QUEEN ELIZABETH-Class battleship ordered from HM Dockyard
Portsmouth in June 1912 and laid down on 21st October that year. The ship
was launched on 16th October 1913 as the first RN warship to carry this
Her Badge reflects the particular association with the Royal Family. Build was
completed on 22 December 1914 and she was deployed in
the Mediterranean. Her distinctive service during WW1 included participation in the Dardanelles campaign
and the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in 1918 when the terms of
surrender were given to Admiral Von Reuter on board. In 1937 she was selected
for an extended modernisation which began
in August that year and was not completed until 1939. Her WW2 service was
particularly well known as
she was seriously damaged at Alexandria after explosive charges had been
placed on her hull in an attack by
two man human torpedoes in December 1941. She then had an extensive period under
repair and refit in a US Navy Dockyard Norfolk, Va before resuming Fleet service
in the East Indies Fleet. She took part in many offensive operations
against the Japanese bases in the Indian Ocean and in support of landing
operations in Burma before return to UK before VJ Day. After brief service in
the Home Fleet she was placed in Reserve at Portsmouth during 1946 and
sold for demolition two years later. In March 1942 this ship was adopted
by The Baltic Exchange, London after
a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign.
a t t l e H o
n o u r s
DARDANELLES 1915 - CRETE 1941
- SABANG 1944 - BURMA 1944-45
e r a l d i c
D a t a
Badge: On a field per pale
White and Green a Tudor rose Red
and Silver between letters ER under a Tudor crown Red.
S u m
m a r y o f P r e
– W a r S e r v
i c e
1 9 1 5
Mediterranean after Acceptance Trials
Took part in
bombardment of Turkish shore targets during Dardanelles operations. Sank enemy
Returned to UK
for repair of defective turbine and joined Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow.
1 9 1 6
Under repair and
resumed Grand Fleet service. (Note: Did not take part in Battle of
1 9 1 7
Service with periodic refits to modify armament equipment, improved protection
and machinery arrangements.
1 9 1 8
service including presentation of surrender terms to German Admiral von Reuter
after the armistice.
1 9 1 9 t o 1 9 2 4
1 9 2 5
1 9 2 6 t o 1 9 2 7
Under major refit
during which torpedo bulges were fitted and two funnel trunks merged into one
single uptake. 3in AA armament replaced by 4in mountings. Aircraft platform
removed from Y turret. Fire control arrangements changes
involving redesign of bridge structure.
1 9 2 8
Deployed in Home
waters for trials.
1 9 2 9
1 9 3 0
during which fire control system was fitted for AA weapons with HA director on
1 9 3 1 t o 1 9 3 3
1 9 3 4
during which aircraft catapult was removed from B turret.
1 9 3 5
1 9 3 6
during which two pom-pom mountings were fitted on conning tower platform for
close range AA defence.
Nominated for modernisation at
1 9 3 7 t o 1 9 3 8
Dockyard control and taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth for
modernisation on 11th August. During
modernisation the following changes were made:
Existing 25 boilers replaced by 8 High Pressure type saving 50% in
weight and 33% in space.
New turbines fitted to improve speed performance from 22½
knots to 25 knots.
Main armament elevation modified to 30¼ thereby increasing the
range by 8,000 yards to 32,200 yards (when firing a 1,938 lb, 6crh AP Shell with a muzzle velocity of 2,400 fps using
SC standard charges).
Admiralty Fire Control Table Mk VII
was fitted for fire control of the main armament.
6in armament replaced by ten x twin 4.5in dual-purpose mountings.
Close range AA was improved by fitting four x eight 2 pdr pom poms
around the funnel and four x four 0.5" machine guns, two on B and two on X
HACS Mk 1V was fitted for control of
the AA armament.
Aircraft stowage provided for four aircraft and an
athwart ship catapult fitted.
Complete redesign of bridge structure.
1 9 3 9
January to December
for fit of radar equipment for gunnery fire control when this became available.
Modernisation in continuation at Portsmouth Dockyard.
D e t a i l s o f
W a r S e r v i c e
(For more ship information, go to
Naval History Homepage and
type name in Site Search)
1 9 4 0
January to November
modernisation. Arrangements made for completion of modernisation by HM Dockyard
In the second
rebuild the QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT remained almost identical, the
difference being QUEEN ELIZABETH had a tripod mainmast and VALIANT had a pole
mainmast. The changes included improvements to the main guns, allowing 30
degree elevation increasing their range to 32,000 yards. All the secondary
armament was replaced with 20 x 4.5 inch AA gun mounts (10 x 2) (as installed
on the new ILLUSTRIOUS class aircraft carriers). 32 x 2 pdr pom pom guns (4 x 8) were fitted around the funnel, 16 x
0.5" (4 x 4) machine guns were fitted, two on B and 2 on X turret roofs,
but these were soon removed. New aircraft arrangements were made to accommodate
3 Walrus aircraft launched from an athwartships catapult.
rebuild her beam had increased to 104 ft and full load displacement was 38,450
tons, her maximum speed was reduced to 23.5 knots. The original complement had
been between 925 and 950 men, but with all the extra weapons, radar and other
equipment it increased to 1,124 men making her accommodation rather over
10th - At
Portsmouth where she re-commissioned for trials. Commanding Officer Captain C.
B. Barry DSO, RN.
(Due to the threat of
bombing from the Luftwaffe the decision was taken to move the QUEEN ELIZABETH
to Rosyth to complete her modernisation)
ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyers JUPITER, KASHMIR, KIPLING and PUNJABI
sailed from Portsmouth for Rosyth. Because of an aircraft sighting of a U-Boat
off North Cornwall, close to her proposed
route, she put
into Plymouth for 24 hours.
12th - At
1500 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyers HOLDERNESS, JUPITER,
KASHMIR, KIPLING and PUNJABI sailed from Plymouth and resumed her passage to
13th - At
1600 hours in position
52-28N, 5-28W the destroyers BRILLIANT, EXMOOR,
PYTCHLEY and SOUTHDOWN joined from Scapa and the destroyers HOLDERNESS,
JUPITER, KASHMIR, KIPLING and PUNJABI detached for the Clyde.
15th - At 1330
hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH and the destroyers BRILLIANT, EXMOOR, PYTCHLEY and
SOUTHDOWN arrived at Rosyth.
1 9 4 1
1st to 31st - At Rosyth where her modernisation was continued with the
fitting of the following Radars:-
Type 279, long range air warning
also had a
secondary surface search capability.
main armament ranging and fall
of shot spotting.
Towards the end of the month commenced harbour trials.
1st to 19th - Continued harbour and sea trials.
20th - At 1500 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH escorted by the light cruiser
DIDO and destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN and HMAS NAPIER (D7) sailed from Rosyth for
21st - At 0828 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH, DIDO and destroyers SOMALI,
BEDOUIN and NAPIER arrived at Scapa Flow and joined the Home Fleet.
22nd- QUEEN ELIZABETH commenced working up exercises.
27th - On this day the QUEEN ELIZABTH carried out a full power speed
trial which had to be stopped when serious defects developed in two of her turbines
due to the presence of undiscovered obstructions. The trial was suspended until
repairs could be carried out.
had been found in two of the turbines was a file in one and a nut in another.
The CinC Home Fleet signalled the Admiralty stating that since these turbines
had been closed at Fairfield's Works, Glasgow, 18 months before, it was
unlikely that the objects had been inserted since closure. He added that the heavy cruiser SUFFOLK
had also suffered turbine damage after having been at Fairfields. He requested
that the possibility of sabotage be investigated)
1st to 13th - At Scapa Flow undergoing repairs to her turbines.
2003/13/3/41 the CinC home Fleet signalled the Admiralty that the QUEEN
ELIZABETH would be available to escort convoy TC 10. [TC10 was due to sail from
Halifax 10/4/41 and comprised the troop transports BATORY and GEORGIC with a
total of 3854 Canadian troops embarked]. The reason for a battleship escort was
because the German battlecruisers GNEISENAU and SCHARNHORST were known to be
operating in the North Atlantic)
14th - Repairs completed and successful trial carried out. Working up
1636/15/3/41 the Admiralty received a raider distress signal from the tanker MV
SAN CASIMIRO 8046grt, in position 39-58N, 43-19W. The SAN CASIMIRO was being
attacked by the GNEISENAU. This was the first distress signal received from A
ship of the dispersed convoy OB 294. The
SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU then proceeded to capture 3 and sink 12 ships from
the dispersed convoy)
16th - Carried out full calibre shoot.
18th - QUEEN ELIZABETH successfully carried out her full power trial.
2337/18/3/41 the Admiralty signalled BC 1 and the QUEEN ELIZABETH repeated to
CinC Home Fleet:-
a Assuming that SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU are
returning to the North Sea.
have lost sight of BISMARCK and, though W/T traffic on Norwegian coast has not
been abnormal, it is possible that BISMARCK may be used to escort SCHARNHORST
and GNEISENAU past Iceland.
Germans know the whereabouts of RODNEY and to a lesser degree, of KING GEORGE
is to cancel full power trials and if necessary, the full calibre shoot.
to any orders received from CinC Home Fleet HOOD and QUEEN ELIZABETH are to
proceed in company to 60N, 11W. BC 1 to inform CinC Home Fleet time at which
this position will be reached.
In fact unbeknown to the Admiralty the SCHARNHORST
and GNEISENAU were sailing west towards Brest)
Following receipt of Admiralty signal
the 120 civilian workmen who were on board the QUEEN ELIZABETH, they still had
approximately one weeks work to complete on main machinery, watertightness and
Radar, were disembarked to await her return.
19th - At 0515 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH, heavy cruiser LONDON and the
destroyers INGLEFIELD (D3), ELECTRA, ARROW, ECHO, ECLIPSE and ESKIMO sailed
from Scapa to join the CinC Home Fleet.
At 0630 hours off Dunnet Head the battlecruiser HOOD (Flag VA BS 1)
joined the force.
The LONDON, who was just out of a two year rebuild and was still to work
up, was detached after radio direction finding tests and returned to Scapa.
0809/19/3/41 BC 1 signalled the Admiralty and CinC Home Fleet:- Expect to
arrive 60N, 11W at 2130/19, approach course 293¼, speed of advance 17 knots.
Thence intend to steer west during night and return to same position at 0800/20)
en route to the RV an SOS was picked up from the Norwegian merchant ship the SS
LEO 1367grt who had been bombed and sunk by a Luftwaffe He 111-H of KG26, about
75 miles northwest of Butt of Lewis. The ECHO was detached to search for
survivors and picked up all 21 crew members and returned to the screen)
1359/19/3/41 the CinC Home Fleet signalled BC 1:- Intend patrolling to south of
Iceland during the night 19th/20th, passing through positions; a 63-30N, 14W at
0700Z/20, b 62-50N, 14-40W at 1000Z/20. RV with me in position b)
20th - At 1030 hours in position 62-50N,
14-40W the HOOD, QUEEN ELIZABETH and the destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ARROW,
ECHO, ECLIPSE and ESKIMO joined the battleship NELSON (Flag CinC Home Fleet),
light cruiser NIGERIA and the destroyers COSSACK (D4), MAORI, ZULU, BOADICEA,
ACTIVE and ESCAPADE.
1034/20/3/41 the CinC Home Fleet signalled BC 1:- Intend to steer 000¼ until
1400 when course will be altered to 230¼. 15 knots will be maintained when
possible. You are to operate approximately 30 miles to southward of me and
rejoin me in 63-25N, 14-15W, at 0900Z/21. Battlecruiser force is to keep to GMT)
At 1133 hours the HOOD, QUEEN ELIZABETH
and the destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ARROW, ECHO, ECLIPSE and ESKIMO
executed the CinC's 1034/20.
1921 hours the CinC HF received a signal from Flag Officer Force H, timed
1830Z; At 1730Z aircraft from ARK ROYAL sighted two SCHARNHORST class battle
cruisers in position 46-50N, 21-25W, course 000¼, speed 20 knots)
At 2200 hours both forces changed course
to the south.
21st - The HOOD, QUEEN ELIZABETH and the
destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ARROW, ECHO, ECLIPSE and ESKIMO continued
At 1300Z hours the destroyer ARROW was
detached to Londonderry to refuel.
At 1400Z hours the HOOD, QUEEN ELIZABETH
and the destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ECHO, ECLIPSE and ESKIMO were in
position 56-18N, 20-30W, course 210¼, speed 18 knots.
At 2000Z hours the HOOD, QUEEN ELIZABETH
and the destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ECHO, ECLIPSE and ESKIMO were in
position 54-30N, 21-25W, and heading back to Scapa at 16½ knots. The
fuel state of the HOOD was 62%, QUEEN ELIZABETH 57% and the destroyers 48%.
2042/21/3/41 the Admiralty signalled the CinC HF that the German ships had been
sighted by a Swordfish from the aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, in position 47-17N,
7-13W, course 090¼, speed 20 knots. The sighting had been made at 1759 hours
but the report was delayed due failure of the Swordfish's radio)
22nd - At 0730Z hours he HOOD, QUEEN
ELIZABETH and the destroyers INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ECHO, ECLIPSE and ESKIMO were
in position 56-15N, 13-53W, heading for Scapa at 18 knots.
0107/21/3/41 the CinC HF received the Admiralty message; If HOOD has sufficient
fuel she should proceed now to patrol to westward of the Bay of Biscay and
remain until arrival of Force H. If any cruisers are available they should join
0431 the CinC HF replied to Admiralty message; Consider that HOOD should
complete with fuel)
0700 hours the SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU arrived at Brest.
The SCHARNHORST was immediately taken in hand for repairs to her boilers)
1507 hours the CinC HF signalled the QUEEN ELIZABETH; From 23/3/41 I intend to
shift my flag to you)
23rd - At 0658 hours the HOOD, QUEEN
ELIZABETH, INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ESKIMO and ECHO arrived at Scapa Flow.
24th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Scapa Flow where
at 0930 hours the CinC Home Fleet transferred his flag to her from the NELSON.
25th to 31st - QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag CinC Home Fleet) was at Scapa.
1st - QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Scapa where
the CinC Home Fleet transferred his flag from her to the KING GEORGE V.
2nd - At 1300 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH
embarked 42 officers and 60 ratings for passage to Halifax.
42 officers and 60 ratings, 15 officers and 34 ratings were from the battleship
RESOLUTION currently repairing at Portsmouth, were required to man the ten US
Coastguard cutters that were to be handed over to the RN at Boston Navy Yard.
Most of the crews required to man these vessels came form the battleships
MALAYA and RESOLUTION and the aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS all of whom were
repairing in US yards. The RESOLUTION arrived at US naval dockyard Philadelphia
5/4/41 President Roosevelt signed the Transfer Directive D-27-T officially
assigning the ten cutters to the UK)
At 1701 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH and the
destroyers INGLEFIELD (D3), ECLISPE and ESKIMO sailed from Scapa for Halifax to
provide the ocean escort for troop convoy TC 10.
5th - At 0200 hours in approximate
position 56-40N, 25W, ESKIMO detached and returned to Scapa.
At 0300 hours INGLEFIELD and ECLISPE
detached to Reykjavik.
At 2325 hours in approximate position
54-30N, 33-30W the Admiralty ordered the QUEEN ELIZABETH to steer towards
position 46N, 21-30W at 15 knots.
change was due to German destroyers, possibly six in number, having been noted
sailing west down the Channel. They were assumed to be en route to Brest to
escort the SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU from Brest. The Admiralty assessment was that
battle cruisers could sail as early as the night of 6/4/41. The redeployment of
the QUEEN ELIZABETH was part of the Admiralty's dispositions in the event of
the German ships sailing)
6th - Steering south westerly towards 46N,
0420/6 a 22 Squadron RAF Beaufort 1, OA-X [N1016], flown by Flying
Officer Kenneth Campbell took off from RAF St Eval. The aircraft was one of six
tasked to attack the German battleships in Brest harbour, in the event only
four aircraft actually took off, they were to RV off Brest but poor weather
prevented this. Aircraft X/22 was the only aircraft to reach the target and
attack. At approximately 0530 hours FO Campbell flew through a wall of flak at
mast head height and torpedoed the GNEISENAU, almost immediately X/22 was shot
down and all four crew killed. The attack, together with a further successful
one by RAF bombers on the night of 10/11 April, put the GNEISENAU out of action
for six months. When the details of FO Kenneth Campbell's attack became known
he was awarded the VC)
1815/6/4/41 the QUEEN ELIZABETH received Admiralty signal timed 1529 hours,
QUEEN ELIZABETH is to RV with the REPLUSE in position 46N, 21W at 0800/8)
7th - Steering south westerly towards 46N,
8th - Steering south westerly towards 46N,
At 0800 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH RVed
with the battle cruiser REPLUSE and the destroyers HIGHLANDER, FURY and FORTUNE
in position 46N, 21W.
2030/8/4/41 the QUEEN ELIZABETH received Admiralty signal timed 1859 hours,
REPLUSE and destroyers are to proceed to Gibraltar to refuel, the QUEEN
ELIZABETH is to proceed to position 45N, 23W arriving at 1200/9)
Following receipt of the signal the QUEEN
ELIZABETH set course for 45N, 23W and the REPLUSE and destroyers HIGHLANDER,
FURY and FORTUNE detached to return to Gibraltar.
10th - QUEEN ELIZABETH was on patrol in
the vicinity of 45N, 23W.
2115 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH received Admiralty signal timed at 1838 hours;
On relief by REPLUSE the QUEEN ELIZABETH is to proceed to Gibraltar to refuel
escorted by the destroyers used to escort REPLUSE from Gibraltar)
11th - At 0800 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH
left her patrol area for Gibraltar.
12th - At 1200 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH
was in position 38N, 18-30W.
13th - At 0600 hours in approximate
position 35-30N, 14W the QUEEN ELIZABETH was joined by the destroyer BOREAS
At 2330 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH and
BOREAS were joined by the destroyers FURY and VELOX from Gibraltar.
