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

NAVAL EVENTS, FEBRUARY 1942 (Part 1 of 2) (in outline only)
Sunday 1st – Saturday 14th

Partly edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Avenger with Biter, escort aircraft carriers (Naval Photos/Michael Pocock, click to enlarge)

on to FEBRUARY 1942, Part 2

 

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

 

 

Sunday, 1 February  

 

Light cruiser TRINIDAD arrived in the Clyde from Scapa Flow to disembark the Polish personnel brought back from Murmansk with convoy QP. 6. She departed the Clyde on the 4th to return to Scapa Flow, arriving on the 5th.

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Heavy cruiser LONDON arrived at Scapa Flow from the Tyne on completion of refitting.

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

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Destroyer ICARUS arrived at Hvalfjord from Scapa Flow at 1100 to operate with the Home Fleet.

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Destroyers FAULKNOR and INTREPID arrived at Seidisfjord from Hvalfjord for ocean escort of convoy PQ.9 and PQ.10.

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Destroyer CALPE arrived at Scapa Flow at 0800 on return from Operation EW in which she had been providing anti-aircraft protection to armed merchant cruisers CAPE SABLE and CITY OF DURBAN.

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Convoy ON.62 departed Liverpool, and was joined on the 2nd by destroyer WATCHMAN and corvettes ANCHUSA, ARABIS, DAHLIA, MONKSHOOD, and SNOWFLAKE. WATCHMAN detached on the 6th when the convoy was joined by destroyer ST LAURENT and corvettes KAMSACK, NAPANEE, RIMOUSKI, TRAIL and TRILLIUM. The original corvettes were detached on the 7th when American destroyer GLEAVES joined. GLEAVES detached on the 13th, and the convoy dispersed on the 15th.

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U.109 sank steamer TACOMA STAR (7924grt) in 37-33N, 69-21W. The entire crew of 85 were lost.

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Steamer SEDULITY (490grt) was damaged by German bombing off Cromer.

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Submarine TEMPEST departed Gibraltar for Malta, arriving on the 8th.

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Escort destroyer HURWORTH arrived at Alexandria from the Canal Area for duty with the 5th Destroyer Flotilla.

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Submarine THUNDERBOLT sank Italian steamer ABSIRTEA (4170grt) six miles 320° from Cape Dukato.

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Convoy HX.173 departed Halifax, escorted by destroyer ST CLAIR, corvettes MIDLAND, NASTURTIUM, and minesweepers GANANOQUE and QUINTE. The minesweepers detached on the 2nd. American destroyers BERNADOU, DECATUR, EDISON, LEA, and NICHOLSON joined on the 3rd, while the rest of the initial escort detached on the 4th. Destroyer WATCHMAN joined on the 9th and corvette SNOWFLAKE. The American destroyers detached on the 10th, and corvettes ANCHUSA, ARABIS, DAHLIA and MONKSHOOD joined on the 12th. The escorts all detached on the 13th and the convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 14th.

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American naval forces attacked Kwajalein, Wotje, Maloelap, Jaluit and Mili in the Marshalls, and Makin in the Gilbert Island groups.

 

Aircraft from aircraft carrier YORKTOWN, escorted by heavy cruiser LOUISVILLE, light cruiser ST LOUIS and destroyers HUGHES, SIMS, RUSSELL, and WALKE, struck Makin Island.

 

Aircraft from aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE, escorted by destroyers RALPH TALBOT, BLUE and MCCALL, struck Wotje, Maloelap, and Kwajalein.

 

Heavy cruisers NORTHAMPTON and SALT LAKE CITY with destroyer DUNLAP bombarded Wotje.

 

Heavy cruiser CHESTER with destroyers BALCH and MAURY bombarded Taroa and Maloelap.

 

Oiler SABINE with destroyer MAHAN was the tanker unit for the task forces. Earlier on 28 January, a second oiler PLATTE was detached with destroyer CRAVEN.

 

Aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE was damaged when a Japanese plane crashed into her in 10-33N, 171-53E. One enlisted man was killed and three wounded.

 

Heavy cruiser CHESTER was damaged by a Japanese dive bomber in 8-45N, 171-33E. Seven enlisted men were killed and twenty wounded. Of the Cruiser Scouting Squadron 5 staff aboard the cruiser, LT A L Ekberg was killed and one enlisted man wounded.

 

Ensign W M Heywood Jr in destroyer SIMS was wounded by a Japanese bomb near miss.

 

One enlisted man on cruiser NORTHAMPTON was wounded by shellfire.

 

From YORKTOWN, one enlisted man in Torpedo Squadron 3 was wounded. LT G L Bellinger, LT (jg) M P. Fishel, and two enlisted men from Bombing Squadron 5 were lost when their bombers collided over Jaluit. LT F X Maher, Jr, LT J C Moore, and the four enlisted men of their respective planes of Torpedo Squadron 5 were lost when their planes collided shortly after take off. Two more planes of Torpedo Squadron 5 were lost when they ran out of gasoline, and LT H T Johnson, Ensign H Hein, and four enlisted men were taken prisoners by the Japanese. A seventh plane, piloted by Ensign T A Reeves, of Bombing Squadron 5 went down returning to the carrier. Reeves and his enlisted man crewman were rescued by an American destroyer.

 

From ENTERPRISE, LT (jg) E J Kroeger was wounded and Ensign J J Doherty and an enlisted man were lost on the 1st from Bombing Squadron 6. Ensign D W Criswell of Fighter Squadron 6 was lost when his plane spun into the sea. Ensign E R Donnell, Jr, LT (jg) C T Fogg, LCDR H L Hopping, Ensign D Seid, and four enlisted men from Scouting Squadron 6 were lost at Roi. LT (jg) R E Laub of Torpedo Squadron 6 was wounded on 31 January.

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Heavy cruiser EXETER with destroyers JUPITER and VAMPIRE departed Batavia with US transports WAKEFIELD and WEST POINT for the Sunda Straits. The escorts then returned to Tanjong Priok and the transports safely arrived at Colombo on the 6th.

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Convoy MS.1 with British steamers CITY OF MANCHESTER, DERRYMORE, GORGON, PEISANDER, and Norwegian PAN EUROPE and Tanker WAR SIRDAR, escorted by light cruiser HOBART and destroyers TENEDOS and STRONGHOLD, arrived at Singapore.

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Heavy cruiser CORNWALL arrived at Colombo.

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Submarine TRUANT departed Colombo for Batavia via the Sunda Strait.

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Australian minesweeper MARYBOROUGH and armed patrol vessels MEDUSA and CIRCE departed Singapore for Batavia.

 

 

2 February, Monday

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde to embark the Russian trade delegation. She arrived in the Clyde on the 4th, and after embarking the delegation, departed on the 5th for Murmansk.

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Light cruiser ARETHUSA departed Scapa Flow for Chatham for refitting prior to joining the Mediterranean Fleet, and arrived at Chatham on the 3rd.

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Light cruiser KENYA departed Hvalfjord for patrol in the Faroes-Iceland Channel.

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Light cruiser SHEFFIELD (CS.18) departed patrol in the Faroes-Iceland Channel for Hvalfjord, arriving on the 3rd.

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Destroyer CALPE departed Scapa Flow at 1400 to rendezvous with armed merchant cruisers CITY OF DURBAN and CAPE SABLE to the northeast of the Shetlands to provide anti-aircraft protection for their return to Scapa Flow. CALPE was unable to meet the ships on the 3rd and proceeded to Sullom Voe to refuel, arriving at noon on the 4th. The ships were met later on the 4th, and all three arrived at Scapa Flow at 2200/5th.

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Convoy ON.63 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyers CHELSEA, VERITY, WITCH and corvettes ARBUTUS, CAMELLIA, COLUMBINE, and PIMPERNEL. ARBUTUS detached on the 5th, and the remainder of the escort when the convoy was joined by American Coast Guard cutter INGHAM and destroyers DALLAS, ROPER, and UPSHUR. The convoy was dispersed on the 13th.

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Minesweeping trawler CAPE SPARTEL (346grt, Lt J. R. Grundy RNR) was sunk by German bombing in 53-28-42N, 0-49-12E in the Humber. There were no casualties.

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Minesweeping trawler CLOUGHTON WYKE (324grt, Temporary Skipper C. S. Larter DSC, OBE RNR) was sunk by German bombing in 52-59-N, 1-18-30E in the Humber. Four ratings were lost and Skipper Larter wounded.

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U.751 damaged Dutch tanker CORILLA (8096grt) from convoy HX.173 in 44-49N, 61-37W.

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U.103 sank American tanker W L STEED (6182grt) in 38-25N, 73-00W. Thirty five crew were lost and only three rescued.

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Submarine P.39 departed Gibraltar for Malta, arriving on the 11th.

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Corvette RHODODENDRON departed Gibraltar to rendezvous with steamers CRESSADO and EMPIRE PANTHER off Cape Razo and escorted them to join convoy HG 78.

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Submarine REGENT, which departed Ponta Delgada after emergency repairs on the 2nd, was attacked in error by Submarine CLYDE. Two torpedoes were fired, but both missed.

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Convoy AT.23 departed Alexandria, escorted by destroyer AVONVALE and corvette HYACINTH, and arrived at Tobruk on the 5th. There was no convoy AT.24.

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Submarine TURBULENT arrived at Malta from Gibraltar.

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Aircraft carrier INDOMITABLE and destroeyrs NIZAM, NESTER, and NAPIER arrived at Trincomalee from operation OPPONENT.

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Australian light cruiser HOBART and destroyer TENEDOS departed Singapore for Batavia.

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Destroyer SCOUT was ordered to return to Singapore from operations at Sabang.

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Submarine TRUSTY departed Singapore for patrol in the southern part of the Gulf of Siam. On completion of patrol, she was to proceed to Batavia.

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Convoy MR.2 departed Madras with steamer ELLENGA (5196grt), escorted by Australian armed merchant cruiser MANOORA, Indian sloop INDUS,and patrol vessel SONAVATI. The convoy dispersed on the 5th and the escorts were detached.

