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

NAVAL EVENTS, JANUARY 1942 (Part 2 of 2) (in outline only)
Thursday 15th – Saturday 31st

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Witherington, destroyer (James Witherington, click to enlarge)

on to Naval Events, FEBRUARY 1942

 

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)

More information on naval events in this period may be found in:

 

ADMIRALTY WAR DIARIES

 


Background Events - December 1941-February 1942

Pearl Harbor attacked, Loss of 'Repulse' & 'Prince of Wales', Singapore falls, 'Channel Dash' by German big ships, to February 1942


 

 

1942

 

 

Thursday, 15 January

 

Light cruiser EDINBURGH departed Scapa Flow at 0300 for the Tyne, escorted by destroyer WORCESTER. En route, the destroyer was released and returned to Scapa Flow, arriving at 0545/16th, sustaining weather damage en route.

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Destroyers BEDOUIN and ESKIMO departed Scapa Flow at 1500 to patrol off Cape Wrath against possible submarines. On meeting heaving cruiser NORFOLK, the destroyers provided an anti-submarine screen for the cruiser to Scapa Flow. A strong gale during the 16th caused the delay for the rendezvous. The three ships arrived at Scapa Flow at 0530/17th.

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In a heavy storm at Hvalfjord, American heavy cruiser WICHITA was damaged in a collision with American steamer WEST NOHNO (5769grt) and a British trawler, before running aground. The cruiser was refloated the next day and damage was found to be minor.

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Minelayer PLOVER, escorted by MGB.322, MGB.324, MGB.328, and MGB.330 of the 14th MGB Flotilla, departed Dover to lay minefield NQ (A) in the English Channel. Returning to Dover on the 16th, she was in a collision with trawler DEODAR, requiring temporary repair at Dover.

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Gunner (T) A.C. Stonehouse in destroyer DOUGLAS was lost overboard.

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Convoy AT.10, with troop transports for the UK, departed New York City, escorted by American destroyers CHARLES F HUGHES, HILARY P JONES, INGRAHAM, LANSDALE, and LUDLOW. These escorts were detached on the 16th when relieved by battleship TEXAS, aircraft carrier WASP, heavy cruiser QUINCEY and destroyers EBERLE, GWIN, LIVERMORE, MAYRANT, MONSSEN, ROE, ROWAN, STACK, STERETT, TRIPPE, and WAINWRIGHT. This group was relieved on the 22nd by heavy cruisers TUSCALOOSA and WICHITA and destroyers GRAYSON and MEREDITH. The convoy arrived at Londonderry on the 27th.

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Steamer EMPIRE BAY (2824grt) was sunk by German bombing in 54-41-08N, 1-08-36W. The entire crew was rescued.

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U.552 sank steamer DAYROSE (4133grt) in 46-32N, 53-00W. Thirty two crew and six gunners were lost. Ten crew were rescued by American destroyer STACK.

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U.123 sank British tanker COIMBRA (6768grt) in 40-25N, 72-21W. Of a crew of 40 and six gunners, 25 were missing and one was killed. Ten of the survivors died in boats and only ten were finally rescued.

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U.203 sank Portuguese trawler CATALINA (632grt) in 47N, 52W.

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U.553 badly damaged British tanker DIALA (8106grt) from dispersed convoy ON.52 in 44-50N, 46-50W. The crew abandoned the tanker on the 20th. Of a crew of 55 and 10 gunners, 48 crew and nine gunners were lost. The tanker was located on 21 February by an HM ship and reboarded. On the 24th one officer and nine ratings were put on board and the tanker was taken in tow. After unsuccessful attempts, a tug was summoned and arrived on the 25th. The tow parted on 26 February and the tanker apparently later sank.

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Submarine TURBULENT departed Gibraltar for patrol off Alboran Island.

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Destroyer EXMOOR attacked a submarine contact three miles 200° from Cape Trafalgar. The next day, an aircraft in transit reported a submarine on the sruface in 36-10N, 6-08W. Destroyer EXMOOR unsuccessfully searched for this submarine.

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U.205 attacked a steamer without success near Bardia.

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Light cruisers DANAE, DRAGON, DURBAN, destroyers EXPRESS, JUPITER, ENCOUNTER, ELECTRA, STRONGHOLD, and VAMPIRE and sloop JUMNA (to be joined by sloop YARRA) formed the Far Eastern Squadron (China Force, Commodore J.A. Collins, CB, RAN in base ship ANKING at Batavia), employed on convoy duties between Singapore, Sunda Strait, and Java.

 

Rear Admiral Malaya operated minelayer ABDIEL, destroyers THANET, TENEDOS, SCOUT and submarines TRUSTY and TRUANT for the local defence of Singapore. Also included in this group were all auxiliary patrol and minesweeping vessels based at Singapore.

 

TRUSTY had departed Colombo on the 12th en route to Singapore, via patrol in the Malacca Strait. TRUANT departed Aden for Colombo on the 17th.

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Heavy cruiser EXETER, light cruisers EMERALD, DANAE and destroyers ELECTRA and STRONGHOLD arrived at Batavia. EXETER and DANAE then departed to meet convoy BM.10.

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Survey ship ENDEAVOUR departed Batavia for Padang and Colombo.

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Japanese submarine I.65 sank Indian steamer JALARAJAN (5102grt) in 0-12S, 97-00E. Of a crew of 75 and three gunners, four were lost.

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Convoy SL.98 departed Freetown, escorted by destroyer WILD SWAN and corvettes AURICULA, FRITILLARY, NIGELLA, and ORCHIS. They were detached on the 18th, when sloops BIDEFORD and LONDONDERRY, escort vessels CULVER, LANDGUARD, and LULWORTH, and survey ship CHALLENGER joined the convoy. CULVER was lost on the 31st to submarine attack. The rest of the escorts continued with the convoy to arrive at Liverpool on 5 February.

 

 

Friday, 16 January

 

Heavy cruiser BERWICK arrived at Hvalfjord from patrol in the Denmark Strait.

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Anti-aircraft ship CURACOA departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth.

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Destroyer ASHANTI departed Rosyth at 1115 for Scapa Flow on the completion of boiler cleaning. Heavy weather caused her to heave to and she did not arrive until 0145/17th.

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Russian ice breaker STALIN was attacked by German bombers at Gorlo and damaged. Two weeks repair were required.

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Minesweeping trawler IRVANA (276grt, Skipper J.L. Borrett RNR) was sunk by German bombing off Yarmouth. There were no casualties.

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French submarine RUBIS, which had departed Blyth on the 3rd and Dundee on the 8th, laid minefield FD.36 off St Jean de Luz. She arrived at Falmouth on the 20th.

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U.402 damaged Steamer LLANGIBBY CASTLE (12,053grt) in 46-04N, 19-06W. Of 181 crew, 11 gunners, 1168 RN, RAF and military passengers, 26 passengers were lost. The steering gear and rudder was completely destroyed. German aircraft attacked her on the 19th and she arrived at Fayal, Azores the same day for light repairs. One crewman and one passenger were interned by the Portuguese at Fayal.

 

Destroyers WESTCOTT, EXMOOR, and CROOME departed Gibraltar on the 28th to refuel from oiler DINGLEDALE prior to escorting the damaged troopship.

 

WESTCOTT sank U.581 southeast of Fayal Channel in 39N, 30W on 2 February. Four crew were lost and 41rescued by the destroyer.

 

On 2 February, the troopship departed Horta with CROOME, EXMOOR, WESTCOTT and tug THAMES.They were joined by destroyers LAFOREY and BLANKNEY, which departed Gibraltar on 4 February, and corvette PENTSTEMON, which was returning from escort duty. Destroyers LIGHTNING and WHITEHALL departed Gibraltar on 7 February, WISHART and VIDETTE from convoy OG.79 were ordered to join on 7 February. Destroyer WESTCOTT arrived at Gibraltar on 7 February. Destroyer WIVERN and the 37th Escort Group, just arriving with convoy OG.79, of sloops BLACK SWAN, FOWEY and corvettes BLUEBELL, CAMPION, CARNATION, LA MALOUINE, MALLOW, MYOSOTIS, and STONECROP departed Gibraltar on 8 February. All ships arrived safely on 8 February.

 

The troops on board were transferred to troopships ULSTER MONARCH and ROYAL ULSTERMAN for transport to Freetown. LLANGIBBY CASTLE was later sent on to the UK for repairs.

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U.86 damaged tanker TOORAK (8627grt) from dispersed convoy ON.52 in 47-54N, 52-11W. She arrived at St Johns on the 16th.

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Submarine P.39 departed Gibraltar for patrol off Alboran Island.

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U.133 attacked a destroyer near Bardia without success.

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For Malta operation MF.3, convoy MW.8A of steamers AJAX and THERMOPYLAE, escorted by anti-aircraft ship CARLISLE and destroyers GRIFFIN (D.2), ARROW, HASTY, and HERO departed Alexandria at 0815/16th. Convoy MW.8B of steamers CLAN FERGUSON and CITY OF CALCUTTA, escorted by destroyers GURKHA (SO), LEGION, MAORI, and ISAAC SWEERS departed Alexandria at 1530 the same day.

 

Covering Force B consisted of light cruisers NAIAD (Flagship Vian), DIDO, EURYALUS with destroyers KELVIN, KIPLING, FOXHOUND, HOTSPUR, and HAVOCK.

 

Departing Alexandria, destroyers FOXHOUND and KINGSTON collided and HOTSPUR fouled a propeller. The destroyers were left behind. Only KELVIN had left the harbour. The cruisers and destroyers HAVOCK and KIPLING anchored and were two hours late departing. Light cruiser DIDO, unable to obtain the service of a tug, departed Alexandria six hours late.

 

KINGSTON required three and a half weeks to repair her stern and FOXHOUND four weeks to repair her bow.

 

Force K of light cruiser PENELOPE and destroyers SIKH, ZULU, LANCE, LIVELY and JAGUAR, departed Malta on the 17th to rendezvous with the Alexandria ships during the morning on the 18th.

 

Submarines TORBAY from Alexandria and UNIQUE and UPHOLDER from Malta were at sea to support the operation.

 

In heavy weather, convoy MW.8B was late in arriving at the rendezvous and MW.8A reversed course to join.

 

Destroyer GURKHA (Cdr C.N. Lentaigne) was torpedoed by U.133 in 31-50N, 26.15E. Lt Cdr (E) G.J.S. Gay, Temporary Lt T.H. Goodchild RNVR, Lt E.A.O.G. Herring, Lt J.V. Yelland, Midshipman A.P. Yorke, and five ratings were missing. Temporary Acting S/Lt E.E.F. Keal RNVR, Probationary Temporary Surgeon Lt W.M. Brown RNVR, Acting Temporary Lt A.C. Grammar RNVR, less seriously, and four ratings were wounded.

