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

NAVAL EVENTS, MAY 1941 (Part 2 of 2)
Thursday 15th – Saturday 31st

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HM S/M Perseus (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

on to Naval Events, JUNE 1941

 

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

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

 


Background Events - January-May 1941

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


 

 

1941

 

           

Thursday, 15 May

 

Battlecruiser REPULSE, aircraft carrier ARGUS, and liners MONARCH OF BERMUDA (22,424grt) and EMPRESS OF JAPAN (26,032grt) arrived at the Clyde from Gibraltar.

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Destroyer ICARUS arrived at Scapa Flow at 0915 for Home Fleet operations in the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla.

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Destroyer PUNJABI departed Scapa Flow after night exercises to meet heavy cruiser BERWICK off Dunnet Head at 0730/16th and escort her to Rosyth. She was escorted as far as May Island, and PUNJABI arrived back at Scapa Flow at 0230/16th.

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Minelayers AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS, and PORT QUEBEC of the 1st Minelaying Squadron laid minefield SN.9 B, escorted by destroyers ANTHONY, ELECTRA, ANTELOPE, and ST MARYS. Light cruiser HERMIONE, which departed Scapa Flow on the 14th, covered the minelayers. Light cruisers NIGERIA and KENYA, which departed the Iceland-Faroes Channel patrol on the 15th, provided support for the operation. Following the minelay, the cruisers returned to their patrol stations. HERMIONE arrived back at Scapa Flow on the 17th, and ANTELOPE, ANTHONY, and ELECTRA at 0730/18th.

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Convoy OG.62 departed Liverpool escorted by sloop BIDEFORD, and was joined on the 16th by destroyers BOADICEA and ST FRANCIS, sloop EGRET, corvettes ARROWHEAD, ASTER, HEPATICA, SNOWBERRY, SPIKENARD, and WOODRUFF, and anti-submarine trawlers ARAB, AYRSHIRE, and STELLA CARINA.

 

AYRSHIRE detached later on the 16th, the two destroyers, SPIKENARD and ARAB on the 19th, and EGRET, ARROWHEAD, HEPATICA, and SNOWBERRY on the 20th. On the 22nd, Dutch submarine O.24 joined the convoy escort.

 

The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on the 29th, escorted by sloop BIDEFORD, submarine O.24, corvettes ASTER and WOODRUFF, and trawler STELLA CARINA. The sloop and the corvettes were temporarily assigned to the 13th Destroyer Flotilla.

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P/T/Sub Lt (A) G. R. Cruickshank RNVR and P/T/Sub Lt (A) R. C. Brownie RNVR, were killed when their Skua of 801 Squadron crashed during a test flight near Winchester.

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Swedish steamer OSSIAN (1564grt) was sunk by British aircraft in 54N, 7-16E. Two crew on the steamer were killed and another died later.

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Italian submarine BARBARIGO attacked steamer MANCHESTER PORT (5469grt) without success in 54N, 22W.

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French sailing vessel NOTRE DAME DU CHATELET (488grt), en route from St Malo to the Grand Banks,  was met by Italian submarine CAPPELLINI in 47-52N, 13-56W on the 14th. Next day she was sunk by U.43 with gunfire in 48N, 14W. Two survivors were rescued by Italian submarine OTARIA on the 23rd.

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U.105 sank steamer BENVENUE (5920grt) in 4-27N, 18-25W. One crewman and one gunner were lost. Three boats of survivors were rescued by steamer ENGLISH TRADER (3953grt) and a fourth on the 23rd by a British destroyer (BOREAS, VELOX, DUNCAN, or HIGHLANDER, one of which was detached from EAGLE screen).

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Mediterranean Fleet was divided at 1321 on the 15th into groups in anticipation of enemy action against Crete.

 

Force A - battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM and destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR, NIZAM, DEFENDER, and IMPERIAL - was to be to the west of Crete by daylight on the 16th.

 

Force B - light cruisers GLOUCESTER and FIJI embarked the Second Battalion, Leicester Regiment at Alexandria and departed forenoon on the 15th. The troops were landed at midnight of 15/16 May at Heraklion. This movement was covered by Force A.