 

 

3 February, Tuesday

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth to land contaminated cordite before proceeding to refitting at Chatham. She arrived at Rosyth on the 4th.

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Light cruiser NIGERIA (CS.10) departed Scapa Flow to meet and escort convoy PQ.9 and PQ.10 to Murmansk.

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Destroyers ESCAPADE and PANTHER departed Hvalfjord at 1400 for Scapa Flow. ESCAPADE was proceeding to Immingham for refitting and PANTHER completing working up. ESCAPADE arrived at Scapa Flow at 0815/5th and sailed at 1200 for Immingham, while PANTHER arrived there at 1200 after carrying out gunnery practices in Pentland Firth. ESCAPADE arrived in the Humber at 1130/6th for refit.

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Destroyers FAULKNOR and INTREPID departed Seidisfjord to escort convoys PQ.9 and PQ.10 to Murmansk.

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Minesweeper NIGER arrived at Scapa Flow at 1000 to carry out a “Short Programme of Practices” (Home Fleet Destroyers War Diary) prior to her departure for Northern Russia.

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U.106 sank Swedish steamer AMERIKALAND (15,355grt) in 36-36N, 74-10W. Four crew were lost.

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U.86 attacked a convoy in mid-Atlantic and reported explosions which may have been the torpedoes exploding at the end of their runs.

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Convoy AT.25 departed Alexandria, escorted by destroyers HEYTHROP and HURWORTH, and arrived at Tobruk on the 5th.

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U.431 attacked a Tanker near Sidi Barrani at 2305. A torpedo hit without detonation and was heard in the submarine. A few minutes later, the submarine fired torpedoes against the escorting destroyer. At the same time – 2305, U.73 attacked a destroyer near Sidi Barrani. These attacks were against empty ships, which had departed Tobruk, escorted by destroyers SOUTHWOLD, DULVERTON and HASTY. No damage was done to the convoy or the destroyers and no mention of either attack appears in the War Diary.

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Submarine P.35 sank Italian steamer NAPOLI (6142grt) off Kuriat.

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Convoy HG.78 of two steamers departed Gibraltar escorted by corvettes GARDENIA and SAMPHIRE and anti-submarine trawler LORD HOTHAM. Corvette RHODODENDRON joined on the 5th with two steamers near Lisbon. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 14th.

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Convoy JS 1, whose ships had arrived independently at Colombo at the end of January,departed Colombo with British steamers ADRASTUS (7905grt), ALICE MOLLER (4986grt), FILLEIGH (4856grt), LULWORTH HILL (7628grt), MODASA (9070grt), YOMA (8131grt), HERMION (5202grt) and PROMINENT (2282grt). Norwegian steamer HAI LEE (3616grt) departed Colombo on the 4th and joined the convoy on the 5th. ALICE MOLLER returned to Colombo with defects.

 

The convoy was escorted by heavy cruiser CORNWALL to the 10th and minesweepers BATHURST and LISMORE to the 5th, after which they detached to screen battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN and netlayer PROTECTOR en route to Trincomalee from Addu. On the 10th, light cruiser HOBART joined the escort and remained until the 13th. On the 11th, heavy cruiser EXETER joined and remained until the 13th. On the 12th, destroyer ELECTRA and sloop JUMNA joined. HOBART and JUMNA arrived on the 13th at Oosthaven with steamers FILLEIGH, YOMA, LULWORTH HILL, HAI LEE and HERMION. JUMNA remained there to provide anti-submarine patrol with Australian minesweepers GOULBURN and BURNIE. Meanwhile ELECTRA and steamers ADRASTUS, MODASA, and PROMINENT arrived at Batavia on the 14th. CORNWALL arrived back at Colombo on the 13th.

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Australian destroyer VENDETTA (Acting Lt W G Whitting RANR) departed Singapore in the tow of tug ST JUST. Two more officers, Gunner J C Lace and Commissioned Engineer N J E Lark and eighteen ratings made up the crew. Off Keppel Harbour, destroyer STRONGHOLD took her in tow. The three ships arrived at Palembang on the 4th and STRONGHOLD proceeded to other duties.

 

VENDETTA was towed on the 8th by ST JUST, arriving at Batavia on the 10th and anchored at Tanjong Priok, remaining there until the 17th. She then left in tow of two tugs and was met by auxiliary patrol ship PING WO outside the harbour. PING WO took over the tow and they joined convoy SJ.3 escorted by destroyer ELECTRA and sloop YARRA. On 24 February off Christmas Island, light cruiser ADELAIDE relieved YARRA in the escort. YARRA returned to Batavia.

 

On 3 March, tug NEWCASTLE from Fremantle took over the tow and they arrived at Fremantle next day. VENDETTA at Melbourne on 15 April.

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Steamer NORAH MULLER (4433grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing off West Nangka Point in the Banka Strait. Seventeen crew were killed, but eight European survivors, 13 passengers, all the naval gunners, and 31 Chinese were rescued. Australian light cruiser HOBART took off 57 survivors and destroyer TENEDOS took off thirteen. Six wounded died of wounds before the ships arrived at Tanjong Priok on the 4th.

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Steamer KATONG (1461grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing four miles from Bar Light Vessel, Palembang. Only five crew members were rescued.

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Steamer CITY OF CANTERBURY (8331grt) and French liner FELIX ROUSSEL (17,083grt) of convoy BM.12 received extensive superficial damage and casualties from Japanese bombing in Banka Strait.

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Steamer LOCH RANZA (4958grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing at 00-37N, 104-14E. Of a crew of fifty, including nine gunners, and four RAF passengers, five crew were killed. The survivors were taken to Palembang in steamer SUBADOR (5424grt). One crewman and one gunner died later, and two crew were taken prisoner.

 

Tanker PINNA (6121grt) was damaged by Japanese bombing at 00-52S, 104-19E, attacked again the next day, run aground and abandoned. Of 51 crew and two passengers, 20 crew were killed and 23 crew and two passengers taken to Palembang by steamer SUBADOR, and later made prisoners of war.

 

Australian minesweepers TOOWOOMBA and BALLARAT and auxiliary minesweeper GEMMA, en route from Singapore to Palembang, went to the assistance of the two British ships.

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Steamer MADURA (9032grt) was damaged by Japanese bombing in the Dutch East Indies.

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Japanese submarine I.62 damaged tanker SPONDILUS (7402grt) in 6-16N, 79-38E, which in turn claimed to have damaged the submarine with gunfire, but no damage was found. Sloop FALMOUTH and armed patrol whaler OKAPI searched for the submarine without success.

 

 

Wednesday, 4 February

 

Destroyers FAULKNOR (D.8) and INTREPID departed Seidisfjord to rendezvous with combined convoys PQ.9 and PQ.10 of steamers ATLANTIC (5414grt), EMPIRE SELWYN (7167grt), Russian IJORA (2815grt), Russian REVOLUTSIONER (2900grt), TREVORIAN (4599grt), Panamanian EL LAGO (4221grt), Russian FRIEDRICH ENGELS (3972grt), Norwegian NOREG (7605grt), Russian TBILISI (7169grt), and American WEST NOHNO (5769grt) and join light cruiser NIGERIA as ocean escort to Murmansk.

 

Minesweepers BRITOMART and SHARPSHOOTER joined the escort on the 7th.

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Destroyer PAKENHAM (D.12) departed the Tyne at 0945, and after carrying out trials, proceeded to Methil for the night.

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Minesweeper HEBE departed Scapa Flow at 2100 to refit at Immingham, where she arrived at 1000/6th.

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U.751 sank steamer SILVERAY (4535grt) in 43-54N, 64-16W. Of a crew of 49 and nine gunners, seven crew and one gunner were lost.

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U.103 sank Panamanian steamer SAN GIL (3627grt) in 38-05N, 74-40W. Of a crew of 41 and one passenger, two were lost. The survivors were rescued by US Coast Guard cutter NIKE.

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British steam trawler AQUARIUS (187grt) was damaged by German bombing five miles east by north of Aberdeen.

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Destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR, KELVIN, LANCE, GRIFFIN, HERO, ARROW and HAVOCK departed Alexandria at 1700 for an anti-submarine sweep to the westward in conjunction with ASV Swordfish and Wellington aircraft maintaining an anti-submarine patrol five miles ahead in Operation MBD.4.

 

U.561 had been attacked by aircraft twice early on the 4th in 32-00N, 25-50E.

 

Destroyers HEYTHROP and HURWORTH departed Alexandria with the destroyers and were detached off Tobruk to escort a convoy to Alexandria.

 

U.561 attacked a steamer east of Sidi Barrani.

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Escort destroyer BEAUFORT arrived at Aden from the United Kingdom and sailed for Alexandria.

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Polish troopships BATORY and SOBIESKI arrived at Gibraltar, escorted by British destroyers LIGHTNING, WIVERN, ACTIVE and ANTHONY.

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Convoy SC.68 departed Halifax escorted by covettes LUNENBURG, THE PAS and minesweepers CLAYOQUOT and RED DEER. The escorts detached on the 7th when the convoy was joined by destroyer BURWELL and corvettes CHICOUTIMI, MATAPEDIA, NANAIMO, NASTURTIUM and SUDBURY. CHICOUTIMI detached later that day, while BURWELL, MATAPEDIA, NANAIMO and NASTUTIUM detached on the 16th. The convoy was joined on the 16th by destroyer BOADICEA and corvettes HEATHER, LOBELIA, and NARCISSUS. Corvette SUDBURY detached on the 17th and anti-submarine whaler BODO joined on the 20th, arriving with the convoy at Liverpool on the 20th.

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French submarine SURCOUF arrived at Bermuda from Halifax to embark personnel and charts, before sailing on the 12th for Tahiti, via the Panama Canal.

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American heavy cruiser HOUSTON and light cruiser MARBLEHEAD were damaged by Japanese bombing in Madoera Strait, Borneo, in 7-23S, 117-47E. They were in a force with Dutch cruisers DE RUYTER, TROMP, American destroyers BULMER, STEWART, JOHN D EDWARDS, BARKER, and Dutch destroyers VAN GHENT, PIET HEIN and BANCKERT.