 

Dutch destroyer ISAAC SWEERS (Cdr W. Harmsen, RNN) took off Lentaigne, Grammar, Commissioned Gunner (T) A.V. Rogers, Keal, Brown, and two hundred and thirty four ratings. With a skeleton crew of 35 petty officers and ratings, GURKHA was towed for a time by ISAAC SWEERS, but sank at 0903. ISAAC SWEERS landed the survivors at Tobruk and rejoined destroyer LEGION early on the 18th.

 

Destroyer MAORI made four anti-submarine attacks and lightly damaged U.133.

 

At 2000/17th, steamer THERMOPYLAE slowed to make good a defect and was detached from MW.8A screened by destroyers ARROW and HERO.

 

When the steamer fell behind the convoy, she was detached to Benghazi escorted by anti-aircraft ship CARLISLE and destroyers ARROW and HAVOCK.

 

Corvette GLOXINIA departed Malta on the 17th and proceeded to Benghazi under cover of the operation.

 

Force K from Malta joined Force B at 1315/18th. The two forces parted at 1930 after exchanging destroyers MAORI for JAGUAR. Force K proceeded to Malta with the steamers. Destroyer LEGION also proceeded to Malta for repair.

 

Destroyers HASTY and HERO were detached from Force B to join steamer THERMOPYLAE, but did not arrive before she was damaged. THERMOPYLAE (6655grt) was badly damaged by German bombing in 34-03N, 24-14E at 0930/19th. Three crew were lost from a crew of 38. In addition there were a number of troops on board, bringing the total to 385. Twenty seven troops were lost. Destroyer HAVOCK rescued 297 survivors and destroyer ARROW rescued 54. Some of the lost were drowned or crushed between the steamer and HAVOCK. ARROW scuttled the steamer.

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser NAIAD was near missed by German bombing, with six crew wounded and superficial damage to the ship from splinters.

 

Destroyer GRIFFIN was slowed by a boiler defect.

 

Destroyer KELVIN was detached to Tobruk at 1310 to embark destroyer GURKHA's survivors.

 

Force K and the Malta convoy arrived at Malta at 1530/19th.

 

Force B arrived at Alexandria at 0800/20th, and the CARLISLE group at 0920.

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Light cruiser DRAGON departed Singapore for Colombo.

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Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton transferred his flag from light cruiser DURBAN to light cruiser EMERALD, which departed Batavia for Colombo, arriving on the 21st. Layton's flag was transferred ashore at Colombo.

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Destroyer TENEDOS, escorting steamer KLANG, arrived at Tjilatjap.

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Steamers NARKUNDA and AORGANI departed Singapore to proceed to Australia independently.

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Dutch steamer SENANG (1207grt) was sunk in a Dutch minefield in 1-15N, 104-05E. Fifty four crew were missing and 39 survivors rescued.

 

 

Saturday, 17 January

 

The Home Fleet was ordered to raise steam for full speed with dispatch at 0800 on the report of a possible break out by German naval units in the Atlantic.

 

At 1600, battleships KING GEORGE V (C-in-C Home Fleet), RODNEY, aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS, heavy cruiser SUFFOLK, light cruisers NIGERIA (10th Cruiser Squadron), KENYA, SHEFFIELD (18th Cruiser Squadron), and destroyers INGLEFIELD (D.3), FAULKNOR (D.8), MARNE, PANTHER, BEDOUIN, ASHANTI, ESKIMO, INTREPID, ECHO, and ESCAPADE departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, where they arrived late on the 19th. The units of the Home Fleet at Hvalfjord departed under the command of the C-in-C, Home Fleet at 1600/20th and proceeded to 61N, 25W.

 

Light cruisers CLEOPATRA and ARETHUSA departed Scapa Flow for the Iceland-Faroes passage. Heavy cruiser BERWICK departed Reykjavik to join heavy cruiser KENT in the Denmark Strait.

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND, on passage to Scapa Flow from convoy QP.5 duty, was ordered to Seidisfjord, arriving on the 18th.

 

Dutch submarine O.14 departed Scapa Flow for patrol off Frohavet.

 

Force H at Gibraltar was brought to four hours' notice for operations in the Atlantic. Oiler DINGLEDALE, corvettes GERANIUM, SPIRAEA, and submarine CLYDE departed Gibraltar on the 20th for postion 33N, 22W to support operations.

 

Operation EM was postponed. Armed merchant cruisers CITY OF DURBAN, CAPE SABLE and destroyer CALPE were ordered to remain at Sullom Voe.

 

In German Operation POLARNACHT, battleship TIRPITZ and destroyers BEITZEN, HEINEMANN, JACOBI, and Z.29, which departed Wilhelmshaven on the 14th, arrived at Trondheim.

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Minesweepers LEDA, SPEEDY, and SEAGULL departed Scapa Flow at 2230. LEDA proceeded to Port Edgar, SPEEDY to Sheerness, and SEAGULL to Grimsby, all to refit. SPEEDY arrived at Sheerness at 1240/21st prior to proceeding to London to refit.

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Battleship DUKE OF YORK departed Bermuda, escorted by US destroyers LANG, EDISON, and NICHOLSON, for the Clyde. On the 21st, the destroyers were detached and British destroyers LIGHTNING, HARVESTER, and HIGHLANDER joined. Destroyers BADSWORTH, LAMERTON, and WIVERN joined on the 23rd. On the 25th, the battleship arrived in the Clyde with LIGHTNING and WIVERN.

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Motor torpedo boat MTB.47 (Lt W.I.C. Ewart) was sunk in action by surface craft off Gris Nez. Lt Ewart, Temporary S/Lt A.J. Orchard, Temporary S/Lt W.D. Phelan RNVR, and the rest of the crew were taken prisoner.

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U.454 torpedoed Soviet minesweeping trawler TCS.68 (557grt) in 69-30N, 39-05E. The forepart of the trawler sank, but the rest remained afloat.

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U.454 damaged steamer HARMATRIS (5395grt) of convoy PQ.8 in 69-16N, 36-08E, but she was able to reach Murmansk on the 20th in tow of minesweeper SPEEDWELL. The submarine attacked three other steamers in convoy PQ.8 without success.

 

Destroyer MATABELE (Cdr A.C. Stanford DSC), escorting convoy PQ.8, was sunk by U.454 in the Barent's Sea in 69-21N, 35-34E. Cdr Stanford, Lt R.P. Britten, Gunner (T) W.C. Doidge, Temporary Lt J.E. Mees RNVR, Midshipman R.A. Noel-Hill, Lt E.R. Partridge RNVR, Lt J.A. Plumridge RNVR, Temporary Surgeon Lt E.A. Spouse RNVR, Acting Lt P.C. Webb, Temporary Acting S/Lt W.R. White, Lt Cdr (E) J.T. Winn, Temporary Acting S/Lt G.R. Wright RNVR, and two hundred and twenty one ratings were lost. Three survivors were picked up by minesweeper HARRIER but one died of wounds and exposure shortly after rescue. The other two died in hospital in England.

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U.87 sank Norwegian tanker NYHOLt (8087grt) from dispersed convoy ON.52 in 45-46N, 54-18W. Of 35 crew, three passengers, and two gunners, 17 crew, two passengers, and one gunner were lost.

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U.203 sank Norwegian steamer OCTAVIAN (1345grt) in 45N, 60W.

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U.123 sank American steamer SAN JOSE (1932grt) in 39-15N, 74-09W.

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Submarine UTMOST departed Gibraltar for the UK. After a patrol in the Bay of Biscay, she arrived in the Clyde on 5 February, then proceeded to Blyth, arriving on 11 February for refitting.

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Boom defence vessels BARCLOSE, BARFOAM, and BARFORD departed Gibraltar and proceeded unescorted to Freetown.

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Submarine P.35 sank Italian steamer RAMPINO (301grt) near Pantelleria in 35-59N, 10-45E. One survivor was rescued.

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Convoy TA 17 departed Tobruk with empty storeships, escorted by destroyer AVONVALE and escort ship ANTWERP. The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 18th.

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Convoy SC.65 departed Halifax, escorted by destroyer ANNAPOLIS, corvettes LUNENBURG, THE PAS, and minesweepers BURLINGTON and RED DEER. BURLINGTON was detached on the 18th and the corvettes and the other minesweeper on the 20th. Destroyer ST LAURENT and corvettes KAMSACK, NAPANEE, RIMOUSKI, TRAIL, and TRILLIUM joined on the 20th. This group was detached on the 29th when the convoy was joined by destroyers CALDWELL, VANOC, WALKER and corvette GENTIAN. Corvette HONEYSUCKLE joined on the 30th and GENTIAN detached on the 31st, the destroyers on 1 February, and HONEYSUCKLE on 2 February. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 4 February.

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French sloop D'IBERVILLE, tanker ELORN, and two submarines departed Djbouti.

 

Submarines VENGEUR and L'ESPOIR (departed Diego Suarez on 22 March), MONGE (the fourth boat of this division PEGASE arrived at Saigon in March 1941), and LE GLORIEUX and LE HEROS (arrived Diego Suarez 27 October) on station changes.

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Destroyer JUPITER had escorted American steamer MOUNT VERNON which had departed Singapore on the 16th through the Sunda Strait. After being detached, the destroyer was sent to assist a merchant ship under attack by Japanese submarine. At 6-19-30S, 104-49-20E, the destroyer sank Japanese submarine I.60. The destroyer lost its A gun in the battle. Three ratings were killed and seven wounded. Two survivors from the submarine were picked up and taken to Batavia.

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British gunboat SCORPION, Australian minesweepers BENDIGO and MARYBOROUGH, and motor launches were on the west coast of Malaya in operations against Japanese landings.

 

 

Sunday, 18 January

 

Destroyer WORCESTER departed Scapa Flow at 1000 escorting tanker SAN ZOTICO to Skaalefjord, where they arrived at 1430/19th.

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Convoy OS.17 departed Liverpool.

 

On the 20th, sloops FOLKESTONE, WELLINGTON, and WESTON joined the convoy. FOLKESTONE and WESTON detached on 5 February, and WELLINGTON on 7 February. Also joining on the 20th was escort vessel GORLESTON which detached on 5 February.

 

Escort vessel SENNEN joined on the 21st and was detached on 5 February.

 

Corvettes ARMERIA, BERGAMOT, and ROCKROSE joined the convoy on 4 February and arrived with it on 7 February at Bathurst. On 5 February, destroyer BRILLIANT joined and arrived with the convoy. On 7 February, corvettes AURICULA, BURDOCK, and ORCHIS joined and then continued to Freetown, arriving on 9 February.