 

Force C - anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY and destroyers KANDAHAR, NUBIAN, KINGSTON, and JUNO departed Alexandria at 2000 and proceeded towards the Kaso Straits. The force was to sweep Kaso Straits at dark and sweep north of Crete. Cruiser DIDO met the force on the 16th.

 

Force D - light cruisers NAIAD, PERTH and destroyers GREYHOUND and HASTY patrolled

between Antikithera and Piraeus.

 

Destroyers ILEX, HOTSPUR, and HAVOCK departed Alexandria at 1400/15th. ILEX joined Force A and HOTSPUR and HAVOCK Force B after the disembarkation of the troops.

 

In Reserve - battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, and light cruisers ORION and AJAX.  Submarine RORQUAL was on patrol off Lemnos.

 

Minelayer ABDIEL departed Alexandria on the 17th for Haifa to embark mines for a minefield between Cephalonia and Levkos. She laid 150 mines east of Cape Dukato during the night of 19/20 May and returned to Alexandria, arriving on the 21st.

 

Italian destroyer MIRABELLO, escorting steamers ANNARELLA (5999grt) and LAURA C (6181grt) and tankers DORA C (5843grt) and STROMBO (5232grt) with armed merchant cruiser BRINDISI from Brindisi for Patrasso, was sunk on this minefield off Cephalonia on the 21st.

 

German steamers KYBFELS (7764grt) and MARBURG (7564grt) were lost on this minefield east of Cape Dukato on the 21st.

 

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Greek destroyer LEON, damaged by air attack on 22 April and towed to Suda Bay, was further damaged in bombing at Suda Bay. She was run aground a total loss.

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Lt P. F. Scott of 806 Squadron was killed when the Gladiator he was ferrying between Maleme and Egypt crashed 100 miles south of Crete.

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Italian steamer SAN GIUSTO (861grt) was sunk on a mine 15 miles 25° from Tripoli.

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Destroyer VELOX departed Gibraltar for Freetown to join the South Atlantic command.

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In a dive-bombing attack on the Sumawar barracks, Iraq, a Swordfish of 814 Squadron from aircraft carrier HERMES, operating from Shaibah, was shot down.

 

Sub Lt (A) G. R. Coy, Lt J. H. Dundas, and Leading Airman L. E. Lasson were rescued.

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American heavy cruisers QUINCEY and VINCENNES and the 11th Destroyer Squadron (Captain M. L. Deyo in SAMPSON) joined the Bermuda based Central America Neutrality Patrol.

 

 

Friday, 16 May

 

Light cruisers EDINBURGH, GALATEA, and AURORA departed Scapa Flow to investigate a large warship reported by aircraft to the north. Battlecruiser HOOD, light cruiser BIRMINGHAM, and destroyers ACHATES, ICARUS, and ACTIVE came to half hour's notice which was cancelled at 1600. The cruisers returned to Scapa Flow on the 17th after an unsuccessful search.

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Sloop BLACK SWAN arrived at Scapa Flow at 1930 from Rosyth after large repairs for working up.

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Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Scapa Flow at 1300 to escort convoy WN.27 to the south. On the 17th off Tod Head, the ship transferred to convoy EC.20. In the Pentland Firth, she was detached and arrived at Scapa Flow at 0900/18th.

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Minelayers TEVIOTBANK and PLOVER, escorted by destroyer CATTISTOCK, laid minefield BS.56 off the east coast of England. Paddle minesweepers SNAEFELL and THAMES QUEEN accompanied them.

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U.105 sank steamer RODNEY STAR (11,803grt) in 5-03N, 19-02W. The entire crew were rescued.

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Steamer ARCHANGEL (2448grt) was sunk by German bombing 57-55N, 2-03W, ten miles northeast of Aberdeen. Forty of a crew of seventy five and twelve  of four hundred troops on board were lost. The survivors were rescued by destroyer BLANKNEY which landed them at Aberdeen. She attempted to take the steamer in tow, but she was beached off Black Dog, five miles south of Newburgh, and broke in four pieces.

 

SINKING OF SS ARCHANGEL on 16 MAY 1941

with thanks to Peter Houston ((a) 7 Feb 2011 and (b) 7 Feb 2012)

(a) "During research into my Father's war experiences, I came across this information regarding HMS BLANKNEY. At the time, my late father was aboard the ARCHANGEL and I recall him describing the action as outlined below.

