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

NAVAL EVENTS, MARCH 1941 (Part 2 of 2)
Saturday 15th - Monday 31st

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Hermes, aircraft carrier (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

on to Naval Events, APRIL 1941

 

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

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

 


Background Events - January-May 1941

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


 

 

1941

 

Saturday, 15 March

 

Minesweeper BRITOMART (Lt Cdr J. M. S. Cox DSC) was damaged by German bombing in Rye Harbour. Cox and Lt P A Block RNR were killed on board. She was escorted to Portsmouth by minesweeper SHARPSHOOTER and repaired there from 16 March to 29 May.

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Monitor MARSHALL SOULT was damaged by German bombing while berthed in Portsmouth Harbour, but remained in service.

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Convoy HX.112 was escorted by destroyers WALKER, VANOC, VOLUNTEER, SARDONYX, and SCIMITAR and corvettes BLUEBELL and HYDRANGEA.

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German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU sank British ships from dispersed convoy OB.294, which had departed Liverpool on the 5th and dispersed on the 9th.

 

Tanker BRITISH STRENGTH (7139grt) was sunk in 42N, 43W by SCHARNHORST.

 

Two crew were killed on the tanker. The rest were taken prisoner.

 

Tanker SIMNIA (6197grt) in 40-28N, 43-30W was sunk by GNEISENAU.

 

Three crew were killed. The rest were taken prisoner.

 

Tanker SAN CASIMIRO (8046grt) in 39-58N, 43-19W was captured by GNEISENAU and scuttled on the 20th at position 45-12N, 19-42W.

 

The Master and the gunners were taken prisoner. The rest of the crew remained on the tanker. On 20 March, when sighted by British aircraft and battlecruiser RENOWN, the tanker was scuttled by the German prize crew. in 45-12N, 19-42W.

 

Steamer ROYAL CROWN (4388grt) in 42N, 43W by GNEISENAU. The entire crew were rescued.

 

Steamer MYSON (4564grt) in 42N, 43W by GNEISENAU. The entire crew were rescued.

 

Steamer RIO DORADO (4507grt) in 42N, 43W by GNEISENAU. The entire crew was lost.

 

Tanker ATHELFOAM (6554grt) in 42-00N, 43-25W by SCHARNHORST. One crewman and one gunner were lost, the rest taken prisoner.

 

Norwegian tanker POLYKARP (6405grt) was captured by GNEISENAU in 45-40N, 23-26W on the 15th, and reached the German-occupied Gironde on the 24th.

 

Norwegian tanker BIANCA (5688grt) was captured by GNEISENAU on the 15th.

 

The entire crew was rescued. On 20 March, the tanker was intercepted by battlecruiser RENOWN in 44-16N, 19-21W. The tanker was scuttled by the German prise crew.

 

The attacks continued on the 16th on further ships of the dispersed convoy OB.294 and two ships of dispersed convoy OB.292 which had departed Liverpool on 27 February and dispersed 6 March.

 

Steamer SARDINIAN PRINCE (3491grt) in 44N, 43W by SCHARNHORST.

 

The entire crew were taken prisoner.

 

Dutch steamer MANGKAI (8298grt) in 44N, 43W by SCHARNHORST. Some of the crew were taken prisoner.

 

Steamer SILVERFIR (4347grt) in 42N, 43W by SCHARNHORST. One crewman was lost. Rest were taken prisoner of war.

 

Steamer EMPIRE INDUSTRY (3721grt) of OB.272 in 42N, 43W by GNEISENAU. The entire crew as taken prisoner.

 

Norwegian steamer GRANLI (1577grt) of OB.292 was sunk by GNEISENAU 300 miles east of Newfoundland. The entire crew was rescued.

 

Steamer DEMETERTON (5251grt) in 45-58N, 44-00W by SCHARNHORST. The entire crew was taken prisoner.

 

Independent steamer CHILEAN REEFER (1739grt) 46-13N, 44-45W by GNEISENAU. Seven crew and two gunners were lost from the steamer. Three crew were taken prisoner. The rest were rescued by British ships.

 

Steamer CHILEAN REEFER was able to send off an SOS which was picked up by Battleship RODNEY. Battleship RODNEY turned convoy HX.114 over to battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN, which was in the area in transit, and made for the position of the SOS.

 

Submarine THUNDERBOLT, which departed Halifax on the 10th, and armed merchant cruiser LACONIA of convoy HX.115 and SC.25 were sent to investigate.

 

Submarine SEVERN, which departed Halifax on the 11th for Freetown, was also in the area.

 

After unsuccessful searching, submarine SEVERN proceeded on her voyage to Freetown.

 

Battleship RODNEY, escorting convoy HX.114, sighted battleship GNEISENAU which made off at high speed and no action ensued.

 

Battleship NELSON, light cruiser NIGERIA, and destroyers BOADICEA, ESCAPADE, and ACTIVE were dispatched to the south of Iceland to attempt to intercept the German battlecruisers as they attempted to return home.

 

On 16 March, destroyer BOADICEA lost a rating overboard.

 

Light cruiser NIGERIA located armed merchant cruiser ALAUNIA, en route to Reykjavik on the 16th.

 

Destroyers BOADICEA, ESCAPADE, and ACTIVE were sent to Reykjavik at 0900/17th to refuel after destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, and ZULU rejoined the NELSON group. Destroyer BOADICEA, ESCAPADE, and ACTIVE rejoined at 1447 on the 18th.

 

The NELSON group were joined on the 21st by battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, heavy cruiser LONDON, and destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ARROW, ECHO, ECLIPSE, and ESKIMO which departed Scapa Flow at 0515/19th. Battlecruiser HOOD departed Rosyth on the 18th and joined this force off Dunnett Head at 0630.

 

Heavy cruiser LONDON was detached after radio direction finding tests.

 

Light cruisers NIGERIA of the 10th and EDINBURGH of the 18th Cruiser Squadrons operated to the south of the Battleships.

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH and destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, MATABELE, and MASHONA departed Scapa Flow for Greenock at 1100/20th for escort duty with convoy WS.7.

 

Destroyer ARROW was detached to Londonderry to refuel on the 21st.

 

Submarine L 27 departed Portsmouth to attempt to intercept the German ships. Dutch submarine O.24 and Submarine OBERON departed Rothesay to patrol off Wolf Rock.

Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, and ZULU were detached from the Commander in Chief's force in 59W, 20W to refuel in Reykjavik.

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH and destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, MATABELE, and MASHONA arrived in the Clyde at 0751 on the 22nd.

 

Light cruiser NIGERIA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1938 on the 22nd.

Battleship NELSON and destroyers ACTIVE, BOADICEA, and ESCAPADE arrived at Scapa Flow at 0031 on the 23rd.

 

Battlecruiser HOOD, battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, and destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ESKIMO, and ECHO arrived at Scapa Flow at 0658 on the 23rd.

 

On 19 March, ocean boarding vessels HILARY and CORINTHIAN on Western Patrol were ordered to attempt to intercept the captured whale factory ships as they proceeded to French ports.

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Tug WARRIOR (249grt), towing Norwegian tanker FERNCOURT (9918grt), was damaged on a mine at the entrance to River Cart in the Clyde.

 

The tug beached at Renfrew. The was later refloated and taken to Glasgow for repair.

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Belgian steamer EMINENT (500grt) was sunk on a mine in 52-32N, 5-37W.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

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Convoy GA.5 (there was no GA.3 or GA.4) of five British and three Greek ships departed Pireaus for Alexandria and Port Said escorted by destroyers DECOY and WRYNECK.

 

Steamer CINGALESE PRINCE departed this convoy on the 16th and joined anti-submarine whaler SOUTHERN MAID for Tobruk to embark motor transport. The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 17th.

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British Force A arrived at Suda Bay to refuel at dawn on the 15th.

 

Destroyers MOHAWK and NUBIAN rejoined Force A.

 

Force A departed Suda Bay later that day.

 

During the night of 15/16 March, Force A covered convoys GA.5, ASN 20, and AS.19 passing through Kithera Straits.

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Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE arrived at Simonstown.

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Tug CHABOOL, manned by Lt J. L. Mumford RNR and crewed by seven ratings from light cruiser GLASGOW, departed Aden for Berbera. She was never found and all hands lost.

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Convoy ZK.1 departed Brisbane with two coastal steamers escorted by armed merchant cruiser MANOORA. The convoy arrived at Port Moresby and Rabaul.

 

In April and July to September, three more convoys were run.

 

 

Sunday, 16 March

 

Heavy cruiser NORFOLK arrived at Scapa Flow after convoy escort duties with convoy HX.112.

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Destroyer ANTHONY while under repair at Glasgow was damaged by the near miss of a German bomb.

 

The destroyer spent no further time out of service.

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Convoy OB.298 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers CHELSEA, MANSFILED, VANITY, VERITY, VETERAN, and WOLSEY, and corvette ARBUTUS. Destroyer VANITY was detached on the 28th. On 18 March, destroyers HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, and HURRICANE joined. The escort was detached on the 20th when the convoy was dispersed.

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Anti-submarine trawler LADY LILIAN (581grt, T/Lt W. K. Rous RNVR) was sunk by German bombing 150 miles west by south of Bloody Foreland.

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Anti-submarine trawler ANGLE (531grt, P/T/Lt R. Wolfenden RNR) was damaged by German bombing 150 miles west by south of Bloody Foreland.

 

The trawler arrived Belfast in tow on the 22nd.

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Corvette AUBRETIA, en route from Greenock to Londonderry, was damaged in a collision with British trawler GOOSANDER (238grt).

 

The corvette was repaired at Dundee from 21 March and completing on 7 April.

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U.110, in three attacks on convoy HX.112, damaged British tanker ERODONA (6207grt) in 61-20N, 17W.

 

Thirty two crew and four gunners were lost.

 

The ship was abandoned. It was towed to Edisvik near Reykjavik on the 30th. The after end of the tanker was lost. The ship left Reykjavik in tow in 1942 for Blyth.

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U.106 sank Dutch steamer ALMKERK (6810grt) at 13-40N, 20-30W.

 

The crew was rescued.

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U.99 attacked convoy HX.112, escorted by destroyers WALKER, VANOC, VOLUNTEER, SARDONYX, and SCIMITAR, and corvettes BLUEBELL and HYDRANGEA.

 

 

Norwegian tankers FERM (6593grt) and BEDUIN (8136grt) were sunk by 60-42N, 13-10W.

 

The entire crew from tanker FERM were rescued by corvette BLUEBELL.

 

Four crew from tanker BEDUIN was lost.

 

On 19 March, the forward position of the tanker was sunk by gunfire from a trawler in 61-02N, 11-53W. The stern portion was sunk on the 20th in 61-07N, 10-50W.

 

British tanker FRANCHE COMTE (9314grt) was damaged in 61-15N, 12-30W. Corvette BLUEBELL stood by the damaged tanker.

 

The tanker arrived at Rothesay Bay on the 21st.

 

British tanker VENETIA (5728grt) was sunk in 61-00N, 12-36W.

 

The entire crew of tanker VENETIA were rescued by corvette BLUEBELL.

 

Canadian steamer J. B. WHITE (7375grt) was sunk in 60-57N, 12-27W.

 

One crewman was lost and one crewman was missing on the Canadian steamer.

 

Submarine U.99 sank Swedish steamer KORSHAMN (6673grt) from convoy HX.112 on the 17th in 61-09N, 12-20W.

 

Twenty six crew were lost on the Swedish steamer.

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Norwegian steamer ELNA E. (1174grt) was sunk on a mine eighteen miles southwest of Lundy Island.

 

One crewman was lost on the steamer.

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Submarine PARTHIAN torpedoed Italian steamer GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO (3141grt) near Palmi in 35-57N, 15-40E.

 

The submarine claimed hitting a second ship, but did not.

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Force A was unsuccessfully attacked by two Italian torpedo planes at dusk west of Elaphonisos, thirty miles west of Crete.

 

The Italian bombers reported hitting two large units, probably battleships.

 

No ship was hit.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE was detached from the 3rd Cruiser Squadron to arrive at Alexandria at 0600/18th.

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Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE departed Alexandria for exercises on 16 and 17 March escorted by destroyers JUNO, JAGUAR, and HASTY.

 

Destroyer ILEX joined the aircraft carrier from Force A.

 

The British ships returned to Alexandria on the 17th.

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Australian destroyer VOYAGER departed Alexandria escorting British troopship ULSTER PRINCE (3791grt) and armed boarding vessel ROSAURA to Tobruk.

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In air operations in the Atlantic, Sub Lt (A) D. M. Ferguson RNVR, and Sub Lt (A) J. K. M. Watt of 818 Squadron from ARK ROYAL were lost when their Swordfish failed to return from patrol.

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Light cruisers GLASGOW and CALEDON, destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON, armed boarding vessels CHAKDINA and CHANTALA, Indian patrol boats NETRAVATI and PARVATI, motor launch ML.109, and two transports landed troops brought from Aden at Berbera in Operation APPEARANCE.

