Ronald Hugh Dewhurst DSO, RN

Born  10 Oct 1905
Died  29 Jan 1990(84)New Zealand

Ranks

30 Jul 1926 S.Lt.
29 Feb 1928 Lt.
29 Feb 1936 Lt.Cdr.
31 Dec 1940 Cdr.

Retired: 10 Oct 1955


Decorations

1 Jan 1941 DSO
29 Jul 1941 Bar to DSO
7 Oct 1941 2nd Bar to DSO

Warship Commands listed for Ronald Hugh Dewhurst, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Rorqual (N 74)Lt.Cdr.Submarine25 Aug 19391 Jun 1941
HMS Amphion (P 439)Cdr.SubmarineJun 19445 May 1946

Career information

Birth 10 Oct 1905. Parents, Robert Paget Dewhurst, Florence Francis Maud Millington Married Tarquilla Macleod Lawrence in Weymouth Dorset Jun 1928. Died 29 Jan 1990 in New Zealand.

Events related to this officer

Submarine HMS Rorqual (N 74)


6 Sep 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (1)

7 Sep 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Grampus (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN). (1)

13 Sep 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Singapore for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Sabang.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(1)

2 Oct 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Singapore. (2)

14 Oct 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Singapore for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Sunda Strait.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.
17-23 October was spent patrolling in the Sunda Strait.

(2)

25 Oct 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Singapore. (2)

2 Nov 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (3)

3 Nov 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (3)

7 Nov 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Singapore for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Sabang.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

26 Nov 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Singapore. (3)

5 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (4)

6 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (4)

7 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (4)

12 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (4)

20 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) started a refit at Singapore. (4)

13 Apr 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her refit at the Singapore Navy Yard. (5)

25 Apr 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted trials of Singapore. (5)

26 Apr 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted trials of Singapore. (5)

27 Apr 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted trials of Singapore. (5)

28 Apr 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Singapore for Colombo. Rorqual was to proceed to the Mediterranean.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this passage see the map below.

(5)

3 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Colombo. She departed for Aden later the same day. (6)

10 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Aden. She departed for Port Said later the same day. (6)

15 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Port Said. She departed for Alexandria later the same day. (6)

16 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (6)

20 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Alexandria for Malta. (6)

22 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Malta. (6)

27 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. A practice minefield was laid. (6)

30 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Malta together with HMS Grampus (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) and HMS Orpheus (Lt.Cdr. J.A.S. Wise, RN). (6)

31 May 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. (6)

4 Jun 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Malta for her 4th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was to take up a defensive position off Malta. (7)

10 Jun 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Malta. She had been recalled to change her mine outfit for mines fitted with the latest modifications.

Information was then received that Italy had declared war. Rorqual sailed for her 5th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at 2307 hours (zone -2). She was ordered to take up a defensive position off Malta. At 0151/11 a signal was received ordering her to patrol the Straits of Otranto and to lay a minefield of Brindisi.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

14 Jun 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) laid a minefield (50 mines) off Brindisi, Italy. The minefield was laid from 1027 to 1055 hours (time zone -2). During the lay the minelaying gear failed but it could be repaired. It was then decided to lay all 50 mines in this location (approximately 40°39'N, 18°10'E).

This minefield may have accounted for the sinking of the Italian merchant Rina Croce (569 GRT, built 1889) on 25 September 1940 and that of the sailing vessel Peppino C. (43 GRT, built 1906) on 17 August 1941. The presence of an Italian defensive minefield in the same area makes a definite assessment difficult.

The claim that it also caused the loss of the Italian motorship Loasso (5968 GRT, built 1921) is incorrect as this vessel ran afoul of an Italian defensive minefield off Minata on 26 June 1940. (8)

15 Jun 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) makes an unsuccessful torpedo attack on the Italian submarine Anfitrite in the Strait of Otranto.

(All times are zone -2)
0120 hours - Sighted a submarine proceeding on a course of 340°. Started attack.

0124 hours - Made the challenge but received no reply. Three torpedoes were then fired but they all missed.