196 and 182 Batteries (65th Reg HAA, RA) were ordered to redeploy to Birmingham and, on 16 May 1941, embarked on SS ARCHANGEL at Kirkwall for Aberdeen. The destroyer HMS BLANKNEY was assigned as escort. Around midnight ARCHANGEL was attacked off Aberdeen by three German aircraft believed to be operating out of Norway. The following is the direct word-for-word account as recorded in the regimental war diary [1]:

'16 May, 2359 hr approximately. Three Heinkel III approached ARCHANGEL and one of them flying at approximately fifty feet dropped two HE bombs on the ship, one aft and one in the engine room, causing boiler explosion and disabling damage to the ship. Enemy aircraft engaged by escorting destroyer HMS BLANKNEY (Lt Comdr Powlett R.N.) as it returned to machine gun damaged ARCHANGEL and destroyer’s boats and after three runs it was damaged and fell into the sea. Evacuation of all personnel on board ARCHANGEL not killed by explosion continued. Remaining enemy aircraft made off. Evacuation of personnel completed by putting BLANKNEY alongside ARCHANGEL.

17 May, ARCHANGEL taken in tow by tug and beached approximately 30 miles north of Aberdeen.

0800 (approx) Personnel evacuated from ARCHANGEL reached Aberdeen in BLANKNEY. Total deaths (including those who died in hospital up to 29 May) 41 ORs, 38 of them of 182 Hy AA Bty and 3 of 196 Hy AA Bty. Injured and admitted to hospital and still living on 31 May, of 182 Hy AA Bty 18 ORs (including BSM Bee J.C., No 3511578) and 24 ORs of 196 Hy AA Bty (including W/BSM Flitcroft W., No 3522907). No officer casualties. All injured suffered from burns." (NOTE: HMS Blankney was misspelt twice in the above report)'"

Peter's father was not injured but he described the terrible burns of those who were. The uninjured men were assigned to look after the injured personnel on a one-to-one basis. He spoke very highly of the BLANKNEY - described how she put up a tremendous AA barrage whilst circling the stricken ARCHANGEL at high speed. I am struck by the matter of fact reporting in the 65th HAA war diaries of the shooting down of one of the He111s "after three runs it was damaged and fell into the sea"!

He subsequently went overseas and survived 31/2 years as a POW in the Far East after taking part in the defence of Singapore, Sumatra and Java.

[1] 65th Reg. HAA, RA War diaries, Royal Artillery Museum Library, Woolwich

(b)  I recently found some more accounts (summarised below) on a web site which was advertising the sale of medals belonging to the captain of Archangel, A. P. Sutton. http://www.dnw.co.uk/medals/auctionarchive/searchcataloguearchive/itemdetail.lasso?itemid=59658.

The following report of the incident was recorded by the Ministry of War Transport:

‘I am sorry to inform you that the Archangel was attacked by enemy aircraft about midnight on 16 May 1941, while conveying troops from Kirkwall to Aberdeen. She was struck heavily amidships, the engine and boiler rooms being put out of action and the upper decks so badly damaged that there was no communication between the fore and aft of the ship. The Master, Captain A. P. Sutton, was seriously injured, and out of a crew of 75, 17 are dead or missing and 15 injured ... Casualties among the troops were very heavy but the discipline throughout of both troops and crew was excellent. The destroyer escort sent a Surgeon to assist the ship’s Medical Officer. While they were attending the wounded there were two further attacks from the air, but these were beaten off by the Archangel’s own guns. At 4 o’clock in the morning tugs arrived and both the wounded and uninjured troops, with part of the crew, were transferred to a destroyer. The Archangel was beached but unfortunately is a total wreck.’