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Corvette ASPHODEL arrived at Gibraltar with two steamers formerly of convoy SL.67.

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Corvette DELPHINIUM departed Gibraltar for Freetown en route to Simonstown and the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

 

Monday, 17 March

 

Minelayers SOUTHERN PRINCE, MENESTHEUS, AGAMEMNON, and PORT QUEBEC of the 1st Minelaying Squadron, escorted by destroyers ST MARYS, LANCASTER, CASTLETON, and CHARLESTOWN departed Loch Alsh to lay minefield SN.69.

 

Light cruisers AURORA and GALATEA departed Scapa Flow on the 17th to cover.

 

Battleship NELSON, light cruiser NIGERIA, and destroyers BOADICEA, ACTIVE, ESCAPADE, COSSACK, ZULU, and MAORI operating south of Iceland supported the operation.

 

The mines were laid on the 19th.

 

The ships arrived back on the 20th.

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Destroyers NESTOR, WHADDON, and ERIDGE departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth at 2100 to escort battlecruiser HOOD to Scapa Flow.

 

The four ships departed Rosyth at 1700/18th for Pentland Firth, where the battlecruiser joined the battle fleet at sea and the destroyers were detached to Scapa Flow, arriving on the 19th.

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Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1100 to meet convoy WN.99 in the Pentland Firth providing cover until convoy EN.68 A was met.

 

At 0500/18th, the ship transferred to convoy EN.68 A and remained with it until its arrival in Pentland Firth.

 

Ship CURACOA arrived at Scapa Flow 1745/18th.

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Minelayer TEVIOTBANK, escorted by sloop KITTIWAKE and French torpedo boat LA MELPOMENE, laid minefield BS.51 off the East coast of England.

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Anti-submarine yacht MOLLUSC (597grt, T/Lt N P Doyle RNR) was sunk by German bombing 2 miles 115 from Blyth Port War Signal Station. There were no casualties.

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Convoy OG.56 departed Liverpool escorted by sloop ENCHANTRESS, corvettes ERICA and SNAPDRAGON, and anti-submarine trawler ST KENAN.

 

On 18 March, the convoy was joined by destroyers BROKE, DOUGLAS, SALADIN, SALISBURY, and VIVIEN and corvette CLARKIA.

 

Destroyers BROKE, DOUGLAS, SALADIN, SALISBURY, and VIVIEN were detached on the 21st. on the 22nd, corvette CLARKIA and trawler ST KENAN were detached.

 

Submarine OLYMPUS joined the convoy on the 26th. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 2 April, escorted by sloop ENCHANTRESS, corvettes ERICA and SNAPDRAGON, and submarine OLYMPUS.

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U.99 was sunk by HX.112 escort Destroyer WALKER northwest of the Hebrides in 61-16N, 12-56W.

 

The commanding officer, two other officer, and thirty seven ratings were picked up by destroyer WALKER. One officer and two ratings from the submarine drowned.

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U.100 was sunk by HX.112 escort Destroyer VANOC northwest of the Hebrides in 61N, 12W.

 

One officer and five ratings were rescued. Thirty eight crew, including Kptlt. Joachim Schepke, were lost in the submarine.

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During the night of 17/18 March, destroyer CATTISTOCK in convoy FN.33 off Lowestoft unsuccessfully attacked German motor torpedo boats.

 

Destroyers VESPER and COTTESMORE were also in the escort.

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U.106 made attacks on convoy SL.68.

 

British steamer ANDALUSIAN (3082grt) was sunk at 14-33N, 21-06W.

 

The entire crew of the steamer were rescued.

 

Dutch steamer TAPANOELI (7031grt) was sunk at 15-56N, 20-49W.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

 

The submarine attacked two other steamers in the convoy without success.

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British steamer CORMEAD (2848grt) was damaged by German bombing in 52-20N, 2-00E.

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British pilot cutter PIONEER (281grt) was damaged by German bombing at B 3 Buoy, Thames Estuary.

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Norwegian steamer EINAR JARL (1858grt) was sunk on a mine in 56-17N, 2-18W.

 

One crewman was lost on the steamer.

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Light cruisers PERTH, AJAX, and ORION departed Alexandria carrying troops as convoy AG.6 A to Piraeus.

 

The cruisers arrived at Piraeus on the 18th.

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Light cruiser GLOUCESTER was recalled from the Aegean to Alexandria, arriving on the 18th.

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Destroyer GRIFFIN departed Alexandria for Haifa for escort duty in convoy MW.6.

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Convoy BN.20 departed Aden, escorted by sloop AUCKLAND. Destroyer KINGSTON joined on the 18th. Both escorts were detached on the 21st. The convoy arrived at Suez on the 25th.

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Convoy BM.5 departed Bombay with steamers NEURALIA (9182grt) and DEVONSHIRE (11,275grt), escorted by armed merchant cruiser HECTOR from 17 to 20 March. Light cruiser EMERALD joined on 20 march and was detached on the 23rd. Light cruiser DURBAN joined on the 22nd.

 

Steamers JALAKRISHNA (4991grt) and JAPAPADMA (3035 (tons) departed Bombay on the 16th and proceeded independently with lorries, petrol, ordnance, and other stores for the personnel in convoy BM.5. The convoy arrived at Singapore on the 25th.

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Convoy HX.115 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA, destroyer ST CROIX, and corvette ORILLIA. The destroyer and the corvette were detached the next day. Battleship KING GEORGE V and submarine THUNDERBOLt joined the escort on the 20th and were detached on the 28th. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on the 28th. Destroyers READING, SABRE, and VENOMOUS, sloop WELLINGTON, and corvettes ALISMA, DIANELLA, and KINGCUP joined on the 29th. The escort was detached when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 3 April.

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American Task Group 9.2 with light cruisers BROOKLYN and SAVANNAH and destroyers CASE, CUMMINGS, SHAW, and TUCKER arrived at Auckland for a three day goodwill visit.

 

The American ships sailed on the 20th and arrived at Tahiti on the 25th. They departed Tahition the 27th and returned to Pearl Harbour.

 

 

Tuesday, 18 March

 

German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU refueled at sea three hundred miles northwest of the Azores from tankers ERMLAND and UCKERMARK.

 

Some four hundred prisoners were transferred to the supply ships.

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Heavy cruiser NORFOLK departed Scapa Flow for Reykjavik.

 

The cruiser refueled in Iceland and patrolled in the Denmark Strait with two armed merchant cruisers.

 

The cruiser returned to refuel at Reykjavik on 27 to 29 March.

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Light cruiser ARETHUSA departed Scapa Flow on escort duties.

 

The cruiser arrived back at 1610/22nd.

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Battlecruiser HOOD, refitting at Rosyth since 13 January, departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow.

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U.105 sank British steamer MEDJERDA (4380grt) from convoy SL.68 at 17N, 21W.

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The German 1st Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla with S.26, S.29, S.39, S.55, S.101, and S.102 sortie against British shipping on the British east coast.

British steamer DAPHNE II (1970grt) was badly damaged by S.102 in 59 Buoy, off the Humber.

 

The ship was taken in tow and beached south of Bull. The ship broke in two and sank.

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Italian submarine EMO attacked British steamer CLAN MACIVER (4500grt) in 58N, 24W.

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German steamer BREMEN (51, 731grt) was lost due to an explosion at Bremen.

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German steamer WIDAR (5972grt) was sunk by an aerial torpedo off Borkum.

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Battleships BARHAM and VALIANT and destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, NUBIAN, MOHAWK, GREYHOUND, and HAVOCK arrived at Alexandria at 0530.

 

Light cruisers BONAVENTURE and GLOUCESTER arrived soon afterwards.

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Light cruiser GLOUCESTER embarked General Blamey, Commanding the Australian Corps, and 1087 troops.

 

The cruiser departed Alexandria, escorted by destroyer HASTY, for Piraeus.

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Convoy AG.7 of Armed boarding vessels CHAKLA and FIONA, supply ship BRECONSHIRE, three Greek, and one other ship departed Alexandria, escorted by light cruiser CARLISLE and destroyers VOYAGER and WRYNECK.

 

Troopship ULSTER PRINCE embarked Army personnel at Tobruk and joined the convoy on the 19th. The convoy arrived at Piraeus late on the 20th.

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Convoy AN.21 of seven British, four Greek, and two other ships departed Alexandria escorted by destroyers DECOY and WATERHEN and corvette HYACINTH.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY joined the convoy from Suda Bay.

 

On the 21st, British tanker MARIE MAERSK (8271grt), formerly of AG.5 and joined from Suda Bay, was damaged by German bombing off Crete.

 

Six crew were killed, eight missing, and four were taken prisoner of war.

 

Australian destroyer WATERHEN put a party aboard the ship and got the fire under control.

 

The tanker was brought into Suda Bay under her own power by a Royal Navy navigating party, escorted by anti-submarine trawler AMBER. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 22nd.

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Convoy AS.20 of one British, one Greek, and four other ships departed Piraeus escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA, destroyer VENDETTA, sloop GRIMSBY, and one Greek destroyer.

 

Destroyer VENDETTA attacked a submarine contact at 1715/18th in 37-29N, 24-05E. The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 21st and Port Said on the 22nd.

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Armed boarding vessel ROSAURA (1552grt) was sunk on a mine 146 from Mersa Tobruk. Fourteen crew, including P/T/Surgeon Lt J. F. Roberts RNVR, five military guards and 59 prisoners of war were lost.

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Swordfish of 830 Squadron attacked Tripoli Harbour.

 

A Swordfish was shot down and its crew of A/Sub Lt (A) D. Grant and Leading Airman W. E. J. Thomson were made prisoners of war. They were repatriated in November 1942.

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Three Albacore aircraft from 826 Squadron from aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE operating ashore torpedoed Italian steamer LABOR (510grt) and destroyed two lighters at Buerat el Hsur. The steamer was able to arrive at Tripoli on the 19th.

 

One Albacore and its crew of Sub Lt J. J. C. Coe and A/Sub Lt C. P. Bailey were lost.

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Convoy BS.20 departed Suez, escorted by sloop CLIVE. The sloop was detached the next day. On the 21st, sloop AUCKLAND joined, on the 22nd, light cruiser CAPETOWN; both were detached on the 25th when sloop PARRAMATTA joined. The convoy was dispersed on the 26th.

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Italian torpedo boat ALDEBARAN was sunk by British bombing at Valona.

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Light cruiser DAUNTLESS arrived at Singapore.

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Light cruiser DIOMEDE damaged her port propeller while passing through the Panama Canal.

 

 

Wednesday, 19 March

 

Destroyer LIDDESDALE departed Scapa Flow at 1500 to meet British steamer AMSTERDAM off Aberdeen at 2230 and escort her to Lerwick.

 

The ships departed Lerwick at 2000/20th. The destroyer lost touch with the steamer in bad weather during the night and returned to Scapa Flow, arriving at 0830/21st.

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Light cruiser KENYA, relieved Force H escorting convoy SL.67.

 

The light cruiser arrived at Greenock on the 31st.

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Convoy OB.299 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer MONTGOMERY. On 20 March, destroyers CHESTERFIELD, VANITY, and WANDERER, sloop WESTON, and corvettes NASTURTIUM, PERIWINKLE, and PRIMROSE joined. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the 24th.

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P/T/Sub Lt (A) W. Darbyshire RNVR, and Leading Airman J. W. J. Howes were killed when their Roc of 760 Squadron crashed near North Cadbury in air firing practice exercises.

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British steamer BENVORLICH (5193grt) was sunk by German bombing from convoy OB.298 in 54-48N, 13-10W.

 

Four crew and one gunner was lost on the steamer. The survivors were rescued by convoy rescue ship ZAMALEK.

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U.106 made attacks on convoy SL.68.

 

Dutch steamer MANDALIKA (7750grt) was sunk at 18-16N, 21-26W.

 

Three crew were killed on the steamer.

 

The submarine attacked another steamer on the 19th without success.

 

Battleship MALAYA, escorting convoy SL.68 with armed merchant cruiser CANTON and corvettes CALENDULA, MARGUERITE, and CROCUS, was torpedoed in the bows by U.106 at 2323 on the 20th at 20-02N, 25-50W.

 

The submarine thought she had torpedoed a merchant ship.

 

Destroyers FORESIGHT and FORTUNE were ordered to join the damaged battleship. Destroyers FEARLESS and WRESTLER of the group intending to join ARK ROYAL and RENOWN were ordered to return to Gibraltar. On the 21st, destroyers FEARLESS and FORTUNE departed Gibraltar to join, but soon they and destroyers FORESIGHT and FORTUNE were ordered to return to Gibraltar.

 

Battleship MALAYA was escorted towards Trinidad by corvette CROCUS, which was detached on the 23rd. The battleship arrived at Trinidad on the 29th.

 

The battleship arrived on 6 April in New York for repairs.

 

British steamer CLAN MACNAB (6076grt) was lost in convoy SL.68 when she collided with Norwegian motor tanker STRIX (Correction thanks to John Staaland)

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British steamer NAILSEA MEADOW (4962grt) was damaged by German bombing at Victoria Dock, London.