[No further details are known, the patrol report refers to a separate report regarding the attack but it is not attached to the patrol report. Therefore the exact position of the attack is not known to us at the moment possibly approximately 40°40'N, 18°50'E.] (8)

18 Jun 1940
At 2230 hours (zone -2) HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) received a signal recalling her from patrol. She was ordered to proceed to Alexandria. (8)

24 Jun 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (8)

3 Jul 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Alexandria for her 6th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of the Straits of Messina.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

8 Jul 1940
In the evening HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) receives a signal ordering her to patrol off the Gulf of Taranto. (8)

9 Jul 1940
In the evening HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) receives a signal ordering her to proceed to her original patrol area (South of the Strait of Messina). (8)

16 Jul 1940
In the early morning hours HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) received a signal ordering her to proceed to Malta. (8)

17 Jul 1940
At 0615 hours (zone -2) HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) entered Grand Harbour, Malta. In the afternoon Rorqual was half docked down for repairs to No.5 mine compensating tank. She was undocked after a few hours. (8)

18 Jul 1940
At 0558 hours (zone -2) HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Grand harbour to resume her patrol. She was ordered to lay a minefield of Tulmaythah, Libya. (8)

21 Jul 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) missed the Italian merchant Andrea Gritti (6338 GRT, built 1939) with a total of three torpedoes off Tulmaythah, Libya. The Italian ship reported being missed by three torpedoes.

During reloading the torpedo tubes following this attack a torpedo had a hot run inside the tube it had just been loaded in. It had to be jettisoned. It exploded shortly afterwards.

Between 1200 and 1232 hours Rorqual laid a minefield of 50 mines near position 32°45'5"N, 20°57'E.

On 24 July 1940 the Italian merchant Celio (3872 GRT, built 1908) is sank off Tulmaythah, Libya in position 32°39'N 21°03'E after hitting two of these mines.

On 14 August 1940 the Italian merchant Leopardi (3298 GRT, built 1915) is sunk off Tulmaythah, Libya in position 32°39'N, 21°03'E after hitting one of these mines.

It is also probable that this minefield caused the loss of the corvette HMS Erica on 9 February 1943.

(All times are zone -2)
0943 hours - Sighted a large Italian merchant ship near Tulmaythah lighthouse. No escort was seen. Started attack.

0955 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 900 yards. No explosions were heard but the merchant vessel changed course making for the coast. She then stopped but continued on her original course after about 5 minutes. It is thought a torpedo hit had been obtained but that it was a dud.

1006 hours - Fired another torpedo from 3500 yards. It missed.

1016 hours - Set course towards the minelaying position.

1056 hours - When the reload torpedo was placed in no.3 tube it had a hot run. It had to be jettisoned.

1200 hours - Commenced minelaying in position 32°45'5"N, 20°57'E.

1234 hours - Completed minelaying. (8)

24 Jul 1940 (position 32.39, 21.03)
The Italian merchant Celio (3872 GRT, built 1908) is sank off Tulmaythah, Libya in position 32°39'N 21°03'E after hitting two mines laid on 21 July 1940 by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN). Three men were killed.

25 Jul 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (8)

4 Aug 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Alexandria for Malta.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this passage see the map below.

(8)

11 Aug 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Malta where she embarked 50 mines. (8)

12 Aug 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Malta for her 7th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to lay another minefield near Tulmaythah, Libya.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

13 Aug 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) is ordered by signal to take up a patrol position about half way between Malta and Benghazi on the main route between Messina and Benghazi. (8)

14 Aug 1940 (position 32.39, 21.03)
The Italian merchant Leopardi (3298 GRT, built 1915) is sunk off Tulmaythah, Libya in position 32°39'N, 21°03'E in a minefield laid on 21 July 1940 by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN).