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U.86 sank Greek steamer DIMITRIOS G. THERMIOTIS (4271grt), a straggler from convoy SC.63, in 51N, 62W. The entire crew was lost.

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U.552 sank American steamer FRANCES SALMAN (2609grt) off Newfoundland. The steamer had departed St John's on the 17th for Corner Brook, Newfoundland, but never arrived.

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U.66 sank American tanker ALLAN JACKSON (6635grt) in 35-37N, 74-20W. Thirteen crew of a crew of 35 were rescued.

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U.333 sank steamer CALEDONIAN MONARCH (5851grt) from convoy SC.53 in 57N, 26W.

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Destroyer ANTHONY arrived at Gibraltar after escorting convoy WS.15.

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Submarine TALISMAN arrived at Gibraltar from Malta.

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Submarine SEVERN departed Gibraltar and arrived at Portsmouth on the 24th. After repairs, she departed Portsmouth on 17 February for the USA, arriving at Halifax on 27 February with weather damage. She was able to depart on 12 March and arrived at Portsmouth, NH on 16 March. Her USA refit was completed on 10 October.

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Anti-submarine trawler ERIN (Temporary Lt W.G. Swanston RNVR) at Gibraltar was sunk by Italian frogmen. Anti-submarine trawler IMPERIALIST and minesweeping trawler HONJU moored alongside were both badly damaged. Acting S/Lt (A) J.W. Duckham, Officer of the Watch of aircraft carrier ARGUS 807 Squadron (on board HONJU during the attack) and seven ratings were killed. Four ratings were wounded. HONJU was not repaired.

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Convoy AT.18 departed Alexandria for Benghazi, escorted by destroyer HEYTHROP, corvette HYACINTH and anti-submarine trawler SOUTHERN SEA. The convoy arrived on the 20th. HEYTHROP and corvettes HYACINTH and GLOXINIA departed on the 20th to escort empty storeships to Alexandria, arriving on the 21st.

 

Corvette PEONY departed Tobruk with store ship MANOULA for Benghazi.

 

On the 21st, in thick weather, store ship MANOULA and corvette PEONY ran aground at Ras Aszaz. Tug ST MONANCE, anti-submarine whaler SOTRA, and ML.1051 were sent to assist. The ships were refloated on the 22nd and the corvette returned to Alexandria for docking.

 

Destroyers FARNDALE and ERIDGE, escorting store ship EOCENE, departed Alexandria on the 19th for Tobruk, arriving on the 21st.

 

On the 24th, FARNDALE and ERIDGE departed Tobruk escorting empty store ships for Alexandria. On the 26th, ERIDGE was detached to assist destroyer HOTSPUR in an anti-submarine search. FARNDALE arrived with the storeships at Alexandria on the 26th.

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Swordfish of 830 Squadron attacked a convoy of Italian tanker GUILIO GIORDANI, escorted by destroyers DA RECCO and USODIMARE. No damage was done to any of the ships, despite the claim that the tanker and one of the destroyers were damaged.

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In a minefield laid by submarine PORPOISE on the 11th, Italian steamer CITTA DI LIVORNO (2471grt) sank on the 18th north of Crete in 35-38N, 24-18E.

 

PORPOISE attacked a convoy of steamers CITTA DI SAVONA, CITTA DI ALESSANDRO, and German LIVORNO, escorted by armed merchant cruiser BARLETTA, torpedo boats LUPO, CASSIOPEA, and escort ship DRAKE in 35-32N, 24-21E. The convoy had departed Pireaus on the 17th for Suda Bay. The sinking of CITTA DI LIVORNO is generally credited to this attack, but no damage was done to the convoy.

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Convoy ST.13X departed Freetown, escorted by corvettes ARMERIA and ROCKROSE. The convoy arrived at Takoradi on the 23rd.

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Light cruiser DURBAN departed Singapore for Batavia.

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Japanese submarine I.121 sank Dutch steamer BANTAM (9312grt) in 7-15S, 126-30E.

 

 

Monday, 19 January

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND departed Seidisfjord for Scapa Flow, arriving on the 20th.

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Heavy cruiser BERWICK departed Hvalfjord for patrol in Denmark Strait.

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Destroyers TARTAR and ICARUS parted company with convoy QP.5 in position 68-50N, 8-25W and proceeded to Seidisfjord to fuel. The destroyers arrived during the afternoon of the 20th and departed at 2200 that evening for Scapa Flow, arriving at 1630/22nd.

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Minelayers SOUTHERN PRINCE and ADVENTURE, escorted by destroyers LANCASTER and ST MARYS departed Loch Alsh on the 18th. Early on the 19th, minefield SN.15B was laid. The ships arrived back at Loch Alsh later on the 19th.

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Steam vessel H.K.D. (65grt) was sunk on a mine in 51-28-12N, 0-52-42E. The crew of two were rescued.

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U.123 sank American steamer BRAZOS (4497grt) off Cape Hatteras.

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U.109 sank steamer EMPIRE KINGFISHER (6082grt) in 43-26N, 65-40W.

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U.66 sank Canadian steamer LADY HAWKINS (7988grt) in 35N, 72-30W. Of a crew of 109, one gunner, two distressed British Seamen, and 210 passengers, 88 crew, one gunner, two distressed seaman, and 161 passengers were missing. Among the passengers lost were S/Lt (A) J.A.G. Sidford RNVR for MALABAR 773 Squadron, Temporary Lt R.H. Cowper-Coles RNVR for light cruiser DESPATCH, Temporary Acting Gunner (T) J. Harris for light cruiser DIOMEDE, Temporary Lt (Sp) W. Jameson RNVR for BENBOW, Gunner H.W. Kemp (retired) for MALABAR and Temporary Chaplain A.G.F. Shaw RNVR.

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U.123 sank American steamer CITY OF ATLANTA (5269grt) in 35-42N, 75-21W. Of a crew of 47, one crewman was killed and 43 were missing.

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U.123 badly damaged Latvian steamer CILTVAIRA (3779grt) in 35-25N, 75-23W. The steamer sank in tow. Two crew were lost and 29 rescued.

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U.123 damaged American tanker MALAY (8206grt) in 35-40N, 75-20W. The tanker arrived at Hampton Roads on the 20th.

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Submarine P.38 departed Gibraltar for Malta, arriving on the 28th.

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An Albacore of 828 Squadron from Hal Far was shot down while on anti-submarine patrol. S/Lt P. Howson and Leading Airman G.S. Hedger, both wounded, were picked up by a destroyer escorting convoy MW.8 to Malta.

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Dutch steamer VAN IMHOFF (2980grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing south of Java.

 

 

Tuesday, 20 January

 

Destroyer WORCESTER was ordered to return to Scapa Flow and sailed from Skaalefjord during the afternoon. She arrived at Scapa Flow at 1515/21st.

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Convoy ON.58 departed Liverpool. Destroyers NEWPORT, ST ALBANS and corvettes ACANTHUS, HIBISCUS, and MONTBRETIA joined the convoy on the 21st and took it back to Liverpool arriving on the 21st.

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Petrol carrier CRISTA (2590grt) broke adrift at Benghazi and damaged Norwegian HARBOE JENSEN (1862grt) and collier MAUSANG. Steamer CRISTA's steering gear was badly damaged.

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Convoy HX.171 departed Halifax, escorted by destroyer HAMILTON, corvettes FREDERCTON, SASKATOON, WEYBURN and minesweepers CLAYOQUOT. These were detached on the 22nd. American destroyers COLE, DALLAS, GLEAVES, UPSHUR, Coast Guard cutter INGRAM, and minesweeper COWICHAN joined on the 22nd. The minesweeper was detached on the 23rd and destroyer COLE on the 24th. The destroyers and the cutter were detached on the 30th when relieved by British destroyers NEWPORT, ST ALBANS and corvettes ACANTHUS, HIBISCUS, and ROSE. The destroyers and ROSE detached on the 31st. The convoy arrived on 1 February at Liverpool.

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American destroyer EDSALL and Australian minesweepers DELORAINE, KATOOMBA, and LITHGOW sank Japanese submarine I.124 sixty miles west of Darwin in the Timor Sea in 12-24S, 129-49E.

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Japanese submarine I.59 sank Norwegian steamer EIDSVOLD (4184grt) anchored off Christmas Island. The entire crew was rescued and was later brought to Batavia by light cruiser DURBAN on 10 February.

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Norwegian steamer HERSTEIN (5100grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing at Rabaul. One crewman was killed.

 

 

21 January, Wednesday

 

Light cruisers NIGERIA and KENYA departed Hvalfjord to relieve light cruisers CLEOPATRA and ARETHUSA on patrol in the Faroes-Iceland passage. CLEOPATRA and ARETHUSA departed their patrol stations on the 22nd to proceed to Scapa Flow, arriving on the 23rd. Both had been ordered to the Mediterranean.

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Destroyer MIDDLETON departed Scapa Flow at 0920 to convey British cabinet minister Sir Stafford Cripps to Invergordon on his return from Moscow from whence he had taken passage in heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND. The destroyer arrived at Invergordon at 1700, her passage having been delayed by a strong southerly gale. The destroyer departed Invergordon at 1015/22nd and arrived at 1545 that day.

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U.203 damaged American Army transport NORTH GASPE (888grt) in 46-33N, 53-04W.

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U.85 torpedoed a merchant ship in the North Atlantic.The submarine observed a heavily listing ship, but no report of any damage is available.

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U.754 sank Norwegian steamer BELIZE (2153grt) in 47-21N, 58-08W. Canadian corvette SPIKENARD located a water filled lifeboat from the steamer on the 24th.

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U.754 sank Norwegian steamer WILLIAM HANSEN (1344grt) in 46-56N, 52-47W. Of a crew of 19, there were nine survivors.

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U.130 sank Norwegian tanker ALEXANDRA HOEGH (8248grt) in 40-53N, 65-56W. The entire crew was rescued.

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Submarine TURBULENT arrived at Gibraltar from patrol off Alboran Island, while TEMPEST departed Gibraltar to work up in the area.

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Submarine TALISMAN departed Gibraltar for the UK, arrived at Greenock on 1 February and proceeded to Troon for refitting. The refit was completed on 10 July.

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Battleship RAMILLIES arrived at Mombasa.

_____

 

Armed patrol vessel RAUB (1159grt, Temporary Lt S. Lefevre RNR) was sunk by Japanese bombing at Belawan. The entire crew were rescued.

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Japanese submarine I.66 sank Steamer CHAK SANG (2358grt) at 15-42N, 95-02E in the approaches to Rangoon. Of a crew of 66, five were lost.

