Allied Warships

HMS Aurora (12)

Light cruiser of the Arethusa class


HMS Aurora in 1941

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassArethusa 
Pennant12 
Built byPortsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, U.K.) : Wallsend 
Ordered1 Mar 1935 
Laid down23 Jul 1935 
Launched20 Aug 1936 
Commissioned12 Nov 1937 
End serviceApr 1946 
History

Decommissioned in April 1946.

Sold on 19 May 1948 to the Chinese Navy and renamed Chung King. Later she defected to the Communists and was renamed Tchoung King. In March 1949 she was sunk in Taku harbour by Nationalist aircraft.

 

Commands listed for HMS Aurora (12)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Gervase Boswell Middleton, RN20 Apr 193822 Jan 1940
2Capt. Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton, DSO, RN22 Jan 19401 Oct 1940
3Capt. Sir William Gladstone Agnew, RN1 Oct 194011 Nov 1943
4Capt. Harold Fielding Nalder, RN11 Nov 1943Dec 1943
5Capt. Geoffrey Barnard, DSO, RNDec 194320 Aug 1945
6Capt. Robert St. Vincent Sherbrooke, VC, DSO, RN20 Aug 1945May 1946

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Notable events involving Aurora include:


31 Aug 1939
Around 1800A/31, the Home Fleet departed Scapa Flow to patrol between Scotland, Iceland and Norway for returning German merchant vessels.

Ships that participated in this patrol were; battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. E.N. Syfret, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN), HMS Belfast (Capt. G.A. Scott, DSC, RN) (from the 18th Cruiser Squadron), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN), HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Dunedin (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CVO, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) (from the 12th Cruiser Squadron), HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clark, RN), HMS Calypso (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HMS Diomede (Commodore E.B.C. Dicken, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.G. Bowes-Lyon, MVO, RN) (from the 7th Cruiser Squadron. These ships were escorted by destroyers from the 8th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN).

To patrol off the Skagerrak was the battlecruiser squadron which was made up of the battlecruisers HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) which were escorted by destroyers from the 6th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St. J.A. Micklethwait, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) and HMS Tartar (Capt. G.H. Warner, DSC, RN). These ships departed Scapa Flow around the same time.

Some of the ships had already been at sea for exercises.

The bulk of the Fleet returned to Scapa Flow in the morning of September 6th.

Most of the cruisers had acted independently to inspect shipping. HMS Caledon, HMS Calypso, HMS Cardiff and HMS Dunedin returned to Scapa Flow in the early morning of September 5th.

HMS Aurora and HMS Sheffield returned to Scapa Flow in the evening of September 5th.

HMS Belfast returned to Scapa Flow on the 6th after having joined other ships for exercises on the 5th.

HMS Diomede, HMS Dragon, HMS Effingham and HMS Emerald returned to Scapa Flow in the morning of the 7th.

Most of the destroyer had to return to Scapa Flow once to refuel, HMS Somali and HMS Ashanti were at Scapa Flow between 0100/2 and 0400/2.

HMS Faulknor, HMS Fearless, HMS Firedrake, HMS Fortune and HMS Foxhound were at Scapa Flow between 1000A/3 and 1530A/3.

HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo, HMS Punjabi and HMS Tartar were at Scapa Flow between 1100A/3 and 1600A/3.

HMS Fame was detached at 2359A/3 to go to the aid of the torpedoed liner Athenia but she was not needed to pick up survivors and proceeded to the Clyde arriving in the moring of the 5th having carried out an A/S sweep en-route.

HMS Matabele was detached to Scapa Flow at 1130/5. Around 2030A/5, she grounded near the boom and damaged her propellers.

HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Fury and HMS Mashona did not refuel before they returned with the Fleet in the morning of the 6th. (1)

7 Sep 1939
Around 0730A/7 the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. E.N. Syfret, RN), battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Capt. G.H. Warner, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow to operate off the Norwegian coast as far north as 63°00'N to intercept German shipping.

They returned to Scapa Flow in the evening of the 10th having sighted no German ships. Visibility had been bad throughout.

22 Sep 1939

Operation SK.

To conduct an operation against German shipping off the Norwegian coast the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tartar (Capt. G.H. Warner, DSC, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St. J.A. Micklethwait, RN) and HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN) departed Scapa Flow as well as the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) departed Rosyth. HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), coming from the Chatham Dockyard, joined at sea.

To provide cover for this operation two forces were deployed from Scapa Flow. One force was made up of the battlecruisers HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN) and HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN).

The other force was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. E.N. Syfret, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN). Later the destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN), HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, RN) and HMS Express (Cdr. J.G. Bickford, RN) joined at sea.

The raid was abandoned when HMS Javelin and HMS Jersey collided in position 57°09'N, 03°08'W at 2038A/22.

All forces returned to their port of departure on 23 September but not before HMS Hood reported an explosion at 1330A/23. The destroyers HMS Firedrake and HMS Fortune were detached to investigate but no contact was obtained. In fact this was indeed an attack by a German submarine; U-24 which reported to have made a failed torpedo attack at 1328A/23 on HMS Hood and two escorting destroyers.

25 Sep 1939
At 0510A/25 a radio message was received from the submarine HMS Spearfish (Lt. J.H. Eaden, RN) that she had been badly damaged by enemy warships and that she was unable to dive and was proceeding along the Danish coast try to make it back to the U.K.

Around 0730A/25 the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN) and HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) departed Rosyth and joined destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) near May Island shortly after 0900 hours. They were to operate off the Norwegian coast at 60°N to closely cover the retreat of the damaged submarine. with the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St. J.A. Micklethwait, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) which were already on patrol in that area.

The light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) departed Scapa Flow and were ordered to proceed well into the approaches of the Skagerrak with the destroyers HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN) which had been on the Fare Island patrol. These ships were to try to make contact with HMS Spearfish.

To provide more distant cover for the whole operation the battlecruisers HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.G.B. Wilson, DSO, RN) and the destroyers (Capt. A.G.B. Wilson, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN) departed Scapa Flow.

[It is often stated that the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) also sailed with the 'Hood-Force' but this was not the case.]

Also from Scapa Flow sailed yet another cover force made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. E.N. Syfret, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tartar (Capt. G.H. Warner, DSC, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN).

Around 0100A/26 the destroyers HMS Somali and HMS Eskimo made contact with HMS Spearfish which was then safely escorted to Rosyth despite German air attacks during which HMS Ark Royal was near missed and HMS Hood struck by a bomb which did not explode.

All ships returned to port on 27 September minus HMS Norfolk which was detached earlier to join the Northern Patrol being ordered to patrol in the Iceland-Faeroer gap.

8 Oct 1939
A force of German warships departed Kiel to operate off the south coast of Norway. They were to sink Allied shipping and lure the British Home Fleet into the range of Luftwaffe aircraft. This force was made up of the battlecruiser Gneisenau, light cruiser Köln and the destroyers Z 3 / Max Schultz, Z 5 / Paul Jacobi, Z 11 / Bernd von Arnim, Z/14 Friedrich Ihn, Z 15 / Erich Steinbrinck, Z 16 / Friedrich Eckholdt, Z 17 / Diether von Roeder, Z 20 / Karl Galster, Z 21 / Wilhelm Heidkamp. In addition, four submarines were deployed in a patrol line to attack the Home Fleet, these were U-10, U-18, U-20 and U-23.

The Admiralty took the bait and around 1600A/8 the battlecruisers HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St. J.A. Micklethwait, RN) and HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN) departed Scapa Flow for a position about 50 miles to the north-west of Stadlandet, Norway.

Around 1900A/8, the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. E.N. Syfret, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. M.L. Clarke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) and HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN) departed Scapa Flow for a position north of Muckle Flugga. Both forces were to reach their positions by dawn the following day and then steam towards each other in a pincer movement to cut off the German ships from their home ports.

The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN). They were joined at sea by the destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Janus (Lt.Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN) which came from Grimsby. This force was ordered to operate off the western end of the Skagerrak and then sweep northwards.

At 0600A/9 HMS Jaguar was ordered to return to Rosyth to refuel. En-route there she was attacked by German aircraft but she was not hit.

HMS Jervis and HMS Jupiter were ordered to search for the small Danish merchant vessel Teddy (503 GRT, built 1907) which had reported that she had picked up the crew of a German flying boat whih was shot down on the 8th. They were attacked by German aircraft at 1518A/9, but neither destroyer was damaged. However, about 1.5 hours laters HMS Jupiter broke down and had to be taken in tow by her sister ship.

HMS Jaguar meanwhile had completed refuelling at Rosyth. She left that port together with HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) which just finished repairs to the damage sustained in her collision of 22 September.

The were ordered to screen the withdrawal of HMS Jervis and HMS Jupiter. But it was not to be as shorty after departing Rosyth, Jaguar struck a small islet above the Forth bridge and damaged her starboard propeller shaft and HMS Jersey struck the Rosyth boom defence. Both destroyers proceeded to Leith for repairs.

Between 1120A/9 and 1645A/9 the Luftwaffe heavily bombed the 'Humber force' made up at that time of HMS Southampton, HMS Glasgow, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Jackal and HMS Janus which had arrived off the western entrance to the Skagerrak by that time. HMS Southampton and HMS Glasgow were near missed but were not damaged.

The German force returned to Kiel shortlyafter midnight during the night of 9/10 October. This news reached the C-in-C, Home Fleet in the afternoon of the 10th after which all ships were ordered to return to port.

HMS Nelson, HMS Rodney, HMS Hood, HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Forester, HMS Fury, HMS Bedouin and HMS Punjabi proceeded to Loch Ewe arriving in the early evening of the 11th.

HMS Repulse, HMS Furious, HMS Aurora, HMS Newcastle, HMS Southampton, HMS Glasgow, HMS Somali, HMS Mashona, HMS Eskimo, HMS Ashanti, HMS Fame, HMS Foresight, HMS Jervis, HMS Jackal, HMS Janus and HMS Jupiter (which by now as able to proceed under her own power) arrived at Scapa Flow on the 11th. They had been joined at sea before arrival by two more destroyers which came from Scapa Flow; HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN).

HMS Edinburgh had been detached and proceeded to Rosyth where she arrived on the 10th.

HMS Sheffield had already been detached on the 9th with orders to patrol in the Denmark Strait.

14 Oct 1939
Around 0830A/14, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN) and HMS Belfast (Capt. G.A. Scott, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Loch Ewe where they arrived around 1500A/14. (2)

15 Oct 1939
Around 1800A/15, the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. E.N. Syfret, RN), battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. M.L. Clarke, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN), HMS Belfast (Capt. G.A. Scott, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN) departed Loch Ewe for operations.

They were to patrol north of Iceland as it was thought the German pocket battleship Deutschland was proceeding into the Atlantic. From this position they were able to support the Northern Patrol.

More destroyers later joined at sea; HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN and HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN) departed Scapa Flow on the 15th. They were followed on the 16th by HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN).

On the 18th the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), which had completed boiler cleaning, departed Rosyth escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, RN), HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), HMS Cossack (Capt. D. de Pass, RN) and HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN). HMS Cossack and HMS Maori returned to Rosyth on the 19th. HMS Repulse, HMS Jervis and HMS Jersey joined the fleet at sea on the 20th but HMS Jervis and HMS Jersey were detached to Sullum Voe shortly afterwards.

HMS Nelson, HMS Rodney, HMS Hood, HMS Repulse, HMS Furious, HMS Aurora, HMS Belfast, HMS Bedouin, HMS Mashona, HMS Matabele, HMS Punjabi, HMS Fearless, HMS Firedrake, HMS Forester, HMS Foxhound and HMS Fury arrived at Loch Ewe around 0830A/22.

26 Oct 1939

Convoy Narvik 1.

This convoy departed Narvik, Norway on 26 October 1939. It arrived at Methil on 31 October 1939.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Albuera (British, 3494 GRT, built 1921), Alex (British, 3892 GRT, built 1914), Carperby (British, 4890 GRT, built 1928), Cree (British, 5596 GRT, built 1920), Creekirk (British, 3793 GRT, built 1912), Imperial Monarch (British, 5835 GRT, built 1926), Leo Dawson (British, 4734 GRT, built 1918), Lindenhall (British, 5248 GRT, built 1937), Polzella (British, 4751 GRT, built 1929), Riley (British, 4993 GRT, built 1936), Santa Clara Valley (British, 4685 GRT, built 1928) and Starcross (British, 4662 GRT, built 1936).

Escort / cover for this convoy was provided by the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. E.N. Syfret, RN), battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. J.W. Josselyn, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN), HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. B. Jones, RN), HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN). These ships sailed from Loch Ewe at 1800A/23.

On the 25th the destroyer HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) sailed from Scapa Flow to join the force at sea. HMS Kingston had to be detached to Scapa Flow due to defects on the 28th. On the 29th another destroyer joined the force at sea; HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN).

Light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) departed Rosyth on 23 October and joined the cover force at sea around 1200A/24. HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN) sailed from Loch Ewe on 23 October and joined the convoy itself off the Norwegian coast around 0130A/26. Destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, RN) and HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN) also joined the convoy having sailed from Scapa Flow.

HMS Fame was later detached with two of the merchant vessels as these were to join an Atlantic convoy.

11 Nov 1939
The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN), HMS Belfast (Capt. G.A. Scott, DSC, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Gurkha (Lt.Cdr. P.V. James, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, RN) departed Rosyth around 0400A/11 for Immingham where they arrived around 1700A/11.

23 Nov 1939

Sinking of the armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi

Around midday on 21 November 1939 the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, escorted by the light cruisers Köln and Leipzig and the destroyers Z 11 / Bernd von Arnim, Z 12 / Erich Giese and Z 20 / Karl Galster, departed Wilhelmshaven for a raid into the North Atlantic, this was to relieve the pressure of the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee operating in the South Atlantic. Late on the 21st the escorts left the battlecruisers.

Just after 1500A/23 the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Kennedy, RN) sighted the Scharnhorst. Rawalpindi was part of the British Northern Patrol and was stationed south-east of Iceland in the Iceland-Faroe gap. Captain Kennedy at first tried to get away from the German ship and report to the Admiralty that he sighted the German pocket battleship Deutschland, still believed to be operating in the North Atlantic, and so as to buy time so that other ships of the Northern patrol could come to his assistance. Just after 1600 hours, Rawalpindi came within range of the Scharnhorst and was quickly reduced to a flaming wreck. During this engagement Scharnhorst was hit by a 6in shell from Rawalpindi causing only light damage. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau together picked up 27 survivors from the Rawalpindi which finally sank around 2000 hours.

The British light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt J. Figgins, RN), that was also part of the Northern Patrol, picked up Rawalpindi's signal and closed the scene. She sighted the Gneisenau but the Germans managed to escape in the fog.

The Admiralty also thought the ship sighted by Rawalpindi and Newcastle was the Deutschland that was trying to return to Germany. In response to the sighting and destruction of the Rawalpindi the Admiralty took immediate action;
The battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN) HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) and the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN) departed the Clyde around 1930A/23 to patrol of Norway to cut off the way to Germany for the Deutschland.

The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN) and HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) departed Rosyth to patrol between the Orkney and Shetland islands.

Light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) was sent from Loch Ewe to the last known position of the German ship(s).

On northern patrol, south of the Faroes were the light cruisers HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clark, RN), HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) and HMS Colombo (Commodore R.J.R. Scott, RN). These were joined by HMS Dunedin (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CVO, RN) and HMS Diomede (Commodore E.B.C. Dicken, OBE, DSC, RN).

Of the ships of the Denmark strait patrol, the heavy cruisers HMS Suffolk (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.G.B. Wilson, MVO, DSO, RN) were ordered to proceed to the Bill Bailey Bank (to the south-west of the Faroe Islands).

The light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) were already at sea patrolling north-east of the Shetlands were to be joined by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN).

The light cruisers HMS Calypso (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) were stationed off Kelso Light to act as a night attack striking force. The destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) had just departed Belfast on escort duties. They were ordered to join Admiral Forbes. The ships they were escorting were ordered to return to Belfast.

The destroyers HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) departed Scapa Flow with orders to locate and shadow the German ships. HMS Tartar however had to return to Scapa Flow the next day due to a damaged rudder. The other two destroyers were ordered to join HMS Aurora which was to form a strike group of destroyers.

Despite the British effort to intercept the German ships, both German battlecruisers returned to Wilhelmshaven on the 27th.

14 Jan 1940

Operation to intercept the disabled German merchant vessel Trautenfels.

On 14 January the German merchant vessel Trautenfels (6418 GRT, built 1921) was reported to be off the coast of Norway with her rudder lost and unable to steer.

The light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN) departed Scapa Flow almost immediately the same day to try to intercept this vessel.

On the 15th the light cruiser HMS Manchester (Capt. H.H. Bousfield, RN) was also sailed from Scapa Flow for this purpose.

Also on the 15th the destroyers HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) sailed from Rosyth and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN) departed the Clyde.

On the 16th (around 0915Z/16) yet another light cruiser was sailed from Scapa Flow, this was HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN).

Shortly before 0200/16 the destroyers HMS Kelvin and HMS Kimberley collided with each other. Kimberely sustained no serious damage and proceeded to Scapa Flow. Kelvin was damaged and returned to the Clyde for repairs.

The operation was cancelled on the 17th when it was reported that the Trautenfels had arrived at Narvik being towed there by the German merchant vessel Rauenfels (8460 GRT, built 1928).

HMS Aurora and HMS Manchester then proceeded to patrol to the south-east of Iceland.

HMS Maori, HMS Tartar and HMS Inglefield were ordered on the 17th to patrol off the Norwegian coast to intercept German ore ships coming from the north.

HMS Newcastle returned to Scapa Flow around 2215Z/17.

24 Feb 1940
HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Rosyth to patrol in the northern North Sea to provide cover during several convoy operations to and from Norway.

The cruisers returned to Rosyth on 4 March. (3)

13 Mar 1940
Around 1100A/13, HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow and the Clyde.

Around 1945/13, HMS Aretusa and HMS Penelope parted company with the other ships and proceeded to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 2330A/13.

HMS Aurora and HMS Galatea arrived in the Clyde around 1830A/14. (4)

16 Mar 1940
Around 1400A/16, HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), departed Greenock for Scapa Flow where they arrived around 1300A/17. (5)

20 Mar 1940

Operation DU.

Anti-shipping raid into the Skagerrak and the Northern part of the Bight.

Around 2330/20, the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSC, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN) and HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Operation DU, an anti-shipping raid into the Skagerrak and the Northern part of Bight.

At 1000/21, the force was in position 59°28'N, 01°54'E and at 1800/21 in position 58°06'N, 05°15'E. During the afternoon the wind was strong from the south-east and the sea moderate to rough but by 2200/21 both had decreased and the visibility was maximum.

By 1930/21, two groups had been formed.
'Force B' was made up of the Galatea, Arethusa, Firedrake, Foxhound, Sikh and Somali. while 'Force C' was made up of the Aurora (SO), Penelope, Fame, Foresight, Mashona and Matabele.
Force C was stationed two miles astern of Force B and each force took up the night cruising formation that had been ordered. Force C had been ordered to act independently from 2000/21, when the whole force arrived in position 270°, Lister lighthouse, 12 miles, and was seen overtaking Force B at 2038/21 steering 143° steering for Thyborøn, Denmark.

Force B set course 143° at 17 knots for 26 miles to pass 16 miles off Lindesnes in order to avoid being sighted by any patrol or shipping close inshore.

At 2127/21, Force C was observed to the south-westward examining by searchlight a vessel showing its navigation lights.

At 2145/21, Force B altered course to 108° towards position 'T' which was 57°30'N, 08°23'E. The light of several steamers steering to the westwards were seen to the northward between 2230 and 2300/21. It was however Vice-Admiral Tovy's plan to proceed to position 'T' unobserved so no destroyers were detached to investigate them.

At 2223/21, HMS Arethusa intercepted a message from the German merchant vessel Heddernheim (4947 GRT, built 1921) and reported her bearing to be 034° first class. From the latest information (Admiralty's signal 1227/21), it seemed probable that this ship was the only large ship laden with iron ore which was south of Haugesund this night. It was possible she might steer for the Skaw. Vice-Admiral Tovey therefore changed the operations plan and altered course to 040° and increased speed to 20 knots at 2327/21 so as to intercept this merchant vessel off Oksøy about 0030/22.

Oskøy lighthouse was sighted at 0024/22 bearing 026° and at 0031/22 a ship, showing dimmed navigation lights was sighted but it proved to be the Danish merchant vessel Viborg (2028 GRT, built 1919). At 0044/22, course was altered to 245° to search westwards at 15 knots. It was not until 0059/22 that the Admiralty signal 2317/21 was received which stated that the Heddernheim had been stopped by the submarine HMS Ursula 8 miles east of the Skaw. No cause for the large error in the D/F bearing of HMS Arethusa has been found.

During the rest of the night Force B patrolled off Ryvingen and searched westwards along the coast. HMS Firedrake and HMS FoxhoundHMS Somali and HMS Sikh parted company at 0223/22 to search close inshore. They did not rejoin until daylight. At 0501/22, HMS Firedrake and HMS Foxhound were again detached to investigate ships and at 0545/22, HMS Firedrake reported that she sighted Force C bearing 135° returning to make rendezvous with Force B. They came back from the area of Hantsholm.

At daybreak the weather was overcast, wind was east force 4, visibility was good. Force B encountered a few merchant vessels which were examined.

At 0646/22, HMS Sikh and HMS Somali were sighted bearing 080°, 6 miles. Force C rejoined at 0658/22. At 0730/22, the combined force in the agreed rendezvous position and was steering 321°, speed 19 knots.

Both HMS Sikh and HMS Somali had sighted several merchant vessels. Some might have been German but they could not be closed in time and and could not be inspected as they were also in territorial waters.

At 0805/22, it was snowing heavily, and the visibility was reduced at times to two miles. Windwas east-south-east, force 2. The combined force was sweeping up the coast of Norway at 19 knots.

At 0915/22, HMS Galatea sighted a torpedo track but investigation left little doubt that it had not been a torpedo but a fish as a large school of black fish was seen.

At 0922/22, HMS Somali reported a German vessel ahead and was ordered to capture her but not to enter territorial waters. HMS Somali fired a gun to bring the ship to, but was not able to stop her before she reached territorial waters. When the ship was one mile off the shore, the crew were seen to take to the boats. It is not known whether they had scuttled their ship. At 0932/22, HMS Somali was ordered to rejoin the force. On her return HMS Somali reported that the German vessel was the Butt (800 GRT, built 1909), homeport Bremen.

At 0948/22, HMS Firedrake was detached to examine a merchant vessel making a lot of smoke. At 0955/22, HMS Firedrake reported that it was a Danish merchant vessel.

At 1020/22, HMS Somali reported two merchant vessels ahead. HMS Somali then proceeded ahead to investigate. She rejoined at 1048 and reported that both vessels were also Danish.

At noon, HMS Somali spoke two more Danish vessels. Weather was now overcast, wind south, force 2, visibility maximum.

At 1203/22, a small warship very close inshore was sighted by HMS Galatea. It was identified as a Norwegian torpedo boat.

At 1212/22, in position 197°, 8 miles, Utsire lighthouse, course was altered to 263° in ordered tht it should appear from shore that the force was returning to Scapa Flow.

At 1315/22, course was altered to 240° and to 162° at 1340/22 and speed was adjusted to pass trough the following positions, 58°25'N, 04°28'E at 1600/22 and 58°06'N, 05°15'E. During the afternoon the wind freshened from the south-eastward, to force 6, and the sea became rather rough.