14th - At 0900 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH
and the destroyers BOREAS, FURY and VELOX arrived at Gibraltar. Immediately on
docking the QUEEN ELIZABETH disembarked her 102 passengers.
15th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyers FURY, VELOX and WRESTLER sailed from
Gibraltar for Freetown
20th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH arrived at Freetown. Whilst in harbour she carried out a boiler
25th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyers DUNCAN and FOXHOUND sailed from
Freetown for Gibraltar
26th - At
latitude 12¼N the destroyers DUNCAN and FOXHOUND detached for Bathurst.
29th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was joined by the destroyers FEARLESS, FURY and WRESTLER.
30th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH with the destroyers FEARLESS, FURY and WRESTLER arrived at Gibraltar.
1st to 3rd - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Gibraltar.
(QUEEN ELIZABETH was
nominated to join the Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandra)
4th - At 1600
hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH and the destroyers FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE and
VELOX sailed from Gibraltar into the Atlantic to RV with the TIGER convoy.
(On the 20/4/41the ships of
convoy WS 8A were embarking troops in the UK for the Middle East. Included in
the convoy were five 15 knot MT ships loaded with 295 tanks and 53 crated
Hurricanes. On the same day General Wavell sent a message to the CIGS in
London, telling them of his inferiority in armoured vehicles, and that the
situation was to get worse. When Churchill saw the message, he decided to make
a bold stroke and send the ships carrying the tanks through the Mediterranean
to Egypt. The Admiralty was opposed; Admiral Cunningham thought the risks were
acceptable, despite the increased air threat from the Luftwaffe Fliegerkorps X.
At Churchill's insistence the operation, code named TIGER went ahead. Included
in Operation TIGER were reinforcements for the Mediterranean Fleet)
5th – At
0000 hours 200 miles west of Gibraltar the QUEEN ELIZABETH with the destroyers
FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE and VELOX RVed with the five MT ships, SS CLAN
LAMONT 7268grt, SS CLAN CHATTAN 7262grt, SS CLAN CAMPBELL 7255grt, MV NEW
ZEALAND STAR 10,941grt, and SS EMPIRE SONG 9228grt, of the TIGER convoy.
At 0615 hours the
battlecruiser REPULSE and the destroyers HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, and HARVESTER
detached from the convoy and proceeded ahead to Gibraltar.
At 1700 hours the
battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, light cruisers FIJI and
SHEFFIELD and the destroyers WRESTLER, KASHMIR and KIPLING joined the TIGER
convoy from Gibraltar.
At 2200 hours the
light cruiser NAIAD (Flag of RA 15th CS, Rear Admiral Edward Leigh Stuart King)
joined the TIGER convoy and RA 15thCS took command of the convoy and the
reinforcements for the Mediterranean Fleet.
6th – At
0200 hours the TIGER convoy passed through the Strait of Gibraltar.
At 0500 hours the
light cruiser GLOUCESTER, the destroyers FAULKNOR (D8), FORESTER, FURY,
HARVESTER, HAVELOCK and HESPERUS joined convoy TIGER from Gibraltar.
At 0630 hours
RENOWN, ARK ROYAL, FIJI, SHEFFIELD and destroyers WRESTLER, KASHMIR and KIPLING
increased speed and moved to the north east of the convoy to provide cover
should the Italian navy decided to attack.
At 2400 hours
RENOWN was approximately 70 miles south of Majorca and 150 miles east north
east of the convoy.
7th – In
the morning QUEEN ELIZABETH and GLOUCESTER joined RENOWN and the covering
At 0500 hours ARK
ROYAL flew off her new ASV equipped Swordfish; these searched out to 140 miles,
south and west of Sardinia and found no sign of the Italian Fleet.
At 0830 hours
Somerville determined that with no sign of the Italian Fleet the main threat to
the convoy would be from the air so the covering force closed the convoy.
At 1115 hours an
enemy signal was intercepted stating that the convoy had been sighted.
At 1300 hours the
covering force regained contact with the convoy.
from the TIGER convoy and returned to Gibraltar.
8th – At
0700 hours ARK ROYAL flew off a Swordfish for A/S patrol.
At 1345 hours the
first incoming raid of eight SM 79 torpedo bombers with an escort of CR 42
fighters was reported approaching from the south east at low level about 32
miles from the convoy. Three SM 79's were shot down.
Through the day
there were further air raids by the Regia Aeronautica and the Luftwaffe all of
which were blunted by the actions of ARK ROYAL's Fulmars, the AA fire of the
ships and the poor weather.
In one attack the
QUEEN ELIZABETH was near missed by a bomb that fell off her port bow.
At 1800 hours,
sunset, an air attack was mounted by 16 Ju 87's, 12 Ju 88's escorted by Me
110's of Fliegerkorps X from Sicily.
At 1900 hours as
the convoy was approaching the Sherki Channel and the five MT ships were
forming into a single line an air attack was mounted by three SM 79 torpedo
bombers they concentrated on the ARK ROYAL, one of the attackers was shot down
and the other two dropped their torpedoes and turned towards the QUEEN
ELIZABETH passing down her port side so low that most of the AA guns could not
be depressed so as to bear.
At 2015 hours the
ships of Operation TIGER had reached a position north of Cap Bone where in
accordance with the plan Force H detached and reversed course to return to
continued easterly through the Sicilian Narrows, the MT ships formed into a
single line with paravanes deployed and now escorted by the QUEEN ELIZABETH,
FIJI, GLOUCESTER, NAIAD, FAULKNOR, FURY, FORESTER, FEARLESS, FORESIGHT,
FORTUNE, KASHMIR and KIPLING. The destroyers FAULKNOR, FURY, FORESTER,
FEARLESS, FORESIGHT and FORTUNE were in the van with their TSDS minesweeping
gear deployed, with the MT ships following immediately astern.
At 2359 hours the
NEW ZEALAND STAR, the second in line of the MT ships was mined causing her to
slow and swing out of line, but she was not badly damaged and was able to
continue on course.
9th - The convoy
(At 0005 hours in position
37-24N, 11-21E the fourth MT ship in line the EMPIRE SONG was mined on her port
side causing damage to her engines and cargo, the explosion of the first mine
countered mined a second mine also on the port side. Initially she managed to
maintain her course and speed. However she started to list to port, a fire
started in her cargo some of which was ammunition, and her engines failed
causing her to slow and drop astern. The FORESIGHT went alongside and commenced
taking off the crew which included eight Royal Tank Regiment personnel, one
Officer and seven NCOs. As the list and fire increased she stood off and
continued picking up the crew with her whaler. The FORTUNE stood by.
At 0415 hours the EMPIRE
SONG blew up and sank taking with her 10 Hurricanes, 57 tanks, trucks and
ammunition. The explosion destroyed FORESIGHT's whaler and caused damage and
causalities on FORESIGHT, a Bren Gun Carrier from the EMPIRE SONG hit the top
of her torpedo tubes and then bounced into the sea. The FORTUNE picked up the
whaler crew and EMPIRE SONG survivors in the water, both destroyers then set
course for MALTA)
At 0030 hours as
the vessels astern of the EMPIRE SONG were bunching up and taking avoiding
action and the QUEEN ELIZABETH had been forced to reduce speed to six knots the
convoy was attacked by ten SM 79 torpedo bombers, one of which singled out the
QUEEN ELIZABETH for attack. The battleship increased speed and turned toward
the incoming torpedo which she narrowly avoided.
At 0800 hours the
convoy was joined from the east by the light cruisers DIDO and PHOEBE, these
had been part of the escort for convoys MW7A and MW7B, Alexandria to Malta
convoys, from which they had detached east of Malta.
At 0900 hours the
convoy was joined from the east by the AA cruisers CALCUTTA, CARLISLE and
COVENTRY, these vessels had also detached from convoys MW7A and MW7B.
At 1045 hours
five Beaufighter 1C's of 252 Squadron RAF, from Malta arrived over the convoy.
At 1400 hours in
approximate position 35-18N, 14E, in thick fog, the convoy was met by the
Mediterranean Fleet and the destroyers FAULKNOR, FURY, FORESTER, FEARLESS,
FORESIGHT and FORTUNE detached for Malta.
The TIGER convoy
now consisted of the four MT ships escorted by the battleships WARSPITE (Flag
CinC Mediterranean Fleet), QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and BARHAM, aircraft
carrier FORMIDABLE, light cruisers GLOUCESTER, FIJI, NAIAD, DIDO, PHOEBE, AJAX,
ORION, and HMAS PERTH, AA cruisers CALCUTTA, CARLISLE and COVENTRY and the
destroyers JERVIS (D14), JUNO, JAGUAR, KANDAHAR, KIMBERLEY, KINGSTON, HMAS
NAPIER (D.7), HMAS NIZAM, HASTY, HEREWARD, HAVOCK, HOTSPUR, IMPERIAL,
GREYHOUND, GRIFFIN, ILEX, HERO, JANUS, ISIS, KELLY (D5), KIPLING, JACKAL,
KASHMIR and KELVIN.
10th - The convoy
At 1700 hours in
approximate position 34-35N, 18-50E the destroyers KELLY (D5), KIPLING, JACKAL,
KASHMIR and KELVIN detached to carry out a bombardment of Benghazi port.
Following the bombardment they returned to Malta.
At about 1930
hours after the full moon had risen the convoy came under attack from enemy
bombers but due to the intensity of the AA barrage and the actions of the
Fulmar fighters from FORMIDABLE no hits were achieved.
11th - The cruisers DIDO and CALCUTTA and the
destroyers JANUS and ISIS were detached to proceed ahead to Alexandria to
12th - The four MT ships of the TIGER convoy arrived
(The four MT ships had embarked
cruiser tanks, 135 infantry tanks, and 21 light tanks; these tanks when off
loaded and modified for desert use were used to re-equip the 7th Armoured Division. Also there were 43
created Hurricanes. The 7th Armoured Division with the recently arrived tanks
were used in Operation BATTLEAXE which under pressure from the Prime Minister
Winston Churchill the CinC Middle East, General Archibald Wavell, launched on
At 1300 hours
WARSPITE, QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM and VALIANT, FORMIDABLE, NAIAD, PHOEBE,
CARLISLE, and COVENTRY, GLOUCESTER, FIJI, PERTH, JERVIS, JAGUAR, JUNO, NAPIER, NIZAM,
GREYHOUND, GRIFFIN, ILEX, HERO, HAVOCK, HOTSPUR, HASTY, HEREWARD, IMPERIAL,
KANDAHAR, KINGSTON and KIMBERLEY arrived at Alexandria.
On arrival at
Alexandria the QUEEN ELIZABETH became the flag ship of Vice Admiral, 1st Battle
Squadron, Vice Admiral Pridham Wippell CB, CVO.
25/4/1941, before a decision had
been reached in Greece, Hitler issued Directive No 28 stating that "As a base for air warfare against
Great Britain in the Eastern Mediterranean, we must prepare to occupy the
island of Crete". The strategic position of Crete was of paramount
importance for Germany to gain a strong foothold in south east Europe. The
attack was given the code name Operation MERKUR
[MERCURY] and was to be carried out by airborne troops backed up by troops
transported by sea. The Germans planned to begin the invasion on the 15/5/41,
but supply problems in Greece delayed the assault by a week.
From Enigma intercepts the British deciphered the
Directive and were aware that the invasion date was the 15/5/41. Ultra
intelligence relating to the attack had been passed to the CinC Mediterranean
Fleet and the CinC Crete. At the time the QUEEN ELIZABETH sailed the CinC
Mediterranean Fleet was not aware that the invasion date had been put back)
14th - At 2000
hours the battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag Vice Admiral Pridham Wippell),
BARHAM, light cruisers NAIAD and PHOEBE and the destroyers JERVIS (D14),
JAGUAR, GREYHOUND, HASTY, HMAS NIZAM, DEFENDER and IMPERIAL sailed from
Alexandra to be in position off Crete when the German attack on Crete commenced
on the expected date of 15/4/41.
15th - The PHOEBE
developed cracks in her hull plating aft and detached and returned to
detached the light cruiser HMAS PERTH was ordered to join Vice Admiral Pridham
Wippell's Force, which she did later in the day.
16th - At 0530
hours in approximate position 35-30N, 22-30E, the QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM,
PERTH, NAIAD and the destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR, GREYHOUND, HASTY, NIZAM,
DEFENDER and IMPERIAL divided into Force A and Force D.
Force A comprised
the QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM, and the destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR, NIZAM, DEFENDER
and IMPERIAL and they were deployed to patrol to the west of Crete to provide
cover against an attack by the Italian Fleet.
Force D comprised
the PERTH, NAIAD and the destroyers GREYHOUND and HASTY and they were deployed
patrolling between the islands of Antikythira and Milos to intercept any
attempted seaborne invasion force.
0700 hours Force A was joined by the destroyer ILEX from Alexandra.
1200 hours Force A was joined by Force B comprising the light cruisers
GLOUCESTER and FIJI and the destroyers HAVOCK and HOTSPUR.
(The GLOUCESTER and FIJI had
joined from Heraklion where over night they had disembarked troops of the 2nd
Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment. They had sailed from Heraklion at
During the afternoon the ten destroyers of Force A, B and C were
refuelled from the QUEEN ELIZABETH and BARHAM.
17th - Force A and B continued on patrol west of Crete.
18th - Force A
and B continued on patrol west of Crete.
19th - Force A
and B continued on patrol west of Crete.
0030 hours Force A and B left their patrol area and set course for Alexandra.
1115 hours in position 33-35N, 26E Force A and B sighted Force A1 comprising
the battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, light cruiser AJAX and destroyers
JANUS, ISIS, HEREWARD, DECOY,
HERO, GRIFFIN and
HMAS NAPIER that were proceeding to a position west of Crete.
The destroyers HOTSPUR and IMPERIAL were detached from Force A to join
dawn on 19/5/41 the RAF withdrew its last serviceable aircraft on Crete, three
Hawker Hurricanes of 274 Sqd and two Gloster Gladiators of 805 Sqd to Egypt)
20th - At 0230 hours the QUEEN
ELIZABETH, BARHAM, GLOUCESTER, FIJI and the destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR,
GREYHOUND, HASTY, NIZAM, DEFENDER, HAVOCK and ILEX arrived at Alexandra.
dawn on 20/5/41 the defences around MALEME
airfield were subjected to a heavy air attack. At 0745 hours the attack
intensified and continued for more than an hour. The bombing caused clouds of
dust and smoke that greatly reduced visibility and under cover of the attack a
number of gliders, estimated at about 80, landed in the river bed to the west
of the airfield. So began the German invasion of Crete. Following the invasion
the Mediterranean Fleet concentrated on defeating a German seaborne landing.
This required ships to operate north of Crete where if caught in daylight they
were subjected to almost continual attack from the Luftwaffe and Regia
Aeronautica units operating from
bases on mainland Greece and the Islands of Rhodes and Scarpanto.
From the 21/5/41 the Royal Navy began to suffer heavy losses from air attack,
but the only aircraft carrier available was the FORMIDABLE but she was short of
aircraft, particularly fighters.
On the night of the 20th/21st the RAF carried out bombing
attacks on the enemy airfields at
Topolia, Menidi, Euhusis and Molasi. On the 23/5/41 the RAF made an
attempt to send two flights of six Hurricanes each to Crete from Egypt. The
first flight flew over shipping and two were shot down and three damaged by
Naval AA fire, the damaged aircraft returned to Egypt and only one landed at
Heraklion. The second flight arrived safely at Heraklion, but four aircraft had
to be returned to Egypt on 24/5/41due to damaged tail wheels. One of the other
two was damaged on the ground by enemy action and rendered unserviceable. Thus
of the twelve Hurricanes sent to Crete only two were serviceable by the
At 1815/24/5/41 Admiral Cunningham informed the Chiefs of Staff in
London that it was no longer possible for the Navy to operate in the Aegean
during daylight because of the enemy had complete command of the air. The
Chiefs of Staff replied that it was essential that Cunningham should concert
measures for clearing up the situation without delay. In so doing, the Navy and
Air Force were to accept whatever risk was entailed in preventing sizeable
reinforcements reaching Crete.
Under this pressure Cunningham agreed to the FORMIDABLE being used to
carry out a strike against the airfield on the Island of Scarpanto, Operation
25th - At 1200
hours the battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag Vice Admiral Pridham Wippell), BARHAM, aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE
with 12 aircraft embarked, and the destroyers JERVIS (D14), NUBIAN, HEREWARD,
KANDAHAR, HASTY, JANUS and HMAS VOYAGER and VENDETTA departed Alexandria
steering north west on Operation MAQ 3.
(At 2000/25/5/41 the landing
ship GLENROY with the 2nd battalion the Queens Regiment embarked, escorted by
the anti-aircraft cruiser COVENTRY and destroyers JAGUAR and HMAS STUART sailed
from Alexandria for Tymbaki Bay, Crete)
26th - At 0400 hours the Battle Squadron had reached approximate
position 34N, 25-30E from where the FORMIDABLE launched a strike of six
Albacores and two Fulmars against the enemy airfield on the Island of
Scarpanto. The Battle Squadron then steered in an easterly direction.
At 0700 hours in approximate position 34-12N, 26-42E the
FORMIDABLE began recovering her strike force.
At 0710 hours the Battle Squadron was joined by the light cruisers
AJAX and DIDO and destroyers KELVIN, JACKAL and HMAS NAPIER from the Kelso
At 0800 hours the
Battle Squadron withdrew towards the south west
At 1210 hours, in
response to a signal from CinC Mediterranean Fleet, the Battlefleet turned west
to provide cover for the GLENROY convoy that at the time was approximately 130
NM west of the Battle Fleet.
At 1240 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH picked up a Radar echo indicating a large group of aircraft 85
miles distant approaching from 230¼.