 

I.66 also sank Panamanian steamer NORD (3193grt) at 15-28N, 94-36E in the approaches to Rangoon. Some of the survivors landed in Burma.

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Greek steamer ZANNIS L. CAMBANIS (5317grt) was sunk on a Dutch minefield in 1-15N, 104-31E. The Master and one other crewman were lost in the steamer.

 

 

Thursday, 22 January

 

Heavy cruiser KENT arrived at Hvalfjord from patrol in the Denmark Strait.

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Light cruiser TRINIDAD and destroyer SOMALI departed Kola Inlet during the night of 22/23 January to escort convoy QP.6.

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Minesweeper SEAGULL was taken in hand at Grimsby for refitting.

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Minesweeping trawler ROSEMONDE (364grt, Lt K. Galteland RNR) was sunk by U.203 near Cape Race. Galteland, Temporary Lt T. Sims-Hilditch RNVR, Temporary S/Lt G.H. Head RNVR and the entire crew were lost in the trawler.

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Minelayer PLOVER departed Dover late on the 21st, escorted by the 14th MGB Flotilla, to lay minefield NQ (B) in the English Channel. The force arrived back at Dover on the 22nd.

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U.588 sank a steamer northwest of Ireland. There is no corresponding report.

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U.66 sank American steamer NORVANA (2677grt) off the Carolina coast.

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U.333 sank Greek steamer VASSILIOS A. POLEMIS (3429grt), a straggler from convoy ON.53, in 42-32N, 52-38W. Of a crew of 33, only 12 were rescued.

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U.135 sank Belgian steamer GANDIA (9626grt), a straggler from convoy ON.54, in 54-45N, 53-00W. Of a crew of 70 and nine gunners, 66 crew were lost.

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U.553 sank Norwegian tanker INNEROY (8260grt) in 42-30N, 59-54W. Of a crew of 36, five crew were rescued.

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U.82 sank British tanker ATHELCROWN (11,999grt) in 45-06N, 40-56W. Of a crew of 44 and six gunners, four crew were lost. On the 30th, survivors from the tanker boarded tanker DIALA that had been abandoned on the 20th. The survivors left her on 7 February when they were rescued by Swedish steamer SATURNUS. (DD – have I got this right?)

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U.130 sank Panamanian tanker OLYMPIC (5335grt) in 36-01N, 75-30W.

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Light cruiser HERMIONE departed Gibraltar to carry out a patrol in an area bounded by 41-30N to 43N, 22W to 25W. She refuelled at Ponta Delgada on the 27th and from oiler DINGLEDALE on the 30th. HERMIONE arrived back at Gibraltar on 2 February.

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Admiralty trawler ROSALIND and minesweeping trawler LORD GREY arrived at Gibraltar from the UK.

_____

 

Ferry steamers CARDAK and SILIVRI departed Horta for Freetown escorted by French patrol vessel REINE DES FLOTS and sloop LA MOQUESE.

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In Italian supply operation T.18, transports RAVELLO (6142grt), MONVISO (5322grt), MONGINEVRO (5324grt), and VETTOR PISANI (6339grt) departed Messina and troopship VICTORIA (13,098grt) departed Taranto. They rendezvoused and were escorted by destroyers VIVALDI, MALOCELLO, DA NOLI, AVIERE, CAMICIA NERA, and GENIERE and torpedo boats ORSA and CASTORE.

 

Troopship RAVELLO returned to Messina with a rudder defect later on the 22nd.

 

Light cruisers D'AOSTA, ATTENDOLO, MONTECUCCOLI and destroyers ALPINO, BERSAGLIERE, CARABINIERE, and FUCLIERE provide close escort. Battleship DUILO with destroyers PIGAFETTA, ORIANI, SCIROCCO, and ASCARI provided distant cover.

 

On the 23rd, VICTORIA (13,098grt) was torpedoed by an Albacore of 826 Squadron. Destroyers AVIERE and CAMICIA NERA stood by while the convoy proceeded. The troopship later sank. Of the 1455 on board, 1064 crew and passengers were rescued.

 

One Albacore of the 828 Squadron ditched northwest of Trefani. Lt J.D. Jackson, Lt Cdr J.W. Corbett, and Leading Airman W.H. Bugden were picked up by an Italian hospital ship and made prisoners of war.

 

The convoy arrived at Tripoli on the 24th. Covering forces arrived back at Taranto on the 25th.

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Light cruiser AJAX, no longer fit for operations due to the condition of her machinery, departed Alexandria, escorted by destroyers ISAAC SWEERS and HOTSPUR. She operated in the Canal area for the protection of shipping at Suez until essential repairs could be completed for the voyage to England, and refitting at Chatham from 27 May to 24 October.

_____

 

American destroyers FANNING and GRIDLEY, in Halsey's Task Force 8, collided and were both forced to return to Pearl Harbour for repairs.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.64 sank Dutch steamer VAN OVERSTRATEN (4482grt) at 1-40N, 90-13E. The entire crew were lost.

_____

 

Dutch steamer LEMATANG (2512grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing at Belawan Deli.

 

 

Friday, 23 January

 

Heavy cruiser NORFOLK, escorted by destroyer WORCESTER, departed Scapa Flow at 1700 for the Tyne. Heavy weather forced the ships to put into the Firth of Forth on the 24th. They were able to proceed later and arrived in the Tyne later that day.

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Minelayer AGAMEMNON, escorted by destroyer ST MARYS, laid minefield SN.26B of the Northern Barrage.

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Minelayer PLOVER departed Dover late on the 22nd, escorted by the 14th MGB Flotilla, to lay minefield NQ(C) in the Outer Ruytingen Channel. The minelayer arrived back at Dover at 0800/23rd .She then proceeded to Southampton for permanent repair to collision damage.

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Convoy ON.59 departed Liverpool. The convoy was joined on the 24th by destroyer WANDERER and corvettes AUBRETIA, RENONCULE, ROSELYS, and VERVAIN. VERVAIN was detached on the 25th, ROSELYS on the 26th, and the rest on the 29th when the convoy was joined by American destroyers JACOB JONES, MADISON, STURTEVANT, WILKES and corvettes ACONIT and KENOGAMI. Corvette KENOGAMI was detached on 4 February. The other escorts were detached on 5 February, and the convoy dispersed on the 6th.

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Italian submarine BARBARIGO sank Spanish steamer NAVEMAR (5473grt) in 36-48N, 15-26W. Thirty four crew were rescued and two missing. The survivors were picked up by Spanish steamer ISLA DE TENERIFFE (5118grt). Corvette COLTSFOOT was ordered to her assistance, but en route, was ordered to return to Gibraltar. Destroyer HESPERUS, en route to the UK, escorting armed merchant cruiser PRETORIA CASTLE and troopship ALMANZORA, was ordered to search for the submarine.

_____

 

U.109 sank steamer THIRLBY (4887grt) in 43-20N, 66-15W. Of a crew of 45, including nine gunners and a pilot, three were lost.

_____

 

U.82 sank Norwegian tanker LEIESTEN (6118grt) in 45-27N, 43-19W. Twenty nine crew were rescued and six were lost.

_____

 

Force K of light cruiser PENELOPE and destroyers ZULU, SIKH, LANCE, LEGION, LIVELY, and MAORI departed Malta to attack a northbound convoy during the night of 23/24 January, but no contact was made. The ships were Italian salvage steamer RAFFIO and motor ship SANT'ANTONIO which departed Tripoli without escort on the 23rd and arrived at Pantelleria on the 24th. The convoy remained at Pantelleria until 7 February and finally arrived at Trapani on the 8th. Force K returned to Malta the next morning.

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Convoy SC.66 departed Halifax, escorted by destroyer ST CLAIR, corvettes ALGOMA, EYEBRIGHT, PICTOU, and minesweepers GANANOQUE and QUINTE. The destroyer, PICTOU, and the minesweepers were detached on the 26th when the convoy was joined by corvettes DRUMHELLER, SHAWNIGAN, SHEDIAC, and SUMMERSIDE. SHEDIAC was detached on the 27th. The rest of the escort, including the two corvettes from the original group, were detached on 4 February when relieved by destroyer BOADICEA, sloop COMMANDANT DETROYAT, and corvettes HEATHER, LOBELIA, and NARCISSUS. These escorts detached on the 8th. Anti-submarine trawler ST CATHAN joined on the 8th and escorted the convoy into Liverpool on the 9th.

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Battleship WARSPITE departed Esquimalt, after repairs at Bremerton, Washington, from her May 1941 Crete bombing. She met Royal Fleet Auxiliary BISHOPDALE at Henderson Island to refuel on 6 February.

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American convoy BT.200 departed New York City at 1500Z/23 January with US Army Transports ARGENTINA (Cdre), CRISTOBAL, and BARRY, carrying the 1st Division, and ISLAND MAIL (for Wellington, arriving 23 February), JOHN ERICSSON, SANTA ELENA, SANTA ROSA, and MCANDREW, carrying the 2nd Division.

 

The convoy was escorted from New York by heavy cruiser VINCENNES, destroyers C F HUGHES, LANSDALE, LUDLOW, INGRAHAM, H P JONES, and fast transports (former destroyers) COLHOUN, GREGORY, and HAMILTON. Additional escort for the first 48 hours was destroyers PALMER (SO), HOWARD, MCKEAN, STRINGHAM, and MANLEY.

 

Destroyers INGRAHAM, HOWARD, LITTLE, MANLEY, MCKEAN, and STRINGHAM subsequently departed Charleston on the 27th, escorting convoy BC.100 of supply ships ARTHUR MIDDLETON, ALCHIBA, PRESIDENT TYLER, HAMUL, IRENEE DUPONT, and MERCURY.

 

Destroyers INGRAHAM and STRINGHAM refuelled in Key West on the 29th, while HOWARD, MANLEY and MCKEAN detached on the 30th to refuel at Key West, then return to Norfolk.

 

Escort from the Canal Zone for BT.200 was light cruisers TRENTON, MILWAUKEE and destroyers SAMPSON and MOFFETT from 2 to 14 Februrary.

 

Escort from the Canal Zone on 3 February for BC.100 was light cruiser RICHMOND and destroyers WARRINGTON and J FRED TALBOT. The latter detached on 6 February and return to Canal Zone. The convoy arrived at Bora Bora on the 17th.

 

From Bora Bora, escort for BT.200 was heavy cruisers SAN FRANCISCO, PENSACOLA and destroyers MUGFORD, JARVIS, PATTERSON, and BAGLEY.

 

The convoy arrived at Melbourne escorted by light cruiser HONOLULU and destroyers MUGFORD and JARVIS on 26 February.