Vice-Admiral Tovey's intentions for the night were that the two forces were to be stationed 15 miles apart to avoud sight one another during the night. Both forces were to move 30 miles westward at 0130/23 so that whatever delay had occurred owing to investigations and boardings, they would still be at least 15 miles apart.

At 1810/22, Force C was ordered to take station 15 miles 270° from HMS Galatea.

At 1915/22, Force B took up night cruising formation, HMS Somali and HMS Sikh on the port quarter, HMS Foxhound and HMS Firedrake on the starboard quarter.

At 2050/22, the sky was overcast, visibility good, wind south-east, force 5, sea rough but decreasing.

About 2200/22, when 5 miles south of Lindesnes, HMS Galatea sighted a merchant vessel which turned out to be Danish and HMS Foxhound sighted a Norwegian merchant vessel.

The sweep was continued troughout the night according to plan and without incident. The wind at 0200 was east-southeast force 4, sky clear, slight east-south-east swell, visibility good. Around 0500/3, the force ran into rather rough water.

At 0610/23, when south of the approach to Farsund, HMS Foxhound was detached to investigate a large merchant ship which was found out to be Swedish.

At 0713/23, Force B sighted Force C and at 0740/23 the whole force was in formation again. Course was set to 272°, speed 22 knots.

The weather deteriorated rapidly. There were heavy snow showers and a south-easterly gale blowing by 0900/23.

At 1143/23, HMS Aurora and all destroyers were detached to Scapa Flow. Visibility was then about 1.5 miles. The three remaining cruisers altered course and proceeded to Rosyth where they arrived around 0030/24.

HMS Aurora and the destroyers arrived at Scapa Flow around 1130/24. (6)

24 Mar 1940

Convoy ON 22.

This convoy was formed off Methill on 24 March 1940. It arrived in Norwegian waters near Bergen on 27 March 1940.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anna (Finnish, 1043 GRT, built 1897), Asiatic (British, 3741 GRT, built 1923), Barosund (Finnish, 1015 GRT, built 1920), Breda (Norwegian, 1260 GRT, built 1915), Ek (Norwegian, 995 GRT, built 1911), Eldrid (Norwegian, 1712 GRT, built 1915), Finse (Norwegian, 1618 GRT, built 1916), Gallia (Swedish, 1436 GRT, built 1926), Harlaw (British, 1141 GRT, built 1911) (To Invergordon only), Havnia (Norwegian, 1571 GRT, built 1888), Hill (Norwegian, 496 GRT, built 1920), Iris (Norwegian, 1171 GRT, built 1901), Jaerden (Norwegian, 902 GRT, built 1918), Kalix (Swedish, 2801 GRT, built 1913), Lysaker (Norwegian, 910 GRT, built 1919), Maurita (Norwegian, 1569 GRT, built 1925), P. L. Pahlsson (Swedish, 1533 GRT, built 1916), Pan (Norwegian, 1309 GRT, built 1922), Roald Jarl (Norwegian, 1404 GRT, built 1913), Romanby (British, 4887 GRT, built 1927), Sarp (Norwegian, 1113 GRT, built 1916), Sekstant (Norwegian, 1626 GRT, built 1919), Strait Fisher (Norwegian, 573 GRT, built 1917) (To Scapa Flow only), Union (Norwegian, 607 GRT, built 1893) and Vigo (Norwegian, 710 GRT, built 1920). These were joined later at sea by 7 merchant vessels that departed Kirkwall in the morning of March 16th, these were; Birk (Norwegian, 3664 GRT, built 1920), Hulda Thorden (Finnish, 2255 GRT, built 1900), Kaupanger (Norwegian, 1584 GRT, built 1930), Riverton (British, 5378 GRT, built 1928), Standard (Norwegian, 1264 GRT, built 1930), Tora Elise (Norwegian, 721 GRT, built 1919) and William Blumer (Norwegian, 3604 GRT, built 1920).

Escort was provided by destroyers HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN).

Cover was provided by the licht cruisers HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN).

The Kirkwall section was escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN).

9 Apr 1940
At 0700 hours (zone -1), HMS Manchester (Capt. H.H. Bousfield, RN) and HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN) both joined the C-in-C in the Home Fleet.

At 1140 hours, HMS Manchester (Capt. H.H. Bousfield, RN), HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) were detached for an operation in Norwegian territorial waters (operate against German forces in water at and around Bergen). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. A.W. Buzzard, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN).

Soon after 1400 hours however a signal was received cancelling the operation and the ships set course to re-join the fleet.

In the afternoon the German Luftwaffe however started to attack the ships and near missed lightly damaged HMS Southampton and HMS Glasgow. HMS Gurkha was however sunk. Survivors were picked up by HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) who was also on her way to join the Home Fleet at sea.

Later on the 9th most of the ships involved in the intended opertion against Bergen were ordered to proceed to Scapa Flow or Sullom Voe for refuelling. (7)

11 Apr 1940

Convoy NP 1.

This troop convoy departed the Clyde on 11 April 1940 for Harstad, Norway. In the end the convoy was split up and one part arrived at Harstad on 15 April. The other part arrived off Namsos on 16 April.

It was made up of the troopships Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931).

They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Roper, RN).

Early in the afternoon of 12 April the troopships Batory (Polish, 14387 GRT, built 1936) and Chrobry (Polish, 11442 GRT, built 1939) departed Scapa Flow to join convoy NP 1 at sea.

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN), HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Whirlwind (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN). The netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN) also departed Scapa Flow with these ships.

Around 1600/12, the light cruisers HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral G. Layton, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy at sea which they did around 1945/12.

Shortly afterwards the convoy was also joined by the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Brazen (Lt.Cdr. M. Culme-Seymour, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) which had sailed from Sullom Voe around 1130/12.

Late in the evening of 12 April repair ship HMS Vindictive (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Codrington (Capt. G.E. Creasy, MVO, RN), HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy which they did late in the afternoon of the 13th.

Coming south from a patrol off the Vestfjord area were the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN). These ships made rendez-vous with the convoy in the afternoon of the 13th after which HMS Repulse with the three J-class destroyers continued on towards Scapa Flow while HMS Valiant joined the convoy.

On April 14th it was decided that some of the troops were to be sent to Namsos and the convoy split up;

Troopships Chrobry and Empress of Australia escorted by the light cruisers HMS Manchester and HMS Birmingham, AA cruiser HMS Cairo and the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Vanoc and HMS Whirlwind split off late in the afternoon. This convoy arrived off Namsos early in the morning of the 16th.

The remainder of the ships; troopships Batory, Monarch of Bermuda, Reina del Pacifico, repair ship HMS Vindictive and netlayer HMS Protector with their escort made up of the battleship HMS Valiant and the destroyers HMS Codrington, HMS Amazon, HMS Acasta, HMS Ardent, HMS Brazen, HMS Fearless, HMS Griffin, HMS Volunteer and HMS Witherington arrived at Vaagsfjord late in the morning of the 15th. They had been escorted in by the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN).

24 Apr 1940
A bombardment of the Narvik area was carried out by the following ships; battleship HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN), HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN) and the destroyer HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN). A/S protection for these ships was provided by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, RN), HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, RN), HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN), ORP Blyscawica (Kmdr.por. (Cdr.) S.M. Nahorski) and ORP Grom (Kmdr.ppor. (Cdr.) A. Hulewicz).

HMS Effingham sank the British merhant ship (she had been captured by the Germans when they invaded Narvik) Riverton (5378 GRT, built 1928) inside Narvik Harbour. Otherwise the result of the bombardment was difficult to observe due to the bad visibility. (8)

1 May 1940
In the Narvik area, German forces were bombarded by the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. O. Bevir, RN) and the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN, flying the flag of of Admiral of the Fleet W.H.D. Boyle (Lord Cork), GCB, GCVO, RN).

3 May 1940
In the Narvik area, German forces were bombarded by the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN).

13 May 1940
French troops were landed at Bjervik, Norway today. This is just to the north of Narvik. The town was captured successfully.

Naval ships involved in landing the troops and to provide cover were; battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. O. Bevir, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN) which both landed French troops, repair ship HMS Vindictive (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, RN), netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Havelock (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, RN) and HMS Wren (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN). They had departed Harstad (Tjeldsund) the previous day.

Air cover for this operation was provided, from a distance, by aircraft from HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN).

Later this day these ships also bombarded Narvik with the assistance of aircraft from the Ark Royal.

6 Jul 1940
HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) departed Immingham for patrol 'U'. They also reinforced the escort of convoy FN 215.

During the night of 6/7 July, they were reinforced on their patrol by the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) which had departed Immingham around 1930A/6 and returned there around 0730A/7.

8 Jul 1940
During the night of 8/9 July 1940, HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), reinforced the destroyers on patrol 'U'. These were still HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN).

HMS Aurora departed Immingham around 2200A/8 and returned around 1100A/9. (9)

10 Jul 1940
Around 2000A/10, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.G. Gordon, RN) and HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC, RN) departed Immingham for patrol 'U'.

At 0513A/11, HMS Aurora was attacked by a single German aircraft which dropped seven bombs which missed and fell on the starboard quarter. Around 0555A/11, she was attacked again but the aircraft dropped no bombs.

They returned to Immingham around 0900A/11. (9)

3 Aug 1940
Around 1920A/3, HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) departed Immingham to join and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) on patrol 'U' for the night.

HMS Aurora returned to the Humber around 0610C/4. (10)

30 Aug 1940
HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Immingham. (11)

31 Aug 1940
On 31 August 1940, a group of destroyers sailed from Immingham on a mine laying mission to the north of the Dutch island of Vlieland.

The minelaying destroyers were from the 20th Destroyer Flotilla, these were; HMS Express (Capt. J.G. Bickford, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, DSC, RN), HMS Icarus (Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN) and HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN). The minelayers were escorted by three destroyers of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, these were; HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN, with Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN = Capt.(D.5) on board), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Vortigern (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Howlett, RN).

At 2250/31, aerial reconnaissance reported a large number of German ships to the north of the Dutch island of Terschelling proceeding westwards. The destroyers of the 20th Destroyer Flotilla were ordered to jettison their mines and intercept, believing wrongly that the German ships were part of an invasion force.

At 2307/31, HMS Express struck a mine in position 53°25'N, 03°48'E. She was badly damaged but did not sink. HMS Esk went to her assistance and hit mine at 2325/31, she sank immediately. HMS Ivanhoe also went to her assistance and hit a mine at 0051/1. She was badly damaged, but she was able to proceed for a while.

HMS Jupiter, HMS Kelvin and HMS Vortiger were behind the minelaying destroyers providing cover for the operation. HMS Jupiter and HMS Kelvin went to the aid of the damaged destroyers while HMS Vortigern remained behind to mark the gap in the minefield for their return.

The escort destroyers, HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN) and HMS Hambledon (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN), which were on patrol off the coast near Harwich were also ordered to assist.

The minesweepers HMS Leda (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC, RN) and HMS Saltash (Lt.Cdr. T.R. Fowke, RN), motor torpedo boats HMS MTB 14, HMS MTB 15, HMS MTB 16, HMS MTB 17, HMS MTB 29, HMS MTB 30, HMS MTB 31 and the tugs HMS St. Cyrus, Irishman, Norman, Wheeldon were also ordered to go the assistance of the crippled ships.

Around 0800/1, most of the crew of HMS Ivanhoe abandoned ship and boarded MTB 14, MTB 16, MTB 17. Thirty of the crew remained onboard trying to save the ship.

At 0941/1, HMS Express was taken in tow by HMS Kelvin, but when the towing line fouled HMS Kelvin'spropeller the tow was taken over by HMS Jupiter until it was passed over to the tug HMS St. Cyrus. Close cover for the towing group was provided by HMS Vortigern and HMS Hambledon. HMS Jupiter and HMS Kelvin formed a strike group in case German warships would arrive on the scene. HMS Express was towed to Hull where she arrived on 2 September 1940 and was out of action for around a year.

At 1415/1, the remaining crew of HMS Ivanhoe had to board MTB 15 as HMS Ivanhoe was rapidly sinking.

Later that afternoon a British aircraft reported that HMS Ivanhoe was still afloat. HMS Kelvin, HMS Garth and MTB 30 were ordered to search for her. At 1619/1, HMS Garth spotted HMS Ivanhoe while it was being attacked by a German aircraft. HMS Kelvin also arrived on the scene and she sank the wreck of HMS Ivanhoe at 1700/1 with a torpedo.

Meanwhile the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) had departed the Humber around 0130/1, to make rendez-vous with HMS Jupiter, HMS Kelvin and HMS Vortigern after the minelaying mission. As the minelaying mission was cancelled they returned to Immingham and while doing so HMS Galatea struck a mine off the Cleaner Shoal Buoy near the Humber light vessel. Damage was however only minor. The cruiser arrived at Immingham around 0800/1.

5 Sep 1940
Around 2130A/5, HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) departed Immingham for Sheerness where they arrived around 0845A/6. They had been escorted by the destroyers HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN). These destroyers then returned to the Humber. (12)

8 Sep 1940
Around 2130A/8, the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Campbell (Capt. C.R.L. Parry, RN), HMS Venetia (Lt.Cdr. D.L.C. Craig, RN), HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.E.F. Hussey, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN), HMS Hambledon (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Holderness (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) departed Sheerness to bombard enemy shipping concentrations at Calais and Boulogne.

HMS Galatea with HMS Campbell, HMS Vesper and HMS Garth were to bombard Calais while HMS Aurora, HMS Venetia, HMS Hambledon and HMS Holderness bombarded Boulogne.

Between 0225A/9 and 0245A/9, British aircraft dropped flares over both ports. No shipping was however found to be present in Calais Roads so HMS Galatea and her escorts did not conduct a bombardment. HMS Aurora and her escorts however did bombarded the Boulogne harbour area.

They returned to Sheerness around 0700A/9. HMS Galatea had detonated a mine around 0525A/9 and was again damaged [see 1 September] damage was again minor. As Galatea was due for refit it was decided not to undertake repairs. HMS Galatea was to commence refit and repairs at the Chatham Dockyard upon completion of the refit of HMS Arethusa. For the moment HMS Galatea remained at Sheerness.

During the same night the destroyers HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN), HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Hewitt, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN), HMS Berkeley (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Walters, RN) and HMS Fernie (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, RN) departed Portsmouth to conducted a sweep along the French coast just south of Boulogne up to Cape Antifer (near Le Havre). On completion of the sweep they returned to Portsmouth. (13)

21 Nov 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow.

These were followed by RIX (range and inclination) exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN).

And finally, HMS Kenya conducted more gunnery exercises. (14)

23 Nov 1940

Laying of minefield SN 11 off Iceland.

Timespan: 23 to 29 November 1940.

The auxiliary minelayers HMS Agamemnon (Capt. (Retd. ) F. Ratsey, RN), HMS Menestheus (Capt. W.H.D. Friedberger, RN), HMS Port Quebec (Capt. (Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN), Southern Prince (A/Capt. E.M.C. Barraclough, RN) and their destroyer escort made up of HMS Bath (Cdr.(Retd.) A.V. Hemming, RN) and HMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN) departed Port ZA (Loch Alsh) for minelaying mission SN 11 off Iceland.

The destroyer HMS Keppel (Lt. R.J. Hanson, RN) departed Scapa Flow in the afternoon to rendezvous with the minelaying force off the Butt of Lewis at 2045/23.

Close cover for this minelaying force was provided by the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) which also sailed from Scapa Flow.

A cover force made up of the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eskimo (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, RN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 1730/23.

The minelaying force successfully laid the minefield and returned to Port ZA (Loch Alsh) on the 26th minus HMS Keppel which was detached to fuel in Iceland and join the cover force afterwards.

The covering returned to Scapa Flow in the morning of the 29th.

9 Dec 1940
HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) conducted 4" AA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. These were followed by a night encounter exercise with HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN). (15)

11 Dec 1940
HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (16)

22 Jan 1941

Operation Rubble

Escape of five Norwegian merchant vessels from Gotenburg, Sweden to the U.K.

The Norwegian merchant vessels; Elizabeth Bakke (5450 GRT, built 1937), John Bakke (4718 GRT, built 1929), Ranja (tanker, 6355 GRT, built 1928), Tai Shan (6962 GRT, built 1929) and Taurus (4767 GRT, built 1935).

During their escape the merchant vessels narrowly miss the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Kattegat during their passage to the Atlantic.

The light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 2250A/23 to make rendez-vous with the escaping ships.

The light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) with the destroyers HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN), HMS Electra (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 0130A/24.

As the Elizabeth Bakke was the much faster then the other ships she proceeded independently. She arrived at Kirkwall at 0903A/25 not having been enable to make rendez-vous with the destroyer HMS Echo which had ben detached to escort her.

HMS Naiad and HMS Aurora met steamers Tai Shan and Taurus. They turned these steamers over the other warships group and then proceeded east again to meet the John Bakke and Ranja. These two merchant vessels were under air attack when the cruisers found them. Ranja sustained some minor damage and her First Officer was wounded.

Taurus arrived at Kirkwall at 0430A/25 escorted by HMS Electra, these were followed by the Tai Shan around 0535 hours.

The John Bakke arrived at Kirkwall at 0700A/25 escorted by HMS Aurora.

The final ship to arrive at Kirkwall was the tanker Ranja. She arrived at 0815A/25 escorted by HMS Naiad.

All warships involved then returned to Scapa Flow. All arrived on the 25th.

25 Jan 1941
As the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were reported to have left Kiel, Germany for operations in the Atlantic the Home Fleet sailed around midnight during the night of the 25th/26th to intercept them.

The ships that sailed from Scapa Flow were the following, battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN), battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Mauritius (Cdr. A.R. Pedder, RN), HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN), HMS Electra (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Keppel (Lt. R.J. Hanson, RN) and ORP Piorun (Kmdr.por. (Cdr.) E.J.S. Plawski).

On the 27th, HMS Rodney, HMS Birmingham, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Mauritius and the destroyers HMS Beagle, HMS Brilliant, HMS Keppel and Piorun parted company to return to Scapa Flow which they did around 2345A/28 except for HMS Keppel and ORP Piorun which returned to Scapa Flow at 0700A/29.

They were to remain at Scapa Flow until 30 January when they would sail to relieve units still on patrol to enable them to return to base.

On 30 January the light cruisers HMS Naiad and HMS Phoebe arrived at Scapa Flow at 1100 hours. They were followed about half an hour later by the light cruisers HMS Galatea and HMS Arethusa.

HMS Nelson, HMS Repulse, HMS Bedouin, HMS Matabele, HMS Punjabi, HMS Tartar, HMS Echo, HMS Electra and HMS Escapade arrived at Scapa Flow at 1700A/30.

Light cruiser HMS Aurora also returned to Scapa Flow on 30 January.

8 Feb 1941
In response to the sighting of the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau by HMS Ramillies (Capt. A.D. Read, RN) the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) and the destroyers HMS Eskimo (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 1830A/8. They were ordered to proceed to position 62°30'N, 16°00'W.

At 1900A/8 the battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), destroyers HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) departed Scapa FLow to take up a position seventy miles to the south-south-east of the 'Repulse'-group.

Around 2300A/8, the light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN) departed the Clyde for operations. She was later ordered to join the 'Rodney'-group.

In the morning of February, 9th, the battleships HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) and HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill Crichton, DSC, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) departed Scapa Flow to proceed to position 65°00'N, 08°30'W.

HMS Arethusa and HMS Nigeria were sent to Reykjavik at 2100/12th to refuel prior after which they were to resume patrol.

HMS Mauritius and HMS Dido returned to Scapa Flow around 1700A/11.

HMS Nelson, HMS Eclipse, HMS Electra and HMS Tartar returned to Scapa Flow around 1830A/11.

Around 2030A/11, HMS Rodney and HMS King George V, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Bedouin, HMS Maori, HMS Zulu, HMS Brilliant returned to Scapa Flow. The destroyer HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN) was with them apprently she had joined them at sea. HMS Boreas had been detached to participate in an A/S hunt.

HMS Galatea and HMS Aurora returned to Scapa Flow around 0145A/13th.

HMS Repulse, HMS Eskimo, HMS Matabele and HMS Punjabi returned to Scapa Flow around 0315A/13.

15 Feb 1941

Laying of minefields SN 68A and SN 7B.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

The auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (A/Capt. E.M.C. Barraclough, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Agamemnon (Capt. (Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN) and HMS Port Quebec (Capt. (Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN) departed Port ZA (Loch Alsh) around 1815A/15 to lay two minefields; SN 68A (828 mines) and SN 7B (810 mines). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN).

They were joined around 0950A/15 by the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow around 0030A/16.

Distant cover was provided by the light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) which departed Scapa Flow around 0415A/16 and Reykjavik, Iceland at 0900A/14 respectively.

The minefields were laid on 17 February as follows;
SN 68A, made up of 828 mines, was laid along a line between positions 62°45'1"N, 10°46'0"W and 63°00'2"N, 11°15'8"W. The minelayers laid as follows, HMS Southern Prince 282 mines, HMS Agamemnon 272 mines and HMS Port Quebec 274 mines.

SN 7B, made up of 810 mines, was laid along a line between positions 62°59'0"N, 08°23'0"W and 63°13'7"N, 08°54'8"W. The minelayers laid as follows, HMS Southern Prince 280 mines, HMS Agamemnon 257 mines and HMS Port Quebec 273 mines.

HMS Southern Prince, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Port Quebec, HMS Brighton, HMS Charlestown, HMS Lancaster and HMS Echo arrived at Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) on the 18th.

HMS Edinburgh and HMS Nigeria arrived at Scapa Flow around 1630A/18.

HMS Aurora arrived at Scapa Flow around 1915A/18 having parted company with the 1st Minelaying Squadron around 1415A/18.

HMS Echo arrived at Scapa Flow around 0800A/19. (17)

17 Feb 1941

Convoy TC 9.

This troop convoy departed Halifax on 17 February 1941 and arrived in the Clyde on 27 February 1941.

Is was made up of the troopships: Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Johan van Oldenbarneveld (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Orontes (British, 20097 GRT, built 1925) and Warwick Castle (British, British, 20107 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Halifax it was escorted by the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Wolfe (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.G.A. Shuttleworth, RN).

HMS Wolfe was detached on 18 February 1941.

On 20 February the light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy, She relieved HMS Royal Sovereign on 23 February which then returned to Halifax arriving on 28 February. On 24 February the destroyers HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN), HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RN) and HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, DSC, RN) joined the convoy. HMS Havelock was detached on 25 February. The three Canadian destroyers remained with the convoy until 26 February.

On the 25 February, light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and Léopard (Lt.Cdr. J. Evenou) joined the convoy; Léopard already being detached later on the 25th. Destroyer HMS Mistral (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) joined the convoy on the 26th. Destroyer HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN) also escorted the convoy in the Western Approaches. The convoy reached the Minches in the evening of 26 February. Light cruiser HMS Edinburg with the destroyers HMS Inglefield, HMS Echo and HMS Eclipse then proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving at 0100/27.

Light cruiser HMS Aurora with the destroyers Mistral and HMS Churchill took the convoy into the Clyde and arrived at Greenock on the 27th.

5 Mar 1941
HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (18)

17 Mar 1941

Minelaying operation SN 69.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 1900A/17, the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) for minelaying operation SN 69. The 1st Minelaying Squadron was made up of the auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (Cdr. C.L. Firth, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN), HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), and HMS Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN) and HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN).

Around 2300A/17, the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the 1st Minelaying Squadron for close cover. They made rendezvous with the 1st Minelaying Squadron around 0930A/18.