(The aircraft detected were 20 Ju 87R's of
the II/St.G2 [this was the same unit
that had put the ILLUSTRIOUS out of action in January 1941] from
Agedabia, Libya. They had
been 'loaned' by Rommel to assist in the conquest of Crete. [This
indicates the importance that the Germans put on the capture of Crete that
Rommel would release such a valuable asset when he was about to launce
Operation SKORPION, the operation to recapture ground lost in the British
Operation BREVITY] The Ju 87R's were
searching for troopships and were almost at the limit of their range when they
sighted the Battle Fleet
The same group of Ju 87R's
also sighted and attacked the GLENROY convoy, damaging the GLENROY. The GLENROY
was further damaged in subsequent air attacks and eventually at 2115 hours she
was forced to return to Alexandria)
At 1310 hours the FORMIDABLE turned into wind to fly off four
Fulmars which were the only serviceable Fulmars available.
At 1320 hours the Battle Fleet altered course on to 020¼ to bring
the attacking aircraft on to the beam and opened fire.
The leading aircraft attacked the screening destroyers. It was during
this phase that the NUBIAN was hit by a 500kg AP bomb on her Y turret, this
blew off most of her stern above the water line but left her propellers intact
At 1325 hours the first bomb attack was made on FORMIDABLE this
was a near miss off her starboard side amidships.
At 1327 hours FORMIDABLE was hit by the first of two 500Kg AP
bombs. The first hit was forward on the armoured deck at frame 79, it blew a
two foot square hole in the deck and parts of the bomb
penetrated downward through the ship into the center boiler room, causing
a fire and slowing her to 17
knots. The second bomb struck aft and put X1 turret out
of action and the launching accelerator was damaged. The FORMIDABLE also
suffered several more near misses.
hours the attack was over.
hours the damaged NUBIAN escorted by JERVIS detached from the Battle Fleet to
return to Alexandria.
hours the damaged FORMIDABLE escorted by the
light cruisers AJAX and DIDO and
destroyers JACKAL, HEREWARD, VOYAGER and VENDETTA detached from the Battle
Fleet and set course for Alexandria. En route the JACKAL relieved JERVIS
escorting NUBIAN and JERVIS returned to the Battle Fleet.
At 2230 hours JERVIS rejoined the Battle
sweep off Milos by the destroyers NUBIAN, KANDAHAR and JANUS on the night of
26/27 May with a feint staged by light cruiser AJAX and DIDO and destroyers
NAPIER, KELVIN and JACKAL was cancelled following the air attacks which damaged
the FORMIDABLE and NUBIAN)
27th - The Battle Fleet which now comprised the QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM
and the destroyers JERVIS, HASTY,
JANUS, KELVIN and NAPIER, patrolled through the night to the south of Crete.
(On 26/5/41 the Minelayer
ABDIEL and the destroyers HERO and NIZAM, with 750 troops of No 7 Commando, The
Commandos commander was Colonel Robert Laycock, and their intelligence officer
was Captain Evelyn Waugh, and 150
tons of ammunition embarked, sailed from Alexandria for Suda Bay to land the
Commandoes and ammunition during night time. After disembarking the Commandoes
they embarked 930 personnel no longer required on the Island then set sail to
return to Alexandria via the Kaso Strait)
The Battle Fleet were ordered to provide cover for the ABDIEL
force when they were south of the Kaso Strait.
At 0900 hours the Battle Fleet was attacked by a force of 15 Ju
88's and He 111's of I/Lg.1 from Eleusis airfield, Athens. In the attack the
BARHAM was hit by a 500Kg AP bomb on Y turret and damaged by several near
misses. Because of the damage to BARHAM the Battle Fleet was ordered to return
At 1900 hours the QUEEN
ELIZABETH, BARHAM and the destroyers JERVIS, HASTY, JANUS, KELVIN and
NAPIER arrived at Alexandria.
28th to 31st - QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Alexandria.
the next few weeks the Mediterranean Fleet, less its battleships was kept busy
with Operation EXPORTER, the attack on Vichy French forces in the Lebanon and
Syria, which commenced on 8/6/41.
Although Britain had
nominally given Iraq her independence in 1932, Britain continued to have a
presence in Iraq via a mandate supported by the League of Nations. Oil was the
major reason of the continued presence; another was that Iraq was on the air
link between India and Egypt.
On 1/4/41 a group of pro
German Iraqi Army officers, known as the
"Golden Square" seized power in Iraq. On 17/4/41 the new
Iraqi government submitted a request to Germany for military assistance in its
attempt to remove British forces from Iraq.
On 6/5/41, Luftwaffe
received instructions in
that he was to take a small force of aircraft to Iraq. While under Junck's
tactical direction, the force was to be under the overall direction of
Hans Jeschonnek and was to be known as
[Airplane Commander for Iraq]
The aircraft of Fliegerfhrer
Irak were to have Iraqi markings and they were to operate out of an air
some 240 miles north of
Also on 6/5/41, Vichy France
and Germany signed the Paris Protocol, which gave permission for German troops
to march through Syria to Iraq to reinforce the Iraqis; in return, Germany
lowered the tribute that France had to pay Germany from 20 million to 15
million Reichsmarks daily.
was formed at Athens on 6/5/41 and began moving from Athens to Mosul on 13/5/41
when formed it consisted of 12 Me 110 Bf fighters, 12 He 111 bombers and 13 Ju
52 and Ju 90 transports.
14/5/41 A Blenheim bomber of
211 Sq. RAF flying reconnaissance over Syria sighted two He 111s on the Vichy
French airfield at Palmyra. Based on this information the British Government
gave permission was given to attack the airfield. In the attack carried out by
aircraft from Cyprus in the attack
two over-laden Heinkel 111 bombers with damaged rear wheels, were strafed
16/5/41 Luftwaffe Me 110 and He 111 bombers attacked RAF Habbaniya in
Iraq. This was a surprise to the British as they didn't realise that the
Luftwaffe had built up that capability as quickly as they had.
On 23/5/41, Hitler issued Fuehrer Directive No. 30 which commenced:-
Movement is our natural ally against
In this context the uprising in Iraq is of special importance. This strengthens
the forces hostile to England in the Middle East beyond the Iraqi frontier,
disrupts English communications, and ties up English troops and shipping at the
expense of other theaters.
I have therefore
decided to hasten developments in the Middle East by supporting Iraq. Whether
and how it may be possible, in conjunction with an
offensive against the
finally to break the British position between the
is a question that will be answered only after Operation
Barbarossa [The German forthcoming attack on
required an urgent British response against Vichy France in Lebanon and Syria
so Operation EXPORTER was commenced)
1st to 25th - QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Alexandria.
26th – At
1000 hours battleships QUEEN
ELIZABETH (Flag CinC Mediterranean Fleet), WARSPITE, and VALIANT, light cruiser
AJAX, minelayer ABDIEL, and destroyers KANDAHAR, GRIFFIN, HERO, JAGUAR,
DEFENDER, KIMBERLEY and HASTY sailed from Alexandria for gunnery and other
exercises between Alexandria and Port Said.
At 1200 hours light cruiser PHOEBE and minelayer LATONA joined the
At 1500 hours WARSPITE detached for Port Said, escorted by
destroyers KANDAHAR, GRIFFIN, and KIMBERLEY.
27th – At 0500 hours the destroyer KIMBERLEY rejoined the
At 1500 hours QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, AJAX, PHOEBE, ABDIEL,
LATONA and destroyers HERO, JAGUAR, DEFENDER, KIMBERLEY and HASTY arrived back
1st to 17th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
18th – Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, light cruiser
PHOEBE and destroyers JACKAL, NIZAM, HASTY, KIPLING and HAVOCK departed
Alexandria for exercises.
Joined at sea by the minelaying cruiser LATONA.
19th - QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, light cruiser PHOEBE, minelaying
cruiser LATONA, and destroyers JACKAL, NIZAM, HASTY, KIPLING and HAVOCK arrived
back at Alexandria after exercises.
22nd - At 2100 hours battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, light
cruisers HMAS HOBART, NAIAD, NEPTUNE and PHOEBE, cruiser minelayers ABDIEL and
LATONA screened by destroyers GRIFFIN, HASTY, HAVOCK, JACKAL, NUBIAN and HMAS
NIZAM sailed from Alexandria.
23rd - At 0600 hours off Alexandria the Battle Fleet was joined by
the light cruisers AJAX and HMNZS LEANDER and destroyers JAGUAR, JERVIS,
KANDAHAR and KINGSTON. The Fleet then sailed for a diversionary cruise in the
eastern Mediterranean during the passage of a relief convoy to Malta from
Gibraltar (Operation MD5 –cover for Operation SUBSTANCE by Force H.)
At 2200 hours NEPTUNE, ABDIEL and KIMBERLEY detached for the
24th - LEANDER and JAGUAR detached from the fleet.
25th - The Battle Fleet arrived back at Alexandria.
26th - 31st - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
1st to 4th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
5th - QUEEN ELIZABETH, light cruiser NAIAD and destroyers JERVIS
(D14), KINGSTON, HERO and VENDETTA departed Alexandria for exercises.
En route back to Alexandria the JERVIS and KINGSTON detached for
Mersa Matruh to intercept a reported enemy supply ship.
6th - QUEEN ELIZABETH, light cruiser NAIAD and destroyers HERO and
VENDETTA arrived back at Alexandria.
7th to 31st - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
1st to 9th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
10th - QUEEN ELIZABETH, minelaying cruisers ABDIEL and LATONA, and
destroyers JACKAL and HMAS NIZAM sailed from Alexandria to carry out exercises. They returned
to port the same day.
11th to 25th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
26th - At 0900 hours battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM, and
VALIANT, light cruisers AJAX, NEPTUNE and HOBART, and destroyers JERVIS,
JUPITER, KINGSTON, KIPLING, HERO, HOTSPUR, DECOY and VENDETTA sailed from
Alexandria to act as a diversion for operation HALBERD being carried out by
At 1900 hours the destroyer NAPIER joined the Fleet at sea from
27th - At 1400 hours the Fleet returned to Alexandria.
28th to 30th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
1st to 7th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
8th - QUEEN ELIZABETH and destroyers were at sea exercising from
9th to 11th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
12th - 12th – At 0700 hours battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and
VALIANT, light cruisers AJAX, HOBART and GALATEA and destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR,
GRIFFIN, JUPITER, KANDAHAR, HASTY, HOTSPUR, DECOY, AVONVALE and ERIDGE departed
Alexandria and proceeded westward.
At 1800 hours the cruisers AJAX, HOBART, and GALATEA and
destroyers JERVIS, JAGUAR, and JUPITER were detached to pass through position
33-00N, 24-30E at midnight and rejoin the Fleet at daylight.
13th – At 0500 hours the Fleet set course for Alexandria.
At 1315 hours a report was received of three Italian cruisers and
six destroyers approaching the North African coast.
(Italian light cruisers DUCA
D'AOSTA, EUGENIO DI SAVOIA, and MONTECUCCOLI and destroyers VIVALDI, MALOCELLO,
PIGAFETTA, DE VERAZZANO, AVIERE, and CAMICIA NERA were to lay mines off
Benghazi during the night of 12/13 October. However, the operation was
cancelled when it was found that the Mediterranean Fleet was at sea)
When no contact was made with the enemy force the Fleet set course
14th – At 0530 hours the Fleet arrived back at Alexandria.
15th to 30th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
1st to 19th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
(Before Dawn on 18/11/41 the
British 8th Army commenced Operation CRUSADER the objectives of which were to
relieve Tobruk and push the Axis forces out of Cyrenaica. The Allied forces had
quantitative but not qualitative superiority in men and armour and whilst the
objectives were achieved it was at a high cost in men and material. The Royal
Navy provided off shore support for the 8th Army, Operation CHIEFTAN and from
its Malta base kept up the pressure on the Axis Mediterranean supply line)
20th - Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM and VALIANT, light
cruisers NAIAD, GALATEA, and EURYALUS, and destroyers JERVIS, KIMBERLEY,
KINGSTON, HMAS NAPIER, HMAS NIZAM, KIPLING, JACKAL, DECOY, AVONVALE, and ERIDGE
departed Alexandria to support the dummy convoy Operation CHIEFTAN and the
dummy convoy Operation LANDMARK, both intended to divert attention from
Operation CRUSADER in the Eastern Mediterranean.
(Operation CHIEFTAIN, at
1600/16/11/41 a convoy comprising the merchant ships SS BLAIRATHOLL 3319grt, SS
BARON NEWLANDS 3386grt, SS SHUNA 1575grt, SS CISNEROS 1886grt, and SS OTTINGE
2870grt and the oiler RFA BROWN RANGER escorted by destroyer WILD SWAN, sloop
DEPTFORD, and corvettes CONVOLVULUS, RHODODENDRON and MARIGOLD, sailed from
Gibraltar and set course easterly as though a Malta bound convoy.
2100/16/11/41 the corvette MARIGOLD who had dropped behind with engine trouble
and was proceeding with all dispatch to catch up the convoy when her Type 271
radar picked up a surface contact that was the U 433. At the same time the
U-Boat had fired four torpedoes at MARIGOLD, all of which missed, at what the
U-Boat had thought was a cruiser. After engaging with gunfire, attempted
ramming and finally DC's at 2155 hours in position 36-13N, 4-42W the U 433 was
sunk by MARIGOLD.
At 1630/17/11/41 in position
36-30N, 1-30E the convoy reversed course and steered back to Gibraltar, where
they arrived at 1800/18/11/41)
(Operation LANDMARK, at
1300/20/11/41 a convoy comprising the supply ship HMS BRECONSHIRE and the
merchant ships MV SYDNEY STAR 11219grt, MV AJAX 7540grt and SS CLAN FERGUSON 7347grt, escorted
by the corvette GLOXINIA sailed from Valetta harbour and set course south
easterly then southerly for the Libyan coast. Force K comprising light cruisers
AURORA and PENELOPE and destroyers LANCE and LIVELY joined the convoy at sea.
When the convoy reached approximate position 34N, 14E, it reversed course and
arrived back at Valetta at 0300/22/11/41)
At 1200 hours the light cruisers AJAX, NEPTUNE and HMAS HOBART
joined the fleet.
At nightfall AJAX, NEPTUNE and HOBART detached from the fleet.
21st - In the afternoon the Fleet reversed course and steered for
22nd - At daylight the Fleet arrived back at Alexandria.
(From mid October to mid
December 1941 Bletchley Park was reading the Italian Cypher C 38m and the GAF
Enigma signals almost simultaneously. Both Admiral Cunningham CinC
Mediterranean Fleet and the Flag Officer Malta, Vice Admiral Wilbraham Ford
were privy to the Ultra decrypts. This enabled sea and air forces operating
from Malta and Egypt to bring about a dramatic reduction in Axis seaborne
supplies to North Africa, with 62% of supplies failing to arrive. Decrypts also
told of the Axis forces desperate need for supplies, particularly petrol. On
23/11/41 in response to Ultra decrypts Force K, comprising cruisers AURORA and
PENELOPE and destroyers LANCE and LIVELY departed Malta to intercept Italian
convoys. Also on 23/11/41 Force B, comprising Light cruisers AJAX, NEPTUNE,
NAIAD and EURYALUS and destroyers KANDAHAR, KINGSTON, KIMBERLEY and HOTSPUR
departed Alexandria to carry out a sweep along the coast of Libya to intercept
Italian convoys. Two Italian convoys were at sea both destined for Benghazi, but
when the German decrypting service B-Dienst learned that Force K had sailed
both convoys were recalled. The large convoy of six vessels put into Navarino
Bay, Greece, but the small convoy comprising the cargo ships MRITZA 2910grt,
and PROCIDA 1842grt, both loaded with cased petrol and ammunition, escorted by
the Italian torpedo boats LUPO and CASSIOPEA missed the recall signal and
continued. At approximately 1500/24/11/41 Force K were steaming westerly in
line abreast about 100 miles west of Crete when smoke was sighted to the north
this was the small convoy by 1630 hours both merchants had been sunk and the
torpedo boat CASSIOPEA damaged by splinters.
As a follow up to this
operation on 28/11/41 six RAF Blenheims of 18 Sqd from Malta attacked the large
convoy in Navarino Bay damaging the Italian tanker VOLTURNO 6000grt)
(At 0330/23/11/41 the
landing ship large GLENROY escorted by the AA cruiser CARLISE and the
destroyers FARNDALE, AVONVALE and ERIDGE sailed from Alexandria with supplies
for Tobruk. At 1605/23/11/41 in position 31-40N, 26-28E the GLENROY was hit and
damaged by an aerial torpedo dropped by a He 111H-4/6 of 6/K26 from Eleusis.
The CARLISLE took GLENROY in tow and eventually GLENROY was beached on a
sandbar off Mersa Matruh)
24th - At 1600 hours battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag CinC
Mediterranean Fleet), VALIANT and BARHAM and destroyers JERVIS, GRIFFIN and
DECOY departed Alexandria to support operations by Force K, give cover to
GLENROY and to support Operation CRUSADER with naval bombardment if required.
Five other destroyers, KIPLING, JACKAL, HASTY and HMAS NAPIER and NIZAM, were
unable to sail with the Fleet as they were still oiling when the Fleet
At 2245 hours in approximate position 31-50N, 27-18E the
destroyers KIPLING, JACKAL, HASTY and HMAS NAPIER and NIZAM joined from
Alexandria having completed fuelling.
25th – During the morning and afternoon the Battle Fleet
steamed alternately east and west off the Gulf of Sollum waiting for
bombardment requests from the 8th Army.
At 1625 hours the three battleships were steaming in echelon on
the starboard leg of the zig-zag pattern, QUEEN ELIZABETH, leading, BARHAM in
the centre and VALIANT astern. The German submarine U-331 managed to penetrate
the destroyer screen and from almost point blank range fired four torpedoes,
three of which hit the BARHAM on her port side. The BARHAM rolled over and sank
in position 32-34N, 26-24E, four minutes after the first torpedo hit, following
the detonation of a magazine.