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Japanese submarine I.72 sank American naval oiler NECHES (7383grt), which had departed Pearl Harbour on the 22nd, in 21-01N, 160-06W. One hundred and twenty six survivors were picked up by destroyer JARVIS, while 57 enlisted men were missing. LT D.F. Anderegg, LT/JG E.C. Stone, Jr, and eight enlisted men were wounded.

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Armed patrol vessel LARUT (894grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing at Sabang. The entire crew was rescued.

_____

 

Steamer DURANBAH (274grt) was captured by Japanese forces at Rabaul.

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Convoy BM.12 of troopships EMPRESS OF ASIA, FELIX ROUSSEL, DEVONSHIRE, and PLANCIUS departed Bombay on the 23rd, escorted by sloop SUTLEJ. Sloop FALMOUTH joined BM.12 on the 26th and detached the next day.

 

Light cruiser EMERALD joined on the 27th. The convoy merged with convoy DM.2 on the 28th. EMERALD was relieved on the 31st by cruisers DANAE and JAVA. Sloop YARRA joined on 1 February, cruiser EXETER and destroyers JUPITER and VAMPIRE on the 2nd, and the whole convoy arrived at Batavia on the 3rd, where steamer CITY OF CANTERBURY of convoy DM.2 joined.

 

EXETER and destroyers JUPITER and ENCOUNTER were detached on 4 February for operations north of Banka Strait. The convoy arrived at Singapore on the 5th, escorted by light cruiser DANAE and sloops YARRA and SUTLEJ.

 

 

Saturday, 24 January

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, arriving on the 26th.

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Light cruiser NIGERIA departed patrol in the Faroes-Iceland passage for Scapa Flow, arriving on the 26th.

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Destroyer PALADIN departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow to work up, arriving on the 26th.

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Destroyer CALPE departed Sullom Voe at daylight for Scapa Flow. En route, she was ordered to proceed to assist French sloop LA CAPRICIEUSE which had been damaged by heavy weather. En route, the sloop reported she no longer required assistance and CALPE finally arrived at Scapa Flow 0900/26th, being delayed by heavy weather.

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Destroyer ICARUS was docked for repairs to her hull at Scapa Flow.

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Minesweeper BRITOMART, in company with minesweepers SALAMANDER and SHARPSHOOTER, was attacked by German bombers near Murmansk. BRITOMART suffered minor damage from a near miss.

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Convoy QP.6 departed Murmansk with British steamers EMPIRE ACTIVITY (5335grt), EMPIRE REDSHANK (6615grt), and EMPIRE HOWARD (6985grt), Panamanian steamers ANEROID (5074grt) and REIGH COUNT (4657grt), and Soviet steamer CHERNYSHEVSKI (3588grt).

 

Soviet destroyers GREMYASCHI and SOKRUSHITELNY escorted the convoy from the 24th to 27th, and minesweepers HARRIER and SPEEDWELL from the 24th to 25th. On the 25th, light cruiser TRINIDAD, destroyer SOMALI, and minesweepers BRAMBLE and HEBE joined remaining with the convoy until the 28th, when it dispersed.

 

TRINIDAD, BRAMBLE and HEBE proceeded to Scapa Flow and SOMALI to Hvalfjord.

 

Most of the ships of the convoy proceeded to Loch Ewe, arriving by 2 February, including EMPIRE REDSHANK, which was damaged by German bombing on the 31st.

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U.66 sank British tanker EMPIRE GEM (8139grt) in 35-06N, 74-58W and American steamer VENORE (8017grt) in 34-50N, 75-20W. Of a crew of 45 and six gunners, only two survivors were picked up from the tanker. Twenty two crew were missing from the American steamer and 21 survivors picked up.

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U.106 sank steamer EMPIRE WILDEBEESTE (5631grt) in 39-30N, 59-54W. Of a crew of 27 and four gunners, eight crew and one gunner were lost. US destroyer LANG rescued 34, a number which probably included survivors from another/other ships.

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U.333 sank Norwegian steamer RINGSTAD (4765grt), from convoy ONS.55, in 45-50N, 51-04W. Of 37 crew and six passengers, 27 crew and three passengers were missing.

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Submarine REGENT reported being partially disabled in 42-44N, 24-54W. Light cruiser HERMIONE proceeded to assist and both arrived at Ponta Delgada on the 27th. Oiler DINGLEDALE arrived in port and transferred lubricating oil to the submarine, which was able to depart Ponta Delgada on 2 February.

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Destroyer HESPERUS departed Gibraltar to meet armed merchant cruiser PRETORIA CASTLE and troopship ALMANZORA and escort them to the UK. The destroyer proceeded to Falmouth for repairs received in ramming submarine U.93 on the 15th. Repairs were completed in April.

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Submarine P.39 arrived at Gibraltar from patrol.

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A Swordfish of 812 Squadron crashed in Gibraltar Bay. Lt (A) M.F.S.P. Willcocks and Temporary S/Lt (A) R.E. Shipman RNVR, were killed. The TAG, Leading Airman G.E. Locke, was unhurt.

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An Albacore of 828 Squadron went missing off Benghasi on a flight from Benghasi to Malta. Lt V.N.S. Davies DSC RNR,and Acting S/Lt (A) A.D. Maher DSC were both killed.

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In Malta convoy operation MF.4, supply ship BRECONSHIRE departed Alexandria at 1600/24th escorted by Force B of light cruisers NAIAD (Flagship Vian), EURYALUS, DIDO, anti-aircraft ship CARLISLE, and destroyers GRIFFIN (D.2), KELVIN, KIPLING, ARROW, KINGSTON, JAGUAR, HASTY, and ISAAC SWEERS.

 

Force K of light cruiser PENELOPE and destroyers ZULU, LANCE, LEGION, LIVELY and MAORI departed Malta with troopship GLENGLYE and steamer ROWALLAN CASTLE at 1900/25th.

 

The passage was without incident and the supply ships were exchanged. LANCE joined Force B and KINGSTON joined Force K.

 

LEGION was damaged by the near miss of an air bomb on the 26th, causing some structural damage and putting her asdic out of service temporarily.

 

The Forces arrived back at Malta and Alexandria on the 27 and 28th, respectively.

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Convoy AT.19 departed Alexandria, escorted by destroyer AVONVALE, escort vessel MALINES, and French escort vessel VIKINGS. The convoy arrived on the 27th and departed with AVONVALE, MALINES, and HYACINTH with empty store ships for Alexandria, arriving on the 29th. MALINES was damaged in a collision on the 29th with steamer HAVRE (2073grt) of the convoy and was out of service for three to four weeks. There was no convoy AT.20.

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In preparation for the evacuation of Benghazi, escort destroyers SOUTHWOLD, DULVERTON, and HEYTHROP departed Alexandria.

 

The evacuation began during the night of the 25th/26th and a convoy of three motor vessels and minesweepers ABERDARE and BAGSHOT (ABERDARE towing a tug) departed escorted by the destroyers. Also departing were two R Lighters and two A Lighters in another convoy and eleven D lighters in a third. (Class information on these lighters is not known)

 

The R, A, and D lighters all arrived at Tobruk on the 27th, with the exception of D.9 which was beached three miles west of Tobruk.

 

On the 27th, destroyer DULVERTON, the two minesweepers, and collier CRISTA were ordered to Tobruk. The remainder of the convoy proceeded to Alexandria, arriving on the 28th.

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Heavy cruiser DEVONSHIRE arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, for refitting.

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Steamer TAI SANG (3555grt), formerly of convoy SS.1, was sunk on a Dutch mine at 0-55N, 103-35E. Of a crew of 31 and four passengers, only two survived to become prisoners of war.

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American submarine S.26 (LCDR E.C. Hawk) was sunk in a collision with patrol boat PC.460 in the Gulf of Panama. LT T.V. Peters, Ensign J.B. Stubbins, Ensign H.L. Taylor, and forty three enlisted men were lost. LCDR Hawk, LT R.E.M. Ward, and one enlisted man on the bridge were rescued.

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Battle of Makassar Strait was fought between American destroyers PARROTT, POPE, JOHN D FORD, and PAUL JONES and Japanese surface ships off Balikpapan. JOHN D FORD was damaged by Japanese gunfire with three enlisted men wounded. Japanese patrol boat No.37 was sunk.

 

 

Sunday, 25 January

 

Heavy cruiser SUFFOLK departed Hvalfjord for patrol in the Denmark Strait.

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Task Force 15 of American battleship TEXAS, heavy cruiser QUINCY and destroyers MAYRANT, TRIPPE, RHIND, and ROWAN, which departed New York on the 15th with troopship MUNARGO, arrived at Hvalfjord. Aircraft carrier WASP and destroyers STACK and STERETT had departed with this group, but were detached en route.

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U.754 sank Greek steamer MOUNT KITHERON (3876grt) in 47-32N, 52-31W. Of 32 crew and four passengers, 12 crew were lost in the steamer.

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U.130 sank Norwegian tanker VARANGER (9305grt) in 38-58N, 74-06W. The entire crew was rescued.

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U.123 sank steamer CULEBRA (3044grt) in 35-30N, 53-25W. There were no survivors.

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U.125 attacked American tanker OLNEY (7294grt) in 37-55N, 74-56W, but no damage was done.

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Steamer SWYNFLEET (1168grt) was sunk on a mine 2.2 cables 204° from Landguard Point Lighthouse. The entire crew was rescued.

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After Swordfish aircraft reported severely damaging U.453 in 31-43N, 28-09E, destroyer HOTSPUR was sent from Alexandria to search. On the 26th, destroyer ERIDGE joined the destroyer, but no contact was made and both ships arrived at Alexandria later on the 26th.

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Minesweeper ABINGDON, minesweeping off Malta, was damaged by German air attack. Six crew were wounded of whom one later died of wounds.

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Submarine P.34 sank Italian steamer DALMATIA L. (3252grt) proceeding south from the Straits of Messina in 37-45N, 15-30E.

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Minelayer ABDIEL departed Trincomalee for minelaying operations in Andaman Islands.

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Submarine TRUANT arrived at Colombo.

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Japanese submarine I.59 entered Sabang Roads, sank one steamer and captured a part of the crew.

 

 

Monday, 26 January

 

Captain A.K. Scott-Moncrief asssumed command of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, replacing Captain A.F. de Salis, DSO.

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Destroyer LUDLOW departed Scapa Flow at 1530 and met convoy WN.35 off Duncansby Head to act as additional escort to Methil. There, she came under the command of Commander in Chief, Rosyth, for the escort of destroyer depot ship BLENHEIM from the Tyne to Scapa Flow.

