Steamer ETHEL RADCLIFFE (5673grt) had been
damaged by a German S boat on 17 April. She was sunk by German bombing at Great
Yarmouth on the 16 May.
Steamer JOFFRE ROSE (715grt) was damaged by German
bombing off St David's Head, beached in Dale
on the 16th, and damaged again on the 18th in Dale
She was refloated and drydocked.
Steamer OBSIDIAN (811grt) was damaged by
German bombing in 52-06N, 5-25W.
Minelayer LATONA, which had completed construction
on the 4th, departed Portsmouth for Alexandria, via the
She arrived at Gibraltar on the 20th and Alexandria on 21 June.
Light cruisers GLOUCESTER and FIJI, after landing the troops at Heraklion, were able
to sail at 0545/16th. They met destroyers HAVOCK and HOTSPUR and then joined
Force A and Force D. Destroyer ILEX joined these forces on the 16th.
During the day, the ten destroyers of Forces A, B,
and D refuelled from the two battleships of Force A.
Anti-aircraft cruiser DIDO and destroyer JUNO departed Alexandria during the morning of 16 May to join Force C.
During the night of 16/17 May, the British cruiser
forces swept off the north coast of Crete. No contact
Heavy cruiser YORK was damaged by a near miss of German bombing at
Troopship GLENGYLE departed Alexandria for Port Said, escorted by destroyer DECOY to embark new landing
craft. She departed Port Said on the 17th, escorted by destroyers VOYAGER and
WATERHEN and sloop AUCKLAND. Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY from Force C was detached to join this group at
daylight on the 18th.
During the night of 18th/19th, GLENGYLE landed 700 Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders at Tymbaki, then withdrew to Alexandria with COVENTRY, VOYAGER, WATERHEN and AUCKLAND, arriving on the 20th.
Australian destroyer VAMPIRE carried troops to
Tobruk during the night of 16/17 May.
Submarine UNBEATEN unsuccessfully attacked escorted
two transports near Tripoli.
Lt A. H. M. Ash and Lt H. J. C. Richardson of 805
Squadron, attached to the RAF 33 Squadron at Maleme, were killed
when their Hurricanes were shot down on the 16th.
In air raids on Malta, destroyer ENCOUNTER was damaged again in the
She had already been damaged during raids
on 29 and 30 April.
Corvette GLOXINIA, minesweeping at Malta, was damaged by the explosion of a mine close
She remained in service.
Minesweeper WIDNES was damaged by the near miss of German bombing and machine gunning in
the eastern Mediterranean.
Steamer LOGICIAN (5993grt) was badly
damaged by German bombing at Suda Bay.
She was bombed again on the 25th and sank
two miles and two cables, bearing 303° from Kalani Prism Five crew were
killed and one was missing. Twenty five Australian troops were killed.
Greek steamer KYTHERA (1070grt) was sunk by German
bombing at Suda Bay.
Greek steamer NICOLAOU OURANIA (6397grt) was badly
damaged by German bombing at Suda Bay, beached, later refloated
and towed to Piraeus. She was used under the name of NIKOLAUS
for German use.
Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, battlecruiser RENOWN,
light cruiser SEHFFIELD, and destroyers WRESTLER, FEARLESS, FORESTER, and
FURY sailed from Gibraltar for exercises, returning on the 17th.
Destroyers HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, and HARVESTER departed Gibraltar to join aircraft carrier FURIOUS, heavy cruiser
LONDON, dummy battleship ANSON (old battleship CENTURION
with wooden guns), and destroyer BRILLIANT arriving from the Clyde and escorted them to Gibraltar, arriving on the 18th. On the 19th, "ANSON" departed Gibraltar for Freetown, escorted by destroyer WRESTLER and corvettes
JONQUIL and GERANIUM as local escort.
Convoy HX.127 departed Halifax, escorted by battleship RAMILLIES,
CROIX, and corvettes AGASSIZ and WETASKIWIN. The corvettes detached on
Convoy BHX.127 departed Bermuda on the 13th escorted by armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL as
ocean escort. The convoy rendezvoused with HX.127 on the 20th and CHITRAL detached.
Destroyer LINCOLN and corvettes SUNFLOWER joined on
the 23rd and detached on the 27th. Destroyer SALISBURY joined on the 27th. On the 28th, destroyers OTTAWA and RESTIGOUCHE, sloop STORK, corvette BEGONIA,
anti-submarine trawler ST KENAN, and anti-submarine yacht PHILANTE joined the
escort. Destroyer SKATE and corvette LARKSPUR joined on the 29th. Destroyer
OTTAWA and the yacht were detached on the 29th.
Destroyers FARNDALE and HAMBLEDON were with the convoy on the 30th. Sloop
SUTLEJ was with the convoy in Home Waters. On 1 June RESTIGOUCHE, SKATE and STORK detached. The convoy arrived at
Liverpool on 2 June.
Ocean boarding vessel MARON arrived at Gibraltar from Western Patrol.
Saturday, 17 May
Battleship RODNEY departed Scapa Flow escorted by destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN, and ESKIMO
for the Clyde, arriving
on the 18th.
Convoy OB.323 departed Liverpool by corvette SUNFLOWER. On the 18th, destroyer
VETERAN, catapult ship SPRINGBANK, and corvette HEATHER joined the escort.
Destroyer VENOMOUS, KEPPEL, LINCOLN, and SABRE, corvettes DIANELLA, KINGCUP,
and PETUNIA, and anti-submarine trawlers LADY ELSA, MAN O.WAR, and WELLARD on the 19th. Destroyers
VENOMOUS and VETERAN and corvettes DIANELLA, KINGCUP, and SUNFLOWER were
detached on the 22nd. On the 22nd, destroyers MANSFIELD and WOLVERINE and corvettes BEGONIA, and LARKSPUR
joined. On the 23rd, destroyer KEPPEL and SABRE, corvettes HEATHER, PETUNIA,
and SUNFLOWER, and trawlers LADY ELSA, MAN O.WAR, and WELLARD were detached. The remainder of
the escort was detached on the 25th when the convoy was dispersed.
Destroyer BLANKNEY arrived at Scapa Flow at 1930 after assisting sunken ship ARCHANGEL.
Destroyer LANCE arrived at Scapa Flow for working up exercises.
Ocean boarding vessel REGISTAN intercepted Vichy
French auxiliary schooner IZARRA (488grt) and sent her to St John's, Newfoundland, under armed guard.
The schooner arrived on the 27th.
Lt H. G. Hunt, flying a Battle of RAF No.1 Flying
Training School at Netheravon, was killed when his aircraft crashed at Pepperbox
P/T/A/Sub Lt (A) J. N. W. Parish RNVR, was killed
when his Hurricane of 759 Squadron crashed in the River Parrett.
U.107 sank Dutch tanker MARISA (8029grt) in 6-10N,
18-09W. Three crew were lost on the tanker.
British steamer STATESMAN (7939grt) was sunk by
German bombing in 56-44N, 13-45W. One crewman was lost on the steamer.
British steamer ARTHUR WRIGHT (1091grt) was damaged
by German bombing five miles south of Shoreham.
Norwegian steamer ALA (933grt) was damaged by German bombing five miles
south of Shoreham.
One crewman was killed on the steamer.
The steamer was beached about one and a half cables
west of entrance pier, Shoreham. The steamer was refloated on the 19th and
eventually towed to Southampton for repairs.
Hospital ship ABA (7938grt), on passage to Haifa, was attacked fifty miles south of Crete south of Kaso Strait by German bombers.
Force C cruisers DIDO and COVENTRY came to the hospital ship's assistance.
Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY suffered some casualties to strafing.
British Forces C and D were recalled to Alexandria.
Force C with light cruisers NAIAD and PERTH and destroyers GREYHOUND and HASTY arrived at
Alexandria at 0800/18th.
Force D with light cruiser DIDO, anti-aircraft
cruiser COVENTRY, and destroyers KANDAHAR, KINGSTON,
NUBIAN arrived at Alexandria on the 18th.
British tanker ELEONORA MAERSK (10,694grt) was sunk
by German bombing at Suda Bay.
Twenty crew were missing and seven were made
prisoners of war. Seventeen crew were rescued.
Greek steamer THEMONI (5719grt) was sunk by German
bombing at Suda Bay.
Submarine REGENT arrived at Gibraltar from Malta.
Submarine PANDORA arrived at Gibraltar from patrol in the Tyrrhennian
Convoy SL.75 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser CATHAY to 12 June and corvettes CROCUS, CYCLAMEN, and MARGUERITE to 25 May.
Battleship NELSON joined the convoy on 1 June to 5
Corvette ARABIS joined on 8 June to 12 June. On 9
June, destroyers ROXBOROUGH, SALISBURY, and SKATE, and corvettes ANEMONE, CLARKIA, and
VERONICA joined; all to 12 June. On 12 June anti-submarine trawler VIZALMA
joined to 13 June.
The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 13 June.
Petty Officer J. F. Bray was killed when his Vega Gull
crashed at Aboukir. He had been appointed to battleship WARSPITE.
Sunday, 18 May
German battleship BISMARCK and heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN departed Gdynia.
Arkona on the 19th, the ships were escorted by Sperrbrechers 13 and 31 and
destroyers FRIEDRICH ECKHOLDT and Z 23.
Off the Belt, the German ships were joined by
destroyer LODY and minesweepers of the 5th Minesweeping Flotilla.
Heavy cruiser NORFOLK arrived at Hvalfjord and departed the same day to
reinforce heavy cruiser SUFFOLK
on Denmark Strait patrol.
Light cruiser EDINBURGH departed Scapa Flow to patrol in the Bay of Biscay.
Light cruisers MANCHESTER and BIRMINGHAM departed
Scapa Flow to
relieve light cruisers NIGERIA and KENYA on Faroes Iceland patrol.
Light cruisers NIGERIA and KENYA were relieved by light cruisers MANCHESTER and BIRMINGHAM.
Light cruisers NIGERIA and KENYA arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol on the 19th.
Light cruiser NIGERIA departed
Scapa Flow on the
19th for repairs at Rosyth, arriving on the 20th.
Convoy OB.324 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer WANDERER and covettes
AURICULA, DIANTHUS, MARIGOLD, NASTURTIUM, and PERIWINKLE. The escorted was
joined on the 19th by destroyers CAMPBELTOWN and WESTCOTT, sloops FLEETWOOD
and ROCHESTER, and sloop PRIMROSE. On the 24th, destroyers
CAMPBELTOWN, WANDERER, and WESTCOTT, sloops FLEETWOOD and ROCHESTER, and corvettes AURICULA, DIANTHUS, MARIGOLD,
NASTURTIUM, PERIWINKLE, and PRIMROSE were detached. Destroyers CHELSEA, VERITY, and VETERAN, and corvette CONVOLVULUS
joined. The escort was detached on the 27th when the convoy was dispersed.
Naval drifter JEWEL (84grt, T/Sub Lt G H.J
Cresswell RNVR) was sunk on a mine one mile 215° from Pile Light, Belfast
Lough. Cresswell and 13 ratings were lost.
U.107 sank British steamer PIAKO (8286grt) in
Ten crew were killed on the steamer. The survivors
were rescued by Sloop BRIDGEWATER.
British steamer BEGERIN (483grt) was sunk by German
bombing 17 miles 295° from South Bishops.
The entire crew were rescued.
British steamer ESKBURN (472grt) was damaged by
German bombing off Blyth.
The steamer arrived in the Tyne in tow on the 19th.
Free French fishing vessel LA BRISE (51grt) was
damaged by German bombing ten miles west, northwest of Seven Stones Light
The vessel arrived at Newlyn on the 19th.
After being relieved by German tanker EGERLAND
(9789grt), German tanker NORDMARK returned to Germany.
The tanker was met on the 18th by destroyers ERICH
STEINBRINCK, BRUNO HEINEMANN, and FRIEDRICH IHN in the Bay of Biscay.
The destroyers were relieved on the 19th in 49-36N,
00-02W by German minesweepers M3, M.4, and M.20.
The tanker proceeded up the coast and arrived at
Hamburg on the 20th.
Battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT, light cruiser
AJAX, and destroyers NAPIER, KIMBERLEY, JANUS, ISIS, HEREWARD, DECOY, HERO,
and GRIFFIN departed Alexandria at 2000 as Force A 1 to relieve Force A off
Air attacks on Suda
damaged heavy cruiser YORK and corvette SALVIA.
Both ships were damaged by near misses.
The cruiser was further damaged on 18, 19, 20, and
Naval tanker OLNA (12,667grt) was badly damaged by
German bombing in Suda Bay and run aground.
Submarine TETRARCH sank Italian steamer GIOVINEZZA
(2362grt), which departed Tripoli for Benghazi escorted by torpedo boat
POLLUCE, in 31-55N, 19-54E off Benghazi.
Battleship NELSON and aircraft carrier EAGLE
departed St Helena to proceed to Freetown.
Destroyers DUNCAN and HIGHLANDER joined on the 21st
and were detached for refuelling on the 23rd. On the 24th, destroyers BOREAS and
VELOX joined the battleship and aircraft carrier and later that day
destroyers DUNCAN and HIGHLANDER rejoined after refuelling.
All ships arrived at Freetown on the 25th.
Monday, 19 May
Light cruiser ARETHUSA departed Scapa Flow with the Vice Admiral Commanding Orkneys and
Shetlands for the Faroes and Iceland.
The light cruiser arrived and departed the Faroes
on the 20th.
Light cruiser ARETHUSA arrived at Reykjavik on the 21st.
Destroyers INGLEFIELD, INTREPID, and ESCAPADE
departed Hvalfjord to provide anti-submarine protection for convoy HX.125.
Destroyer INTREPID with engine defects returned to
Hvalfjord at 2200.
After repairs to her forecastle, destroyer INTREPID
departed Hvalfjord at 2130/20th for Scapa Flow.
Destroyer WALPOLE departed Scapa Flow at 0815 on completion of working up for London to carry out machinery repairs.
Sloop STORK arrived at Scapa Flow at 1900 to carry out working up exercises.
Between 19 May and 22 August, motor torpedo boats
and motor launches laid minefields PW 9 to PW 14 in the English Channel.
Armed yacht SEA ANGLER (23grt) was destroyed by fire.
U.96 sank British steamer EMPIRE RIDGE (2922grt) in
55-18N, 10-49W ninety miles west of Bloody Foreland.
Twenty eight crew and three gunners were lost on
the steamer. One crewman and one gunner were rescued.
British steamer WINKFIELD (5279grt) was sunk on a
mine 51-35N, 1-10E one mile southwest of B4 Buoy, Thames Estuary.
Ten crew were lost on the steamer.
British paddle minesweeper CITY OF ROCHESTER (194grt) was sunk on a parachute mine in Acorn
Yard, Rochester. The minesweeper had been paid off and was
There were no casualties.