(The German submarine U-331had
sailed from Salamis at 1900/12/11/41 with an eight strong sabotage party
embarked who were to carry out Operation HAI, an attack on the Egypt coastal
railway line. The sabotage party were dropped off on the night of 17/11/41 on
the coast at a point between Ras Gibeisa and Ras el Schaqiq. The U-331 then
stood off for 24 hours, and then moved back to the coast to re-embark the
sabotage party. By daybreak on 18/11/41 by which time the party had failed to
return she abandoned hope and proceeded towards Sollum. Between 18 and
25/11/41 U 331 patrolled off the North African coast in the neighbourhood of
Sollum and Mersa Matruh. At about 1600/25/11/41 the U-331 was proceeding
at periscope depth on an easterly course off Sollum, when her hydrophone
operator picked up H.E. She later came to periscope depth and her CO Von
Tiesenhausen sighted a formation of three battleships, which he identified as
QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM and VALIANT closing him in line ahead and screened by
eight destroyers. The whole formation was about 20¡ on the port bow. Von
Tiesenhausen then decided at all costs to attack the leading battleship of the
three. He penetrated the inshore destroyer screen, proceeding between the
two leading destroyers at periscope depth. He then, however, found
himself too close to QUEEN ELIZABETH to be able to fire effectively and decided
to attack BARHAM the second ship in the line. He accordingly fired a
salvo of four torpedoes at her from periscope depth. This was immediately
followed by three detonations, one torpedo missing astern. As soon as she
had fired her torpedoes U-331's forepart broke surface. This was clearly
observed from several British ships. It was not until all available hands had
been rushed into the bow compartment that she again submerged, 45 seconds
later. Von Tiesenhausen then dived below VALIANT and went to a great
depth, well below 200 metres constantly altering course. No DC attack developed
for an hour after U-331 had submerged and none of the DC's then fired detonated
close enough to do any damage)
The destroyers JARVIS and JACKAL were ordered to search for the
submarine and HOTSPUR and NIZAM were ordered to pick up survivors.
QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT with the destroyers GRIFFIN, DECOY,
KIPLING, HASTY and NAPIER immediately left the area at their best speed.
26th - At 1000 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT with the
destroyers GRIFFIN, DECOY, KIPLING, HASTY and NAPIER arrived back at
27th to 30th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
1st to 17th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
(On 3/12/41 the Italian
submarine SCIRE left the naval base of La Spezia carrying three SLC's [Siluro a Lenta Corsa, Slow Approach
Cylinder, also affectionately called Il Maiale, the Pig] manned
torpedoes. She sailed to the island of Leros in the Aegean Sea, where the
submarine picked up six crewmen of the 10th flotilla MAS, who were to man the
Maiale. These were: Luigi Durand
de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi, Maiale No 221, Vincenzo Martellotta and Mario
Marino, Maiale No 222 and Antonio Marceglia and Spartaco Schergat, Maiale No
223. The SCIRE then steered for Alexandria)
(On 17/12/41 Bletchley Park
alerted the CinC Mediterranean Fleet of a decrepit of the Italian C 39m Cypher
that indicated that something was being planned against Alexandria in December.
This alert was issued because of an aerial reconnaissance made by the Italians
of Alexandria harbour in which they had, reported that the two battleships were
at their usual moorings and unusually that the sea was calm)
18th - QUEEN ELIZABETH at Alexandria.
(On the 18/12/41 Bletchley
Park added to their alert of the previous day; stating that the reconnaissance
information in the alert had been urgently requested by the Italians. On the
strength of the two alerts the CinC issued a general alert at 1025/18/12/41;
ÒAttacks on Alexandria by air, boat or human torpedo may be expected when calm
weather prevails. Look outs and patrols should be warned accordinglyÓ)
(At approximate1840 hours
the SCIRE arrived in a position about a mile west of the entrance to Alexandria
harbour. At 2047 hours three Maiales were launched from SCIRE after launching
they headed for the harbour entrance. When they arrived at the harbour entrance
they found the anti-submarine boom open for the passage of the cruisers and
destroyers returning from escorting the BRECONSHIRE to Malta. The three Maiales
followed the British forces into Alexandria harbour and headed for their
targets the battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and a fleet oiler. QUEEN
ELIZABETH was the target of the Maiale No 222, manned by Antonio Marceglia and
19th – At approximately 0230 hours Antonio Marceglia and
Spartaco Schergat placed the explosive warhead of the Maiale, which was a
standard 270 Kg torpedo warhead, filled with TNT, on the harbour bottom
underneath the QUEEN ELIZABETH.
(After placing their charge
Antonio Marceglia and Spartaco Schergat
attempted to return to the open sea but
they found themselves unable to get past the net and out of the harbour. So
they destroyed their Maiale and swam to shore and then set off to make a RV
with the submarine that was to pick them up. But they didn't make it and they
were later captured)
At 0325 hours Durand De La Penne and Emilio Bianchi were sighted
sitting on VALIANT's mooring buoy and were taken aboard the VALIANT, where they
were questioned, but refused to answer any questions. They were detained in a
compartment on board VALIANT until 0600 hours when De La Penne asked to speak
to VALIANT's CO, Captain Morgan. De La Penne informed Morgan that the device
they had planted was due to explode imminently. De La Penne was then returned
to the compartment.
At 0547 hours an explosive device went off under the stern of the
Norwegian oiler MV SAGONA 7554 grt, at the time of the explosion the SAGONA had
four destroyers alongside refuelling, one of which, the JERVIS, was also
damaged by the explosion.
At 0606 hours the explosive device went off under the VALIANT.
At 0610 hours an explosive device went off under the QUEEN
ELIZABETH. Immediately after the explosion the QUEEN ELIZABETH began to roll to
starboard and sink. The charge detonated under B boiler room and blew in the
double bottom in this area; it also damaged the double bottom under A and X
boiler rooms. The ship's bottom was damaged over an area of 190 ft x 60 ft and
included both the port and starboard bulges. Immediate flooding occurred in A,
B and X boiler rooms and in the forward 4.5inch magazines. Other areas
including Y boiler room and several other compartments in the vicinity, flooded
slowly up to main deck level. Boilers in the boiler rooms and the auxiliary
machinery, together with electrical equipment were severely damaged by the
explosion and subsequent flooding, all hydraulic power was lost. The armament
was undamaged but was unusable due the loss of electrical and hydraulic power.
Both QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT settled on the harbour bottom on
an even keel in a few feet of water.
(The crew of Vincenzo Martellotta and Mario Marino
attacked the oiler MV SAGONA and had great difficulties in achieving their
goal. The plan was to place the warhead under the SAGONA, as well as spread
incendiary time bombs around in the basin. So that when SAGONA blew up, her oil cargo would leak into the harbour, the
incendiary bombs would ignite the oil and turn Alexandria harbour into an
inferno. However as they approached the oiler one member of the crew had a
problem and had to surface. The warhead was too heavy for just one man to drag
it underneath the ship as planned so he sank the Maiale under the stern of the
SAGONA. When the explosive went off it caused severe damage to the oiler but
didn't rupture her oil tanks, so when the incendiary bombs went off there was
no oil to catch fire. The SAGONA was not repaired until after the war so she
remained at Alexandria as bunker ship for the remainder of the war. Vincenzo
Martellotta and Mario Marino were captured when they swam ashore)
a stroke the six commandos had knocked out the Royal Navy's Mediterranean
Battle Fleet. When Churchill received news of the sinkings he said, "Six Italians, dressed in rather
unusual diving suits and equipped with materials of laughably little cost, have
swung the military balance of power in the Mediterranean in favour of the
Fortunately for the Allies the enemy was not fully aware of the
precarious position of the Mediterranean Fleet. To fool Axis reconnaissance
aircraft into thinking that the raid had failed, apparently normal operations
were conducted on a day to day basis. Smoke came out of funnels, guns were
trained, and all the routine ceremonial rituals performed as if nothing had
happened. In fact below the waterline frantic repair efforts were being made
which lasted several weeks. Had the Axis realised the truth then Admiral
Cunningham, with only a few operational ships at his disposal, could have been
driven out of the Mediterranean, with potentially disastrous consequences for
Salvage work on the QUEEN ELIZABETH
commenced immediately. But because the VALIANT suffered less damage she was
given priority for repairs and was first into the Admiralty floating dock AFD
(Admiral Cunningham was aware that
Lieutenant Keeble [Lieutenant L A J Keeble, RNVR (SA), CO of HMS HARROW]
was familiar with salvage work. Keeble was sent to the headquarters of the
South African Engineer Corps [SAEC] in Cairo to brief the South
African engineers on the critical situation that had developed at Alexandria
and to request their urgent help in the salvaging work. Three fully-equipped
divers of the 41st South African Harbour Construction Company, SAEC, working on
harbour improvements at Marakeb Harbour, were despatched to help with the
battleships salvage operations.
In the meantime, Lieutenant Keeble was flown to Cape Town to
deliver a special message from Admiral Cunningham to General Smuts, imploring
him to send salvage teams to Alexandria Harbour. In response, four South
African Railways & Harbours Brigade divers and a petty officer diver from
the Seaward Defence Force
[SDF], were flown to Cairo. They arrived
at Alexandria on 7/1/42.
For the next three months, the South African divers, facing many
known and unknown hazards in the muddy waters of Alexandria Harbour, used gas
and electric cutting equipment to remove the jungle of twisted steel from the
vessels and then patched the holes by welding plates across them to seal the
hulls so that the ships could be filled with compressed air, raised and moved
to the dry docks for repairs)
During this period the QUEEN ELIZABETH
was under repair at Alexandria to prepare her for the voyage to the USA for
permanent repair in a US Navy dockyard.
(On 29/3/42 the Italian submarine
AMBRA sailed from La Spezia on Operation GA 4, carrying three SLCs.
sailed to the island of Leros in the Aegean Sea, where the submarine picked up
six crewmen of the 10th flotilla MAS, who were to man the SLCs. The AMBRA then
steered for Alexandria. On 14/5/41 the AMBRA arrived off Alexandria and
launched the three SLCs. This time the attack was unsuccessful and again all
six frogmen were captured)
On 3/4/42 a new CO was appointed, acting Captain Renfrew Gotto
Also on 3/4/42
Vice Admiral Miakulin of the Soviet Navy
visited the Commander in Chief at Alexandria and lunched with Admiral
Cunningham on board the QUEEN ELIZABETH.
(On 23/6/42 Axis forces
captured Tobruk and two days later they crossed the Egyptian boarder in close
pursuit of the disorganised and demoralised Allied forces. The frontier
crossing gave rise to the infamous 'Ash Wednesday' when the Allied GHQ in Cairo
were burning files in expectation of Axis forces shortly entering Cairo. At the
same time the Royal Navy were evacuating Alexandria and maximum effort was
exerted to get the QUEEN ELIZABETH ready for sailing as soon as possible)
1st to 26th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was under repair.
27th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was undocked.
At 1800 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH and sailed from Alexandria for Port Said.
28th - The QUEEN
ELIZABTH sailed from Port Said for Aden on first stage of passage.
Passage in Indian
Ocean with call at Durban.
Atlantic Ocean with call at Cape Town.
11th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was joined by the destroyers
BOREAS and VIMY
13th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH, BOREAS and VIMY arrived at Freetown.
25th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyers PATHFINDER, QUENTIN and VIMY sailed from
26th - The
destroyer VIMY detached and returned to Freetown.
28th - In
approximate position 14-12N, 37-15W the QUEEN ELIZABETH, PATHFINDER and QUENTIN
RVed with the oiler RFA ABBEYDALE escorted by the corvettes ARMERIA and
BURDOCK. The oiling force had sailed from Gibraltar on 20/8/42.
31st - The
destroyers PATHFINDER and QUENTIN detached for Trinidad.
6th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH arrived at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia and was taken in hand for
8th - Paid off.
October to December
at Norfolk Navy Yard under going repair and refit.
In November a new
CO was appointed, Commander Reginald Cecil Haskett-Smith DSO, RN.
January to May
at Norfolk Navy Yard under going repair and refit.
In April a new CO
was appointed, Captain Horace Geoffrey Norman RN.
1st - Repairs and
and carried out harbour trials and sea trials.
26th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH sailed from Norfolk Navy Yard for Boston.
30th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted the frigates BAZELY, BENTINCK, BLACKWOOD and DRURY sailed
from Boston for Bermuda.
2nd - QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted the frigates BAZELY, BENTINCK, BLACKWOOD and DRURY sailed
from Bermuda for Devonport.
9th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted the frigates BAZELY, BENTINCK, BLACKWOOD and DRURY arrived
at Devonport to complete her refit.
(At Devonport she
was fitted with HF/DF on her after mast and the latest radar fit. Her aircraft
storage and launching facilities were removed and she was prepared for service
with the Eastern Fleet)
1st to 27th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Devonport completing her refit.
28th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyers SCORPION and HMCS HURON sailed from
Plymouth for Scapa Flow.
30th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH and the destroyers SCORPION and HMCS HURON arrived at Scapa Flow.
31st - QUEEN
ELIZABETH commenced working up exercises from Scapa Flow.
September to October
During these two
months the QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Scapa Flow carrying out working up exercises.
8th – At 1300 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH and the
battlecruiser RENOWN and destroyers ORIBI and URCHIN sailed from Scapa for
Off Cape Wrath URCHIN detached and returned to Scapa.
9th – In position 52-46N, 5W the destroyer ROCKET joined the
10th – In position 50N, 4-15W the RENOWN detached for
At 2300 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH and destroyers ORIBI and ROCKET
arrived at Portland.
11th - QUEEN ELIZABETH sailed from Portland for Portsmouth where
she arrived in the afternoon.
11th to 30th - At Portsmouth where she was docked for repairs.
Crew given leave.
1st to 13th - QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Portsmouth for leave and repairs.
14th - QUEEN ELIZABETH sailed from Portsmouth for Scapa Flow.
16th - QUEEN ELIZABETH arrived at Scapa Flow to continue working
17th to 29th - At
Scapa Flow carrying out working up exercises.
(It was the
intention that the three capital ships should sail from Scapa on 29/12/43and
that the Rear Admiral, Aircraft Carriers, Eastern Fleet (Rear Admiral C. Moody)
in ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN should leave the Clyde the same day.
assist in maintaining the secrecy of the movement it had been planned that
passage of the Straits of Gibraltar should be made by night, and that the
capital ships and destroyers should fuel at Gibraltar during dark hours.
29/12/43 a south westerly gale was blowing at Scapa with the usual heavy sea in
the Pentland Firth. It was considered unlikely that the squadron would be able
to maintain the necessary speed without causing damage to the destroyers, and,
as the weather chart gave promise of an early improvement, it was decided to
delay sailing for twenty four hours)
hours Group A of the First Battle Squadron Eastern Fleet comprising battle
cruiser RENOWN (Flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, as Vice Admiral
Commanding First Battle Squadron and Second in Command Eastern Fleet)
battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT and destroyer TUSCAN and the frigates
BLACKWOOD, DOMETT and BERRY sailed from Scapa and proceeded through the Minches
to RV with the Carrier Force to the westward of Skerryvore lighthouse.
In a heavy sea in the Pentland Firth, the TUSCAN sustained
damage to her forecastle and breakwater. She continued with the Squadron until
off Skerryvore when she was detached to the Clyde for repairs.
31st - At 1030 hours in approximate position 56-24N,
8-18W the TUSCAN detached for the Clyde to repair her weather damage and
At the same time Group A were joined by the aircraft
carriers ILLUSTRIOUS (Flag Rear Admiral C. Moody, Rear Admiral, Aircraft
Carriers, Eastern Fleet) and UNICORN escorted by the destroyers TERMAGANT,
TENACIOUS and KEMPENFELT from the Clyde.
Also joining were the frigates DUCKWORTH, COOKE,
ESSINGTON and PARRETT from Londonderry. All the frigates of EG 3, Western
Approaches Command were now part of the escort.
The combined force then shaped course to the westward
to make good a speed of 16 knots along a route which had been ordered by the
Admiralty and which was expected to enable the force to pass the Straits of
Gibraltar on the night of 5th – 6th January.
At 1200 hours the Force were in position 56-15N,
In the afternoon, a signal was received from the
Admiralty ordering a change of route, after passing the longitude of 10 degrees
west. This diverted the Squadron further to the westward and added about 150
miles to the distance to be covered. Course was altered accordingly.
1st - At 1200 hours the Force was in position 51-50N,
2nd - At 1200 hours the Force was in position 46-57N,
3rd - At 1200 hours the Force was in position 41-03N,
4th - At 1200 hours the Force was in position 36-41N,
At 1700 the Force divided into two groups in order
that the capital ships that were to fuel at Gibraltar might go on ahead at a
greater speed of advance than the diesel escort vessels could maintain.
The first group, consisting of the RENOWN, QUEEN ELIZABETH
and VALIANT and the destroyers TERMAGANT, TENACIOUS and KEMPENFELT and the
frigates DUCKWORTH and ESSINGTON made good 18 knots speed of advance, steering
The ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN escorted by the frigates
COOKE, BLACKWOOD, DOMETT, BERRY and PARRETT, followed at 16 ½ knots.
5th - At 0800 hours in position 35-41N, 10W the
battleship group RVed with the destroyers ANTHONY, ACTIVE, BRILLIANT,
INGLEFIELD, ISIS and URCHIN from Gibraltar. These destroyers were ordered to
join the carrier group so that the diesel frigates and PARRETT could be
released to refuel.
At 1200 hours the battleship group were in position
At 2130 hours the RENOWN, QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT
and TERMAGANT, TENACIOUS and KEMPENFELT arrived at Gibraltar and commenced
fuelling from tankers. Precautions were taken to minimize the risk of the ships
being sighted from neutral Spain.
6th - At 0415 hours the RENOWN, QUEEN ELIZABETH and
VALIANT the destroyers TERMAGANT, TENACIOUS and KEMPENFELT and the frigates
DUCKWORTH and ESSINGTON sailed from Gibraltar and steered for a prearranged RV
with the carriers 50 miles to the eastward of Europa Point.