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Corvettes MIGNONETTE, EGLANTINE, and SNOWDROP arrived at Hvalfjord to join the Home Fleet for operation in the Denmark Strait. Corvette OXLIP arrived on the 28th for the same duty.

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Oiler SAN ZOTICO, escorted by two trawlers, left Skaalefjord for Sullom Voe, arriving on the 28th.

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Convoy OG.79 departed Liverpool, escorted by anti-submarine whaler NARVIK which detached the same day. Sloops BLACK SWAN, FOWEY, corvettes CAMPION, CARNATION, MYOSITIS, STONECROP, and anti-submarine trawler SOUTHERN WAVE joined on the 27th.The trawler was detached that day.

 

On the 28th, corvette BLUEBELL joined the convoy. Destroyers VIDETTE and WISHART departed Gibraltar on 3 February and joined on the 5th.The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on the 7th.

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Convoy ON.60 departed Liverpool. The convoy was joined on the 27th by destroyers BOADICEA, SABRE, SCIMITAR, SHIKARI, sloop COMMANDANT DETROYAT, and corvettes HEATHER, LOBELIA, and NARCISSUS. SCIMITAR detached on the 30th, HEATHER on the 31st and BOADICEA, SABRE, SHIKARI, COMMANDANT DETROYAT, LOBELIA and NARCISSUS on 2 February. The convoy was joined on this date by corvettes ALYSSE, BARRIE, BUTOUCHE, HEPATICA, MOOSEJAW, and SHERBROOKE. Of these, ALYSSE, BUCTOUCHE, HEPATICA, and MOOSEJAW detached on 8 February and corvette DIANTHUS on the 11th.The convoy arrived at Halifax with corvettes BARRIE and SHERBROOKE on the 15th.

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U.106 sank steamer TRAVELLER (3963grt) in 40N, 61-45W. The entire crew of 26 was lost.

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U.125 sank American steamer WEST IVIS (5666grt) off the Virginia Capes.

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U.754 sank Greek steamer ICARION (4013grt) in 46-02N, 52-22W. Nine crew were lost in the steamer.

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U.582 sank British tanker REFAST (5189grt) in 42-41N, 53-02W. Ten were lost from 39 crew and four gunners.

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U.123 sank Norwegian tanker PAN NORWAY (9231grt) in 32-56N, 50-27W. The entire crew was rescued.

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Submarine P.34 sank Italian steamer DALMATIA L (3252grt) off the Straits of Messina.

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Convoy HX.172 departed Halifax, escorted by destroyer ANNAPOLIS, corvettes DUNEGAN, LUNENBURG, THE PAS, and minesweeper RED REER. The destroyer and DUNVEGAN were detached on the 27th and the rest on the 28th. On that day, American destroyers BUCK, DUPONT, HERBERT, MCCORMICK, and SWANSON joined. Corvette ASPHODEL joined on 3 February. The American ships detached on the 4th when relieved by British destroyers HURRICANE, SCIMITAR, WANDERER and corvettes AUBRETIA, DIANELLA, and RENONCULE. DIANELLA detached on the 5th, and the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 7th.

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Destroyer THANET (Lt Cdr B.S. Davies Rtd) and the Australian VAMPIRE attacked Japanese transports off Endau. THANET was sunk by Japanese lighter cruiser SENDAI, destroyers YUGIRI, FUBUKI, ASAGIRI, and minesweeper W 1. Thirty seven ratings were lost.

 

Cdr Davies, Lt G.A. Jones RNR, Temporary Acting Warrant Engineer H.N. Bailey, and seven ratings were able to get into the ship's boat. However, on the 29th, Jones and one rating were drowned when the boat ran aground The eight survivors were picked up by patrol vessel GIANG BEE.

 

Lt F.M.R. Flint RNVR, Gunner J.R. Smyth and forty seven ratings were able to reach the ship's whaler and landed on Kaban Island. They later sailed south and picked up five more THANET ratings and two RAF pilots. On the 30th, patrol vessel GIANG BEE rescued the party and took them to Singapore.

 

S/Lt R.H. Danger RNR and thirty ratings were rescued by Japanese destroyer SHIRAYUKI and landed at Endau. Four ratings died while prisoners of war.

_____

 

Light cruiser ENTERPRISE departed Singapore for Colombo.

_____

 

Auxiliary patrol vessel KELANA (88 tons gross) was scuttled at Endau. Auxiliary patrol boat SHUMAN was scuttled after bombing damage at Endau, but later salved and taken to Singapore.

_____

 

Light cruiser ENTERPRISE departed Singapore for Colombo.

_____

 

Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL departed Colombo for Port Blair, arriving on the 27th. She departed the next morning and laid mines off the east coast of South Andaman Island - off Port Blair, the Kotara Anchorage, Port Meadows, and Elphinstone Harbour, before departing Port Blair on the 30th to return to Trincomalee. On 1 February, ABDIEL damaged her starboard propeller shaft after grounding at Port Anson. Her speed was reduced, but she was able to reach Trincomalee on the 3rd.

_____

 

On approaching Addu Atoll on the 26th,orders for convoy DM.2 of troopships WARWICK CASTLE, EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA, CITY OF PRETORIA, TROILUS, MALANCHA, and DUNERA were altered and only ROYAL SOVEREIGN and EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA (the latter short of fuel) entered, EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA duly rejoining after fuelling. Theconvoy was then escorted by armed merchant cruiser RANCHI until the 28th when the convoy rendezvoused and merged with convoy BM.12. Light cruiser EMERALD relieved the armed merchant cruiser and escorted until the 31st when light cruisers DANAE and the Dutch JAVA joined.

 

DANAE and JAVA were detached on 3 February, due to fuel shortage, and arrived at Batavia on the 4th. That same day, heavy cruiser EXETER and destroyers JUPITER and ENCOUNTER detached from the convoy to form a striking force to attack Japanese ships north of Banka Island.

 

Destroyer VAMPIRE was detached and arrived at Batavia on the 4th with DM.2, which had been travelling in company with BM.12.

_____

 

Convoy MR.1 departed Madras with steamers ERINPURA (5143grt), ETHIOPIA (5574grt), KUTSANG (5869grt), NEURALIA (9182grt), PRESIDENT DOUMIER (11,898grt), and VARSOVA (4701grt), escorted by Australian armed merchant cruiser MANOORA, Indian sloop INDUS and Indian patrol vessels IRRAWADY and TRAVANCORE. The patrol vessels were detached on the 26th and the armed merchant cruiser on the 30th. The convoy arrived at Rangoon on the 31st, escorted by the sloop.

 

 

Tuesday, 27 January

 

Heavy cruiser BERWICK arrived at Hvalfjord from patrol in the Denmark Strait.

_____

 

Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed Hvalfjord for patrol in the Faroes-Iceland passage.

_____

 

Destroyer AIREDALE arrived at Scapa Flow at 1245 from Lamlash to work up after commissioning.

_____

 

Destroyer LEWES departed Scapa Flow at 1930 for Rosyth on completion of working up, and arrived at May Island at 0800/28th.

_____

 

Convoy ON.61 departed Liverpool and was joined on the 28th by destroyers KEPPEL, LEAMINGTON and corvettes ALISMA, APHODEL, DIANELLA, KINGCUP, LOOSESTRIFE, and THYME. These escorts were relieved on 1 February by American destroyers NIBLACK, OVERTON, and TARBELL. The convoy dispersed on the 10th.

_____

 

Minesweeper HALCYON departed Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow, prior to procceding to Dundee for repair to propeller shafts.

_____

 

Russian icebreaker STALIN arrived at Molotovsk for repair to the 16 January bomb damage.

_____

 

U.130 sank American tanker FRANCIS E. POWELL (7096grt) in 38-05N, 74-53W. Four crew were missing and 28 rescued.

_____

 

U.130 damaged American tanker HALO (6986grt) in 35-23N, 75-20W.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier ARGUS and her destroyer escort departed Gibraltar to exercise to the east.

_____

 

Destroyer HURWORTH arrived at Aden, and sailed that day for Suez to join the Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.

_____

 

Anti-submarine whaler SOUTHERN SEA, escorting DARIEN II to Derna, attacked a submarine contact in 32-44N, 23-23E. Destroyer DULVERTON was sent from Tobruk to assist, but no further contact was made.

_____

Submarine TEMPEST arrived at Gibraltar from patrol.

_____

 

Submarine TURBULENT departed Gibraltar for Malta.

_____

 

Cruiser minelayer WELSHMAN arrived at Gibraltar from Freetown.

_____

 

Sloop PELICAN and corvettes MARIGOLD and AZALEA departed Gibraltar for the UK. Corvette VETCH departed in company to relieve corvette SPIRAEA with oiler DINGLEDALE, SPIRAEA then proceeding to the UK. Corvettes PENTSTEMON and VETCH were temporarily assigned to the 13th Destroyer Flotilla to replace AZALEA and SPIRAEA which were returning to the UK to fit type 271 radar.

_____

 

Convoy SL.99 departed Freetown escorted by destroyer BRILLIANT and corvettes ARMERIA, BERGAMOT, LAVENDER, and ROCKROSE. They were all detached on the 30th. On the 28th, destroyer VANSITTART joined the convoy and continued to 14 February.

 

On the 29th, sloops ABERDEEN, ENCHANTRESS, IBIS and escort vessel WALNEY joined. IBIS detached on 2 February, but the rest continued until the 16th. Destroyer CLARE joined on the 31st and continued to 16 February, escort vessel HARTLAND on 3 February and continued to the 16th, and sloop ROSEMARY, anti-aircraft ship ULSTER QUEEN and anti-submarine trawler WOLVES on the 16th and escorted the convoy into Liverpool the same day.

_____

 

American submarine GUDGEON sank Japanese submarine I.73 in 28-24N, 178-35E.

_____

 

Gunboats DRAGONFLY and SCORPION evacuated troops cut off west of Rengit from the coast south of Batu Pahat from the 27th to 31st.

_____

 

Tanker HARPA (3007grt) was sunk on a British mine in Singapore Strait. Thirty three crew and two gunners were lost from a complement of 38 crew and two gunners. The five survivors were rescued by patrol vessel HUA TONG, but all but one died.

_____

 

Dutch steamer JAN CARSTENESZ (164grt) was scuttled at Amboina, where the the Master and engineer were interned.

 

 

Wednesday, 28 January

 

Light cruiser KENYA arrived at Hvalfjord from patrol in the Faroes-Iceland Channel.

_____

 

Destroyer CALPE departed Scapa Flow at 2015 for Sullom Voe, where she arrived at 0930/29th.

_____

 

Convoy QP.6 was dispersed at 0500 in 73N, 15E. Destroyer SOMALI proceeded to Hvalfjord, arriving at 1845/30th, while light cruiser TRINIDAD and minesweepers BRAMBLE and HEBE arrived at Scapa Flow on the 31st.