Distant cover for the operation was provided by the battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Boadicea (A/Cdr. E.C.L. Turner, RN) and HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) which were already at sea to the south of Iceland.

Minefield SN 69, made up of 2050 mines, was laid between 1010A/19 and 1405A/19. It was laid along a line between positions 63°44'0"N, 12°07'5"W and 64°32'6"N, 12°47'6"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Southern Prince 562 mines, HMS Agamemnon 530 mines, HMS Menestheus 410 mines and HMS Port Quebec 548 mines.

HMS Galatea and HMS Aurora parted company with the 1st Minelaying Squadron around 2000A/20. They arrived at Scapa Flow around 0345A/21.

The 1st Minelaying Squadron and their escorting destroyers returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 0759A/21. (19)

25 Mar 1941

Minelaying operation SN 4.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 1025A/25, the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) for minelaying operation SN 4. The 1st Minelaying Squadron was made up of the auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (Cdr. C.L. Firth, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN), HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), and HMS Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN) and HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN).

Around 0845A/25, the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the 1st Minelaying Squadron for close cover. They made rendezvous with the 1st Minelaying Squadron around 1445A/25.

At 0953A/26, A lone German Focke Wolf Condor aircraft attacked the 1st Minelaying Squadron and HMS Menestheus was hit by two bombs but they fortunately did not explode until clear of the ship. The damage to Menestheus was minor and could be repairs locally.

Minefield SN 4, made up of 2050 mines, was laid between 1130A/26 and 1430A/26. It was laid along a line between positions 60°45'0"N, 06°35'8"W and 60°18'7"N, 06°02'3"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Southern Prince 562 mines, HMS Agamemnon 530 mines, HMS Menestheus 410 mines and HMS Port Quebec 548 mines.

HMS Galatea and HMS Aurora parted company with the 1st Minelaying Squadron around 2350A/20. They arrived at Scapa Flow around 0700A/27.

While passing through the Minches the 1st Minelaying Squadron ran into a convoy and as a result HMS Agamemnon and HMS Castleton collided with each other. Both needed to proceed to shipsyards for repairs. HMS Agamemnon first took part in another minelaying mission but she was not able to lay a full outfit of mines.

The 1st Minelaying Squadron and their escorting destroyers returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 0731A/27. (20)

30 Mar 1941
Around 0330A/30, the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN) departed Scapa Flow to try to intercept the German heavy cruiser (pocket battleship) Admiral Scheer. At 1237A/30 a signal was sent to Rear-Admiral Curteis ordering him to detach HMS Aurora and HMS Dido to return to Scapa Flow and to proceed to patrol to the south of Iceland with HMS Galatea and HMS Arethusa. (21)

5 Apr 1941

Minelaying operation SN 8.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 0630A/5, the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) for minelaying operation SN 8. The 1st Minelaying Squadron was made up of the auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (Cdr. C.L. Firth, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN), HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN), HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), and HMS Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN) and HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN).

Around 0720A/5, the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the 1st Minelaying Squadron for close cover. They made rendezvous with the 1st Minelaying Squadron around 1230A/5.

Distant cover was provided by the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN) and HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN). HMS Norfolk had been on the Denmark Strait patrol since 29 March. HMS Suffolk departed Scapa Flow around 1000A/5. HMS Norfolk arrived at Hvalfjord around 0630A/8. HMS Suffolk returned to Scapa Flow around 0820A/8.

Minefield SN 8, made up of 1969 mines, was laid between 1445A/6 and 1815A/6. It was laid along a line between positions 62°38'0"N, 10°08'0"W and 63°15'0"N, 11°29'0"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Southern Prince 562 mines, HMS Agamemnon 450 mines, HMS Menestheus 410 mines and HMS Port Quebec 547 mines. HMS Agamemnon was not able to lay a full outfit of mines due to damage she had sustained during a collision in an earlier minelaying mission.

HMS Galatea and HMS Aurora parted company with the 1st Minelaying Squadron around 0001A/8. They arrived at Scapa Flow around 0640A/8.

The 1st Minelaying Squadron and their escorting destroyers returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) in the morning of the 8th. (22)

18 May 1941

Chase and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck,
18 to 27 May 1941.

Part I.

Departure of the Bismarck from the Baltic.

At 2130B/18 the German battleship Bismarck and the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen departed Gotenhafen for an anti-shipping raid in the North Atlantic. The following morning they were joined off Cape Arkona by the German destroyers Z 16 / Friedrich Eckhold and Z 23. They then proceeded through the Great Belt. The four ships were joined by a third destroyer, Z 10 / Hans Lody shortly before midnight on 19 May.

First reports of Bismarck and British dispositions 20-21 May 1941.

On 20 May 1941 two large warships with a strong escort were seen at 1500 hours northward out of the Kattegat. This information originated from the Swedish cruiser Gotland which had passed the Germans off the Swedish coast in the morning. The Naval Attaché at Stockholm received the news at 2100/20 and forwarded it to the Admiralty. At 0900/21 the Bismarck and her consorts entered Kors Fjord, near Bergen, Norway and anchored in nearby fiords. A reconnaissance aircraft flying over Bergen at 1330/21 reported having seen two Hipper class heavy cruisers there. One of these ships was later identified on a photograph as being the Bismarck. This intelligence went out at once to the Home Fleet.

The ships of the Home Fleet were at this time widely dispersed on convoy duties, patrols, etc. Some of the units were ranging as far as Gibraltar and Freetown. The Commander-in-Chief, A/Admiral Sir John Tovey, was at Scapa Flow in his flagship, HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN). With him were her newly commissioned sister ship HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN), the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, with Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN, onboard), the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN). HMS Victorious was under orders to escort troop convoy WS 8B from the Clyde to the Middle East. HMS Neptune was working up for service with the Mediterranean Fleet and was to escort convoy WS 8X from the Clyde to the Middle East on completion. She did not sail to operate against the Bismarck having only just began her post-refit work-up programme.

Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker (commanding the first Cruiser Squadron), with the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN) (flag) and HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN) was on patrol in the Denmark Straight. The light cruisers HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) were patrolling between Iceland and the Faeroes. The battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) was at the Clyde to escort troop convoy WS 8B.

Action taken by the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet

Admiral Tovey took the following action when he received the news the Bismarck had been spotted at Bergen. Vice-Admiral Holland with the Hood, Prince of Wales, Achates, Antelope, Anthony, Echo, Electra and Icarus was ordered to cover Rear Admiral Wake-Walker's cruisers in the Denmark Straight. His force departed Scapa Flow around 0100/22.

HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN), which was taking the Vice-Admiral, Orkneys and Shetlands, to Reykjavik on a visit of inspection, was ordered to remain at Hvalfiord and placed at Rear-Admiral Wake-Walkers disposal. HMS Manchester and HMS Birmingham were ordered to top off with fuel at Skaalefiord and them to resume their patrol. The other ships that remained at Scapa Flow were brought to short notice for steam.

The Free French submarine FFS Minerve (Lt. P.M. Sonneville), which was on patrol off south-west Norway was ordered to proceed to position 61°53'N, 03°15'E and HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, RN) was ordered to proceed to position 62°08'N, 05°08'E which is to the west of Stadtlandet.

The sailing of HMS Repulse and HMS Victorious with troop convoy WS 8B was cancelled and the ships were placed at the disposal of Admiral Tovey.

A reconnaissance aircraft flying over Bergen reported that the German ships were gone. This information reached Admiral Tovey at 2000/22. HMS Suffolk which had been fuelling at Hvalfiord was ordered to rejoin HMS Norfolk in the Denmark Strait. HMS Arethusa was ordered to join HMS Manchester and HMS Birmingham to form a patrol line between Iceland and the Faeroes. Vice-Admiral Holland, on his way to Iceland was told to cover the patrols in Denmark Strait north of 62°N. Admiral Tovey would cover the patrols south of 62°N.

Commander-in-Chief leaves Scapa Flow on 22 May 1941

The King George V, with Admiral Tovey on board, departed Scapa Flow at 2245/22. With the King George V sailed, HMS Victorious, HMS Galatea, HMS Aurora, HMS Kenya, HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN), HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN), HMS Active, HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi, HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMAS Nestor. HMS Lance however had to return to Scapa Flow due to defects.

At A.M. 23 May they were joined off the Butt of Lewis by HMS Repulse escorted by HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN) and HMCS Saguenay (Lt. P.E. Haddon, RCN) coming from the Clyde area which they departed on 22 May.

The Commander-in-Chief was 230 miles north-west of the Butt of Lewis in approximate position 60°20'N, 12°30'W when at 2032/23 a signal came in from HMS Norfolk that she had sighted the Bismarck in the Denmark Strait.

HMS Suffolk and HMS Norfolk made contact with the Bismarck in the Denmark Strait on 23 May 1941.

At 1922/23 HMS Suffolk sighted the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen in position 67°06'N, 24°50'W. They were proceeding to the south-west skirting the edge of the ice in Denmark Strait. HMS Suffolk immediately sent out an enemy report and made for the mist to the south-east. HMS Norfolk then commenced closing and sighted the enemy at 2030 hours. They were only some six nautical miles off and the Bismarck opened fire. HMS Norfolk immediately turned away, was not hit and also sent out an enemy report.

Although HMS Suffolk had sighted the enemy first and also sent the first contact report this was not received by the Commander-in-Chief. The enemy was 600 miles away to the north-westward.

Vice-Admiral Holland had picked up the signal from the Suffolk. He was at that moment about 300 nautical miles away. Course was changed to intercept and speed was increased by his force to 27 knots.

Dispositions, 23 May 1941.

At the Admiralty, when the Norfolk's signal came in, one of the first considerations was to safeguard the convoys at sea. At this time there were eleven crossing the North-Atlantic, six homeward and five outward bound. The most important convoy was troop convoy WS 8B of five ships which had left the Clyde the previous day for the Middle East. She was at this moment escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), light cruiser (AA cruiser) HMS Cairo (A/Capt. I.R.H. Black, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), ORP Piorun (Kmdr.por. (Cdr.) E.J.S. Plawski), HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, RCN) and the escort destroyer HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN). HMS Repulse was also intended to have sailed with this convoy but she had joined the Commander-in-Chief instead.

Force H was sailed around 0200/24 from Gibraltar to protect this important convoy on the passage southwards. Force H was made up of the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt Sir R.R. McGrigor, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN).

HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk shadowing Bismarck 23 / 24 May 1941.

During the night of 23 / 24 May 1941 HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk hung on to the enemy, The Norfolk on their port quarter, Suffolk on their starboard quarter. All through the night they sent signals with updates on the position, course and speed of the enemy. At 0516 hours HMS Norfolk sighted smoke on her port bow and soon HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales came in sight.

HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales 23 / 24 May 1941.

At 2054/23 the four remaining escorting destroyers were ordered to follow at best speed in the heavy seas if they were unable to keep up with the capital ships which were proceeding at 27 knots. Two destroyers, HMS Antelope and HMS Anthony had been ordered to proceed to Iceland to refuel at 1400/23. The destroyers all managed to keep up for now and at 2318 hours they were ordered to form a screen ahead of both capital ships. At 0008/24 speed was reduced to 25 knots and course was altered to due north at 0017 hours. It was expected that contact with the enemy would be made at any time after 0140/24. It was just now that the cruisers lost contact with the enemy in a snowstorm and for some time no reports were coming in. At 0031 hours the Vice-Admiral signalled to the Prince of Wales that if the enemy was not in sight by 0210 hours he would probably alter course to 180° until the cruisers regained touch. He also signalled that he intended to engage the Bismarck with both capital ships and leave the Prinz Eugen to Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Prince of Wales' Walrus aircraft was ready for catapulting and it was intended to fly it off, but visibility deteriorated and in the end it was defuelled and stowed away at 0140 hours. A signal was then passed to the destroyers that when the capital ships would turn to the south they were to continue northwards searching for the enemy. Course was altered to 200° at 0203/24. As there was now little chance of engaging the enemy before daylight the crews were allowed to rest.

At 0247/24 HMS Suffolk regained touch with the enemy and by 0300 hours reports were coming in again. At 0353 hours HMS Hood increased speed to 28 knots and at 0400/24 the enemy was estimated to be 20 nautical miles to the north-west. By 0430 hours visibility had increased to 12 nautical miles. At 0440 hours orders were given to refuel the Walrus of HMS Prince of Wales but due to delays due to water in the fuel it was not ready when the action began and it was damaged by splinters and eventuelly jettisoned into the sea.

At 0535/24 hours a vessel was seen looming on the horizon to the north-west, it was the Bismarck. She was some 17 nautical miles away bearing 330°. Prinz Eugen was ahead of her but this was not immediately realised and as the silhoutte of the German ships was almost similar the leading ship was most likely thought to be the Bismarck on board HMS Hood.

Battle of the Denmark Strait, action with the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Loss of HMS Hood.

At 0537/24 HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales were turned together 40° to starboard towards the enemy. At 0549 hours course was altered to 300° and the left hand ship was designated as the target. This was a mistake as this was the Prinz Eugen and not the Bismarck. This was changed to the Bismarck just before fire was opened at 0552 hours. At 0554 hours the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen also opened fire. In the meantime Prince of Wales had also opened fire at 0053 hours. Her first salvo was over. The sixth salvo was a straddle. The Norfolk and Suffolk were too far astern of the enemy to take part in the action.

At 0555 hours Hood and Prince of Wales turned two points to port. This opened up Prince of Wales' A arcs as her ninth salvo was fired.

Shortly before 0605 hours Hood signalled that another turn of two points to port had to be executed. Bismarck had just fired her fifth salvo when the Hood was rent in two by a huge explosion rising apparently between the after funnel and the mainmast. The fore part began to sink seperately, bows up, whilst the after part remained shrouded in a pall of smoke. Three or four minutes later, the Hood had vanished between the waves leaving a vast cloud of smoke drifting away to the leeward. She sank in position 63°20'N, 31°50'W (the wreck was found in 2001 in approximate position 63°22'N, 32°17'W, the exact position has not been released to the public.)

The Prince of Wales altered course to starboard to avoid the wreckage of the Hood. The Bismarck now shifted fire from her main and secondary armament to her. Range was now 18000 yards. Within a very short time she was hit by four 15" and three 6" shells. At 0602 hours a large projectile wrecked the bridge, killing or wounding most of the personnel and about the same time the ship was holed underwater aft. It was decided temporarily to discontinue the action and at 0613 hours HMS Prince of Wales turned away behind a smoke screen. The after turret continued to fire but it soon malfunctioned and was out of action until 0825 hours. When the Prince of Wales ceased firing the range was 14500 yards. She had fired 18 salvos from the main armament and five from the secondary. The Bismarck made no attempt to follow or continue the action. She had also not escaped unscatched and had sustained two severe hits.

Such was the end of the brief engagement. The loss by an unlucky hit of HMS Hood with Vice-Admiral Holland, Captain Kerr and almost her entire ships company was a grievous blow, but a great concentration of forces was gathering behind the Commander-in-Chief, and Admiral Somerville with Force H was speeding towards him from the south.

The chase

When the Hood blew up, HMS Norfolk was 15 nautical miles to the northward coming up at 28 knots. By 0630/24 she was approaching HMS Prince of Wales and Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker, signalling his intention to keep in touch, told her to follow at best speed. The destroyers that had been with HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales were still to the northward. They were ordered to search for survivors but only HMS Electra found three. The Prince of Wales reported that she could do 27 knots and she was told to open out to 10 nautical miles on a bearing of 110° so that HMS Norfolk could fall back on her if she was attacked. Far off the Prinz Eugen could be seen working out to starboard of the Bismarck while the chase continued to the southward.

At 0757 hours, HMS Suffolk reported that the Bismarck had reduced speed and that she appeared to be damaged. Shortly afterwards a Sunderland that had taken off from Iceland reported that the Bismarck was leaving behind a broad track of oil. The Commander-in-Chief with HMS King George V was still a long way off, about 360 nautical miles to the eastward, and Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker on the bridge of HMS Norfolk had to make an important decision, was he to renew the action with the help of the Prince of Wales or was he to make it his business to ensure that the enemy could be intercepted and brought to action by the Commander-in-Chief. A dominant consideration in the matter was the state of the Prince of Wales. Her bridge had been wrecked, she had 400 tons of water in her stern compartments and two of her guns were unserverable and she could go no more then 27 knots. She had only been commissioned recently and barely a week had passed since Captain Leach had reported her ready for service. Her turrets were of a new and an untried model, liable for 'teething' problems and evidently suffering from them, for at the end of the morning her salvoes were falling short and wide. It was doubted if she was a match for the Bismarck in her current state and it was on these grounds that Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker decided that he would confine himself to shadowing and that he would not attempt to force on an action. Soon after 1100/24 visibility decreased and the Bismarck was lost out of sight in mist and rain.

Measures taken by the Admiralty, 24 May 1941.

After the loss of HMS Hood the following measures were taken by the Admiralty. To watch for an attempt by the enemy to return to Germany, HMS Manchester, HMS Birmingham and HMS Arethusa had been ordered at 0120/24 to patrol off the north-east point of Iceland. They were told to proceed to this location with all despatch.

HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN), which with four destroyers was escorting the troopship Britannic (26943 GRT, built 1930) westward, was ordered at 1022/24 to steer west on a closing course and if the Britannic could not keep up she was to leave her with one of the destroyers. Rodney was about 550 nautical miles south-east of the Bismarck. At 1200/24 she left the Britannic in position 55°15'N, 22°25'W and left HMS Eskimo (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) with her. HMS Rodney then proceeded with HMS Somali (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) westwards on a closing course.

Two other capital ships were in the Atlantic; HMS Ramillies (Capt. A.D. Read, RN) and HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN). The Ramillies was escorting convoy HX 127 from Halifax and was some 900 nautical miles south of the Bismarck. She was ordered at 1144/24 to place herself to the westward of the enemy and leaving her convoy at 1212/24 in position 46°25'N, 35°24'W, she set course to the north. HMS Revenge was ordered to leave Halifax and close the enemy.

Light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN) was patrolling in the Atlantic between 44°N and 46°N for German merchant shipping and was ordered at 1250/24 to close the enemy and take on relief shadower. At 1430/24 she reported her position as 44°17'N, 23°56'W and she was proceeding on course 320° at 25 knots.

Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker was ordered to continue shadowing even if he ran short of fuel so to bring the Commander-in-Chief into action.

The Bismack turns due south at 1320 hours on 24 May 1941.

In the low state of visibility, HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk had to be constantly on the alert against the enemy falling back and attacking them. At 1320/24 the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen altered course to the south and reduced speed. HMS Norfolk sighted them through the rain at a range of only 8 nautical miles. Norfolk had to quickly turn away under the cover of a smoke screen.

It was at 1530/24 when HMS Norfolk received a signal made by the Commander-in-Chief at 0800/24 from which it was estimated that the Commander-in-Chief would be near the enemy at 0100/25. This was later changed to 0900/25.

At 1545/24, Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker was asked by the Admiralty to answer four questions;
1) State the remaining percentage of the Bismarck's fighting efficiency.
2) What amout of ammunition had the Bismarck expended.
3) What are the reasons for the frequent alterations of course by the Bismarck.
4) What are your intentions as regards to the Prince of Wales' re-engaging the Bismarck.

The answers by Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker were as follows.
1) Uncertain but high.
2) About 100 rounds.
3) Unaccountable except as an effort to shake off HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk.
4) Consider it wisely for HMS Prince of Wales to not re-engage the Bismarck until other capital ships are in contact, unless interception failed. Doubtful if she has the speed to force an action.

The afternoon drew on towards evening. Still the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen held on to the south while the Norfolk, Suffolk and Prince of Wales were still keeping her in sight.

At 1711/24 in order to delay the enemy if possible, by attacking him from astern, the Prince of Wales was stationed ahead of the Norfolk. The enemy was not in sight from the Norfolk at that time, but the Suffolk was still in contact.

At 1841/24 the Bismarck opened fire on the Suffolk. Her salvoes fell short, but one or two shorts came near enough to cause some minor damage to her hull plating aft. HMS Suffolk replied with nine broadsides before turning away behind a smoke screen.

On seeing the Suffolk being attacked, HMS Norfolk turned towards and she and HMS Prince of Wales opened fire, the latter firing 12 salvoes. By 1856 hours the action was over. Two of the guns on the Prince of Wales malfuntioned again. After the action the cruisers started to zig-zag due to fear for German submarines.

British dispositions at 1800 hours on 24 May 1941.

From the Admiralty at 2025/24, there went out a signal summarising the situation at 1800/24. The position, course and speed of the Bismarck was given as 59°10'N, 36°00'W, 180°, 24 knots with HMS Norfolk, HMS Suffolk and HMS Prince of Wales still in touch. The Commander-in-Chiefs estimated position at 1800/24 was 58°N, 30°W, with HMS King George V and HMS Repulse. HMS Victorious was with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron (HMS Galatea, HMS Aurora, HMS Kenya). They had parted company with the Commander-in-Chief at 1509/24. Heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) was in position 42°45'N, 20°10'W and had been ordered to leave her convoy and close the enemy. HMS Ramillies was in estimated position 45°45'N, 35°40'W. She had been ordered to place herself to the west of the enemy. HMS Manchester, HMS Birmingham and HMS Arethusa were returning from their position off the north-east of Iceland to refuel. HMS Revenge had left Halifax and was closing convoy HX 128. HMS Edinburgh was in approximate position 45°15'N, 25°10'W. She had been ordered to close and take over stand by shadower.

Evening of 24 May 1941.

At 2031/24 HMS Norfolk received a signal sent by the Commander-in-Chief at 1455/24 stating that aircraft from HMS Victorious might make an attack at 2200/24 and Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker now waited for an air attack which he expected at 2300 hours. By that time Bismarck had been lost from sight but at 2330/24 HMS Norfolk briefly sighted her at a distance of 13 nautical miles. At 2343/24 aircraft from HMS Victorious were seen approaching. They circled round HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Norfolk and the latter was able to direct them to the enemy. At 0009/25 heavy anti-aircraft gunfire was seen and the Bismarck was just visible as the aircraft attacked.

HMS Victorious and the 2nd Cruiser Squadron detached by the Commander-in-Chief.

At 1440/24 the Commander-in-Chief ordered the 2nd Cruiser Squadron (HMS Galatea, HMS Aurora, HMS Kenya, HMS Hermione) and HMS Victorious to a position within 100 nautical miles from Bismarck and to launch a torpedo bombing attack and maintain contact as long as possible. The object of the torpedo bombing attack was to slow the enemy down. On board the Victorious were only 12 Swordfish torpedo bombers and 6 Fulmar fighters. Victorious was only recently commissioned and her crew was still rather green. She had on board a large consignment of crated Hurricane fighters for Malta which were to be delivered to Gibraltar.

At 2208/24 HMS Victorious commenced launching 9 Swordfish in position 58°58'N, 33°17'E. Two minutes later al were on their way to find the Bismarck. The Squadron was led by Lt.Cdr.(A) E. Esmonde, RN.

HMS Victorious aircraft attack the Bismarck.

When the Swordfish took off from HMS Victorious the Bismarck was estimated to be in position 57°09'N, 36°44'W and was steering 180°, speed 24 knots. At 2330/24 they sighted the Bismarck but contact was lost in the bad weater. Shortly afterwards the Swordfish sighted HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk. HMS Norfolk guided them to the enemy which was 14 nautical miles on her starboard bow. At 2350 hours a vessel was detected ahead and the squadron broke cloud to deliver an attack. To their surprise they found themselves over a United States Coastguard cutter. The Bismarck was 6 nautical miles to the southward and on sighting the aircraft opened up a heavy barrage fire. Lt.Cdr. Esmonde pressed home his attack, 8 of the Swordfish were able to attack, the other had lost contact in the clouds.