 

Two crew were lost.

 

The ship was struck by a bomb in the afterpeak tank.

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British steamer TOTTENHAM (4762grt) was damaged on a mine in the Southend Anchorage.

 

The ship was damaged by a near mine explosion. The ship was towed to Gravesend on the 20th.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer LEO (1367grt) was sunk by German bombing 75 miles NW of the Butt of Lewis. The entire crew was rescued by destroyer ECHO.

_____

 

Dutch tanker MAMURA (8245grt) was damaged by German bombing in 54-42N, 13-20W.

 

The tanker was able to continue to Halifax.

_____

 

British steamer JUNO (642grt) was damaged by German air attack in Surrey Commercial Dock.

 

The steamer was considered a constructive total loss.

_____

 

During the night of 19/20 March, British steamers TELESFORA DE LARRINGA (5780grt) and LINDENHALL (5248grt) were damaged in Victoria Dock, London.

 

One crewman was killed on the TELESFORA DE LARRINGA.

 

Steamer LINDENHALL caught fire and sank. She was drydocked at Millwall on 23 April.

_____

 

German tanker NORDMARK replenished German raider KORMORAN at 2-52N, 30-58W.

_____

 

British operation MC.9 began on the 19th.

 

British steamers CITY OF MANCHESTER (8917grt), CLAN FERGUSON (7347grt), andPERTHSHIRE (10,496grt) departed Haifa escorted by destroyers HOTSPUR and GRIFFIN and steamer CITY OF LINCOLN (8039grt) departed Alexandria escorted by destroyer GREYHOUND as convoy MW.6. The convoy was designated Force C.

 

T/A/Sub Lt (A) R. C. Kay and Leading Airman D. R. Stockman were killed when their Fulmar of 805 Squadron from Maleme was shot down over Suda Bay on the 19th.

 

On 20 March, battleships WARSPITE, BARHAM, and VALIANT, aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, and destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, JUNO, JAGUAR, NUBIAN, MOHAWK, ILEX, HERO, and HAVOCK departed Alexandria as Force A.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE joined the convoy escort on the 20th.

 

Anti-aircraft cruisers COVENTRY, CALCUTTA, and CARLISLE and destroyer HAVOCK joined Force C on the 21st. The convoy was covered by heavy cruiser YORK, light cruisers ORION, PERTH, GLOUCESTER, and AJAX and destroyers STUART, HEREWARD, and HASTY, HEREWARD after refueling at Suda Bay. This group, designated Force B, rendezvoused with Force A at 1600/21st.

 

The destroyers of Force B joined Force A.

 

Exercising following her refitting, destroyer DEFENDER was damaged by splinters from a near miss of an air bomb off Dellimiara Point, Malta, on the 21st.

 

Force B rejoined Force A at 0740/22nd.

 

The fleet parted company with the convoy at 2000/22nd to stay out of the range of German bombers.

 

A Fulmar of 809 Squadron ditched near the Fleet. Lt A. J. E. Howey and Leading Airman L. J. Stevens were rescued by destroyer JERVIS.

 

Anti-aircraft cruisers COVENTRY and CARLISLE left the convoy at 2030 and proceeded to Alexandria.

 

Destroyer DEFENDER departed Malta at 1945 to join Force B.

 

Force B and destroyers MOHAWK and NUBIAN covered Force C from the northward during the night of 22/23 March.

 

Convoy MW.6 arrived at Malta on the 23rd.

 

Force B rejoined Force A during the morning of 23 March and destroyer DEFENDER joined shortly thereafter.

 

Force C and the convoy were attacked by German bombers at Malta on the 23rd.

 

British steamers PERTHSHIRE (10,496grt) and CITY OF LINCOLN (8039grt) were damaged.

 

Light cruiser BONAVENTURE was damaged on her port bow by splinters from near misses. One rating was killed and seven were wounded. Destroyer GRIFFIN was damaged by a near miss which holed her forward fuel oil tanks with no casualties.

 

Force B and destroyers ILEX and HASTY parted company with Force A to cover Force C.

 

The cruisers and destroyers of Force C departed Malta at 1930.

 

At 1930, destroyer HEREWARD departed Force B to join ConvoyAN 22 on the 24th.

 

Force C and Force B merged at 0730/24th and proceeded to the Aegean.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA and destroyers ILEX and HASTY arrived at Port Said on the 24th.

 

Force B covered convoy AN.22 from west of the Kithera Channel.

 

Force A arrived back at Alexandria at 2230/24th.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE and destroyers GREYHOUND, GRIFFIN, HOTSPUR, and HAVOCK from Force C proceeded to Alexandria, arriving on the 25th. The cruiser carried a replacement propeller shaft and bracket bearing for cruiser CARLISLE.

 

Heavy cruiser YORK and light cruiser GLOUCESTER arrived at Suda Bay during 25 March.

 

Light cruisers ORION, PERTH, and AJAX and destroyer ILEX remained in the Aegean to cover convoy AN.22 and AS.22 on the 25th.

_____

 

Greek destroyer AETOS reported being unsuccessfully attacked by Italian torpedo bombers north of Candia.

_____

 

Submarines UTMOST and URSULA departed Malta to patrol the east Tunisian coast.

_____

 

Submarine TRUANT fired torpedoes at a barge at Buerat el Sun. The torpedoes missed and passed underneath Italian tanker LABOR (510grt) without doing damage.

_____

 

Destroyers FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE, and WRESTLER departed Gibraltar to meet aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and battlecruiser RENOWN which had been relieved in convoy SL.67 by light cruiser KENYA.

_____

 

Submarine OTUS arrived at Gibraltar after departing Portsmouth on the 8th.

 

The submarine had been refitting at Portsmouth in February completing on the 1st.

 

 

Thursday, 20 March

 

Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK arrived at Scapa Flow at 1515 after damage repair from her April 1940 bombing.

 

One turbine was still defective. Full power trial was completed on the 26th.

_____

 

Convoy OB.300 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers ACHATES and BOREAS, corvettes HEATHER, HEPATICA, and PICOTEE, and anti-submarine trawlers ARAB, AYRSHIRE, and LADY MADELEINE. The escort, less the destroyers, was detached on the 25th. The destroyers were detached on the 26th when the convoy was dispersed.

_____

 

Auxiliary anti-aircraft ship HELVELLYN (642grt, T/Lt P. D. Baker RNVR) was sunk by German bombing in the London Docks.

_____

 

Submarine STURGEON unsuccessfully attacked a steamer off Obrestad.

 

The claim she sank Norwegian tanker DRAFN (8205grt) under German control off Stadlandet is incorrect.

_____

 

Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, and IMPULSIVE laid minefield GU in the English Channel.

_____

 

British requisitioned motor fishing vessel DOX (35grt) was by German bombing at Plymouth.

_____

 

British requisitioned motor fishing vessel GLOAMING (21grt) was sunk by mining in the vicinity of Burcom Shoal off the Humber.

_____

 

Naval drifter SOIZIC (72grt) was lost in enemy action.

_____

 

Tug SIR BEVOIS (338grt) was sunk by German bombing at Plymouth. Nine were lost from a crew of fourteen.

_____

 

Polish steamer CIESZYN (1386grt) was sunk by German bombing three miles 55 from Manacle Point. The entire crew was rescued.

_____

British fishing vessel JOAN MARGARET (25grt) was lost on a mine in the vicinity of Cleeness Lightfloat, River Humber. Five crew were killed.

_____

 

British trawler BIANCA (174grt) was sunk in the Irish Sea when she picked up a German aerial torpedo or bomb in her nets. Five crew were lost.

_____

 

Hulk MACKAY BENNETT was sunk by German bombing at Plymouth. It was refloated on 26 July and docked on 28 July.

_____

 

Tug ELAN II was sunk by German bombing at Plymouth, and refloated about 1 October 1941.

_____

 

Tug CHARLIGHT (40grt) was damaged by German bombing off Le Bas Wharf, Milwall.

_____

 

British steamer MARI II (1395grt) was damaged by German bombing at Plymouth.

 

The ship was sunk. She was refloated on 27 June and repaired at Plymouth.

_____

 

Greek submarine TRITON made unsuccessful attacks on a steamer and a torpedo boat off Valona.

 

This was possibly German steamer BRUMMER and torpedo boat ALTAIR.

_____

 

British tanker SAN CASIMIRO (8046grt) and Norwegian tanker BIANCA (5688grt), captured by German battlecruiser GNEISENAU on the 15th, were sighted by Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL aircraft.

 

The tankers were scuttled by the German prise crews when approached by Battlecruiser RENOWN.

_____

 

Convoy BN.22 departed Bombay, escorted by armed merchant cruiser ANTENOR. The escort was detached on the 26th. On 31 March, sloops AUCKLAND and INDUS joined. Sloop FLAMINGO joined on 1 April and light cruiser CAPETOWN and destroyer KINGSTON on 2 April. Light cruiser CAPETOWN and destroyer KINGSTON were detached on 3 April, sloops FLAMINGO and INDUS on 4 April, and sloop AUCKLAND on 7 April when the convoy arrived at Suez.

_____

 

Convoy SC.26 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser WORCESTERSHIRE, submarine PORPOISE, and escort ship COBALT. The escort ship was detached later on the 20th, the submarine on the 29th, and the armed merchant cruiser on 3 April. On 3 April, destroyers VETERAN and WOLVERINE joined the convoy. On 4 April, destroyers CHELSEA, VERITY, and VIVIEN and corvette CONVOLULUS joined. This group, which joined on 4 April, was detached on 5 April and destroyer HAVELOCK and sloop SCARBOROUGH joined on 5 April. The escort was detached when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 8 April.

_____

 

American heavy cruisers CHICAGO and PORTLAND and destroyers CLARK, CONYNGHAM, REID, CASSIN, and DOWNES arrived at Sydney, Australia on a three day goodwill visit. They departed on the 23rd and arrived at Brisbane on the 25th. Departing on the 28th, they arrived at Suva, Fiji, on 1 April. The American force departed Suva on the 3rd and arrived back at Pearl Harbour on 10 April.

 

 

Friday, 21 March

 

Aircraft carrier ARGUS, light cruiser SHEFFIELD, depot ship MAIDSTONE, and troopship HIGHLAND MONARCH escorted by destroyers NAPIER and NIZAM, departed the Clyde for Gibraltar.

 

The ships arrived at Gibraltar on the 29th.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser DERBYSHIRE departed the Clyde carrying troops to Reykjavik. At 0700/22nd, destroyers TARTAR and GURKHA departed Scapa Flow to meet her 19 miles 270 from Cape Wrath at 1500 and escort her to 17W. The destroyers then detached and carried out an anti-submarine search before returning to Scapa Flow.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1200 to meet convoy WN.1 in the Pentland Firth and cover it until dark. The ship then covered convoy EN.89.

 

At noon on the 22nd, ship CURACOA then transferred to convoy WN.2. On the 23rd, the ship then covered convoy EN.90.

 

On the 24th, ship CURACOA parted company with convoy EN.90 in Pentland Firth and returned to Scapa Flow arriving at 1130.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL in the Bay of Biscay in 48-44N, 18-29W lost an aircraft in an operational accident.

 

A Swordfish of the 818 Squadron with A/Sub Lt (A) P. E. Opdall, P/T/Sub Lt (A) C. R. Hearn RNVR, and Leading Airman B. C. Biggs crashed on taking off. The depth charges carried by the aircraft exploded under the ship, but did not cause damage requiring immediate repair.

 

The crew of the aircraft were lost.

_____

Minesweeping trawler ASAMA (303grt) was sunk by German bombing at Plymouth.

 

The trawler was beached at Torpoint.

_____

 

British steamer LONDON II (1260grt) was sunk by German bombing in 51-23N, 4-30W.

 

 

Four crew were lost on the steamer. The steamer was abandoned on fire and sank six miles off Mumbles Head.

_____

 

British steamer MILLISLE (617grt) was sunk by German bombing two miles east of Helwick L. B. , Bristol Channel.

 

Nine crew and one gunner were lost on the steamer.

_____

 

British steamer HALO (2365grt) was damaged on a mine off Beckton Pier.

 

Four crew were lost on the steamer.

 

The steamer sank off Beckton No. 1 Pier. The ship was refloated and placed ashore at Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.

_____

 

U.105 made attacks on convoy SL.68.

 

British steamer CLAN OGILVY (5802grt) was sunk at 20-04N, 25-45W.

 

Twenty five crew were killed and thirty six were missing from steamer CLAN OGILVY. Survivors from the steamer were picked up by Spanish steamer CABO VILLANO (4282grt) and British steamer KING EDGAR (4536grt).

 

British steamer BENWYVIS (5920grt) was sunk at 20N, 26W.

 

Thirty three crew and one gunner were lost from steamer BENWYVIS. A cadet, sole survivor of 34 men in a boat, was picked up by French steamer VILLE DE ROUEN (5083grt) and landed at Madagascar after being in the lifeboat for twenty eight days.

