. She was repaired and put in service as
British steamer RIVER SWIFT.
Light cruisers SHEFFIELD and ARETHUSA and destroyers FEARLESS, FORTUNE, and
FORESIGHT departed Gibraltar escorting British troopship STRATHMORE (23,
On 12 March, the three destroyers returned to Gibraltar.
Light cruiser ARETHUSA was detached on the 15th to
support sloop SCARBOROUGH with convoy HG.55.
Destroyers LEGION, BURWELL, BROADWATER, and RIPLEY
were sent from Falmouth for escort duty.
The first three destroyers joined light cruiser
SHEFFIELD, but destroyer RIPLEY did not make contact.
Light cruiser SHEFFIELD was damaged by the explosion of two British mines
close aboard off Islay Island at 0552 on the 17th.
The damage did not require immediate repair.
The force arrived in the Clyde on the 17th at 1315.
Convoy HX.114 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL.
Convoy BHX.114 departed Bermuda on the 9th escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser
WORCESTERSHIRE. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.114 on the 14th and
the armed merchant cruiser was detached.
With the sailing of BHX.114, the Admiralty
suspended the sailing of these convoys until BHX.127 on 13 May.
Battleship RODNEY was with the convoy on the 15th
and battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN on the 16thand 17th. Armed merchant cruiser
CHITRAL was detached on the 24th. The convoy was joined by destroyers COLUMBIA, MONTGOMERY, VANITY, and WANDERER, sloop WESTON, corvettes
NASTRUTIUM, PERIWINKLE, and PRIMROSE, and anti-submarine trawlers ARAB,
AYRSHIRE, and LADY MADELEINE. Destroyers MONTGOMERY and VANITY, sloop WESTON,
and the trawlers were detached later on the 24th. The remainder of the escort
was dispersed when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 30th.
Convoy AS.18 with four British and two other ships
departed Piraeus escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyer HASTY. The convoy was joined by
destroyer HERO from Suda Bay.
Convoy AS.18 arrived at Alexandria on the 14th.
Convoy AN.19 with eight British ships, twelve Greek
ships, two other ships departed Alexandria escorted by Greek destroyers SPETSAI and HYDRA.
The convoy was joined at daylight on the 13th by Australian destroyer VENDETTA,
Sloop GRIMSBY, and the steamers of the convoy originating at Port Said.
Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY departed Alexandria on the 12th to join the convoy.
Cruiser COVENTRY was able to meet the convoy due to bad weather and
was forced to take shelter at Suda Bay
on the 14th. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 15th.
Heavy cruiser YORK and light cruisers BONAVENTURE and GLOUCESTER departed Suda
late on the 11th to patrol in the Western Aegean.
British tanker DESMOULEA (8120grt), torpedoed at
the end of January, departed Suda Bay
for Piraeus towed by tug IRENE VERENICOS and escorted by
On 12 March, destroyer HAVOCK was sent from Piraeus to relieve destroyer HOTSPUR and return with the
tanker to Suda Bay,
due to poor weather.
Greek destroyer SPHENDONI reported an
anti-submarine attack six miles south of Cape
Thaso at 1930/11th.
Greek destroyer PSARA attacked and claimed the
sinking of an Italian submarine at 1515/11th, twelve miles 200° from
British gunboat LADYBIRD departed Alexandria to relieve gunboat GNAT in the Inshore Squadron.
Convoy BS.18 A departed Port Sudan, escorted by sloop SHOREHAM. The convoy was
dispersed on the 15th.
Convoy BS.19 departed Suez. Sloop YARRA joined on the 17th and was detached
when the convoy dispersed on the 19th.
Wednesday, 12 March
Light cruiser FIJI arrived at Scapa Flow at 1658 following her repair of the September 1940
Convoy OB.297 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers COSSACK, KEPPEL, LINCOLN,
MAORI, SABRE, SHIKARI, VENOMOUS, WOOLSTON, and ZULU, corvette SUNFLOWER, and
anti-submarine trawlers NORTHERN DAWN and WELLARD. Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI,
and ZULU were detached on the 14th. The remainder of the escort was detached
when the convoy dispersed on the 17th.