 

HOUSTON was struck by a bomb near number three turret. Shrapnel penetrated the turret and set off an explosion. Warrant Officer J B Bienert, LT G E Davis Jr and forty three enlisted men were killed. Twenty enlisted men were wounded with three dying of wounds.

 

On MARBLEHEAD, LT E M Blessman and twelve enlisted men were killed. Chief Warrant Officer H M Andersen, Ensign C H Coburn Jr, LT (jg) W H Cranford, CDR W B Goggins, LT A A Goodhue, LCDR M Smellow and eighty seven enlisted men were wounded. Four enlisted men later died of wounds.

 

Dutch cruiser DE RUYTER was damaged by near misses which put her anti-aircraft fire control out of action.

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Light cruiser EMERALD arrived at Trincomalee.

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Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL departed Trincomalee for Colombo.

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Australian destroyer VAMPIRE departed Batavia for Colombo, escorting Dutch steamers MELCHOIR TREUB (3242grt) and OPHIR (4115grt), and arrived on the 11th.

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Japanese submarine I.55 sank Dutch steamer VAN LANSBERGE (1937grt) south of Makassar.

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American destroyers O'BRIEN and CASE, departing Pearl Harbour with a convoy, collided. O'BRIEN returned to Pearl Harbour for repairs.

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Japanese submarine I.56 damaged Dutch steamer TOGIAN (979grt) near Koepang. She was scuttled on the 22nd off Koepang in 10-11-46N, 123-31-32E.

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Dutch steamer VAN LANSBERGE (1937grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing in the Java Sea.

 

 

Thursday, 5 February

 

Heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND departed Rosyth for Chatham, escorted by destroyers WINCHESTER and COTSWOLD and arrived on the 6th.

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Light cruiser GAMBIA was commissioned for trials and service.

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Destroyer PAKENHAM departed Methil at 0700 for Scapa Flow for working up, arriving at 1600.

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Escort destroyer GROVE departed the Tyne at 0945 and after carrying out trials proceeded to Methil for the night. She left there at 0700/6th for Scapa Flow, arriving at 1700.

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Escort destroyer ALDENHAM departed Liverpool at 1300 to carry out trials, and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1600/6th.

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Destroyer TARTAR departed Scapa Flow at 2200 for Hvalfjord to operate with the Home Fleet, arriving at 1000/7th.

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Corvette ARBUTUS (Temporary Lt A L W Warren DSC RNR) in convoy ONS.63 was sunk by U.136 in the North Atlantic in 55-05N, 18-43W. Lt Warren, Temporary Lt S W Barker RNVR, Temporary Lt J H Hayne RNVR, Temporary Acting S/Lt A K Loten RNVR, and thirty eight ratings were missing. One rating died of wounds after being rescued.

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U.109 sank Canadian tanker MOTROLITE (11,309grt) in 35-14N, 60-05W. Of a crew of 44 and four gunners, 27 crew and one gunner were lost.

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U.103 sank American tanker INDIA ARROW (8327grt) in 38-48N, 72-43W. Twenty six crew were missing, and the Master and eleven crew rescued.

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U.103 sank American tanker CHINA ARROW (8403grt) in 37-44N, 73-18W. The entire crew of 37 was rescued by US Coast Guard cutter NIKE.

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Steamer CORLAND (3431grt) was sunk by German bombing in 53-43N, 00-36E. There were no casualties among a crew of 27.

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Steamer HELDER (979grt) was damaged by German bombing 3˝ miles east of Humber Light Float.

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Russian submarine SHCH.421 sank German steamer KONSUL SCHULTE off Honningsvaag.

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In Operation MBD.4, U.81 was attacked by aircraft during the day. Destroyer JAGUAR sighted U.73 on the surface in 32-07N, 25-35E and dropped a pattern of depth charges. Later, destroyers KELVIN and LANCE attacked U.375. When the destroyers reached the vicinity of Derna, they turned east. Speed was reduced on account of heavy weather, but one rating from JAGUAR was lost when he was swept overboard. The ships arrived back at Alexandria on the 6th.

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Destroyers SOUTHWOLD, DULVERTON, and HASTY arrived at Alexandria with a returning Tobruk convoy.

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Destroyer AVONVALE and corvette HYACINTH arrived at Tobruk with convoy AT.23.

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Destroyers HEYTHROP and HURWORTH departed Tobruk with unloaded store ships.

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Convoy BM.12 of troopships EMPRESS OF ASIA, FELIX ROUSSEL, DEVONSHIRE, PLANCIUS, and also CITY OF CANTERBURY, formerly of convoy DM.2, was attacked by Japanese dive bombers in the approaches to Singapore. The were escorted at the time by light cruiser DANAE and sloops YARRA and SUTLEJ. EMPRESS OF ASIA (16,909grt) was set afire and abandoned. Of a crew of 416 and 25 gunners, one crewman died in hospital. Of the 2,235 troops on board, 15 were missing. A catering staff of 147 was rescued and remained at Singapore. The guns of an anti-tank regiment and other equipment were lost. Of the other troopships, CITY OF CANTERBURY (8331grt) was damaged and French liner FELIX ROUSSEL (17,083grt) hit by two bombs, but only lightly damaged.

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Heavy cruiser EXETER and destroyers JUPITER and ENCOUNTER, detached from convoy BM.12, proceeded into the Banka Strait to attack Japanese shipping north of Banka Island at dawn on the 5th. Australian light cruiser HOBART departed Batavia and joined the EXETER force. In Sunda Strait, Japanese submarine RO.34 attacked the force on the 5th, claiming sinking a transport, but no ships were damaged. They returned to Batavia on the 6th.

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Dutch steamer TIDORE was sunk by Japanese bombing south of Sumbawa.

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Japanese submarine RO.34 attacked a Dutch destroyer in Sunda Strait near 6S, 106E.

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Troopship EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA, formerly of convoy DM.2, departed Batavia escorted by sloop JUMNA to return to England.

 

Troopship WARWICK CASTLE, also convoy DM.2, departed Batavia, escorted by light cruisers DANAE and DURBAN, to rendezvous with heavy cruiser CANBERRA, escorting convoy MS.3, for escort to Australia.

 

Troopship DUNERA departed Batavia for Colombo, arriving 13 February.

 

Steamer TROILUS left Batavia on the 12th and arrived at Fremantle on the 19th.

 

The remaining ships of convoy DM.2, steamers CITY OF PRETORIA and MALANCHA departed Batavia on the 12th in convoy SJ.1.

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Battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN and netlayer GUARDIAN departed Addu Atoll for Trincomalee. Minesweepers BATHURST and LISMORE were diverted from convoy JS.1 to meet and escort. On the 6th, BATHURST suffered engine problems and speed was reduced to seven knots. ROYAL SOVEREIGN proceeded unescorted at 17 knots, while GUARDIAN and LISMORE proceeded independently.

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Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE departed Bombay for Colombo.

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Destroyer NIZAM departed Trincomalee to patrol off Dondra Head and await the arrival of troopships WAKEFIELD, WEST POINT, and EMPRESS OF JAPAN. The four ships arrived at Colombo on the 6th.

 

 

Friday, 6 February

 

Minelaying cruiser ADVENTURE was in a collision with tank assault ship TASAJERA (mercantile LST conversion) near Skerry Vore. Both ships sustained extensive damage and returned to the Clyde for repairs, arriving that day. ADVENTURE was taken to Southampton for repairs, returning to Loch Alsh on 30 April.

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Light cruiser LIVERPOOL departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow for working up, and arrived on the 7th.

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Destroyer JAVELIN departed Plymouth after repairs of her November 1940 torpedo damage for working up at Scapa Flow, and arrived at 1100/8th.

_____

 

Destroyer MIDDLETON departed Sullom Voe with tanker SAN ZOTICO at 1630 for Scapa Flow. The tanker developed defects and returned to Sullom Voe. MIDDLETON proceeded independently and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1015/7th.

_____

 

Minesweeper BRAMBLE departed Scapa Flow at 1200 for Sunderland for refitting, and arrived at 1000/7th.

_____

 

Submarine TUNA departed the Clyde for patrol off Frohavet.

_____

 

U.109 sank Panamanian steamer HALCYON (3531grt) in 34-20N, 59-16W. Three crew were lost.

_____

 

U.106 sank steamer OPAWA (10,354grt) in 38-21N, 61-13W. Of the crew of 71, including three gunners, two were lost, 54 missing and 15 rescued.

_____

 

U.107 sank American steamer MAJOR WHEELER (3431grt) off the Carolinas on the US East Coast . She had departed Puerto Rico on 31 January.

_____

 

Steamer BLUSH ROSE (645grt) was damaged by German bombing three miles south of St Ann's Head.

_____

 

Turkish destroyer SULTAN HISSAR (a new H-class destroyer, sister to the British HAVELOCK class) arrived at Suez. She passed through the Canal and was ordered to proceed to Alexandria for preparations prior to turning over to Turkey, departing Alexandria on the 17th for Iskundirun.

_____

 

Submarine THUNDERBOLT attacked German submarine U.431 in 34-36N, 23-22E with torpedoes and gunfire. No damage was done.

_____

 

Destroyer VANSITTART arrived at Gibraltar from Freetown.

_____

 

Convoy ST.14 departed Freetown, escorted by corvettes BURDOCK and ORCHIS, and arrived at Takoradi on the 12th.

_____

 

Light cruisers DURBAN, DRAGON and destroyers JUPITER and ENCOUNTER, escorting liner WARWICK CASTLE, relieved Australian heavy cruiser CANBERRA in escort of convoy MS.3 off Christmas Island. CANBERRA had departed Fremantle on 30 January escorting MS.3.

 

Steamers ANTILOCHUS, CHARON, MANGOLA, and MARELLA arrived at Batavia on the 8th and remaining seven ships - tankers ELSA, ERLING BROVIG, HERBORG, MANVANTARA, MERULA, MARPESSA and SEIRSTAD reached Palembang on the 9th.

 

Destroyer EXPRESS sailed from Batavia to join the escort, but was damaged by a fire in her engine room, and forced to return to Batavia. She was able to leave with convoy SJ.1 for Colombo on the 12th, no longer capable of fleet duties, and arrived at Colombo on the 21st. After further escort duties, repairs were carried out at Simonstown from 25 April to 26 June.