_____

 

S/Lt R S Campbell was killed when his Albacore of the 786 Squadron crashed near Elie Light.

_____

 

Cruiser minelayer WELSHMAN departed Gibraltar for the UK.

_____

 

Convoy AT.21 of petrol carrier ATHENE, escorted by escort destroyers FARNDALE, ERIDGE, and HERO departed Alexandria and arrived at Tobruk on the 30th. On the 31st, the escorts departed Tobruk with empty storeships for Alexandria, arriving on 1 February.

_____

 

Submarine THORN sank Italian steamer NINUCCIA (4583grt) 1000 yards 90° from Mulo Island Light. Shortly after the sinking, she struck bottom and damaged her stern, rendering the three stern tubes unsafe to use.

_____

 

Submarine PANDORA arrived at Bermuda from New London, Connecticut, after refitting. After minor repairs, she sailed for Gibraltar on 3 February.

_____

 

In Operation OPPONENT, aircraft carrier INDOMITABLE, escorted by destroyers NAPIER, NIZAM, and NESTOR, flew off 48 Hurricanes of 232 and 258 Squadron to Batavia. A Swordfish of INDOMITABLE’s 831 Squadron failed to return from an anti-submarine search, and Lt B C Willoughby, S/Lt G T Shaddick, and Leading Airman G C G Tew were lost. The force arrived back at Trincomalee on 2 February.

_____

 

Aircraft transport ATHENE departed Mauritius with Hurricane aircraft for Singapore.

_____

 

Convoy MS.1 had departed Sydney on 28 December and Melbourne on the 10th with British steamers CITY OF MANCHESTER (8917grt), DERRYMORE (4799grt), GORGON (3533grt), PEISANDER (6225grt), tanker WAR SIRDAR 5647grt), Dutch steamers ENGGANO (5412grt), JAVA (9250grt), PHRONTIS (6181grt), TJIKANDI (7970grt), TJIKRANG (9505grt), and Norwegian PAN EUROPE (9468grt) escorted by armed merchant cruiser KANIMBLA. Light cruiser HOBART joined on the 26th.

 

The convoy split in Sunda Strait when it was joined by destroyers TENEDOS and STRONGHOLD on the 28th. KANIMBLA returned to Fremantle.

 

CITY OF MANCHESTER, DERRYMORE, GORGON, PEISANDER, PAN EUROPE and WAR SIRDAR proceeded to Singapore, escorted by HOBART, TENEDOS and STRONGHOLD, arriving on 1 February.

 

The Dutch steamers - ENGGANO, JAVA, PHRONTIS, TIJIKANDI, and TJIKRANG proceeded to Dutch East Indies ports.

_____

 

Convoy ULU departed Singapore with British steamers ROHNA, ISLAMI, EKMA and CAP ST JACQUES for Bombay and DARVEL, IPOH, and PANGKOR for Palembang, escorted by destroyer VAMPIRE and sloop YARRA. On the 30th, Indian sloop SUTLEJ relieved VAMPIRE, which proceeded to Batavia. The convoy proceeded through the Sunda Strait.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.64 damaged British paddle steamer IDAR (391grt) with gunfire in 10-12N, 80-13E. She was set on fire by a small boarding party from the submarine, but beached and later salved.

_____

 

American inter-island transport GENERAL ROYAL T FRANK (632grt) was sunk two miles west of Maui.

Japanese submarine I.71 was in the area, but made no report. Of the passengers and crew, 29 were missing and 39 rescued.

 

 

Thursday, 29 January

 

Battleship DUKE OF YORK departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow, escorted by Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA, and the British HARVESTER and VERITY, arriving on the 30th.

_____

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND departed Hvalfjord for refitting at Chatham, arriving at Scapa Flow on the 31st.

_____

 

Light cruiser NEWCASTLE arrived at Scapa Flow from Plymouth to work up after refitting.

_____

 

Destroyers MIDDLETON, TARTAR and AIREDALE departed Scapa Flow to patrol in positions 61N, 3E, 60N, 0-30E, and 59N, OE respectively, to aid RAF Bomber Command aircraft which may have been in difficulties returning from a raid on battleship TIRPITZ at Trondheim. TARTAR and AIREDALE arrived back at Scapa Flow at noon on the 30th and MIDDLETON at Sullom Voe at 1430. Their assistance was not required.

_____

 

Armed merchant cruisers CITY OF DURBAN (SO) and CAPE SABLE, escorted by escort destroyer CALPE, departed Sullom Voe on Operation EM. The ships were sighted by German aircraft on the 30th, and again on 1 February and the operation was cancelled.

_____

 

Trawler BRACONBUSH (204grt) was sunk on a mine two miles SE from Duncansby Head. The entire crew were rescued.

_____

 

Norwegian steamer BJORNVIK (812grt) was sunk by German bombing 2.8 miles 90° from Lizard Head. Fifteen crew and one gunner were lost, and only two crew and one gunner rescued.

_____

 

Fishing baldies (small inshore fishing vessels used on the east coast of Scotland) CROWN and OCEAN GIFT (requisitioned, 91grt) were sunk by German bombing at Rosehearty.

_____

 

Tugs FAIRNILEE (226grt) and NORTHGATE SCOT (174grt) were damaged by German bombing at Falmouth. NORTHGATE SCOT was beached in the Harbour and drydocked on the 31st.

_____

 

U.132 badly damaged American Coast Guard cutter ALEXANDER HAMILTON near Reykjavik, in 64-10N, 22-56W. LT/JG L V T SIECK USCG and 19 Coast Guard ratings were lost . Destroyer GWIN took off 101 survivors, and another group was picked up by an Icelandic fishing trawler, but six men died of wounds. ALEXANDER HAMILTON sank in tow.

_____

 

Naval trawler ROSALIND and minesweeping trawler LORD GREY departed Gibraltar for Freetown, escorting tanker SAN ZEFERINO. Anti-submarine trawler STELLA CARINA also departed Gibraltar as local escort.

_____

 

Dutch destroyer ISAAC SWEERS departed Alexandria for Port Said en route to the Far East.

_____

 

Corvette GLOXINIA, French escort ship VIKINGS and British anti-submarine whaler SOTRA departed Tobruk escorting Greek empty storeships FLORA NOMIKOS (1783grt) and ELPHIS (1492grt) in convoy TA.21. SOTRA (313grt, Temporary Lt F R Linfield RNR) was sunk by U.431 off Bardia in 32-07N, 25-30E with all hands. Lt Linfield, Temporary Lt R W Henfrey RNVR, Temporary S/Lt (E) K J Johansen RNVR, Temporary Lt (E) T Olsen RNR and eighteen ratings were lost. The U-boat was couonter-attacked by the remaining escort vessels, but escaped undamage. The convoy arrived at Alexandria on the 31st.

_____

 

A Swordfish of 815 Squadron attacked U.205 in 32-20N, 26-13E and claimed heavy damage, but no damage was done.

_____

 

Convoy of BM.11 of liners DUCHESS OF BEDFORD (20,123grt) and EMPRESS OF JAPAN (26,032grt), steamer EMPIRE STAR (12,656grt), and American transports WAKEFIELD (24,289 tons displacement), and WEST POINT (35,400 tons displacement) arrived at Singapore, escorted by destroyers EXPRESS, ELECTRA, TENEDOS and THANET.

 

The convoy, carrying anti-aircraft batteries, a light tank squadron, troops and stores had departed Bombay on the 19th escorted by light cruiser CALEDON. Light cruiser GLASGOW relieved CALEDON on the 22nd, heavy cruiser EXETER and destroyer ENCOUNTER relieved GLASGOW on the 26th and were then detached on the 28th. Light cruisers DRAGON and DURBAN were with the convoy from the 26th to 28th, while THANET and TENEDOS escorted the convoy from the 24th to 29th.

 

Destroyer ELECTRA was near missed by Japanese bombing on the 28th in Banka Strait, but not damaged.

_____

 

Destroyer ISIS was towed by destroyer ENCOUNTER to Batavia. On the 30th, ENCOUNTER reported one engine out of service and able to proceed only at five knots. Destroyer ELECTRA was sent to take over the tow, all three arriving on 1 February.

_____

 

Submarine ROVER was towed by destroyer EXPRESS from Singapore to Batavia, arriving on the 31st.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.64 sank American steamer FLORENCE LUCKENBACH (5049grt) in 12-55N, 80-33E.

_____

 

Dutch steamers BOELONGEN (1053grt), BUYSKES (1800grt), ELOUT (1797grt) and POELAU TELLO (9272grt) were sunk by Japanese bombing at Padang.

_____

 

Steamer GIANG SENG (1811grt) was sunk or captured in the Dutch East Indies.

 

 

Friday, 30 January

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE arrived at Scapa Flow from Loch Alsh.

_____

 

Light cruiser CLEOPATRA departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde in preparation of sailing to the Mediterranean, arriving in the Clyde on the 31st.

_____

 

Destroyers WORCESTER and LUDLOW escorting destroyer depot ship BLENHEIM arrived at Scapa Flow at 1500.

_____

 

Destroyer ICARUS departed Scapa Flow at 2230 for Hvalfjord on completion of docking, to operate under the orders of the C-in-C, Home Fleet.

_____

 

Minesweeper HALCYON departed Scapa Flow at 2200 for Aberdeen to refit.

_____

 

Submarine TIGRIS departed the Clyde for patrol, escorted by anti-submarine trawler HUGH WALPOLE.

_____

 

Corvettes BELLWORT, ABELIA and SWEETBRIAR departed Scapa Flow for the Western Approaches Command having been relieved by sister-ships MIGNONETTE, EGLANTINE and SNOWDROP.

_____

 

As FAA 823 Squadron moved from Fraserburgh to Machrihanish, a Swordfish was lost when it crashed into the ground in bad visibility. S/Lt L F Brown and Air Mechanician C W Beer were killed.

_____

 

Minesweeping trawler LOCH ALSH (358grt, Skipper W.F. Wright RNR) was sunk by German bombing in the Humber, about 30 miles NE of Skegness. There were no casualties.

_____

 

Convoy OS.18 departed Liverpool escorted by corvette GENISTA which arrived with the convoy at Freetown on 20 February. On 31 January, sloops LEITH, ROCHESTER and SCARBOROUGH joined and detached on 15 February, corvette TAMARISK joined on the1st and arrived with the convoy on the 20th, and destroyer BRADFORD joined on the 6th and detached on the 15th. On that same day, destroyer WILD SWAN and corvettes JASMINE, VIOLET, and WALLFLOWER joined, also arriving with the convoy on the 20th.

