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1 9 3 9
with Mediterranean Fleet.
with Mediterranean Fleet.
28th - On completion
of repairs at Malta sailed for Alexandria escorted by the destroyers DAINTY and
1st - Sailed from Alexandria for Malta escorted
by destroyers DAINTY and DEFENDER.
6th - Sailed from Malta for the Clyde escorted by the
destroyers DUNCAN and DUCHESS.
11th - West of Ireland the destroyers ECHO, ECLIPSE and EXMOUTH joined the
12th - At 0437 hours 9 miles west of the Mull of Kintyre she was involved in a
collision with DUCHESS. The destroyer was rolled over by the force of the impact
and sank at 0503 hours taking 124 crew with her. BARHAM continued into the Clyde
escorted by DUNCAN and EXMOUTH, leaving ECHO and ECLIPSE to pick up the 23
15th - In company with the battleship WARSPITE and the battlecruiser HOOD sailed
from the Clyde to a position 300 miles west of Malin Head to provide cover for
the troop convoy TC.1 which was carrying 7450 Canadian troops.
28th - At 1450 hours 66 miles west of the Butt of Lewis when returning from
patrol in company with battlecruiser REPULSE and destroyers ISIS and NUBIAN, she
was hit on port side by torpedo from U.30. Four crew were killed and extensive
damage caused to her A & B shell rooms. She proceeded under her own power
escorted by the destroyers FAME, ICARUS and IMOGEN to
30th - Arrived at Liverpool and entered Gladstone Dock for repair.
1 9 4 0
January to June
repair. For details see BRITISH BATTLESHIPS.
1st - Sailed from Liverpool for Scapa Flow escorted by destroyers ATHERSTONE,
FERNIE, IMOGEN and WARWICK.
2nd - Arrived at Scapa Flow where she carried out stability and firing tests.
Following which she commenced working up exercises.
Nominated for support of planned French landings at Dakar.
(Operation MENACE – For details see MENACE by A Marder,
ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, and
Naval Staff History.)
- Took passage from
Scapa Flow escorted by destroyers ECHO, ECLIPSE,
ESCAPADE and INGLEFIELD.
- Arrived at
- Sailed from Gibraltar in company with aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL,
battlecruiser RENOWN, battleship RESOLUTION, and screened by destroyers FAULKNOR,
FORESIGHT, FORESTER, FURY, GREYHOUND, ECLIPSE, ESCAPADE and INGLEFIELD. (ECHO
joined later after completing repairs at Gibraltar).
20th - Pre-operation
conference held on board at Freetown.
21st - Sailed from
Freetown for Operation MENACE. (Note: cruisers DEVONSHIRE, CORNWALL, AUSTRALIA (RAN) and
DEHLI had joined MENACE at Freetown.)
23rd - Arrived off
Dakar to find the area shrouded in fog.
At 1000 hours in a momentary clearance
of the fog the shore battery at Cap Manuel opened fire on BARHAM without scoring
any hits. Between 1100 and 1130 hours BARHAM, RESOLUTION, AUSTRALIA, CUMBERLAND
and DEVONSHIRE bombarded French warships including battleship FS RICHELIEU in
Dakar harbour and also the shore batteries at Cap Manuel and Gorée Island.
24th - In misty
weather BARHAM, RESOLUTION, AUSTRALIA and DEVONSHIRE carried out a further
bombardment of the port area and the shore batteries at a range of 14000 yards.
BARHAM concentrated her fire on the RICHELIEU. The return fire from RICHELIEU
and the shore batteries was concentrated on BARHAM and she was hit by two shells
causing slight damage.
At 1325 hours the bombardment was checked and the
bombarding force moved out to sea. An assessment of the results was that despite
the battleships having fired 400 rounds of 15in little or no damage had been
caused to RICHELIEU or the shore batteries. Engaged French submarine PERSÉE with
25th - In clear
weather she launched her Walrus aircraft which then spotted for her when a
further bombardment of RICHELIEU was carried out which obtained one hit. (Note: Post war evidence
records this caused no damage.) The Walrus was shot down.
At 0910 hours
RESOLUTION was torpedoed by French submarine BÉVÉZIERS. Shortly after this
BARHAM was hit in the bows by a 15in shell from
At 0930 hours the attack was called
off. BARHAM took RESOLUTION in tow and they proceeded to Freetown.
28th - BARHAM towing
RESOLUTION arrived at Freetown.
On release from
MENACE took passage to Gibraltar from Freetown.
15th - Arrived at
Gibraltar where she was dry-docked for repairs to damage sustained at
30th - At
Gibraltar where she was subjected
to a failed attack by an Italian Chariot. Nominated to join the Mediterranean
6th - Embarked 750
troops (4th Battalion the Buffs) and stores at Gibraltar for passage to Malta.
7th - Formed Force F
for Mediterranean transit covered by ARK ROYAL and SHEFFIELD screen by
destroyers of Force H For details see Naval Staff History, Operation COAT.
(Note: Operation CRACK and air attack from ARK ROYAL took place coincidentally
10th - Joined ships
of Mediterranean Fleet. See above reference and THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN
by D MacIntyre.
11th - Disembarked
troops and stores in Malta. Rejoined battleships VALIANT and WARSPITE, cruisers
AJAX, GLOUCESTER, ORION, SYDNEY (RAN)
and YORK, screened by Mediterranean Fleet destroyers. (Note: These ships of the
Mediterranean Fleet were providing cover for passage of Convoy ME3 to
Alexandria. aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS sailed for this operation but detached
during passage ton carry out attack on Italian Fleet at Taranto. (Operation
JUDGEMENT) (For details see above references.)
14th - Arrived at
Alexandria with ships of the Mediterranean Fleet.