British steamer EMPIRE FROST (7005grt) was badly
damaged by German bombing in 51-36N, 5-40W.
Six crew were lost.
The steamer in tow was again attacked on the 13th
U.37 sank Icelandic trawler PERTRUSEY (91grt) by
gunfire south of Iceland.
British steamer CAMROUX I (324grt) was damaged on a
mine three miles east of Blyth.
The steamer was towed to Blyth.
British steamer ESSEX LANCE (6625grt) was damaged
by German bombing in 51-03N, 1-38E.
The steamer was taken in tow and beached on the
13th two miles northwest of Cromer. She was refloated on the 14th and
anchored off Immingham Dock on the 18th.
Swedish steamer BUENOS AIRES (5646grt) was sunk by German bombing at Liverpool.
The engines were removed from the vessel which was
used as a supply ship at Scapa
British crane MAMMOTH (1542grt) was sunk in dock by
German bombing at Liverpool. The crane was raised during 1941.
During the night of 12/13 March, British flat
EXCELISOR (122grt) was sunk at the east end of the south side of Trafalgar
Branch Dock, liverpool and British steamers CATRINE (5218grt), IMPERIAL STAR (12,427grt), and ELAX (7403grt), and British
tankers EL MIRLO (8092grt) and DELPHINULA (8120grt) were damaged by German
bombing at Liverpool.
Steamer ELAX's machinery was smashed. She was
anchored in the River Mersey and used as a storage ship until a new engine
The bomb which struck steamer IMPERIAL STAR penetrated three decks before exploding.
Battleships BARHAM and VALIANT and destroyers
JERVIS, JANUS, JAGUAR, HOTSPUR, VOYAGER, and WATERHEN departed Suda
to cover movements of convoy AG.5.
Destroyers ILEX and GREYHOUND joined this force
Destroyer HOTSPUR, relieved of escort of tanker
DESMOULEA, and destroyer WATERHEN from Force A were ordered to Piraeus to escort convoy AS.19.
Convoy AG.5 of Greek personnel ships CORINTHIA
(3701grt), IONIA (1936grt), HELLAS (2295grt), and MARIE MAERSK (8271grt) departed
Alexandria escorted by destroyers VAMPIRE and WRYNECK.
Destroyer DECOY departed Alexandria at 2100 to overtake the convoy at daylight on the
13th and join the escort.
Tanker MARIE MAERSK lost touch with the convoy and
proceeded to Suda Bay.
The convoy arrived at Piraeus
late on the 14th.
Italian troop convoy departed Naples with troopships CONTE ROSSO, MARCO POLO, and VICTORIA
escorted by destroyers CAMICIA NERA and GENIERE, joined by destroyer FOLGORE
Distant cover was provided by heavy cruisers TRIESTE, TRENTO, BOLZANO, destroyers CARABINIERE, CORAZZIERE, and AVIERE,
torpedo boat DEZZA, and three MAS boats.
The convoy arrived at Tripoli
on the 13th.
Convoy US.9/2 departed Bombay with Danish steamer AMERIKA (10,218grt), British
EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA (21,833grt), WAIRANGI (12,436grt), and WINDSOR
CASTLE (19,141grt), Dutch INDRAPOERA (10,825grt), JOHAN DE WITT (10,474grt),
and NIEUW ZEELAND (11,069grt), and Turkish minelayer YUZBASHI HAKKI.
Thursday, 13 March
Rear Admiral A. T. B. Curteis CB, was ashore sick
at Scapa Flow from 13 to 21 March.
Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 0945 to meet convoy EN.85 off Tod Head and
provide cover as far as Cape
The ship arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0745/15th.
escorting convoy HG.55, intercepted Norwegian whalers STAR XIX and STAR XXIV, which had been captured by German raider
PINGUIN on 15 January, in the North Atlantic in
45N, 23W as they attempted to return to German waters.
Both whalers were scuttled by the German prize
crews. The German crews were picked up by sloop SCARBOROUGH.
Destroyer WORCESTER off Southwold, escorting convoy
FS.34, drove off German S-boats attempting to attack the convoy.