British steamer DIXCOVE (3790grt) was damaged on a
mine in 51-36N, 1-11E.
The steamer arrived at Gravesend on the 20th in tow.
Finnish tanker JOSEFINA THORDEN (6549grt) was
damaged by German bombing.
The steamer arrived at Thorshavn in tow on the
22nd. She left on 1 June for Kirkwall in tow. Repaired in the Tyne.
Battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL,
light cruiser SHEFFIELD, and destroyers HESPERUS, HAVELOCK, and HARVESTER
departed Gibraltar to feint westwards prior to commencing Operation SPLICE.
Aircraft carrier FURIOUS, heavy cruiser LONDON, and destroyers FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FURY, and
FORESTER departed later to rendezvous with Force H.
On joining, heavy cruiser LONDON and destroyers HAVELOCK and HARVESTER were detached to sail westward to
cover the movement of dummy battleship ANSON and troopship ARUNDEL
Destroyer BRILLIANT joined Force H.at 0700/20th.
Heavy cruiser LONDON and destroyers HARVESTER and HAVELOCK returned to Gibraltar on the 20th.
Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL flew planes off to Malta on the 21st.
After the flyoff, aircraft carrier FURIOUS and
destroyers BRILLAINT and HESPERUS were detached to return to Gibraltar for a
quick docking for the aircraft carrier to repair damage and repack her stern
glands from the bombing on the 5th at Belfast.
Destroyer FORESIGHT departed Malta and returned to Gibraltar during this operation.
Force H.arrived back at Gibraltar on the 22nd.
Naval forces off Crete reorganise and units on station since 16 May were sent to
Alexandria to refuel.
Force A-1 - battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, light
cruiser AJAX, and destroyers NAPIER, KIMBERLEY, JANUS, ISIS, HEREWARD, DECOY, HERO, and GRIFFIN.
Force A - battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and BARHAM
retired to Alexandria, detaching destroyers HOTSPUR and IMPERIAL to the
WARSPITE force. Force A arrived at Alexandria on the 20th
Force B - light cruisers FIJI and GLOUCESTER to
Alexandria to refuel, then join A-1. Force B departed
Alexandria to return on the 20th.
Force C - light cruisers NAIAD, PERTH and
destroyers KANDAHAR, NUBIAN, KINGSTON, JUNO departed Alexandria from refuelling at 0600/19th.
Force D - light cruisers DIDO, ORION and destroyers
HASTY and GREYHOUND departed Alexandria at 0200/19th. They were joined by AJAX, HERO and HEREWARD at sea from A-1.
A German-Italian convoy departed Naples on the 16th
with steamers PREUSSEN (8230grt), SPARTA (1724grt), CAPO ORSO (3149grt),
CASTELVERDE (6666grt), and MOTIA (2473grt), and tanker PANUCA (6212grt)
escorted by destroyers EURO, FOLGORE, FULMINE, STRALE, and TURBINE.
Tanker SUPERGA (6154grt) joined at Palermo.
Distant cover is given by light cruisers DUCA DEGLI
ABRUZZI and GARIBALBI and destroyers GRANATIERE, ALPINO, and BERSAGLIERE.
On the 19th at 1130, while evading submarine
attack, steamer PREUSSEN and tanker PANUCA collided.
Both ships were able to continue.
On the 20th, submarine URGE unsuccessfully attacked
steamer CAPO ORSO and tanker SUPERGA in 35-46N, 11-56E.
The convoy arrived at Tripoli on the 21st.
Submarine UNBEATEN unsuccessfully attack Italian
steamer SILVIO SCARONI (1367grt) off Tagiura in 32-46N, 14-06E.
The steamer had departed Tripoli on the 19th, escorted by torpedo boat PLEIADI, for
Bengasi, where they safely arrived on the 15th.
Convoy SC.32 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser LACONIA, submarine TALISMAN, and corvettes COBALt and
COLLINGWOOD. The corvettes were detached the next day. Corvettes HELIOTROPE,
PETUNIA, and VERBENA joined the convoy on the 29th. The submarine was
detached on the 30th and arrived back at Halifax on 9 June. The armed merchant cruiser was detached
on the 31st. Corvettes HEPATICA, MAYFLOWER, and TRILLIUM joined on 1 June. On
1 June, destroyers BEAGLE and BOADICEA and corvette WINDFLOWER joined. Sloop
EGRET, minesweepers BRAMBLE and GOSSAMER, and anti-submarine trawlers LADY
MADELEINE and ST LOMAN joined on 3 June. Minesweeper GOSSAMER was detached on
6 June. The escort was detached when the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 7 June.
Tuesday, 20 May
Heavy cruiser EXETER departed
Scapa Flow after
refitting, and arrived in the Clyde on the 21st.
Scapa Flow at 2000 for Loch Alsh after repairs.
Italian submarine OTARIA badly damaged British
steamer STARCROSS (4662grt) from convoy SL.73 in 51-45N, 20-45W. The entire
crew were rescued by Canadian destroyer ST FRANCIS.
The steamer was scuttled by the convoy escort.
U-boats attacked convoy HX.126.
U.94 sank British steamers HARPAGUS (5173grt) and
NORMAN MONARCH (4718grt) in 56-47N, 40-55W. The entire crew of forty eight
were picked up by steamer HARPAGUS. However, twenty of the crew and six
gunners were lost when HARPAGUS herself was sunk.
Twenty five crew, four gunners, and three
passengers were lost on steamer HARPAGUS. Eighteen crew were rescued.
U.556 sank British tanker BRITISH SECURITY
(8470grt) and British steamer DARLINGTON COURT (4974grt) in 57-28N, 41-07W and damaged British
tanker SAN FELIX (13,037grt) in 57-32N, 40-21W. The entire
crew on tanker BRITISH SECURITY was lost.
Twenty two crew and three gunners were lost on the
steamer. Eleven crew and one gunner was rescued from steamer DARLINGTON COURT.
Tanker SAN FELIX arrived at St John's, NF, on the 26th. She was drydocked at Halifax and later sent to New York for permanent repairs.
U.111 sank British steamer COCKAPONSET (5995grt) in
57-28N, 41-07W. The entire crew on the steamer were rescued.
U.98 sank British steamer ROTHERMERE (5356grt) in
Twenty two crew were lost on the steamer.
U.94 sank Naval requisitioned Norwegian tanker JOHN
P. PEDERSEN (6128grt) in 57N, 41W.
Twenty one crew and the gunner were lost on the
U.109 sank British steamer MARCONI (7402grt) in
Eleven were missing from the steamer and eleven
died. Fifty six crew and gunners were rescued by American Coast Guard cutter
GENERAL GREENE. Three more survivors were picked up by light cruiser KENYA on the 31st.
U.103 sank Egyptian steamer RADAMES (3575grt) in
6N, 12W. One crewman was lost on the steamer.
U.138 sank British steamer JAVANESE PRINCE
(8593grt) in 59-46N, 10-45W. Two crew were lost on the steamer.
Submarine TRUANT departed Gibraltar to refit in the U. S.
The submarine arrived at Portsmouth, N. H. on 10 June for refitting completed on 16
Status at daylight on the 20th.
Force A-1 - battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT with
destroyers KIMBERLEY, ISIS, JANUS, GRIFFIN, and IMPERIAL were west of Crete.
Force B - light cruisers GLOUCESTER and FIJI were en route to join A-1.
Force C - light cruisers NAIAD, PERTH and destroyers KANDAHAR, NUBIAN, KINGSTON,
JUNO were in
Force D - light cruisers DIDO, ORION, AJAX with destroyers HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO, and
GREYHOUND were in Antikithera
Mediterranean Fleet night deployment for 20/21 May.
Force B - light cruisers GLOUCESTER and FIJI swept off Cape Matapan. They were to join A-1 at dawn
on the 21st.
Force C - light cruisers NAIAD, PERTH with destroyers NUBIAN, KINGSTON,
KANDAHAR passed through the Kaso
Strait to be off Heraklion by dawn on the 21st. In
Kaso Strait, the force engaged five Italian
MAS boats. No damage was done to either side.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA
departed Alexandria to join the Force at daylight on the 21st off
Force D - light cruisers DIDO, AJAX, ORION and destroyers ISIS, KIMBERLEY, IMPERIAL, and JANUS. They swept through the Antikithera
Strait and were to be off Canea by daylight on the 21st to join Force A 1.
Force E - destroyers JERVIS, NIZAM, and ILEX
departed Alexandria at 1400/20th. They bombarded Scarpanto airdrome at
0242 on the 21st, and were joined by anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE at dawn for protection and joined Force C at daylight.
At 0115/21st, Italian submarine ONICE attacked
destroyer NIZAM of Force E, eight miles south of Kaso
Strait without success.
Force C was attacked by torpedo carrying aircraft
near Kaso Strait at 2040. The attacks were unsuccessful.
An hour later, six Italian motor torpedo boats
attacked Force C and were engaged by anti-aircraft cruiser NAIAD and
destroyers JUNO and KANDAHAR.
The British force claimed sinking one MAS boat and damaging two, but no damage was done to
Italian steamer PADRE ETERNO (52grt) was sunk north
of Canea by Gunfire.
Greek steamer AGHIOS GEORGIOS (194grt) was sunk by
shell fire off Crete.
Italian destroyer escort CURATONE was sunk by Greek
mines in the Gulf of Athens.
Minesweeper WIDNES (Lt Cdr R. B. Chandler) was badly damaged by German bombing at
The minesweeper was run aground a total loss.
Armed trawler KOS XXIII (353grt, Lt Cdr J. J. Reid
RNVR) was badly damaged by German bombing in Suda
The trawler was declared a total loss on the 23rd.
T/Lt (E) S. N. Gustavsen RNR and T/Lt
(E) R. S. Taylor RNR, were taken as prisoners of war.
British cruiser minelayer LATONA arrived at Gibraltar with stores and personnel for the Eastern Mediterranean.
After embarking Oerlikon guns from aircraft carrier
FURIOUS, the minelayer departed Gibraltar on the
21st for Freetown and beyond.
The minelayer was ordered to return to Gibraltar on the 23rd, but the message was not received and
the ship continued to Freetown.
Submarine URGE unsuccessfully attacked Italian
destroyer ALPINO in 35-42N, 12-24E.
Italian steamer ZEFFIRO (5165grt) was sunk and
Italian steamer PERSEO (4856grt) damaged 5.8 miles 130° from Cape Bon on a newly laid Italian minefield.
Convoy HX.128 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser CALIFORNIA, corvettes ALBERNI and RIMOUSKI, and escort ships SENNEN, TOTLAND, and WALNEY. The
corvettes were detached later that day.
Convoy BHX.128 departed Bermuda on the 18th escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser
MONTCLARE. The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.128 on the 27th and the
armed merchant cruiser was detached.
Battleship REVENGE joined the convoy on the 28th.
On the 30th, destroyer BURWELL joined the escort. Corvettes HEPATICA,
HYDERANGEA, TULIP, and WINDFLOWER joined on the 31st. On 1 June, battleship
REVENGE and corvettes HEPATICA and WINDFLOWER were detached and minesweepers
HEBE, SEAGULL, and SHARPSHOOTER joined. On the 2nd destroyers MALCOLM and
SCIMITAR and corvette MAYFLOWER joined and corvette TRILLIUM, which had
joined, was detached. Destroyer RIPLEY joined on 3 June. Destroyers BURWELL
and MALCOLM and corvette SPIKENARD, which had joined, were detached. The
convoy arrived at Liverpool on 6 June.
New Zealand light cruiser ACHILLES escorted British steamer
RANGATIRA (6152grt) from Auckland
to Fiji, and arrived back at Wellington on 2 June.
American aircraft carrier WASP, heavy cruiser
QUINCY, and destroyers LIVERMORE and KEARNY departed
neutrality patrol. They arrived back on 3 June.
Wednesday, 21 May
German battleship BISMARCK and heavy cruiser EUGEN departed Korsfjord, near
Bergen, for a shipping sweep in the North Atlantic.
At 1830, all available Home Fleet warships came to
two hours' notice for sailing as a result of air reconnaissance of the German
ships at Korsfjord.
On the 22nd, a Martin Maryland of 771 Squadron from
Hatston advised the German ships had sailed. The crew of the Maryland were Lt N. E. Goddard, Cdr G. A. Rotherham,
Leading Airman J. D. Milne, and Leading Airman J. W. Armstrong.
Convoy OB.325 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer SALADIN and corvette
GLADIOLUS. The escorted was joined the next day by destroyer LEAMINGTON, corvette CLARKIA, and anti-submarine trawler ST
ZENO. The escort was detached when the convoy was dispersed on the 25th.
Destroyer FARNDALE departed Scapa Flow at 0800 and met steamers AMSTERDAM and LADY OF MANN off the entrance to Aberdeen at 1500. After providing escort for these two
ships, the destroyer arrived back at Scapa Flow at 2130.
Destroyer WALPOLE departed Scapa Flow to return to the Nore following her working up
Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Scapa Flow at 0530 and escorted convoy WN.29 to the
southward. During the afternoon, the ship transferred to convoy EC.22.
The ship remained with convoy EC.22 until night in
the Pentland Firth. At 0600/22nd, she met convoy WN.30 in Pentland Firth and provided cover for the convoy to Methil where
they arrived at 0830/23rd.
Lt J. P. Eustace was killed when his Hurricane of
759 Squadron crashed near Sparkford.
Armed yacht HANYARDS (16.5grt) was lost.
U.98 reported torpedoing a steamer near convoy
HX.126 and watching it sink.
No confirmation is available.
U.93 sank Dutch tanker ELUSA (6235grt) from convoy
HX.126 in 59N, 38-05W. Three crew were lost on the steamer. The survivors
were picked up by destroyer BURNHAM.
U.69 sank American steamer ROBIN MOOR (4999grt) in
6-10N, 25-40W. The entire crew were rescued. Three boats by a British steamer
thirteen days after the attack and the fourth boat by Brasilian steamer
OSORIO eighteen days after the attack.
U.69 sank British steamer TEWKESBURY (4601grt) in 5-49N, 24-09W.
There were no casualties on the steamer.
Lt P. J. Connolly and Lt Cdr G. Hare, in a Fulmar
of 801 Squadron from Hal Far, were captured when they landed on the North
African coast near Cape Bon.
The officers were made prisoners of war.
Italian torpedo boat LUPO departed Milos early on the 21st with a convoy for Canea.
Italian torpedo boat SAGITTARIO departed Piraeus with a convoy for Heraklion.
Italian torpedo boat SAGITTARIO was accidently
attacked by German bombers, but was not damaged.