15 Aug 1940
At 2345 hours HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) set course towards Tulmaythah in accordance with her original orders. (8)

17 Aug 1940 (position 32.40, 20.32)
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) laid a minefield (50 mines) off Tulmaythah, Libya between 1103 and 1134 hours (zone -2). Approximate position was 32°40'N, 20°32'E. (8)

20 Aug 1940 (position 32.58, 22.02)
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) attacked the Italian merchant Monte Gargano (1976 GRT, built 1931) with two torpedoes north-west of Ras al Hilal, Libya. She was on passage from Benghazi to Derna escorted by the Italian torpedo boat Generale Antonio Cascino. No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -2)
0806 hours - In position 32°58'N, 22°02'E sighted a large passenger ship, presumably a troop transport. Range was about 5 nautical miles. Started attack.

0809 hours - Sighted a destroyer that was escorting the target about a mile, 60° on the port bow of the target which was hugging the coast closely.

0814 hours - The screening destroyer turned towards Rorqual when at a range of 700 yards forcing her to go deep. An attempt was made to complete the attack firing by hydrophone effect but the D.A. was missed owning to the noise of the destroyer passing overhead. Turned to port and came to periscope depth.

0825 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 3500 yards. No hits were obtained. Rorqual meanwhile went deep again. (8)

21 Aug 1940 (position 33.08, 22.10)
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) attacked an Italian convoy missing the Italian merchants Verace (1219 GRT, built 1884) and Doris Ursino (891 GRT, built 1886) with torpedoes about 5 nautical miles north of Ras Hilal, Libya in position 33°08'N, 22°10'E. Following this failed attack Rorqual was depth charged by the Italian torpedo boat Generale Achille Papa.

(All times are zone -2)
1330 hours - Sighted three ships on a westerly course. These were later identified as a torpedo-boat of the Generali-class and two merchant ships, one of about 5000 tons and one of 3000 tons. Decided to attack all three targets.

1358 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the escort, range 3000 yards, followed by two torpedoes at the leading merchant from 2800 yards and finally two torpedoes at the second merchant from 2500 yards. The torpedo-boat combed the torpedo tracks toward Rorqual which had meanwhile turned 90 degrees to port, had gone deep and went full ahead for 3 minutes. The torpedo-boat started dropping depth charges causing some minor damage. It is thought both merchant vessels had been hit and sunk [but this was not the case]. (8)

27 Aug 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (8)

11 Sep 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Alexandria for Malta. Passage Alexandra – Malta (2)

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this passage see the map below.

(8)

17 Sep 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) reached Malta. She arrived as an air raid was in progress and had to remain submerged until dusk. (8)

19 Sep 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) was docked at Malta. (8)

22 Sep 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) was undocked. (8)

25 Sep 1940
The Italian merchant Rina Croce (569 GRT, built 1889) sank off Brindisi, Italy in a minefield laid by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN). The mine was laid on 14 June 1940. Rina Crose was en-route from Augusta to Brindisi.

25 Sep 1940
After embarking 50 mines HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Malta for her 8th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to lay a minefield to the north-west of Benghazi, Libya and also to patrol of that port.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

26 Sep 1940
A serious leak occurred on board HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) (leaking muffler valve). Repairs could not be affected at sea and course was set to return to Malta. (8)

27 Sep 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Malta for repairs. (8)

1 Oct 1940
With the repairs completed HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Malta to continue her patrol. (8)

4 Oct 1940 (position 32.45, 20.00)
From 2340 to 2354 hours (zone -2) HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) laid a minefield (50 mines) north-west of Benghazi, Libya near position 32°45'N, 20°00'E.

The Italian schooner V.71 / Intrepido (551 GRT, 1921) most probably sank on this minefield on 26 October, her entire crew was rescued by another sailing vessel. (8)

17 Oct 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (8)

21 Oct 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) collided 'lightly' with HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) inside Alexandria harbour. Rorqual was not damaged. (9)

26 Oct 1940 (position 32.45, 20.00)
The Italian schooner V.71 / Intrepido (551 GRT, 1921) most probably sank on a minefield laid by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) on 4 October 1940 north-west of Benghazi, Libya near position 32°45'N, 20°00'E. The entire crew of the schooner was rescued by another sailing vessel.

29 Oct 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Alexandria for Malta.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this passage see the map below.