The 8 planes attacked with 18" torpedoes, fitted with Duplex pistols set for 31 feet. At midnight three Swordfish attacked simultaneously on the port beam. Three others made a longer approach low down attacking on the port bow a minute later. One took a longer course, attacking on the port quarter. One went round and attacked on the starboard bow a couple of minutes after midnight. At least one hit was claimed on the starboard side abreast the bridge. The Germans however state that no hit was scored but that the violent maneuvering of the ship to avoid the attack, together with the heavy firing by the Bismarck caused the leak in no.2 boiler room to open up. No.2 boiler room was already partially flooded and now had to be abandoned.

All Swordfish from the striking had returned to HMS Victorious by 0201/25. Two Fulmars launched at 2300/24 for shadowing failed to find their ship in the darkness due to the failure of Victorious' homing beacon. Their crews were in the end picked up from the chilly water.

HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk loose contact at 0306/25.

While the aircraft from HMS Victorious were making their attack, HMS Norfolk sighted a ship to the south-west and gave the order to open fire. HMS Prince of Wales was able to identify it in time as an American coast guard cutter, but in the movements prepartory to opening fire HMS Norfolk lost touch with the enemy for a time and it was not until 0116/25 that she suddenly sighted the Bismarck only 8 nautical miles away. There followed a brief exchange of fire. HMS Norfolk and HMS Prince of Wales turned to port to bring their guns to bear and the latter was ordered to engage. It was then 0130/25. The Prince of Wales fired two salvoes at 20000 yards by radar. The Bismarck answered with two salvoes which fell a long way short. The light was failing and the enemy was again lost to sight. HMS Suffolk, which had to most reliable RDF set was told to act independently so as to keep in touch.

Around 0306/25 the Suffolk lost touch with the Bismarck. At 0552/25 Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker asked if HMS Victorious could launch aircraft for a search at dawn.

Search measures, 25 May 1941.

With the disappearance of the Bismarck at 0306/25 the first phase of the pursuit ended. The Commander-in-Chief, in HMS King George V with HMS Repulse in company was then about 115 nautical miles to the south-east. At 0616/25, Rear-Admiral Wake-Walker signalled that it was most probable that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen made a 90° turn to the west or turned back and 'cut away' to the eastward astern of the cruisers. Suffolk was already searching to the south-west and Norfolk was waiting for daylight to do the same. Prince of Wales was ordered to join the King George V and Repulse.

Force H was still on a course to intercept the Bismarck while steaming on at 24 knots. The Rear-Admiral commanding the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in HMS Galatea had altered course at 0558/25 to 180° for the position where the enemy was last seen and the Victorious was getting 8 aircraft ready to fly off at 0730/25 for a search to the eastward. This plan however was altered on orders being recieved from the Commander-in-Chief to take the cruisers and Victorious and carry out a search to the north-west of the Bismarck's last reported position. Five Fulmars had already been up during the night, two of them had not returned to the ship. The search therefore had to be undertaken by Swordfish, the only aircraft available. At 0810/25, seven Swordfish were flown off from position 56°18'N, 36°28'W to search between 280° and 040° up to 100 nautical miles. The search was supplemented by Victorious herself as well as the cruisers from the 2nd Cruiser Squadron (Galatea, Aurora, Kenya and Hermione) which were spread some miles apart.

DF position of the Bismarck of 0852/25.

HMS King George V was still proceeding to the south-west when at 1030/25 the Commander-in-Chief recieved a signal from the Admiralty that the Bismarck's position had been obtained by DF (direction finding) and that it indicated that the Bismarck was on a course for the North Sea by the Faeroes-Iceland passage. To counter this move by the enemy the Commander-in-Chief turned round at 1047/25 and made for the Faeroes-Iceland passage at 27 knots. HMS Repulse was no longer in company with HMS King George V, she had been detached at 0906/25 for Newfoundland to refuel. Suffolk also turned to the eastward to search, her search to the south-west had been fruitless. The search by HMS Victorious, her aircraft and the 2nd Cruiser Squadron to the north-west also had no result. Six Swordfish were landed on by 1107/25, one failed to return. HMS Galatea, HMS Aurora and HMS Kenya now turned towards the DF position of the Bismarck to search in that direction. HMS Hermione had to be detached to Hvalfiord, Iceland to refuel as she was by now down to 40%. The other cruisers slowed down to 20 knots to economise their remaining fuel supply wich was also getting low. At this moment HMS King George V had about 60% remaining.

Events during 25 May 1941.

At 1100/25, HMS King George V, HMS Suffolk and HMS Prince of Wales were proceeding to the north-east in the direction of the enemy's DF signal. HMS Rodney was in position 52°34'N, 29°23'W some 280 nautical miles to the south-eastward on the route towards the Bay of Biscay. On receiving the Commander-in-Chiefs signal of 1047/25 she too proceeded to the north-east.

Meanwhile to Admiralty had come to the conclusion that the Bismarck most likely was making for Brest, France. This was signalled to the Commander-in-Chief at 1023/25 to proceed together with Force H and the 1st Cruiser Squadron on that assumption.

In the absence however of definite reports it was difficult to be certain of the position of the enemy. The DF bearings in the morning had not been very definite. At 1100/25, HMS Renown (Force H), was in position 41°30'N, 17°10'W was ordered to act on the assumption the enemy was making for Brest, France. She shaped course accordingly and prepared a comprehensive sheme of air search. At 1108/25, HMS Rodney, was told to act on the assumption that the enemy was making for the Bay of Biscay. At 1244/25 the Flag Officer Submarines ordered six submarines to take up intercepting positions about 120 nautical miles west of Brest. The submarines involved were HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS Seawolf (Lt. P.L. Field, RN), HMS Sturgeon (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) from the 5th Submarine Flottilla at Portsmouth, HMS Pandora (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Linton, DSC, RN), which was on passage to the U.K. from the Mediterranean to refit, HMS Tigris (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bone, DSO, DSC, RN), from the 3rd Submarine Flottilla at Holy Loch and HMS H 44 (Lt. W.N.R. Knox, DSC, RN), a training boat from the 7th Submarine Flotilla at Rothesay which happened to be at Holyhead. Seawolf, Sturgeon and Tigris were already on patrol in the Bay of Biscay, Sealion departed Portsmouth on the 25th as did H 44 but she sailed from Holyhead. Pandora was on passage to the U.K. to refit and was diverted.

At 1320/25 a good DF fix located an enemy unit within a 50 mile radius from position 55°15'N, 32°00'W. This was sent by the Admiralty to the Commander-in-Chief at 1419/25 and it was received at 1530/25. It was only in the evening that it was finally clear to all involved that Bismarck was indeed making for a French port. Air searches had failed to find her during the day. (23)

18 May 1941

Chase and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck,
18 to 27 May 1941.

Part II.

26 May 1941.

By now the question of fuel was becoming acute. For four days ships had been steaming at high speeds and the Commander-in-Chief was faced with the reality of fuel limits. HMS Repulse had already left for Newfoundland, HMS Prince of Wales had by now been sent to Iceland to refuel. HMS Victorious and HMS Suffolk had been forced to reduce speed to economise their fuel.

Coastal Command started air searches along the route towards the Bay of Biscay by long range Catalina flying boats. Lack of fuel was effecting the destroyer screens of the capital ships. There was no screen available for HMS Victorious. The 4th Destroyer Flotilla, escorting troop convoy WS 8B, was ordered at 0159/26 to join the Commander-in-Chief in HMS King George V and HMS Rodney as was HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN) which sailed from Londonderry. Leaving the convoy the 4th D.F. proceeded to the north-east. Force H in the meantime was also approaching the immediate area of operations. These forces were to play an important part in the final stages of the chase of the Bismarck.

Force H, 26 May 1941.

HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Sheffield were having a rough passage north in heavy seas, high wind, rain and mist. Their escorting destroyers had already turned back towards Gibraltar at 0900/25. At dawn on the 26th there was half a gale blowing from the north-west. At 0716/26 HMS Ark Royal launched a security patrol in position 48°26'N, 19°13'W to search to the north and to the west just in case the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had departed Brest to come to the aid of the Bismarck. At 0835/26 there followed an A/S patrol of ten Swordfish. All planes had returned by 0930. None had seen anything.

Bismarck sighted at 1030/26.

It was at 1030/26 that one of the long range Catalina's of the Coastal Command sighted the Bismarck in position 49°30'N, 21°55'W. It was received in HMS King George V at 1043 hours and in HMS Renown in 1038 hours. It placed the enemy well to the westward of the Renown. It was confirmed within the hour when two Swordfish from the Ark Royal which reported the Bismarck in position 49°19'N, 20°52'W some 25 miles east of the position given by the Catalina. The Commander-in-Chief was at that moment about 130 miles to the north of the Bismarck but it was soon clear that the Bismarck had too great a lead to permit her being overtaken unless her speed could be reduced. Nor was the question one merely of distance and speed. The Bismarck was approaching a friendly coast and could run her fuel tanks nearly dry and was sure of air protection, while the British ships would have a long journey back to base in the face of air and submarine attack. HMS Renown was ahead of the Bismarck but it was important that she did not engage the Bismarck unless the latter was already heavily engaged by the better armoured HMS King George V and HMS Rodney.

When the Catalina found the Bismarck at 1030 hours, the 4th Destroyer Flotilla was steering east to join the Commander-in-Chief. They seem to have crossed astern of the enemy's track about 0800/26. The Catalina's report reached Capt. Vian in HMS Cossack at 1054/26 and 'knowing that the Commander-in-Chief would order him to intercept the enemy' Capt. Vian altered course to the south-east.

First attack by aircraft from the Ark Royal.

At 1315/26 HMS Sheffield was detached to the southward with orders to close and shadow the enemy, who was estimated to be 40 nautical miles south-west of the Renown. The visual signal ordering this movement was not repeated to HMS Ark Royal, an omission which had serious consequenses for the aircraft that were to take off did not know that HMS Sheffield had parted company.

At 1450/26 HMS Ark Royal launched a striking force of 14 Swordfish aircraft with the orders to proceed to the south and attack the Bismarck with torpedoes. Weather and cloud conditions were bad and a radar contact was obtained on a ship some 20 nautical miles from the estimated position of the enemy that had been given to the leader shortly before takeoff. At 1550 hours they broke through the clouds and fired 11 torpedoes. Unfortunately the supposed enemy was HMS Sheffield which managed to avoid all torpedoes. The Bismarck at that time was some 15 nautical miles to the southward. The striking force then returned an all aircraft had landed on by 1720/26.

At 1740/26, HMS Sheffield, sighted the Bismarck in position 48°30'N, 17°20'W and took station about 10 nautical miles astern and commenced shadowing the enemy.

Ark Royal's second attack, 2047/26.

The first striking force on its way back sighted the 4th Destroyer Flotilla 20 nautical miles west of Force H. As soon as the aircraft from the first strike had landed they were refuelled and rearmed as fast as possible. Take off started at 1910/26, a total of 15 Swordfish were launched. Reports coming in from HMS Sheffield placed the Bismarck at 167°, 38 nautical miles from the Ark Royal. The striking force was ordered to contact HMS Sheffield who was told to use DF to guide them in.

At 1955/26 HMS Sheffield was sighted but soon lost in the bad weather conditions. She was found again at 2035 hours, she guided the Swordfish in and directed them by visual signal on the enemy bearing 110°, 12 nautical miles. The force took departure for the target in subflights in line astern at 2040/26.

At 2047/26 no.1 subflight of three Swordfish dived through the clouds and sighted the Bismarck 4 nautical miles off to the south-east. One Swordfish of no.3 subflight was with them. Approaching again just inside the cloud they made their final dive at 2053/26 on the port beam under a very intense and accurate fire from the enemy. They dropped four torpedoes of which one was seen to hit. No.2 subflight, made up of two Swordfish, lost touch with no.1 subflight in the clouds, climed to 9000 feet, then dived on a bearing obtained by radar and then attacked from the starboard beam, again under heavy and intense fire. They dropped two torpedoes for one possible hit. The third plane of this subflight had lost touch with the other two and had returned to HMS Sheffield to obtained another range and bearing to the enemy. It then flew ahead of the enemy and carried out a determined attack from his port bow under heavy fire and obtained a torpedo hit on the port side amidships.

Subflight no.4 followed subflight no.3 into the clouds but got iced up at 6600 feet. It then dived through the clouds and was joined by no.2 aircraft from subflight no.3. The Bismarck was then sighted engaging subflight no.2 to starboard. The four aircraft then went into the clouds and cicled the German battleships stern and then dived out of the clouds again and attack simultaneously from the port side firing four torpedoes. All however missed the Bismarck. They came under a very heavy and fierce fire from the enemy and one of the aircraft was heavily damaged, the pilot and air gunner being wounded.

The two aircraft of subflight no.5 lost contact with the other subflights and then with each other in the cloud. They climbed to 7000 feet where ice began to form. When coming out of the cloud at 1000 feet aircraft 4K sighted the Bismarck down wind, she then went back into the cloud under fire from the enemy. She saw a torpedo hit on the enemy's starboard side, reached a position on the starboard bow, withdrew to 5 miles, then came in just above the sea and just outside 1000 yards fired a torpedo which did not hit. The second plane of this flight lost his leader diving through the cloud, found himself on the starboard quarter and after two attempts to attack under heavy fire was forced to jettison his torpedo.

Of the two Swordfish of subflight no.6 one attacked the Bismarck on the starboard beam and dropped his torpedo at 2000 yards without success. The second plane lost the enemy, returned to the Sheffield for a new range and bearing and after searching at sea level attacked on the starboard beam but was driven off by intense fire. The attack was over by 2125/26. Thirteen torpedoes had been fired and it was thought two hits and one probable hit had been obtained. Two torpedoes were jettisoned. The severe nature and full effect of the damage done was at first not fully realised. Actually the Bismarck had received a deadly blow. The last of the shadowing aircraft to return had seen her make two complete circles. One torpedo had struck her on the port side amidships doing little damage but th other torpedo that hit was on the starboard quarter damaging her propellors, wrecking her steering gear and jambing her rudders, it was this torpedo hit that sealed her fate.

HMS Sheffield was still shadowing astern when at 2140/26 the Bismarck turned to port and fired six accurate salvoes of 15". None actually hit Sheffield but a near miss killed three men and seriously injured two. HMS Sheffield turned away and while doing so she sighted HMS Cossack and the other destroyers from the 4th DF approaching from the westward. She then gave them the approximate position of the Bismarck. At 2155/26, HMS Sheffield lost touch with the Bismarck. The destroyers continued to shadow and eventually attack. Meanwhile HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal shaped course for the southward to keep the road clear for the Commander-in-Chief in HMS King George V and for HMS Rodney. Also in the Ark Royal aircraft were being got ready for an attack on the Bismarck at dawn.

Bismarck, 26 May 1941.

The Bismarck could no longer steer after the torpedo hit aft. The steering motor room was flooded up to the main deck and the rudders were jambed. Divers went down to the steering room and managed to centre one rudder but the other remained immovable. She was by this time urgently in need of fuel. It was hoped by the Germans that while she was nearing the French coast strong forces of aircraft and submarines would come to her assistance.

At 2242/26, Bismarck sighted the British destroyers. A heavy fire was opened on them. Their appearence greatly complicated the situation. Before their arrival however, Admiral Lütjens seems to have made up his mind as one hour earlier he had signalled to Berlin 'ship out of control. We shall fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer.'

The fourth Destroyer Flotilla makes contact, 26 May 1941.

Just as the sun was setting, Captain Vian (D.4) in HMS Cossack with HMS Maori, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu and the Polish destroyer ORP Piorun arrived on the scene.

Shortly after 1900/26 HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal were sighted to the northward. Ark Royal was just about to fly off the second striking force. The destroyers continued on the the south-east. At 2152/26 HMS Sheffield was sighted and from her Captain Vian obtained the approximate position of the enemy.

The destroyers were spread 2.5 nautical miles apart on a line bearing 250° - 070° in the order from north-east to south-west, Piorun, Maori, Cossack, Sikh, Zulu. During the latter stages of the approach speed was reduced and the flotilla manoeuvred so as to avoid making a high speed end-on contact.

At 2238/26, ORP Piorun on the port wing reported the Bismarck 9 nautical miles distant, bearing 145° and steering to the south-eastward.

Destroyers shadowing, late on 26 May 1941.

At the time the Piorun reported being in contact with the Bismarck the destroyers were steering 120°. All were at once ordered to take up shadowing positions. Four minutes later the Bismarck opened a heavy fire with her main and secondary armaments on the Piorun and Maori. Two attempts were made by these ships to work round to the northward of the enemy but they were silhouetted against the north-western horizon making them easy to spot. The Bismarck's fire was unpleasantly accurate, through neither destroyer was actually hit. The Commanding Officer of the Maori then decided to work round to the southward and altered course accordingly.

The Piorun closed the range and herself opened fire from 13500 yards but after firing three salvoes, she was straddled by a salvo which fell about 20 yards from the ships side. She then ceased fire and turned away to port while making smoke. During this engagement she lost touch with the other destroyers and later also with the Bismarck. She remained under fire for about one hour but was not hit. She worked round to the north-east of the Bismarck but eventually lost touch with her prey at 2355/26.

The other destroyers, meanwhile, had been working round to the southward of the enemy to take up shadowing positions to the eastward of him. Soon after the initial contact it was evident the the Bismarck's speed had been so seriously reduced that interception by the battlefleet was certain, provided that contact could be held. In these circumstances Captain Vian defined his object at firstly, to deliver the enemy to the Commander-in-Chief at the time he desired, and secondly, to sink or immoblise her with torpedoes during the night but not with to great a risk for the destroyers. Accordingly at 2248/26 as signal was made to all ordering them to shadow and this operation was carried out through the night, though torpedo attacks were carried out later under the cover of darkness.

As darkness came on, the weather deteriorated and heavy rain squalls became frequent. Visibility varied between 2.5 nautical miles and half a mile but the Bismarck, presumably using radar, frequently opened up accurate fire outside these ranges.

About half an hour after sunset, the destroyers were ordered at 2324/26 to take up stations prepartory to carrying out a synchronised torpedo attack. This was subsequently cancelled on account of the adverse weather conditions and they were ordered to attack independently as opportunity offered. At about 2300 hours the Bismarck altered course to the north-westward.

At this time HMS Zulu was in touch with her and kept her under observation from the southward. At 2342 hours the Bismarck opened fire on HMS Cossack, then about 4 miles to the south-south-west and shot away her aerials. The Cossack turned away under the cover of smoke, shortly afterwards resuming her course to the eastward.

A few minutes later, at 2350 hours, HMS Zulu came under heavy fire from the Bismarck's 15" guns. The first three salvoes straddled wounding an officer and two ratings. Drastic avoiding action was taken as a result of which Zulu lost touch. HMS Sikh, however, who had lost sight of the enemy half an hour previously, had observed her firing at HMS Cossack and now succeeded in shadowing from astern until 0020/27 when the enemy made a large alteration to port and commenced firing at her. HMS Sikh altered course to port, intending to fire torpedoes, but the view of the Torpedo Control Officer was obscured by shell splashes and Sikh then withdrew to the southward.

Destroyer night torpedo attacks, 26/27 May 1941.

HMS Zulu, after her escape at 2345/26, had steered to the northward and at 0030/27 fell in with HMS Cossack. Shortly afterwards she sighted ORP Piorun. On receipt of a signal from Captain Vian, timed 0040/27, to take any opporunity to fire torpedoes, HMS Zulu altered course to the westward,and at 0100/27 sighted the Bismarck steering 340°.

Positions of the destroyers was now as follows; to the north-eastward of the enemy, HMS Cossack was working round to the north and west. HMS Maori, since losing touch, had been making to the westward. She was now to the south-west of the Bismarck. HMS Sikh was some distance to the southward, not having received any information regarding the position of the Bismarck since 0025/27. HMS Zulu was astern of the enemy and in contact. Range was only 5000 yards. Bismarck finally spotted Zulu and at once opened fire with her main and secondary armament and straddled Zulu. She fired four torpedoes at 0121/27 but no hits were observed and they are believed to have missed ahead. Zulu then ran out to the northward in order to be clear of the other destroyers. Shortly afterwards they widnessed a successful attack by HMS Maori.

HMS Maori had seen the Bismarck opening fire on the Zulu at 0107/27. Maori then closed to 4000 yards on Bismarck's port quarter apparently undetected. When abeam of the enemy, who then appeared to be altering course to starboard Maori fired a star shell to see what he was about. Two minutes later, at 0137/27, two torpedoes were fired and course was altered towards the Bismarck with the intention of attacking again from her starboard bow once the enemy had steadied on her new course. Whilst Maori was turning a torpedo hit was observed on the enemy. A bright glow illuminated the waterline of the enemy battleship from stem to stern. Shortly afterwards there appeared between the bridge and the stem a glare that might have been a second hit. The enemy immediately opened up a very heavy fire with both main and secondairy armaments and quick firing guns. As the Maori was being straddled, she turned away, and increased to full speed. Shots continued to fall on both sides of the ship until the range had been opened up to 10000 yards. Maori was not actually hit. Meanwhile HMS Cossack had been creeping up from the north-eastward and at 0140/27, only three minutes after Maori had fired two torpedoes, Cossack launched three torpedoes from 6000 yards. Bismarck stood out plainly, silhoutted by the broadsides she was firing at the Maori. One torpedo was seen to hit. Flames blazed on the forecastle of the Bismarck after this hit but they were quickly extinguished. Probably as a consequence of the torpedo hits the Bismarck stopped dead in the water, this was reported by HMS Zulu at 0148/27. After about one hour the Bismarck got underway again. On receipt of this report, HMS Sikh, who was closing the scene of the action from the southward, made an attack. Four torpedoes were fired at 0218/27 at the stopped battleship. It is believed that one hit was obtained. After this attack Sikh remained in radar contact with the enemy until 0359/27 when contact was lost.

Around 0240/27 the Bismarck was underway again, proceeding very slowly to the north-westward. At 0335/27, HMS Cossack made another attack firing her last remaining torpedo from a range of 4000 yards. It missed. HMS Cossack then came under a heavy fire. She withdrew to the northward under the cover of smoke, altering to a westerly course shortly afterwards.

At 0400/27 all destroyers had lost touch with the enemy. HMS Cossack was then to the north-west and HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu and HMS Maori were between the south-west and south-east of the Bismarck. All destroyers now endeavoured to regain contact.

Touch with the enemy was not regained until shortly before 0600 hours. By that time ORP Piorun, which was running short of fuel, had been ordered to proceed to Plymouth.

Destroyers shadowing, morning twilight, 27 May 1941, final attack.

Touch was regained by HMS Maori at 0550/27 when she sighted the Bismarck zigzagging slowly on a base course of 340° at about 7 knots. Maori commenced shadowing until daylight. At 0625 hours, HMS Sikh was also in contact when the Bismarck emerged from a rain squal 7000 yards on her starboard bow. By then it was nearly full daylight but to the surprise of the crew of the Sikh she got away with it without being fired at.

Shortly before sunrise a final torpedo attack was carried out by HMS Maori, which fired two torpedoes at 0656/27 from 9000 yards. Both missed. The Bismarck opened fire and straddled Maori which escaped at 28 knots.

At daylight the destroyers were stationed in four sectors from which they were able to keep the enemy under continuous observation until the arrival of the Battle Fleet at 0845 hours.