At 0800 hours the RENOWN, QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT
the destroyers TERMAGANT, TENACIOUS and KEMPENFELT and the frigates DUCKWORTH
and ESSINGTON RV with the ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN and the destroyers ANTHONY,
ACTIVE, BRILLIANT, INGLEFIELD, ISIS and URCHIN. The Force then continued to the
eastward at a speed of advance of 14 knots.
(It had been
intended that four of the destroyers from Gibraltar should be detached when the
rendezvous was made, but, as the frigates could not yet catch up, the four
destroyers were retained until the next morning.
During the day fighter patrols and A/S air patrols were flown from the carriers,
but all the aircraft were landed on before sunset. Shore based fighters
provided for the dusk period, and also a night A/S patrol ahead of the force
from dusk to daylight, and night fighters patrolled to the north)
7th - At 0800
hours the frigates COOKE, BLACKWOOD, DOMETT and BERRY rejoined the Force,
relieving the destroyers ISIS, BRILLIANT, ANTHONY and ACTIVE who then detached
and returned to Gibraltar.
(Shortly after parting company, the
destroyers were diverted to hunt a U boat off Cape de Gata. This U boat had
been fixed by D/F bearings and was subsequently sighted by aircraft during the
At 1200 hours the
Force was in position 37-16N, 03-06E
At 2300 hours the
destroyers KEMPENFELT, TENACIOUS and TERMAGANT detached for Bizerte to refuel.
At 1200 hours the Force was in position 37-17N,
At 1400 hours the
destroyers KEMPENFELT, TENACIOUS and TERMAGANT rejoined from Bizerte.
At 1530 hours when
passing north of Bizerta, the destroyer INGLEFIELD was detached to Bizerta and
took with her a hospital case from the ESSINGTON.
At 2359 hours the
destroyer URCHIN was detached to proceed to Malta to refuel.
9th - The Force
proceeded to the south of Malta on a generally south easterly course.
(In the early morning there was a certain amount
of enemy air activity off Cyrenaica, some four hundred miles to the east of the
Force and a convoy off Apollonia, Crete, reported at about 0100 hours that it
was under air attack.
A diversion was ordered in the forenoon to take effect from 1200 hours.
This diverted the Force into the Gulf of Sidra, some 60 miles to the southward
of the original route. It kept them clear of the convoys which were converging
on the Benghazi Corner; and it added some ninety miles to its distance from
enemy radar stations in Crete during the early hours of darkness; and it
enabled the force to make most of the passage between Benghazi and Tobruk in
At 1200 hours the
Force was in position 33-29N, 15-35E. At this time the Squadron altered course
to the southward into the Gulf of Sidra.
10th - At 1200
hours the Force was in position 33-05N, 22-05E.
(Shortly after 2000 hours a signal was
received that the Force and a slow eastbound convoy, [probably convoy GUS 27]
was about 70 miles to the westward, had probably been sighted by enemy aircraft
about 1730 hours)
11th - Between 0930 and 1100 hours
attacks on the Force were carried out by shore based aircraft and interception
by fighters from ILLUSTRIOUS was exercised.
At 1200 hours the
Force was in position 31-30N, 28-06E.
At 1615 hours an
aircraft was sighted by RENOWN and reported as a Ju 88. ILLUSTRIOUS flew off
fighters to intercept, but without success. One Corsair crashed on taking off.
A signal was later received that the Force had been sighted by German aircraft
at 1640 hours.
12th - At 0120
hours warning of enemy aircraft in the vicinity was received from shore. Speed
was increased to elude a possible enemy air search. One enemy aircraft
approaching from the southwest was driven off by a RAF Beaufighter, possibly
from 272 Sqd.
At 0700 hours the
Force arrived off Port Said. The frigates DUCKWORTH, COOKE, BLACKWOOD, DOMETT,
BERRY and ESSINGTON detached to Port Said.
been made for ships to enter the Canal in the order of draught with the lighter
ships first. QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT had to enter Port Said harbour to
reduce their draught by discharging fuel oil.
At 0900 hours the
first ships of the Force entered the Suez Canal, these were the destroyers
KEMPENFELT, TENACIOUS and TERMAGANT followed by the UNICORN, ILLUSTRIOUS and
At 1700 hours the
KEMPENFELT, TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT, UNICORN, ILLUSTRIOUS and RENOWN arrived in
the Great Bitter Lake. At this point the KEMPENFELT, TENACIOUS and TERMAGANT
were recalled to Port Said. The UNICORN, ILLUSTRIOUS and RENOWN anchored for
At 2200 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT sailed from Port Said and entered the canal.
13th - At 1000
hours The UNICORN, ILLUSTRIOUS and RENOWN arrived at Suez.
At 1300 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT arrived at Suez.
It was decided to
devote the remaining part of the day and the following day to fuelling all
ships and to allow time for making good essential defects. Meetings were held
with shore authorities in order to arrange for a programme
of exercises for the ships, and for cooperation with R.A.F. shore based
aircraft for exercises in the harbour and at sea.
14th - The Force
was at Suez.
15th - At 0800
hours the RENOWN, QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT sailed from Suez and carried out
day and night exercised in the Gulf of Suez.
16th - At 0200
hours the RENOWN, QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT returned to Suez.
At 0800 hours the
ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN and the destroyers PETARD, PALADIN, PATHFINDER and
ROCKET sailed from Suez to carry out H.A. firings in the Gulf of Suez before
continuing the passage to the East.
At 1030 hours the
RENOWN, QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT sailed from Suez and headed south.
At 1200 hours the
battleship force was in position 29-34N, 32-31E.
The carrier force
under Rear Admiral Aircraft Carriers, was acting independently of the
battleship force, and was ordered to overtake during the night and to be about
20 miles south of the battleships on the morning of 17/1/44.
(In this way
considerable progress in training was possible without delaying the passage.
Flying training by the carriers, radar tracking by both forces during the
night, 15 inch full calibre firing range and inclination exercises by the
battleships, and dummy torpedo attacks by aircraft was among the exercises from
which great benefit was obtained. The comparative security of the northern half
of the Red Sea from enemy air and submarine activity made this training
possible by permitting a slight relaxation of preparedness and by allowing a
wider dispersion of units than could have been accepted in any other waters
through which the force would pass)
17th - At 1200
hours the battleship force was in position 23-37N, 36-27E.
18th - At 1200
hours the Force was in position 18-08N, 39-50E.
At 1630 hours the
RENOWN and ILLUSTRIOUS detached and increased speed to 21 knots proceeded ahead
of the other ships in order to reach Aden before high water on the afternoon of
(It was not possible for all five heavy ships
to be berthed and fuelled simultaneously in Aden harbour, and the draught of
the QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT restricted their movement in the shallow
harbour and approaches to a short time either side of high water. It was
therefore arranged that RENOWN and the two carriers should fuel between the
daylight tides of the 19th and 20th January while the
battleships remained at sea, and vice versa on the 20th to 21st
19th - At 1000 hours the
RENOWN and ILLUSTRIOUS were in
approximate position 12-26N, 44-02E, at which time they RVed with the
destroyers ROTHERHAM (D11), ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and RAPID.
At 1100 hours the
destroyers ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and RAPID detached to RV with the battleships.
At 1200 hours the
ILLUSTRIOUS were in position 12-24N, 44-50E.
At 1200 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, UNICORN and the destroyers PETARD, PALADIN,
PATHFINDER and ROCKET were in approximate position 12-21N, 43-45E.
At 1300 hours in
approximate position 12-30N, 44-02E the QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, UNICORN and
the destroyers PETARD, PALADIN, PATHFINDER and ROCKET RVed with the destroyers
ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and RAPID.
At 1315 hours in
approximate position the UNICORN and the destroyers PETARD, PALADIN, PATHFINDER
and ROCKET detached for Aden.
At 1530 hours the
RENOWN, ILLUSTRIOUS and the destroyer ROTHERHAM arrived at Aden and commenced
At 1545 hours the
UNICORN and the destroyers PETARD, PALADIN, PATHFINDER and ROCKET arrived at
Aden and commenced to refuel.
At 1800 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and the destroyers ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and RAPID
arrived off Aden.
20th - During the
morning the QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and the destroyers ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and
RAPID remained off Aden.
At 1300 hours the
ILLUSTRIOUS followed by the RENOWN, UNICORN and the destroyer ROTHERHAM got
under way and departed Aden.
At 1430 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT entered Aden to refuel.
ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN escorted by the destroyers ROTHERHAM, ROEBUCK,
RACEHORSE and RAPID then stood to the southward until midnight, and then to the
north eastward until daylight.
21st - At 1200
hours the RENOWN, ILLUSTRIOUS, UNICORN and the destroyers ROTHERHAM, ROEBUCK,
RACEHORSE and RAPID were in position 11-59N, 45-37E.
At 1700 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and the destroyers PETARD, PALADIN, PATHFINDER, ROCKET
and HMAS NORMAN sailed from Aden.
At 1800 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and the destroyers PETARD, PALADIN, PATHFINDER, ROCKET
and NORMAN RVed with the RENOWN, ILLUSTRIOUS, UNICORN and the destroyers
ROTHERHAM, ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and RAPID off Aden. The destroyers ROTHERHAM,
ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and RAPID then detached for Aden to refuel.
The RENOWN, QUEEN
ELIZABETH, VALIANT, ILLUSTRIOUS, UNICORN and the destroyers PETARD, PALADIN,
PATHFINDER, ROCKET and NORMAN then headed east at 13 knots.
22nd - At 1100
hours the destroyers ROTHERHAM, ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and RAPID rejoined from
At 1200 hours the
Force was in position 12-44N, 48-48E.
(The passage across the Indian Ocean was made
without any noteworthy incident. The weather continued to be fine throughout
and thus there were opportunities every day for continuing the sea training of
the ships and squadron. Various new cruising orders were tried out, with
particular reference to the best position for the carriers when cruising in
company with capital ships)
23rd - At 1200
hours the Force was in position 13-40N, 55-28E.
24th - At 0630
hours the Squadron was formed into a suitable cruising order for the destroyers
to fuel from the battleships. NORMAN fuelled from QUEEN ELIZABETH, PALADIN and
PATHFINDER from VALIANT, and PETARD from RENOWN. The other four destroyers
carried more fuel and were able to make the passage without oiling at sea.
(In the refueling operation NORMAN sustained
slight damage and fouled her propeller when a spring parted during fuelling.
She managed to complete the passage but as there was considerable vibration at
the speed of the fleet she was stationed astern so that that she could follow
at her most suitable speed. On arrival at Colombo, NORMAN was docked for
At 1200 hours the
Force was in position 12-02N, 61-46E.
25th - At 1200
hours the Force was in position 12N, 68 08E.
26th - At 1200
hours the Force was in position 8-44N, 73-51E.
Around midday a
long range aircraft from Ceylon made contact with the Force to start air
cooperation exercises which continued until the RENOWN arrived at Colombo.
At 1800 hours in
approximate position 8-24N, 74-42E, the UNICORN escorted by the destroyers
ROEBUCK and RAPID detached and proceeded to Cochin, where she arrived a.m.
27th - RAF long
range aircraft shadowed the Squadron through the night and made reports on
which a striking force of torpedo bombers was led into a dummy torpedo attack
on the ships at first light.
At 0730 hours in
approximate position 7N, 78-30E, the destroyers HMAS NIZAM and NAPIER joined
the Squadron from the southward.
At 0830 hours the
RENOWN escorted by the destroyers ROTHERHAM and NORMAN, detached and proceeded
to Colombo where they arrived at 1400 hours and entered harbour.
At 1200 hours the
remaining ships of the Force were in position 6-38N, 79-23E.
28th - At 0730
hours ILLUSTRIOUS Flew off her aircraft to RNAS China Bay.
At 1030 hours the ILLUSTRIOUS, QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and the destroyers
RACEHORSE, PETARD, PALADIN, PATHFINDER, ROCKET, NIZAM and NAPIER arrived at
29th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH and VALIANT, remained at Trincomalee and started to clean their
boilers; this work had been deferred until the end of the passage. It was
estimated that boiler cleaning and repair of normal machinery defects would be
completed by 11/2/44.
1st to 16th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH and VALIANT were at Trincomalee carrying out maintenance.
17th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH and VALIANT sailed from Trincomalee to carry out exercises in the Bay
18th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH and VALIANT returned to Trincomalee.
19th to 28th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH and VALIANT were at Trincomalee.
(Owing to the unfortunate lack of destroyers,
the capital ships were confined to
harbour drills and exercises.
been intended that RENOWN, QUEEN ELIZABETH, and a destroyer screen should
proceed to sea for exercises on 29/2/44 but heavy rain reduced visibility to
about half a mile and practices had to be postponed)
1st to 5th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
(On 5/3/44 Admiral Sir James Fownes
Somerville, Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet, visited
Trincomalee and held a meeting
of flag and commanding officers in the RENOWN concerning future operations)
6th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyers HMAS NIZAM, QUICKMATCH, and QUALITY sailed
for Colombo to store to full capacity there. Full calibre and other firing
practices were carried out on passage.
7th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH and escort on passage to Colombo.
8th - South west
of Colombo the destroyers NIZAM, QUICKMATCH, and QUALITY detached and returned
to Trincomalee for Operation INITIAL
arrived at Colombo to complete with stores.
9th to 12th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Colombo.
13th - At 1600
hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyers HMAS NORMAN, NEPAL and
HNMS TJERK HIDDES sailed from Colombo.
14th - At 1430
hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH and the destroyers NORMAN, NEPAL and TJERK HIDDES
arrived at Trincomalee.
15th to 20th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
21st – The Eastern
Fleet comprising battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, battlecruiser RENOWN
(Flag Vice Admiral 2iC Eastern Fleet), aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, heavy
cruisers LONDON and CUMBERLAND, light cruisers CELYLON and GAMBIA and the
destroyers PATHFINDER, QUALITY, QUEENBOROUGH, QUILLIAM (D4), HMAS NAPIER (Wearing the broad pennant of Commodore S
H T ARLISS RN Commander D Eastern Fleet), NEPAL, NORMAN
and QUIBERON and HMNLS TJERK HIDDES and VAN GALEN sailed from Trincomalee and
Colombo on Operation DIPLOMAT.
The ships from
Trincomalee and Colombo RVed south of Ceylon and then steered south carrying
out exercises en route to the refueling RV.
(Operation DIPLOMAT was an exercise with
1 - For the various units to operate together as
a fleet and to see how well they had adapted to the climatic conditions.
2 - To practice refueling/replenishment at sea.
[This was an operation that up to this
time the RN had only carried out as a last resort. With the naval war moving to
the Indian and Pacific Oceans it was an operation that the RN had to master. It
was stressful for the bridge and engine room staffs as constant adjustments
were necessary in direction and speed. The engine designers had not
envisaged this type of fine speed control being necessary, and the tachometers
fitted to the engines only gave rough readings, so fine adjustments of the
throttle valves had to be made continuously]
3 - To RV with US Task Group 58.5 which
comprised the aircraft carrier USS SARATOGA and her escort)
24th – In position
approximate 6-15S, 80-30E the Eastern Fleet RVed with the refueling force of
three RFA oilers escorted by the cruiser HMNLS TROMP. The refueling operation
then commenced with the Fleet steering a south easterly course.
25th - During the daylight hours
the Eastern Fleet continued the refueling operation.
26th – In approximate
position 12S, 86E the refueling was completed and the Fleet steered to RV with
US Task Force 58.5.
27th – at 1200 hours SW of
the Cocos (Keeling) Islands the Eastern Fleet RVed with US Task Force 58.5
comprising the aircraft carrier SARATOGA and the destroyers DUNLAP, CUMMINGS
and FANNING. TF 58.5 had sailed
from Freemantle on 24/3/44.
(The loan of the SARATOGA was a result of the agreement between
Roosevelt and Churchill at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. At the
meeting Roosevelt had agreed that as soon as American resources would allow, an
American carrier would be dispatched to aid the British Fleet operating in the
Indian Ocean. The objective would be to disrupt Japanese oil supplies from the
Dutch East Indies which were the main source of Japanese oil supplies.
The SARATOGA had embarked Air Group 12 which comprised
equipped with 44 F6F-3 Grumman Hellcat fighters
equipped with 19 SBD-5 Douglas Dauntless scout bombers
equipped with 17 TBF-1C Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers)
The combined force then steered
northwards towards Trincomalee carrying out exercises en route.
(During the two days of joint exercises air crew from the
SARATOGA gave the FAA pilots the benefit of their combat experience against the
Japanese. A circular
cruising formation designed for up to three carriers was tried out. It was
considered to have many advantages and the CO of the SARATOGA favored circular
formations and circular screens.
circular screen favored by the USN was first tried out at the Battle of Midway
following which the action report recommended; Òscreening vessels
must close the carrier to not less that 1500 yards and all available CAs and DDs
should be on the same circleÓ.
Also the action report stated that, Òthe 5" battery and close range
weapons of surface ships are only partially effective in repelling a determined
torpedo attack because of the low rate of fire of the 5" battery and fuse failures;
short effective range of the 20mm guns; and the failure of short range weapon
gunners to lead the target sufficiently)
31st - At 0845 hours ILLUSTRIOUS
and SARATOGA flew off their aircraft to RNAS China Bay, Trincomalee.
hours the combined force arrived at Trincomalee.