_____

 

Aircraft transport ATHENE, escorted by destroyers ELECTRA and TENEDOS, arrived at Batavia.

_____

 

Dutch light cruiser SUMATRA departed the Sunda Strait for Colombo. En route she was diverted to Trincomalee for self refit.

 

 

Saturday, 7 February

 

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

_____

 

Light cruiser SHEFFIELD (CS.18) departed Hvalfjord for patrol in the Iceland-Faroes Channel and to escort Rear Admiral Minelaying in Operation SN.5B. She left her patrol on the 8th to escort SN.5B.

_____

 

Light cruiser KENYA departed patrol in the Iceland-Faroes Channel for Hvalfjord, arriving on the 8th.

_____

 

Oiler GRAY RANGER, escorted by escort destroyer CHIDDINGFOLD, departed Scapa Flow for Sullom Voe. The destroyer returned with oiler SAN ZOTICO and arrived at Scapa Flow on the 9th.

_____

 

Escort destroyer CALPE departed Scapa Flow at 0100 for Plymouth to join that command on completion of working up.

_____

 

Destroyer PUNJABI departed Scapa Flow at 2000 for Hvalfjord, arriving on the 9th to operate with the Home Fleet.

 

_____

 

Destroyer LUDLOW departed Scapa Flow at 2000 for Rosyth to join that command on completion of working up.

_____

 

Convoy ON.64 departed Liverpool, escorted by destroyer ST ALBANS. The convoy was joined on the 8th by corvettes ACANTHUS and ROSE. ST ALBANS detached on the 11th when the convoy was joined by corvettes EYEBRIGHT and SHAWNIGAN. ACANTHUS and ROSE detached on the 13th, corvettes DIANELLA, KINGCUP and LOOSTRIFE joined on the 16th, and EYEBRIGHT detached on the 18th. The convoy arrived at Halifax on the 24th.

_____

 

Lt L T Hazeldine, flying a Master of RAF No.1 Flying Training School at Netheravon, was killed when his aircraft crashed near Malvern.

_____

 

U.751 sank steamer EMPIRE SUN (6952grt) in 43-55N, 64-22W. Of a complement of 43 crew, 14 gunners and eight RAF personnel, eight crew, two gunners, and one RAF personnel were lost.

_____

 

During the night of the 6th/7th, Temporary S/Lt M Swithinbank RNVR, and Temporary S/Lt R A Thomas RNVR, were lost when their Swordfish of 830 Squadron was lost in attack on Italian steamer MONVISO 30 miles NE of Cape Turgennes. The steamer was undamaged and arrived at Messina later on the 7th.

 

Destroyers ZULU and LIVELY departed Malta at 1530 to intercept the MONVISO, proceeding northbound from Tripoli. Forty five miles south of Pantelleria, the destroyers sank armed trawler GRONGO (316grt), which was en route from Lampdusa for Pantelleria, and small steamer AOSTA (500grt), en route Pantelleria for Tripoli. Italian motor torpedo boat MAS.577 rescued seven survivors from the trawler, while MAS.560, MAS.563 and MAS.574 rescued 25 from the steamer. The British destroyers arrived back at Malta at daylight on the 8th.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier HERMES arrived at Mauritius.

_____

 

Sloop FALMOUTH arrived at Colombo.

_____

 

Corvette VERBENA arrived at Durban.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.55 sank Dutch steamer VAN CLOON (4519grt) south of Bawean Island. Survivors were rescued by American patrol yacht ISABEL. The steamer was later salved by the Japanese and renamed TATEBE MARU.

 

 

Sunday, 8 February

 

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

_____

 

Armed merchant cruisers CITY OF DURBAN and CAPE SABLE departed Scapa Flow with convoy WN.42 for Rosyth to boiler clean, arriving on the 9th.

_____

 

Ex-Turkish destroyer MAUVENET (to be renamed INCONSTANT) departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow to work up, but was forced to return to the Clyde later that day with boiler defects.

_____

 

Minelayers AGAMEMNON and MENESTHEUS departed Loch Alsh, escorted by destroyers LANCASTER, NEWARK, and ST MARYS. Light cruiser SHEFFIELD provided cover. The minefield was laid early on the 9th. The minelaying force arrived back at Loch Alsh later on the 9th and SHEFFIELD returned to the Iceland-Faroes patrol.

_____

 

Minesweeper HUSSAR departed Hartlepool after refitting with convoy FN.425 for Methil and Scapa Flow. She arrived at Methil on the 9th and sailed later that day for Scapa Flow, arriving on the 10th.

_____

 

Convoy ON.65 departed Liverpool. The convoy was joined on the 9th by destroyers KEPPEL, SHIKARI and corvettes DIANELLA, KINGCUP, and LOOSTRIFE. The escorts were detached on the 12th when the convoy was joined by American destroyers BUCK, DUPONT, HERBERT, MCCORMICK, and SWANSON. The convoy dispersed on the 19th.

_____

 

U.108 sank steamer OCEAN VENTURE (7174grt) in 37-05N, 74-46W. Of a crew of 43 and two gunners, 29 crew and both gunners were lost.

_____

 

Force H with battleship MALAYA, light cruiser HERMIONE, and destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, ACTIVE, ANTHONY, BLANKNEY, EXMOOR, and CROOME departed Gibraltar for the Clyde to provide additional protection for convoy WS.16. Aircraft carrier ARGUS remained at Gibraltar and disembarked her aircraft for operations in the Strait. Force H arrived in the Clyde on the 13th.

_____

 

Light cruiser CLEOPATRA arrived at Gibraltar from the Clyde, and departed on the 9th for Malta, escorted by destroyer FORTUNE.

_____

 

Escort destroyers HEYTHROP, HURWORTH and escort ship ANTWERP departed Alexandria with convoy AT.26 for Tobruk.

 

Escort destroyer FARNDALE and corvette GLOXINIA departed Alexandria with Greek steamer POPI (1594grt) of convoy AT.27 for Tobruk.

_____

 

Escort destroyer BEAUFORT arrived at Suez from the United Kingdom and passed through the Suez Canal to join the Mediterranean Fleet.

_____

 

Submarine PROTEUS was involved in a collision with Italian torpedo boat SAGITTARIO in 38-43N, 20-24E. She was able to return to Alexandria on the 13th with only damage to her hydroplanes.

_____

 

Submarine UPHOLDER sank Italian steamer SALPI (2710grt) and damaged DUINO (1334grt) off Cape San Vito.

_____

 

Corvettes CROCUS and STARWORT, escorting Royal Fleet Auxiliary DEWDALE, arrived at Gibraltar from convoy SL.99.

_____

 

Convoy HX.174 - departed Halifax on the 8th, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

8th

corvettes Arrowhead, Galt, Saskatoon, Snowberry, minesweeper Mahone.

 

9th

American destroyers Babbitt, Badger, Plunkett, Schenck, Coast Guard cutter Campbell

Galt, Saskatoon, Mahone

10th

 

Arrowhead, Snowberry

16th

 

Schenck

17th

destroyers Keppel, Shikari, St Albans, corvettes Acanthus, Rose

Babbitt, Badger, Plunkett, Campbell

20th

 

Keppel, Rose

convoy arrived Liverpool on the 21st with Shikari, St Albans, Acanthus

_____

 

Australian light cruiser HOBART and destroyer ELECTRA departed Tanjong Priok on the 7th and met convoy EMU of steamers DEVONSHIRE, CITY OF CANTERBURY, and FELIX ROUSSEL, escorted by light cruiser DANAE and sloops YARRA and SUTLEJ, which had departed Singapore on the 6th, south of Banka Strait.

 

DANAE and SUTLEJ took CITY OF CANTERBURY into Tanjong Priok, while HOBART ELECTRA took the other two ships through the Sunda Straits. On 9 February, the convoy was dispersed in the Indian Ocean and HOBART proceeded to escort convoy JS.1.

_____

 

Submarine TRUANT arrived at Batavia.

_____

 

Light cruiser ENTERPRISE departed Colombo for Rangoon with a force of 90 Royal Marines, and arrived on the 11th.

_____

 

Sloop FALMOUTH, minelayer TEVIOT BANK, and oiler PEARLEAF departed Trincomalee for Colombo.

_____

 

American troopships WEST POINT and WAKEFIELD departed Colombo for Bombay, escorted by Greek destroyer QUEEN OLGA.

_____

 

Corvette HOLLYHOCK arrived at Durban. Corvettes ASTER and VERBENA departed Durban for Mauritius.

_____

 

Light cruiser EMERALD arrived at Madras.

_____

 

Aircraft carrier HERMES departed Mauritius for Colombo.

_____

 

British troopship REINA DEL PACIFICO departed Colombo for Durban with evacuees.

 

 

Monday, 9 February

 

Anti-aircraft cruiser CAIRO, which arrived from refitting at Plymouth, on the 7th and now with the Russian Trade Delegation aboard, departed the Clyde for Murmansk, via Scapa Flow, arriving on the 10th. Accompanied by destroyer AIREDALE, she departed Scapa Flow at 1900/10th. The destroyer parted company in 65-00N, 01-10W and returned to Scapa Flow, arriving 1500/13th. Light cruiser NIGERIA (CS.10) departed Murmansk on the 11th to escort CAIRO, and the two cruisers arrived at Kola Inlet on the 16th.

_____

 

Destroyer WELLS arrived at Scapa Flow at 0800 from Loch Alsh to carry out repairs in dock.

_____

 

Convoys PQ.9 and PQ.10 arrived safely in Kola Inlet, escorted by destroyers FAULKNOR and INTREPID.

_____

 

Free French corvette ALYSSE (LV Pepin le Halleur) in convoy ONS.61 was sunk by U.654 in 46W, 44W in the Western Atlantic. Thirty four crew, including Temporary Lt L E Fisher RNVR were lost. LV Halleur was wounded, and corvettes HEPATICA and MOOSEJAW rescued the survivors. U.654 also reported hitting a steamer in this attack.