Force H, 26/27 May 1941.

While the destroyers were shadowing the Bismarck, the pursuing forces were drawing steadily closer. To the north was the Commander-in-Chief with the King George V and the Rodney with the Norfolk closing on them. In the south HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) was coming up, while Force H was waiting for the dawn. When Captain Vian's destroyers got in touch at 2251/26 the Renown and Ark Royal were north-west of the enemy. It was not possible to attack with aircraft during the night but all preparations were made to attack at dawn with 12 Swordfish. Course was shaped to the northward and then to the west for a time and at 0115/27 Force H turned south. Shortly afterwards instructions were received from the Commander-in-Chief to keep not less then 20 miles to the southward of the Bismarck so as to leave a clear approach for the Battle Fleet. Force H accordingly continued to the southward during the night. Bursts of starshell and gunfire could be seen during the night while the destroyers attacked. At 0509/27 an aircraft was flown off from HMS Ark Royal to act as a spotter for HMS King George V but it failed to find the Bismarck in the bad weather. The striking of force of 12 Swordfish was ready but due to the bad weather to strike was cancelled.

At 0810/27, HMS Maori was sighted. She reported the Bismarck 11 miles to the north of her. The made the enemy 17 miles to the north of HMS Renown so course was shaped to the south-west. At 0915/27 heavy gunfire could be heard and the striking force was flown off. They found the Bismarck at 1016/27. By then the battle was almost over, her guns were silenced and she was on fire. They saw her sink. At 1115/27 they had all landed back on HMS Ark Royal. A German Heinkel aircraft dropped a couple of bombs near HMS Ark Royal when they were landing on.

HMS Norfolk, 26/27 May 1941.

When the Catalina report (1030/26) came in, HMS Norfolk altered course to the south-west and increased speed to 27 knots. At 2130/26 the Bismarck was still some 160 nautical miles to the southward and speed was increased to 30 knots. At 2228/26 the report on the torpedo hit by the aircraft from Ark Royal came in and the Norfolk turned to the southward, continuing to close the enemy. At 0753/27 Norfolk sighted the Bismarck. She did not open fire and was lost to sight after ten minutes. At 0821/27, HMS King George V, was sighted to the westward, 12 nautical miles away. The position of the enemy was passed to the Commander-in-Chief. The action opened at 0847/27 at which time HMS Norfolk was then some 10 nautical miles from the Commander-in-Chief and due north of the Bismarck. HMS Norfolk had seen the beginning and was now to see the end.

HMS Dorsetshire, 26/27 May 1941.

On 26 May 1941, HMS Dorsetshire, was with convoy SL 74 proceeding from Freetown to the U.K. When she received the sighting report from the Catalina at 1056/26 she was some 360 nautical miles to the south of the Bismarck. She then left the protection of the convoy to the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) and set course for the northward to take up the possible task of shadowing. By 2343/26 it became clear from reports that the Bismarck was making no ground to the eastward and that at 0230/27 she appeared to be laying stopped. Due to the heavy seas HMS Dorsetshire was forced to reduce speed to 25 knots and later even to 20 knots. At 0833/27 a destroyer was sighted ahead at a range of 8 nautical miles, it was HMS Cossack which reported the enemy at a range of 6 nautical miles. At 0850/27 the flashes of the Bismarck's guns could be seen to the westward. HMS Dorsetshire arrived at the scene of the action in the nick of time.

HMS King George V and HMS Rodney, 26/27 May 1941.

During 26 May 1941 the Commander-in-Chief in HMS King George V had been making hard to the south-east at 25 knots. He had been joined by HMS Rodney at 1806/26. They were then some 90 nautical miles north of the Bismarck. Fuel was a matter of grave anxiety. At noon on the 26th, HMS King George V, had only 32% remaining and HMS Rodney reported that she had to return at 0800/27. Speed had to be reduced on this account to 22 knots at 1705/26. In these circumstances it was no longer possible to hope to intercept the enemy, and the Commander-in-Chief decided that unless the enemy's speed had been reduced by 2400/26, he must turn at that hour. The only hope lay in the Bismarck being slowed up by the Swordfish attacking from HMS Ark Royal. A report came in that the striking force had left. Then at 2132/26, HMS Sheffield, reported that the enemy was steering 340° followed by 000° four minutes later. These reports indicated that the Bismarck was not able to hold her course and that her steering gear must have been damaged. It might still be possible to intercept her.

The Commander-in-Chief turned to the south at once hoping to make contact from the eastward in the failing light. Due to the bad weather conditions and visibility the Commander-in-Chief decided to haul off the the eastward and northward and then work round to engage from the westward at dawn. He turned eastward at 2306/26. During the night reports from Captain Vian's destroyers came in confirming the northerly course of the Bismarck. At 0236/27 the Commander-in-Chief ordered Captain Vian that the destroyers were to fire star-shell every half hour, but frequent rain squalls prevented these from being seen and they tended to attrack the enemy's fire. The Bismarck was still a formidable opponent for at 0353/27 Captain Vian reported that during the last hour she had done 8 nautical miles and that she was still capable of heavy and accurate fire. The Commander-in-Chief decided not to make a dawn approach but to wait until daylight while approaching from the west taking advantage of wind, sea and light. At 0529/27 HMS Rodney reported sighting HMS Norfolk to the eastward by DF. It was light at 0600 hours. At 0820 hours HMS Norfolk was sighted on the port bow of HMS King George V. She signalled 'enemy 130°, 16 nautical miles'. At 0843/27 looming on the starboard bow there emerges out of a rain squall the dark grey blot of a large ship. 'Enemy in sight'.

Bismarck 26/27 May 1941.

The Bismarck after altering course to the north-west had been labouring along with a jambed rudder, steering an erratic course at 8 knots. During the night the attacking destroyers were met with heavy and accurate salvoes. Sixteen torpedoes were fired at her. Early in the morning a glare of star-shell burst over her, lighting her up. Three torpedoes followed from a destroyer on the port bow (HMS Maori) of which one hit on the port side amidships. Three minutes later three more came from the starboard side (these were fired by HMS Cossack) of which one hit on the starboard bow. The damage that was sustained from these torpedo hits is not known. The Bismarck lay stopped for over one hour. At 0140/27 a message was received that a large number of Junkers bombers were coming to her aid as were U-boats but the Bismarck was beyond their help besides that the aircraft did not find her. One U-boat (U-556, which was out of torpedoes) on its way back from the Atlantic joined her and was within sight during the night. Another (U-74) arrived at 0600/27 but had been damaged in a depth charge attack and could do nothing as well. In the Bismarck the crew was exhausted and men were falling asleep at their posts. It was under these conditions that at 0840/27 two British battleships were seen to approach from the westward.

Situation before the action, 27 May 1941.

A north-westerly gale was blowing when dawn broke with a good light and clear horizon to the north-eastward. Reports received during the night indicated that, despite reduced speed and damaged rudders, Bismarck's armament was functioning effectively. Given the weather conditions the Commander-in-Chief decided to approach on a west-north-westerly bearing and, if the enemy continued his northerly course, to deploy to the southward on opposite course at a range of about 15000 yards. Further action was to be dictated by events.

Between 0600 and 0700 hours a series of enemy reports from HMS Maori which was herself located by DF bearings. This enabled HMS King George V to plot her position relatively to the Bismarck which had apparently settled down on a course of 330° at 10 knots. At 0708/27, HMS Rodney, was ordered to keep station 010° from the flagship. HMS Norfolk came in sight to the eastward at 0820/27 and provided a visual link between the Commander-in-Chief and the enemy. After the line of approach had been adjusted by two alterations of course, the Bismarck was sighted at 0843/27 bearing 118°, range about 25000 yards. Both British battleships was then steering 110° almost directly towards the enemy in line abreast formation, 8 cables apart.

Commencement of action 0847/27.

HMS Rodney opened fire at 0847/27, her first salvo sending a column of water 150 feet into the air. HMS King George V opened fire one minute later. Bismarck opened fire at 0850 hours after turning to open up A arcs. The first German salvo was short. The third and fourth salvoes straddled and nearly hit, but the Rodney manoeuvered succesfully to avoid them and the nearest fell 20 yards short. At 0854/27, HMS Norfolk joined in, but the target was not clearly visible and she opened fire without obtaining a range.

Observers state that the German gunnery was accurate at first, but commenced to deteriorate after 8 to 10 salvoes. The first hit on the Bismarck was believed to be scored by the Rodney at 0854 hours with her third salvo. Both British battleships made small alterations of course away from the enemy shortly after opening fire, the King George V to increase her distance from the Rodney and the latter to open her A arcs. From then onwards they manoeuvered independently although HMS Rodney conformed to the Flagship's general movements. The Bismarck's secondary armament came into action during this phase. HMS Rodney opened fire with her secondary armament at 0858 hours.

Run to the southward.

HMS King George V deployed to the southward at 0859/27 when the Bismarck was 16000 yards distant. HMS Rodney, 2.5 nautical miles to the northward, followed suit a minute or two later. Cordite smoke was hanging badly with the following wind and spotting was most difficult. Considerable smoke interference was therefore experienced on the southerly course which was partly overcome by radar. The Bismarck had transferred her fire to the King George V shortly after the turn but except for an occasional splash the latter hardly knew that she was under fire. At 0902/27, HMS Rodney saw a 16” shell hit the Bismarck on the upper deck forward, apparently putting the forward turrets out of action. At 0904 hours, HMS Dorsetshire joined in the firing from the eastwards from a range of 20000 yards but observation of the target was difficult and she had to check fire from 0913 to 0920 hours. Between 0910 and 0915 hours the range in King George V was more or less steady at 12000 yards.

The fate of the Bismarck was decided during this phase of the action although she did not sink until later. Around 0912 hours, the Bismarck was hit on her forward control position. During the run to the south HMS Rodney fired six torpedoes from 11000 yards and HMS Norfolk four from 16000 yards. No hits were obtained. The King George V’s secondary battery came into action at 0905 hours but this increased the smoke interference and was accordingly ordered to cease fire after two or three minutes.

Run to the northward.

At 0916/27 the Bismarck’s bearing was drawing rapidly aft and HMS Rodney turned 16 points to close and head her off. The King George V followed a minute or so later and both ships re-opened fire at ranges from 8600 and 12000 yards respectively. The Bismarck shifted her target to the Rodney about this time. A near miss damaged the sluice of her starboard torpedo tube. Most of the enemy’s guns had however been silenced at this time. Only one turret from her main armament was firing at this time as was part of her secondary armament. A fire was blazing amidships and she had a heavy list to port. During the run to the north HMS Rodney obtained a very favourable position on the Bismarck’s bow from which she poured in a heavy fire from close range. She also fired two torpedoes from 7500 yards but no hits were obtained.

HMS King George V’s position, further to leeward, was less favourable. Her view was obscured by smoke and splashes surrounding the target and her radar had temporarily broken down. Mechanical failures in the 14” turrets constituted, however, a more serious handicap at this stage. ‘A’, ‘X’ and ‘Y’ turrets were out of action for 30, 7 and a unspecified short period, respectively. This resulted in reduction of firepower of 80% for 7 minutes and 40% for 23 minutes which might have had serious effects under less favourable conditions. There were also several defects of individual guns in addition to those effecting the turrets.

At 0925/27, HMS King George V, altered outwards to 150° and reduced speed to avoid getting too far ahead of the Bismarck. She closed in again at 1005 hours, fired several salvoes from a range of only 3000 yards and then resumed her northerly course. Meanwhile HMS Rodney was zigzagging across the Bismarck’s line of advance at a range of about 4000 yards firing her main and secondary armaments. She also fired four torpedoes, one of which is thought to have hit. By 1015 hours the Bismarck was no more than a wreck. All her guns were silenced, her mast had been blown away, she was a black ruin, pouring high into the air a great cloud of smoke and flame. Men were seen jumping overboard at this time and the Captain of the King George V later remarked had he known it he would have ceased fire.

End of the action.

The Commander-in-Chief was confident that the enemy could never get back to harbour, and as both battleships were running short of fuel and as further gunfire was unlikely to hasten the Bismarck’s end, the Commander-in-Chief signalled the King George V and Rodney to steer 027° at 1015/27 in order to break off the action and return to base. At 1036/27 the Commander-in-Chief ordered HMS Dorsetshire to use her torpedoes, if she had any, on the enemy. In the meantime HMS Norfolk had been closing the target but due to the movements of the King George V and Rodney, had not fired her torpedoes until 1010 hours when she fired four torpedoes from 4000 yards and two possible hits were reported. The Dorsetshire was then approaching a mile or so to the southward, and anticipating the Commander-in-Chief’s signal at 1025 hours fired two torpedoes from 3600 yards into the enemy’s starboard side. She then steamed round the Bismarck’s bow and at 1036 hours fired another torpedo but now into her port side from 2600 yards. This was the final blow, the Bismarck heeled over quickly to port and commenced to sink by the stern. The hull turned over keel up and disappeared beneath the waves at 1040/27.

The Dorsetshire then closed and signalled to one of HMS Ark Royal’s aircraft to carry out a close A/S patrol while she was to pick up survivors assisted by HMS Maori. After 110 men had been picked up by both ships from the water both ships got underway again as a submarine was suspected to be in the area.

Damage to the Bismarck.

Survivors have told the story of terrible damage inflicted on her. The fore turrets seem to have been knocked out at 0902 hours. The fore control position was knocked out around 0912 hours. The after control position followed about 0915 hours. The after turrets were at that moment still in action. Then the aftermost gun turret was disabled by a direct hit on the left gun which burst sending a flash right through the turret. ‘C’ turret was the last one in action.

One survivor stated that around 0930 hours a shell penetrated the turbine room and another one entered a boiler room. A hit in the after dressing station killed all the medical staff and wounded that were in there at that moment. The upper deck was crowded with killed and wounded men and the seas surging in washed them overboard. Conditions below were even more terrible. Hatches and doors were jammed by concussion and blocked with wreckage. The air was thick with smoke and even more smoke was coming in from great holes in the upper deck. By 1000 hours all heavy guns were out of action and 10 minutes later the all secondary guns were also silent.

Commander-in-Chief returns.

As HMS King George V and HMS Rodney turned northwards they were joined by HMS Cossack, HMS Sikh and HMS Zulu at by 1600/28 more detroyers had joined the screen (HMS Maori, HMS Jupiter, HMS Somali, HMS Eskimo, HMS Punjabi, HMAS Nestor, HMS Inglefield, HMS Lance, HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMCS St. Clair (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Wallace, RCNR), HMCS Columbia (Lt.Cdr. (Retd.) S.W. Davis, RN) and HMS Ripley (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Agnew, RN). Heavy air attacks were expected that day, but only four enemy aircraft appeared, one of which bombed the screen while another one jettisoned her bombs on being attacked by a Blenheim fighter. The destroyers HMS Mashona and HMS Tartar, 100 nautical miles to the southward, were not so furtunate. They were attacked in position 52°58’N, 11°36’W at 0955/28 by German aircraft. HMS Mashona was hit and sank at noon with the loss of 1 officer and 45 men. The Commander-in-Chief reached Loch Ewe at 1230/29. Vice-Admiral Somerville with Force H was on his way back to Gibraltar. HMS Renown, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Sheffield made rendezvous at 0800/29 with the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN). At 1605/29, HMS Forester and HMS Fury were detached to hunt a submarine further to the west. Force H, minus the two destroyers that had been detached, arrived at Gibraltar around 2030/29.

End of ‘Operation Rheinübung’.

The Bismarck’s consort, heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was not heard off until 4 June 1941 when aircraft reported her having arrived at Brest. After leaving the Bismarck at 1914/24, the Prinz Eugen’s primary need was to replenish her fuel stock. She set course for a rendez-vous with two tankers, the Spichern (9323 GRT, built 1935, former Norwegian Krossfonn) and the Esso Hamburg (9849 GRT, built 1939) which were position to the north-west of the Azores. All next day the German cruiser made her way southwards, and at 0906/26 , some 600 nautical miles west-north-west of the Azores she sighted the Spichern and refuelled. Two reconnaissance ships had also been ordered into this area, the Gonzenheim and the Kota Pinang. On the 28th Prinz Eugen fuelled from the Esso Hamburg. She then proceeded southwards to carry out cruiser warfare against independently routed ships in the area to the north and west of the Cape Verde Islands but an inspection of her engines the next day showed that an extensive overhaul was needed. Her Commanding Officer then decided to break off the action and course was set for Brest, France where she arrived at 2030/1 June.

A German reconnaissance ship, a supply vessel and two tankers were intercepted by Royal Navy warships and sunk by their own crew or sunk with gunfire. Also two tankers were captured. These were in chronological order; tanker Belchen (6367 GRT, built 1932, former Norwegian Sysla) by gunfire from HMS Kenya and HMS Aurora on 3 June 1941 in the Greenland area in approximate position 59°00'N, 47°00'W.
On 4 June the tanker Esso Hamburg by HMS London and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) in position 07°35'N, 31°25'W,
tanker Gedania (8966 GRT, built 1920) was captured in the North Atlantic in position 43°38'N, 28°15'W by naval auxiliary (Ocean Boarding Vessel) HMS Marsdale (Lt.Cdr. D.H.F. Armstrong, RNR), she was put into service with the MOWT as Empire Garden, reconnaissance vessel Gonzenheim (4000 GRT, built 1937, former Norwegian Kongsfjord) was scuttled by her own crew after being sighted by HMS Esperance Bay ((Capt.(ret) G.S. Holden, RN) and intercepted by HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN) and finally ordered to be boarded by HMS Neptune in position 43°29'N, 24°04'W. The next day (5 June) supply vessel Egerland (10040 GRT, built 1940) was intercepted by HMS London and HMS Brilliant in approximate position 07°00'N, 31°00'W. On 12 June, HMS Sheffield, intercepted tanker Friedrich Breme (10397 GRT, built 1936) in position 49°48'N, 22°20'W and finally on 15 June, HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN), captured the tanker Lothringen (10746 GRT, built 1940, former Dutch Papendrecht) in position 19°49'N, 38°30'W which had first been sighted by an aircraft from HMS Eagle (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN). The Lothringen was sent to Bermuda and was put into service by the MOWT as Empire Salvage. (23)

22 May 1941
Around 2300B/22, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operations in the North Atlantic.

HMS Lance however quickly returned to Scapa Flow with defects.

[for more information on these operations see the event ' Chase and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck, 18 to 27 May 1941, Parts I and II ' for 18 May 1941.] (24)

27 May 1941
Around 0900/27, Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN) and HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord, Iceland.

The light cruisers had joined the Prince of Wales around 0830/26 and the destroyers around 1540/26.

At Hvalfjord HMS Prince of Wales landed her wounded. (25)

30 May 1941
Around 0400Z/30, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) departed Hvalfiord for a patrol in the North Atlantic to the south of Greenland to search for German supply vessels. (26)

31 May 1941
While on patrol, at 1122Z/31, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN), encountered an upturned lifeboat with three survivors clinging to it. They were from the British merchant vessel Marconi which had been torpedoed and sunk on 21 May 1941 by the German submarine U-98.

HMS Kenya picked them up. (27)

3 Jun 1941
While on patrol, at 0800Z/3, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) a ship was sighted. The cruisers split up and altered course and speed to intercept. Position was approximately 58°34'N, 47°22'W.

At 0845Z/3, a submarine was seen to pull clear from the tanker.

At 0847Z/3, HMS Kenya catapulted one of her Walrus aircraft.

At 0848Z/3, the submarine was seen to submerge.

At 0900Z/3, HMS Kenya opened fire on the tanker from a range of 6.5 nautical miles.

At 0920Z/3, HMS Aurora opened fire on the tanker.

At 0930Z/3, The tanker listing heavily to starboard and in a sinking condition.

At 0933Z/3, She was finished off by a torpedo from HMS Aurora.

At 0935Z/3, two lifeboats with survivors were spotted by HMS Kenya.

At 0957Z/3, HMS Aurora and HMS Kenya were once again in company.

The German tanker that was sunk was the Belchen (6367 GRT, built 1932, former Norwegian Sysla). The submarine that had been alongside was the U-93 which later picked up the survivors from the tanker. (28)

5 Jun 1941
Around 0700Z/5, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) arrived at Hvalfiord from patrol. (28)

12 Jun 1941
Around 0120B/12, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral K.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN) departed Scapa Flow to proceed to position 64°00'N, 28°30'W so as to provided distant cover for ships of the Northern Patrol.

They returned to Scapa Flow around 1320B/14 after having been recalled. (29)

15 Jun 1941

Minelaying operation SN 66.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 0520B/15, the auxiliary minelayers HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN) and HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) of the 1st Minelaying Squadron departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) to lay minefield SN 66. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN) and HMS Wells (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN).

They were joined around 1145B/15 by the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow around 0715B/15.

Distant cover was provided by the light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) which were on patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer passage.

The minefield made up of 939 mines, was laid between 0655B/16 and 0850B/16, on a line joining positions, 62°22'7"N, 06°59'1"W, 62°32'0"N, 07°14'5"W and 62°40'3"N, 07°30'0"W.

The minelayers laid as follows; HMS Agamemnon 529 mines and HMS Menestheus 410 mines.

The 1st Minelaying Squadron returned to Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 1350B/17.

HMS Aurora returned to Scapa Flow around 1045B/17. She had parted company with the 1st Minelaying Squadron at 1127B/16.

HMS Nigeria remained on patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer gap while HMS Kenya arrived at Scapa Flow around 0030B/17. (30)

23 Jun 1941

Minelaying operation SN 70B.

Minelaying operation by the 1st Minelaying Squadron.

At 1900B/23, the auxiliary minelayers HMS Agamemnon (Capt.(Retd.) F. Ratsey, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN) and HMS Menestheus (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) departed Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) to lay minefield SN 70B. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Brighton (Cdr. (Retd.) C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN) and HMS Wells (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN).

They were joined around 2300B/23 by the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow around 1300B/23 but had first conducted gunnery exercises in the Pentland Firth.

Around 0130B/24, the light cruiser HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN) also joined. She had departed Scapa Flow around 1940B/23.

At 0515B/24, HMS Aurora (Capt. Sir W.G. Agnew, RN) joined company.

At 0545B/24, HMS Arethusa parted company and proceeded on patrol in the Iceland - Faeroer gap.

At 1050B/24, the visibility decrased to 150 yards.

At 1110B/24, The Squadron made an emergency turn to port.

At 1115.30B/24, HMS Kenya sighted a destroyer 150 yards away coming towards.

At 1116B/24, HMS Kenya was hit by the destroyer which turned out to be HMS Brighton. HMS Kenya sustained some damage but was able to continue. This was not the case with HMS Brighton whose bow sustained major damage.

Most ships of the Squadron meanwhile lost contact with each other in the thick fog.

Later HMS Aurora and HMS Wells took the damaged Brighton to the Reyðarfiord, Iceland for inspection.

The remainder of the 1st Minelaying Squadron regrouped and proceeded on with the minelaying operation.

Between 2125B/25 and 2310B/25, minefield SN 70B was laid on a line joining positions, 65°11'0"N, 12°49'4"W and 65°34'6"N, 12°54'5"W.

At 1620B/26, the destroyer HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) joined the 1st Minelaying Squadron. She had been on patrol to the north of Iceland but had been ordered to leave patrol and join the minelayers.

HMS Agamemnon, HMS Menestheus, HMS Castleton, HMS Wells and HMS Eclipse arrived at Port Z.A. (Loch Alsh) at 1717B/27.