(The report by Vice Admiral 2iC Eastern Fleet
stated the Operation DIPLOMAT had provided excellent opportunities of improving
the efficiency of all ships and enabled the American Task Force to shake down
with the Eastern Fleet. The Task Force is a very considerable addition to the
strength of the Fleet)
10th - QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee carrying out boiler cleaning and
(3/4/44 Admiral Somerville, Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet, visited
Trincomalee to exchange calls with the Commanding Officers of U.S.S. SARATOGA
(Captain J.H. Cassidy, USN), and of the U.S. destroyers CUMMINGS, DUNLAP and
FANNING, forming Task Group 58.5)
(On 10/4/44 the Free French Battleship
RICHELIEU arrived at Trincomalee from the UK. Following an extensive refit at
the New York Navy Yard, the RICHELIEU had served with the Home Fleet from 11/43
The arrival of the RICHELIEU was also
resultant of the Casablanca Conference where Roosevelt and Churchill had united
the Free French General Henri-Honor Giraud and Brigadier
General Charles de Gaulle, the two rivals for the leadership of French forces
opposed to the Vichy regime. The Generals agreed that Free French forces would
oppose Axis forces in all theatres)
11th to 15th - All
the Fleet units including Task Group 58.5 carried out exercises in the Bay of
Bengal. This included Night exercises to improve efficiency in night fighting
and bombardment firings, using the bombardment range at Foul Point, [Foul Point
is on the southern side of the entrance to Trincomalee Harbour] also dawn and
night attacks were made on the Fleet by MTBs of the 16th MTB Flotilla who
simulated enemy E-Boats.
(The 16th MTB Flotilla comprised MTBs
numbered 275, 277, 278, 279,
280, 282, 291, 292, 293, 299 and 300. These were 37 ton, 40-knot Vosper MTBs
that were built under licence in the USA and shipped from America to India.
They were manned by RIN crews with RNVR officers; the CO of the Flotilla was
Lieutenant Sir Kenneth
Alston Cradock-Hartopp RN.
Their depot ship was the HMIS BARRACUDA, which was the ex Danish merchant ship
SS HEINRICH JESSEN 3335grt, and was moored in Trincomalee harbour)
15th - The Fleet
returned to Trincomalee.
(On 15/4/44 the US Tenth Air Force with twelve
B 24's flying from India attacked shipping and other targets
at Port Blair in the
Andaman Islands. This was a diversionary raid made so that should the Japanese
sight the Eastern Fleet departing Trincomalee they would believe that the
Eastern Fleet were about to attack Port Blair)
16th - At
Trincomalee where in the morning Admiral Somerville, Commander in Chief,
Eastern Fleet, hoisted his flag in the QUEEN ELIZABETH.
At 1100 hours the
Eastern Fleet which was divided into two forces, Force 69 and 70, sailed from
Trincomalee on Operation COCKPIT.
Force 69 comprised the battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH
(Flag CinC Eastern Fleet), VALIANT and FS RICHELIEU, light cruisers NEWCASTLE (Flag C4), NIGERIA, CEYLON,
HMNZS GAMBIA and HMNLS TROMP, screened by the destroyers PENN, PETARD,
ROTHERHAM (D11), RACEHORSE, and HMAS NAPIER (Wearing the broad pennant of
Commodore D Eastern Fleet), NEPAL, NIZAM and QUIBERON and HMNLS VAN GALEN.
comprised the battle cruiser RENOWN (Flag 2iC Eastern Fleet), the aircraft
carriers ILLUSTRIOUS (Flag Rear Admiral Aircraft Carriers Eastern Fleet), USS
SARATOGA, the heavy cruiser LONDON, screened by the destroyers HMAS QUILLIAM
(D4), QUEENBOROUGH and QUADRANT and the USS CUMMINGS, DUNLAP and FANNING.
Course was set
south easterly in an arc to reach the approximate position 4-30N, 94-30E by
sunrise on 19/4/44.
(Operation COCKPIT was an air strike by FAA
and USN aircraft against the harbour installations, oil tanks, shipping,
aircraft and facilities at Lho Nga airfield at Sabang on the island
of Pulau Weh at the northern tip of Sumatra. The operation was carried out at
the request of Admiral King, to put pressure on the Japanese in South-East
Asia, while the US Army landings at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, Operation
RECKLESS, were carried out. The landings took place on 22/4/44)
17th and 18th - The Eastern Fleet continued towards the flying off
position for Operation COCKPIT.
During the approach Fleet exercises were
carried out. These included 15" throw off firings by the battleships.
19th - At 0530
hours in approximate position 4-30N, 94-30E the ILLUSTRIOUS and SARATOGA
commenced flying off the strike force for the attack on Sabang. The strike
force comprised 46 bombers, (17
British and 29 American) and 37 fighters (13 British and 24 American).
(The strike force arrived
over the target at approximately 0620 hours attacking from different
directions. The Japanese were caught by surprise and only responded with AA
fire after the first bombs had landed. A total of 30 tones of bombs were dropped
damaging and/or destroying dockside installations, shipping in the harbour, the
power station, wireless station and oil storage tanks. Attacks on Lho Nga
airfield damaged or destroyed up to 30 aircraft. One US Hellcat was lost, it
crashed into the sea about one mile off Sabang and the pilot was rescued by the
The raid was declared a success and Admiral Somerville said that the
Japanese Òhad been caught with their kimonos upÓ. The destruction of the oil
installations and the damage to shipping made a positive contribution to the
stalling of the Japanese offensive in the Arakan)
By 0800 hours all aircraft had been
recovered and the Fleet set course to return to Trincomalee.
During the retirement the Fleet came
under air attack from three Japanese Nakajima B5N (Kate) torpedo bombers. All
were shot down by the CAP and/or ships AA fire.
20th - The Eastern Fleet continued towards Trincomalee.
the return Fleet exercises were carried out.
21st - At 0400 hours the Eastern Fleet
commenced to enter Trincomalee harbour.
In the afternoon the CinC Eastern
Fleet held a meeting on board the QUEEN ELIZABETH of all the
and Commanding Officers that took part in Operation COCKPIT.
22nd to 29th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
(At 0900/23/4/44 the submarine TACTICIAN
arrived at Trincomalee with the pilot of the Hellcat aircraft which had been
shot down over Sabang)
30th - The
destroyers that were in Trincomalee harbour went alongside the battleships so
that they could be assisted in fitting the TBS (Talk Between Ships a V H/F
Radio Telephone system).
(The US Navy had processed the TBS system for
some years. The system allowed direct voice communication between all ships
within a 10 mile radius. The system had the advantage of immediately being able
to contact any ship within range, but the disadvantage was that if too many
callers tried to use the system simultaneously chaos ensued)
next operation undertaken by the Eastern Fleet was Operation TRANSOM. On
27/4/44 SARATOGA had been recalled to the USA for a refit and Admiral King CinC US Fleet, suggested that en route
back to Australia SARATOGA, supported by the Eastern Fleet might launch an air
strike against the port of Surabaya on Java; as a diversion to the campaign in
New Guinea, Operation STRAIGHTLINE. Admiral
Mountbatten CinC SE Asia Command agreed and Somerville commenced planning the
6th – At 1500 hours the Eastern Fleet sailed from
Trincomalee on Operation TRANSOM.
TF 65 comprised the battleships
(Flag CinC Eastern Fleet), VALIANT and FS RICHELIEU, cruisers NEWCASTLE,
NIGERIA and HMNLS TROMP and destroyers PENN, RACEHORSE, ROTHERHAM, HMAS NAPIER,
NEPAL, QUIBERON and QUICKMATCH, and HMNLS VAN GALEN.
TF 66 comprised
the battlecruiser RENOWN (Flag Vice Admiral 2iC Eastern Fleet), aircraft
carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA cruisers CEYLON and HMNZS GAMBIA and
destroyers HMAS QUILLIAM, QUADRANT, QUEENBOROUGH and USS
DUNLAP, CUMMINGS and FANNING.
The Fleet steered
south easterly towards Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia.
During the morning TF 65 and TF 66 arrived at Exmouth Gulf and commenced
refueling from TF 67.
(At 1100/30/4/44 Task Force 67, consisting of
the oilers RFA EAGLESDALE, ECHODALE, ARNDALE, APPLELEAF, PEARLEAF and the
ship RFA BACCHUS,
escorted by the heavy cruiser LONDON and SUFFOLK had sailed from Trincomalee
Harbour on Operation TRANSOM. Off the Harbour entrance the frigate FINDHORN
joined Task Force 67. Course had then been set for Exmouth Gulf, Western
Australia. TF 67 had arrived at Exmouth Gulf on 12/5/44)
At 1900 hours TF
65 and TF 66 with LONDON and SUFFOLK attached, sailed from Exmouth Gulf and
steered northerly towards eastern Java.
The cruiser HMAS
ADELAIDE was left in Exmouth Gulf to guard the tankers.
17th – At
0630 hours in position 9-48S, 113-00E, approximately 180 miles south of
Surabaya, the carriers commenced launching the strike aircraft. ILLUSTRIOUS
launched 18 Avengers, 2 of which crashed on take off, and 16 Corsairs, SARATOGA
launched 12 Avengers and 18 Dauntlasses, one of which returned with engine
trouble, and 34 Hellcats.
At 0830 hours the
strike force arrived over the
target and caught the Japanese by surprise. Ten ships in the harbour were
attacked, oil tanks were destroyed, dock facilities destroyed and 14 aircraft
were destroyed on the ground. One US plane was lost over the target.
The submarine TALLY-HO was positioned as the rescue vessel but was
At 0930 hours recovery of the strike force commenced. Following
which the Fleet set course for Exmouth Gulf.
the evening Surabaya was attacked by seven B 24's of the US 380th Bombardment
Group who flew from Corunna Downs airfield in Western Australia a round trip of
1860 nautical miles)
18th – At 1800 hours in approximate position 18S, 113E the
Eastern Fleet changed into line ahead and they manned ship following which
DUNLAP, CUMMINGS and FANNING sailed
down the line and then with QUIBERON they detached for Freemantle.
The eastern Fleet
then proceeded to Exmouth Gulf.
19th – At 0600 hours the Eastern Fleet arrived at Exmouth
Gulf and commenced refuelling.
At 1600 hours the Eastern Fleet sailed from Exmouth Gulf and set
course for Trincomalee.
27th – At
1500 hours the Eastern Fleet arrived back at Trincomalee. Fuel remaining on
return was less than 20%.
next operation that QUEEN ELIZABETH took part in was Operation CRIMSON. This
was an air strike and bombardment of the harbour and oil installations of
Sabang. Admiral Somerville wanted to make use of his three capital ships, also
it was to be the last time he was to lead a Fleet to sea for he was to shortly
hand over command to Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser; and he was to take up the post
of Head of the Admiralty delegation in Washington)
22nd – At 1600 hours TF 62 comprising the battleships
ELIZABETH (Flag CinC Eastern Fleet), VALIANT and FS RICHELIEU, battlecruiser RENOWN (Flag 2iC Eastern Fleet),
aircraft carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and VICTORIOUS, heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND, light
cruisers CEYLON, KEYNA, NIGERIA, PHOEBE, HMNZS GAMBIA and HMNLS TROMP and
destroyers QUALITY, RACEHORSE, RAIDER, RAPID, RELENTLESS (Wearing the broad pennant of Commodore D
Eastern Fleet), ROTHERHAM, ROCKET, ROEBUCK and HMAS
QUICKMATCH, sailed from
Trincomalee on Operation CRIMSON.
TANTALUS and TEMPLAR were deployed off Sabang for air sea rescue)
25th – At 0300 hours in approximate position 6N, 94-10E TF
60 divided into:
The bombardment group comprising
VALIANT, RENOWN, RICHELIEU, CUMBERLAND, CEYLON, KEYNA, NIGERIA, GAMBIA, TROMP and destroyers
QUICKMATCH, RACEHORSE, RAPID, RELENTLESS, ROTHERHAM and ROCKET.
The air group comprising
ILLUSTRIOUS, VICTORIOUS, PHOEBE and
destroyers RAIDER and ROEBUCK.
The bombardment group steered for position 6N, 95-30E.
The air group steered for position 5-25N, 94-42E.
At 0535 hours in position 5-25N, 94-42E ILLUSTRIOUS commenced
launching her aircraft. Followed shortly afterwards by VICTORIOUS. The strike force launched was 50
Corsairs and 9 Barracudas, 8 of the Corsairs were to act as spotters, reporting
fall of shot for the capital ships. To assist in spotting each of the four
capital ships fired shells that burst with a different colour.
At 0630 hours in position 6N, 95-30E the bombardment group opened
At 0650 hours fire was checked, during the 20 minutes the four
capital ships fired 294 rounds of 15".
At 0700 hours the TROMP lead the destroyers into the bay to attack
targets of opportunity.
At 0730 hours
ILLUSTRIOUS and VICTORIOUS recovered their
At 1000 hours the
two groups RVed and course was set for Trincomalee.
During the return
the fleet was twice attacked by Japanese aircraft, none of the attackers got
passed the CAP and of the 12 attackers 5 were shot down.
27th – At
1330 hours TF 62 arrived back at Trincomalee.
28th to 31st - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
1st to 6th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
(The next operation that QUEEN ELIZABETH took
part in was Operation BOOMERANG. This operation was part of Operation
MATTERHORN which had originated from the SEXTANT
Conference that took place in Cairo in two phases, the first one from 23 to 26
November 1943, the second phase from 3 to 7 December 1943. The SEXTANT
Conference addressed the future
of the war against Japan. One the decisions reached concerned the use of
American B 29 bombers against Japanese strategic targets. Initially the B 29's
were to be based in China from where they would strike against targets in the
Japanese home islands and South East Asia. The oil production facilities in the
Dutch East Indies were given high priority.
Operation BOOMERANG involved USAAF B 29's
flying from their base at Chengtu, China, staging through Ceylon and attacking
the oil refineries at Palembang on Sumatra. This would be the longest B 29
mission to date.
The RAF were to provide refueling facilities
at China Bay airfield and the Royal Navy were to provide a submarine beacon and
rescue ships in the event of the B 29's running out of fuel and/or ditching as
a result of enemy action. The USAAF was expecting a high level of loses)
7th - At 0900 hours the QUEEN ELIZEBETH, light cruisers CEYLON and KENYA and the
destroyers ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, RAPID, RELENTLESS and ROCKET sailed from
Trincomalee and set course south easterly.
10th - In the
evening the force arrived in approximate position 2S, 98E where they commenced
patrolling to await the B 29's bomber stream.
(On the afternoon of 9/8/44,
56 B-29's of the 58th Bombardment Wing landed on China Bay's 7,200-foot strip
and wheeled onto allotted hardstands, directed in without radio and without an
error by a control team recruited from USAAF XX Bomber Command. At 1645/10/8/44
the first aircraft took off and within 84 minutes 54 B-29's were airborne with
only one washout, a remarkable bit of flying on a strange and crowded field.
Forty minutes later Capt. I. V. Matthews B 29 returned with a leaky engine, got
patched up, and was again winging for Sumatra within a couple of hours.
The bombers, proceeding individually, flew
a straight track to Siberoet Island [where since 1200/10/8/44
the submarine TERRAPIN had been station in position 01-58S, 99-26E to act as a
beacon] they then turned eastward
across Sumatra. A dozen planes failed, for various reasons, to reach a target,
but two bombed
Pangkalan Brandan, one an airfield at Djambi, and
thirty-nine reached their target. Palembang had no lights and was overcast, and
the one B-29 equipped with flares miscarried, but thirty-one planes bombed
either by radar or visually through patch clouds. Crewmen later reported having
seen explosions and fires through breaks in the clouds, but their fleeting
observations were none too precise and the strike photos were too poor to be of
much service. Eight aircraft found clear weather over the Moesi River by
dropping under the 1,000-foot cloud ceiling and laid 16 mines in a good
pattern. The B-29's met AA fire in various places and for the first time,
ground-to-air rockets. Crews reported seeing 37 enemy planes, some of which
followed them back for 350 miles, but no B 29's were hit during the raid. One B
29 ditched through lack of fuel 90 miles from Trincomalee, the crew were
the QUEEN ELIZEBETH, light cruisers CEYLON and KENYA and the
destroyers ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, RAPID, RELENTLESS and ROCKET arrived back at
15th to 31st -
QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
1st to 23rd -
QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
24th - QUEEN ELIZABETH sailed from
Trincomalee for Durban for a refit.
5th - QUEEN ELIZABETH arrived at Durban.
QUEEN ELIZABETH was taken in hand for a refit.
7th to 31st - QUEEN
ELIZABETH under going refit.
1st to 16th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH under going refit.
17th - Carried out post refit trials when work completed
22nd - QUEEN
ELIZABETH sailed from Durban for Trincomalee.
2nd - QUEEN
ELIZABETH arrived at Trincomalee. On arrival at Trincomalee she became the
flagship of the 3rd Battle Squadron, flying the flag of Rear Admiral Harold Thomas Coulthard Walker.
3rd - Commenced working up exercises which continued for the
remainder of the month.
Rear Admiral Harold Thomas Coulthard Walker was promoted to Vice Admiral.
1st to 17th - QUEEN
ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee continuing her working up exercises.
(The next operation that the QUEEN ELIZABETH
took part in was Operation MATADOR; this was the amphibious
assault of Ramree Island
off the coast of Burma. The objective of MATADOR was to secure the port of
Kyaukpyu and the near by airfield. Ramree was particularly
important, for the island being flat provided an excellent site for airfields. The port was required for trans-shipping
supplies to aircraft that were to use the airfields to keep supplying the
allied advance on Rangoon. QUEEN ELIZABETH was not included in the initial
plan; however air reconnaissance carried out on 14/1/45
showed Japanese forces were busily sighting guns to sweep the intended landing
beaches on Ramree Island. Following this information the QUEEN ELIZABETH was
included in the bombardment force)
18th - QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag Vice
Admiral Commanding Third Battle Squadron), the escort carrier AMEER, with 804
Sqd of 24 Hellcat II's
for air spotting and ground strafing, and the destroyers PATHFINDER, RAIDER and
20th - At 1730 hours the QUEEN
ELIZABETH, AMEER and the destroyers PATHFINDER, RAIDER and HMAS NORMAN arrived
off Ramree Island.