At about the same time, Italian destroyer SELLA was
seriously damaged by German bombers out of a group of five destroyers which
had just departed Piraeus.
Both convoys for Crete were being sent due to lack of success of the German paratroop
British air reconnaissance located these convoys
and Force C was sent to the northwest of Crete to intercept.
Australian destroyers STUART, VOYAGER, and VENDETTA
departed Alexandria to join A-1.
Destroyer JUNO (Cdr St. J. R. J. Tyrwhitt) was hit by three bombs
and sank in two minutes in 34-35N, 26-34E.
Lt J. N. Beazley, Lt G. G. Garrard RNVR, A/Gunner
(T) G. F. Healy, Lt W. A. Starkie, Lt Cdr (E) G. H. Way, and 123 ratings were lost with the destroyer.
Twenty one men were wounded.
Tyrwhitt and five other officers and nine one
ratings were picked up by destroyers KANDAHAR, KINGSTON, and NUBIAN.
Light cruiser AJAX was damaged by the near miss of an air bomb.
There were no casualties. The cruiser sustained
some shaft distortion.
Force A-1, B, and D operated southwest of Kithera
to draw out the Italian for action.
These were battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT, light
cruisers FIJI, GLOUCESTER, DIDO, AJAX, and ORION and destroyers ISIS, IMPERIAL, KIMBERLEY, JANUS, NAPIER, DECOY, GRIFFIN, and HOTSPUR.
Destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KIPLING, JACKAL, KELVIN of 5th Destroyer Flotilla departed
Malta at dusk to join the Mediterranean Fleet operating
Destroyer FORESIGHT left at the same time to rejoin
Force H.and arrived at Gibraltar on the 23rd.
Anti-aircraft cruisers CALCUTTA and
Force C on the 21st.
Destroyers JERVIS, ILEX, and NIZAM arrived at Alexandria to refuel.
British Force E, after refuelling, departed Alexandria at 0030/21st to return to the Kaso
Australian destroyers STUART, VOYAGER, and VENDETTA
departed Alexandria to join Force A-1.
Sloop AUCKLAND departed Alexandria with British oiler CHERRYLEAF (5934grt) to refuel
destroyers in a position one hundred miles northwest of Alexandria.
On the 22nd, the escort of the oiler was taken over
by Greek destroyer AETOS.
At 2330/21st northeast of Canea, the Italian LUPO
convoy was attacked by Light cruisers DIDO, AJAX, and ORION and destroyers KIMBERLEY, HASTY, HEREWARD, and JANUS of Force D
The bow of cruiser AJAX was bent through ramming a caique.
Light cruiser ORION sustained some damage to her
bridge from pom pom fire from cruiser DIDO. Two men were killed and nine were
Light cruiser DIDO expended 70% of her ammunition,
light cruiser ORION 62%, and light cruiser AJAX 58%.
Ten schooners were sunk by the British ships.
Roumanian steamer CARMEN SYLVA (1601grt) was sunk.
Torpedo boat LUPO was hit by 18 six inch shells and
survived despite heavy damage.
The action was broken off at 0400/22nd.
Italian torpedo boat LIRA rescued some of LUPO
Force D joined Force A 1 at 0800 outside of Kithera
Straits. At 1045, due to the ammunition shortages in the cruisers, Force D
was detached to Alexandria.
Cruisers ORION and AJAX were detached to join Force
E, but when it was found they could not reach the rendezvous in time, they
returned to Force D
Force D arrived at Alexandria at 0700/23rd.
Ocean boarding vessel MARON departed Gibraltar on Western Patrol.
Italian coastal steamer GLADIATOR (248grt) was sunk
on a mine at Sebenico.
Thursday, 22 May
Battlecruiser HOOD and battleship PRINCE OF WALES
with destroyers ACHATES, ANTELOPE, ANTHONY, ECHO, ELECTRA, and ICARUS departed Scapa Flow at 0100 to cover cruiser on patrol in the Denmark Strait.
In the Iceland-Faroes Channel were light cruisers
MANCHESTER and BIRMINGHAM and five trawlers. The two light cruisers
refuelled in the Faroes to refuel on the 22nd. Light cruiser ARETHUSA, which
arrived at Reykjavik on the 21st, was sent to reinforce these ships.
Heavy cruiser NORFOLK was patrolling in the Denmark Strait. Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK, after refuelling at Hvalfjord on this date,
returned to reinforce this patrol.
Light cruiser HERMIONE arrived at Scapa Flow.
The cruiser had a defect involving one of her
turrets. This defect had been discovering during her working up the month
before. The repairs would require fourteen days once personnel and facilities
were available to do the work.
Destroyers INGLEFIELD and ESCAPADE at 0545 and INTREPID
at 1000 arrived at Scapa
Flow after supporting
British troopship BRITANNIC departed the Clyde at 1315 escorted by battleship RODNEY, en route to the
US for extensive overhaul, and destroyers SOMALI,
ESKIMO, TARTAR, and MASHONA.
Destroyers BEDOUIN and IMPULSIVE with minelayer
SOUTHERN PRINCE had departed Loch Alsh on the 21st en route to the US.
The minelayer carried equipment for battleship
RODNEY's refitting and specialist naval ratings en route to Canada.
The two groups joined at sea for the Atlantic
The minelayer arrived at Bermuda on 2 June.
The Home Fleet departed Scapa Flow at 2300 with
battleship KING GEORGE V, aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS, light cruisers
GALATEA, AURORA, KENYA, and HERMIONE, and destroyers ACTIVE, PUNJABI, NESTOR,
LANCE, WINDSOR, INGLEFIELD, and INTREPID.
Destroyer LANCE returned to Scapa Flow with boiler defects. The destroyer was able to
depart again at 1315/23rd for Skaalefjord, arriving at 0500/24th. She
departed at 0700 sailing westward to join the fleet.
Battlecruiser REPULSE was already at sea, putting
out from the Clyde at 1600 with destroyers LEGION, SAGUENAY, and ASSINIBOINE. The battlecruiser and destroyers rendezvoused
with Tovey off the Butt of Lewis at noon on the 23rd.
Destroyers ANTHONY and ANTELOPE were detached on
the 23rd from the battlecruiser HOOD force to refuel at Hvalfjord.
The destroyers refuelled and departed at 2100 to
At 2000/23rd, the Battlecruiser Group was in
62-45N, 25-30W. Tovey's force was in 61-30N, 22-00W.
At 2032, heavy cruiser NORFOLK sighted the German ships in 66-50N, 25-30W. Heavy
cruiser SUFFOLK also sighted the ships and the two cruisers
shadowed the German force through the night.
Light cruiser GALATEA and HERMOINE proceeded to
patrol to the northeast of Iceland should the German ships attempt to turn
back, but these ships were later recalled to the Tovey group and light
cruisers MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM, and ARETHUSA carried out the patrol.
Destroyer ACTIVE refuelled at Hvalfjord on the 24th
and departing the same day. Destroyer NESTOR refuelled at Iceland, departing on the 26th. Destroyer WINDSOR was
detached to Iceland on the 24th, but remained until 26 May. Destroyers
PUNJABI, INGLEFIELD, and LANCE refuelled in Iceland arriving and departing on the 26th. Destroyer
INTREPID arrived in Iceland to refuel on the 26th, but did not depart due to
machinery defects until at 0930/31st. Destroyer INTREPID arrived at Scapa Flow at 1630 from Iceland.
On the 24th, destroyer SAGUENAY was detached to Hvalfjord to refuel. The destroyer departed the same
day to rejoin. On the 26th, destroyers LEGION and
ASSINIBOINE arrived at Hvalfjord to refuel and departed the
same day to rejoin. On the 27th, all three destroyers arrived at Londonderry.
Aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS refuelled at Hvalfjord
on the 27th. Light cruiser GALATEA on the 27th and departed on the 28th.
Light cruiser AURORA on the 27th and departed 30 May. Light cruiser KENYA on the 27th and departed 30 May. Light cruiser
HERMIONE on the 26th and departed Hvalfjord on the 31st to relieve light
cruiser ARETHUSA on Denmark
On the 25th, battlecruiser REPULSE was ordered to
proceed for refuelling and arrived at Conception Bay, Newfoundland, on the 27th.
The battlecruiser departed Conception
on the 29th to escort convoy HX.129.
Destroyer HAMBLEDON arrived at Scapa Flow at 1715 to work up after completion of large
Lt R. M. S. Brewer, Leading Airman E. G. E.
Collyer, and Leading Airman G. R. Grant were killed when their Albacore of
817 Squadron crashed off Arbroath.
Minelayer TEVIOT BANK, escorted by destroyer
CATTISTOCK, laid minefield BS.61 off the east coast of England.
Paddle minesweepers SNAEFELL and THAMES QUEEN
accompanied the minelayer.
Heavy cruiser LONDON with destroyers HAVELOCK and HARVESTER departed Gibraltar to escort steamer ARUNDEL
CASTLE and convoy SL.75 to England.
U.111 sank British steamer BARNBY (4813grt) in
60-30N, 34-12W. Two crew were killed on the steamer. Forty four survivors
were rescued by light cruiser AURORA on the 30th.
U.103 sank British tanker BRITISH GRENADIER
(6857grt) in 6-15N, 12-59W. The entire crew were rescued.
British steamer EMPIRE PROGRESS (5249grt) was
damaged by German bombing three miles southwest of Needles. Four crew were
The steamer was beached in Totland
on the 23rd. She was refloated the same day and taken to Southampton for drydocking.
Convoy WS.8B departed the Clyde with steamers CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS (16,287grt), ABOSSO (11,030grt),
GEORGIC (27,759grt), MARTAND (8000grt), DUCHESS OF RICHMOND (20,022grt),
ALMANZORA (15,551grt), and ORDUNA (15,507grt).
The convoy was escorted by heavy cruiser EXETER, anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO, and destroyers COSSACK, SIKH, MAORI, ZULU,
PIORUN, OTTAWA, RESTIGOUCHE, and ERIDGE.
All were detached on the 26th except cruiser EXETER.
Included in this convoy were aircraft carriers
VICTORIOUS and ARGUS.
Aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS was soon detached from
the convoy for Fleet operations.
Liners ORDUNA and ALMANZORA collided on the 31st.
Destroyer BOREAS and DUNCAN joined the convoy on 2 June and remained until 4
Corvette MARGUERITE joined the convoy on 3 June and
remained until 4 June.
The convoy arrived at Freetown on 4 June.
The convoy, less CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS and ABOSSO,
departed Freetown on 6 June escorted by destroyers BOREAS, DUNCAN,
and HIGHLANDER from 6 to 8 June. Heavy cruiser EXETER proceeded with the convoy.
On 20 June, the convoy arrived at Durban.
The convoy, plus steamer NIEUW ZEELAND (11,069grt)
departed on 23 June, escorted by heavy cruiser EXETER.
The convoy arrived off Aden on 4 July and proceeded independently to Suez.
German steamer DITMAR KOEL (5088grt) was sunk on a
mine near Juist.
Force B light cruisers GLOUCESTER and FIJI with destroyers GRIFFIN and GREYHOUND, returning from an uneventful sweep
through Matapan Strait, was bombed for an hour and a half from 0630 as it was returning to
join Force A-1.
Cruiser GLOUCESTER received some splinter damage from near misses.
Cruiser FIJI received slight hull damage from near misses.
Cruiser GLOUCESTER only had 18% of her anti-aircraft ammunition
remaining. Cruiser FIJI only had 30% remaining.
Force B joined Force A 1 at 0830.
British Force C, composed of light cruisers NAIAD
and PERTH, anti-aircraft cruisers CALCUTTA and CARLISLE, and destroyers
KANDAHAR, KINGSTON, and NUBIAN attacked the Italian SAGITTARIO convoy at 1045
in 36-30N, 24-20E.
Torpedo boat SAGITTARIO was hit several times and
at least one caique was set on fire.
The attack was broken off due to air attacks. The
force withdrew to the southwest, but was hampered in that CARLISLE's maximum speed was only twenty one knots, due to various defects.
Light cruiser NAIAD sustained four near misses and
her speed was limited to 16 knots. Two of her turrets were knocked out. The
damage was structural. T/Sub Lt W. F. Page RCNVR, and six ratings were killed
and thirty one were wounded.
Light cruiser NAIAD was able to proceed to Alexandria arriving on the 23rd.
Anti-aircraft cruiser CARLISLE was hit on the bridge by a bomb and badly damaged. Captain T. C.
Hampton was killed on the cruiser. The cruiser was also struck by a second
Fourteen ratings were killed on the cruiser and
twenty five, including P/Lt D. S. Craig, RM, and A/Cdr W. Pope, were wounded.
The cruiser was repaired at Port Said from 26 May to 20 June.
Destroyer KINGSTON closed to take off survivors from cruiser CARLISLE, but was ordered away. The cruiser was able to continue unassisted.
Destroyer KINGSTON was damaged by a near miss which caused damage to her
machinery and hull. One rating was killed and two were wounded on the
Light cruiser PERTH was damaged by a near miss which damaged her six
inch fire control. She sustained no personnel casualties. The cruiser arrived
at Alexandria on the 23rd.
Force C joined Force A 1 at 1500. The German air
Battleship WARSPITE was hit by a bomb at 1332 that
put her starboard 4" and 6" batteries out of action. Her speed was
reduced to 18 knots. Commissioned Boatswain A. E. Harding and seven ratings
were killed, twenty four were missing, eleven died of wounds, and sixty nine
The battleship arrived at Alexandria on the 24th.
On 25 June, battleship WARSPITE departed Alexandria for repairs at Bremerton, Washington.
The battleship departed Honolulu on 4 August and arrived at Esquimalt on 10 August escorted by two Canadian warships.
She departed that day, under US.escort, for Bremerton, arriving on 11 August.
Repairs were completed on 18 December
Battleship VALIANT was struck by two bombs aft that
caused no serious damage or any personnel casualties.
At about noon, destroyer GREYHOUND (Cdr W. R. Marshall-A'Dean) was detached to sink
a caique, sighted by battleship WARSPITE, between
Pori and Antikithera. The destroyer sank the caique,
but then was sunk herself by bombing while rejoining the Fleet.
Lt H. H. Brasher, P/T/Surgeon Lt B. R. Bray
RNVR,and seventy four ratings were lost on the destroyer.
Lt R. Scott DSC, Lt Cdr (E) R. E. G Bremner,Gunner
(T) J. W. Chase, and several ratings were killed when their whaler was
machine gunned by two ME 109 aircraft.
Four ratings were make prisoners of war.
Destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON picked up survivors, including Marshall-A'Dean,
from the destroyer. Destroyer KINGSTON was damaged by near misses of air bombs.
Light cruisers FIJI and GLOUCESTER were ordered to support destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON.