(8)

3 Nov 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Malta where she embarked 50 mines. She departed Malta for her 9th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) later the same day. She was ordered to lay a minefield off Misrata, Libya.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

5 Nov 1940 (position 32.25, 15.21)
From 1058 to 1128 hours (zone -2), HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) laid a minefield (50 mines) east of Misrata, Libya near position 32°25'N, 15°21'E.

Course was then set towards Malta to embark new mines. (8)

7 Nov 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) arrived at Malta where she embarked 50 new mines. She departed at 1800 hours (zone -2) to resume her patrol. Another minefield had to be laid off Misrata, Libya. (8)

9 Nov 1940 (position 32.30, 15.09)
From 0841 to 0911 hours (zone -2), HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) laid a minefield (50 mines) east of Misrata, Libya near position 32°40'N, 15°00'E.

Course was then set to return to Alexandria.

On 5 December 1940 the Italian torpedo boat Calipso (679 tons, built 1938) sank about 6 nautical miles north-west of Cape Misurata, Libya after hitting two of these mines.

On 23 December 1940 the Italian torpedo boat Fratelli Cairoli (625 tons, built 1915) sank off Misrata, Libya after hitting one of these mines.

The same minefield may have also accounted for the losses of the Italian Cadamosto (1010 GRT, built 1905) and the German Spezia (1825 GRT, built 1924) on 22 December 1941. (8)

15 Nov 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (8)

29 Nov 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) departed Alexandria for her 10th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Sirte.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

5 Dec 1940
The Italian torpedo boat Calipso (679 tons, built 1938) sank about 6 nautical miles north-west of Cape Misurata, Libya after hitting two mines laid by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) on 9 November 1940. Ninety-one were killed and thirty-nine were saved by the sailing vessel Santo Stefano.

17 Dec 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. The patrol had been uneventful. (8)

23 Dec 1940
The Italian torpedo boat Fratelli Cairoli (625 tons, built 1915) sank off Misrata, Libya after hitting a mine laid by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) on 9 November 1940.

Seventy-one were killed and forty-three were saved by the steamer Caffaro. The same minefield may have also accounted for the losses of the Italian Cadamosto (1010 GRT, built 1905) and the German Spezia (1825 GRT, built 1924) on 22 December 1941.

2 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Port Said where she was to dock. (10)

3 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at Port Said. (10)

4 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) was docked at Port Said. (10)

10 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) was undocked. (10)

11 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Port Said for Alexandria. (10)

12 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (10)

14 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Malta.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this passage see the map below.

(8)

20 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at Malta. Her after casing had been damaged in severe weather conditions. (8)

21 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) proceeded to the Malta Dockyard for repairs to her after casing. The damage was made good for the most part but repairs to the mine casing doors would take to long and Cdr. Dewurst decided to remove them altogether. (8)

22 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 11th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Adriatic and to lay her mines in positions at Cdr. Dewhurst's discretion on the routes used by Italian shipping.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

28 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) laid a minefield of 29 mines off Sansego Island (now Susak Island, Croatia) and later the same day laid another minefield of 21 miles near Ancona, Italy.

(All times are zone -2)
0257 hours - Commenced laying a minefield of 29 mines, 300 feet apart, from a position 160°, Sansego Island lighthouse, 11.3 nautical miles (approximately 44°20'N, 14°23'E), in a direction of 225° for 1,8 nautical miles.

0307 hours - Completed minelaying. Set course for Ancona.

-----------------------------------------

1055 hours - Commenced minelaying. 21 mines were laid from a position 081°, Ancona high light, 9.2 nautical miles in a direction 142° for 1.1 nautical miles.

1107 hours - Completed minelaying.

This minefield may have caused the loss of the Italian merchant Pascoli (2939 GRT, 1902) on 7 May 1941. (8)

30 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) attacked but missed the Italian merchant Rinucci (1217 GRT, built 1914) off Bar, Yugoslavia. The Italian ship which was proceeding to San Giovanni di Medua. She avoided the torpedoes and took refuge in Ragusa.