HMS Kenya arrived at Scapa Flow around 1800B/27 having parted company with the 1st minelaying Squadron at 1154B/27.

The damaged destroyer HMS Brighton departed the Reyðarfiord for the Clyde on 28 June in tow of the tug Thames. The tug Marauder was standing by. They were escorted by HMS Aurora and the destroyer HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN) which had come from Hvalfiord.

The destroyer HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 1700B/29 to join which she did around 0330B/30.

In the meantime, at 2020B/29, HMS Brighton's bow broke away. The Marauder then took over the tow.

At 2105B/30, while in the North Minches, HMS Aurora, HMS Echo and HMS Lightning parted company to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 0200/1.

HMS Brighton continued on with the tugs and arrived in the Clyde on 1 July 1941. (31)

9 Jul 1941
HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. Sir W.G. Agnew, RN) and HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock. (32)

27 Jul 1941

Operation FB.

' Force A ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Seidisfjord, Iceland where they arrived on the 29th.

They departed Seidisfjord later on the same day for Isfjord, Spitsbergen.

They arrived at Spitsbergen on 31 July 1941 with HMS Nigeria and HMS Tartar entering Advent Fjord and HMS Aurora and HMS Punjabi proceeding up the Gronfjord.

At Spitsbergen all ships fuelled on 1 August 1941 from the RFA tanker Oligarch (6894 GRT, built 1918) which had arrived there escorted by the destroyer ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski) and the A/S whalers HMS Sealyham (T/Lt. C.E. Jefferson, RNR) and HMS Wastwater (T/Lt. R. Edwards, RNVR). This fuelling group then departed for Seidisfjord taking the Norwegian merchant vessel Dagny I (1392 GRT, built 1916) with them.

At Spitsbergen Lt. Tamber of the Norwegian Navy was landed to assume the role of Military Governor and to take over the W/T station.

No enemy opposition was encountered.

In the afternoon and early evening of 2 August 1941, ' Force A ' landed a party at Bear Island on 2 August to demolish the W/T station and embark four Norwegian operators.

Around 1330B/3, 'Force A ' joined the ' Oligarch ' group.

Around 1600B/3, the Dagny I parted company to proceed direct to the U.K. escorted by HMS Wastwater.

During the night of 3/4 August , HMS Tartar and HMS Punjabi fuelled from the Oligarch.

Around noon on the 4th HMS Aurora also fuelled from the Oligarch on completion of which the ' Oligarch ' group parted company to proceed to Seidisfjord.

' Force A ' then proceeded on an anti-shipping sweep of northern Norway but they were sighted by German aircraft around 1600B/5. With the element of surprise now gone the operation was abandoned and course was set to return to Scapa Flow where ' Force A ' arrived around 1645B/7.

(33)

13 Aug 1941
HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. Following these gunnery exercises a towing exercise was carried out during which HMS Aurora took HMS Nigeria in tow. (34)

14 Aug 1941
HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (34)

19 Aug 1941

Operation Gauntlet.

Evacuation of Spitsbergen and destruction of mining facilities.

Around 1530A/19, the light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSO, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) left Scapa Flow to make rendezvous off the Butt of Lewis with the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), destroyers HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN) and the troopship Empress of Canada (21517 GRT, built 1922) which had departed the Clyde around 0200A/19.

They made rendezvous around 2100A/19, when HMS Argus with HMS Tartar, HMS Intrepid and HMS Escapade proceeded to Scapa Flow where they arrived at 0230A/20. These ships took no part in the upcoming operation 'Gauntlet'.

The Empress of Canada, escorted by HMS Nigeria, HMS Aurora, HMS Anthony, HMS Antelope and HMS Icarus (also known as 'Force A' set course for Hvalfiord, Iceland where they arrived at 0730A/21.

After fuelling they sailed for Spitsbergen at 2200A/21.

The RFA tanker Oligargh (6897 GRT, built 1918) escorted by the trawlers HMS Elm (T/Lt. E.W.C. Dempster, RNVR), HMS Hazel (T/Lt. R. Thorne, RNVR), HMS Van Oost (Skr. A. Bruce, RNR) and the whaler HMS Sealyham (T/Lt. C.E. Jefferson, RNR) had already departed for the upcoming operation around 2330A/18.

They arrived off Barentsburg, Spitsbergen around 0800A/24. On board the Empress of Canada were Canadian troops, engeneers, sappers, etc., etc. These were landed to demolish the mining equipment and to burn stocks of coal already mined. The soviet workforce was embarked on the Empress of Canada as was some of the equipment they want to take with them. The Oligargh and her escorts also arrived on the 24th.

Around 1800A/26, HMS Aurora joined the captured Norwegian merchant vessels (colliers, which had been in German service) Ingerto (3089 GRT, 1920), Munin (1285 GRT, built 1899), Nandi (1999 GRT, built 1920) and their escort the whaler HMS Sealyham which were bound for Reykjavik, Iceland. HMS Aurora left the convoy at 0400A/27 and returned to Spitsbergen around 0845A/27. HMS Sealyham and the colliers arrived in Iceland on 1 September 1941.

Around 2330A/26, the Empress of Canada departed Barentsburg for Archangelsk escorted by HMS Nigeria, HMS Anthony, HMS Antelope and HMS Icarus. They arrived at Archangelsk around 1200A/29. HMS Aurora remained behind at Spitsbergen.

The force departed Archangelsk to return to Spitsbergen around 1100A/30. They arrived in the Isfiord around 2230A/1. The Norwegians from Longyearbyen were then embarked on board the Empress of Canada as were the Canadian soldiers.

Empress of Canada, HMS Nigeria, HMS Aurora, HMS Anthony, HMS Antelope and HMS Icarus departed for the UK around 2200A/3.

At 0001A/5, HMS Nigeria and HMS Aurora parted company with the Empress of Canada and the destroyers. The cruisers were to conduct an anti-shipping raid of the coast of Northern Norway. But before proceeding on this anti-shipping raid both cruisers fuelled from the Oligarch during the 5th.

Between 0128A/7 and 0154A/7 the cruisers were in action against an enemy convoy they had intercepted off the Pordanger / Laksefjorden in approximate position 71°10'N, 26°56'E. During the action, at 0137A/7, HMS Nigeria had damaged her bow when most likely colliding with the wreck of one of the German ships. The cruisers then cleared the area but speed of HMS Nigeria was limited due to the damage sustained but both cruiser managed to clear the area without further contact with the emeny and course was set for Scapa Flow. Around 2030A/9, they were joined by the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN) and HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN). HMS Nigeria, HMS Aurora, HMS Bedouin and HMS Eskimo arrived at Scapa Flow around 2000A/10. The Germans got off worse though, they lost the gunnery training ship / minelayer Bremse.

The RFA tanker Oligargh and the caputured icebreaker Isbjørn and the seal catchers Agnes, Polaris and Strømsnes Also departed Spitsbergen for Iceland [time of depature not known to us]. They were escorted by the trawlers HMS Elk, HMS Hazel and HMS Van Oost. On 10 September 1941 the Isbjørn, Agnes, Polaris and Strømsnes, escorted by HMS Elk arrived at Akureyi, Iceland. Later they went on to Reykjavik, arriving there on 14 September 1941. On the same day the Oligargh also arrived at Reykjavik escorted by HMS Hazel and HMS Van Oost.

Around 0001A/5, HMS Kenya and HMS Aurora parted company to proceed on further operations but not before oiling from the Oligargh late in the morning / early in the afternoon of the same day.

Around 0715A/6, the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the Empress of Canada and her three escorting destroyers. HMS Penelope joined them around 1800A/6.

Around 0615A/7, HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN) joined company, having departed Scapa Flow around 2200A/6, and HMS Antelope and HMS Anthony parted company and set course to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 1000A/7.

Around 0630A/7, HMS Penelope also parted company and set course to return to Scapa Flow arriving there around 1030A/7.

Empress of Canada now continued on to the Clyde escorted by HMS Icarus and HMS Lightning. They arrived in the Clyde around 2300A/7. (35)

23 Sep 1941
Around 1800A/23, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. A.C. Stanford, DSC, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, Iceland. (36)

23 Sep 1941
HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (37)

25 Sep 1941
Around 1300N/23, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. A.C. Stanford, DSC, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord, Iceland from Scapa Flow. (36)

4 Oct 1941
Around 1300/4, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. A.C. Stanford, DSC, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) departed Hvalfjord.

At the same time the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) also departed Hvalfjord to proceed to the Seidisfjord where she arrived at 1700/5.

Around 0715/5, HMS King George V parted company with the other ships to proceed to Akureyi for a visit. She took the destroyers HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali with her. They arrived at Akureyi around 0945/5. They departed around 1745/5 to proceed to Seidisfjord where they arrived around 0830/6. A/Admiral Tovey then transferred his flag to HMS Aurora.

In the meantime HMS Victorious, HMS Penelope, HMS Ashanti, HMS Matabele and HMS Punjabi remained at sea for exercises. They arrived at Seidisfjord around 1330/6 minus HMS Victorious which did not had to refuel and remained at sea off the fjord. (38)

6 Oct 1941
HMS Aurora (Capt. Sir W.G. Agnew, RN, now flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet) departed the Seidisfiord around 1000/6 for Scapa Flow where she arrived around 1030/7.

A/Admiral Tovey and his staff were then disembarked. (39)

12 Oct 1941
Around 0800/12, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), departed Scapa Flow for Gibraltar where they arrived around 2200/18. (40)

16 Oct 1941

Operation Callboy.

Aircraft to be flown off to Malta and the transfer of ' Force K ' to Malta.

At 1100/16, ' Force H ' made up of the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN) HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) departed Gibraltar and proceeded eastwards.

Some exercises were carried out during the afternoon and early evening.

At 0640/17, two Swordfish were flown off from HMS Ark Royal for A/S patrol. These patrols were maintained throughout the day. A section of fighers was kept ranged until 0850/17 when they were flown off. During daylight always one section of fighters was kept in the air.

At 0710/17 the fleet made an emergeny turn after HMS Legion had obtained an A/S contact. The contact turned out to be non-sub.

Another non-sub contact was obtained by HMS Cossack about an hour later and again the fleet made an emergency turn. Two whales were sighted shortly afterwards which were the source of the A/S contact.

During the forenoon two more Fulmars were flown off for exercises (heightfinding and plotting). Also trials were carried out with the close range weapons in all ships.

At 1120/17 an unidentified aircraft was detected by RDF. It passed about 12 miles ahead of the fleet, steering a southerly course. It was not sighted.

Half an hour later HMS Ark Royal reported severe interference with fighter R/T from RDF transmissions. The interference proved to be coming from HMS Hermione and she was stationed further away from HMS Ark Royal.

At noon on the 17th ' Force H ' was in position 38°01'N, 02°26'E.

At 1350/17, a low flying Cant. 506 enemy aircraft was seen by HMS Ark Royal. This aircraft had not been picked up on RDF. One section of fighters was vectored towards it. The enemy was shot down after a chase of about 20 miles.

Around an hour later the fighters were vectored against an aircraft first detected by RDF and subsequently sighted to the north-west of the fleet. It proved to be a four-engined flying boat with French markings.

As ' Force H ' was ahead of time for arrival at the flying off position course was reversed at 1600/17 for one hour.

At 0130/18, course was altered to 050° for flying off. The destroyers took station in a circular screen around HMS Rodney and HMS Ark Royal. 11 Albacores and 2 Swordfish aircraft wee flown off between 0135 and 0145/18. One Albacore had been unable to take off due to a defect. On completion of flying off, the fleet formed up again and set course to 270°.

At 0547/18 the fleet had to make an emergency turn when HMS Forester reported a contact but it was soon reported to be non-sub and the fleet resumed its mean course.

At daylight, 0650/18, a fighter patrol of two Fulmars was flown off by HMS Ark Royal. Also two Swordfish for A/S patrol were flown off.

Fighters were vectored towards an aircraft reported by RDF as 25 miles ahead of the fleet at 0825/18 but they did not intercept. The aircraft which was on a northerly course was probably French on passage from Algiers to Merseilles.

A signal reporting the arrival at Malta of 11 Albacores was received at 0849/18. Later a further signal announced that one Swordfish had arrived. No news of the second Swordfish was recieved. No reason is known why this second Swordfish failed to arrive at Malta.

An aircraft was sighted from HMS Sikh south-west of the fleet at 0958/18. Fighters were vectored towards and they soon sighted an Italian BR.20. After a chase of 45 miles to the south-east the enemy was shot down about 10 miles from Cape Bengut.

Later another aircraft was detected by HMS Hermione. It was seen to be a Cant.506 but the fighters failed to intercept it.

At noon ' Force H ' was in position 37°20'N, 02°49'E. At 1400/18 course was altered to 245° to pass south of Alboran Island.

At 1450/18, HMS Hermione sighted a floating mine in position 37°25'N, 01°46'E but failed to sink it. She was then stationed ahead of the fleet for execises.

A/S and fighter patrol were withdrawn at 1825/18 and then landed on HMS Ark Royal.

At 2323/18, HMS Forester obtained an A/S contact which was thought to be a submarine. A pattern of five depth charges was dropped. The fleet turned 90° to starboard on the first report but when contact was not regained after the depth charge attack the fleet resumed the mean course.

The fleet altered course to 280° at 0645/19 and a few minutes later an A/S patrol of 2 Swordfish aircraft were flown off. This patrol was maintained until 1315/19 when it was reduced to one aircraft.

During the day an exercises programme was carried out. At 1000/19 ' Force K ' was sighted by HMS Hermione and also by the aircraft from HMS Ark Royal.

Ten Swordfish aircraft landed on HMS Ark Royal at 1120/19. They had come from North Front aerordrome.

The fleet entered Gibraltar Bay at 1619/19 and then entered harbour.

Meanwhile the cruisers of ' Force K ', HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Gibraltar and joined up at 0800/19 some 40 miles from Europa Point with the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) which had been already out for exercises since 1715/18.

' Force K ' arrived at Malta umolested at 0915/21. (41)

25 Oct 1941
' Force K ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) departed Malta around 1745/25 to intercept three enemy destroyers that had been reported. ' Force K ' was unable to find these destroyers and returned to Malta around 0900/26.

[We have been unable to find information on these 'three enemy destroyers'.] (42)

1 Nov 1941
' Force K ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) departed Malta around 1700/1 to intercept a reported enemy convoy. Nothing was sighted an ' Force K ' returned to Malta aroud 0700/2. (43)

9 Nov 1941

Dustruction of the Beta-convoy.

Interception of the enemy Beta-convoy and destruction of all the transport ships in it as well as some of the escorts.

On 7 November 1941, an enemy convoy departed Napels for Tripoli / Benghazi. It was made up of the merchant vessels Duisburg (German, 7389 GRT, built 1928) Maria (Italian, 6339 GRT, built 1926), Minatitlan (Italian (tanker), 7599 GRT, built 1941), Sagitta (Italian, 5153 GRT, built 1919) and San Marco (German (former French), 3113 GRT, built 1931). Off Messina these ships were joined by two more merchant vessels the Conte di Misurata (Italian (tanker), 5014 GRT, built 1908) and Rina Corrado (Italian, 5180 GRT, built 1918).

The convoy was escorted by a close escort made up of the Italian destroyers Maestrale (SO), Euro, Fulmine, Grecale, Libeccio and Oriani.

A distant cover force for the convoy was made up of the Italian heavy cruisers Trento, Trieste and the destroyers Alpino, Bersagliere, Fuciliere and Granatiere.

To intercept this convoy ' Force K ' departed Malta around HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) departed Malta around 1745/8.

They encountered the convoy around 0040/9, assisted by radar, and twenty minutes later fire was opened. In the ensuing battle all the merchant vessels were sunk as was the destroyer Fulmine. The destroyers Maestrale, Grecale and Euro were damaged.

The action was over around 45 minutes after it started and ' Force K ' set course to return to Malta where it arrived around 1345/9. They had been able to elude the Italian distant cover force. (43)

16 Nov 1941

Operation Chieftan

Dummy convoy to Malta from Gibraltar to create a diversion for the enemy during army operations in Libya.

16 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

On 16 November a dummy convoy departed Gibraltar and proceeded eastwards, it was made up of the merchant vessels; Baron Newlands (British, 3386 GRT, built 1928), Blairatholl (British, 3319 GRT, built 1925), Cisneros (British, 1886 GRT, built 1926), Ottinge (British, 2818 GRT, built 1940) and Shuna (British, 1575 GRT, built 1937).

The RFA tanker Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) was also part of the convoy.

Escort was provided by the destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), sloop HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), and the corvettes HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.C. Connell, RNR), HMS Marigold (T/Lt. J. Renwick, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.H. Faichney, DSO, RNR).

HMS Wild Swan got an A/S contact and was detached to hunt it reinforced by the corvette HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR) from Gibraltar.

The corvette Marigold detected and depth charged the German submarine U-433. The submarine surfaced and was sunk at 2155/6 on 16 November 1941 in the Mediterranean east of Gibraltar, in position 36°13'N, 04°42'W.

17 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

The dummy convoy turned back to the eastwards again on the 17th.

18 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

The dummy convoy arrived back at Gibraltar in the evening of the 18th.

Eastern Mediterranean.

Around 0730/18 the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) departed Alexandria to be at sea to support several operations in the Mediterranean.

Around 1105B/18, the fleet was joined by the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) which had already been at sea.

The fleet turned back towards Alexandria after dark.

On the 18th HMS Naiad and HMS Euryalus split off together with the destroyers HMS Jackal and HMS Kipling for a night bombardment of the Helfaya pass area upon which they also returned to Alexandria. They too arrived before noon on the 19th.

' Force K ', made up of light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 1845/18 to create a diversion during the night.

19 November 1941.

Eastern Mediterranean.

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0730/19.

The fleet arrived back in harbour before noon on the 19th followed shortly afterwards by HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Jackal and HMS Kipling. (44)

21 Nov 1941

Operations ME 7 and Landmark.

Diversionary attack on Tripoli to divert enemy air strenght away from the Bardia / Halfaya pass area during land operations.

The battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) departed Alexandria for operation ME 7.

At noon, the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) joined the fleet at sea having completed their bombardment. The four hunt-class destroyers were however detached to return to Alexandria where they arrived around 1500B/21.

After dark HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Galatea were detached after dark to make false W/T reports further to the west. The fleet then turned back towards Alexandria.

The fleet arrived back at Alexandria at daybreak on the 22nd. The detached cruisers arrived back later the same day.

To simulate a fake landing attempt on the coast near Tripoli (Operation Landmark) a convoy made up of the transports HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939), Ajax (7540 GRT, built 1931), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938) and Sydney Star (12696 GRT, built 1936) departed Malta. It was escorted by the corvette HMS Gloxinia (Lt.Cdr. A.J.C. Pomeroy, RNVR) and cover was provided by ' Force K ', made up of HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN). These ships all departed Malta around 1415/21. [Both destroyers had actually departed around 1235/21, presumably to conduct an A/S sweep before the other ships departed the harbour.]

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0600/22 followed around 2 hours later by the convoy. It does not appear the convoy had been sighted by the enemy. (44)

23 Nov 1941

Operations against enemy convoy's / Sinking of HMS Barham.

23 November 1941.

'Force K', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 2330B/23 to intercept reported enemy convoy's. They were to proceed to position 33°40'N, 21°14'E at first.

24 November 1941.

'Force B', made up of the light cuisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria around 0500B/24 to also operate directly against the enemy convoy's.

A cover force, made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) departed Alexandria around 1700 hours. They were joined at sea by the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN). Around 2245 hours these escort destroyers were relieved by the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) which came from Alexandria but had not completed fuelling at the time the fleet sailed.

In the meantime the Italian submarine Luigi Settembrini had heard the HE of fast moving ships which was thought to be 'Force K'. This was reported shortly after 0500B/24. Enemy convoy's were then ordered to proceed to the nearest ports.

At 1040B/24, ' Force K ' was informed that an enemy convoy was in position 35°40'N, 22°22'E. Enemy course was 239° at 5 knots.

It appeared likely to Capt. Agnew, Senior Officer ' Force K ', that the emeny from the current position of ' Force K ' and its course would think his ships would be on passage from Malta to Alexandria. Therefore this course was held for as long as possible in order to mislead the enemy in order to avoid the possibility that the convoy would be turning back. Capt. Agnew also thought it wise to attack as late as possible in the day so that the convoy would be further away from Crete and that there would be less daylight left for the enemy to deliver dive-bombing attacks.

At 1310B/24, ' Force K ' altered course to 029° and the ships were spread five miles apart in the order, from left to right, HMS Lively, HMS Penelope, HMS Lance and HMS Aurora. For the next three hours enemy aircraft, mostly He-111's, ere seen apparently ferrying between Greece and Benghasi. These were engaged whenever they provided a suitable target.

At 1524B/24, HMS Lively and HMS Penelope sighted smoke bearing 005° and these reports were quickly followed by ' masts in sight '.

All the ships of ' Force K ' at once altered course to intercept. HMS Aurora and HMS Lance increasing to full speed.

During the approach a number of Ju-88's which had apparently been escorting the convoy, attacked with bombs in shallow dives. These attacks were ineffective.

HMS Penelope was now closing the convoy rapidly. HMS Lively was dropping back to clear Penelope's line of fire and to give her AA protection from an up-sun direction. The two enemy escorts were zig-zagging across the front of the merchant ships laying smoke and firing at HMS Penelope.

As ' Force K ' gradually closed, the enemy escorts made off to the northward, leaving the merchant ships to their fate.

Up to this point the merchant ships had been firing their guns, but when the destroyers left them they stopped engines and abandoned ship.

HMS Penelope then engaged the merchant ships which caught fire quickly and after about ten minutes blew up.

There were no casualties in ' Force K ' but HMS Penelope was holed above the waterline by splinters.

The action took place within 100 miles of Crete and there was over two hours of daylight remaining so at 1630B/24 ' Force K ' retired to the westward at 23 knots.

As there was insufficient fuel remaining in the destroyers for upcoming operations Capt. Agnew decided to retire to Malta to refuel.

One of the enemy convoys, which was en-route from the Aegean to Benghazi, however did not receive the order to return and it was this convoy that was attacked by ' Force K '. Both transports in the convoy, the Maritza (German, 2910 GRT, built 1936) and Procida (German, 1842 GRT, built 1927), were sunk but the two escorts, the Italian torpedo boats Cassiopea and Lupo managed to escape although Cassiopea was damaged by splinters.

25 November 1941.

'Force K' returned to Malta around 0745B/25.

'Force B' meanwhile had set course to conduct a sweep alongt the coast of Cyrenaica during the night of 25/26 November but they sighted nothing.

At 1629B/25, the fleet (cover force) was attacked north-north-east of Sidi Barrani, Egypt in position 32°34'N, 26°24'E by the German uboat U-331 and HMS Barham was hit on the port side by three torpedoes. She quickly rolled over and then a magazine exploded. She quickly sank. The destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Jackal and HMAS Nizam were left behind to pick up survivors while the fleet continued on to the westward.

26 November 1941.

The fleet (cover force) returned to Alexandria around 1000B/26. The three detached destroyers returned at 1400B/26. A total of 449 survivors had been picked up from HMS Barham.

'Force B' returned to Alexandria around 1800B/26. (45)

25 Nov 1941
' Force K ', made up of light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 1800/25 to intercept an enemy convoy reported in the Ionian Sea to the east of Malta.

They returned around 1745/26 not having sighted the enemy convoy. (46)

28 Nov 1941
' Force K ', made up of light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 1400/28. Enemy destroyers had been sighted at Navarino and it seemed likely these were going to proceed to Benghazi the coming night.