Since Captain Sutton was seriously wounded, Chief Officer A. W. Greenham submitted his report of the action as follows:

‘The enemy aircraft released three bombs simultaneously which struck the ship amidships between the funnels ... They wrecked the whole of the upper decks and blew out the private cabins; wrecked the engine and boiler rooms and there was hell let loose with escaping steam. I noted that the engine room skylights still remained in position but there was nothing left of the after funnel except a great chunk of iron ... the Second Officer came back and said he had found the Captain on the deck injured, and the O.C. Troops and I decided there was nothing to do but collect the wounded. Just at this time we heard the destroyer [H.M.S. Blankney; her Captain’s report included], which was ahead of us at the time of the attack, firing at an aircraft and our guns joined him. The starboard forward gun was very busy, and I think he got off two or three belts, but I am unable to say whether the after guns were used. The aircraft flew over us twice, using his machine-guns, and I saw tracer bullets flying directly at me. Although I did not actually see the aircraft I got the impression it was flying about 500 feet high, as I saw bursts of shells in the half-light about 1000 yards away at low altitude. I believe the destroyer shot down the aircraft. Some of the crew thought that tracer bullets from our guns struck the aircraft, but it was not seen approaching or overhead. The first thing we heard was the bombs and later there were machine-gun attacks ... ’

 

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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.

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Steamer JOFFRE ROSE (715grt) was damaged by German bombing off St David's Head, beached in Dale Bay on the 16th, and damaged again on the 18th in Dale Bay. She was refloated and drydocked.

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Steamer OBSIDIAN (811grt) was damaged by German bombing in 52-06N, 5-25W.

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Minelayer LATONA, which had completed construction on the 4th, departed Portsmouth for Alexandria, via the Cape. She arrived at Gibraltar on the 20th and Alexandria on 21 June.

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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.

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Anti-aircraft cruiser DIDO and destroyer JUNO departed Alexandria during the morning of 16 May to join Force C.

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During the night of 16/17 May, the British cruiser forces swept off the north coast of Crete. No contact was made.

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Heavy cruiser YORK was damaged by a near miss of German bombing at Suda Bay.

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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.

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Australian destroyer VAMPIRE carried troops to Tobruk during the night of 16/17 May.

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Submarine UNBEATEN unsuccessfully attacked escorted two transports near Tripoli.

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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.

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In air raids on Malta, destroyer ENCOUNTER was damaged again in the dockyard. She had already been damaged during raids on 29 and 30 April.

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Corvette GLOXINIA, minesweeping at Malta, was damaged by the explosion of a mine close aboard. She remained in service.

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Minesweeper WIDNES was damaged by the near miss of German bombing and machine gunning in the eastern Mediterranean.

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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.

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Greek steamer KYTHERA (1070grt) was sunk by German bombing at Suda Bay.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Convoy HX.127 departed Halifax, escorted by battleship RAMILLIES, destroyer ST CROIX, and corvettes AGASSIZ and WETASKIWIN. The corvettes detached on the 18th.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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Destroyer BLANKNEY arrived at Scapa Flow at 1930 after assisting sunken ship ARCHANGEL.

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Destroyer LANCE arrived at Scapa Flow for working up exercises.

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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.

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Lt H. G. Hunt, flying a Battle of RAF No.1 Flying Training School at Netheravon, was killed when his aircraft crashed at Pepperbox Hill Bombing Range.

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P/T/A/Sub Lt (A) J. N. W. Parish RNVR, was killed when his Hurricane of 759 Squadron crashed in the River Parrett.

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U.107 sank Dutch tanker MARISA (8029grt) in 6-10N, 18-09W. Three crew were lost on the tanker.

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British steamer STATESMAN (7939grt) was sunk by German bombing in 56-44N, 13-45W. One crewman was lost on the steamer.

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British steamer ARTHUR WRIGHT (1091grt) was damaged by German bombing five miles south of Shoreham.

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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.

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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.

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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, JUNO, and NUBIAN arrived at Alexandria on the 18th.

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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.

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Greek steamer THEMONI (5719grt) was sunk by German bombing at Suda Bay.

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Submarine REGENT arrived at Gibraltar from Malta.

 

Submarine PANDORA arrived at Gibraltar from patrol in the Tyrrhennian Sea.

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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 June.

 

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.

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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.

 

From Cape 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.

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Heavy cruiser NORFOLK arrived at Hvalfjord and departed the same day to reinforce heavy cruiser SUFFOLK on Denmark Strait patrol.