(All times are zone -2)
1646 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 1800 yards against a 4000 tons Italian merchant ship. No hits were obtained as the torpedoes passed ahead of the ship. The torpedoes exploded on the shore after a run of 4.5 minutes.
(8)

31 Jan 1941
The claim that the Italian torpedo boat Francesco Stocco was broken in two by a mine laid by HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) on 28 January 1941 is an error. The Italian warship had lost part of her bow on 23 December 1940 when the steamer Marin Sanudo collided with her at Bari.

31 Jan 1941 (position 42.50, 16.30)
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) destroyed the tug Ursus and damaged the floating battery G.M. 239 in the Adriatic north of Sansego Island in position 42°50'N, 16°30'E. Ursus was towing G.M. 239 and replied with her 76mm gun but was set afire and later sank. From her crew of eighteen, six men were killed, three were missing and her nine survivors were picked up by the floating battery. G.M. 239 armed with two 149mm and one 76mm guns opened fire but was herself hit. Of her crew of forty-nine, nine were killed, five were missing. She drifted away and was found by the Yugoslav steamer Drava and towed to Lessina.

(All times are zone -2)
1250 hours - Heard H.E. bearing Red 30. Shortly afterwards the masts of a ship were sighted and an attack was started. The ship was later seen to be an Italian armed tug with two guns. She was towing a vessel of about 120 feet long with a very big beam. She was of shallow draught. It was fitted with two 4" or 5" guns and a smaller H.A. gun. It had a mast of about 40 feet high, with a look out position and a big rangefinder at the top. Decided for gun action.

1333 hours - Rorqual surfaced 500 yards abaft the beam of the floating battery and about 1200 yards on the quarter of the tug, closing at full speed. After Rorqual had fired four or five rounds the tug opened fire with both her guns. By now Rorqual started hitting the tug and in a short period five hits were obtained and the tugs after gun was put out of action. After about 20 rounds it was thought that the tug was out of action so fire was shifted to the floating battery. The first round hit her amidships and started a fire. It was now seen that the tug had re-opened fire with her forward gun so fire was shifted back to her and four or five more hits were obtained forward putting her forward gun also out of action.

1340 hours - By now both guns on board the floating battery had opened fire on Rorqual at under 500 yards range. Broke off the action and dived. The tug was seen to be heavily on fire. After a while it was decided to fire a torpedo set at 2 feet at the floating battery.

1427 hours - Fired this torpedo but it had a gyro failure forcing Rorqual to go deep.

1546 hours - Aircraft now arrived in the area and Rorqual went deep again.

1802 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight. (8)

7 Feb 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (8)

26 Feb 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for her 12th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to perform two beach reconnaissances of Kaso and Scarpanto for Operation Blunt (the operation was cancelled on 28 February) while operation Abstention, the ill-fated raid on Castellorizo, was under way.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

27 Feb 1941
The Italian merchant Ischia (5101 GRT, built 1907) is damaged when she hits a mine of Ancona, Italy. The mine was laid on 28 January 1941 by the British submarine HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN).

28 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
At 0607 hours, HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) began a periscope reconnaissance of Kaso. This was completed at 1300 hours and the submarine then proceeded to carry out a reconnaissance of Scarpanto.

7 Mar 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (8)

17 Mar 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (11)

18 Mar 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Malta.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this passage see the map below.

(8)

22 Mar 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at Malta. After embarking 50 mines she departed for her 13th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to lay mines near Palermo and patrol to the North of Sicily.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

25 Mar 1941 (position 38.06, 12.31)
Between 1110 - 1119 hours, HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) laid a minefield some 5 miles north-east of Capo Gallo, Sicily, Italy. The minefield started from a position 041° - Cape Gallo - 3.7 nautical miles, a line 4.5 cables long (300 feet apart) in a direction of 280°. A total of 10 mines were laid in this position.

In the morning of 28 March 1941 the Italian torpedo boat Generale Antonio Chinotto (697 tons, built 1921) sank in this minefield. She was returning from a night A/S patrol with her consort Giuseppe Missori, the latter picked up seventy-one survivors, including thirty-one wounded, forty-eight men were killed or missing. (8)

26 Mar 1941
Between 0940 - 0956 hours, HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) laid a minefield of 19 mines starting from a position 022° - Asinelli Rock Light - 2.2 nautical miles, a line 9 cables long (300 feet apart) in a direction of 290°.