British steamer TACOMA CITY (4738grt) was sunk on a mine 2½ cables 104° from
Rock Ferry Light, Mersey.
Four crew were lost on the steamer.
British steamer ULLAPOOL (4891grt) was sunk on a
mine off Princess Stage, Mersey.
Fourteen crew and one gunner was lost on the
Tug BULLGER (270grt) was sunk on a mine in Druridge
sixteen miles north of the Tyne.
The entire crew was rescued.
British steamer NGATIRA (523grt) was damaged on a
mine in 51-21N, 3-17W.
The steamer was beached with the engine room
flooded. She was later refloated and towed to Barry.
British steamers WEARWOOD (4597grt), MOUNTSTEWART
(1099grt), and MYRMIDON (6278grt) were damaged by German bombing at Liverpool.
The bomb which struck steamer MOUNTSTEWART exploded
in the lower hold.
Steamer MYRMIDON was sunk in dock. She was
refloated and drydocked on the 27th.
British smack TWO BROTHERS (17grt) was sunk by
German bombing in Bentick Dock, Kings Lynn.
The smack was raised and placed on a mud bank.
During the night of 13/14 March, British steamer
CLERMISTON (1448grt) was damaged by German bombing in Rothesay Dock at Glasgow.
The steamer was sunk. She was refloated in October
1941 and beached in Rames Bay. The steamer was towed to Ardrossan in 1942.
During the night of 13/14 May, in German bombing
raids on the Clyde, destroyers GOATHLAND and HALDON, under
construction, were damaged.
During the night of 13/14 March, British steamer
TREVARRACK (5270grt) was sunk by German bombing at the Dalmuir
Steamer TREVARRACK was refloated at the end of March
British collier BELHAVEN (1498grt) was sunk by
German bombing at the Clyde during the night of 13/14 March.
Dutch steamer PERSEUS (1307grt) was sunk by German
bombing twelve miles northwest of Bardsey
The entire crew was rescued.
Norwegian steamer SAMLANES (842grt) was sunk on a
mine two miles 180° from The Lizard.
The entire crew was lost.
Heavy cruiser YORK and light cruisers BONAVENTURE and GLOUCESTER arrived at Suda
at 0600/13th. Destroyers NUBIAN and MOHAWK, detached from Force A, joined
these cruisers at Suda Bay.
The British ships departed again later that day to
cover convoys through the Kaso Straits.
During the night of 13/14 March, the force swept
ahead of convoy AS.19 in Kaso Straits. Destroyer NUBIAN reported three
Italian S-boats in 35-32N, 26-42E.
The S-boats were able to escape.
Destroyers NUBIAN and MOHAWK proceeded to Suda
to refuel after the sweep.
This sweep was covered by Force A.
Convoy SL.68 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CANTON to 21 March, light cruiser MAURITIUS to 15 March, corvettes CALENDULA, CROCUS, and
MARGUERITE to 20 March, and anti-submarine trawlers KELt and TURCOMAN to 15
March. Destroyer WISHART escorted the convoy on the 15th only.
Battleship MALAYA joined on the 15th and departed after being torpedoed on the 21st.
The convoy was dispersed due to submarine activity on the 21st and the ships
were ordered to Halifax, Bermuda, or
Friday, 14 March
Battleship NELSON, light cruiser NIGERIA, and destroyers BOADICEA, ESCAPADE, and ACTIVE
departed Scapa Flow at 1903 to operate south of Iceland.
The ships rendezvoused at 0900/15th with destroyers
COSSACK, ZULU, and MAORI which were submarine hunting after escorting convoy
The Tribal destroyers were sent to Reykjavik to refuel on the 16th. The destroyers sailed from
Reykjavik at 2245/16th. They rejoined on the 17th at 0800
and destroyers BOADICEA, ACTIVE, and ESCAPADE were detached at 0900 to Reykjavik to refuel.
Destroyer PUNJABI departed Scapa Flow at 1715 to escort British steamer WALMER
CASTLE (906grt) to the Firth of Forth.
After the escort, the destroyer proceeded to Rosyth
for refitting, arriving at 1100/15th.