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Light cruiser EDINBURGH departed Scapa Flow to patrol in the Bay of Biscay.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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U.107 sank British steamer PIAKO (8286grt) in 7-52N, 14-57W.

 

Ten crew were killed on the steamer. The survivors were rescued by Sloop BRIDGEWATER.

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British steamer BEGERIN (483grt) was sunk by German bombing 17 miles 295° from South Bishops.

The entire crew were rescued.

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British steamer ESKBURN (472grt) was damaged by German bombing off Blyth.

 

The steamer arrived in the Tyne in tow on the 19th.

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Free French fishing vessel LA BRISE (51grt) was damaged by German bombing ten miles west, northwest of Seven Stones Light Vessel.

 

The vessel arrived at Newlyn on the 19th.

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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.

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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 Crete.

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Air attacks on Suda Bay damaged heavy cruiser YORK and corvette SALVIA.

 

Both ships were damaged by near misses.

 

The cruiser was further damaged on 18, 19, 20, and 22 May.

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Naval tanker OLNA (12,667grt) was badly damaged by German bombing in Suda Bay and run aground.

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Submarine TETRARCH sank Italian steamer GIOVINEZZA (2362grt), which departed Tripoli for Benghazi escorted by torpedo boat POLLUCE, in 31-55N, 19-54E off Benghazi.

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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.

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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.

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Destroyer WALPOLE departed Scapa Flow at 0815 on completion of working up for London to carry out machinery repairs.

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Sloop STORK arrived at Scapa Flow at 1900 to carry out working up exercises.

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Between 19 May and 22 August, motor torpedo boats and motor launches laid minefields PW 9 to PW 14 in the English Channel.

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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 awaiting scrapping.

 

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 CASTLE.

 

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.

_____

 

Destroyer BRIGHTON departed 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 57-48N, 41-36W.

 

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 tanker.

 

U.109 sank British steamer MARCONI (7402grt) in 58N, 41W.

 

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 September.

_____

 

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 Kaso Strait.

 

Force D - light cruisers DIDO, ORION, AJAX with destroyers HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO, and GREYHOUND were in Antikithera Strait.

_____

 

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, JUNO, and 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 Heraklion.

 

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 either side.

 

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 Suda Bay.

 

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 Bay.

 

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 Bermuda on 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 exercises.

_____

 

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 landing.

 

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 off Crete.

 

Destroyer FORESIGHT left at the same time to rejoin Force H.and arrived at Gibraltar on the 23rd.

_____

 

Anti-aircraft cruisers CALCUTTA and CARLISLE joined 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 Strait area.

_____

 

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 wounded.

 

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 convoy survivors.

 

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 convoy HX.125.

_____

 

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 crossing.

 

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 rejoin.

 

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 Strait patrol.

On the 25th, battlecruiser REPULSE was ordered to proceed for refuelling and arrived at Conception Bay, Newfoundland, on the 27th.

 

The battlecruiser departed Conception Bay on the 29th to escort convoy HX.129.

_____

 

Destroyer HAMBLEDON arrived at Scapa Flow at 1715 to work up after completion of large repairs.

_____

 

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 killed.

 

The steamer was beached in Totland Bay 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 June.

 

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 bomb.

 

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 destroyer.

 

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 attacks continued.

 

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 were wounded.

 

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 1941.

 

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 killed.

 

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 were missing.

 

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 man crew.

 

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 were lost.

 

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 Commissioned

Gunner (T) F. P. Morley were wounded.

 

Destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON were able to refuel from the battleships in Force A 1.

 

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 Bay 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 Canea Bay area. Destroyer KIPLING experienced a steering defects and withdrew to the west to correct it.

 

Destroyers JACKAL and KELVIN patrolled in Kissamo Bay without event and returned to Force A-1 at dawn.

 

Destroyers JERVIS, NIZAM, ILEX, and HAVOCK patrolled Heraklion.

 

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 Salonika.

_____

 

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.

_____

 

Destroyer BRIGHTON arrived 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 steamer.

_____

 

Destroyers KELLY and KASHMIR sank two caiques in Canea Bay.

 

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.

 

Destroyer KASHMIR had P/T/Surgeon Lt J. N. Lennox, LRCP & S RNVR, and eighty two ratings missing.