_____

 

U.106 sank American tanker ROCHESTER (6836grt) in 37-10N, 73-58W. Three crew were missing, but 30 were rescued.

_____

 

British tanker SAN ADOLFO departed Gibraltar with corvettes RHODODENDRON and PENTSTEMON as local escorts for Trinidad.

_____

 

Destroyer HEYTHROP and escort vessel ANTWERP departed Alexandria with personnel for Tobruk, arriving on the 31st. Both ships arrived back at Alexandria on 1 February.

_____

 

Landing ship GLENGYLE and steamer PRINCESS MARGUERITE departed Alexandria, escorted by destroyers JAGUAR and LANCE, for an operational exercise in the Gulf of Suez. They arrived at Port Said on the 31st and the destroyers returned to Alexandria.

_____

 

Submarine THORN sank Italian submarine MEDUSA in 44-54N, 13-46E. There were no survivors.

_____

 

Swordfish of 830 Squadron attacked Italian steamer SAN GIOVANNI BATTISTA (5628grt) off Zuara. She had departed Tripoli on the 30th escorted by torpedo boats ORSA and CALLIOPE. SAN GIOVANNI BATTISTI was damaged, but was able to reach port. Destroyer DA NOLI joined to assist on the 31st. One Swordfish failed to return and S/Lt J F Wilson and Lt J R O Stevenson were lost.

_____

 

Convoy SC.67 departed Halifax, escorted by destroyer HAMILTON, corvettes CHILLIWACK, DUNVEGAN, SASKATOON, and minesweeper NIPIGON. The escort, minus CHILLIWACK, detached on 2 February. The convoy was joined on the 2nd by corvettes DAUPHIN, LOUISBURG, SHEDIAC, and SPIKENARD, and by corvette LETHBRIDGE on the 8th February. SPIKENARD detached on the 10th, and CHILLIWACK, LETHBRIDGE, LOUISBURG and SHEDIAC on the 11th February. That same day, destroyer ST ALBANS and corvettes GENTIAN and HONEYSUCKLE joined, with ST ALBANS detaching on the 13th, GENTIAN on the 14th, and HONEYSUCKLE on the 15th, when the convoy arrived at Liverpool.

_____

 

Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA departed Fremantle escorting convoy MS.3 of British ships ANTILOCHUS (9062grt), CHARON (3703grt), MANGOLA (3352grt), MARELLA (7475grt) for Batavia and Norwegian ELSA (5381grt), ERLING BROVIG (9970grt), HERBORG (7892grt), SEIRSTAD (9918grt), and Dutch MANVANTARA (8237grt), MARPESSA (7408grt), and MERULA (8228grt) for Palembang to Christmas Island.

 

Off Christmas Island on 6 February, they met light cruisers DRAGON and DURBAN and two destroyers escorting troopship WARWICK CASTLE from Singapore.The escorts traded ships.

 

The four British steamers in the convoy arrived at Batavia, escorted by DRAGON, DURBAN and destroyers JUPITER and ENCOUNTER on the 8th, and the Norwegian and Dutch tankers at Palembang on the 9th, escorted by sloop JUMNA.

 

CANBERRA arrived back at Fremantle on the 10th with the troopship.

_____

 

Submarine TRUSTY was damaged by splinters from near misses from Japanese bombing in Keppel Harbour, Singapore.

 

Liner DUCHESS OF BEDFORD (20,123grt) and EMPRESS OF JAPAN (26,032grt) was also damaged by bombing in Keppel Harbour, Singapore, but DUCHESS OF BEDFORD was able to proceed to Batavia and Colombo.

_____

 

Steamer MADURA (9052grt) was damaged by Japanese bombing at Singapore. Six crew were lost and 14 later made prisoners of war.

 

American transport WAKEFIELD (24,289grt) was damaged by Japanese bombing at Singapore. Four passengers and one enlisted man were killed, and nine enlisted man wounded.

 

WAKEFIELD and American transport WEST POINT departed Singapore on the 30th escorted by light cruiser DURBAN.  Before leaving, WEST POINT embarked  naval officers, their families, dockyard civilians, civilian evacuees, a 16 man RAF contingent, and 225 naval ratings, totalling 1276. In this number was the Commodore Superintendent Singapore Dockyard and all Heads of Department, except CD, CE, NSO, VSO and skeleton staffs. WAKEFIELD embarked two naval ratings, six RAF personnel, and one officer and 25 men of a Bofors gun detachment.   The three ships arrived at Batavia on the 31st. There, destroyer ELECTRA transferred 20 naval dockyard personnel, three women, five naval officers' wives, one Free French officer, and an RAF officer to WEST POINT for passage to Ceylon.  WEST POINT and WAKEFIELD arrived at Colombo on 6 March, escorted by destroyer NIZAM.  WEST POINT embarked an additional 670 troops, eight men, 55 women and 53 children  for passage to India.    Continuing at Bombay, WAKEFIELD embarked 336 American evacuees for return to New York via Capetown, arriving back in the United States on 23 March. 

 

 Troopships EMPRESS OF JAPAN and DUCHESS OF BEDFORD departed Singapore for Colombo, escorted by light cruiser DRAGON.   The group was bombed at 1156 on the 31st.  The two troopships proceeded independently once at sea and DRAGON arrived at Batavia at 2000/31st.  EMPRESS OF JAPAN arrived at Colombo on 13 February and went on to Durban arriving on the 22nd, while DUCHESS OF BEDFORD arrived on the 15th February and went on to Durban arriving on the 25th.

 

These two convoys, both departing Singapore about 1800/30th, carried a total of some 4000 dockyard and service personnel evacuees.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.64 sank Indian steamer JALATARANG (2498grt) at 12-50N, 81-00E. Thirty eight crew were lost and only 11 saved.

 

 

Saturday, 31 January

 

Heavy cruiser LONDON departed the Tyne on completion of refitting for Scapa Flow to work up, arriving on 1 February.

_____

 

Light cruiser TRINIDAD departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde to disembark Polish passengers, brought from Russia. She arrived on 1 February.

_____

 

Destroyer PUNJABI departed the Tyne at 0700 for Scapa Flow after completing a refit. She arrived at 1745 to work up prior to rejoining the Fleet.

_____

 

Destroyer WORCESTER departed Scapa Flow at 0815 for Harwich to rejoin the Nore Command.

_____

 

Destroyer MIDDLETON departed Sullom Voe and destroyer CHIDDINGFOLD and AIREDALE departed Scapa Flow during the afternoon for patrol positions eastwards of the Shetlands to act as rescue ships for RAF Bomber Command aircraft returning from a raid on battleship TIRPITZ at Trondheim. The raid was cancelled due to weather and the ships returned to harbour.

_____

 

Destroyer CHIDDINGFOLD departed Scapa Flow, escorting steamer AMSTERDAM to Invergordon.

_____

 

Minesweepers BRAMBLE and HEBE arrived at Scapa Flow at 1300 from convoy QP.6.

_____

 

Destroyers FAULKNOR and INTREPID arrived at Seidisfjord from Hvalfjord prior to sailing to rendezvous with convoys PQ.10 and PQ.11.

_____

 

US heavy cruisers WICHITA and TUSCALOOSA, six destroyers and three supply ships departed Hvalfjord to return to the United States.

_____

 

Destroyer BELMONT (Lt Cdr G B O'B Harding), escorting convoy NA.2, was sunk by U.82 in 42-02N, 57-18W with all hands. Cdr Harding, Lt A M W Blake, Temporary Acting Gunner (T) H D Cook, Acting Lt M W Curd RNVR, Temporary Lt W W Deighton RNVR, Probationary Temporary Surgeon Lt J D James RNVR, Temporary S/Lt J McD Makins RNVR, Lt (E) G H Nicholson RNR and one hundred and thirty ratings were missing.

_____

 

Ex-US Coast Guard cutter CULVER (Lt Cdr R T Gordon-Duff), escorting convoy SL.98, was sunk by U.105 in 48-43N, 20-14W with all hands. Cdr Gordon-Duff, Temporary Acting Gunner A G Bennett DSM, Temporary S/Lt R E R Bensley RNVR, Temporary Lt A H Jubb RNR, Lt R F Kipling, Lt Cdr (E) G S Thorpe, Probationary Temporary Surgeon Lt R Troup RNVR, Lt G F Watson RNVR, S/Lt W Piotrowski Polish Navy, and one hundred and five ratings were missing.

_____

 

Minesweeping drifter UNICITY (96grt) capsized and sank while minesweeping off Blyth in a storm. Temporary Lt B M T Wallace RNVR was lost.

_____

 

Fishing yawl LADY CHARLOTTE (18grt) was sunk in Eyemouth Harbour by German bombing.

_____

 

Steamer EMPIRE REDSHANK (6613grt) was damaged by German bombing in 62-24N, 2-24W

_____

 

U.107 sank tanker SAN ARCADIO (7419grt) in 38-10N, 63-50W. Thirty eight crew and three gunners were lost, and eight crew and one gunner saved.

_____

 

U.333 sank German blockade runner SPREEWALD (5083grt) in error in 45N, 25W.

_____

 

German steamer HELGOLAND (3664grt) was lost due to ice-damage in Finnish waters.

_____

 

Destroyers ANTHONY and ACTIVE departed Gibraltar to meet Polish troopships BATORY and SOBIESKI for inward escort.

_____

 

U.375 attacked destroyers HERO, FARNDALE, and ERIDGE off Mersa Matruh at 0044 without success. She was later counter-attacked by a Swordfish bi plane, but was not damaged.

_____

 

Submarine THUNDERBOLT sank Italian steamer FERTILLA (986grt) northeast of Brindisi.

_____

 

Convoy AT.22 departed Alexandria escorted by destroyers SOUTHWOLD, DULVERTON and HASTY, and arrived at Tobruk on 3 February. The destroyers then returned to Alexandria, escorting empty storeships.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.64 sank Indian steamer JALAPALAKA (4215grt) in 13-00N, 81-08E. Thirteen crew were missing, but 54 saved.

_____

 

Submarine ROVER, towed by destroyer EXPRESS, arrived at Batavia on the 31st.

_____

 

Light cruiser GLASGOW and armed merchant cruiser CARTHAGE arrived at Colombo.

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Japanese submarine I.62 damaged tanker LONGWOOD (9463grt) 20 miles west of Colombo. Greek destroyer QUEEN OLGA, British sloop FALMOUTH and auxiliary patrol boat OKAPI hunted the submarine without success. The tanker arrived at Colombo that day. She was temporarily repaired at Colombo and sent to Durban, arriving on 1 November, for further repairs. 

 

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revised 8/4/12
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