 

British steamer JHELUM (4038grt) was sunk by 21N, 25W.

 

Eight crew were killed. The rest were interned at Senegal.

_____

Convoy AS.21 of three Greek ships departed Piraeus escorted by corvette SALVIA and Greek destroyer VASILEVS GEORGIOS I and one Greek destroyers. The convoy was attacked in the Aegean southeast of Gavdo Island by German aircraft.

 

Greek steamer EMBIRICOS NICOLAOS (3798grt) was sunk by German bombing from this convoy in 34-30N, 24-45E.

 

Two crew were lost.

 

Norwegian tanker SOLHEIM (8070grt) was badly damaged by German bombing from this convoy in 34-30N, 24-10E.

 

One crewman was missing from the tanker.

The tanker was abandoned on the 23rd and sank sometime during the night of 23/24 March.

 

The survivors from both ships were picked up by the second Greek destroyer which took them back to Piraeus. The convoy arrived at Alexandria late on the 24th.

_____

 

Convoy ASF.21 of British BRECONSHIRE, CHAKLA, and two other British ships, three Greek, and two other steamers departed Piraeus late on the 21st escorted by destroyers VOYAGER and WRYNECK. The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 23rd.

_____

 

Destroyer KINGSTON departed Port Sudan escorting steamer RATNAGIRI with 300 French troops for Mersa Taclai, arriving on the 22nd.

_____

 

Convoy HX.116 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser AUSONIA. Battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN was with the convoy from 23 to 31 March. The armed merchant cruiser was detached on 4 April. On 4 April, destroyers AMBUSCADE, BULLDOG, and VANQUISHER and corvettes CAMPANULA, FREESIA, HEARTSEASE, and PIMPERNEL, and anti-submarine trawler ST APOLLO joined. Destroyer WINCHELSEA joined on 5 April and destroyer WHITEHALL and corvette ORCHIS joined on 6 April. Corvette ORCHIS was detached on 7 April. The escort was detached when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 9 April.

 

 

Saturday, 22 March

 

German battlecruisers GNEISENAU and SCHARNHORST were met at sea by torpedo boats ILTIS and JAGUAR on the 22nd. They arrived in Brest after sinking 22 ships of 115,662grt in the North and Central Atlantic.

_____

 

Destroyer BELMONT, which departed Liverpool on the 21st, was damaged in a collision with an unknown steamer fifteen miles northwest of Chicken Rock, the Isle of Man.

 

The destroyer was repaired at Liverpool completing on 24 July.

_____

 

During the night of 22/23 March, destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, and IMPULSIVE, escorted by destroyers FERNIE, TYNEDALE, and CLEVELAND, laid minefield GN in the English Channel.

_____

 

British tanker AGNITA (3552grt) was sunk by German raider KORMORAN at 2-30N, 25-00W.

 

The entire crew was taken prisoner.

_____

 

British steamer ST FINTAN (495grt) was sunk by German bombing seven miles north, northwest of Smalls.

 

The crew of nine were all lost.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer INGER (1418grt) was damaged by German bombing ten miles south of Smalls.

 

The steamer arrived at Plymouth on the 23rd.

_____

 

British steamer DASHWOOD (2154grt) was damaged by German bombing in Barrow Deep.

_____

 

Destroyers KELLY, KIPLING, KASHMIR, and JACKAL, en route from Londonderry to Gibraltar, to escort damaged battleship MALAYA, were ordered to the area of Brest in an attempt to intercept the German battlecruisers.

 

No contact was made and the destroyers returned to Plymouth.

_____

 

Convoy AN.22 of eight British and one Greek ship departed Alexandria escorted by destroyer VENDETTA and sloop GRIMSBY.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY and destroyer HEREWARD joined the escort on the 24th. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 25th.

_____

 

Destroyers FEARLESS, FORESTER, VELOX, and WRESTLER departed Gibraltar to escort aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and battlecruiser RENOWN to Gibraltar, where they arrived on the 24th.

_____

 

Italian battleship VENETO was transferred from Spezia to Naples.

_____

 

Submarine RORQUAL arrived at Malta to embark mines for an operation northwest of Sicily.

 

The submarine departed Malta that evening on the operation.

_____

 

Tug CHABOOL (58grt) departed Aden on the 15th for Berbera, but never arrived.

 

The tug was presumed to be sunk.

 

 

Sunday, 23 March

 

Battleship NELSON, light cruiser NIGERIA, and destroyers BOADICEA, ACTIVE, and ESCAPADE arrived at Scapa Flow at 0100.

 

Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH and destroyers INGLEFIELD, ECHO, ELECTRA, and ESKIMO arrived at Scapa Flow at 0700.

 

Destroyers ARROW and ECLIPSE, which called at Lough Foyle to refuel, arrived at Scapa Flow later at 1145 and 1900, respectively.

_____

 

Light cruiser DIDO arrived at Scapa Flow after repairs and stiffening.

_____

 

Convoy OB.301 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers BURWELL, SARDONYX, SCIMITAR, and WATCHMAN, sloop FLEETWOOD, corvettes ARABIS and MALLOW, and anti-submarine trawler NORTHERN WAVE. The corvettes were detached on the 26th. The escort was detached when the convoy dispersed on the 27th.

_____

 

Destroyer ECHO departed Scapa Flow at 1700 for Rosyth to clean boilers.

 

The destroyer arrived at 0800/24th.

_____

 

Destroyers LIDDESDALE, AVON VALE, and QUANTOCK departed Scapa Flow at 2030 for Rosyth to meet battleship PRINCE OF WALES during her passage to the Pentland Firth for trials and exercises.

_____

 

Minelayer TEVIOTBANK, escorted by patrol sloop KITTIWAKE and French torpedo boat LA MELPOMENE, laid minefield BS.52 off the east coast of England.

_____

 

Light cruiser KENYA joined convoy HG.56 for support.

_____

 

Destroyer RICHMOND, which departed Londonderry on the 23rd for Liverpool, was grounded off Benbena Head at Holyhead.

 

The destroyer received temporary repairs at Holyhead to 28 March. She was then taken to Southampton for repairs completed 28 May.

_____

 

Destroyer LEWES was damaged by the near miss of German bombing.

 

The destroyer spent no time out of service.

_____

 

P/T/Sub Lt (A) P. Mittell RNVR, was killed when his Gladiator of 759 Squadron crashed east of Camelford while returning from gunnery practices.

_____

 

U.110 damaged Norwegian steamer SIREMALM (2468grt) in 60-35N, 28-25W.

_____

 

U.97 sank British tanker CHAMA (8077grt) in 49-35N, 19-13W.

 

The entire crew of the tanker were lost.

_____

 

British trawler ELMIRA (197grt) was sunk by German bombing in 59-55N, 3-40W.

 

Ten crew were lost on the trawler. There was one survivor.

_____

 

Italian steamers CARNIA (5451grt), ANNA CAPANO (1216grt), VESTA (3351grt), and MONSTELLA (5211grt) departed Bari for Durazzo on the 22nd escorted by torpedo boat CASTELFIDARO.

 

Greek submarine TRITON damaged steamer CARNIA in 40-58N, 18-27E, thirty miles northeast of Brindisi in 40-58N, 18-27E.

 

The submarine unsuccessfully attacked ANNA CAPANO.

_____

 

A Fulmar of 806 Squadron from aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, flying into Maleme, crashed on landing. Sub Lt B. Sinclair and Naval Airman J. T. Beach were uninjured.

_____

 

British trawler SAMURAI (221grt) was damaged by German bombing thirty miles north, northwest of St Kilda.

_____

 

New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER captured Vichy French steamer CHARLES L. D. (5267grt) between Mauritius and Madagascar.

 

The steamer was taken to Mauritius.

_____

 

Italian sloop ERITREA and armed merchant cruiser RAMB II arrived at Kobe.

_____

 

Convoy SL.69 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser ARAWA to 14 April, light cruiser MAURITIUS to 5 April, corvettes CLEMATIS and CYCLAMEN to 29 March, and French sloop COMMANDANT DOMINE to 14 April.

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE was with the convoy on 27 to 30 March. Armed merchant cruiser BULOLO was with the convoy on 28 and 29 March.

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE was joined by aircraft carrier FURIOUS and destroyers DUNCAN and FOXHOUND on the 27th.

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH, which departed Gibraltar on 2 April, escorted the convoy from 5 to 14 April.

 

On 14 April, destroyers ROXBOROUGH and SHERWOOD, sloop WESTON, and corvettes CLARKIA and GLADIOLUS joined the convoy. On 15 April, destroyers SALADIN and SALISBURY joined. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 16 April.

 

 

Monday, 24 March

 

The Commander in Chief Home Fleet transferred his flag from battleship NELSON to battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH.

_____

 

Battleship RODNEY departed convoy HX.114 and proceeded to Hvalfjord for refueling.

 

Destroyers COSSACK, ZULU, and MAORI of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla escorted the battleship to Hvalfjord, arriving at 1645/24th.

_____

 

Minelayer ABDIEL, escorted by destroyers KIPLING and KASHMIR, laid minefield GV in the English Channel.

_____

 

Convoy OB.302 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers READING, SABRE, and VENOMOUS, sloop WELLINGTON, corvettes ALISMA, DIANELLA, and KINGCUP, and anti-submarine trawlers LADY ELSA, MAN O.WAR, and NORTHERN DAWN. The convoy dispersed on the 29th.

_____

 

Convoy WS.7 departed the Clyde with steamers DUCHESS OF YORK (20,021grt), VICEROY OF INDIA (19,627grt), ANDES (25,689grt), GEORGIC (27, 759grt), STIRLING CASTLE (25, 550grt), DENBIGHSHIRE (9100grt), JOHN VAN OLDENBARNEVELDT (19,429grt), DEMPO (17,024grt), DUCHESS OF ATHOLL (20,119grt), ORION (23,371grt), STRATHALLAN (23,722grt), OTRANTO (20,026grt), EMPRESS OF CANADA (21,517grt), STRATHEDEN (23, 722grt), PASTEUR (29,253grt), WARWICK CASTLE (20,107grt), STRATHNAVER (22,283grt), STRATHMORE (23,428grt), STRATHAIRD (22,281grt), GLENORCHY (10,000grt), and ORCADES (23,456grt).

 

Steamers STRATHAIRD collided with STIRLING CASTLE and returned to the Clyde.

 

Steamer GEORGIC was detached to Halifax. The convoy was escorted by destroyers WINCHELSEA, VICEROY, ROCKINGHAM, and LEOPARD on 25 and 26 March.

 

Destroyers LEGION and PIORUN escorted the convoy from 24 to 26 March.

 

Destroyer BROADWATER escorted the convoy from 24 to 27 March.

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH and destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, MATABELE, and MASHONA escorted the convoy from 24 March. The destroyers were detached on the 28th and the light cruiser on the 29th.

 

Destroyer ST CLAIR escorted the convoy from 25 to 27 March.

 

Battleship REVENGE escorted the convoy from 24 to 28 March. When detached, she took liner GEORGIC to Halifax.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO was with the convoy for anti-aircraft protection on 25 and 26 March.

 

Battleship NELSON and destroyers ARROW, ECLIPSE, and ESKIMO departed Scapa Flow at 1202 on the 24th to join the convoy south of Oversay Light at noon on the 25th and escort it to Freetown.

 

Battleship NELSON escorted the convoy from 25 March to 4 April.

 

The destroyers were detached at the limit of their endurance on the 27th in 54N, 21W. The destroyers carried out an anti-submarine sweep north and south of Rockall returning to Scapa Flow. Destroyers ARROW and ECLIPSE refueled at Londonderry on the 29th en route to Scapa Flow. The destroyers departed Londonderry at 1100/30th and arrived at Scapa Flow at 0400/31st.

 

Destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, MATABELE, MASHONA, and ESKIMO arrived at Scapa Flow at 1430/31st.

 

On 1 April, destroyers DUNCAN and FOXHOUND joined the convoy and destroyers WISHART and VIDETTE joined the convoy on 2 April. The convoy arrived at Freetown on 4 April with the four destroyers. The convoy departed Freetown on 7 April escorted by battleship NELSON and destroyers FOXHOUND, DUNCAN, VIDETTE, and WISHART.

 

Destroyers FOXHOUND and DUNCAN were detached on 8 April. Destroyers VIDETTE and WISHART were detached on 9 April. Battleship NELSON remained with the convoy until 15 April when she was relieved by light cruiser NEWCASTLE.

 

Steamers DUCHESS OF YORK, STRATHMORE, STRATHEDEN, ORION, DUCHESS OF ATHOLL, ANDES, STRATHALLAN, EMPRESS OF CANADA, ORCADES, PASTEUR, and DEMPO of the convoy arrived at Capetown on 16 April. The Durban section of steamers VICEROY OF INDIA, WARWICK CASTLE, STIRLING CASTLE, JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEDVELDT, DENBIGHSHIRE, STRATHNAVER, OTRANTO, OTRONTES, and GLENORCHY continued escorted by light cruiser NEWCASTLE and they arrived on 19 April.