 

Lt Cdr The Lord Hugh Beresford of destroyer KELLY and Lt J. E. S. Bush of destroyer KIPLING were lost rescuing men from the water.

 

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 Suda Bay 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.

_____

 

At Suda Bay, 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 attack.

 

There were no personnel casualties.

_____

 

Damaged Corvette SALVIA arrived at Alexandria from Suda Bay.

_____

 

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 (6504grt).

 

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 Hampshire, 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 the battle.

 

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 battlecruiser.

 

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 were lost.

 

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 Gibraltar. Later 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 ships.

 

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 0020/25th.

 

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 battleship RODNEY.

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, 16-07W.

 

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 ANTELOPE.

 

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 9-20N, 15-35W.

 

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 5-42N, 10-29W.

 

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 AJAX force.

_____

 

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.

_____

 

Submarine 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 RODNEY.

 

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 BAY 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 SL.74.

 

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 Alexandria.

_____

 

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 both ships.

_____

 

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 Gibraltar, 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 Gibraltar for 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 chase.

 

Destroyers FARNDALE and HAMBLEDON and sloops SUTLEJ and STORK departed Scapa Flow at 0700/26th to join the convoy.

 

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 Finisterre.

 

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 repaired.

_____

 

British trawler H. E. STROUD (214grt) was damaged by German bombing ten miles 135° from Lamb Head, Stromsay. One crewman was killed.

 

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 KELVIN.

_____

 

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 FOSCARINI.

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 Liverpool to 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 Hvalfjord.

 

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 eight dead.

 

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 wounded.

 

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 Bay 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 Bay, 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 Bay. 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

 

Destroyer BRIGHTON departed 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 Crete began.

 

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 continue.

 

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 at 0300/29th.

 

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 left.

 

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 were missing.

 

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 15 February 1942.

 

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.

_____

 

Submarine OLYMPUS arrived at Gibraltar from Malta.

_____

 

Submarine CLYDE departed 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.

_____

 

Submarine 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 patrol.

_____

 

Convoy OB.328 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers BEAGLE and BOADICEA. The convoy was joined on the 30th by destroyers COLUMBIA and NIAGARA, sloop 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 dispersed.

_____

 

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 steamer.

_____

 

U.38 sank British steamer TABARISTAN (6251grt) in 6-32N, 15-23W.

 

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 injuries.

_____

 

Submarine SEVERN arrived at Gibraltar.

_____

 

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 Crete continued.

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 the 30th.

 

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 Harbour.

_____

 

MTB depot ship VULCAN and MTB.68 and MTB.215 of the 10th Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron departed Port Said and Alexandria, respectively for Famagusta, via Port Said and Haifa.

 

On 1 June, MTB.215 arrived at Famagusta. MTB.68 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 Atlantic.

 

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 en route.

_____

 

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 Crete continued.

 

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 bombs.

 

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 Sirte.

 

The convoy arrived safely at Tripoli on the 31st.

_____

 

Submarine TORBAY reported 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) nearby.

(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 Wellington."

 

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.

The Germans 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 pilot.

"MARIA 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 off Tobruk.

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Convoy SL.76 departed Freetown escorted by armed merchant cruiser MORETON BAY 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 Bay 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.

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Anti-aircraft ship ALYNBANK departed Methil and met convoy EC.24 off may Island. The convoy was escorted to the north.

 

In Pentland Firth, the ship was detached from the convoy. Ship ALYNBANK arrived at Scapa Flow at 1800 escorting Dutch submarine O.14 into harbour.

_____

 

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 BAY.

 

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 SAGUENAY escorted 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 BAY 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 6-52N, 15-14W.

 

Thirteen crew were lost on the steamer.

_____

 

U.69 sank British steamer SANGARA (5445grt) in the harbour of Accra.

 

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 missing.

 

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 Alexandria.  In 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 Bay 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 service.

 

British tanker OLNA (7073grt) was damaged by German bombing on the 18th at Suda Bay and beached.

 

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 June.

 

 

May, miscellaneous

 

Review of damage to British warships in operations off Crete.

 

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 and NUBIAN.

 

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.

 
 

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