_____

 

U.586 damaged Norwegian tanker ANNA KNUDSEN (9057grt) in 59-50N, 9-40W. A tug was sent to assist.

_____

 

U.85 sank steamer EMPIRE FUSELIER (5408grt) in 44-45N, 47-25W. Of a crew of 41 and six gunners, nine crew were lost.

_____

 

U.108 sank Norwegian steamer TOLOSA (1974grt), which had departed Kingston on the 1st, off the US Carolina’s coast. The entire crew of 22 was lost.

_____

 

Escort destroyer FARNDALE, escorting convoy AT.27, was damaged by a bomb which passed through the ship and exploded abreast the boiler rooms, both of which flooded. There were no casualties and corvette GLOXINIA took her in tow. Tug ST ISSEY was sent from Mersa Matruh and destroyers KIPLING and JAGUAR from Alexandria to assist. Escort destroyer HURWORTH and anti-submarine whaler SOUTHERN MAID were also detached from convoy AT.25 to escort steamer POPI to Tobruk.

 

KIPLING and JAGUAR joined FARNDALE at daylight on the 10th, and all three arrived at Alexandria on the 11th.

 

Destroyer HURWORTH was detached to rejoin convoy AT.26, but HURWORTH and HEYTHROP were both later recalled to Alexandria for a fleet operation, arriving on the 11th.

 

Escort ship ANTWERP and the unloaded store ships of convoy AT.26 and AT.27 were held at Tobruk until sufficient escort could be provided.

_____

 

German steamer SULLBERG (1551grt) was sunk by torpedo in the Mediterranean.

_____

 

Convoy SL.100, departed Freetown 9 February, escorts:

 

 

joined

departed

9th

destroyer Wild Swan, corvettes Jasmine, Violet, Wallflower

 

11th

sloops Folkestone, Wellington, Weston, escort ships Gorleston, Sennen, Totland

 

14th

 

Wild Swan, Jasmine, Violet, Wallflower

17th

sloop Ibis, corvette Clover

 

19th

 

Ibis, Wellington (with segment SL.100F for Liverpool, joined by anti-submarine whaler Southern Star on 28th, arriving Liverpool 28th), also Weston, Clover

28th

anti-submarine whaler Molde

Molde

3rd

 

Sennen

4th

anti-submarine trawler Butser

 

arrived Liverpool 4 March with Folkestone, Gorleston, Totland, Butser

_____

 

Light cruiser DELHI arrived at Bermuda from Newport News, Virginia to refuel, and departed next day for Plymouth.

_____

 

Battleship REVENGE departed Trincomalee for refitting at Durban.

_____

 

American light cruiser BOISE arrived at Colombo for repairs.

_____

 

Auxiliary patrol vessel TANJONG KATONG was sunk by Japanese gunfire at Sungei Kranji, near Singapore.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.65 sank Dutch steamer MEROENDOENG (2464grt) in 5-30N, 81-10E.

_____

 

Convoy MR.3, steamers Erinpura (5143grt), Varsova (4701grt). departed Madras on 9 February, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

9th

light cruiser Emerald, Indian patrol vessel Sonavati

 

10th

 

Sonavati

12th

Indian sloop Clive

 

convoy dispersed 13 February, escorts detached, Emerald arrived Madras same day

_____

 

Boom carrier LAOMEDON, travelling in an unnumbered convoy from Colombo to Trincomalee and escorted by Indian escort ship RAMDAS, was damaged in 6-13N, 82-25E. Although she was reported as torpedoed, no reports exist and the more likely cause was a mine. The convoy scattered and sloop FALMOUTH was sent to assist. LAOMEDON was able to return to Colombo, arriving on the 10th.

 

 

Tuesday, 10 February

 

Light cruiser SHEFFIELD departed the Iceland Faroes patrol and arrived at Scapa Flow on the 11th.

_____

 

Light cruiser TRINIDAD departed Scapa Flow for patrol in the Iceland Faroes Passage.

_____

 

Destroyer PALADIN departed Scapa Flow at 2000 for Greenock for repairs to her director, and arrived at 1430/11th. Following repair, she joined the escort of convoy WS.16 and proceeded to the Far East.

_____

 

Minesweeper HUSSAR arrived at Scapa Flow at 1200 to work up prior to proceeding for service in North Russia.

_____

 

Steamer LIEUTENANT ROBERT MORY (3176grt) was damaged by German bombing five miles W of Trevose Head.

_____

 

German steamer WOLFRAM (3648grt) was sunk by torpedo off Borkum.

_____

 

U.652 attacked a British tanker near Sidi Barrani.

_____

 

Troopships ROYAL SCOTSMAN, ULSTER MONARCH, ROYAL ULSTER and the Polish BATORY departed Gibraltar with troops which had been embarked in troopship LLANGIBBY CASTLE. Destroyers WISHART, WHITEHALL, WIVERN, and VIDETTE escorted the ships. ROYAL SCOTSMAN returned to Gibraltar on the 11th with major defects.

_____

 

Convoy SC.69 departed Halifax 10 February, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

10th

corvettes Fredericton, Midland, Oakville, minesweepers Gananaque, Quinte

 

13th

destroyer Assiniboine, corvettes Aconit, Arrowhead, Chicoutimi, Kenogami, Snowberry, minesweeper Cowichan

Fredericton, Midland, Oakville, Gananaque, Quinte

14th

 

Cowichan

22nd

Polish destroyer Blyskawica, British Saladin, Sardonyx

 

23rd

 

Assiniboine, Arrowhead, Chicoutimi, Kenogami, Snowberry

27th

 

Blyskawica, Saladin, Sardonyx

convoy arrived Liverpool 27 February, possibly with Aconit

_____

 

Convoy JS.2, troopship ORCADES (23,456grt, 3384 troops), departed Colombo 10 February, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

10th

heavy cruiser Dorsetshire

 

13th

light cruiser Dragon

Dorsetshire

14th

destroyer Encounter

 

ORCADES arrived Oosthaven 15th

ORCADES (1308 troops) and steamer YOMA (from JS.1) departed Oosthaven 16th

16th

destroyers Encounter, Tenedos

 

convoy arrived Batavia 17th

 

Also departing on the 16th were steamers FILLEIGH, LULWORTH HILL and HAI LEE of JS.1, escorted by sloop YARRA for Batavia.

_____

 

Aircraft transport ATHENE departed Batavia for Fremantle.

_____

 

Monitor EREBUS and corvette MARGUERITE departed Kilindini for Colombo.

_____

 

American tanker MINDANAO (5236grt) was attacked by Japanese aircraft in 14-35N, 120-55W, capptured by Japanese forces and renamed PALEMBANG MARU.

 

 

Wednesday, 11 February

 

American destroyer GWIN departed Hvalfjord for Londonderry, arriving on the 13th.

_____

 

Destroyer FURY departed the Humber at 1700 on completion of refitting, and arrived at Scapa Flow at 1300/12th.

_____

 

Canadian corvette SPIKENARD (Lt Cdr H G Shadforth), escorting convoy SC.67, was sunk by U.136 in the North Atlantic in 56N, 21W. Cdr Shadforth, Temporary Lt R A Hughes RCNVR, Temporary Lt C C Fawcett RCNVR, Temporary Lt P R F Milthorp RCNR, Temporary S/Lt G A Markham RNCVR, and fifty two ratings were lost. Eight ratings, four of whom were wounded, were rescued by corvette GENTIAN. U.136 reported hitting another merchant ship in this attack. Later that day, U.136 made another attack on the convoy and claimed damaging a steamer.

_____

 

U.591 sank Norwegian steamer HEINA (4028grt) from convoy SC.67 in 56-10N, 21-07W. There were no casualties. U.591 also reported hitting two other steamers in the attack.

_____

 

U.564 sank Canadian tanker VICTOLITE (11,410grt) in 36-12N, 67-14W. Of a crew of 45 and two gunners, all were lost.

_____

 

Light cruiser CLEOPATRA, which had departed Gibraltar on the 9th with destroyer FORTUNE were attacked by German bombers near Malta and near-missed. Acting Temporary Paymaster S/Lt R B Walmsley and seven ratings were killed in CLEOPATRA, and 11 wounded. In addition, Temporary S/Lt (A) A F McDonald RNVR, on passage in CLEOPATRA from GREBE, was also killed. FORTUNE was damaged by heavy weather during the morning, and both ships reached Malta at 1200/11th.

_____

 

Corvette SNAPDRAGON and anti-submarine whaler SOUTHERN SEA departed Alexandria with tug BRIGAND and a small convoy for Mersa Matruh and Tobruk.

_____

 

Convoy HG.78A of steamers KINGSLAND and BORGFRED departed Gibraltar, escorted by corvettes CROCUS and STARWORT. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 23rd, still escorted by CROCUS and STARWORT.

_____

 

Convoy OS.19 departed Liverpool 11 February, escorts:

 

 

joined

detached

12th

sloops Egret, Fleetwood, ocean boarding vessels Hilary, Marsdale, escort vessel Banff

 

14th

escort vessel Fishguard

 

18th

 

Hilary, Marsdale

27th

corvettes Bergamot, Rockrose

 

1st

corvettes Tamarisk, Wallflower

Egret, Fleetwood, Banff, Fishguard

arrived Freetown 3 March with Bergamot, Rockrose, Tamarisk, Wallflower

_____

 

Light cruiser DESPATCH departed Bermuda for Freetown, via Trinidad, after Commodore West Indies (Capt C E Douglas-Pennant DSC) struck his pennant. She arrived at Freetown on the 27th.

_____

 

Convoy ST.15 departed Freetown, and arrived at Takoradi on the 16th.

_____

 

Armed patrol vessel LIPIS was lost in the Singapore area off Sultan Shoal. Lt W E Steel RNR, was lost.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.56 reporting sinking a transport south of Sunda Strait.

_____

 

Motor launches RHODA (20grt) and SIMIT III (12grt) were scuttled at Singapore. During the destruction of machinery, an explosion demolished the stern of steamer WAN YUAN (674grt), putting her main engines out of action. She was later seized by Japanese forces in Keppel Harbour.