 

Light cruiser NEWCASTLE proceeded to Simonstown.

 

Steamer DEMPO proceeded to Durban from Capetown independently arriving on 20 April.

 

On 20 April, the other Capetown ships sailed escorted by heavy cruiser HAWKINS. The Durban ships sailed on 23 April escorted by armed merchant cruiser CARTHAGE. The two groups rendezvoused on 24 April and the armed merchant cruiser was detached.

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW and COLOMBO departed Mombasa and relieved heavy cruiser HAWKINS on 28 April in 4-00S, 42-06E.

 

At 5N, 50E, steamers DUCHESS OF YORK, WARWICK CASTLE, STRATHMORE, and JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELDT was detached with light cruiser COLOMBO as WS.7X. They arrived at Bombay on 5 May.

 

Convoy WS.7 was dispersed on 3 May and the ships arrived independently at Suez on 6 May.

_____

 

Destroyer MANSFIELD suffered a complete engine room failure.

 

The destroyer was towed by destroyer SALISBURY to port.

 

The destroyer returned to service in ten days.

_____

 

Anti-submarine yacht WILNA (461grt, T/Lt L. W. Cleverly RNR) was abandoned after damage from German bombing at Portsmouth, 2400 yards 57 from the Nab.

 

There were no casualties.

_____

 

Italian submarine VENIERO sank British steamer AGNETE MAERSK (2104grt), from dispersed convoy OG.56 in 49N, 22-55W.

 

The entire crew was lost from the steamer.

_____

 

U.97 sank Norwegian steamer HORDA (4301grt) in 49N, 23W.

_____

 

U.106 made an attack on a steamer.

 

For some time it was assumed to have been the Brazilian steamer SANTA CLARA (2512grt). This ship made an SOS on the 14th from 30-48N, 68-42W after an explosion. U. S. Coast Guard ship BIBB found some wreckage of the ship, but no survivors. This was not in the area of U.106's attack.

_____

 

U.551 was sunk by anti-submarine trawler VISENDA, operating with the Northern Patrol, south of Iceland in 62-37N, 16-47W.

 

There were no survivors from the crew of forty five from the submarine.

_____

 

Italian steamer NURAGHE (633grt) was lost through lost in a marine accident off Capo Pali, Valona.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and battlecruiser RENOWN departed Gibraltar, escorted by destroyers FORESIGHT, FORTUNE, and FORESTER, to intercept German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU should they attempt to leave Brest.

 

Destroyers FORTUNE and FORESIGHT were detached on the 25th and destroyer FORESTER was detached on the 26th.

 

The aircraft carrier and battlecruiser were joined on the 31st, by destroyers NAPIER, NIZAM, and FORTUNE, which departed Gibraltar on the 29th, and Force H arrived back at Gibraltar on 1 April.

_____

 

Convoy HG.57 departed Gibraltar escorted by sloop ROCHESTER, destroyer WRESTLER, corvettes LA MALOUINE and VERBENA, and Dutch submarine O.23.

 

Destroyer WRESTLER was detached on the 27th to join destroyer VELOX to escort light cruiser SHEFFIELD, destroyers NAPIER and NIZAM, aircraft carrier ARGUS, submarine depot ship MAIDSTONE, and troopship HIGHLAND MONARCH en route to Gibraltar.

 

Captured French ships CHANTILLY, OCTANE, and CANTAL were in this convoy. Also in the convoy was troopship EMPIRE TROOPER, which was ordered to return to Gibraltar because she was carrying too many passengers.

 

The submarine was detached on 3 April.

 

Light cruiser NIGERIA joined the convoy on 3 April and continued with it until 9 April.

 

On 4 April, corvette LA MALOUINE was detached.

 

On 6 April, destroyers BROKE, DOUGLAS, ROXBOROUGH, and SALISBURY, corvette ABELIA, and anti-submarine trawlers ST ELSTAN, ST KENAN, ST ZENO, and VIZALMA joined the escort. These ships were all detached on 9 April. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 11 April escorted by sloop ROCHESTER and VERBENA.

_____

 

Armed boarding vessel ST DAY was in a collision with Spanish steamer GAYARRE (3276grt) in the Straits of Gibraltar.

 

The boarding vessel returned to Gibraltar.

_____

 

Submarine URSULA unsuccessfully attacked a convoy off Cape Bon.

_____

 

Convoy BN.21 departed Aden, escorted by sloop FLAMINGO. Light cruiser CAPETOWN joined on the 25th. Both escorts were detached on the 27th and the convoy arrived at Suez on the 31st.

_____

 

Convoy BS.21 departed Suez, escorted by light cruiser CALEDON. The light cruiser was detached when light cruiser CAPETOWN and sloop FLAMINGO joined on the 29th. Light cruiser CAPETOWN was detached on the 30th and sloop SHOREHAM joined. Sloop HINDUSTAN joined on the 31st. The convoy was dispersed on 1 April.

_____

 

Sloop SHOREHAM intercepted German steamer ODER (8516grt) which had departed Massawa on the 23rd.

 

The steamer scuttled herself in the Red Sea.

 

Italian steamer INDIA (6366grt), which departed Massawa at the same time, arrived at Assab.

 

 

Tuesday, 25 March

 

Battleship PRINCE OF WALES, escorted by destroyers QUANTOCK, LIDDESDALE, and AVON VALE arrived at Scapa Flow to work up.

_____

 

Light cruisers GALATEA and AURORA departed Scapa Flow at 0859 to cover the laying of minefield SN.4.

_____

 

Destroyer MENDIP departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth on completion of working up exercises.

_____

 

Dutch light cruiser HEEMSKERK departed Scapa Flow after working up for Greenock.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruiser CIRCASSIA departed the Clyde carrying troops to Iceland, escorted by destroyer ANTHONY.

 

The destroyer arrived at Loch Alsh at 1830/25th.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1100 and met convoy WN.3 in Pentland Firth. The convoy was escorted to Buchan Ness where the ship transferred to convoy EN.91 at 2130.

 

The ship transferred to convoy WN.4 in Pentland Firth at 1030 and provided cover until dark. Ship CURACOA arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1200/27th.

_____

 

British steamer ROSSMORE (627grt) was sunk by German bombing twelve miles northeast of Godrevy Island.

 

Six crew were lost on the steamer.

_____

 

British steamer BEAVERBRAE (9956grt) was sunk by German bombing 60-12N, 09-00W.

 

The entire crew of eighty six men were rescued by destroyers TARTAR and GURKHA.

 

Returning to Scapa Flow, destroyer GURKHA was involved in a collision with an unknown wooden drifter in Pentland Firth.

 

 

 

The drifter sank with no survivors. The destroyer's bow was badly damaged.

 

Destroyers TARTAR and GURKHA arrived at Scapa Flow at 0945/26th.

 

Destroyer GURKHA departed Scapa Flow for repairs at Rosyth at 1530/29th.

_____

 

British fishing vessel ALASKAN (21grt) was sunk by a mine in 54-49N, 1-07W.

 

The crew of five were rescued.

_____

 

British steamer BRITANNIA (8799grt) was sunk by German raider THOR in 7-24N, 24-03W.

 

122 crew and 127 passengers of 203 crew and 281 passengers were missing on the steamer. Spanish steamer BACHI (3091grt) rescued fifty one survivors, Spanish steamer CABO DE HORNOS (12,599grt) rescued seventy seven survivors, and British RARANGA (7956grt) rescued sixty seven survivors. Thirty three survivors reached Brazil in a lifeboat after twenty three days.

 

The steamer departed Liverpool on the 11th, carrying a large draft of officers and ratings en route to the Mediterranean Fleet.

 

Surgeon Lt I. Mc N. A. Drysdale, MB ChB, en route to Fleet Air Arm base PHOENIX, T/Sub Lt J. R. Bebbington RNVR, en route to heavy cruiser YORK, Gunner T. G. Cartwright, en route to heavy cruiser SHROPSHIRE in the Indian Ocean, T/Electrician Lt K. McI. Dwyer RNVR, en route to destroyer depot ship WOOLWICH, T/Lt D. W. Gibbon RNR, en route to submarine depot ship MEDWAY, T/Lt P. H. C. Hardy RNVR, of EXCELLENT, P/T/Sub Lt K. G. Harman, en route to ST ANGELO, died of wounds on 7 April, P/T/Sub Lt (E) K. J. Kemp RNVR, en route to light cruiser GLOUCESTER, P/T/Lt F. M. Lyons RNR, en route to supply ship BRECONSHIRE, T/Lt W. R. Sobey RNVR, en route to base ship NILE, T/Lt (Sp) A. H. Stableford RNVR, of EXCELLENT, P/T/Lt D. S. Wilkinson RNVR, en route to base ship NILE, Lt Cdr R. R. Wood, en route to Fleet Air Arm base GREBE, P/T/Surgeon Lt H. Marks RNVR, en route to light cruiser LIVERPOOL, T/A/Sub Lt (A) S. R. S. N. Gosling RNVR, en route to Fleet Air Arm base GREBE, Lt Cdr M. E. Welby, en route to base ship NILE, Lt S. L. J. Bailey, RCNVR, en route to Fleet Air Arm base GREBE, A/Gunner (T) C. F. Hallas, en route to destroyer GRIFFIN, and T/A/Gunner G. E. D. Marriott, en route to base ship CANOPUS, were lost.

 

Boatswain D. G. Brown, en route to battleship BARHAM, Paymaster Sub Lt H. D. Burge RNVR, en route to battleship WARSPITE, Lt (E) A. Davidson (ret), of DRAKE, Paymaster Lt J. P. Joisce RNVR, of base ship ST VINCENT, Boatswain E. O. Keill, en route to repair ship RESOURCE, Sub Lt J. R. Hume RNVR, en route to light cruiser GLOUCESTER, Sub Lt (A) J. H. Leach RNVR, en route to Fleet Air Arm base GREBE, Lt A. H. Rowlandson, of VICTORY, A/Sub Lt A. D. T. Sangster, en route to battleship WARSPITE, Lt R. J. Tadhunter, en route to sloop BRIDGEWATER in the South Atlantic, Cdr S. H. Spurgeon, of VICTORY, Lt E. H. Thatcher RNVR, en route to battleship BARHAM, A/Gunner T. Alfred, en route to base ship NILE, Sub Lt (A) T. H. Blank RNVR, en route to Fleet Air Arm base GREBE, A/Sub Lt I. S. McIntosh, en route to submarine depot ship MEDWAY, P/Sub Lt A. L. Soan RNVR, en route to base ship ST ANGELO, P/Sub Lt (Sp) F. L. West RNVR, en route to Fleet Air Arm base GREBE, Gunner (T) E. G. Westgarth, en route to battleship VALIANT, and Warrant Shipfitter W. F. M. Davies, en route to battleship VALIANT were rescued and interned at Tenerife. These personnel, and others totaling forty nine men, were released at the end of July 1941.

 

McIntosh and West received MBE's for their conduct in the loss of the ship. Rowlandson, Spurgeon, and Tadhunter received commendations.

_____

 

Swedish steamer TROLLEHOLM (5047grt) was sunk by German raider THOR in the South Atlantic.

 

The crew was saved and interned.

_____

 

Dutch steamer ESCAUT (347grt) was damaged by German bombing twenty four miles southwest of Hartland Point.

 

The steamer was abandoned and drove ashore near Bude. She was refloated and taken to Appledore on 7 September.

_____

 

British steamer CANADOLITE (11,309grt) was captured by German raider KORMORAN in 3-20N, 23-48W.

_____

 

Submarine RORQUAL laid mines off Palermo.

 

Italian tanker VERDE (2423grt) and steamer HELENA (479grt) from the same convoy were sunk in this minefield on the 26th.

 

Italian steamer TICINO (1470grt) was sunk in 38-06N, 12-31E north of Trapani in a torpedo attack by RORQUAL also on the 26th.

 

Italian torpedo boat CHINOTTO was sunk on this minefield off Palermo on the 28th.

_____

 

Convoy AG.8 of supply ship BRECONSHIRE and British steamer CAMERONIA (16,297grt) departed Alexandria escorted by destroyers JUNO, JAGUAR, and DEFENDER.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE accompanied this convoy. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 27th.

_____

 

Convoy AS.22 departed Piraeus with seven British ships and two Greek ships escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY, destroyers DECOY and WATERHEN, and corvette HYACINTH.

 

Destroyers DECOY and WATERHEN were detached from the escort on the 27th. The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 28th.

_____

 

Submarine ROVER departed Alexandria to patrol off Burat el Sun, Tripoli.

_____

 

British troopship WAIMARAMA (11,092grt) ran aground en route from Port Said to Alexandria.

 

Tugs ST ISSEY and ROYSTERER were able to refloat the steamer. However, two to three months repair were require before the steamer was operational again.

_____

 

British gunboat APHIS and anti-submarine whaler SOUTHERN SEA departed Alexandria for the Inshore Squadron escorting cable ship RECORDER to Tobruk.