Rorqual then laid her last mines (21 in total) from 1048 to 1103 hours, starting from a position 308° - Asinelli Rock Light - 1.5 nautical miles, a line 1 mile long (300 feet apart) in a direction 29°. The same day an Italian convoy ran into this minefield losing the Italian water tankers Ticino (1470 GRT, built 1924) and Verde (1432 GRT, built 1923).

At 1622 hours Ticino hit a mine laid and sank north of Trapani in position 38°06'N, 12°31'E. Verde rescued her crew and then resumed her course, but at 1725 hours she also detonated a mine laid and sank in less than one minute. Eleven men from Ticino and twenty-three from Verde were missing, a total of fifty-two survivors and five corpses were recovered. (8)

29 Mar 1941 (position 38.17, 12.08)
At 1649 hours, HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) missed with three torpedoes an unidentified westbound Italian merchant ship in position 38°17'N, 12°08'E (off Trapani). It was initially estimated at 4000 tons but later realised it was much smaller.

30 Mar 1941 (position 38.45, 12.20)
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian tanker Laura Corrado (3645 GRT, built 1899) north-east of Capo Gallo, Sicily, Italy in position 38°45'N, 12°20'E. The Italian ship had sailed from Naples for Algiers to pick up a cargo of gasoline. Four men were missing and nineteen survivors were found by the Italian torpedo boat Alcione and landed at Trapani.

(All times are zone -2)
0124 hours - In position 38°49'N, 12°30'E sighted a ship on the starboard bow. Closed to investigate and attack.

0223 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 1000 yards. Both missed as the range was underestimated. The ship, now identified as a fully laden tanker, continued on her course.

A second attack was now started.

0245 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 600 yards. One hit was obtained. The tanker settled rapidly by the stern with a heavy list to starboard where she remained for some time.

0256 hours - Fired five rounds of H.E. into the damaged part of the ship from 400 yards. She then started to settle further.

0300 hours - Only the bow of the tanker was now above the water. Rorqual now retired to the north-west.

At 0403 hours Rorqual received a signal ordering her to patrol to the north of the Straits of Messina to try to catch the damaged Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto. (8)

31 Mar 1941 (position 38.32, 15.19)
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Pier Capponi (770 tons, built 1929) south of Stromboli, Italy in position 38°32N, 15°19'E. The submarine had sailed from Messina for La Spezia, there were no survivors, five officers and thirty-three ratings were lost.

(All times are zone -2)
1337 hours - In position 38°32N, 15°19'E heard HE bearing 140°.

1339 hours - Sighted something on the horizon. This was later seen to be an Italian submarine. Started attack.

1402 hours - Fired 5 torpedoes from 1000 yards. Two hits were obtained and the submarine sank rapidly. (8)

4 Apr 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) ended her 13th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

7 Apr 1941
After some repairs by Malta Dockyard, HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Alexandria.

For the daily positions of HMS Rorqual during this passage see the map below.

(8)

12 Apr 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (8)

26 Apr 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) was docked at Alexandria. (12)

30 Apr 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) was undocked. (12)

3 May 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Port Said. (8)

4 May 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at Port Said. She then proceeded up the Suez Canal to embark mines at the Great Bitter Lakes. (8)

5 May 1941
After embarking 50 mines HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed the Great Bitter Lakes for Port Said. After a very short stay at Port Said she departed for her 14th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the northern Aegean Sea. She was also to lay her mines there.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Rorqual during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

7 May 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The Italian merchant Pascoli (2939 GRT, 1902) was sunk 12 nautical miles south of Sansego after hitting a mine. This may have been one mines from a minefield laid by HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) on 28 January 1941.

11 May 1941
Between 0530 and 0608 hours (zone -3) HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) laid 50 mines in the Gulf of Saloniki off Panomi Point.