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 2030/29 not having sighted the enemy. (46)

30 Nov 1941
Around ' Force B ' made up of the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) and ' Force K ' made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyer HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) [HMS Lance remained at Malta] departed Malta at 0500B/30 to intercept Italian forces that had been reported in the Ionian Sea.

Around 2330B/30, ' Force K ' was detached with orders to intercept the Italian transport Adriatico (1976 GRT, built 1931) which was en-route, unescorted, from Reggio to Benghazi. She was intercepted and sunk around 0315/1 north-east of Benghazi in position 32°52'N, 20°30'E. HMS Lively picked up two officers and nineteen ratings from the steamer. The Italian destroyer Giovanni da Verrazzano was sailed from Tripoli and rescued some more survivors.

Around 1800B/1, ' Force K ' sighted the Italian tanker Iridio Mantovani (10540 GRT, built 1939) and its escorting destroyer Alvise da Mosto. Soon both ships were sunk with gunfire north-west of Tripoli in position 33°45'N, 12°30'E with HMS Lively picking up survivors. The tanker had already been damaged by air attack.

' Force B ' arrived back at Malta around 1815B/1. ' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0730B/2. Both force had not sighted any more of the enemy. (47)

9 Dec 1941
The light cruisers HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Malta at 1830B/9 to intercept a reported enemy convoy to the east of Malta. No contact was made and the ships returned to Malta around 0745B/10. (48)

15 Dec 1941

Operation MF 1 and the resulting first Battle of Sirte.

Operation MF 1, passage of the British supply ship HMS Breconshire to Malta.

Around 2200B/15 the British supply ship HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) departed Alexandria being escorted by HMS Naiad (Capt. M.A.H. Kelsey, DSC, RN flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN). This last destroyer was also to proceed to Malta for repairs to her bow that had been damaged in a collision at Alexandria on 4 December. HMS Breconshire was carrying oil fuel for Malta.

At 1100/16 the Allied destroyers HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN) departed Malta. They joined up with the convoy at daylight on the 17th. During the day the convoy was attacked by enemy high level and torpedo bombers

These were followed at 1800B/16 by ‘Force K’; HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN).

At dark on the 16th HMS Carlisle, HMS Havock and HMS Kingston were detached to make a W/T diversion to the eastward at midnight of the night of 16/17 and then to proceed to Alexandria. They were later joined by HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN).

Enemy heavy forces were reported at sea at 2230B/16 by the submarines HMS Unbeaten (Lt. Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) and HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) in the Gulf of Taranto area. Neither submarine was able to attack. The Italians were at sea to cover an imported Axis convoy to North Africa.

From Taranto had departed the transports Monginevro (5324 GRT, built 1940), Napoli (6142 GRT, built 1941) and Vettor Pisani (6339 GRT, built 1939). They had a close escort of the destroyers Ugolino Vivaldi, Antonio Da Noli, Nicoloso da Recco, Lanzerotto Malocello, Emanuelle Pessagno, Nicolò Zeno. From Naples the German transport Ankara (4768 GRT, built 1937) departed on the same day. She had a close escort made up of the destroyer Saetta and the torpedo-boat Pegaso.

Cover was provided by two groups of warships. One group was made up of the battleship Caio Dulio, the light cruisers Emanuele Filiberto Duca D’Aosta, Muzio Attendolo, Raimondo Montecuccoli and the destroyers Aviere, Ascari and Camicia Nera. The other, and larger group, was made up of the battleships Littorio, Andrea Doria, Guilio Cesare, heavy cruisers Gorizia, Trento and the destroyers Granatiere, Bersagliere, Fuciliere, Alpino, Corazziere, Carabiniere, Antoniotto Usodimare, Maestrale, Alfredo Oriani and Vincenzo Gioberti.

The enemy heavy forces were reported by reconnaissance aircraft at 0825B/17 and again at 1525B/17 when they were with their convoy and only about 60 nautical miles from the Allied convoy. Very few Allied aircraft were available for reconnaissance and shadowing was therefore not carried out at all. At 1745B/17 the Allied convoy unexpectedly ran into the larger of the Italian cover forces. The Italian battleships opened fire but drew off to the northward when the Allied convoy escorts closed to attack. Contact was lost in the dark. When both forces made contact HMS Breconshire was detached with HMS Havock and HMS Decoy as escorts. They later made rendez-vous with ‘Force K’.

To reinforce the convoy HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O’Coner, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN) were sailed from Malta.

The original convoy escorts meanwhile retired to the eastward and then proceeded to the north of Benghazi to try to intercept the enemy convoy but as it was bound for Tripoli they made no contact. They therefore retired eastwards and arrived at Alexandria during the night of 18/19 December. HMS Kipling had been damaged by a near miss on the 17th. One rating had been killed during this attack.

HMS Breconshire and her escorts arrived safely at Malta in the afternoon of December 18th. (44)

19 Dec 1941

Sortie by ' Force K ' and loss of HMS Neptune and HMS Kandahar.

Around 1800B/18, 'Force K'; made up of light cruisers HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN), departed Malta to intercept an imported Italian convoy bound for Tripoli.

This enemy convoy was made up of the transports Monginevro (5324 GRT, built 1940), Napoli (6142 GRT, built 1941) and Vettor Pisani (6339 GRT, built 1939). They were escorted by the destroyers Ugolino Vivaldi, Antonio Da Noli, Nicoloso da Recco, Lanzerotto Malocello, Emanuelle Pessagno and Nicolò Zeno.

While trying to intercept 'Force K' ran into an unknown Italian minefield (German mines were used). HMS Neptune which was leading, struck a mine on her port side at 0106B/19 in position 33°09'0"N, 13°20'5"E. At 0108B/19 a similar explosion occured on board HMS Aurora. At 0110B/19 HMS Penelope exploded a mine, probably in her paravanes. The mine had exploded abreast the bridge on the port side. HMS Neptune hit another mine at 0116B/19 followed shortly afterwards by yet another one.

HMS Neptune was heavily damaged. HMS Aurora was also heavily damaged while damage to HMS Penolope was, compared to the other two cruisers, mimor. HMS Aurora soon set course trying to return to Malta taking HMS Lance and HMS Havock with her. The other ships remained in the area trying to assist HMS Neptune.

At 0130B/19, HMS Aurora ordered ' one destroyer go alongside Neptune'. HMS Kandahar then made a signal to HMS Lance ' take charge of destroyers '. HMS Kandahar then commenced to close HMS Neptune. While closing she was ordered by HMS Neptune ' Keep to leaward until i have drifted clear of minefield '.

At 0218B/19, HMS Penelope received a signal from HMS Neptune that she was preparing to be taken in tow.

At 0227B/19, a signal was received by HMS Kandahar from HMS Penelope. ' Have told Lively to close Neptune. I will close and take Neptune in tow when signalled '.

At 0309B/19, HMS Neptune ordered HMS Penelope to close as it was thought HMS Neptune had by now drifted clear of the minefield and was ready to be taken in tow. However at 0318B/19, HMS Kandahar which was also closing HMS Neptune at 15 knots to render assistance hit a mine despite using her Asdic to try to detect mines. Distance to HMS Neptune at that moment was 7 cables. HMS Penelope at once steered to get clear and was shortly afterwards ordered by HMS Neptune to ' Keep away '.

At 0330B/19, HMS Lively was seen to be closing as a signal was made by HMS Kandahar ordered in her to ' clear out '.

On a quick examination of the damage HMS Kandahar was found to be flooded up to the after engine room bulkhead. So at 0334B/19 a signal was made to HMS Penelope, ' Ship is flooded up to engine room bulkhead, can be towed but i realise this is impossible '.

Then at 0400B/19, HMS Neptune hit a fourth mine shattering all hopes that HMS Penelope and HMS Lively could help the by now two stricken ships. They were left with no choice to return to Malta. After the fourth explosion HMS Neptune was seen, by the crew of HMS Kandahar, to turn over on her port side and she began to sink slowly. HMS Kandahar too was seriously damaged being awash aft up to the funnel.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Lance, HMS Lively and HMS Havock returned to Malta around 1230B/19.

HMS Aurora was patched up at Malta before returning home for repairs at Liverpool from April to June 1942. HMS Penelope was repaired at Malta until January 1942.

Back to HMS Kandahar now, after the explosion the engine room bulkhead was shored and boats and Carley floats lowered. The only boat thought to be serviceable was the whaler. While this boat was being hauled round the bows to the Port side the line parted and the boat drifted away. She was seen to be making water and with the crew bailing hard so she was hailed and told to make for the ship again. This she failed to do and the boat was not seen again.

Confidential books, charts and documents were thrown overboard in well-weighted sacks and containers, Fleet Code only being retained. All Fleet Decodes were unfortunately jettisoned.

Three torpedoes, which could be fired from the forward tubes, were fired with stop valves closed. Due to damage the remaining seven could not be fired.

The situation now was that steam was being maintained in No.1 boiler room and No.3 boiler room. All auxiliary machinery in the engine room was running. All lights had failed due to the flooding of the after main switchboard. Fire control circuits were out of action. Both forward 4.7" mountings were workable in hand control. The Pom-Pom was out of action. Two 0.5" machine guns and two Oerlikons were operational. The ship was watertight from the after engine room bulkhead forward, but could not steam due to the loss of the propellers.

At daylight all top weight that could be cast loose was jettisoned. Jury aerials were rigged and all W/T sets were got into working order.

At about 0915B/19 a single JU-88 reconnaissance aircraft approached from the South and closed the ship and then flew away to the North. At about 0945B/20 a single S- 79 came up from the South and flew round the ship and thn returned towards Tripoli. At about 1000B/10 a Maryland closed, circled the ship and returned to the North.

Shortly after this a signal was transmitted on Admiral's Wave to any British warship ' Have been closed and inspected by reconnaissance aircraft. Am prepared to sink ship on arrival of enemy. ' The signal also included the ships position.

No reply was received from Malta for this signal on Admirals Wave, so a further signal was made on 465 KCs. ' Am still afloat, then the position was given., Drift Easterly about 1 knot '. [The positions in both signals have been censored.]

Around 1330B/19, six Blenheim aircaft were seen flying low approaching from Northwards and making in the direction of Tripoli.

Around 1600B/19, a signal was received from the Vice-Admiral, Malta that HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) had departed Malta and was coming to our assistance. This signal was decoded using the Fleet Code.

Around 1700B/19, a Maryland aircraft flew close around the ship. The crew put their thumbs up and departed Northwards.

At 2200B/19, a Wellington aircraft arrived that was to guide HMS Jaguar to the stricken ship and from then on until arrival of HMS Jaguar at 0420B/20 this aircraft closed the ship at intermittent intervals. The report of six enemy E-Boats in the vicinity was received from the Wellington and it was estimated that they were about 7 miles to Southward of ship around 2300B/19.

During the night the weather was deteriorating rapidly with a rising wind and sea and at 0400B/20 the ship took a list of 15° to Port having heretofore been listed to Starboard. This made the Engineer Officer think that she had lost stability due to the engine room bulkhead having collapsed. Correctly he reported to me immediately and I ordered everyone on the Upper Deck and made a signal on 465 KCs to HMS Jaguar ' Am sinking '. Further investigation proved that the bulkhead was holding and that change of list must have been entirely due to the wind getting on the Starboard quarter of the ship. The ' Am sinking ' signal was then cancelled.

Around 0420B/20, HMS Jaguar was seen on the Starboard quarter and the following signal was made to her ' My ship's head 160°. Come my port side bow to stern '. Conditions were very difficult due to wind and sea and the rate of drift of HMS Kandahar, but HMS Jaguar managed to get alongside at his first attempt. However it was immediately apparent that the damage to HMS Jaguar would be considerable if she stayed there so she was ordered to go astern out of it. Some 50 men jumped from HMS Kandahar to HMS Jaguar in the brief period she had been alongside.

After consideration a signal was then made to HMS Jaguar ' Intend to abandon and sink ship. Lie to windward, to pick up survivors. Leave not later than 0530 '. The order to abandon ship was then given and the necessary steps taken to ensure the ship would sink.

Again Jaguar's ship handling was perfect and the recovery of survivors was done most expeditiously. It was expected that HMS Kandahar would sink in about 20 minutes but as she had not completely foundered HMS Jaguar torpedoed her before leaving and she was seen to sink when she left the area. HMS Jaguar arrived at Malta later on December, 20th.

A total of 165 survivors had been picked up from HMS Kandahar but no survivors from HMS Neptune had been seen by the British.

In the end only one survivor was picked up by the Italian torpedo boat Calliope on 24 December. A second survivor on the same Carley float drowned during the rescue attempt due to his weak state.

On 19 January 1942 there is an entry in the war diary of Supermarine (Italian naval command) that 27 bodies, thought to be from Neptune had by now been recoved on the Libyan coast between Zlitan and Misurata. (49)

14 Jul 1942
In the morning, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN and HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) conducted RIX (rangefinding and inclination) exercises off Scapa Flow.

In the afternoon HMS Aurora conducted RDF calibration trials (which had to be abandoned though) while HMS Jamaica conducted HA gunnery exercises. (50)

17 Jul 1942
The battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral J. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet) escorted by the destroyers USS Hambleton (T/.Cdr. F. Close, USN), USS Rodman (T/Cdr. W.G. Michelet, USN), USS Emmons (T/Cdr. T.C. Ragan, USN) and USS Macomb (T/Cdr. W.H. Duvall, USN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. Also out for exercises were the light cruisers light cruiser HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN).

During the night of 17/18 July 1942, HMS Jamaica remained at sea for night encounter exercises with the destroyer HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN). (51)

23 Jul 1942
HMS King George V (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

HMS King George V was most likely escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Chiddingfold (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN). (52)

28 Jul 1942
In the forenoon HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) conducted underway refueling exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN).

In the fornoon HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) conducted 4" gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow.

In the afternoon HMS Sussex and HMS Aurora condcuted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (53)

29 Jul 1942
HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

On completion of these exercises Vice-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN, hoisted his flag in HMS Norfolk, striking it in HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN). (54)

4 Aug 1942
The light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, with Vice-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN, on board), HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN), HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) and AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. HMS Sheffield and HMS Scylla remained out through the night for night exercises returning only back to Scapa Flow the following morning. (55)

28 Aug 1942
Around 2030A/28, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.V.H. Harris, DSC, MVO, RN) departed Greenock to join convoy WS 22 on assembly of Oversay the following morning.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy WS 22 ' for 29 August 1942.] (56)

29 Aug 1942

Convoy WS 22.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 29 August 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Andes (British, 25689 GRT, built 1939), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), California (British, 16792 GRT, built 1923), Canara (British, 7024 GRT, built 1942), Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Highland Chieftain (British, 14135 GRT, built 1929), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Leinster (British, 4303 GRT, built 1937), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Nea Hellas (British, 16991 GRT, built 1922), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927), Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937) and Suffolk (British, 11145 GRT, built 1939).

On assembly off Oversay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (A/Capt.(Retd.) W.V.H. Harris, DSC, MVO, RN), destroyers HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN), HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Beverley (Lt. R.A. Price, RN), HMS Chesterfield (Lt. J. Smallwood, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) and the escort destroyers HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN) and HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN).

Around 1800Z/31, ORP Blyskawica was detached to Londonderry due to abnormal high fuel consumption.

Around 0600Z/1, HMS Bulldog, HMS Keppel and HMS Zetland were detached to return to the U.K.

Around 1315Z/1, HMS Bicester was detached to Plymouth.

Around 1520Z/1, HMS Partridge and HMAS Quiberon were detached to fuel at the Azores. They arrived there around 1600Z/2.

Around 1540Z/2, the Leinster parted company with the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar. The destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) had come from Gibraltar to escort her.

Around 0930Z/3, HMS Partridge and HMAS Quiberon rejoined from fuelling having departed Ponta Delgada around 0200Z/3. HMS Beverley and HMS Chesterfield were then detached to fuel at the Azores.

Around 1400Z/6, the destroyer HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair) joined.

Around 1300Z/7, the escort destroyer RHS Pindos joined.

The convoy arrived at Freetown shortly after noon on 9 September 1942.

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The convoy departed Freetown in the same composition around 0700Z/13. One additional vessel had joined the convoy, this was the transport Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927). The convoy was now escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora, armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.D. Harvey, RN), destroyers HMAS Quiberon, HMS Partridge, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Antelope and the escort destroyers HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and RHS Pindos.

Around 1800Z/15, the Highland Princess was detached to Takoradi escorted by HMS Boreas. HMS Antelope was also detached to return to Freetown.

Around 1800A/16, HMS Alcantara, HMS Derwent and RHS Pindos were detached to Pointe Noire to fuel. They rejoined the convoy around 1800A/19 after which HMS Aurora, HMAS Quiberon and HMS Partidge parted company with the convoy to fuel at Pointe Noire. They did not rejoin the convoy.

Around 1015BC/24, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) joined the convoy coming from Simonstown.

Around 1200BC/24, the convoy split into the Capetown section and the Durban section.

The Capetown section was made up of the Almanzora, Andes, California, Canara, Dominion Monarch, Franconia, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Nea Hellas, Nieuw Holland, Orduna and Ruys. The arrived at Capetown on 25 September escorted by HMS Alcantara, HMS Derwent and RHS Pindos.

The Durban section was made up of the Boissevain, Highland Brigade, Highland Chieftain, Mataroa, Orcades, Rangitata, Sibajak and Suffolk. They were escorted by HMS Shropshire.

The Durban section arrived at Durban on 29 September 1942.

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On 29 September 1942, the Capetown section, now made up of the following ships; Almanzora, Dominion Monarch, Franconia, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Nieuw Holland and Orduna departed. They were escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Alcantara and HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN).

On 3 October 1942, HMS Alcantara parted company with the convoy and entered Durban. The Durban section of the convoy then joined. It was now made up of the following ships; Boissevain, California, Canera, Ekma (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Felix Roussel (British, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Rangitata and Ruys. They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. R.D. Oliver, CBE, DSC, RN).

Around 0600D/8, HMS Ranchi parted company with the convoy to fuel at Diego Suarez. She arrived there around 1730D/9. Having completed fuelling she departed again around 2330D/9 to rejoined the convoy which she did around 0600D/11.

Around 1130E/10, the 'heavy' cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. G.A. French, RN) joined the convoy. HMS Devonshire then parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini / Mombasa taking the Almanzora and Rangitata with her. They arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa on the 12th.

Around 0710D/11, HMS Hawkins parted company taking the Bombay section of the convoy with her. The Bombay section was made up of the Boissevain, California, Canara, Dominion Monarch, Franconia, Indrapoera, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Nieuw Holland and Ruys. They arrived at Bombay on 17 October 1942 minus the Canera which had been detached around 1920EF/15 to Karachi where she arrived on 18 October 1942.

HMS Ranchi escorting the Aden section, made up of the Ekma, Felix Roussel and Orduna , had meanwhile arrived at Aden on 16 October 1942. (57)

20 Sep 1942
Around 1130A/20, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) and HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN) arrived at Pointe Noire from convoy escort duty.

Around 1900A/20, having fuelled, they departed Pointe Noire for Freetown.

On 21 September 1942, they were ordered to search for a German supply ship suspected to be in the area.

At 0300A/23, a ship was sighted right ahead and HMAS Quiberon was ordered to investigate. The ship turned out to be the Portugese Mirandella (5926 GRT, built 1906) bound from Lisbon to Luanda.

At 1300Z/24, HMS Aurora, HMAS Quiberon and HMS Partridge were ordered to search for the Vichy French transport Cephee (5800 GRT, built 1938) to the limit of their endurance.

Around 0400Z/25, HMS Partridge parted company to proceed to Freetown where she arrived on the 26th.

Around 0400Z/26, HMAS Quiberon parted company to proceed to Freetown where she arrived around 1015Z/27 having first made several runs over the D/G range.

Around 1300Z/26, HMS Aurora ended the search and set course to Freetown where she arrived around 1800Z/27. The Vichy-French vessel had not been sighted. (58)

22 Oct 1942

Convoys KMS 1, KMF 1 for the landings at Algiers and Oran during Operation Torch.

Convoy KMS 1.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 23 October 1942.

It was made up of the following transports; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925), Alphard (Dutch, 5483 GRT, built 1937), Ardeola (British, 2609 GRT, built 1912), Benalbanach (British, 7153 GRT, built 1940), Charles H. Cramp (American, 6220 GRT, built 1920), Chattanooga City (American, 5687 GRT, built 1921), City of Worcester (British, 5469 GRT, built 1927), Clan MacTaggart (British, 7622 GRT, built 1920), Delilian (British, 6423 GRT, built 1923), Edward Ruthledge (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1925), Empire Mordred (British, 7024 GRT, built 1942), Fort McLoughlin (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Glenfinlas (British, 7479 GRT, built 1917), Havildar (British, 5401 GRT, built 1940), Hopecrown (British, 5180 GRT, built 1937), Jean Jadot (Belgian, 5859 GRT, built 1929), Lalande (British, 7453 GRT, built 1920), Lochmonar (British, 9412 GRT, built 1924), Lycaon (British, 7350 GRT, built 1913), Macharda (British, 7998 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Port (British, 7071 GRT, built 1935), Mark Twain (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Maron (British, 6487 GRT, built 1930), Mary Slessor (British, 5027 GRT, built 1930), Ocean Rider (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Viceroy (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Volga (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Wanderer (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Pacific Exporter (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Salacia (British, 5495 GRT, built 1937), Sobo (British, 5353 GRT, built 1937), St. Essylt (British, 5634 GRT, built 1941), Stanhill (British, 5969 GRT, built 1942), Tadorna (British, 1947 GRT, built 1928), Theseus (British, 6527 GRT, built 1908), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938), Urlana (British, 6852 GRT, built 1941), Walt Whitman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William M. Floyd (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William M. Wirt (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942) and Zebulon B. Vance (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

Also part of the convoy were the landing ships Derwentdale (8390 GRT, built 1941), Dewdale (8265 GRT, built 1941) and Ennerdale (8280 GRT, built 1941).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the escort carrier HMS Avenger (Cdr. A.P. Colthurst, RN), AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.F. Nash, RN), destroyer HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), sloops HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), HMS Stork (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), corvettes HMS Convolvulus (A/Lt.Cdr. R.F.R. Yarde-Buller, RNVR), HMS Gardenia (T/Lt. M.M. Firth, RNVR), HMS Marigold (Lt. J.A.S. Halcrow, RD, RNR), HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J. Byron, DSC, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. L.A. Sayers, RNR), HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR), HMS Vetch (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.J. Beverley, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Violet (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR) and the minesweepers HMS Acute (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, DSO, RN), HMS Alarm (T/Lt.Cdr. R. Patterson, SANF(V)), HMS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. J.D.L. Williams, RN) and HMS Cadmus (Lt.Cdr. J.B.G. Temple, DSC, RN).

Around 1000A/4, the convoy was split up into two sections KMS A1 and KMS O1. KMS A1 was destined for Algiers and KMS O1 was destined for Oran. KMS O1 then proceeded to the westwards so as to pass the Straits of Gibraltar later.

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Convoy KMS A 1.

Convoy KMS A 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 2345A/5; it was made up of the transports; City of Worcester, Glenfinlas, Jean Jadot, Lalande, Lochmonar, Macharda, Manchester Port, Maron, Ocean Rider, Ocean Viceroy, Ocean Volga, Ocean Wanderer, Sobo, Stanhill, Tiba and Urlana.