 

 

Thursday, 12 February

 

 

THE “CHANNEL DASH”

 

During attacks on German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST, GNEISENAU and heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN proceeding up the English Channel, there were a number of Royal Navy casualties.

 

 

Fleet Air Arm Swordfish of 825 Squadron from Manston, as well as numerous RAF Coastal Command and Bomber Command aircraft carried out attacks. The six FAA aircraft crews and their fates follow – (1) Lt Cdr (A) E Esmonde DSO+, Lt W H Williams+, gunner L/Airman W J Clinton+, (2) S/Lt B W Rose RNVR, Acting Temporary S/Lt (A) E F Lee RNVR, L/Airman A L Johnson+, (3) S/Lt C M Kingsmill RNVR, S/Lt (A) R M Samples RNVR, L/Airman D A Bunce, (4) Lt J C Thompson+, S/Lt E H F Wright RNVR+, L/Airman E Tapping+, (5) S/Lt C R Wood+, S/Lt (A) R L Parkinson+, L/Airman H T A Wheeler+ (6) S/Lt P Bligh RNVR+, S/Lt D R Beynon RNVR+, L/Airman W G Smith+.

 

Most were killed (+). Rose, Samples, and Kingsmill were wounded, and only Lee and Bunce were uninjured. Rose and Lee were rescued by MTB.45, Samples and Bunce by a minesweeper, and it is believed Kingsmill by an MTB. The bodies of Esmonde and Smith were later recovered and buried ashore. Esmonde received the Victoria Cross (posthumously), Rose, Lee, and Samples the DSO, and Bunce the CGM.

 

Destroyers taking part:

CAMPBELL (D 21 Pizey), VIVACIOUS, WORCESTER

MACKAY (D 16 Captain J.P. Wright, DSO), WHITSHED and WALPOLE under Captain C.T.M. Pizey, DSO.  WALPOLE dropped out with defects en route to contact the German ships.

CATTISTOCK*, COTTESMORE*, GARTH*, HOLDERNESS*, MENDIP, MEYNELL*, PYTCHLEY*, VANESSA also in 21st Destroyer Flotilla at Sheerness.

COTSWOLD, EGLINTON*, HAMBLDON*, QUORN*, SOUTHDOWN*, MONTROSE also in 16th Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich, joined by  BERKELEY and FERNIE of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla.

* Sailed to attack the German ships, but none of the Hunt class escort destroyers were in action.

Casualties on destroyer WORCESTER were 17 ratings killed, six missing, four dying of wounds and 18 wounded.

_____

 

German trawler JOHN MAHN (292grt) was sunk by British bombing in the English Channel.

_____

 

Convoy QP.7 of steamers BOTAVON (5848grt), Panamanian EL ALMIRANTE (5248grt), JUTLAND (6153grt), Russian STALINGRAD (3559grt), DARTFORD (4093grt), EMPIRE HALLEY (7168grt), SOUTHGATE (4862grt), and Russian STARY BOLSHEVIK (3974grt), escorted by destroyers FAULKNOR and INTREPID, departed Kola Inlet at 1630. Minesweepers HAZARD and SPEEDWELL provided local escort, and were then relieved by minesweepers BRITOMART and SHARPSHOOTER until the 15th. Light cruiser NIGERIA provided cover.

 

The convoy dispersed on the 15th at 16E. FAULKNOR and INTREPID proceeded to Scapa Flow, while BRITOMART and SHARPSHOOTER returned to Murmansk. Six of the convoy proceeded to Seidisfjord and two to Akureyri.

_____

 

Battleship RODNEY, escorted by destroyers SOMALI, ORIBI, and OFFA, departed Hvalfjord for the Clyde. SOMALI parted company in the Minches and arrived at Loch Alsh on the 14th. The battleship and the other two destroyers arrived at 0015/15th in the Clyde. ORIBI and OFFA were taken in hand for boiler cleaning.

_____

 

Submarine STURGEON was ordered to patrol off Utvoer.

_____

 

Submarine TRIDENT and the French MINERVE departed Lerwick to patrol off South Norway, returning on the 14th.

_____

 

Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA arrived at Scapa Flow from Western Approaches at 1500 to form part of the escort for destroyer depot ship BLENHEIM sailing for Reykjavik. Together with destroyer FURY, they sailed on the 13th. Destroyer PUNJABI departed Hvalfjord at 2000/13th to meet them and provide additional escort. All four ships arrived at Hvalfjord at 2100/16th.

_____

 

Destroyer MIDDLETON and minesweepers NIGER and HUSSAR departed Scapa Flow for Kirkwall to attend the convoy conference prior to the departure of convoy PQ.11 on the 13th. The convoy had arrived from Loch Ewe at Kirkwall on the 7th.

_____

 

Lt M H Gardner was lost overboard from submarine P.31 in the western approaches to Tripoli. S/Lt A . Boyall was also was washed overboard, but rescued.

_____

 

U.108 sank Norwegian steamer BLINK (2701grt) in 35-00N, 72-27W. Of a crew of 30, including two gunners, 22 crew and both gunners were lost.

_____

 

Operation MF.5 commenced with convoy WM.9A heading west from Alexandria and MW.10 from Malta.

 

Convoy WM.9A of steamers CLAN CHATTAN and CLAN CAMPBELL, escorted by anti-aircraft ship CARLISLE and destroyers HEYTHROP, LANCE, AVONVALE, and ERIDGE departed Alexandria at 1600.

 

Steamer ROWALLAN CASTLE departed at 1700, escorted by destroyers SOUTHWOLD, BEAUFORT, DULVERTON and HURWORTH.

 

At 0200/13th, Force B of light cruisers NAIAD, DIDO, and EURYALUS with destroyers KIPLING, KELVIN, JAGUAR, GRIFFIN, ARROW, HASTY, and HAVOCK departed Alexandria as cover.

 

CLAN CAMPBELL was damaged by bombing in 32-22N, 24-22E at 1730/13th, and AVONVALE and ERIDGE were detached to escort her to Tobruk.

 

Force B was attacked unsuccessfully at dusk by a force of German Ju.88 bombers.

 

Convoy MW.10 with steamers CLAN FERGUSON, CITY OF CALCUTTA, AJAX and transport BRECONSHIRE departed Malta after dark on the 13th escorted by light cruiser PENELOPE and destroyers SIKH, ZULU, LEGION, LIVELY, FORTUNE, and DECOY.

_____

 

Lt Cdr S G Stoodley of battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH was killed in a railway accident.

_____

 

Destroyer MAORI was sunk by German bombing at Malta. Gunner (T) S C White and a stoker rating were killed, and two officers and six ratings wounded. Destroyer DECOY moored nearby was damaged by the explosion with two ratings killed.

_____

 

Submarine OLYMPUS departed Gibraltar for Malta, arriving on the 20th.

_____

 

Submarine UNA sank Italian tanker LUCANIA (8106grt) in the Gulf of Taranto. The tanker had been given safe conduct to proceed from Taranto to Genoa in ballast in connection with the repatriation of Italians from Eritrea, but she was escorted by aircraft and zigzagging when attacked.

_____

 

Light cruiser DURBAN, destroyers STRONGHOLD, JUPITER, and auxiliary patrol ship KEDAH arrived at Singapore at 0300/12th. They departed before daylight that morning with steamers EMPIRE STAR (12,658grt) and GORGON, carrying the greater part of shore based naval personnel.

 

Later that day, in seventeen separate attacks, DURBAN was hit once by Japanese bombing, losing her forward six inch gun with eight ratings killed and many wounded. EMPIRE STAR was also hit by three bombs in Durian Straits. The ships arrived at Batavia on the 13th.

 

Also departing Singapore during the night of the 11th/12th were steamers DERRYMORE (4799grt), REDANG (531grt), IPOH (1279grt), AMPANG (213grt), JALAKRISHNA (4991grt), JALAVIHAR (5330grt), JALARATNA (3942grt), ORISKANY (1644grt), ASHRIDGE (2884grt), HONG KHENG (6167grt), SIN KHENG SENG (200 tons, AQUARIUS (6094grt), LES SANG (1655grt).

_____

 

Destroyer SCOUT and auxiliary patrol vessels DARVEL and KINTA arrived at Batavia with RAF personnel.

_____

 

Destroyer VAMPIRE departed Colombo to rendezvous with aircraft carrier HERMES as anti-submarine escort.

_____

 

American destroyer WHIPPLE was damaged in a collision with Dutch cruiser DE RUYTER near Prigi Bay, Java. She was drydocked, but the damage was not significant and WHIPPLE returned to service.

_____

 

Convoy SJ.1 of steamers ANGLO INDIAN (5609grt), CITY OF CANTERBURY (8331grt), CITY OF PRETORIA (8049grt) towing damaged submarine ROVER, CLAN ALPINE (5442grt), HALIZONES (3298grt), MADURA (9032grt), MALANCHA (8124grt) towing damaged destroyer ISIS, and YUEN SANG (3229grt), departed Batavia escorted by destroyer EXPRESS and sloop SUTLEJ.

 

Dutch BANJOEWANGI (1279grt), BATAVIA (1279grt), RIJN (1969grt), VAN DER CAPELLE (7037grt), and VAN SWOLL (2147grt) joined off Oosthaven.

 

Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE joined the escort on the 14th in 5-57S, 99-17E and detached on the 17th.

 

Sloop FALMOUTH joined on the 20th. MALANCHA with ISIS in tow and CITY OF PRETORIA with ROVER diverted to Trincomalee, where they on the 21st, escorted by SUTLEJ.

 

SJ.1 arrived at Colombo on the 21st with EXPRESS and sloop FALMOUTH.

_____

 

Steamer JALAVIHAR (5330grt) was damaged by Japanese bombing off Singapore.

_____

 

Steamer ANGLO INDIAN (5609grt) was damaged by Japanese bombing in the Dutch East Indies.

_____

 

Tankers SOLEN (5699grt) and SPIRLIA (5695grt) used as storage fuel hulks at Singapore were captured by Japanese forces. SOLEN was renamed SYOSEI MARU for Japanese use.