Light cruisers FIJI and GLOUCESTER, returning to join Force C, came under heavy air
attack at 1550. Cruiser GLOUCESTER was hit by bombs and sunk. Cruiser
FIJI dropped rafts for the survivors and continued with
destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON.
Light cruiser GLOUCESTER (Captain H. A. Rowley) was sunk.
Captain H. W. Rowley, Lt Cdr C. R. Barnett Rtd,
Commissioned Gunner D. Cull, Captain R. Formby, RM, Midshipman J.
Hutton-Attenborough, Lt (E) W. B. Setten, and Lt Cdr W. A. Timmis Rtd were
A/Commissioned Gunner (T) F. A. H. Bond, T/Chaplain
the Reverend W. Bonsey RNVR, Lt Cdr J. Brett DSC, Lt R. S. Brooke, Cdr (E) H.
C. Brown DSO, Lt M. C. Brown, RM, Paymaster Midshipman A. L. Browning,
Paymaster Lt J. Chetwode RNR,
Instructor Lt Cdr J. H. Cooke, Warrant Engineer J. W. Costelloe, Warrant
Shipwright L. A. Dalling, Lt E. O. Daniel DSC, Midshipman J. R. d'E. Darby,
Midshipman J. W. Darling, Surgeon Lt Cdr R. G. Dingwall, OBE, T/Midshipman E.
De B. F. Elliott RNR, Paymaster Midshipman P. A. Espeut, Midshipman L.
W. Evans, Paymaster Lt W. C. F. Grant-Dalton, T/Paymaster Sub Lt R. O. C. Hay
RNVR, A/Paymaster Sub Lt R. J. E. Haynes, Commissioned Gunner E. E. Houshold,
Lt E. G. Hughes RNVR, T/Sub Lt C. F. Kebble RNR, Lt Cdr J. O. Mansell, Commissioned Electrician J.
E. Mitchell, Warrant Engineer A. E. G. Northcott, sub Lt (E) R. J. Orok,
Midshipman R. E. M. Pole, sub Lt (A) N. Q. Reading, Cdr R. J. Robertson DSC,
Lt (E) I. M. Robertson-Walker, Midshipman C. A. M. Rombulow-Pearse, sub Lt H.
Q. Rose, A/Warrant Ordnance Officer T. R. G. Scutt,Sub Lt (A) P. E. Starmer,
Midshipman G. L. Stevens, Cdr R. P. Tanner DSC, Lt R. N. Weir RNVR,
Schoolmaster C. F. Williamson, Midshipman P. N. Wyllie, and A/Gunner A. Young
Three ratings were killed and six hundred and
seventy three ratings, including Petty Officer Airman P. J. Branford and
Petty Officer Airman C. A. Day, were missing. One Marine died in captivity.
Lt Cdr R. A. F. Heap,Surgeon Lt H. G. Singer, MRCS,
LRCP, and eighty ratings were made prisoners of war.
P/T/Surgeon Lt J. F. Donovan, MRCS LRCP RNVR, sub
Lt J. Ellis-Brown, SARNVR, Lt Cdr H. J. F. Lane, T/Lt (E) G. T. Marriner,
A/Signal Boatswain E. G. Middlecote, Lt Cdr P. J. Milner-Barry, Lt F. W.
Nicholls, Senior Master H. C. Rice, T/Lt J. Schierbeck RCNVR, Paymaster Cdr
H. K. Totton, andWarrant Telegraphist C. Wild were not on the cruiser at the time
of the sinking.
Light cruiser FIJI (Captain P. B. R. W. William-Powlett) was sunk at
1830 by air bombs. Destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON dropped rafts and left the area, returning
afterdark to rescue survivors. KINGSTON picked up 339 survivors and KANDAHAR picked up 184. There were 523 survivors of the 780
Warrant Engineer T. E. C. Hallett, Lt Cdr D. A. H.
Hornell MVO, Commissioned Gunner C. W. H. Parrott, Midshipman M. N. Machin,
and T/Chaplain the Reverend C. C. Tanner RNVR, were killed on the cruiser.
T/Electrical Lt H. H. Balean RNVR, Paymaster
Midshipman B. A. Blockley, Surgeon Lt Cdr C. D. D. de Labilliere, Midshipman
P. A. de S. C. de Soissons, Warrant Engineer G. Dunstone, Schoolmaster F. W.
D. Hawkins, T/Lt R. H. Lake RNVR, A/Warrant Mechanic A. T. O'Neill, Cdr (E)
J. E. Saunders, T/Lt R. H. Scales RNVR, and Warrant Shipwright H. E. Wilcox
One rating was killed and one rating died of
wounds. One hundred and ninety two ratings were missing. Thirty Marines were
missing and two NAAFI staff were missing.
Cdr Marshall-A'Dean, formerly of destroyer
GREYHOUND, drowned during rescue operations.
Gunner L. C. C. Eades, Lt (E) E. F. Le Flufy, and
Gunner (T) F. P. Morley were wounded.
Destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON were able to refuel from the battleships in Force
Destroyers STUART, VOYAGER, and VENDETTA coming
from Alexandria were also ordered to pick up FIJI survivors, but they were unable to locate any.
Destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KIPLING, KELVIN, and JACKAL from
Malta joined Force A 1 at 1745/22nd.
At 1930, the destroyers were detached to search of
survivors of cruisers GLOUCESTER and FIJI.
Destroyers DECOY and HERO were detached from Force
A-1 to pick up the King of Greece, the Greek Prime Minister, and other
important personages at Suda Bay.
Commando ship GLENROY with 900 troops departed
Alexandria for Tymbaki escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser
COVENTRY and sloops AUCKLAND and FLAMINGO. They were ordered at 2335/23rd to
return to Alexandria.
Destroyers JAGUAR and DEFENDER with ammunition for
the troops on Crete departed Alexandria and joined Force A-1 off Crete.
The destroyers were detached to Suda
at 2359 on the 23rd.
Heavy cruiser YORK was abandoned after further damage by air bombs.
During the night of 22/23 May in Crete operations.
Destroyer DECOY picked up the King of Greece and
his party from Crete. Destroyer HERO in company picked up other
important personages. Both destroyers rejoined Force A-1 on the 23rd. The
destroyers were sent on ahead later on the 23rd.
Destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, and KIPLING were on patrol in the
area. Destroyer KIPLING experienced a steering defects and withdrew to the
west to correct it.
Destroyers JACKAL and KELVIN patrolled in Kissamo
without event and returned to Force A-1 at dawn.
Destroyers JERVIS, NIZAM, ILEX, and HAVOCK
Light cruisers ORION and AJAX were to join, but were unable to
rendezvous in time and returned to Force D
Destroyer ILEX was damaged by a near miss from
German bombing during the morning of 23 May. There was damage to her
propeller, but sustained no personnel casualties.
Destroyer HAVOCK was near missed by German bombing
with damage to the boiler room.
Fifteen men were killed and ten were wounded.
Force E arrived at Alexandria at 2000/23rd.
Submarine RORQUAL laid mines in the Gulf of
British troopship ARUNDEL
CASTLE arrived at Gibraltar from Freetown.
Friday, 23 May
Minefield SN.64 in the Faroes-North Rona field was
postponed due to the German activity.
Destroyer FARNDALE departed Scapa Flow at 0400 for Rosyth. The destroyer met armed
merchant cruiser MOOLTAN and Norwegian destroyer SLEIPNER off May Island and escorted them to Pentland Firth, where they arrived at 0400/24th having been
delayed by bad visibility.
Destroyer BLANKNEY departed Scapa Flow and relieved destroyer FARNDALE of the escort.
Sloop BLACK SWAN departed Scapa Flow at 0230 for Dundee for machinery repairs. The sloop arrived at 1800.
at Scapa Flow at 0700 from Loch Alsh and berthed alongside
destroyer depot ship TYNE for repairs.
Submarine TROOPER, under construction at the Scotts
yard, was damaged by German bombing at Greenock.
U.38 sank Dutch steamer BERHALA (6622grt), from
dispersed convoy OB.318, at 9-50N, 17-50W. Three crew were lost on the
Destroyers KELLY and KASHMIR sank two caiques in Canea
Destroyers KELLY (Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten
GCVO, DSO) and KASHMIR (Cdr H. A. King) were attacked by German bombers.
Both destroyers were sunk. Destroyer KIPLING rejoined this force during the
attacks and was able to rescue survivors from both ships.
Paymaster Lt Cdr H. J. Reeder, Paymaster Lt E. R.
Pattison RNR, Lt M. V. Sturdy, Surgeon Lt V. J. R. Sheridan
DSC, MB, ChB, A/Sub Lt E. W. Money RNR, Midshipman G. R. Mortimer-Booth RNR, Gunner (T) H. W. T. Brownjohn, Commissioned
Engineer E. W. Cole and ninety ratings were lost (three dead and eighty seven
men missing) in destroyer KELLY.
P/T/Surgeon Lt J. N. Lennox, LRCP & S RNVR, and eighty two ratings
Lt Cdr The Lord Hugh Beresford of destroyer KELLY
and Lt J. E. S. Bush of destroyer KIPLING were lost rescuing men from the
Destroyer KIPLING was badly damaged when the bow of
destroyer KELLY's submerged wreck punctured her fuel tanks, while KIPLING was
alongside the sinking ship.
Destroyer KIPLING was slowed to 20 knots and had a
heavy list to port. The destroyer ran out of fuel seventy miles from Alexandria early on the 24th. Netlayer PROTECTOR refuelled
the destroyer and KIPLING arrived in Alexandria under her own power.
Destroyer KIPLING departed Alexandria on the 27th for repairs at Suez.
Forces A-1 and C returned to Alexandria to refuel and take on ammunition. All forces
arrived at Alexandria early on the 24th.
Destroyers DEFENDER and JAGUAR with ammunition for
were detached from Force A-1, as it retired to Alexandria. The ammunition was delivered early on the 24th
and the destroyers then returned to Alexandria alone, arriving on the 24th.
motor torpedo boats MTB.67, MTB.213 (Lt G. L. Cotton RNVR), MTB.214, MTB.216 (Lt C. L. Coles RNVR), and MTB.217 were sunk in a heavy German dive bombing
There were no personnel casualties.
Damaged Corvette SALVIA arrived at Alexandria from Suda
Australian destroyer WATERHEN delivered stores to
Tobruk during the night of 23/24 May.
Italian submarine SCIRE passed into the Atlantic.
Late on the 24th, the submarine sent up the Guadalite
River to Cadiz where SLC crews waited in the interned Italian tanker FULGOR
Early on the 25th, submarine SCIRE departed Cadiz.
On the 26th, the SLCs were launched against Gibraltar. However, they were discovered entering Gibraltar and no damage was done.
Heavy cruiser LONDON, destroyers HAVELOCK and HARVESTER, and troopship ARUNDEL
CASTLE departed Gibraltar for the UK.
Submarine PANDORA departed Gibraltar for the UK. The submarine proceeded to the United States. She arrived on 28 June and was refitting at Portsmouth, New
completing on 18 December. The submarine departed after trials on 7 January 1942.
En route on the 23rd, the submarine sighted and
pursued an Italian submarine in 41-12N, 11-00W. Anti-submarine trawler
IMPERIALIST was sent to assist.
New Zealand light cruiser LEANDER departed Trincomalee for
Aden where she arrived on the 29th.
Saturday, 24 May
Destroyers ECHO, ICARUS, ELECTRA, and ACHATES were detached from
the battlecruiser HOOD force to search north, then refuel at Hvalfjord.
Battlecruiser HOOD and battleship PRINCE OF WALES
engaged German battleship BISMARCK
and heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN in 63-21N, 32-47W.
Battlecruiser HOOD (Captain R. Kerr CBE) was sunk by gunfire from battleship BISMARCK and heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN. There were only
three survivors. Midshipman W. J. Dundas and two ratings were picked up by
destroyer ELECTRA, which returned with the other destroyers to the scene of
Vice Admiral L. E. Holland CB, Captain R. Kerr
CBE, T/Midshipman N. N. Adams RNR, Lt Cdr C. D. Awdry, Signal Boatswain A. E. T.
Bartley, Lt Cdr A. R. T. Baley, Midshipman T. N. K. Beard RCN, Paymaster Lt R. H. P. Browne, Lt Cdr J. G. P.
Brownrigg, Midshipman D. M. Bryant, Midshipman P. J. Buckett RNVR,
T/A/Warrant Ordnance Officer H. Burgess, P/T/Sub Lt (E) J. H. Cambridge RNVR,
Paymaster Lt Cdr G. V. Carlin RNVR, Captain T. D. Cartwright, RM,
Commissioned Gunner J. A. Chapman, Paymaster Midshipman J. P. Collings,
Commissioned Gunner (T) S. J. Cope, Cdr W. K. R. Cross, Lt (E) R. H. Dale,
Senior Master R. T. Davies, Midshipman H. K. Davies RNVR, Surgeon Lt C. H. C.
Dent RNVR, A/Sub Lt J. R. Down RNVR, Midshipman G. R. Eagles, Lt Cdr (E) J.
G. M. Erskine, Surgeon Lt J. O. Fielding, T/Midshipman D. C. Ford RNR, Warrant Supply Officer T. C. Freeborn, T/Lt L. E.
Friend RNVR, A/Sub Lt N. H. Frodsham, T/Paymaster Lt J. R. Graves RNVR, A/Cdr
E. H. G. Gregson, Cdr (E) R. T. Grogan, Lt Cdr J. W. Hall, Lt D. S. R.
Harris, RM, A/Warrant Engineer C. Haughton, Captain (E) S. J. Herbert,
T/Midshipman R. A. Hibbs RNVR, T/Paymaster Lt N. H. Hoare RNVR, T/Paymaster
Cdr J. M. Hogan, A/Lt (E) M. S. T. Humphrey, Surgeon Cdr H. Hurst,
T/Electrical Lt J. M. Iago RNVR, Midshipman F. L. L. Jones RCN, T/Midshipman R. F. Knight RNR, T/Midshipman P. R. Lapthorn RNVR, Lt E. P. S.
Lewis, Major H. Lumley, RM, Paymaster Lt T. G. P. Luxmoore, Lt Cdr J. L.
Machin, T/Midshipman J. B. McLaren RNR, Lt Cdr E. H. F. Moultrie, T/Lt C. B. N. Newey
RNVR, Midshipman C. J. B. Norman RCN, Lt Cdr G. E. M. Owens, Lt Cdr A. Pares, Surgeon
Lt (D) J. E. C. Peacock, Midshipman R. G. C. Perman, RIN, Paymaster Lt R. G.
Phillips, Warrant Engineer R. A. H. Plumley, Paymaster F. A. P.