_____

 

Late on the 25th, Italian destroyers CRISPI and SELLA brought explosive motor boats from Leros to Suda Bay for an attack on Heavy cruiser YORK which arrived at Suda Bay after duty covering convoy MW.6.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer HAV (5062grt) departed Piraeus on the 25th and arrived at Alexandria on the 28th.

 

On the voyage, the steamer was damaged by German bombing.

 

 

Wednesday, 26 March

 

Destroyer NESTOR departed Scapa Flow and destroyer ANTHONY departed Loch Alsh to meet armed merchant cruiser CIRCASSIA at 1500 nineteen miles west of Cape Wrath and escorted her to Reykjavik.

 

At 1920/28th, the destroyers departed Reykjavik to join convoy HX.115 and act as an anti-submarine force until its arrival off the North Minch.

_____

 

Destroyer MENDIP departed Scapa Flow at 1100 to meet steamer AMSTERDAM off the entrance to Aberdeen.

 

Owing to bad weather, the escort was cancelled and destroyer MENDIP returned to Scapa Flow, arriving at 0900/27th.

_____

 

German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER broke through the Denmark Strait during the night of 26/27 March.

 

The cruiser evaded light cruisers FIJI and NIGERIA on patrol there and arrived in the area of Bergen on the 30th.

 

Heavy cruiser SCHEER anchored at Grimstadfjord on the 30th and spent the day there before continuing on to Germany.

 

On 28 March, Battlecruiser HOOD and destroyers TARTAR, ELECTRA, and ESCAPADE departed Scapa Flow at 0600 to relieve Force H on the HG/OG convoy route. Light cruisers FIJI and NIGERIA joined this force at sea before dark on the 28th. The destroyers were to proceed to the limit of their endurance, then proceed to Londonderry for refueling.

 

Destroyers ELECTRA, ESCAPADE, and TARTAR arrived at Londonderry to refuel on 2 April. At 1830, they sailed to rejoin the battlecruiser. The destroyers rejoined at 0800 on 4 April in 52-30N, 22W to escort the battlecruiser to Scapa Flow, where they arrived at 0800 on 6 April.

 

On 29 March, Battleship KING GEORGE V was approaching Bailey Bank on her return to Scapa Flow after leaving convoy HX.115. She rendezvoused with destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, and ZULU, which departed Reykjavik at 2100/28th, in 61N, 25W at 0730/29th.

 

Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH and destroyers INGLEFIELD and ACTIVE were brought to one hour's notice to steam at Scapa Flow at 0100.

 

Light cruisers GALATEA, ARETHUSA, AURORA, and DIDO departed Scapa Flow at 0358 for position 64-00N, 1-00W east of Iceland-Faroes minefield.

 

At noon on the 30th, battleship KING GEORGE V and light cruisers DIDO and AURORA were ordered to return to Scapa Flow.

 

Battleship KING GEORGE V and destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, and ZULU arrived at Scapa Flow at 1500/31st.

 

Light cruisers GALATEA and ARETHUSA patrolled the northern part of the trawler line in the Iceland Faroes Passage from 31 March. They returned to Scapa Flow on 4 April.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser EXETER arrived at Scapa Flow to work up prior to proceeding overseas.

_____

 

The 1st Minelaying Squadron of minelayers SOUTHERN PRINCE, AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS, and PORT QUEBEC, escorted by destroyers CHARLESTOWN, LANCASTER, ST MARYS, and CHARLESTOWN departed Loch Alsh to lay minefield SN.4.

 

Light cruisers GALATEA and AURORA departed Scapa Flow on the 25th to cover the operation.

 

En route to the minelay, minelayer force was attacked by German bombing. Minelayer MENESTHEUS was hit by two bombs and damaged further by a near miss. She was repaired in the Clyde.

 

The minefield was laid.

 

Returning from the minelay, escorting destroyer CASTLETON was in a collision with minelayer AGAMEMNON.

 

The destroyer was repaired in the Clyde from 2 April to 1 June.

 

The ships all arrived back on the 27th. Light cruisers GALATEA and AURORA arrived at Scapa Float at 0649.

_____

 

Canadian armed yacht OTTER (Lt D. S. Mossman, RCNR) was sunk by an accidental fire off Halifax Lighthouse.

 

Lt A. M. Walker, RCNVR, Chief Skipper A. F. Parker, and seventeen ratings were lost on the yacht. Submarine TALISMAN picked up four survivors. Eighteen more survivors were picked up by Polish steamer WISLA (3106grt).

_____

Cable ship FARADAY (5533grt) was badly damaged by German bombing three miles 38 from St Anne's Head.

 

Eight crew were lost on the ship.

 

The ship sank on the 27th in West Dale Bay. Nearly all her cargo of cable was salved.

_____

 

British steamer SOMALI (6809grt) was badly damaged by German bombing off Blyth.

 

One crewman was lost on the steamer.

 

The steamer sank on the 27th one mile east of Snoop Head, Sutherland.

_____

 

British steamer EMPIRE MERMAID (6381grt) was badly damaged by German bombing in 58-36N, 10-00W.

 

Twenty crew and two displaced seamen were lost on the steamer. Destroyer ACHATES rescued nineteen survivors.

 

The steamer sank on the 28th in 57-33N, 12-43W.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer NOLL (1151grt) was damaged by German bombing eight miles west of Lundy Island.

 

The steamer was beached at Lundy Island. Refloated and taken to Swansea arriving on the 29th, escorted by a tug.

_____

 

British trawler MILLIMUMUL (287grt) was sunk on a mine in 33-34N, 151-56E near Newcastle, New South Wales.

 

Seven crew were missing.

_____

 

Faroes fishing vessel BEINISVOR (85grt) was sunk by German bombing in 61-40N, 4-37W.

 

The crew was landed at Thorshavn.

_____

 

Finnish steamer CAROLINA THORDEN (3645grt) was badly damaged by German bombing at entrance to Thorshavn Bay.

 

One passenger was missing. Eight passengers were taken aboard Swedish steamer VENEZUELA (6991grt) which was later sunk with no survivors.

 

The steamer was grounded in 60-11N, 7-00W. She was later refloated, towed to Kirkwall, and later the Tyne. She was ultimately used as a blockship at Scapa Flow.

_____

 

British trawler KINGSWAY (211grt) was damaged by German bombing ten miles east of Bell Rock.

_____

 

British steamer THE LADY BELLE (331grt) was damaged by German bombing ten miles south of Grassholm Island.

_____

 

British steamer BRIER ROSE (503grt) was lost to unknown cause in the Irish Sea.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser YORK was badly damaged by Italian explosive boats at 0515 in Suda Bay.

 

Both engine rooms and boiler rooms were flooded. The cruiser was grounded in four and a half fathoms.

 

Two ratings in B boiler room were killed and one officer and four ratings were injured.

 

At the time of the attack, other ships in Suda Bay were Light cruiser GLOUCESTER, anti-aircraft ship CALCUTTA, destroyer HASTY, tankers CHERRYLEAF (5934grt), DESMOULEA (8120grt), MARIE MAERSK (8271grt), PERICLES (8324grt), and DOUMANA, and several small Greek cargo ships.

 

Norwegian tanker PERICLES, alongside YORK, was also damaged in the attack.

 

Six Italian crew were picked up in the harbour.

 

Destroyers ILEX and HASTY hunted off Suda Bay for the submarine.

 

Most of the oil was salved from PERICLES. However, returning to Alexandria, the tanker broke in two as a result of the damage in heavy weather on 14 April. Both halves were sunk by gunfire thirty miles northwest of Alexandria.

_____

 

British steamer BALUCHISTAN (6992grt) was damaged by German bombing in the Eastern Mediterranean.

_____

 

British steamer ADIGE (1006grt), formerly Italian, was damaged by bombing at Malta.

 

The steamer was beached in Malzara Creek and later repaired.

_____

 

Italian battleship VENETO departed Naples with destroyers GRANATIERE, FUCILIERE, BERSAGLIERE, and ALPINO of the 13th Destroyer Division.

 

Italian heavy cruisers ZARA, FIUME, and POLA of the 1st Cruiser Division departed Taranto escorted by destroyers GIOBERTI, ALFIERI, ORIANI, and CARDUCCI of the 9th Destroyer Division.

 

Italian light cruisers ABRUZZI and GARIBALDI of the 8th Cruiser Division departed Brindisi escorted by destroyers DA RECCO and PESSAGNO of the 16th Destroyer Division.

_____

 

Convoy AG.9 of one British, three Greek, and two other ships departed Alexandria for Piraeus escorted by Greek destroyer VASILEVS GEORGIOS I, Australian destroyers VOYAGER, VAMPIRE, and WRYNECK.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA joined the convoy on the 28th.

 

Light cruisers ORION, PERTH, AJAX, and GLOUCESTER refueled in turn at Piraeus on the 26th.

 

The cruisers and departed Piraeus to support convoys AG.8 and AG.9 on the 27th.

 

Convoy AG.9 was ordered on the 27th to reverse course for twelve hours to take it clear of the Italian units. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on the 29th.

_____

 

British oiler CAIRNDALE departed Gibraltar escorted by corvettes FLEUR DE LYS and COREOPSIS for operation PEDESTAL, the refueling British ships in 32-30N, 32-30W.

 

Ocean boarding vessel REGISTAN accompanied this group en route to her Western Patrol station.

 

Submarine PANDORA departed Gibraltar on the 29th to join the oiler and act as an anti raider escort.

 

Operation PEDESTAL was cancelled on 11 April and oiler CAIRNDALE and submarine PANDORA returned to Gibraltar, arriving on 17 April.

_____

 

Destroyer VELOX departed Gibraltar to join destroyer WRESTLER to escort light cruiser SHEFFIELD, destroyers NAPIER and NIZAM, aircraft carrier ARGUS, submarine depot ship MAIDSTONE, and troopship HIGHLAND MONARCH to Gibraltar.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE arrived at Capetown.

_____

 

Minelayer KUNG WO laid mines lines of a minefield off Singapore.

 

 

Thursday, 27 March

 

Light cruisers NIGERIA and FIJI departed Scapa Flow at 1644 for Iceland Faroes passage duty.

 

The cruisers were diverted on the 28th to join battlecruiser HOOD.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship POZARICA arrived at Scapa Flow to operate under the orders of Rear Admiral Destroyers, Home Fleet.

_____

 

Submarine TRIBUNE departed Halifax escorting convoy HX.117.

 

The submarine returned to Halifax after this duty on 15 April with engine defects.

_____

 

P/T/Sub Lt (A) O. F. Wheatley RNVR, and P/T/Sub Lt (A) R. B. Hodgetts RNVR, of 807 Squadron from aircraft carrier FURIOUS were taken prisoners by the French when they landed at Dakar after a reconnaissance flight.

_____

 

Sub Lt P. J. Hoad, in a Whitley of RAF 78 Squadron from Dishforth, was killed when his aircraft was shot down over the River Schelde.

_____

 

British A/Leading Airman G. J. B. Kendall was killed when his Battle of 1 SFTS Netheravon crashed in fog at Shrewton RLG. Petty Officer H. J. Craig was also killed in the crash.

_____

 

British depot ship ALECTO of the 7th Submarine Flotilla was damaged by the direct hit of a German bomb at the entrance to the English Channel.

_____

 

U.98 sank British steamer KORANTON (6695grt) in 59N, 27W.

_____

 

British tanker CANADOLITE (11,309grt) was taken in prize by a German raider in 5N, 33W.

_____

 

British steamer MEG MERRILIES (642grt) was badly damaged by German bombing one mile south of St Govan's Light Vessel.

 

There were no casualties on the steamer.

 

The ship was taken in tow. After the tow parted on the 27th, the vessel was abandoned and sank.

_____

 

British trawler KINCLAVEN (178grt) was sunk to an unknown cause off the Faroes.

_____

 

British salvage vessel PALMSTONE (430grt) was damaged by German bombing two miles southeast of St Govan's Light Vessel.

 

The vessel was beached at Milford Haven. She was later towed off and docked at Pembroke.

_____

 

British trawler FORT DEE (212grt) was damaged by German bombing in 61-31N, 5-04W.

_____

 

Dutch steamer ALIOTH (5483grt) was damaged by mining in 53-36N, 0-24E.

 

The steamer returned to Hull.

_____

 

Dutch steamer OUD BEIJERLAND (396grt) was damaged by German bombing three miles south of St Govan.

 

The steamer arrived Milford Dock on the 31st.

_____

 

Convoy OG.57 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyers CALDWELL, VALOROUS, VOLUNTEER, WALKER, WOLSEY, and WOOLSTON, sloop ABERDEEN, corvettes BLUEBELL, HYDRANGEA, and TULIP, and anti-submarine trawler LADY HOGARTH.

 

All, except sloop ABERDEEN and trawler LADY HOGARTH, were detached on 1 April.

 

Dutch submarine O.23 joined the convoy on 3 April.

 

On 11 April, the convoy arrived at Gibraltar with sloop ABERDEEN, trawler LADY HOGARTH, and submarine O.23.