26th - Deployed with
battleship MALAYA to provide cover for aircraft carrier EAGLE during air
operations on Tripoli. (Note: This was part of coincident Operation C)
9th - Provided
support for military operations with MALAYA (Note: Ships bombarded supply routes
in Cyrenaica and were covered by cruiser screened by destroyers.)
1 9 4 1
3rd - Joined Force A
with MALAYA and VALIANT screened by 11 destroyers for bombardment of Bardia with
cover from ILLUSTRIOUS and cruiser CALCUTTA.
11th - Deployed with
EAGLE, AJAX and destroyer screen to carry out air attacks on Dodecanese. (Note: This operation was cancelled after ILLUSTRIOUS had been
seriously damaged in air attacks whilst covering passage of Convoy to
Alexandria. See references.)
22nd - Part of
escort for damaged aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS during passage from Malta.
(Note: VALIANT and Australian cruiser PERTH were also deployed.)
24th - Provided
Distant Cover with EAGLE and VALIANT during passage of cruisers AJAX, GLOUCESTER
and ORION, destroyers MOHAWK and NUBIAN taking troops to Malta (Operation MC8)
- Provided Distant Cover for passage of MW6A to Malta with aircraft carrier
FORMIDABLE, VALIANT, WARSPITE, cruisers GLOUCESTER and
YORK screened by destroyers of Mediterranean
Fleet deployed as force A (Operation MC9) (Note: Italian Fleet units were
known to be at sea covering passage of a convoy to North Africa.)
27th - Sailed from
Alexandria with WARSPITE, VALIANT and FORMIDABLE screened by Fleet destroyers to
intercept Italian Fleet units intending to attack convoys between Egypt and
Piraeus. The subsequent encounter with these Italian warships is known as The
battle of Matapan.) (Note: This deployment was made on the basis of interception
of Italian Navy signals traffic and is described in MATAPAN by S W Pack which
with the above references give details of the action.) Took part in sinking of
two enemy ships.
18th - Covered
passage of Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE to Malta and return Convoy ME7 with
FORMIDABLE, WARSPITE, VALIANT, cruisers AJAX,
CALCUTTA, GLOUCESTER, ORION and
PHOEBE screened by Fleet destroyers.
20th - Detached with
WARSPITE, VALIANT, GLOUCESTER screened by four destroyers identified as Force A.
21st - Took part in
bombardment of Tripoli for 49 minutes covered by Force C comprising FORMIDABLE,
AJAX and HMAS PERTH.
- Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units
(Note: A proposal by the Prime Minister that this ship should be used as a
blockship for an operation to carry out an
attack on Tripoli was rejected by C-in-C Mediterranean Fleet.)
- Deployed with FORMIDABLE, VALIANT, WARSPITE, AJAX,
ORION, HMAS PERTH and cruiser Minelayer ABDIEL
screened by 12 Fleet destroyers to provide
Distant Cover for passage of Convoy MW7 from Alexandria to Malta and military
convoy on passage to Egypt (Operation TIGER).
(Note: This operation also covered transit of battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH,
GLOUCESTER and NAIAD to reinforce the Fleet at Alexandria.
10th - Under air
attacks, which were repelled by aircraft from FORMIDABLE and ships AA gunfire.
25th - Deployed with
QUEEN ELIZABETH to provide cover for units of Mediterranean Fleet engaged in
support of military operations in defence of Crete.
26th - Provided
cover for air attacks by FORMIDABLE on Scarpanto.
27th - Under air
attacks and sustained serious damage after a bomb hit on Y-turret and effect of
near misses. See BRITISH BATTLESHIPS.
29th - Return
passage to Alexandria.
Repair arranged in
Durban and prepared for passage by local resources. Took passage to Durban for
July to August
Under repair at
On completion took
passage to rejoin Fleet at Alexandria.
Deployed for Fleet
duties in eastern Mediterranean.
Fleet duties in
continuation including support of military operations by bombardment of coastal
18th - Deployed with
QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT for diversionary cruise to draw off enemy aircraft
during bombardment of Libyan coast positions by 7th and 15th cruiser Squadrons
(Operation ME4) Although Fleet units were shadowed by enemy aircraft, no attacks
developed. (Note: The bombardment support was the RN contribution to planned
military advance in the western desert, Operation CHIEFTAIN).
20th - Deployed with
same ships for further diversionary cruise during support bombardment by
cruisers. (Operation ME7).
21st - Deployed with
Fleet units to cover passage of cruisers for support bombardment. Under air
attacks which were driven off by Fleet Air Arm aircraft based at Mersa Matruh.
22nd - Returned to
Alexandria with QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and destroyer screen.
24th - Took part
with QUEEN ELIZABETH , VALIANT and screen of eight Fleet destroyers for
provision of cover to cruisers of 7th and 15th Squadrons carrying out search for
military convoys on passage to Benghazi (Operation ME7). (Note: cruisers were
deployed as Force B – See Naval Staff History).
25th - Under
constant observation by enemy aircraft. Under attack by U331 and hit by three
torpedoes which struck between funnel and X turret on port side. Ship sank in
position 32.34N 26.24N within 4 minutes after the magazine detonated. (On
VALIANT, the closest ship to BARHAM when she was hit, was the Gaumont News
cameraman John Turner who shot 2 minutes of movie film, all he had left in the
camera, of the sinking. This film became one of the most poignant shots in the
whole war). Only 450 survived
from the complement of about 1312.
note on casualties)
Note: At the
subsequent Board of Inquiry it was suggested that the fires started caused the
explosion of the 4in and 15in magazines. All internal communications failed and
the speed of the development of a list made it impossible for many to escape.
See above references and TUBAL CAIN by E Muspratt.)