Porter-Fauset, Warrant Shipwright W. A. Price, Lt (E) B. C. J. Roach, sub Lt
A. C. R. Robins RNR, Paymaster Cdr D. C. Roe, sub Lt J. H. A.
Scott-Kerr, Lt (E) H. G. E. Smith, T/Lt (E) T. F. Spence, Instructor Cdr D.
M. Steel, T/Midshipman D. P. Stevenson RNR, The Rev. R. J. P. Stewart, Chaplain, T/Lt C. F.
B. Stubbs RNVR, Commissioned Ordnance Officer J. C. Sulley, Commissioned
Telegraphist W. O. Taylor, Commissioned Gunner H. G. H. Tozer, Paymaster
Midshipman G. D. B. Vacher, Commissioned Gunner A. C. Varlow, Warrant
Engineer W. F. B. Walter, P/T/Midshipman K. G. Warden RNR, A/Cdr S. J. P. Warrand, P/Paymaster Sub Lt S.
Watkinson, NZNF, Gunner (T) E. F. Wheeler, P/T/Sub Lt T. Willets RNVR,
T/Midshipman R. G. L. Williams RNVR, A/Warrant Electrician F. J. Woodward, Lt
Cdr H. D. Wyldbore-Smith, and Boatswain R. G. Yates were lost on the
Polish Midshipmen S. Czeruy, K. Szymalski, L.
Zmuda-Trzebiatowski, and O. Zurek were lost on the battlecruiser.
One thousand, three hundred and twenty two ratings
Battleship PRINCE OF WALES sustained damage from four fifteen inch and three eight inch hits in this engagement.
Midshipmen P. T. Dreyer and J. B. Ince and eleven
ratings were killed and Lt Cdr G. W. Rowell, T/Sub Lt E. P. Knight RNVR, and
eight ratings were wounded in the battleship.
Destroyers ELECTRA, ACHATES, ANTHONY, ECHO, ICARUS, and WINDSOR arrived at Hvalfjord at
2140/24th for refuelling. The sixth destroyer with the battlecruiser force,
destroyer ANTELOPE was continuing to search for HOOD survivors until 2200
before proceeding to Hvalfjord.
Destroyer MALCOLM from convoy escort duty was also
ordered into the area to search for survivors.
Battleship PRINCE OF WALES and heavy cruisers NORFOLK and SUFFOLK pursued the German force southward on the 24th.
Battleship RAMILLIES was detached from convoy
HX.127 to search for the German ships. Battleship REVENGE departed Halifax to join convoy HX.127.
Light cruiser EDINBURGH, patrolling near the Azores in 45N, 25W looking for German blockade runners, was ordered to close
German battleship BISMARCK's last known location.
Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE left convoy SL.74 without
permission. The escort was left to armed merchant cruiser BULOLO.
Heavy cruiser LONDON, escorting steamer ARUNDEL
CASTLE with destroyers HAVELOCK and HARVESTER from Gibraltar to join convoy
SL.75 in 43N, 20W, was detached to close BISMARCK's location, but shortly
after was directed to the Azores to intercept German tankers. On the 26th,
the cruiser was directed to join convoy SL.75. She was diverted to Bathurst, arriving to refuel on the 31st and to join convoy
SL.76. On the 25th, the destroyers were instructed to reverse course for
twelve hours, then return to their original route.
Battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL,
light cruiser SHEFFIELD, and destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FORESIGHT,
FOXHOUND, FURY, and HESPERUS departed Gibraltar at 0200 to intercept BISMARCK. At 1245, destroyers FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND, and FURY
were detached to return to Gibraltar. On the 25th, destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, and
HESPERUS returned to Gibraltar to refuel.
Battleship RODNEY and destroyers SOMALI, TARTAR,
and MASHONA were ordered to leave troopship BRITANNIC to destroyer ESKIMO and
proceed towards BISMARCK. Destroyer ESKIMO remained with the troopship
until 0200/26th when she proceeded to Hvalfjord.
Destroyers BEDOUIN and IMPULSIVE remained with
minelayer SOUTHERN PRINCE until 25 May.
Destroyers BULLDOG and AMAZON, corvettes AUBRETIA,
HOLLYHOCK, and NIGELLA, and anti-submarine trawler DANEMAN were with convoy
SC.31 to the south of battlecruiser HOOD nearest the HOOD sinking. The convoy
was taken into Hvalfjord to avoid contact, arriving on the 25th.
Three other Western Approaches convoys were at sea.
Convoy OB.324, which departed Liverpool on the
18th was escorted by destroyers CAMPBELTOWN, WANDERER, and WESTCOTT, sloops
FLEETWOOD and ROCHESTER, and corvettes AUICULA, DIANTHUS, MARIGOLD,
NASTURTIUM, PERIWINKLE, and PRIMROSE. This escort was relieved on the 24th by
destroyers CHELSEA, VERITY, and VETERAN and corvette CONVOLVULUS. Convoy
OB.325, which departed Liverpool on the 21st was escorted by destroyers LEAMINGTON and SALADIN, corvettes CLARKIA and GLADIOLUS, and
anti-submarine trawler ST ZENO. Convoy OB.326, which departed Liverpool on the 22nd, was escorted by destroyers ASSINIBOINE, SALISBURY, and SKATE, corvettes ABELIA, ALISMA, and ANEMONE,
and anti-submarine trawler ST KENAN.
Battleship NELSON was ordered from Freetown to
she escorted convoy SL.75 to 46N before returning to Scapa Flow, arriving on 8 June.
Submarine THUNDERBOLt departed Halifax on the 25th to attempt to intercept the German
Submarine SEALION departed Portsmouth for patrol in Biscay and submarine H.44 departed
Holyhead for Biscay.
Submarines SEAWOLF, STURGEON, TIGRIS, and PANDORA were also deployed in Biscay to intercept.
Submarines SEVERN and CLYDE departed
Gibraltar on the
27th to take up offensive patrols in the Straits of Gibraltar.
Aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS launched nine Swordfish
of 825 Squadron at 2210/24th to attack the BISMARCK. Three Fulmars of 800Z Squadron were flown off at
2300 for shadowing, followed at 0100 by a relief of two more Fulmars. One
Swordfish, piloted by Sub Lt (A) A. J. Houston RNVR, lost contact in the
cloud cover, but the other eight Swordfish attacked the German ship at
No aircraft were lost in the attack. However, in
the relief flight of Fulmars, one Fulmar off 800Z Squadron, piloted by Lt (A)
F. C. Furlong RNVR, with Observer P/Sub Lt (A) J. E. M. Hoare RNVR, crashed
into the sea on return. They were picked up by a merchant ship. A second
Fulmar of 800Z Squadron, piloted by Lt B. D. Cambell with Observer Sub Lt M.
G. Goodger RNVR, was lost with its crew.
On a search mission after the raid, sub Lt (A) P.
B. Jackson died on the 25th when the plane crashed landed in the sea. A/Sub
Lt (A) D. A. Berrill and Leading Airman F. G. Sparkes from Jackson's plane
were able to survive in an abandoned lifeboat before being picked on 3 June
up by Icelandic steamer LAGARFOSS (1211grt) which took them to Reykjavik. Lt
(A) H. C. M. Pollard, sub Lt (A) D. M. Beattie RNVR, and Leading Airman P. W.
Clitheroe of 825 Squadron were lost when their Swordfish failed to return on
the 26th from a search mission.
At 0306, on the 25th the German ships were able to
shake the shadowing cruisers in 56-23N, 36-05W. Heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN
broke away and returned to Brest.
Battleship PRINCE OF WALES was sent southward from the shadowing force to
join Tovey's main group.
Destroyer LANCE proceeded to Hvalfjord at 1030.
Destroyers BEDOUIN and IMPULSIVE having left minelayer SOUTHERN PRINCE in
48-35N, 31-45W were also en route to Hvalfjord.
Destroyers BEDOUIN and IMPULSIVE had been detached
to refuel with instructions if they encountered the German ships destroyer
IMPULSIVE was to make a contact report, while destroyer BEDOUIN engaged them.
Destroyer JUPITER, which had departed Plymouth for
Scapa Flow to work
up, was diverted to refuel at Skaalefjord and await orders there. On the
26th, the destroyer was ordered to refuel at Londonderry and join the battleship RODNEY.
Destroyers ELECTRA, ANTHONY, ECHO, and ACHATES departed Hvalfjord at 2200/25th to
meet battleship PRINCE OF WALES.
At 0200/26th, destroyers COSSACK, SIKH, and ZULU
were detached from convoy WS.8B to join the main body of the Home Fleet.
Destroyers MAORI and PIORUN were detached from the same convoy to join
Destroyers ICARUS, WINDSOR, SAGUENAY, ACTIVE, and ASSINIBOINE departed Reykjavik at 0800/26th to join aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS.
Destroyer ANTELOPE remained at Reykjavik with defects that made her unfit for sea.
Destroyers INGLEFIELD, NESTOR, PUNJABI, LEGION, and
LANCE departed Iceland for Londonderry. The
destroyers refuelled on the 28th.
Destroyer SOMALI was detached on the 26th from
battleship RODNEY to refuel.
Destroyers TARTAR and MASHONA were detached from
battleship RODNEY during the night of 26/27 May to refuel.
At 1910, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL launched four
Swordfish of 810 Squadron, four of 818 Squadron, and seven of 820 Squadron.
At 2230/26th, the Swordfish attacked battleship BISMARCK. A hit wrecked the battleship's steering gear.
In one Swordfish of 820 Squadron, sub Lt (A) F. A.
Swanton and Leading Airman J. R. Seager of 820 Squadron were wounded and Sub
Lt (A) G. A. Woods RNVR, was unhurt when the aircraft was badly shot up.
At 2310/26th, destroyers COSSACK and ZULU contacted
the German battleship. At 0100/27th, destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, SIKH, and
ZULU carried out torpedo attacks.
Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, and ZULU were damaged by
splinters from the battleship's guns. Three crew on ZULU were wounded.
Several crew on destroyer MAORI, including Cdr H. T. Armstrong were wounded.
Light cruiser SHEFFIELD exchanged shots with the German battleship. The
light cruiser was damaged by splinters and sustained twelve men wounded;
three of these ratings died of wounds.
Battleship PRINCE OF WALES arrived at Iceland at 0530/27th with light cruisers AURORA and
GALATEA and destroyers ANTHONY, ELECTRA, ECHO, and ACHATES. Destroyer ANTHONY departed Hvalfjord
on the 27th for Scapa Flow, arriving at 1100/29th. The battleship departed on
the 28th escorted by destroyers ELECTRA, ECHO, and ACHATES.
The battleship arrived escorted by destroyers
ELECTRA, ECHO, and ACHATES at Rosyth on the 30th for repair. En
route, the destroyers suffered weather damage which was repaired at Rosyth.
Destroyer ELECTRA departed Rosyth at 1430/31st for Scapa Flow arriving at 0300 on 1 June. Destroyer ACHATES
departed Rosyth at 1100 on 7 June for Scapa Flow, arriving at 2000. Destroyer ECHO departed Rosyth at 1500 on 17 June for Scapa Flow, arriving at 0200 on 18 June. Battleship PRINCE OF
WALES departed Rosyth after repair on 19 July for Scapa Flow.
Polish destroyer PIORUN of Vian's destroyer force,
returning to Plymouth to refuel, was attacked by German torpedo bombers
on the 27th, but was undamaged. The destroyer arrived on the 28th.
Battleships KING GEORGE V and RODNEY attacked BISMARCK on the 27th and wrecked her upper works. The
Battleships are forced to withdraw to refuel.
Heavy cruisers DORSETSHIRE and NORFOLK shell and torpedo the German ship.
The battleship sank soon after at 1101 in 48-09N,
Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE rescued four officers and
seventy eight ratings and destroyer MAORI rescued 24 ratings. Rescue efforts
are terminated when a submarine alarm was received. .
Spanish cruiser CANARIAS departed El Ferrol with destroyers GRAVINA and ALCALA GALIANO of the
1st Destroyer Flotilla at approximately 1100/27th to render assistance to the
German battleship. The destroyers were forced to return to Ferrol almost
immediately because of heavy weather. On the 30th, the cruiser picked up two
bodies which were buried at sea.
On the 28th, U.74 rescued three survivors and
weather ship SACHSENWALD rescued two more survivors.
Battleships KING GEORGE V and RODNEY retired from
the battle escorted by destroyers COSSACK, MAORI SIKH, ZULU, and JUPITER. By
1600/28th, eleven more destroyers joined the battleshipsDestroyers SOMALI,
ESKIMO, PUNJABI, NESTOR, INGLEFIELD, LANCE having departed Londonderry on the 28th to join. Destroyers VANQUISHER,
SHERWOOD, ST CLAIR, COLUMBIA,
and RIPLEY also joined the screen.
Heavy cruiser NORFOLK was near missed by a German bombing bombing off
the west coast of Ireland. The cruiser arrived in the Clyde on the 28th.
Destroyers BEDOUIN and IMPULSIVE departed Hvalfjord
on the 28th for Skaalefjord and Scapa Flow,
respectively. Destroyer BEDOUIN arrived at Skaalefjord at 1900 and sailed at
2030 escorting steamer BEN MY CHREE (2586grt) to Iceland. They arrived at Iceland at 2030/30th and departed to return at 1830/31st.
The two arrived back at Skaalefjord at 2230 on 1 June. Destroyer IMPULSIVE
arrived at Scapa Flow at 0900/30th.
On the 28th, the forces split.
Battleship KING GEORGE V with destroyers SOMALI,
COSSACK, ESKIMO, PUNJABI, NESTOR, LANCE, and JUPITER proceeded to Loch Ewe.
Battleship RODNEY with heavy cruiser NORFOLK and destroyers MAORI, SIKH, LEGION, and COLUMBIA proceeded to the Clyde, arriving at 0300/29th.
Destroyer MASHONA (Cdr W. H. Selby) was sunk by
German bombers southwest of Ireland while about 100 miles from Tovey's force. Lt Cdr W. A. Elliott Rtd and thirty five ratings
were lost with the destroyer; Elliott and ten ratings dying of exposure after
being rescued. They were buried at sea. Seven officers and one hundred and twenty ratings
were picked up by destroyer TARTAR which was in company. Destroyer SHERWOOD
picked up two officers and fifty four ratings and destroyer ST CLAIR four officers and eight ratings. SHERWOOD and ST CLAIR scuttled the wreck
of the destroyer. TARTAR, SHERWOOD, and ST CLAIR arrived
at Moville at 0600/29th, when all the survivors were put aboard
TARTAR. She then proceeded and arrived at Gourock at 1545/29th.