_____

 

Italian battleship VENETO with her destroyers crossed the Straits of Messina and was joined by heavy cruisers TRIESTE, TRENTO, and BOLZANO of the 3rd Cruiser Division escorted by destroyers CORAZZIERE, CARABINIERE, and ASCARI of the 12th Destroyer Division.

 

At 1000, the 1st Cruiser Division and escorts joined the VENETO force.

 

At 1100, the 8th Cruiser Division and escorts joined the VENETO force.

 

The VENETO force, under the overall command of Admiral Iachino, was to sail in company until about 2000 which would bring them to the longitude of Crete. The 1st and 8th Cruiser Divisions, designated Force Z under Admiral Cattaneo, would go into the Aegean to the longitude of the eastern most end of Crete arriving about 0800/28th. Then Force Z would return to the VENETO arriving bout 1500 about ninety miles southwest of Navarino.

 

Battleship VENETO and the 3rd Cruiser Division were to go to a point twenty miles west of Gavdos and if no contact was made by 0800/28th to turn back on the course.

 

At 1220, Italian heavy cruiser TRIESTE sighted a British Sunderland seaplane which sighted and reported Sansonetti's 3rd Cruiser Division.

 

The 1st and 8th Cruiser Divisions proceeded towards the Aegean at 1900 and the battleship VENETO and the 3rd Cruiser Division set off towards Gavdos. However, at 2200, the Supermarina ordered the 1st and 8th Cruiser Divisions to rejoin the VENETO force and go no further.

 

The British Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria in response to the Sutherland sighted of the Italian 3rd Cruiser Division. Cunningham departed Alexandria at 1900 with battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, and BARHAM, aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, MOHAWK, NUBIAN, GREYHOUND, and GRIFFIN of the 14th Destroyer Flotilla and destroyers STUART, HAVOCK, and HOTSPUR of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

Pridham Wipple was at sea in the Aegean covering convoys AG.8 with light cruisers GLOUCESTER, AJAX, ORION, and PERTH and destroyers HEREWARD and VENDETTA. The force was joined by destroyers ILEX and HASTY of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla at 0630/28th.

 

The cruisers and destroyer VENDETTA were ordered to patrol Kithera Channel.

 

 

Destroyers JUNO, JAGUAR, and DEFENDER departed Piraeus as Force D.to patrol the Kithera Straits from dawn on the 28th.

 

On 29 March, the Kithera Straits patrol was ceased. Destroyers JUNO and JAGUAR joined the Battle Force. Destroyer DEFENDER was detached to Suda Bay for escort duties.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE had very little ammunition, but she did possess radar. The cruiser and destroyers DECOY and WATERHEN departed Alexandria on the 28th to join the Battle Force.

 

Anti-aircraft ship CARLISLE was at Suda Bay.

 

Submarines ROVER and TRIUMPH were on patrol in the Aegean.

_____

 

Convoy HX.117 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser RAJPUTANA, destroyers ST CROIX, corvette COLLINGWOOD and submarine TRIBUNE. The destroyer and the corvette were detached on the 29th. The submarine was detached on 6 April. Destroyer NIAGARA joined on 9 April and was detached later that day. On 10 April, destroyers ACHATES, BOADICEA, COLUMBIA, MONTGOMERY, ST CLAIR, ST FRANCIS, WANDERER and corvettes MARIGOLD and TRILLIUM. Destroyers ACHATES, BOADICEA, and ST FRANCIS were detached on 14 April. The remainder of the escort was detached when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 15 April.

 

 

Friday, 28 March

 

Destroyer BOADICEA departed Scapa Flow at 0800 for Greenock to join the Western Approaches.

 

The destroyer arrived at 0700/29th.

_____

 

Destroyer LIDDESDALE departed Scapa Flow at 1800 to meet steamer AMSTERDAM at 0200 off Aberdeen.

 

The steamer was escorted to Lerwick, where they arrived at 1330/29th. The destroyer stood by to escort the steamer on its return to Aberdeen.

 

The two ships departed at 2200 for Aberdeen. The ships parted company off Aberdeen at 1000/30th and destroyer LIDDESDALE arrived back at Scapa Flow at 1600.

_____

 

Convoy OB.303 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers AMBUSCADE, BULLDOG, OURAGAN, VANQUISHER, and VETERAN, corvettes AMARANTHUS, CAMPANULA, FREESIA, HEARTSEASE, and PIMPERNEL, and anti-submarine trawlers NOTTS COUNTY and ST APOLLO. Corvettes PIMPERNEL was detached later that day and destroyer OURAGAN on the 30th. Destroyer RESTIGOUCHE joined the escort on 1 April for the day. Destroyers AMBUSCADE and VANQUISHER were detached on 2 April. The escort was detached on 3 April when the convoy was dispersed.

_____

 

British flying boat depot ship MANELA departed Greenock at 0919, escorted by Canadian destroyer RESTIGOUCHE, for Sullom Voe.

 

Dutch cruiser HEEMSKERK departed Greenock at 1000 and joined the escort.

 

Destroyer AVON VALE departed Scapa Flow at 0900/30th to join depot ship MANELA fifteen miles west of Cape Wrath at 1400. The destroyer provided escort to Sullom Voe.

 

Destroyer AVON VALE had completed her working up and was transferred to the Western Approaches.

 

Destroyers ECHO and ACTIVE departed Scapa Flow at 2100/31st for Sullom Voe, where they arrived at 0700 on 1 April.

 

The destroyers departed at 1600 with depot ship MANELA, Dutch cruiser HEEMSKERK, and Canadian destroyer RESTIGOUCHE for Hvalfjord.

 

On arrival at Hvalfjord at 0800 on 5 April, the Destroyers came under the direction of Flag Officer Iceland to escort cruisers in and out of Hvalfjord.

 

Destroyer RESTIGOUCHE returned to Greenock after the escort duty.

_____

 

Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, and IMPULSIVE, escorted by destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KELVIN, and JACKAL, laid minefield GX in the English Channel.

_____

 

Submarine CACHALOT, which departed the Clyde on the 21st, laid mines off Bayonne in minefield FD 32.

_____

 

Norwegian submarine B.1 was damaged in a collision with anti-submarine trawler LADY ELSA (518grt) near Campbeltown.

_____

 

To man escort ships transferred from the United States, battleship RESOLUTION at Portsmouth was ordered to provide 15 officers and 34 ratings and battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH at Scapa Flow 27 officers and 26 ratings.

 

In addition, battleship MALAYA, under repair at New York, provided officers and ratings to man these ships.

_____

 

British steamer OLIVINE (929grt) was lost to unknown cause in the Irish Sea or Bristol Channel.

_____

 

British trawler KESTREL (75grt) was near missed by German bombing north of North Lundy Light.

 

The vessel was beached on Lundy Island on the 29th. Heavy weather pounded the ship and she became a total loss.

_____

 

British steamer STAFFORDSHIRE (10,683grt) was damaged by German bombing in 59-30N, 10-18W.

 

Fourteen crew and fourteen passengers were lost.

 

The steamer was beached at Loch Ewe on the 29th. On 23 April, the steamer sailed for the Tyne.

_____

 

Dutch steamer ANTWERPEN (364grt) was sunk by German bombing in 51-16N, 4-21W.

 

Three of the crew were lost.

_____

 

Light cruiser GLOUCESTER experienced engine room problems prior to the battle, but they were corrected before Pridham Wipple engaged Iachino.

 

Australian destroyer VENDETTA had an engine room breakdown and was ordered to Alexandria.

 

Three Albacores and two Swordfish of 829 Squadron were launched from aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE for an afternoon strike on the Italian force.

 

Lt Cdr J. Dalyell-Stead, Lt R. H. Cooke DSC, and Petty Officer Airman G. L. Blenkhorn of 829 Squadron were lost during an afternoon strike on the Italian battleship VITTORIO VENETO.

 

The battleship was hit, but was able to proceed.

 

An Albacore of 829 Squadron ditched southeast of Antikithera Island after the torpedo attack. Destroyer JUNO rescued Sub Lt G. P. C. Williams, Sub Lt G. L. Davis, and Leading Airman Booth.

 

Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE launched six Albacores of 826 Squadron and two Swordfish of 829 Squadron. Two Swordfish of the 815 Squadron joined from Maleme. The aircraft torpedoed that evening heavy cruiser POLA.

 

The heavy cruiser was left dead in the water.

 

Returning to Maleme, one of the Swordfish of 815 Squadron force landed in Suda Bay and its crew of Lt M. A. Torrens-Spence and Sub Lt P. Winter were rescued.

 

Battleship VENETO and heavy cruisers TRIESTE, TRENTO, and BOLZANO proceeded to Taranto.

 

Heavy cruisers ZARA and FIUME with destroyers GIOBERTI, ALFIERI, ORIANI, and CARDUCCI were ordered to assist heavy cruiser POLA.

 

Shadowing the Italian Fleet, a Swordfish of 826 Squadron from FORMIDABLE failed to find Maleme on its return and forced landed in Suda Bay. Its crew of Sub Lt D. W. Phillips, Sub Lt G. Dormand, and Leading Airman A. Japp were picked up by trawler MOONSTONE.

 

The POLA group is detected by British radar. The group is attacked and all three heavy cruisers and destroyers ALFIERI and CARDUCCI are sunk by British gunfire. Destroyer ORIANI is damaged. Only destroyer GIOBERTI escaped damage.

 

Three thousand men, including Admiral Cattaneo, were lost.

 

Seven Greek destroyers (QUEEN OLGA, HYDRA, PSARA, KONDOURIOTIS, AETOS, IERAX, LEON, and PANTHER_____*two of these destroyers did not participate as they arrived in Alexandria on the 23rd on escort duties) proceeded through the Corinth Canal to await orders to join Cunningham. The order was never sent the they spent the battle cruising between Cephalania and Zante.

 

Due to an error in deciphering, the Greek message stating they were awaiting "orders" was read as awaiting "oilers. "

 

Fifty five officers and 850 men are rescued by destroyers and the Greek destroyers.

 

Italian hospital ship GRADISCA rescued 13 officers and 147 men later.

_____

 

Convoy AN.23 of six Greek and seven British departed Alexandria escorted by destroyer HERO and corvette SALVIA.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY joined convoy AN.23.

 

Destroyer DECOY joined the convoy on the 29th. The convoy arrived at Piraeus on 1 April.

_____

 

A convoy of steamers ADANA (4205grt), SAMOS (2576grt), RUHR (5954grt), GALILEA (8040grt), and HERAKLEA (1927grt) departed Naples escorted by destroyers FOLGORE, DARDO, and STRALE for Tripoli.

 

Submarine UTMOST off Kerkenah sank German steamer HERAKLEA and damaged German steamer RUHR twenty two miles south east of Kuriat.

 

Steamer RUHR returned to Trapani with destroyer DARDO and assisted by torpedo boats CIRCE, SAGITTARIO, and ALCIONE and two MAS boats while the rest of the convoy proceeded to Tripoli, arriving on the 30th, with steamer GALILEA, which was straggling.

 

Submarine UPRIGHT torpedoed and severely damaged steamer GALILEA on the 31st in 33-38N, 12-40E. The convoy departed Tripoli to return on 2 April with steamers ANKARA (4768grt), KYBFELS (7764grt), MARBURG (7564grt), and REICHENFELS (7744grt), and GALILEA (8040grt), escorted by destroyers VIVALDI, DA NOLI, and MALOCELLO.

 

The convoy arrived at Naples on 4 April.

_____

 

Rear Admiral G. W. Hallifax, GMC?? (ret), Director of the Seaward Defense Force, was killed in an air crash at Capetown.

 

 

Saturday, 29 March

 

Minelayer ABDIEL, escorted by destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KELVIN, and JACKAL, laid mines in minefield GY in the English Channel.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow at 1130 to meet convoy WN.5 in the Pentland Firth. She provided cover to this convoy until meeting convoy EN.93 off Buchan Ness at 2300, continuing with it until Pentland Firth.

 

Ship CURACOA arrived at Scapa Flow at 1430/30th.

_____

 

British barge EMMA (81grt) was lost and steamer GRENAA (1262grt) was damaged on mines at Rotherhithe.

 

There were no casualties on the barge.

 

The stern was blown off the barge. She was grounded and considered not repairable.

 

On steamer GRENAA, four crew were killed and three crew missing from a nineteen man crew.

 

Steamer GRENAA was temporarily repaired on the beach at North Woolwich. She was later drydocked.

_____

 

British tanker OILTRADER (5550grt) was sunk by German bombing 52-34N, 2-01E.

 

The entire crew was rescued.

_____

 

German tanker NORDMARK replenished U.105 and U.106 at sea.

_____

 

U.48 made attacks on convoy HX.115.

 

British steamer GERMANIC (5352grt) was sunk in 61-18N, 22-05W.

 

Five crew were lost on the steamer.

 

Belgian steamer LIMBOURG (2483grt) was sunk in 61-18N, 22-05W.

 

There were only two survivors from the Belgian steamer.

 

 

British tanker ATHELPRINCE (8782grt) was attacked, but not damaged.