 

 

Friday, 13 February

 

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

_____

 

Light cruiser NEWCASTLE departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde for escort duty with convoy WS.16, arriving on the 14th.

_____

 

Destroyer INCONSTANT arrived at Scapa Flow at 1500 from the Clyde for working up.

_____

 

Destroyer PANTHER departed Scapa Flow at 1145 for Greenock, ariving at 0500/14th. She then proceeded in convoy WS.16 for the Far East.

_____

 

Destroyer VANQUISHER departed Liverpool to escort Rear Admiral Minelaying in Operation SN.84.

_____

 

Convoy ON.66 departed Liverpool. On the 14th, the convoy was joined by destroyers NIAGARA, SARDONYX and corvettes ABELIA, ANEMONE, ROSELYS, and VERVAIN. SARDONYX detached on the 16th, ABELIA and ANEMONE on the 18th, and NIAGARA on the 19th. The convoy was joined on the 18th by corvettes CHILLIWACK, DAUPHIN, LETHBRIDGE, LOUISBURG and SHEDIAC. CHILLIWACK and SHEDIAC detached on the 25th, and the convoy dispersed off Halifax on the 26th.

_____

 

A Martlett of 888 Squadron crashed on take off from aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE. S/Lt G Marriott was picked up by a destroyer.

_____

 

Submarine TEMPEST (Lt Cdr W A K N Cavaye) was sunk in the Gulf of Taranto by Italian torpedo boat CIRCE. Cdr Cavaye, S/Lt M Neel-Wall, and thirty seven ratings were lost. Twenty four crew, including Lt Cdr H D Bowker RNR, Temporary Lt M V H Caplat RNVR, and Lt (E) R W B Blatchford were taken prisoner and taken to Taranto.

_____

 

Corvettes GLOXINIA and HYACINTH, escort ship ANTWERP, two anti-submarine trawlers, and a convoy of A lighters and empty store ships departed Tobruk for Alexandria. U.652 attacked GLOXINIA at the end of the Tobruk swept channel.

_____

 

Corvettes VETCH and GERANIUM arrived at Gibraltar, escorting submarine CLYDE and Royal Fleet Auxiliary DINGLEDALE.

_____

 

Convoy HX.175 departed Halifax, escorted by destroyer ST CLAIR, corvettes SACKVILLE, THE PAS, WEYBURN and mineweeper GEORGIAN. They detached on the 15th when relieved by American destroyers DECATUR, LEARY, MAYO and SIMPSON. DECATUR and LEARY detached on the 23rd when relieved by corvettes CAMELLIA, COLUMBINE, and PIMPERNEL. The convoy arrived at Liverpool on the 25th.

_____

 

Motor launch ML.310 (Lt J H Bull RNVR) departed Singapore with 44 crew and passengers, including Rear Admiral E J Spooner, Vice Air Marshall C W H Pulford, Cdr P L Frampton from SULTON, Lt R A W Pool from SULTAN, S/Lt M H Henderson RANVR, and Acting Boatswain V E Richardson. After being damaged early on the 14th by Japanese aircraft, ML.310 reached Lalang Island, the passengers were put ashore on Tjebia Island and she was scuttled. Lt Bull, two ratings, and two Javanese set out in a small boat for help and were later picked up by an RAN corvette. American submarine S.39 was sent to search for the Admiral Spooner group, but was unable to locate them. Spooner, Pulford, Frampton, Henderson, and twelve ratings died, and the rest were captured on 19 May.

_____

 

Gunboat SCORPION (Lt Cdr G C Ashworth SSRNVR) was sunk by Japanese destroyers in the Banka Straits after being damaged by Japanese aircraft on the 9th. One hundred and fifteen officers and men were lost, including Cdr Ashworth killed. S/Lt J T Ronaldson MRNVR missing and S/Lt W E Richards RNVR died of wounds. Temporary Lt H G Fabian RNVR, S/Lt S R L Buckwell MRNVR, Lt J C Kemp MRNVR, one other officer and twenty six ratings were rescued by Japanese forces and made prisoners of war.

_____

 

Examination ship GIANG BEE carrying wounded, and auxiliary patrol ships KUALA and HUNG JAO departed Singapore in convoy for Rengat.

 

KUALA (Lt F H George SSRNVR) was sunk by Japanese bombing in the Banka Stait off Pompong Island. Among her passengers were between one and two hundred nursing sisters, women and children. Lt (E) L L Hosey RNR, S/Lt (E) G H Lunberg RNR and Acting S/Lt (E) G R Rae RNVR were lost. One hundred and fifty passengers were rescued and taken on board steamer TANDJONG PINANG which was sunk on the 17th. Only three survivors from KUALA survived the second sinking.

 

GIANG BEE (Acting Lt S K Rayner SSRNVR) was sunk near Berhala Island, 160 miles south of Singapore by Japanese aircraft. Out of a crew of 48 and 245 passengers, 223 were missing. Lt P C Costa MRVRN, Lt S K Rayner MRNVR, S/Lt M Goldstone MRNVR, S/Lt C R Bradley MRNVR, Temporary Lt (E) H Hill RNVR, S/Lt E J Evans MRNVR, Lt T G Adams MRNVR, S/Lt E G Rowland MRNVR, Temporary Lt H H Lancaster RNR, S/Lt A Scott RNR, Temporary S/Lt (E) R K McE Angus RNR, Temporary Lt (E) R K Beaton RNR and Temporary Lt (E) R M Wilson RNR were lost.

 

Temporary S/Lt W A Nesfield RNR and Temporary Skipper B B Brahim RNR were captured and later died while prisoners of war. S/Lt E P C Langdon MRNVR, Acting S/Lt W Attenborough RNVR, S/Lt I W Hornby MRNVR, and Temporary S/Lt H Morton RNR were also captured.

 

HUNG GAO took off about 70 survivors who were landed at Rengat. Lt J H Craig MRNVR, received a DSC and S/Lt J S H Cunyngham-Brown MRNVR was mentioned in dispatches post war for this rescue. Then on the 15th, HUNG JAO (Temporary Lt T E Mellor RNVR) was lost in company with coaster SUNGEI PINANG while on another rescue mission. Craig and Cunyngham-Brown were both taken prisoner by the Japanese.

_____

 

Anti-submarine vessel SIANG WO (Temporary Lt Cdr A Woodley RNR) was badly damaged by Japanese air attack in the Dutch East Indies, and run aground on Bangka Island a total loss. Lt (E) W Dykes RNR, was the only crew member lost, but passenger Lt Cdr H Vickers (HMS PELANDOK, RMN base Singapore) was also killed. Cdr Woodley, Lt V N Wade MRNVR, S/Lt C W Lyle MRNVR, Temporary Lt (E) W R Grant RNR, Temporary S/Lt D G R Kinner RNR, Lt A A Hare MRNVR, Temporary S/Lt T C W Marr RNR and Temporary S/Lt (E) C Moore RNR were taken prisoner. Moore later died in captivity.

_____

 

Auxiliary minesweeper CHENGTEH (244grt) was sunk in Rhio Strait by Japanese bombing, while carrying 11 officers and 85 Army and RAF personnel, in addition to her crew of 22. Sixty eight crew and passengers were lost. S/Lt S J Fisher MRNVR and Lt J Craig MRNVR were killed, and Temporary Skipper M V Adam RNR rescued.

 _____

 

Auxiliary patrol vessel TRANG went aground near Peak Island, but refloated and scuttled in Cooper's Channel. Lt H T Rigden MRNVR and 25 survivors were made prisoners of war.

_____

 

Auxiliary patrol vessel JARAK was shelled by Japanese forces and abandoned in Rhio Strait. She was later reboarded, but scuttled on the 18th south of Singkap because of engine trouble.

_____

 

Steamer REDANG (531grt) was sunk by Japanese surface craft 50 miles 110° from Berhala. Of the crew of 19 plus 70 passengers, 58 were missing, including Lt (E) H S Deans RNR.

_____

 

Dutch tanker MERULA (8228grt) departed Palembang for Batavia, but was badly damaged in Banka Strait by Japanese bombing. She was taken in tow by Norwegian tanker HERBORG (7892grt), but later abandoned when the fire on board spread. Of a crew of 38, one was lost and 37 missing. A staff of 12 were on board, of which four were lost.

 

Dutch tanker MANVANTARA (8237grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing en route from Palembang to Batavia. Of a crew of 39, three were lost, but the other 36 arrived in Batavia. There were also twelve Staff personnel on board, of which one was lost.

 

Steamer SUBADAR (5424grt) was sunk by Japanese bombing in the Banka Strait. Of a crew of 78 and eight gunners, five crew were lost.

 

The remaining ships of the convoy, tankers HERBORG, ERLING BROVIG, SEIRSTAD and ELSA, arrived at Batavia on the 13th, escorted by destroyer JUPITER and minesweeper TOOTOOMBA.

_____

 

Steamer HOSANG (5698grt) had been damaged by Japanese bombing at Singapore on 25 and 30 January and 2 February. She departed for Palembang on the 6th, but grounded and was abandoned. Later seized by Japanese forces, she was renamed GYOZAN MARU in Japanese service.

_____

 

Motor vessel ROMPIN (189grt), which departed Singapore on the 10th with four RAF tenders in tow, was captured by Japanese forces at Muntok.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.55 sank steamer DERRYMORE (4799grt) north of Sunda Strait. Of a crew of 36, including four gunners, none were lost. Of 209 RAAF personnel, nine were missing. Some survivors reached a nearby island where they were picked up three days later by Dutch minesweeper CHERIBON, while others were rescued from rafts by Australian minesweeper BALLARAT.

_____

 

Steamer BRUNEI (101grt) was scuttled at Singapore.

_____

 

Motor patrol boat PANGLIMA was scuttled in Banka Strait.

_____

 

Corvettes ASTER and VERBENA arrived at Mauritius.

_____

 

Troopship DUNERA, formerly of convoy DM.2, arrived at Colombo.

_____

 

Convoy BM.13 of steamers CITY OF LONDON, EASTERN PRINCE, EGRA, ESPERANCE BAY and CITY OF PARIS, departed Bombay escorted by light cruiser CALEDON to the vicinity of Ceylon.