Minesweeper FRANKLIN was damaged by four near misses from German
bombing in the North Sea.
Destroyers HOLDERNESS and VANESSA in convoy FS.35
drove off German S-boats attempting to attack the convoy.
Naval drifter JEANNIE LEASK (95grt) was mined in
The drifter was beached in Brightlingsea
Harbour. She was bombed on the 25th. The drifter was refloated on 13 April
and taken to Wivenhoe.
Italian submarine EMO sank British steamer WESTERN CHIEF
(5759grt), which was straggling behind convoy SC.24, in 58-52N, 21-13W.
Twenty two crew were lost on the steamer.
British steamer HERPORT (2633grt) was sunk on a
mine in 53-15N, 1-05E.
Four crew were lost on the steamer.
British steamer STANLEIGH (1802grt) was sunk by
German bombing 12 miles 288° from Bar Light Vessel, Mersey.
Sixteen crew and the gunner were lost on the
British steamer ARTEMISIA (6507grt) was sunk by
German bombing in 52-53N, 1-39E.
One crewman and one gunner were lost on the
Tug MINEGARTH (179grt), tanker SCOTTISH CHIEF
(7006grt), and steamer EMPIRE SIMBA (5691grt) were damaged by German bombing
Tanker SCOTTISH CHIEF was struck by a direct hit.
She left Liverpool on 29 April for Manchester.
Norwegian steamer TYR (4265grt) was damaged by
German bombing off the Humber Light Vessel.
The steamer arrived at Immingham on the 15th,
assisted by tugs.
British steam drifter PEACEFUL STAR (94grt) was sunk by German bombing seventeen miles
east, southeast of Rockabill Light House.
The entire crew was rescued.
Finnish steamer RAINER (2609grt) was sunk by a
submarine between Emden and Cuxhaven.
Convoy HG.56 departed Gibraltar escorted by sloop FOLKESTONE and submarine OLYMPUS with destroyer VELOX and corvettes GERANIUM and VERBENA as local
escorts, detached on the 16th.
Light cruiser KENYA was with the convoy on the 23rd.
The submarine was detached on the 26th to OG.56.
On 27 March, destroyers LEGION, SARDONYX, SCIMITAR,
WATCHMAN, and BURWELL, Polish destroyer PIORUN, sloop FLEETSTONE, corvettes
ARABIS, MALLOW, and VIOLET, and convoy rescue ship ZAAFAREN joined the
French destroyer LEOPARD was also involved in the
escort of the convoy in Home Waters.
Destroyer BURWELL was detached on the 31st. The
convoy arrived at Liverpool with the remaining escort ships on 2 April.
Convoy ANF.20 of five British and two other ships departed
Alexandria late on the 14th escorted by destroyers STUART and
HEREWARD and corvette SALVIA.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA departed Alexandria on the 15th to join the convoy. The convoy arrived
at Piraeus on the 17th.
Convoy AS.19 of nine British, two Greek, and one other
ship departed Piraeus escorted by destroyers HOTSPUR and WATERHEN and
corvette HYACINTH. The convoy was dispersed at 1800/16th.
Destroyer HOTSPUR proceeded to Haifa.
Destroyer WATERHEN and the fast ships proceeded to
Alexandria, arriving on the 17th.
Corvette HYACINTH and the slow ships proceeded to
Port Said, arriving on the 19th.
Australian destroyers VAMPIRE and VOYAGER were
ordered to Alexandria from Piraeus and Force A, respectively.
The destroyers arrived at Alexandria on the 16th.
Gibraltar was part of the escort for convoy HG.54.
The submarine returned to Gibraltar on 2 April in the convoy OG.54 escort.
Italian hospital ship PO (7289grt) was sunk at Valona by five Swordfish of 815 Squadron flying
Italian steamer SANTA MARIA (3539grt) was sunk also by 815 Squadron at Valona
in this raid. The steamer was later salved and restored to duty.
Lt Cdr J. De F Jago, Lt J. A. Caldecott-Smith, and
Leading Airman P. N. Beagley in the lead plane were shot down. They were
picked up by an Italian MAS boat and
made prisoners of war