Destroyer ACTIVE departed Londonderry at 0015/28th to join aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS,
which arrived in the Clyde on the 29th at 1330, escorted by destroyers ACTIVE, WINDSOR, and
On the 29th, battleship KING GEORGE V arrived at
Loch Ewe with destroyers SOMALI, NESTOR, JUPITER, LANCE, COSSACK, ESKIMO, and
PUNJABI. Destroyer INGLEFIELD arrived at 1100 after the main group at Loch
Ewe to refuel.
Destroyer ZULU arrived at Londonderry at 0900/29th to refuel and landed wounded.
On the 30th, battleship KING GEORGE V departed Loch
Ewe at 0300 and arrived at Scapa
Flow with destroyers SOMALI,
ZULU, ESKIMO, PUNJABI, NESTOR, LANCE, COSSACK, JUPITER, and INGLEFIELD.
Destroyer SOMALI departed Scapa Flow at 2000 for Southampton for refitting. She arrived at 1100 on 1 June.
Destroyers MAORI and SIKH departed Clyde for Scapa Flow at 1030/30th and arrived at 2230.
Destroyers ICARUS, ANTELOPE, and ACTIVE departed
the Clyde for Scapa Flow at
1300/30th. They arrived at noon on the 31st.
Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Methil and met
convoy EC.23 at 1630 off May Island escorting it northward.
The ship parted company with the convoy in Pentland Firth and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1830/25th.
U.38 sank British steamer VULCAIN (4362grt) at
Seven crew were lost. Twenty one were detained in
French W. Africa. Thirteen crew were repatriated to Freetown.
U.103 sank Greek steamer MARIONGA (4236grt) in
Twenty six crew from the steamer were lost. Three
survivors were taken off a raft in 5-42N, 10-29W on the 28th.
British tanker OCTANE (2034grt) was damaged on a
mine in 50-08N, 5-02W. Three crew were killed on the tanker.
The tanker was beached one cable northwest of
Anthony. The tanker was drydocked at Falmouth on 4 June and later taken to Barry.
British steamer SARNIA (711grt) was damaged by German bombing at anchor
in Milford Haven.
The steamer was towed to Milford Docks.
Greek steamer MATRONNA (2846grt) was sunk by German
bombing in Dale Roads at Milford Haven. The crew were all rescued.
British steamer CRESSDENE (4270grt) was damaged by
German bombers in Mumbles Roads.
Minelayer ABDIEL departed Alexandria during the night of 23/24 May and landed 200
commandoes at Suda Bay
during the night of 24/25 May.
The minelayer arrived back at Alexandria on the 25th.
Eight hundred commandos from troopship GLENROY were
embarked on destroyers NIZAM, ISIS, DECOY, and HERO which departed Alexandria at 0900/24th. These troops were not landed at Port
Lutro due to bad weather.
The operation was covered by light cruisers DIDO
and AJAX and destroyers KIMBERLEY, HOTSPUR, IMPERIAL, and JANUS which departed Alexandria at 0800/24th.
Destroyer JANUS was detached soon after sailing to
return to Alexandria.
Light cruisers AJAX and DIDO with destroyers KIMBERLEY, HOTSPUR, and IMPERIAL were to bombard Maleme
during the night of 24/25 May. The operation was cancelled when cruiser AJAX was unable to arrive due to bad weather.
The Force returned towards Kaso
Strait to sweep the north coast during the night of 25/26 May.
Destroyers NAPIER, KELVIN, and JACKAL departed
Alexandria on the 25th to relieve the three destroyers in the
At 37-56N, 15-36E, submarine UPHOLDER torpedoed
Vichy French tanker CAPITAINE DAMIANI (4854grt), which had departed Marseille
on the 19th in company of tanker ALBERTA (3357grt) for Constanza.
The tanker reached Messina that evening. She departed the next day and
arrived at Naples on the 27th. Tanker CAPITAINE DAMIANI departed
Naples under the tow of tug GOLIATH on 12 June after
temporary repairs. They arrived at Marseilles on 19 June.
Naval drifter AURORA II (76grt) was sunk by German
bombing at Tobruk.
Destroyer BRILLIANT departed Gibraltar for Freetown.
CLYDE arrived at
Gibraltar from Holy Loch.
Greek troopship NEA HELLAS, returning from the Middle
East, arrived at Gibraltar from Freetown.
British steamer TRAFALGAR (4530grt) was sunk by
German raider ATLANTIS at 25S, 1E.
Twelve crew were lost on the steamer.
British troopship DUCHESS OF YORK departed Singapore with 326 personnel. The troopship was escorted by
light cruiser GLASGOW to 0-50N, 70E when heavy cruiser CANBERRA relieved the light cruiser.
One hundred and forty additional personnel were
embarked at Colombo. The troopship arrived at Mombasa on 9 June.
Sunday, 25 May
Destroyer JUPITER in the Irish Sea was ordered to join the screen of battleship
The destroyer did not join until after BISMARCK had been sunk.
Convoy SC.31 arrived at Hvalfjord on the 25th to
avoid contact with the German ships with destroyers CAMPBELTOWN, WANDERER,
and WESTCOTT, sloops FLEETWOOD and ROCHESTER, and corvettes AURICULA, DIANTHUS, MARIGOLD,
NASTURTIUM, PERIWINKLE, and PRIMROSE which had relieved the destroyer BULLDOG
group the day before.
The convoy was able to proceed and arrived at Liverpool on the 30th.
Convoy OG.63 departed Liverpool scorted by destoyer READING, corvettes HIBISCUS and PIMPERNEL, ocean boarding
vessel CORINTHIAN, and anti-submarine trawlers RUNSWICK
and ST MELANTE. The ocean boarding vessel was detached that day.
On the 26th, the convoy was joined by destroyer
VANQUISHER and sloop WELLINGTON. On the 27th, corvette FREESIA joined the escort. Destroyer
VANQUISHER was detached on the 27th to Fleet operations and later joined
On the 30th, destroyer READING and corvettes
FREESIA, HIBISCUS, and PIMPERNEL were detached to convoy SL.74.
Corvette JONQUIL, Dutch submarine O.23, and
anti-submarine trawler LADY HOGARTH joined the convoy on 1 June. Destroyer
WRESTLER departed Gibraltar on 7 June after submarine attacks to reinforce
the convoy to Cape Spartel, then join aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS. On 7 June,
corvette AZALEA joined the convoy.
The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 7 June.
U.103 sank Dutch steamer WANGI WANGI (7789grt) in
5-24N, 12W. One crewman was lost on the steamer.
Faroes motor fishing vessel HARRY (125grt) was
badly damaged by German bombing thirty miles north of Rattray Head.
The vessel was sunk seventeen miles north by west
of Kinnaird Head after an unsuccessful attempt to tow.
German steamer SILVIA (1049grt) was sunk by bombing
near Den Helder.
British operation MAQ 3 was put into motion.
Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and BARHAM, aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE (with
twelve aircraft), and destroyers JERVIS, NUBIAN, HEREWARD, KANDAHAR, HASTY, JANUS, VOYAGER, and VENDETTA departed
A Convoy to Tobruk consisting of British tanker
HELKA (3471grt) escorted by sloop GRIMSBY and trawler SOUTHERN MAID was attacked by Italian
bombers near Tobruk.
Steamer HELKA was sunk and sloop GRIMSBY (Cdr K. J. D'Arcy) was hit by two bombs and also
sunk forty miles northeast of Tobruk.
Eleven ratings were lost on the sloop. One crewman
and one gunner were lost on the tanker.
Trawler SOUTHERN MAID rescued the survivors from
During the night of 25/26 May, light cruisers DIDO
and AJAX and destroyers KELVIN, JACKAL, and NAPIER swept
north of Crete.
Greek steamer LEROS (846grt) was sunk by German
bombing at Heraklion.
An Italian convoy departed Naples on the 24th for
Tripoli with troopships CONTE ROSSO (17,879 tons; with 2729 troops and crew),
MARCO POLO (12,272grt), VICTORIA (13,098grt), and ESPERIA (11,398grt)
escorted by destroyers FRECCIA and CAMICIA NERA and torpedo boats PROCIONE,
ORSA, and PEGASO.
The convoy was supported by heavy cruisers TRIESTE and BOLZANO and destroyers CORAZZIERE, LANCIERE, and ASCARI.
The convoy was just clearing the Straits of Messina
on the 25th when submarine UPHOLDER sank the CONTE ROSSO ten miles 85° from
Capo Murro di Porco.
Torpedo boats CIGNO, PALLADE, and CLIO were
involved in rescuing the survivors from the troopship.
After the loss of the CONTE ROSSO, the convoy
returned to Naples.
Convoy HG.63 departed Gibraltar escorted by sloop SCARBOROUGH, Dutch submarine O.23, and corvettes GERANIUM and
JONQUIL, and anti-submarine trawler LADY HOGARTH.
The corvettes, submarine, and trawler were detached
on the 31st.
On 2 June, the convoy was joined by destroyers
CAMPELTOWN, WANDERER, and WESTCOTT, corvettes AURICULA, MARIGOLD, and
PERIWINKLE, and catapult ship PEGASUS.
Catapult ship PEGASUS was detached on 8 June.
The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 9 June.
British oiler CAIRNDALE and store ship CITY OF DIEPPE departed
escorted by submarine SEVERN. The storeship was detached in 43-00N, 35-00W for
St Johns, Newfoundland. The oiler and submarine patrolled in the vicinity
of that position to refuel British ships as necessary.
On the 25th, submarine SEVERN was recalled to patrol in the Straits of Gibraltar against a possible
passage by the German battleship BISMARCK.
Submarines SEVERN and CLYDE departed
Gibraltar on the
27th for this patrol.
When word of the sinking of the BISMARCK was received, submarine SEVERN was ordered to overtake storeship CITY OF DIEPPE and escort her. This was later cancelled
and submarine was ordered to return to Gibraltar. Oiler CAIRNDALE was ordered to return to Gibraltar.
Destroyer WISHART arrived at Gibraltar from Bathurst.
Light cruiser DUNEDIN departed
Freetown. Her defective boiler had been blanked off.
Destroyers FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, and FOXHOUND
departed Gibraltar to meet arriving aircraft carrier ARGUS and escort
her to Gibraltar.
Monday, 26 May
Battleship RAMILLIES rejoined convoy HX.127 after
an uneventful part in the BISMARCK
Destroyers FARNDALE and HAMBLEDON and sloops SUTLEJ and STORK departed Scapa
Flow at 0700/26th to join
Destroyer HAMBLEDON arrived at Loch Ewe for
refuelling at 2300/31st.
Destroyer HAMBLEDON and sloops SUTLEJ and STORK arrived back at Scapa Flow after
this duty on 1 June1400.
Submarine P.32 departed Holy Loch for the Mediterranean.
On the 31st, the submarine was damaged by German
bombing near miss off Cape
Submarine P.32 arrived at Gibraltar on 3 June and was under repair 4 June to 4 July.
Submarine H.31 ran aground at Lagan.
The submarine was repaired at Belfast from 28 May to 9 June.
British steamer GROS PIERRE (297grt) was damaged by
German bombing off Sunderland.
The steamer was beached. She was refloated and
British trawler H. E. STROUD (214grt) was damaged
by German bombing ten miles 135° from Lamb Head, Stromsay. One crewman was
The trawler was towed by another trawler to Kirkwall and later repaired.
British commando ship GLENROY departed Alexandria on the 25th escorted by anti-aircraft cruiser
COVENTRY and destroyers STUART and JAGUAR.
The movement was covered by Force A.
The mission was abandoned later in the day after
damage to the commando ship by bombing attack.
The GLENROY force returned to Alexandria.
Convoy AN.31 of three Greek ships departed Alexandria for
Crete escorted by
and sloop AUCKLAND.
Convoy AN.31 was joined by anti-aircraft cruiser
CALCUTTA and destroyer DEFENDER.
Greek steamer ALFIOS (5116grt) returned to Alexandria after an engine failure.
The convoy was ordered back to Alexandria on the 27th.
Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE launched six Albacore
aircraft for an air raid on Scarpanto in Operation MAQ 3.
Aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE (Captain A. W. La T.
Bissett) was hit by two bombs and disabled.
Twelve ratings were killed and ten were wounded on
the aircraft carrier.
Destroyer NUBIAN (Cdr R. W. Ravenhill) was hit by a
bomb in the stern which destroyed the stern above the water line, but left
the screws and rudder intact. Destroyer NUBIAN was escorted back to Alexandria by destroyer JACKAL.
Fifteen ratings were killed on destroyer NUBIAN and
six were wounded.
Light cruisers AJAX and DIDO and destroyers JERVIS and DECOY joined
the Force late on the 26th.
The carrier returned to Alexandria at daylight on the 27th with light cruisers AJAX and DIDO and destroyers NUBIAN, JACKAL, DECOY,
HEREWARD, JAGUAR, VOYAGER, and VENDETTA.
After emergency repairs, aircraft carrier
FORMIDABLE departed Alexandria on 23 July and passed through the
Suez Canal on 24 July. She arrived at Norfolk, Virginia for repairs on 26 August. Repairs were completed
on 12 December 1941.
Destroyer NUBIAN after emergency repairs proceeded
to Port Tewfik arriving on 13 June. She was drydocked at Port Ibrahim from 23
July to 10 August. The destroyer was accompanied by damaged destroyer ISIS to
Aden where she waited a month for the monsson season to
pass. The destroyer arrived at Bombay on 27 September in company of destroyer ISIS for repairs completed in September 1942.
Minelayer ABDIEL and destroyers HERO and NIZAM
departed Alexandria on the 26th landed the troops, originally embarked on
troopship GLENROY, then destroyers ISIS, NIZAM, DECOY, and HERO, at Suda Bay
during the night of 26/27 May.
Seven hundred and fifty troops were landed. Nine
hundred and thirty unnecessary personnel were embarked.
The movement was covered by battleships QUEEN
ELIZABETH and BARHAM with destroyers HASTY, JANUS, NAPIER, JERVIS, and
A sweep off Milos by destroyers NUBIAN, KANDAHAR,
and JANUS in the night of 26/27 May with a feint staged by light cruiser AJAX
and DIDO and destroyers NAPIER, KELVIN, and JACKAL was cancelled after air
attacks which damaged aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE and destroyer NUBIAN.
Greek steamer EMMANUEL PTERIS (145grt) was sunk by
German bombing in Candia Harbour.
Greek steamer ROKOS (6426grt) was sunk by German
bombing in Suda Bay.
Italian torpedo boats CIRCE, CALLIOPE, CLIO, and
PERSEO laid mines east of Malta.
An Italian supply convoy of steamers ANDREA GRITTI
(6338grt), SEBASTIANO VENIER (6311grt), MARCO FOSCARINI (6342grt), RIALTO (6099grt), ANKARA (4768grt), and BARBARIGO (5293grt), escorted by
destroyers VIVALDI and DA NOLI and torpedo boats CIGNO, PEGASO, PROCIONE,
departed Naples for Tripoli.