 

British steamer EASTLEA (4267grt) was sunk in the North Atlantic.

 

British steamer HYLTON (5197grt) was sunk in 60-20N, 18-10W.

 

The entire crew were rescued.

_____

 

U.46 sank Swedish steamer LIGURIA (1751grt) from convoy OB.302 in 60N, 29W.

 

The steamer had sailed in convoy OG.56, but became a straggler. The steamer later joined convoy OB.302.

 

 

Eighteen crew were missing and one died of wounds. Ten survivors from the steamer were rescued and arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

Yugoslavian steamer DUBAC (2880grt) was seized by Italian authorities on the steamer's arrival at Genoa.

_____

 

British trawler KIMBERLEY (190grt) was sunk by German bombing near 62D Boy, twenty two miles southeast of Flamborough Head.

 

The entire crew of the trawler were rescued.

_____

 

British trawler EXETER (165grt) was sunk by German bombing five miles southwest of Ballycotton.

 

The entire crew of the trawler were lost.

_____

 

British trawler HORACE E. NUTTEN (209grt) was lost to a cause unknown in Moray Firth.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer VENI (2982grt) was damaged by German bombing in 59-11N, 10-11W.

 

The steamer was repaired at Grangemouth.

_____

 

Italian battleship VENETO, damaged by a British torpedo plane, arrived at Taranto.

_____

 

Lt C. W. R. Peever and Sub Lt A. C. Wallace RNVR, of 803 Squadron shot down a German Ju.88 near aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE.

 

Wallace's Fulmar was damaged in the encounter and landed in the sea. Wallace and Leading Airman F. P. Dooley were picked up by destroyer HASTY.

_____

 

Light cruiser AJAX and Australian light cruiser PERTH were detached from the Fleet to cover LUSTRE convoys in the Aegean.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser BONAVENTURE and destroyers DECOY and WATERHEN joined the Battle Force.

 

Cruiser BONAVENTURE was detached to convoy GA.8 to arrive at daylight on the 30th.

 

Destroyer DECOY joined convoy AN.23.

 

Destroyer WATERHEN returned to Alexandria.

_____

 

Destroyers STUART, GRIFFIN, and HEREWARD were detached to Piraeus and departed later that day with convoy GA.8 of supply ship BRECONSHIRE and British steamers CAMERONIA (16,287grt). The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 31st.

_____

 

Destroyers DEFENDER and HASTY were sent to Suda Bay to escort damaged MARIE MAERSK (8271grt) and British steamer DUMANA (8427grt) to Piraeus.

_____

 

Light cruiser SHEFFIELD, aircraft carrier ARGUS, submarine depot ship MAIDSTONE, troopship HIGHLAND MONARCH, and destroyers NAPIER, NIZAM, WRESTLER, and VELOX arrived at Gibraltar.

_____

 

Convoy SL.70 departed Freetown escorted by light cruiser DRAGON to 31 March, corvette CALENDULA to 4 April, and anti-submarine trawlers KELT and PICT to 4 April. Armed merchant cruiser BULOLO relieved cruiser DRAGON on the 31st and continued to 19 April.

 

Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM joined on 5 April and escorted to 20 April. Ocean boarding vessel MARSDALE joined on the 19th to 23 April.

 

Destroyers BEAGLE to 23 April, HARVESTER for day only, ST FRANCIS to 23 April, and WINCHELSEA for day only, corvettes HEATHER, HEPATICA, ORCHIS, and WINDFLOWER for the day only joined on 20 April. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 23 April.

_____

 

Light cruiser DANAE arrived at Penang.

_____

 

New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER departed Mauritius.

_____

 

American heavy cruiser VINCENNES arrived Simonstown from Pernambuco, having departed on the 17th. The cruiser departed the next day for New York with a large gold bullion shipment. The cruiser arrived in New York on 16 April.

 

 

Sunday, 30 March

 

Destroyer ECHO arrived at Scapa Flow from Rosyth on completion of boiler cleaning.

_____

 

Convoy OB.304 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers CHELSEA, HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, HURRICANE, and VIVIEN sloop SCARBOROUGH, and corvettes ARBUTUS and CONVOLVULUS. Destroyers VERITY and WOLVERINE joined on 1 April. On 3 April, destroyers HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, HURRICANE, VERITY, and VIVIEN were detached. The remainder of the escort was detached on 4 April when the convoy dispersed.

_____

After repairs of her collision of 23 December 1940, anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Rosyth escorting convoy EN.93 A.

 

Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK arrived at Scapa Flow at 0730 on 1 April.

_____

 

Battlecruiser HOOD and light cruisers NIGERIA and FIJI were patrolling the UK to Gibraltar convoy route.

_____

U.69 sank British steamer COULTARN (3759grt) from convoy OB.302 in 60-18N, 29-28W.

 

Three crew were lost on the steamer.

_____

 

U.124 sank British steamer UMONA (3767grt) ninety miles southwest of Freetown.

 

Eighty three crew, two gunners, and fifteen passengers were lost on the steamer.

_____

 

British trawler NISUS (210grt) was lost to an unknown cause in Faroese waters.

_____

 

The British Mediterranean Fleet arrived at Alexandria after the Battle of Matapan.

 

Battleships WARSPITE, BARHAM, and VALIANT, aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, light cruisers ORION and GLOUCESTER, and destroyers JERVIS, JUNO, JANUS, JAGUAR, NUBIAN, MOHAWK, GREYHOUND, ILEX, HOTSPUR, and HAVOCK arrived at Alexandria at 1730/30th.

_____

 

Submarine RORQUAL sank German steamer LAURA CORRADO (3645grt) in 38-45N, 12-20E forty miles north of Trapani.

_____

 

A French convoy of six steamers, escorted by destroyer SIMOUN, departed Casablanca for Oran.

 

In Operation RATION, light cruiser SHEFFIELD and destroyers FAULKNOR, FURY, FEARLESS, and FORESTER departed Gibraltar to intercept French convoy K.42 which was comprised of French steamer BANGKOK (8056grt), thought to be carrying 3000 tons of rubber, AZROU, CAP VARELLA, and SAN DIEGO, escorted by destroyer SIMOUN. The convoy had departed Casablanca on the 28th for Oran.

 

Destroyer FEARLESS was unable to board the steamer when the French ships took cover under the French coastal battery at Nemours.

 

Returning to Gibraltar, light cruiser SHEFFIELD was damaged by a near miss from French bombing.

 

The damage from this incident and the mining of 17 March required five days repair.

 

Destroyer FORESTER was damaged by the bombing.

 

The destroyer was repaired in four weeks at Gibraltar.

_____

 

Destroyer HIGHLANDER arrived at Gibraltar for duty with Force H and later in the South Atlantic.

_____

 

Submarine depot ship MAIDSTONE assumed responsibity for the 8th Submarine Flotilla at Gibraltar, replacing PIGMY, which was paid off on 1 April.

_____

 

Convoy SC.27 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser SALOPIAN and destroyers BUXTON and ST CROIX. The destroyers were detached the next day and the armed merchant cruiser on 12 April. On 13 April, destroyers KEPPEL and VENOMOUS, corvettes DIANELLA, KINGCUP, and SUNFLOWER, and anti-submarine yacht PHILANTE joined. Destroyer LINCOLN joined on 15 April. On 17 April, destroyer KEPPEL and corvette KINGCUP were detached. The remainder of the escort was detached when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 18 April.

_____

 

Minesweepers ABERDARE and HARROW departed Bombay for Alexandria and duty with the Mediterranean Fleet.

_____

 

Italian steamer PIAVE (7565grt) departed Massawa and proceeded to Assab.

 

 

Monday, 31 March

 

Light cruisers DIDO and AURORA arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol in the Faroes-Iceland Channel.

_____

 

Battleship KING GEORGE V, escorted by destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, and ZULU, arrived at Scapa Flow at 1416 from escorting convoy HX.115.

_____

 

Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, and IMPULSIVE, escorted by destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KELVIN, and JACKAL, laid minefield GZ in the English Channel.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawler LORD SELBORNE (247grt, T/Skipper F. Watkinson RNR) was sunk by mining three miles 102 from Spurn Head Port War Signal Station.

 

Watkinson, T/Lt J. G. Browne RNR, and fifteen ratings were lost in the trawler.

_____

 

U.46 sank Swedish tanker CASTOR (8714grt) in 57-59N, 32-08W.

 

Fifteen crew from the tanker were lost.

_____

 

British steam drifter HELPMATE (76grt) was lost to an unknown cause off Newlyn, Cornwall.

_____

 

British trawler ONTARIO (208grt) was sunk by German bombing in 60-15N, 11-00W.

 

The entire crew of the trawler were rescued.

_____

 

British trawler RATTRAY (182grt) was damaged by German bombing two miles southeast by east of Hook Point.

_____

 

Yugoslavian steamer UNA (1397grt) was seized by Italian authorities on the steamer's arrival at Genoa.

_____

 

Light cruiser BONAVENTURE (Captain H. J. Egerton) was escorting convoy GA.8 since 30 March with anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE and destroyers HEREWARD, GRIFFIN, and STUART. The convoy was covered by light cruisers AJAX and PERTH.

 

Italian submarine DAGABUR made an attack on light cruiser BONAVENTURE at 2027 on the 30th.

 

Italian submarine AMBRA attacked this convoy at 0244 on the 31st and sank light cruiser BONAVENTURE in 33-20N, 26-35E and missed Australian destroyer STUART.

 

Cdr E. F. Disbrowe, Lt Cdr C. W. Hope, Lt D. A. C. Brock, Cdr (E) D. H. Tollenache, Lt (E) R. C. H. D'Oyly, Lt (E) C. W. Russ, Surgeon Lt Cdr J. W. Oliver, MRCS, LRCP, Surgeon Lt (D) F. P. Ewens, Lt E. G. Ott RNR, Paymaster Cdr W. S. A. Stapley, Paymaster Lt E. S. Ellis RNR, Gunner L. H. Wilson, Warrant Shipwright J. J. Grose, Warrant Engineer J. S. Kanavan, Warrant Engineer R. W. Ley, T/A/Warrant Electrician W. Widdowson, Captain J. O. G. Hayter, RM, T/Sub Lt E. R. Gould RNVR, T/Sub Lt D. H. Robb, RCNVR, T/Sub Lt A. Norman RNVR, T/Electrician Sub Lt A. A. J. Leach RNVR, T/Paymaster Sub Lt G. Williams RNVR, A/Paymaster Sub Lt D. A. Eden, RCNVR, and 115 ratings were lost on the cruiser.

 

Destroyer STUART made anti-submarine attacks.

 

Destroyers HEREWARD and STUART rescued the 310 survivors from the cruiser. Destroyer HEREWARD arrived at Alexandria with the survivors at 1300.

 

Destroyers STUART and GRIFFIN arrived with the convoy at Alexandria at 1600.

_____

 

Destroyer GREYHOUND departed Alexandria and joined destroyer GRIFFIN of the GA.8 escort and proceeded to Port Said.

 

These destroyers were to be based at Suez to counter the threat of attack by the Italian destroyers at Massawa.

 

Gunboats APHIS and GNAT were stationed at Suez on this same duty.

_____

 

Italian submarine PIER CAPPONI was sunk by submarine RORQUAL south of Stromboli in 38-42N, 15-12E.

_____

 

A Swordfish of 815 Squadron from Maleme ditched off Kithera Island. Lt (A) E. D. J. R. L. Whatley and P/Midshipman (A) F. T. C. Wallington RNVR, were rescued.

_____

 

Italian destroyers LEON, PANTERA, and TIGRE departed Massawa to bombard the port of Suez.

 

LEON ran aground near Massawa on 1 April and PANTERA and TIGRE scuttled her with gunfire. The two destroyers then returned to Massawa.

_____

 

Italian steamer FELLA (6072grt) was scuttled at Punta Arenas.

_____

 

Italian tankers JOLE FASSIO (5169grt) and TROTTIERA (6205grt) were scuttled at Puerto Cabello. JOLE FASSIO was later salved by the US as ALCIBIADES.

_____

 

Convoy HX.118 departed Halifax escorted by armed merchant cruiser WOLFE. On 3 April, battleship RAMILLIES and submarine SURCOUF were with the convoy. The submarine was detached on 9 April and the battleship on 10 April. On 13 April, destroyers CALDWELL, RAMSEY, RIPLEY, VOLUNTEER, and WALKER and corvettes KINGCUP and TULIP joined the escort. The corvettes were with the convoy for that day only. The armed merchant cruiser and destroyer RAMSEY were detached on 14 April. The escort was detached with the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 18 April.

 

 

March, miscellaneous

 

Through February and March, light cruiser DIOMEDE and armed merchant cruiser PRINCE HENRY were stationed off Callao, Peru to keep watch on four German merchant ships holed up in the port. DIOMEDE was called away on the 16th.

_____

 

8th Submarine Flotilla was formed at Gibraltar with submarines CLYDE, SEVERN, OSIRIS and the Dutch O.23 and O.24.

 
 

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