It is likely that this minefield accounted for the loss of the Roumanian Carmen Sylva (1601 GRT, built 1903) on 26 May and, the following day, that of the German Helene (ex Greek Eleni Kanavarioti, 797 GRT, built 1886). (8)

12 May 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) sank two sailing vessels with gunfire off Lemnos, Greece. The first sailing vessel sunk was the caique KAV 382 / Agia Paraskevi. (Dounis gives her registration as SAL 128, 55 GRT) but the identity of the other is uncertain, some German sources list it as Absanaskavi (?), a supply vessel of the 164th Infantry Division [ASA lists it as Thrakia]. One German officer and three other ranks were killed.

(All times are zone -3)
1059 hours - Sighted a sailing vessel proceeding from Lemnos to the north-west. Closed to investigate. A large red flag was seen thought to be Turkish.

1200 hours - The flag was seen to be the Nazi flag.

1218 hours - Surfaced and opened fire from 1200 yards. After a few rounds, that missed, she stopped her engine and hoisted a white flag. Rorqual went alongside and it was seen that there were six Greeks on board. They were ordered to abandon ship in their small boat. A round of H.E. was then fired into the caique from 50 yards. A big explosion followed and the caique disintegrated. The bow remained above the surface for about 30 seconds and a dozen or so German soldiers in uniform were seen rushing up the hatch. After a few minutes no German survivors were seen in the water.

-------------------------------------------

1730 hours - Sighted an auxiliary schooner of about 150 tons approaching from the direction of Lemnos. Set course to intercept.

1815 hours - When being examined through the periscope from 500 yards the schooner suddenly turned away, hoised sail and proceeded back at full speed in the direction of Lemnos. It was seen that the schooner was heavily loaded with people and when she turned away these were seen to be German soldiers. Rorqual then surfaced and engaged with her gun.

1834 hours - Dived for an approaching aircraft. The schooner was seen to be down in the water and that there were heavy casualties amongst the soldiers. The aircraft was then seen to dive towards Rorqual so went deep.

1905 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw the schooner proceeding away slowly but could not surface to finish her off due to patrolling aircraft. (8)

23 May 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (8)

26 May 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The Roumanian Carmen Sylva (1601 GRT, built 1903) is mined and sunk off the Gulf of Saloniki, Greece. The mine was most likely part of a minefield laid by the British submarine HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) on 11 May 1941.

27 May 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The German merchant Helene (ex Greek Eleni Kanavarioti, 797 GRT, built 1886) is mined and sunk off the Gulf of Saloniki, Greece. The mine was most likely part of a minefield laid by the British submarine HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) on 11 May 1941.


Submarine HMS Amphion (P 439)


8 Feb 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for preliminary trials. (13)

15 Feb 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) returned to her builders yard at Barrow for inspection after preliminary trials. (13)

27 Mar 1945
After acceptance trials, HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed her builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMCS Monnow (Cdr. E.G. Skinner, DSO, RCNR). (14)

28 Mar 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a work-up period of trials and training off the Scottish West coast.

As Amphion was the first ship of her class this would take longer then normal. (14)

31 Mar 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) is docked at Holy Loch for a propeller change. (14)

1 Apr 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) is undocked. (15)

31 May 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) is docked at Holy Loch for bottom cleaning and painting of the hull. (2) (16)

1 Jun 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) is undocked. (17)

17 Jul 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) departed Holy Loch to return to her builders yard at Barrow. (18)

18 Jul 1945
HMS Amphion (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) arrived at her builders yard at Barrow to undergo repairs and modifications. When the war with Japan ended she was still there. (18)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16997
  2. ADM 173/16998
  3. ADM 173/16999
  4. ADM 173/16000
  5. ADM 173/16485
  6. ADM 173/16486
  7. ADM 173/16487
  8. ADM 199/1878
  9. ADM 173/16491
  10. ADM 173/16934
  11. ADM 173/16936
  12. ADM 173/16937
  13. ADM 199/1444
  14. ADM 173/19462
  15. ADM 173/19463
  16. ADM 173/19464
  17. ADM 173/19465
  18. ADM 173/19466

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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