Distant cover was given by cruiser CARDONA and destroyers
MAESTRALE and GRECALE.
An air attack on the convoy from aircraft from
Malta damaged steamers SEBASTIANO VENIER and MARCO
The convoy arrived at Tripoli on the 28th.
Dutch gunboat VAN KINSBERGEN captured Vichy French
steamer WINNIPEG (8379grt) east of Madagascar.
Convoy BA.2 departed Bombay, escorted by armed merchant cruiser KANIMBLA,
which was detached on the 31st. The convoy arrived at Aden on 8 June.
Tuesday, 27 May
Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE departed
rejoin the Home Fleet after refitting which began on 14 February.
The heavy cruiser arrived at Scapa Flow on the 28th.
Light cruisers GALATEA and AURORA arrived at
On the 28th, CS.2 transferred to light cruiser
AURORA from light cruiser GALATEA.
Light cruiser GALATEA then departed Hvalfjord on
the 28th for the Clyde to store and embark passengers for the Mediterranean.
The light cruiser arrived in the Clyde on the 30th.
Light cruiser GALATEA continued on and arrived at
Plymouth on the 31st.
Convoy OB.326 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer SKATE and ALISMA. The
corvette was detached the next day. Destroyers ASSINIBOINE and SALISBURY, corvettes ABELIA and ANEMONE, anti-submarine
yacht PHILANTE, and anti-submarine trawler joined on the 23rd. The escort was
detached when the convoy was dispersed on the 26th.
Destroyer MATABELE completed repairs at Barrow.
Leaving Barrow on 4 June, the destroyer ran aground
on 5 June and returned for further repair.
The destroyer was under repair until August.
Minelayer TEVIOTBANK, escorted by destroyer
COTSWOLD, laid minefield BS.62 off the east coast of England.
Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Scapa Flow at 2100 and met convoy WN.32 in the Pentland Firth.
Off Buchan Ness on the 28th, the ship transferred
to convoy EC.25. In the early part of the morning of 29 May, the ship
transferred to convoy WN.33. The convoy was taken to Methil arriving at noon on the 30th.
Ocean boarding vessel REGISTAN (5886grt, A/Cdr E.
A. Divers RNR), en route to Southampton for refitting, was damaged off Cape
Cornwall by German bombing.
Lt Cdr J. W. Tone RNR, P/T/Lt G. Cox RNR, Midshipman H. C. R. Powell RNR, T/A/Gunner H. N. Watson, T/Lt A. G. Muir RNR, T/Lt Cdr (E) E. Ashworth RNR, T/Lt (E) G. Bishop RNR, T/Lt D. J. B. Joel, M. P. RNVR, T/Surgeon Lt A.
T. Leggate RNVR,T/A/Sub Lt (E) C. C. Cuff RNVR, T/A/Sub Lt (E) J. A. McGough
RNVR, T/A/Sub Lt (E) C. J. Tidey RNVR, T/A/Sub Lt (E) L. R. Warn RNVR, and
fifty two ratings were lost.
Destroyers WIVERN, VANSITTART, and WILD SWAN
departed Plymouth to assist the vessel.
Destroyer WILD SWAN picked up a party of twenty in
charge of T/Paymaster Sub Lt J. S. Learmond RNR. Four survivors died of wounds.
Destroyer WIVERN picked up thirty six survivors and
The St Ives lifeboat, two motor launches, and a tug
was sent to assist.
Cdr Divers and five men reboarded the vessel which
was taken in tow. The vessel was taken to Falmouth and beached.
The first CAM ship used by the British, MICHAEL E, sailed as
escort to convoy OB.327.
However, before she catapulted her Hurricane
aircraft, she was sunk on 2 June by U.108.
Minesweeping trawler EVESHAM (239grt, Skipper G. R.
Bull RNR) was sunk by near misses of German bombing off
Yarmouth. No crew
were killed in the loss.
U.107 sank British steamer COLONIAL (5108grt) in
9-13N, 15-09W. The entire crew was rescued by target ship CENTURION.
Norwegian steamer ROYKSUND (695grt) was sunk by
German bombing 50-46N, 5-18W.
Three crew and three gunners were lost on the
steamer. Ten survivors were rescued by destroyer CLEVELAND.
Battleship BARHAM was bombed on Y turret off Kaso
while covering the withdrawal of the minelayer ABDIEL force.
Seven ratings were killed and six crew were
Battleship BARHAM departed Alexandria, after emergency repairs, on the 31st escorted by
destroyers JANUS and KANDAHAR
and sloop FLAMINGO.
The three escorts arrived back at Alexandria on 1 June.
The battleship was repaired at Durban, completed 30 July.
Destroyers IMPERIAL, KIMBERLEY, and HOTSPUR embarked troops for Suda
at Alexandria, but the sailing was cancelled.
Submarine UNBEATEN was repairing grounding damage
at Malta until 4 June.
Italian destroyer CRISPI, torpedo boats LIRA and
LINCE, and two MAS boats departed Rhodes to land troops at Sitia
Crete during the night of 28/29 May.
Armed trawler THORBRYN (305grt) was sunk by German
bombing off Tobruk.
Naval whaler SYVERN (307grt, Lt Cdr R. E. Clarke
RNR), on passage from Crete, was sunk by German bombing.
T/Lt (E) J. W. Carr RNR, and T/Lt A. R. J. Tilston RNR, were wounded.
Greek steamers ANTONIOS (1187grt) and JULIA
(4352grt) was sunk by German bombing at Suda
The crews were landed safely in Crete.
Submarine TRUANT sighted as suspicious tanker in
40-13N, 38-19W, but lost contact. The submarine was unable to regain contact.
Convoy HX.129 departed Halifax, escorted by armed merchant cruiser CHITRAL and
destroyers BUXTON and ST
CROIX; the destroyers
were detached the next day.
Convoy BHX.129 departed Bermuda on the 27th escorted by ocean escort armed merchant cruiser RANPURA.
The convoy rendezvoused with convoy HX.129 on the 31st and the armed merchant
cruiser was detached.
Battlecruiser REPULSE joined on the 31st. On 3
June, corvettes COLINGWOOD and ORILLIA joined the convoy and were detached on 7 June.
Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK joined the escorted on 4 June and the
battlecruiser was detached. On 6 June, destroyers VERITY, VETERAN, and
WOLVERINE and corvettes BEGONIA and CONVOLVULUS joined and the heavy cruiser
was detached. Destroyers CHELSEA, LINCOLN, MANSFIELD, and VENOMOUS, catapult
ship SPRINGBANK, corvettes ALISMA, KINGCUP and SUNFLOWER, and anti-submarine
trawler WALLARD joined. Corvette ALISMA was detached on 10 June and
destroyers CHELSEA, LINOLN, MANSFIELD, VETERAN, and WOLVERINE and corvette
SUNFLOWER were detached on 11 June. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 12 June.
Wednesday, 28 May
Scapa Flow at 1200 on completion of repairs for Loch Alsh.
Light cruiser EDINBURGH intercepted German steamer
LECH (3290grt), which had left Rio de Janiero on 28
April, in 45-33N, 23-25W, four hundred miles north of the Azores.
The steamer scuttled herself.
Convoy OB.327 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers RAMSEY and RIPLEY.
Destroyer RIPLEY was detached the next day. On the 29th, destroyer WALKER and
minesweepers HEBE, SEAGULL, and SHARPSHOOTER joined. The escort was detached
when the convoy dispersed on 1 June.
U.107 sank Greek steamer PAPALEMOS (3748grt) in
8-06N, 16-18W. Two crew were lost on the steamer.
During the night of 28/29 May, the evacuation of
Heraklion, Force B - light cruisers DIDO, AJAX, ORION with destroyers HOTSPUR, KIMBERLEY, HEREWARD, JACKAL, DECOY, and IMPERIAL departed
Alexandria on the 28th.
En route on the 28th, both AJAX and IMPERIAL were near missed by air bombs. Damage
to AJAX also included an aerial torpedo hit which caused
AJAX to return to base. Destroyer IMPERIAL was able to
Cruiser AJAX sustained five ratings killed and Commissioned
Gunner C. N. Lewis and eighteen ratings, one dying of wounds, were wounded.
Destroyer IMPERIAL had one man wounded.
The force arrived at Heraklion at 2330 and set off
After lifting troops, the steering gear on IMPERIAL
(Lt Cdr C. A. De W. Kitcat) failed. The destroyer was abandoned and scuttled
by destroyer HOTSPUR in 35-23N, 25-38E.
Bombing attacks while the force was returning badly
damaged destroyer HEREWARD (Lt W. J. Munn) which was later sunk after being
Gunner (T) W. O. Brown was killed and Lt N. A. E.
P. Acheson, Lt J. R. Paterson, and A/Lt I. B. Souter RNVR, were missing.
Midshipman P. P. C. Bateman, Lt (E) D. N.
Callaghan, Lt J. E. Mammatt, Lt W. J. Munn, Lt T. F. P. U. Page, and
T/Surgeon Lt P. C. Steptoe RNVR, were taken prisoner. Bateman died as a
prisoner of war on 14 September 1943.
Four ratings were killed and sixty seven ratings
Eighty five ratings were taken prisoner; one dying
whilst in captivity.
Light cruiser ORION (Captain G. R. B. Back) was hit
by German bombs on A turret at 0900 and on the bridge at 1045. The cruiser
was also near missed at 0930, causing damage.
Back, Midshipman J. C. R. Pounsford, Lt Cdr C. M.
Sarsfield-Hall Rtd, Midshipman D. St. C. Reid, Lt Cdr (E) J. H. Pears, Lt (E)
A. L. C. J. Spearman, Lt (E) D. O. B. Taylor, Paymaster Midshipman C. J.
Duncan, sub Lt J. A. Osborn RNVR, and ninety seven ratings were killed.
Eighty four crew, including T/Sub Lt (E) D. Bradshaw, were wounded. Of the
1100 troops on the cruiser, one hundred and fifty five were killed and two
hundred and sixteen were wounded.
Cruiser ORION arrived at Alexandria at 2000/28th.
The cruiser was later taken to Simonstown for
temporary repair. She departed Aden en route on 29 June. Light cruiser ORION was under
repair at Simonstown from 14 July to 5 August. The cruiser then proceeded to
Mare Island, California, where she was under repair from 5 September to
Light cruiser DIDO was hit onB turret by a German
bomb. Twenty seven ratings were killed and ten crew were wounded and nineteen
soldiers were killed and twenty eight soldiers were wounded.
Light cruiser DIDO arrived at Alexandria at 2000/28th.
Light cruiser DIDO departed Alexandria on the 31st. On 1 June, cruiser DIDO arrived at
Port Said. On 2 July, the cruiser arrived at Durban. She proceeded on to New York and was repaired in the Brooklyn Navy Yard
completing on 31 October.
Destroyer DECOY was damaged by a near miss. She
sustained one crewman killed eight were wounded.
Force B reached Alexandria at 2200/29th.
Three thousand, four hundred and eight six troops
were evacuated from Heraklion.
Sphakia, Force C - destroyers NAPIER, NIZAM,
KELVIN, and KANDAHAR departed Alexandria at the same time as Force D The group lifted 1000
men without loss.
Force C arrived back at Alexandria with six hundred and eight troops at 2100/29th.
Cdr G. H. Beale and Warrant Observer E. S. Wicks,
from GREBE operating from Maleme, were made prisoners of war on the 29th.
Submarine PERSEUS unsuccessfully attacked a steamer
in the Gulf of Nauplia.
Greek steamer GEORGOS (667grt) was sunk by German
bombing at Candia.
Greek steamer AGHIA KYRIAKI (298grt) was sunk by
German bombing near Cape Kephola, Crete.
Motor launch ML.1030 (Lt W. M. O. Cooksey RNVR) was
lost on passage from Suda Bay.
OLYMPUS arrived at
Gibraltar from Malta.
Gibraltar for patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Destroeyrs FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FURY, and WISHART
departed Gibraltar to escort Force H.into port.
Battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL,
light cruiser SHEFFIELD, and destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FURY, and
WISHART arrived at Gibraltar on the 29th.
SEVERN sighted a
submarine on the surface in 36-58N, 10-48W.
Light cruiser LIVERPOOL departed Manila for San Francisco for repair of October 1940 bomb damage.
Thursday, 29 May
Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE arrived in the Tyne to refit.
Light cruiser EDINBURGH arrived at Scapa Flow after
Bay of Biscay
Convoy OB.328 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers BEAGLE and BOADICEA. The
convoy was joined on the 30th by destroyers COLUMBIA and
EGRET, minesweepers BRAMBLE and GOSSAMER, and anti-submarine trawlers LADY
MADELEINE and ST LOMAN. The escort was detached on 2 June when the convoy was
Destroyer LIGHTNING arrived at Scapa Flow at 2200 from Rosyth to work up.
Ocean boarding vessel MALVERNIAN captured German
weather ship AUGUST WRIEDT (407grt) 45-20N, 32-10W.
The weather ship was sent into St John's, Newfoundland with a prize crew. The ship used under the name
MARIA as a wreck dispersal vessel in the Royal Navy.
U.557 sank British steamer EMPIRE STORM (7290grt),
a straggler from convoy HX.128, in 55N, 39-50W. Three crew were lost on the
U.38 sank British steamer TABARISTAN (6251grt) in
Thirty nine crew were rescued.
On the 29th, prior to arriving at Gibraltar, Lt P. A. Nedwill, Lt B. P. H. Brooks, and Leading
Airman J. L. Savill from light cruiser SHEFFIELD were killed when their Walrus crashed as they were
attempting to deliver a message to battlecruiser RENOWN. A passenger, Petty
Officer J. W. B. Marjoram, was picked up by destroyer WISHART, but died of
SEVERN arrived at
After an aircraft sighted a submarine on the
surface in 35-30N, 10-16W, destroyers FORESTER and FURY and five Motor
Laucnehs departed Gibraltar to search. Destroyer FORESTER attacked a submarine
on the surface in 35-41N, 10-00W. Italian submarine VENIERO reported
torpedoing one of the attacking destroyers.
Force D departed Alexandria at 2100/28th with light
cruisers PHOEBE, having completed her hull repairs, and PERTH, troopship
GLENGYLE, anti-aircraft cruisers CALCUTTA and COVENTRY, and destroyers
JERVIS, JANUS, and HASTY.
The anti-aircraft ships were not to embark troops
and provided anti-aircraft protection only.
During the night of 29/30 May, the evacuation of
Sphakia:Light cruisers PHOEBE and PERTH, anti-aircraft cruisers CALCUTTA and COVENTRY, commando ship GLENGYLE, and destroyer JANUS,
HASTY, and JERVIS.
Light cruiser PERTH carried two landing craft.