 

Off Ceylon on the 17th, they joined convoy SJ.3 of steamers PENRITH CASTLE, SILVERTEAK, SILVERWILLOW, MADRAS CITY, and EMPIRE GLADE, which departed Colombo on the 16th, escorted by light cruiser GLASGOW, sloop FALMOUTH and minesweeper BATHURST. CALEDON was detached.

 

The combined convoy proceeded until the 21st, when they were ordered north. BATHURST returned to Colombo with engine problems. Heavy cruiser DORSETSHIRE joined on the 23rd, but was ordered to return to Trincomalee later that same day.

 

The convoy arrived at Colombo on the 25th, escorted by GLASGOW.

_____

 

Chartered steamer SUI WO (2672grt), serving as a boom defence acccomodation ship, was sunk at Singapore by Japanese bombing.

_____

 

Panamanian steamer SANTE FE (1543grt) was seized by Japanese forces at Saigon, and renamed RIZYO MARU for Japanese use.

 

 

Saturday, 14 February

 

Convoy PQ.11 of Russian steamers ASHKHABAD (5284grt), American CITY OF FLINT (4963grt), British EMPIRE BAFFIN (6978grt), HARTLEBURY (5082grt), LOWTHER CASTLE (5171grt), MARYLYN (4555grt), Russian STEPAN KHALTURIN (2498grt), British BARRWHIN (4998grt), DALDORCH (5571grt), EMPIRE MAGPIE (6211grt), KINGSWOOD (5080grt), Hondurian MAKAWAO (3253grt), and Panamanian NORTH KING (4934grt) departed Kirkwall at 1500 escorted by destroyers MIDDLETON, AIREDALE, corvette OXLIP, minesweepers NIGER, HUSSAR and anti-submarine trawlers BLACKFLY, CAPE ARGONA and CAPE MARIATO.

 

Corvettes OXLIP, which departed Seidisfjord on the 16th, and SWEETBRIAR joined on the 17th when the destroyers, the original corvette, and anti-submarine trawlers were detached. The destroyers arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100/18th. The corvette and trawlers proceeded to Stornoway.

 

On the 22nd, light cruiser NIGERIA, which departed Murmansk on the 20th with Soviet destroyers GROMKY and GROZNY joined. Minesweepers HARRIER, HAZARD and SALAMANDER also joined on the 22nd.

 

The Soviet destroyers arrived back at Murmansk on the 21st.

 

The convoy arrived on the 22nd.

_____

 

American destroyer GWIN departed Londonderry for Hvalfjord.

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Convoy ON.67 departed Liverpool. The convoy was joined on the 15th by corvettes CAMELLIA, COLUMBINE, and PIMPERNEL. These were detached on the 19th when the convoy was joined by American destroyers BERNADOU, EDISON, LEA, NICHOLSON and corvette ALGOMA. Corvette ALGOMA detached on the 25th. Coast Guard cutter SPENCER joined on the 26th. The American destroyers and coast guard cutter were detached on the 28th when the convoy was joined by destroyers VERITY and WALKER. The convoy arrived at Halifax on 1 March.

_____

 

U.576 sank steamer EMPIRE SPRING (6946grt) in 42N, 55W. There were no survivors.

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U.502 reported torpedoing a tanker near Aruba and observed it sinking in flames.

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U.83 fired torpedoes into Mersa Matruh harbour without results, although she reported damaging a steamer and corvette.

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Steamer CLAN CHATTAN (7262grt) of convoy MW.9A was sunk by German bombing in 35-01N, 20-11E. All 128 crew and 230 troops were rescued.

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Steamer ROWALLAN CASTLE (7798grt) of convoy MW.9B was badly damaged by German bombing in 34-54N, 19-40E. There were no casualties amongst the crew of 71 including 17 gunners, and 29 passengers, although she was scuttled by British forces. Light cruiser CARLISLE and destroyer ERIDGE with MW.10 were lightly damaged by near misses.

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Destroyer WHITEHALL arrived at Gibraltar.

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Anti-submarine trawler ST NECTAN departed Gibraltar, escorting three merchant ships to Aguilas, Hornillo, and Valencia. She parted company at Cape Palas, and arrived back at Gibraltar on the 16th.

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A convoy of Italian steamer ARIOSTO and the German ATLAS departed Tripoli on the 13th for Palermo, escorted by destroyer PREMUDA and torpedo boat POLLUCE. Submarine P.38 attacked and sank ARIOSTO (4116grt), which was carrying 410 men, including 294 prisoners of war. . Two hundred and fifty two survivors were picked up by the escorts. ATLAS and POLLUCE arrived at Palermo at 1500/16th.

_____

 

British heavy cruiser EXETER, Australian light cruiser HOBART and the Dutch DE RUYTER, JAVA, TROMP, Dutch destroyers VAN GHENT, BANCKERT, PIET HEIN, KORTENAER and the American BULMER, BARKER, STEWART, PARROT, EDWARDS and PILLSBURY departed Batavia to attack a Japanese invasion convoy. At 0520, VAN GHENT ran aground on Ross Island. BANCKERT stood by and took off her crew. No contact was made with the convoy, but the allied ships came under heavy air attack. They arrived back at Tanjong Priok on the 16th.

_____

 

Auxiliary armed patrol vessel LI WO (Temporary Lt T Wilkinson RNR), which departed Singapore on the 13th with a crew of 70 and 14 passengers, was sunk by Japanese surface craft. Lt Wilkinson, Lt A Robertson RNR, Temporary Lt (E) J G Murray RNR, Temporary S/Lt (E) J Manson RNR, S/Lt D O MacCracken MRNVR, Temporary S/Lt J G Petherbridge MRNVR, Temporary S/Lt (E) J R Wood and sixty eight ratings were lost.

 

Temporary Lt E N Derbridge RNZNVR, Temporary S/Lt R G G Stanton RNR and nine ratings were rescued. Derbridge died of wounds on 3 March, while three of the ratings died while prisoners of war.

 

Wilkinson received a posthumous Victoria Cross, Stanton a DSO, Acting Petty Officer A W Thompson a CGM, Able Seaman A Spendlove a DSM, and Petherbridge, Derbridge and seven ratings were mentioned in dispatches.

_____

 

Gunboat DRAGONFLY (Cdr A W Sprott Rtd) was severely damaged by Japanese bombing off Rusuk Buaja Island near Singapore, abandoned at anchor and later sank. Cdr Sprott, S/Lt C W Tombs RNVR, Lt S L Iley and 29 ratings were lost, together with a number of passengers. Lt P P Shellard RNVR and Lt O R T Henman MRNVR were taken prisoner by the Japanese.

_____

 

Gunboat GRASSHOPPER (Cdr J S Hoffman Rtd) was sunk by Japanese bombing off Rusuk Island near Singapore. There were only a few survivors and 165 officers and ratings were lost. Cdr Hoffman survived, but was later lost in destroyer STRONGHOLD. Temporary Lt R A Holloway RNZVNR was taken prisoner by the Japanese.

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Auxiliary patrol vessel SHU KWANG (Cdr A D Thomson RNR Rtd), en route from Singapore to Batavia, was sunk by Japanese bombing at 0-35N, 104E. Twenty crew and passengers were lost and around 273 rescued.

_____

 

Auxiliary anti-submarine vessel TIEN KWANG (Acting Lt R W Heale SSRNVR), carrying some 300 passengers, was damaged by Japanese bombing off Pampong Island, south of Rhio Strait. She was scuttled early on the 15th. S/Lt J Robinson RNR and many of the passengers were lost. Lt Heale, Temporary S/Lt F Mansfield RNR, Temporary S/Lt (E) G L Nicolich RNR, and Temporary Lt (E) J W Turnbull RNR were taken prisoners by the Japanese.

_____

 

Minelayer KUNG WO (Temporary Lt Cdr E J Thomson RNR) was badly damaged by Japanese bombing six miles NW of Pompong Island, near Lingga Archipelago, and abandoned. One crewman was lost and Temporary Lt J W Munroe RNR taken prisoner by the Japanese.

_____

 

Requistioned vessel VYNER BROOKE was sunk by Japanese air attack in the Banka Strait, 15 miles north of Muntok. Of forty seven crew and 181 passengers, 125 were missing. Temporary S/Lt J W Miller RNR, Lt (E) D Reith RNR and S/Lt W S Sedgeman RNR, were lost. Temporary S/Lt E L J Staples RNZVNR and Temporary Lt R E Borton RNR were taken prisoners by the Japanese.

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Auxiliary patrol ship HUA TONG (Temporary Lt O G Jones RNR) was sunk by Japanese bombing at Palembang. There were no casualties. Temporary Lt C L Brown RNR and Temporary Lt (E) D R Horn RNR were mentioned in dispatches in 1943 regarding her loss. Steamer HOSANG and auxiliary patrol ship KLIAS were damaged in the same attack.

_____

 

Japanese submarine I.66 sank steamer KAMUNING (2076grt) in 8-35N, 81-44E, while she was under tow for Trincomalee. I.66 missed with a torpedo and sank her with gunfire. Three native crew were lost.

_____

 

Light cruiser ENTERPRISE arrived at Trincomalee.

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Aircraft carrier HERMES, destroyer VAMPIRE, sloop FALMOUTH, and minesweeper BATHURST arrived at Colombo.

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Corvettes ASTER and VERBENA departed Mauritius for Colombo.

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On the 14th, convoy JS.2X departed Colombo with British steamers AFRICAN PRINCE (4653grt), ASCANIUS (10,048grt), BIRCHBANK (5151grt), TINGSANG (2256grt), Dutch MARISO (7659grt) and Norwegian TROJA (8814grt). The convoy was escorted by heavy cruiser CORNWALL, destroyer VAMPIRE, minesweeper LISMORE, Indian sloop HINDUSTAN and Indian patrol vessel RAMDAS. CORNWALL detached on the 20th, the destroyer on the 26th and the patrol vessel on the 16th. The convoy arrived at Rangoon on the 21st escorted by the minesweeper and sloop.

 

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revised 8/4/12
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