21st - In the early hours of the
morning the screening of the QUEEN ELIZABETH was taken over by the sloop
REDPOLE and the frigate SPEY. These ships had sailed from Vizagapatam on
At 0830 hours Force W comprising
the QUEEN ELIZABETH and the light cruiser PHOEBE commenced the bombardment of
Japanese positions on Ramree Island. The Hellcats of 804 Sqd provided a CAP
over the bombardment force and also spotted fall of shot. This was the first
time since the QUEEN ELIZABETH had bombarded the Dardanelles Forts in 1915 that
she had fired her main armament in anger. Because the Island was so flat the
battleship had to fire from below the horizon so that her shells could be effective
and they did do considerable damage to the rock cave strong points and
created despondency amongst the Japanese forces.
At 0930 hours the bombardment was
(At 0942 hours the first troops of the Lincolnshire Regiment and Punjab
regiment of the 71sh Indian Infantry Brigade of the 26th Indian Division, who
had disembarked from the troopship SS NEVASSA 9213grt, landed on Ramree Island.
The assault was covered by the guns of the Navy, Hellcats of 804 Sqd and RAF
B24 Liberators and P 47 Thunderbolts [US
aircraft on loan to the RAF] of 224
Group flying from India. It took some time for the Army to clear Ramree of the
1000 Japanese defenders and it was not until the 22/2/45 that the Island was
declared secure. The target for the port of Kyaukpyu was 1200 tons/day, this
was exceeded when on 3/4/45 2406 tons was off-loaded. The Island became fully
operational on 16/4/45when RAF Squadrons 31 and 117equiped with C 47's moved to
In early 1945, the Allied transport
squadrons were carrying 90 % of the supplies being provided for Allied ground
forces of 300,000 men in Burma, so the port and airfields were vital.
26/1/45 Operation SANKEY took place, this was the landing on Cheduba Island,
which is to the south of Ramree Island. The landing was carried out by 500
Royal Marines of Force Wellington; Force Wellington comprised marines from
ships of the Eastern Fleet including QUEEN ELIZABETH. The landing which was
unopposed was covered by RN Force 65, comprising the light cruisers NEWCASTLE
[Flag CS 5],
NIGERIA, KENYA and the destroyers NEPAL [Flag
CinC Eastern Fleet], NORMAN,
PATHFINDER, PALADIN and RAPID)
In the afternoon the QUEEN
ELIZABETH escorted by the destroyer HMAS NAPIER and the sloop REDPOLE departed
the area to return to Trincomalee.
24th - At 1200 hours the QUEEN
ELIZABETH, NAPIER and REDPOLE arrived at Trincomalee.
25th to 31st - QUEEN ELIZABETH was
February and March
was at Trincomalee.
7th - QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
(The next operation that the QUEEN ELIZABETH
took part in was Operation SUNFISH. Operation SUNFISH was a photographic
reconnaissance mission and anti-shipping sweep. Photographic reconnaissance had
become an important task for the Eastern Fleet as the Allies advanced down the
coast of Burma and prepared to invade Malaya. The intention was to sail to the
approximate position 6-30N, 98E, arriving on 12/4/45 and then to launch
aircraft to carry out a photographic reconnaissance of Padang)
At 0900 hours Force 63, comprising the battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag BS 3),
FS RICHELIEU, escort carriers EMPEROR (Flag CS 5) with 800 Sqd Hellcat 11's and
888 Sqd of 6 Hellcat 11's PR. embarked and KHEDIVE with 808 Sqd Hellcat 11's
and 845 Sqd Avenger 1's embarked, heavy cruisers LONDON and CUMBERLAND and the
destroyers SAUMAREZ (D 26), VENUS, VERULAM, VIGILANT and VIRAGO sailed from
Trincomalee and set course for the west coast of Sumatra.
En route the catapult on EMPEROR
broke down, necessitating the postponement of the photographic reconnaissance
for two days.
(Because of the postponement of the photographic reconnaissance the
operation was re-cast to first include a bombardment of Sabang)
11th - At approximately 0200 hours
the QUEEN ELIZABETH, RICHELIEU, LONDON and the destroyers SAUMAREZ, VERULAM and
VIGILANT detached and steered easterly to bombardment positions.
At approximately 0400 hours the
destroyers SAUMAREZ, VERULAM and VIGILANT detached and steered for the Bengalen
Strait for their bombardment of the port of Oeleelheue.
At approximately 0630 hours the
QUEEN ELIZABETH, RICHELIEU and LONDON arrived in position approximate position
6N, 95-30E and commenced their bombardment of Sabang, Hellcats of 808 Sqd
provided a CAP and target spotting.
At approximately 0830 hours as the
QUEEN ELIZABETH, RICHELIEU and LONDON were withdrawing to rejoin the carriers
they were attacked by about 10 Nakajima Ki-43 [Oscar] fighters. No damaged was
caused to the bombardment force and the CAP shot down two of the attackers.
At approximately 1300 hours all
units of Force 63 re-joined and course was set southerly to RV with Force 70,
the refueling force.
In the afternoon Force 63 was
located by a Mitsubishi Ki-46 reconnaissance aircraft which was shot down by
12th - Force 63 RVed with Force 70,
which comprised the oiler RFA EASEDALE escorted by the frigate LOSSIE.
refueling the LONDON detached for Simonstown and Force 63 steered for a
position west of Padang.
In the morning Force 63 arrived at a position approximately 150 miles west of
Padang. Following which they cruised in this position during the day.
reconnaissance flights were then flown over the west coast of Malaya in the
area of Port Swettenham and in the vicinity of Padang.
aircraft carried out several high level attacks without any success.
Force 63 continued cruising in a position approximately 150 miles west of
reconnaissance flights were then flown over the west coast of Malaya in the
area of Port Swettenham and in the vicinity of Padang.
strike was carried out on the port of Emmahaven where a 4000 grt merchant ship
was strafed and damaged.
aircraft carried out several high level attacks without any success and one
Oscar was shot down.
16th - At 0530 hours Force 63 set
course to return to Trincomalee. At the time the destroyers VENUS and VIRAGO
were detached to carry out a sweep between the outlying islands and the
mainland, from Ayer Bangis Bay to Natal Road. Six junks were sunk.
17th - At 0900 hours the destroyers
VENUS and VIRAGO rejoined Force 63.
Force 63 arrived back at Trincomalee.
26th - QUEEN ELIZABETH was at Trincomalee.
(The next operation that the QUEEN ELIZABETH
took part in was Operation BISHOP; this operation was part of Operation
DRACULA. Operation DRACULA was the amphibious assault on Rangoon that commenced
on 1/5/45. Operation BISHOP involved the Eastern Fleet in suppressing Japanese
forces in the Andaman Islands prior to the invasion convoys approaching the
Irrawaddy delta. Between the 27th and 30th April six
convoys carrying Lieutenant General Sir Philip Christison's Indian XV Corps and
Major General Henry Chambers' Indian 26th Division sailed from Akyab and Ramree
islands. The close escort for the invasion force was Force W. On the eve of the
the force were too proceeded to their covering position for operation DRACULA
in the North Andaman Sea. This was to be in position to intercept any heavy
Japanese naval units that might sail north from Singapore to attack the
amphibious assault forces)
27th - At approximately 1500 hours
the Eastern Fleet, divided into two forces, Force 63 consisting of the
battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker BS 3) and FS
RICHELIEU, heavy cruisers CUMBERLAND (CS 5) and SUFFOLK, light cruisers CEYLON
and HMNLS TROMP, escort carriers EMPRESS with 20 Hellcats of 804 Sqd embarked
and SHAH with 19 Avengers of 851 Sqd and 4 Hellcats of 804 Sqd embarked and the
destroyers ROTHERHAM (D 11), TARTAR (D 10), VERULAM, NUBIAN and PENN; sailed
from Trincomalee and following the landing on the carriers air component, set
course north easterly for 11 Degree Channel in the Andaman Islands.
29th - At approximately 0630 hours,
in approximate position 11N, 89E, about 200 miles west of Car Nicobar the short
endurance ships commenced refueling from Force 69. Force 69 comprised the oiler
RFA OLWEN escorted by the destroyer PALADIN. The refueling took most of the
daylight hours and was not completed until 1800 hours.
Force 69 then returned to
At 2130 hours Force 62 detached and
headed south easterly for Car Nicobar Island, to carry out a dawn air strike on
30th - At 0500 hours Force 63
passed through the 11 Degree Channel into the Andaman Sea.
At 0800 hours Force 63 was in
approximate position 11-30N, 93E from which position the battleships and
cruisers of Force 63 commenced a bombardment of Port Blair and the near by
Later in the day aircraft from
Force 62 carried out a strike against the Port Blair airfield.
By 1200 hours Force 63 had
completed its missions for the day so the Force anchored off possibly, Havelock
Island on the eastern side of the Andaman Islands.
At 2300 hours Force 63 sailed for
Car Nicobar Island.
(At 0633/1/5/45, the assault phase of
Operation DRACULA commenced when a composite battalion group of 800
troops from the Indian Army's 50th Independent Parachute Brigade made a combat
drop at Elephant Point, about twenty miles south of Rangoon. The drop took
place from 38 USAAF C 47's of the
317th and 319th Troop Carrier Squadrons, augmented by 10 aircraft from the 2nd
and 4th Combat Cargo Squadrons. Later in the morning the assault on the
Elephant Point battery was supported by USAAF B-24's.
After the battery had been secured the
parachutists dug in around Elephant Point to await relief.
At 0600/2/5/45 the minesweeping force
commenced sweeping the Irrawaddy River; to be followed shortly afterwards by
troops of the British XV Corps disembarked from
landing craft on both banks of the River. This was
almost the last day on which beach landings
were possible before the heavy swell caused by the monsoon precluded beach
1st - At 0800 hours when in
approximate position 9-12N, 93E
the battleships and cruisers of Force 63
commenced a bombardment of the Car Nicobar airstrip. Force 62 was in the
vicinity and at the same time carried out a strike against the same target.
At 1030 hours Force 63 set course
north to bombard Port Blair. Force 62 complied with Force 63 movements.
2nd - At 0800 hours when in
approximate position 11-30N, 93E the battleships and cruisers of Force 63
commenced a bombardment of Port Blair and the near by airstrip. Force 62 was in
the vicinity and at the same time carried out a strike against the same target.
At 1000 hours Force 63 moved away
from the bombardment position and set course east. Force 62 complied with Force
At 1100 hours the two Forces
commenced refueling at sea.
At 1500 hours the Force divided
into Force 64 comprising QUEEN ELIZABETH, SUFFOLK, CEYLON, TROMP, TARTAR and
PENN; and Force 68 comprising RICHELIEU, CUMBERLAND, EMPRESS, SHAH, ROTHERHAM,
VERULAM and NUBIAN.
Force 64 sailed east into the
middle of the Andaman Sea to form a blocking force should Japanese naval forces
from Singapore try to reach the invasion area at the mouth of the Irrawaddy
Force 68 steered south easterly to
strike against targets at Victoria Point and the coastal area to the north of
3rd - Force 64 remained within its
patrol area in the Andaman Sea.
4th - Force 64 remained within its
patrol area in the Andaman Sea and refueled the destroyers.
5th - Force 64 and 68 rejoined east
of Smith Island and carried out a bombardment and air strike against Port
(On 11/5/45 four RAF Liberator GR VI, H, L, U & Y of 354 Sqd were detached to RAF
Kankesanturi, northern Ceylon, to co-operate with the Eastern Fleet on
anti-shipping sweeps of the
Malacca Strait and south Andaman Sea. At Kankesanturi they joined the Liberator
GR VI's of 203 Sqd who had been on station since 1/3/45)
6th - Force 64 sailed north and in
the afternoon the QUEEN ELIZABETH carried out a bombardment of a 6 inch gun
position on Kwantung Point, Stewart Sound on the afternoon, four 15"
rounds were fired and four hits were observed on the gun pit.
At approximately 1700 hours Force
64 set course south to return to Trincomalee.
7th - Force 64 on passage to
Trincomalee. Force 68 carried out a further air strike on Car Nicobar then set
course for Trincomalee.
8th - Force 64 on passage to
9th - In the early hours of the
morning Force 64 arrived back at Trincomalee. Following their arrival back at
Trincomalee the crews were able to celebrate VE day.
(At 2000 hours all warships at Trincomalee were ordered to raise steam
for 16 knots for leaving harbour at 0600/10/5/45. The reason for this was a
signal transmitted by the submarine STATESMAN, but not received, followed later
by a signal from the submarine SUBTLE, two of three submarines, SCYTHIAN was
the other one, on patrol in the Malacca Straits. At 1800 hours SUBTLE reported
a NACHI class cruiser [it was in fact the HAGURO] escorted by a destroyer [the KAMIKAZE] and two other escorts, [submarine chasers] steering 315¼ at 17 knots.
the end of 1942 Allied cryptanalysts had been reading Japanese codes with
increasing confidence such that by 1944 most Japanese codes were being read in
'real time'. But before coded messages can be broken they have to be
intercepted and the interception was carried out by the Y service.
Y service in the Far East had originally operated from Singapore, before the
fall of Singapore they were then evacuated to Colombo, arriving mid January
1942. In January 1943 some of the naval staff moved to its new headquarters in
the Anderson Golf Club house, just outside Colombo, this 'stone frigate' was
named HMS ANDERSON. In May 1945 located at ANDERSON was not only the Y service
but also the code breakers so the Eastern Fleet
received a first class intelligence service. SIGINT made ANDERSON aware, that
the Japanese Navy operating out of Singapore were going to carry out a
transport operation to re-supply the Andaman Islands garrison. The Intelligence on the re-supply mission was
correct but what was not known at the time was that the Japanese intention was
to evacuate the island. This
was why the three submarines were stationed in positions to intercept the
vessels carrying out the re-supply)
10th - At 0600 hours Force 61,
comprising the battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag Vice Admiral H.T.C. Walker,
BS3) and FS RICHELIEU, heavy cruiser CUMBERLAND (Flag CS5), light cruisers
ROYALIST (Flag AC21) and HMNLS TROMP, escort carriers HUNTER, KHEDIVE, SHAH and
EMPEROR who formed the
21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron and the destroyers
SAUMAREZ (D26), VENUS, VIGILANT, VIRAGO, ROTHERHAM (D 11), TARTAR (D10) and
NUBIAN sailed from Trincomalee on Operation DUKEDOM and set course for the 10¼
channel. The destroyer VERULAM was delayed by defects and joined the force at
(Operation DUKEDOM was designated an anti-shipping sweep but was in fact
an operation to catch and destroy the Japanese heavy cruiser HAGURO)
11th - Force 61 was proceeding
towards the 10¼ channel.
At 0500 hours the SHAH had to slow
down due to what was believed to be fuel contamination, NUBIAN was detailed to
stand by her.
Later in the morning further
difficulties arose due to the lack of wind which required the carriers to
constantly change course to operate their aircraft. All these manoeuvres had
slowed Force 61 speed of advance meaning they would miss the HAGURO who
intelligence estimated would be arriving at Port Blair at 1230/12/5/45.
(The slow progress towards the 10¼ Channel caused Vice Admiral Walker to
re-think his tactics. So he decided to turn southerly and steer for the 6¼
Channel in the hope that he would catch the HAGURO on the return journey. But
around the time Force 61 turned southerly they were sighted and reported by a
Japanese reconnaissance aircraft. This aircraft was picked up on QUEEN ELIZABETH's
radar but 807 Sqd Seafire CAP failed to intercept. However, ULTRA reports made
Walker aware that his force had been reported. Walker then decided that he
would keep his Force together for the remainder of the daylight hours, then at
dusk he would detach a fast group ahead to 'spring the trap'.
there would be no 'trap to spring'; the sighting report was received by the
HAGURO around 1600/11/5/43 when in approximate position 7-30N, 96E and on
receipt she reversed course)
At 1230 hours when in approximate
position 9-30N, 88E Force 61 turned on to a south easterly course heading for
the 6¼ Channel.
By 1430 hours Vice Admiral Walker
had decided that the SHAH, whose accelerator had now failed, meaning she could
not launch a fully loaded Avenger, should attempt to fly off her Avengers.
(By 1430 hours Vice Admiral Walker had decided that the SHAH, whose
catapult had now failed, meaning she could not launch a fully loaded Avenger,
should attempt to fly off her Avengers. Walker needed the Avengers that were
embarked on SHAH, as these were the only dive bomber force available to his
Force. So 851 Sqd Avengers were cross decked from the SHAH to EMPEROR and eight
Hellcats of 800 Sqd were cross decked from the EMPEROR to SHAH. This
arrangement was less than ideal as the EMPEROR was not equipped to service and
By 1600 hours the transfers were
complete and Force 61 resumed their south easterly course.
At approximately 1800 hours, Group
3 comprising the RICHELIEU, CUMBERLAND and the destroyers SAUMAREZ (D26),
VENUS, VIGILANT, VIRAGO and
VERULAM were detached and ordered to steer for the 6¼ channel at a speed
of advance that would that would place them in a position to attack the HAGURO
on her return.
12th - Force 61 and Group 3 were
proceeding independently towards the 6¼ Channel.
hours the SUBTLE again sighted the HAGURO, this time she was steaming at 25
knots on a mean course of 135¡ and zig-zagging. Above her were three Aichi El
3A1 [Jake] float planes. Despite the problems and danger, by 0705 hours SUBTLE was
within 2,500 yards of HAGURO and fired six torpedoes at her; but due the
alertness of her lookouts HAGURO was able to avoid all six torpedoes. SUBTLE
was then D/Ced for three hours during which her W/T was put out of action. The
STATESMAN had also seen the HAGURO and was setting up an attack when the HAGURO
turned away to avoid SUBTLE's torpedoes. STATESMAN was unable to immediately
send a sighting report due to battery problems.
hours Walker received intelligence derived from ULTRA that the HAGURO had
reversed course and was heading back to Singapore. The ULTRA intelligence was
later confirmed by a signal from the submarine STATESMAN which Walker received
at around 1500 hours)
At 1500 hours Walker ordered Group
3 to rejoin Force 61. Group 3 rejoined Force 61 in the evening.
13th - At 0600 hours in approximate
position 4N, 92-30E, the destroyers of Force 61 commenced refueling from the
escort carriers. This operation took most of the day.