After the force had departed Alexandria on the 28th, it was thought to recall GLENGYLE and
substitute for her destroyers STUART, JAGUAR, and DEFENDER. However, the
order came to late to justify sending GLENGYLE back, but the three destroyers
joined anyway to assist in anti-aircraft protection, joining at daylight on
Six thousand and twenty nine troops were embarked.
The Greek Commander in Chief was aboard cruiser PHOEBE.
Damage to this force was limited to a single bomb
hit in light cruiser PERTH's
engine room on the 30th. The cruiser sustained four ratings, two Marines, and
seven passengers killed.
The cruiser arrived at Alexandria on the 30th. She was repaired at Alexandria in June.
Australian destroyer VAMPIRE passed through the
Suez Canal and departed Suez to refit at Singapore, arriving on 19 June.
Anti-submarine trawler SINDONIS (913grt, Chief
Skipper C. W. Freer RNR) was sunk by German bombing in Tobruk
MTB depot ship VULCAN and MTB.68 and MTB.215 of the 10th Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron
Alexandria, respectively for Famagusta, via Port Said and Haifa.
On 1 June, MTB.215 arrived at Famagusta.
arrived later in the day under tow.
Aircraft carrier EAGLE departed Freetown, escorted by destroyer VELOX, to search for German
supply ships in the South
Light cruiser DUNEDIN was ordered to join aircraft carrier EAGLE and
rendezvoused on the 31st.
Destroyer VELOX was detached on 1 June. Light
cruiser DUNEDIN departed on 5 June.
Friday, 30 May
Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE arrived at the Tyne for refitting completed on 15 July.
Light cruisers AURORA and KENYA departed Hvalfjord for patrol.
Sloop BLACK SWAN departed Dundee at 2315 on completion of repairs and arrived at
Scapa Flow at 1745/31st having carried out gunnery practices
In a flying accident, a Swordfish of 774 Squadron
was lost near Tintagel. P/T/Sub Lt (A) J. H. Formby RNVR, Ordinary Seaman E.
W. Page, and Ordinary Telegraphist F. Thurlow were killed.
Aircraft carrier ARGUS and destroyers FEARLESS,
FORESIGHT, and FOXHOUND arrived at Gibraltar.
Italian submarine MARCONI sank Naval tanker
CAIRNDALE (8129grt) 170 miles WSW of Trafalgar, 35-19N, 8-33W. Five crew were
lost on the tanker.
Escorting corvettes COREOPSIS and FLEUR DE LYS
attacked the submarine.
Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, and FURY were sent
to assist the corvettes.
Later on the 30th, corvettes AZALEA and WOODRUFF
and anti-submarine trawler IMPERIALIST joined the search. Destroyer WRESTLER
and sloop BIDEFORD sailed later.
At 1521, Captain D.8 in destroyer FAULKNOR reported
that the destroyers, corvettes, and motor launches had made seven attacks on
submarine contacts. At 0932 on the 31st, destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, and
FURY were recalled to Gibraltar.
British tanker BRITISH YEOMAN (6990grt) reported
she had been torpedoed in 35-28N, 8-11W. Destroyer FAULKNOR and
anti-submarine trawler ALOUETTE departed Gibraltar and the five motor launches were diverted to this
position. The ship later arrived at Gibraltar and it
was found she had received only slight damage.
U.38 sank British steamer EMPIRE PROTECTOR
(6181grt) in 6N, 14-25W. Five crew were lost on the steamer.
U.106 sank British steamer SILVERYEW (6373grt) at
16-42N, 25-29W. Three crew were lost on the steamer.
British steamer WESTAVON (2842grt) was sunk on a
mine in 51-36N, 1-11E. The entire crew were rescued.
British steamer KYLECLARE (700grt) was damaged by
German bombing off Limerick.
During the night of 30/31 May, the evacuation of
Sphakia - destroyers KELVIN, KANDAHAR, NAPIER, and NIZAM departed Alexandria at 0600/30th. However, soon after sortie,
destroyer KANDAHAR broke down and forced to return to Alexandria.
Soon thereafter, destroyer KELVIN was damaged by a
near miss of an air bomb and also forced to abort. The destroyer sustained
one rating killed and four crew wounded.
Destroyers NAPIER and NIZAM continued to Sphakia
and lifting 1510 men. Returning to Alexandria, they were both damaged by near misses of air
Both destroyers sustained machinery damage from the
near misses, but neither sustained any personnel casualties.
The destroyers arrived at Alexandria on the 31st.
Submarine TRIUMPH torpedoed and damaged Italian
armed merchant cruiser RAMB III
(3667grt), which was en route from Tripoli to Benghazi, off Benghazi.
Submarine UTMOST attacked a convoy of steamers
TILLY RUSS and CA'DA MOSTO, escorted by torpedo boats PALLADE and POLLUCE off
The convoy arrived safely at Tripoli on the 31st.
sinking two caiques in the Aegean by gunfire.
Bulgarian steamer KNYAGUINYA MARIA LUISA (3821grt)
was sunk near Piraeus by a torpedo from British Wellington aircraft.
The steamer blew up and sank German steamer ALICANTE (2140grt) and Rumanian steamer JIUL (3127grt)
(with thanks to Massimiliano Stola
- "I believe that it is unlikely that
the torpedo(es) was fired by a Wellington aircraft,
because the trials Wellington/torpedo were carried out
in late 1941. No 38 RAF Squadron was then trained in the
new role, and joined No 201 Naval Cooperation Group
(that was a sort of Coastal Command counterpart in
Egypt). In early 1942 also the No 221 Squadron arrived
in the Middle East, equipped with Wellington VIII. So
there were Wellington torpedo bombers in the
Mediterranean from 1942, but not in mid 1941. I believe
that either it was not a torpedo or it was not a
Response from Don
Kindell quoting http://www.matsas.gr/ - "The
first act of sabotage in the port of Piraeus was on 30th
of May 1941. Greek patriots caused a major fire in the
Bulgarian transport vessel "MARIA LUISA". The vessel was
laden with ammunition destined for the German army that
was engaged in the final phase of the great "Crete
Island combat" with Alliance and Greek rearguards still
in the Island.
had the command of the port Tugs and compelled them to
tow the burning vessel out of the port. This operation
was extremely dangerous! Tugs "MARA", "ZOODOHOS PIGI"
and Matsas Tugs "AGHIOS DIMITRIOS" and "AGHIOS NIKOLAOS"
were towing from the bow the vessel on fire, which was
expected to explode any moment. A third Matsas Tug, the
"HELLISPONTOS" with the 25 year old Loucas G. Matsas
onboard, was steaming to the pilot station to pick up a
LUISA" exploded while being towed to a location near
Vassiliadis Shipyards. The explosion was tremendous and
flying glowing pieces of iron spread the fire to 3 other
vessels, the Romanian "ZIUL", the Italian "ADIS ABEBA"
and the German "ALICANTE" which also exploded shortly
after. All with crew onboard.
It was a miracle that the
Greek Tugs suffered only two casualties, one Captain and
one stoker. The city of Piraeus, thanks to these port
Tugs, was rescued from a major catastrophe because if
the casualty was not removed from port, the fire would
spread in shore causing huge damage and many victims."
Greek steamer AGHIOS PANTLEMON (105grt) was sunk by
German bombing when she lost touch with her escort of minesweeper whaler FALK
Convoy SL.76 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser MORETON
to 21 June and corvettes AMARANTHUS to 1 June, ASPHODEL to 7 June, CLEMATIS
to 1 June, and COLUMBINE to 7 June.
Destroyer VELOX escorted the convoy from 4 June to
6 June. Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND escorted the convoy from 10 to 16 June. Corvettes COREOPSIS and FLEUR
DE LYS escorted the convoy from 13 to 18 June. Light cruiser
SHEFFIELD escorted the convoy from 14 to 16 June.
On 16 June, destroyers PIORUN and ROXBOROUGH and
ocean boarding vessels CORINTHIAN and MARON joined to 21 June. Destroyer
WESTCOTT and corvettes AURICULA and PERIWINKLE joined on 18 June to 21 June.
On 19 June, destroyer WANDERER and corvettes FREESIA, HIBISCUS, and MARIGOLD
joined to 21 June.
The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 21 June.
Saturday, 31 May
The flag of CS.1 was transferred from heavy cruiser
NORFOLK to heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE.
Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK arrived at Conception
to refuel. After refuelling, she returned to patrol.
Light cruiser BIRMINGHAM arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol.
Convoy OB.329 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers CAMPBELTOWN, WANDERER, and
WESTCOTT and corvettes AURICULA and PERIWINKLE. The escorted was joined on 1
June by seaplane carrier PEGASUS and corvette MARIGOLD. The escorted was
detached on 5 June when the convoy was dispersed.
Destroyer WINDSOR departed Greenock at 1030 for Dundee to carry out repairs to weather damage.
The destroyer arrived at 1030 on 1 June.
Destroyer IMPULSIVE departed Scapa Flow at 1130 escorting steamer LADY OF MANN and AMSTERDAM to Aberdeen where the ships arrived at 1900.
Destroyer IMPULSIVE arrived back at Scapa Flow at 2230.
Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Methil and met
convoy EC.24 off may Island. The convoy was escorted to the north.
Firth, the ship was
detached from the convoy. Ship ALYNBANK arrived at Scapa Flow at 1800 escorting Dutch submarine O.14 into
Convoy WS.8X departed the Clyde with steamers PORT WYNDHAM (8580grt), DUCHESS OF BEDFORD (20,123grt),
and WAIWERA (10,800grt) and armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE
Aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS and light cruiser
NEPTUNE escorted the convoy from 31 May to 5 June.
Heavy cruiser NORFOLK was with the convoy from 31 May to 11 June, when
the convoy arrived at Freetown.
Destroyers ASSINIBOINE and
the convoy locally.
The convoy was escorted by destroyers SHERWOOD,
LEGION, PIORUN, WIVERN, WILD SWAN, VANSITTART, SAGUENAY, ST MARYS, and BRIGHTON from 31 May to 3 June. All, but WIVERN, WILD SWAN,
and VANSITTART, returning to England.
Armed merchant cruiser ESPERANCE
was detached on 3 June.
Destroyers WIVERN, WILD SWAN, and VANSITTART
arrived at Gibraltar on 6 June.
Destroyer VELOX and corvette ASTER joined the
convoy on 9 June and escorted the convoy into Freetown on 11 June.
The convoy departed Freetown and escorted by light cruiser NEPTUNE. They
arrived at Capetown on 24 June.
Convoy WS.8 X departed Capetown on 28 June,
escorted by light cruiser NEPTUNE. The convoy called at Kilindini on 6 July
and departed the same day for Aden. They arrived on 11 July and proceeded
independently to Suez arriving on 15 July.
U.38 sank Norwegian steamer RINDA (6029grt) in
Thirteen crew were lost on the steamer.
U.69 sank British steamer SANGARA (5445grt) in the
The Master was killed.
The steamer sank to the bottom of the harbour, but
was later salved. She was towed to Shields for repairs.
U.106 sank British steamer CLAN MACDOUGALL
(6843grt) at 16-50N, 25-10W. Two crew were lost on the steamer.
U.107 sank British steamer SIRE (5664grt) at 8-50N,
15-30W. Three crew were lost on the steamer.
U.147 badly damaged British steamer GRAVELINES
(2491grt), a straggler from convoy HX.127, in 56N, 11-13W.
Eleven crew were killed.
The afterpart of the ship was sunk by gunfire. The
forepart in tow arrived in the Clyde on 3 June.
During the night of 31 May/1 June, the final night
of evacuation of Crete took place.
Sphakia - light cruiser PHOEBE, minelayer ABDIEL,
and destroyers JACKAL, KIMBERLEY, and HOTSPUR departed Alexandria at 0600/31st and lifted 3710 men in the last night
of the evacuation.
Anti-aircraft cruisers CALCUTTA (Captain D. M. Lees DSO) and COVENTRY sortied from Alexandria on 1 June to assist this force, but CALCUTTA was sunk at 0945 on 1 June soon after leaving port
in 41-55N, 28-15E.
Cdr G. P. Hunter-Blair Rtd and Lt F. J. March and
one hundred and one ratings were killed. One Marine and four ratings were
Ten ratings died of wounds.
Cdr (E) R. H. Bryan RNR, and Sub Lt G. A. J. Wells RNVR, and twelve
ratings were wounded.
Anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY picked up 255 survivors from the cruiser.
In the evacuation of Crete, 16,511 were disembarked at
addition to the evacuations by Royal Navy ships, 54 men were evacuated by
flying boat on the 31st/1 June.
The following merchant ships were seized at Suda
and taken for use by Italy and Germany.
British steamer ARAYBANK (7258grt) was set on fire
by German bombing at Suda Bay on the 16th. Fell into German hands when the Island fell.
Steamer ARAYBANK was taken to Trieste.
British steamer DALESMAN (6343grt) was damaged by
German bombing at Suda Bay on the 14th and beached.
The steamer was taken to Trieste and renamed PLUTO.
Greek steamer NICOLAUOU OURANIA (6397grt) was
damaged by German bombing at Suda Bay
on the 16th. The steamer was beached.
The steamer was renamed NIKOLAUS for German
British tanker OLNA (7073grt) was damaged by German
bombing on the 18th at Suda Bay
The tanker was taken over by the Germans.
Italian torpedo boat PLEIADI was damaged by an
Italian bomber falling out of control off Tobruk. Her superstructure was
destroyed and her hull was damaged by fire. The torpedo boat was run aground
to prevent sinking.
While being salvaged, she was further damaged by
RAF bombers on 13 October 1941. The torpedo boat was written off as a
constructive total loss.
American aircraft carrier YORKTOWN, heavy cruiser VINCENNES, and destroyers SAMPSON and SWIN departed
Bermuda on neutrality patrol. The group arrived back at Hampton Roads on 12
Review of damage to British warships in operations
Requiring routine repairs before further operations
- destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR, and GRIFFIN.
Restored to action within a fortnight - light
cruiser AJAX and destroyers HAVOCK, KINGSTON, and NIZAM.
Restored to action within several weeks - light
cruisers PERTH, NAIAD, CARLISLE and
destroyers NAPIER, KIPLING, and DECOY.
Restored to action only after extensive repairs -
aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, light cruisers DIDO, ORION and destroyers KELVIN
The only undamaged ships in the Mediterranean Fleet
were light cruiser PHOEBE, anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY, destroyers HERO,
ILEX, ISIS, JANUS, JACKAL, HOTSPUR, KANDAHAR, KIMBERLEY, and HASTY. Destroyer
WATERHEN, which was repairing and refitting earlier damage, did not take part
in any Crete operations.
British A.20 was commanded by T/Sub Lt A Howarth
RNVR, during the evacuation of Crete.