(Walker received intelligence derived from ULTRA that the Japanese were
planning Kamikaze attacks on his force. At this stage of the war against Japan
the Kamikaze had become the main weapon of attack. Walker therefore decided on
a preemptive strike against Car Nicobar airfield)
At 1130 hours the EMPEROR a strike
force of four Hellcats was launched from the EMPEROR to carry out a low level
strafing attack on Car Nicobar. One of the Hellcats had to abort the mission
and was escorted back to EMPEROR by another one of the strike force. The remaining
two Hellcats carried out a successful strike destroying at least one aircraft
on the ground.
(Vice Admiral Walker was of the opinion, probably based on intelligence
from Colombo, that the HAGURO would make another attempt at reaching Port
Blair. So he requested that all available ships be sailed from Trincomalee to
join his flag. These vessels formed Force 62 and comprised the light cruiser
NIGERIA and the destroyers ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and REDOUBT. On 14/5/45 Force 62
was joined by the destroyer ROCKET, who had been escorting a Calcutta to
Freemantle troop convoy WO 5)
At 1215 hours the QUEEN ELIZABETH
picked up a 'bogey' on her radar, which was also picked up by other units of
At 1230 hours four Hellcats were
flown off EMPEROR to intercept the 'bogey'. This was the start of a series of
mishaps which resulted in the loss through damage of several Hellcats without
any interception of the 'bogey' being made.
At 1600 hours the two Hellcats from
the Car Nicobar strike were recovered.
In the evening Force 61 steered for
the 6¼ Channel.
14th - At 0400 hours Force 61 was
in approximate position 6-30N, 94-45E and steering east.
By 0515 hours when in approximate
position 6-30N, 95-05E and there being no news of the Japanese force Vice
Admiral Walker decided to divide his Force.
(Walker then instituted Operation MITRE; this was a specific operation
to carry out an air and sea sweep of the Malacca Strait and south Andaman Sea
for Japanese auxiliary vessels. The operation was to be jointly carried out by
vessels of Walker's Force RAF Liberators of 222 Group. But Walker was explicit
that MITRE was not to prejudice DUKEDOM, the destruction of the HAGURO)
Group 3 comprising the RICHELIEU,
CUMBERLAND and the destroyers SAUMAREZ (D26), VENUS, VIGILANT, VIRAGO and
VERULAM were detached and ordered to remain in the area. The remainder of the
Force lead by the QUEEN ELIZABETH reversed course and steered south west for
the refueling area south west of Pulau Bunta and an RV with Force 70.
(In the morning Walker
received intelligence derived from ULTRA that the Japanese had sailed a heavy
cruiser for the Andaman Islands.
intelligence was unaware that the HAGURO
(Flag Vice Admiral Hashimoto) and KAMIKAZE had been waiting off the Permatang Sedepa lighthouse,
position 2-53N, 100-59E, for news as to whether the British had sighted the
Japanese Force Two
Two consisted of the KUROSHIYO MARU
No 2, 950grt, 13½ knots, ex LST
T 149 and submarine chaser CH- 57 300 tons 21 knots].
Force Two had
sailed from Penang for Nancowry Island, where they arrived on 13/5/45. At this
time the British were unaware of Force Two.
The failure of
the British to detect Force Two encouraged Vice Admiral Hashimoto to make a
dash for Port Blair, so the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE were on passage to Port Blair.
However, for various reasons, this time Walker didn't get any sighting reports
from the submarines stationed in the Malacca Strait)
At approximately 1530 hours in position
4-50N, 94-15E, Force 61 commenced refuelling.
the evening the 'Y' operatives, who were embarked in several ships of Force 61,
picked up radio transmissions from Japanese auxiliary vessels originating from
an area between the north of Sumatra and the Nicobar Islands. This was the
Japanese Force Two who had sailed from Nancowry Island at approximately 1200
hours after embarking 450 troops and was heading for Penang)
2158 hours RAF Liberator GR
VI, Y/354 took off from RAF Kankesanturi, northern Ceylon, to carry out a
parallel track sweep of the South Andaman Sea as part of Operation MITRE
At 2204 hours
RAF Liberator GR VI, U/354 took off from
RAF Kankesanturi, northern Ceylon, to carry out a parallel track sweep of the
South Andaman Sea as part of Operation MITRE)
15th - At around 0200 hours Vice
Admiral Walker took the decision, based on the SIGINT from the Force 61 'Y'
operators, that he would execute Operation MITRE.
At around 0230 hours based on the
ULTRA intelligence that Walker had received early on the 14/5/45 he decided to
fly off a reconnaissance/strike flight of Avengers, at dawn, to search in the
area that he anticipated the HAGURO would have reached by 1000 hours.
At 0237 hours D26, Captain Manley Laurence Power RN, was ordered
to detach from Group 3 and proceed ahead with his five destroyers,
SAUMAREZ, VENUS, VIGILANT, VIRAGO and VERULAM to locate and
destroy the auxiliary vessels.
(At 0430 hours three RAF Liberator GR VI's of 203 Sqd, A/203, M/203
& N/203 took off from RAF Kankesanturi, northern Ceylon, to carry out a
parallel track sweep of the South Andaman Sea as part of Operation MITRE)
(At 0444 hours in position 7-12N, 96-50E, RAF Liberator GR VI, Y/354 from RAF Kankesanturi, one of the aircraft
co-operating with Operation MITRE, sighted and reported a Japanese cruiser and
destroyer course 90¼, speed 20 knots. The sighting report was not transmitted
until 0520 hours.
continued to shadow until 0721 hours. During this time the HAGURO was steering
easterly so must have sighted the Liberator and had turned away from its
objective of Port Blair.
hours in position 7N, 97-02E, RAF Liberator GR VI, U/354 from RAF Kankesanturi,
one of the aircraft co-operating with Operation MITRE, sighted and reported a
Japanese cruiser and destroyer course 115¼, speed 20 knots. A sighting report
was immediately made. However this was not the HAGURO it was Force Two en route
to Penang. U/354 circled Force Two until 0543 hours when it set course to
return to Kankesanturi.
Walker receivedU/354's sighting report he decided that at dawn he would launch
an air strike against Force Two)
At around 0530 hours when Walker
received the sighting report from Liberator U/354 he had a more specific target
location for the Avenger reconnaissance/strike.
0600 hours RAF Liberator GR
VI, L/354 took off from RAF Kankesanturi, northern Ceylon, to carry out a
parallel track sweep of the South Andaman Sea as part of Operation MITRE)
At 0700 hours, in approximate
position 4-24N, 93-25E, Force 62 RVed with Force 61. The combined Force then
steered in a north easterly to be ready to provide cover to Group 3 should they
encounter the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE.
At 0730 hours in approximate
position 4-30N, 93-30E, the EMPEROR launched four Avengers of 851 Sqd, these
aircraft were 'lodgers' from the SHAH. The aircraft were coded, Able, Baker,
Charlie and Dog.
(The Avengers were each armed with four 500Lb bomb and their
instructions were to fly to a point, designated BB, which was in approximate
position 6-20N, 94-35E, then to diverge and fly a search pattern.
The pilots had been briefed that on sighting
the enemy convoy, Force Two, they were to shadow and report.
hours in approximate position 6-44N, 97-34E, Avenger Charlie, piloted by
Sub-Lieutenant J. Burns, RNVR,
sighted Japanese Force Two en route to Penang, Burns made an immediate sighting report.
Following which he was joined by Avenger Able, which immediately attacked the
Japanese force, missing with all four bombs. Burns then attacked, but without
success and on his second pass was hit in the engine and was forced to ditch)
At 1005 hours the EMPEROR launched
a further strike of five Avengers of 851 Sqd. The aircraft were coded Fox,
George, Jig, Hotel and King. Avenger Hotel landed back on as soon as the other
aircraft had taken off. Avengers Fox, Jig and King were ordered after taking
off to remain over Force 61, only Avenger Fox complied with the order. Avengers
George, Jig and King continued on their search pattern.
(At 1020 hours Avenger, Baker, made a signal giving the position of
Japanese Force Two and a fuller account of the attack by Baker. This signal was
picked up by VIRAGO)
(At 1030 hours in poor visibility RAF Liberator GR VI, L/354, also from
RAF Kankesanturi, one of the aircraft co-operating with Operation MITRE, was
shot down by ground fire and ditched in approximate position 8N, 93E. Showing
that the Japanese were still active in the Nicobar Islands)
At 1035 hours the VIRAGO passed
Avenger Baker's signal to D26.
At 1041 hours D26
signal from CinC East Indies, repeated to BS3 and CS5, IMMEDIATE. CANCEL MITRE.
REPEAT CANCEL MITRE.
signal had originated from Rear Admiral Randolph Stewart Gresham
Nicholson RN, Flag Officer, Ceylon and
Deputy CinC, Eastern Fleet, in Colombo. The signal was the result of a meeting
in which all the relevant intelligence was reviewed; including Walker's
initiation of Operation MITRE and the detaching of D26. Nicholson thought that
the risk of air attack against D26 outweighed any gain that might accrue from
sinking the HAGURO)
(At 1044 hours Avenger
George, piloted by 851 Sqd CO, Lieutenant Commander M T Fuller RNVR, sighted
and reported the Japanese Force Two. After sending off his sighting report
Fuller sighted two further ships about 15 miles ahead of Force Two; these
turned out to be the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE. At 1050 hours Avenger, George
signalled enemy cruiser and
destroyer in position 06-55N, 96-50E, and retiring south eastward)
At 1045 hours D26 signalled his flotilla to reduced speed to 15
At 1056 hours D26 signalled the CinC and Walker requesting
confirmation of the cancel order; whilst at the same time continuing to steer
(At around 1100 hours
Liberator GR VI, M/203, in position 7-04N, 96-53E, sighted and reported contact
with the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE. When M/203's sighting report was received by
A/203 and N/203 they both joined M/203, these two aircraft took photographs of
the HAGURO before returning to base)
At 1200 hours in approximate position 6-12N, 95E, D26 now being in
possession of Avenger, George's sighting report, which put his flotilla about
130 miles away; D26 decided to invoke action in accordance with 'Fighting
Instructions, Section I, Clause 6'. D26 therefore steered towards the position
the Avenger George had signalled for the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE. The race was then
on for D26 and his flotilla to bring the HAGURO to action before she could
reach a safe port or air cover.
At 1210 hours one of the returning
aircraft Avenger, Baker, piloted by Sub Lieutenant Bowden RNVR, ran out of fuel
and ditched 30 miles from EMPEROR. At the time of ditching Avenger. Jig was in
contact and was able to guide the rescuers to the scene. Avenger Baker's crew
was rescued by the Walrus from HUNTER.
By 1220 hours the two remaining
Avengers, Able and Dog, had landed back on EMPEROR.
At 1250 hours CS5 was ordered by
Vice Admiral Walker to take the CUMBERLAND and RICHELIEU to proceed with
dispatch to support D26.
At 1350 hours when in approximate
position 6-12N, 95E, following receipt of Avenger, George's sighting report,
the EMPEROR launched a strike of three Avengers of 851 Sqd. The aircraft were
coded Peter, Queen and Roger and after takeoff they set course for the position
of the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE given by Avenger, George.
At 1445 hours Avenger, King landed
back on SHAH.
At 1515 hours Avenger, George
landed back on EMPEROR.
(At 1540 hours Avenger, Peter located and signaled the position of the
HAGURO and KAMIKAZE. Avenger, Peter was soon joined by Avengers, Queen and
Roger. All three Avengers then carried out a dive bombing attack on the HAGURO
without scoring any hits. At 1615 hours all three set course to return to the
The destruction of the HAGURO was
now in the hands of D26 and his flotilla, the CUMBERLAND and RICHELIEU trailing
in their wake. Force 61 remained in support to the west of Six Degree Channel.
(Through the closing hours of 15/5/45 D26 and his flotilla were steering
for Penang with the intention of arriving off the Malayan coast before the
HAGURO then sweeping back north westwards. The intention to be either drive the
HAGURO on to the guns of the RICHELIEU or for D26 to carry out a torpedo attack
on the HAGURO.
hours when the five destroyers were steering east south east in line abreast at
four mile apart; VENUS who was on the port wing detected an echo on her Type
293/M radar on the PPI unit at a range of 68000 yards, the maximum range for
this set on a destroyer was about 25000 yards. The echo had been detected by
Ordinary Seaman Poole and when he reported the contact to the bridge there was
disbelief, however the 'experts' were sent to check and they 'fiddled' with
Poole's settings and found nothing. When Poole got his seat back he readjusted
the settings and again found the echo. Eventually at 2322 hours the plot became
convinced that the echo was ship; so VENUS reported to D26, target bearing
040¼, 23 miles, course 135¼, speed 25 knots.
hours D26 had been persuaded that this was their target so he sent of an enemy
sighting report. At the same time D26 allocated sectors to his flotilla for a star
16th - Force 61 remained in support
to the west of Six Degree Channel.
(At 0050 hours when the range had dropped to 17500 yards from the
nearest destroyer, the HAGURO suddenly turned to starboard and continued
through 180¼ to change her course to northerly and increased speed to 30 knots,
the KAMIKAZE followed the flag ship. [According to the senior Japanese
survivor, Lieutenant-Commander Isamu Motora, the HAGURO's radar had detected
destroyers at 21800 yards, which would have been at about 0044 hours, and
lookouts at 19600 yards, but due to the gross negligence of the Officer of the Watch no action had
been taken] In the confused Mle that followed all the destroyers fired
torpedoes at the HAGURO and also engaged the HAGURO and KAMIKAZE with gunfire.
first torpedoes were fired by the SAUMAREZ at 0113 hours and the last torpedoes
were fired by VENUS at 0202 hours and the HAGURO having been hit by six
torpedoes, sank at 0206 hours in position 4-49N, 99-42E, this was the Japanese
position which was to the south of the British position and proved to be more
accurate. The KAMIKAZE escaped to the west, returning later to pick up
only British vessel to suffer damage was the SAUMAREZ who was hit by a 5"
shell in her No 1 Boiler Room, fortuitously the shell only partially exploded
but it killed two and put No 1 boiler out of action.
hours D26 and his flotilla formed up and steered north westerly to RV with the
CUMBERLAND and RICHELIEU who were about 50 miles away)
At around noon in the Six Degree
Channel Force 61 was rejoined by Group 3. At this time the Force was under air
attack but the attackers were put off by the AA barrage put by the Force
particularly the QUEEN ELIZABETH. Force 61 set course south westerly.
Force 61 came under further air
attacks during the afternoon and evening, none of which caused any damage,
except the final attack of the day when the VIRAGO was near missed by a bomb
that showered splinters over her quarter deck, killing four and wounding eight.
17th - At 0730 hours Force 61 had
reached the approximate position 3N, 90E.
At 0800 hours ROYALIST, KHEDIVE,
SHAH and Force 62 comprising NIGERIA and the destroyers ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE,
ROCKET and REDOUBT, detached and returned to Trincomalee.
Force 61 now comprising, QUEEN
ELIZABETH, RICHELIEU, CUMBERLAND, TROMP, HUNTER, EMPEROR, SAUMAREZ, VENUS,
VIGILANT, VIRAGO, ROTHERHAM, TARTAR and NUBIAN remained on patrol in the
general area 200 miles south west of Koetarad.Ja, Northern Sumatra.
18th - Force 61 were patrolling in
the general area 200 miles south west of Koetarad.Ja, Northern Sumatra.
19th - At approximately 0900 hours
Force 61 set course to return to Trincomalee.
21st - At 0630 hours Force 61
arrived back at Trincomalee.
22nd to 31st - QUEEN ELIZABETH
(Flag Vice Admiral H.T.C. Walker, BS3) was at Trincomalee.
1st to 30th - QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag
Vice Admiral H.T.C. Walker, BS3) was at Trincomalee.
1st to 11th - QUEEN ELIZABETH (Flag
Vice Admiral H.T.C. Walker, BS3) was at Trincomalee.
12th - At Trincomalee where
Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, BS3, transferred his
flag to the battleship NELSON.
16th - At Trincomalee.
17th - Sailed from Trincomalee to return to the UK.
24th - Arrived at Aden.
25th - Sailed from Aden.
26th to 31st - On passage to Alexandria.
1st- QUEEN ELIZABETH arrived at Alexandria.
3rd - Sailed from Alexandria.
9th - Arrived at Gibraltar.
10th - Sailed from Gibraltar.
15th - Arrived at Rosyth and paid off.
P o s t W a
r N o t e s
ELIZABETH was used briefly as an Accommodation Ship at Rosyth after VJ Day and
then joined the Home Fleet. She was based at Portland
in December and served in Home waters until relieved by HM Battleship HOWE in
February 1946 and reduced to Reserve status at Portsmouth during the period
March to September.
The ship remained in commission with a reduced complement at Portsmouth until
being placed on the Disposal
List in January 1948. Paid-off on 15th May 1948, she was sold to BISCO for
Arnott Young on 19th May that year. Taken in tow
to the breaker's yard she arrived at
Dalmuir on 22nd June
to be de-equipped and the hull was later taken to Troon in Ayrshire
for final demolition.
p e c i a
l N o t e
The link between
this famous battleship and The Baltic Exchange was first established after the
adoption in 1942 when a sum of
£18,312,000 was raised. Apart from the contacts made with the ship's company
during WW2 the association
has continued after the ship had been broken-up. The Ship's Bell and a Ship's
Crest were obtained and are
now kept with the Plaque presented to the Exchange in 1942 to record the result
of the WARSHIP WEEK. These items were transferred to the first new building
after WW2. When that building was destroyed in an IRA
bombing, the Bell was salvaged and is now kept in
the new site together with a copy of the original Chronology for public view.
This has maintained the strong tie between the members of the Baltic Exchange
and the Royal Navy.
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of
by Don Kindell
These convoy lists have not been
cross-checked with the text above
Date convoy sailed
Joined convoy as escort
(Note on Convoys)