The landing ships Dewdale and Ennerdale were also part of the convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the sloop HMS Stork, corvettes HMS Convolvulus, HMS Marigold, HMS Pentstemon, HMS Samphire [this corvette might have already parted company though, see below] and the minesweepers HMS Acute, HMS Alarm, HMS Albacore and HMS Cadmus.

Around 0700A/5, the corvette HMS Samphire arrived at Gibraltar with defects from convoy KMS A1.

Around 0800A/5, the minesweepers HMS Algerine (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Cooke, RN), HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. T.E. Williams, RNR) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

Around 1830A/5, the M/S trawlers HMS Cava (T/Lt. R.L. Petty-Major, RNVR), HMS Juliet (Lt. L.B. Moffatt, RNR), HMS Othello (T/Lt. S.C. Dickinson, RNVR), HMS Stroma (Skr. J.S. Harper, RNR), HMS Hoy (T/Lt. G.H. McNair, MBE, RNVR), HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (Lt. J. Plomer, RCNVR), HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR) and the motor launches ML 238, ML 273, ML 283, ML 295, ML 307, ML 336, ML 338, ML 444 departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

Around 2230A/5, the monitor HMS Roberts (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN), escort destroyers HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, DSO, RN), HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN), HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) and the corvette HMS Samphire (with her repairs completed) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS A1.

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Convoy KMS O 1.

Convoy KMS O 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 1630A/6; it was made up of the transports; Alcinous, Alphard, Benalbanach, Charles H. Cramp, Chattanooga City, Clan Mactaggart, Delinlian, Edward Rutledge, Empire Confidence, Empire Mordred, Havildar, Lycaon, Mark Twain, Mary Slessor, Pacific Exporter, Recorder, Salacia, St. Essylt, Thesues, Walt Whitman, William Floyd, William Wirt and Zebulon B. Vance.

The landing ship Derwentdale was also part of this convoy.

The convoy was escorted by the AA ship HMS Alynbank, sloop HMS Deptford, corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Rhododendron, HMS Vetch and HMS Violet.

Around 1500A/6, the minesweepers HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR), HMS Bude (Lt. F.A.J. Andrew, RN), HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR) and HMS Felixstowe (T/Lt. C.G. Powney, RNVR) departed Gibraltar to join the convoy KMS O1.

After dark on the 6th, the M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus (T/Lt. N. Hunt, RNVR), HMS Eday (T/Lt. W.Y. Surtees, RNR), HMS Inchmarnock (T/Lt. C.G.V. Corneby, RNR), HMS Kerrera (Skr. R.W. Slater, RNR) and the motor launches ML 280, ML 458, ML 463, ML 469, ML 471, ML 480, ML 483 and HDML 1127, HDML 1128 and HDML 1139 departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS O1.

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Operation Crupper.

Two ships from Convoy KMS 1, the Ardeola and Tadorna formed part of Convoy KMS 1A after the convoy had split up. They were to proceed to Malta unescorted. The Admiralty had decided to make use of the expected confusion of the landings in North Africa to run two 'small' merchant ships with important cargo to Malta. These ships were considered expendable. They parted company with convoy KMS 1A on 8 November. They did not reach Malta however. When off Cape Bon on 9 November, they were taken under fire by Vichy French coastal batteries, despite the darkness, and then captured by motor torpedo boats. They were brought into Bizerta where their cargo was unloaded. The ships were later taken over by the Italians.

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Convoy KMF 1.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 26 October 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Awatea (British, 13482 GRT, built 1936), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Cathay (British, 15225 GRT, built 1925), Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Derbyshire (British, 11660 GRT, built 1935), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Ettrick (British, 11279 GRT, built 1938), Exceller (American, 6597 GRT, built 1941), Leinster (British, 4302 GRT, built 1937) Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Sobieski (British, 11030 GRT, built 1939), Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931), Tegelberg (Dutch, 14150 GRT, built 1937), Viceroy of India (British, 19627 GRT, built 1929), Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930) and Winchester Castle (British, 20012 GRT, built 1930).

The headquarters ships HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN), HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, OBE, RNR), the landing ships HMS Glengyle (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN), HMS Karanja (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) D.S. Hore-Lacy, RN), HMS Keren (A/Cdr. S.E. Crewe-Read, RN), HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN), HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Royal Ulsterman (A/Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR) and the attack transports USS Almaack (T/Capt. C.L. Nichols, USN), USS Leedstown (Cdr. D. Cook, USNR), USS Samuel Chase (Capt. R.C. Heimer, USCG) and USS Thomas Stone (Capt. O.R. Bennehoff, USN) were also part of the convoy.

On assembly off Oversay on the 27th the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), escort carrier HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN), destroyer HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. L.H. Landman, RN), sloops HMS Aberdeen (Lt.Cdr. H. Day, RN), HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN), HMS Ibis (Lt.Cdr. H.M. Darell-Brown, RN), cutters HMS Hartland (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Billot, RNR), HMS Walney (Lt.Cdr. P.C. Meyrick, RN), frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Spey (Cdr. H.G. Boys-Smith, DSO and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, RNR) and HMS Tay (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR).

Around 1120A/2, the destroyers HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined coming from the Azores.

Around 0200A/3, the AA ships HMS Palomares (A/Capt.(Retd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN), HMS Pozarica (Capt.(Retd.) L.B. Hill, DSO, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) departed Gibraltar to join the convoy. At 1045A/3, the destroyer HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN) also departed to join the convoy. She had been unable to depart earlier due to defects.

Around 0800A/3, the destroyer HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN) joined the convoy coming from the Azores.

Around 1300A/3, the light cruiser HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) also departed Gibraltar to join the convoy.

Around 1830Z/3, HMS Sheffield parted company with the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar where she arrived at 0815A/3, she was to fuel and then join ' Force O '.

Around noon on 4 November 1942, the convoy was split up into two sections KMF A1 and KMF O1. KMF A1 was destined for Algiers and KMF O1 was destined for Oran. KMF O1 then proceeded to the westwards so as to pass the Straits of Gibraltar later.

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Convoy KMF A 1.

Convoy KMF A 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 0100A/6; it was made up of the (troop) transports; Almaack, Awatea, Cathay, Dempo, Ettrick, Exceller, Leedstown, Marnix van St. Aldegonde, Otranto, Sobieski, Strathnaver, Viceroy of India and Winchester Castle.

The headquarters ship HMS Bulolo and the landing ships HMS Karanja, HMS Keren, HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and Ulster Monarch and the attack transports USS Samuel Chase and USS Thomas Stone were also part of the convoy.

[exactly which ships of the escort went on with this part of the convoy will have to be researched further.]

In the morning of 5 November, HrMs Isaac Sweers parted company with the convoy to join ' Force H '. HMS Escapade and HMS Marne were apparently detached to Gibraltar on the convoy passing the Strait of Gibraltar.

Also on 5 November, the corvettes HMS Spiraea (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Miller, DSC, RNR) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF A1.

Around 0200A/6, the destroyers HMS Broke (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) and HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF A1 and relieve HMS Achates, HMS Antelope, HMS Amazon and HMS Wivern. After having been relieved these destroyers arrived at Gibraltar around 0545A/6. Also arriving at Gibraltar were the Leinster, HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and Ulster Monarch.

Around 1000A/6, HMS Broke, HMS Malcolm, HMS Vanoc and HMS Wrestler joined ' Force O ' while the screen on ' Force O ' joined the convoy, the destroyers / escort destroyers involved were ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R. de L. Brooke, DSC, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN). The AA ship HMS Tynwald (Capt.(Retd.) P.G. Wodehouse, DSO, RN) also joined the convoy from ' Force O ' at the same time.

Around 0535A/7, in position 37°34'N, 00°01'W, the attack transport USS Thomas Stone was torpedoed and damaged by an enemy aircraft. HMS Spey remained with the damaged ship. At 2040A/7, the destroyers HMS Wishart and HMS Velox joined and the ship was taken in tow by HMS Wishart. HMS Spey by that time had departed with the ships 24 landing craft in which the ships troops had embarked. She was to escort them to Algiers but all had to be scuttled and the troops were taken on board HMS Spey. At 0535A/8 the tug St. Day joined which also passed a tow. The damaged ship anchored off Algiers around 1030A/11 being towed there by HMS Wishart and HMS St. Day.

Around 0725Z/7, HMS Clare parted company to join ' Force O ' which she did around 0913Z/7.

Around 1815A/7, the section destined for ' C Sector ' (Charlie Sector) parted company with the convoy. It was made up of the USS Almaack, USS Leedstown, USS Samuel Chase, Exceller and Dempo. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Tynwald, escort destroyers HMS Cowdray, HMS Zetland, sloop HMS Enchantress, minesweepers HMS Algerine, HMS Hussar, HMS Speedwell, corvettes HMS Pentstemon, HMS Samphire, MS trawlers HMS Cava, HMS Othello and the motor launches HMS ML 273 and HMS ML 295. At 2135A/7, the beacon submarine HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN) made contact with the force and the ships were guided to their positions for the landings. From convoy KMS A1 the transports Macharda and Maron were destined for Charlie sector. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Stork and the corvettes HMS Pentstemon and HMS Samphire.

Around 1900A/7, The remainder of convoy KMF A1 split into two sections, one for ' A Sector ' (Apple Sector) and one for ' B Sector ' (Beer Sector).

The force for ' A Sector ' was made up of HMS Karanja and the Marnix van St. Aldegonde and Viceroy of India. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Pozarica, escort destroyers HMS Bicester, HMS Bramham, frigate HMS Rother, minesweeper HMS Cadmus, MS trawlers HMS Juliet, HMS Rysa, HMS Stroma and the motor launches HMS ML 283, HMS ML 336 and HMS ML 338. At 2214A/7, the made contact with their beacon submarine HMS P 221 (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSC, RN). A few minutes later they stopped and the landings commenced. From convoy KMS A1 the following ships were assigned to ' A Sector '; Dewdale, Lalande, Manchester Port, Ocean Viceroy and Ocean Wanderer. They were escorted by the corvettes HMS Convolvulus and HMS Marigold.

The force for ' B Sector ' was made up of HMS Bulolo, HMS Keren and the Awatea, Cathay, Otranto, Sobieski, Strathnaver and Winchester Castle. With them were also transports from convoy KMS A1. They were escorted by the AA ship HMS Palomeres, destroyer ORP Blyskawica, escort destroyers HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland, HMS Wilton, minesweepers HMS Acute, HMS Alarm, HMS Albacore, MS trawlers HMS Hoy, HMS Incholm, HMS Mull and the motor launches HMS ML 238, HMS ML 307 and HMS ML 444. They made contact with their beacon submarine HMS P 48 (Lt. M.E. Faber, RN) around 2220A/7 hours and landing operation commenced shortly afterwards. From convoy KMS A1 the following ships were assigned to ' A Sector '; City of Worcester, Ennerdale, Glenfinlas, Jean Jadot, Lochmonar, Ocean Rider, Ocean Volga, Sobo, Stanhill, Tiba and Urlana. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Stork and the corvettes HMS Pentstemon and HMS Samphire which then went on with the ships for the ' Charlie sector '.

On 9 November the ships involved in the landings anchored in Algiers Bay.

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Convoy KMF O 1.

Convoy KMF O 1 was to pass the Strait of Gibraltar around 2230A/6; it was made up of the (troop) transports; Batory, Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Letitia, Llangibby Castle, Monarch of Bermuda, Mooltan, Nieuw Zeeland, Orbita, Reina del Pacifico, Tegelberg and Warwick Castle.

The headquarters ship HMS Largs and the landing ships HMS Glengyle, HMS Princess Beatrix and HMS Queen Emma were also part of the convoy.

Around 1950A/4, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF O1.

For the landings at Oran three main beaches were selected. ' X ', ' Y ' and ' Z ' beach. There was also one subsidiary beach, ' R '.

The fast convoy, KMF O1, would, after passing through the Straits of Gibraltar make rendezvous with the slow convoy, KMS O1 in position 36°26'N, 01°15'W.

The convoys would then be diverted into nine groups, these were;
For ' X ' beach
Group I, 1st Division; Batory, HMS Princess Beatrix, Queen Emma, 2nd Division; Benalbenach, Mark Twain, Mary Slessor and Walt Whitman. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora, destroyer HMS Wivern, corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Vetch and the motor launch HMS HDML 1139.
Group VIII, LST HMS Bachaquero (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. McMullan, RNR) escorted by the M/S trawler HMS Horatio (T/Lt. C.A. Lemkey, RNR).

For ' Y ' beach
Group II; HMS Glengyle, Monarch of Bermuda, Llangibby Castle, Clan Mactaggart and Salacia. They were escorted by the destroyers Brilliant, HMS Verity, M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus, HMS Eday, HMS Inchmarnock, HMS Kerrera and the motor launches HMS ML 458, HMS ML 463, HMS ML 469, HMS ML 471 and HMS HDML 1128.

For ' Z ' beach
Group III, 1st Division; Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Ettrick, Warwick Castle. 2nd Division; Derwentdale, Reina del Pacifico and Tegelberg. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Jamaica, escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), minesweepers HMS Brixham, HMS Bude, HMS Clacton, HMS Felixtowe, HMS Polruan (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.S. Landers, RNR), HMS Rothesay (Cdr. A.A. Martin, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR) and the motor launches HMS ML 280, HMS HDML 1127.

Group V; Alcinous, Alphard, Charles H. Cramp, Chatanooga City, Delilian, Recorder and Zebulon B. Vance. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Deptford, cutters HMS Hartland, HMS Walney, corvettes HMS Rhododendron, HMS Violet and the motor launches HMS ML 480 and HMS ML 483.

Group VI, 1st division; Derbyshire, Letitia, Mooltan and Nieuw Zeeland. 2nd division, Empire Confidence, Lycaon and Theseus.

Group VII, 1st division, Empire Mordred, Havildar, Pacific Exporter and St. Essylt. 2nd division; Edward Rutledge, William Floyd and William Wirt. Groups VI and VII were escorted by the light (AA) cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN), destroyer HMS Vansittart, sloop HMS Aberdeen and the frigates HMS Exe and HMS Swale.

Group IX; LST's HMS Misoa (T/Lt. K.G. Graham, RNR) and HMS Tasajera (Lt.Cdr. W.E. Gelling, DSC, RD, RNR). They were escorted by the M/S trawlers HMS Fluellen (T/Lt. B.J. Hampson, RNR), HMS Ronaldsay (T/Lt. A. Stirling, RNR) and HMS Shiant (T/Lt. A.C. Elton, RNR).

For ' R ' beach
Group IV; HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and HMS Ulster Monarch. They had the same escort as Group III.

Two submarines were stationed off the beaches as beacons, these were HMS Ursula (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSC, RN) and HMS P 54 (Lt. C.E. Oxborrow, DSC, RN).

28 Oct 1942

Operation Train.

Aircraft to be flown to Malta.

Around 0830A/28, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), destroyers HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN), HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Vanoc (A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN), ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) and the escort destroyers HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, RN), HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN) departed Gibraltar and proceeded eastwards.

Between roughly 0730A/28 and 0930A/28, 29 Spitfires were flown off by HMS Furious.

The Force arrived back at Gibraltar around 1500A/30. (59)

8 Nov 1942

The landings at Oran as part of Operation Torch

For the landings at Oran the Centre Naval Task Force was deployed.

This Task Force was made up of the following warships; battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), escort carriers HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN), HMS Dasher (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), AA cruiser HMS Delhi (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN), AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.F. Nash, RN), destroyers HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, DSO, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN), HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), submarines HMS Ursula (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSC, RN), HMS P 54 (Lt. C.E. Oxborrow, DSC, RN), minesweepers HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Felixstowe (T/Lt. C.G. Powney, RNVR), HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR), HMS Polruan (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.S. Landers, RNR), HMS Rothesay (Cdr. A.A. Martin, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR), HMS Bude (Lt. F.A.J. Andrew, RN), HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR), sloops HMS Aberdeen (Lt.Cdr. H. Day, RN), HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), cutters HMS Hartland (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Billot, RNR), HMS Walney (Lt.Cdr. P.C. Meyrick, RN), frigates HMS Exe (A/Cdr. M.A.O. Biddulph, DSC, RN), HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, RNR), corvettes HMS Gardenia (T/Lt. M.M. Firth, RNVR), HMS Vetch (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.J. Beverley, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. L.A. Sayers, RNR), HMS Violet (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR), M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus (T/Lt. N. Hunt, RNVR), HMS Fluellen (T/Lt. B.J. Hampson, RNR), HMS Horatio (T/Lt. C.A. Lemkey, RNR), HMS Eday (T/Lt. W.Y. Surtees, RNR), HMS Inchmarnock (T/Lt. C.G.V. Corneby, RNR), HMS Kerrera (Skr. R.W. Slater, RNR), HMS Shiant (T/Lt. A.C. Elton, RNR), HMS Ronaldsay (T/Lt. A. Stirling, RNR), motor launches ML 280, ML 458, ML 463, ML 469, ML 471, ML 480, ML 483 and the harbour defence motor launches HDML 1127, HDML 1128 and HDML 1139.

Also parted of the Centre Naval Task Force were the following amphibious ships; headquarters ship HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, RNR, flying the flag of Commodore T.H. Troubridge, RN), landing ships infantery HMS Glengyle (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN), HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN), HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Royal Scotsman (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Armstrong, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Royal Ulsterman (A/Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR) and HMS Ulster Monarch (Lt.Cdr. N.A.F. Kingscote, RNR), RFA Derwentdale, landing ships tank HMS Bachaquero (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. McMullan, RNR), HMS Misoa (T/Lt. K.G. Graham, RNR) and HMS Tasajera (Lt.Cdr. W.E. Gelling, DSC, RD, RNR).

Also parted of the Oran Attack Force were the ships in convoys KMS O1 and KMF O2.

Around 1700Z/6, convoy KMS O1 passed through the Straits of Gibraltar followed by convoy KMF O1 around 1830Z/6. These convoys then merged to the east of the Straits of Gibraltar. These convoys came direct from the U.K. and were made up of the following (troop) transports; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925), Alphard (British, 5483 GRT, built 1937), Batory (Polish, 14287 GRT, built 1936), Benalbanach (British, 7153 GRT, built 1940), Charles H. Cramp (American, 6220 GRT, built 1920), Chattanooga City (American, 5687 GRT, built 1921), Clan Mactaggart (British, 7622 GRT, built 1920), Delinlian (British, 6423 GRT, built 1923), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Edward Rutledge (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1925), Empire Mordred (British, 7024 GRT, built 1942), Havildar (British, 5401 GRT, built 1940), Letitia (British, 13595 GRT, built 1925), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), Lycaon (British, 7350 GRT, built 1913), Mark Twain (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Mary Slessor (British, 5027 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928)), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Pacific Exporter (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Recorder (British, 5981 GRT, built 1930), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Salacia (British, 5495 GRT, built 1937), St. Essylt (British, 5634 GRT, built 1941), Tegelberg (Dutch, 14150 GRT, built 1937), Thesues (British, 6527 GRT, built 1908), Walt Whitman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Warwick Castle (British, 20107 GRT, built 1930), William Floyd (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), William Wirt (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942) and Zebulon B. Vance (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942).

Also part of these convoys was the headquarters ship HMS Largs and the landing ships infantery Glengyle, Queen Emma, Queen Beatrix, Royal Scotsman, Royal Ulsterman, Ulster Monarch and RFA Derwentdale.

From the above warships the following had come direct from the U.K. with convoys KMS 1 and KMF 1; escort carrier HMS Dasher, AA ship HMS Alynbank, destroyer HMS Vansittart, sloops HMS Aberdeen, HMS Deptford, cutters HMS Hartland, HMS Walney, frigates HMS Exe, HMS Swale and the corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Rhododendron, HMS Vetch and HMS Violet.

On 2 November 1942, the minesweepers HMS Rhyl, HMS Clacton, HMS Polruan, HMS Rothesay and HMS Stornoway departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS 1.

Around 0300A/3, the light cruiser HMS Jamaica departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF 1 coming from the U.K.

Around 1950A/4, the light cruiser HMS Aurora departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMF O1.

Around 0430A/6, the battleship HMS Rodney and the destroyers HMS Bulldog, HMS Boreas and HMS Beagle departed Gibraltar as part of Force H.

Around 1500A/6, the destroyer HMS Vansittart, which had arrived at Gibraltar on the 5th, departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS O1 with her were also the minesweepers HMS Bude, HMS Brixham and HMS Felixtowe.

A few hours later, shortly after dark on the 6th, the landing ships tank HMS Bachaquero, HMS Misoa and HMS Tasajera departed Gibraltar to join convoy KMS O1. They were escorted by the M/S trawlers HMS Fluellen, HMS Horatio, HMS Ronaldsay, HMS Shiant, HMS Coriolanus, HMS Eday, HMS Inchmarnock, HMS Kerrera, the motor launches ML 280, ML 458, ML 463, ML 469, ML 471, ML 480, ML 483 and the harbour defence motor launches HDML 1127, HDML 1128 and HDML 1139.

Around 2200A/6, the escort carrier HMS Dasher and the destroyers HMS Wivern, HMS Amazon, HMS Achates, HMS Acheron, HMS Boadicea and HMS Brilliant departed Gibraltar to join the convoys.

Around 0300A/7, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, AA cruiser HMS Delhi and the escort destroyers HMS Farndale, HMS Avon Vale, HMS Calpe and HMS Puckeridge departed Gibraltar for the operation.

Around 0300A/7, the destroyers HMS Westcott and HMS Verity departed Gibraltar for the operation.

Landing beaches, Oran

The port of Oran, is situated at the head of a large bight between Cape Falcon, the rocky north-eastern end of the promontory of which Pointe Corales is the north-western extremity, to the west and Cap d'Aguille, to the east. This bight is divided into three bays of nearly equal size by Point Canastel and by Point Mers-el-Kebir which projects in an easterly direction from the foot of Jebel Santon and is surmounted by a powerful fortress. The heights of Jebel Murjajo lie westward of Oran with the conspicuous Fort Santa Cruz at their eastern end. The artificial harbour at Oran consists of six basins. It is protected on its northern side by a stone breakwater extending eastwards about a mile and a quarter from Pointe Mona on which, at the eastern end of the cliffs under Jebel Murjajo, lies Fort Lambourne.

The arrangement of landing beaches at Oran was comparatively simple and consisted of three main beaches; 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' and one subsidiary beach 'R'.

An armoured column from Combat Command 'B' would land at 'X' beach which lay at El Mrairia close to Cape Figalo, with orders to capture La Lourmel airfield, block the main roads north-east and south of La Lourmel, advance south of Debkra, and assist in the capture of the airfields at Tafraoui and Es Senia.

The 26th Regimental Combat Team would land at 'Y' beach near Les Andalouses with orders to take control of the Jebel Murjajo heights and capture Oran from the west.

The 18th Regimental Combat Team would land at 'Z-Green' beach near Arzew with the orders to capture the coastal defence, the port of Arzew and the port of Oran from the east. The 16th Regimental Combat Team would land at 'Z-White' beach to secure a bridgehead for Armoured Combat Command 'B', cover the east flank of the Oran Force and then take part in the capture of Oran.

Combat team 'B' would land at 'Z-Red' beach to capture Tafaraoui, Es Senia and Oggaz airfields and assist in capturing Oran from the south.

A portion of the First Ranger Battalion would made a subsidiary landing at 'R' beach southeast of Cape Carbon to capture the batteries at Fort la Ponte. The remainder of the battalion landed in Arzew harbour.

Meanwhile a parachute battalion was flown from the U.K. and dropped at H-hour near Tafaraoui airfield with orders to neutralise all aircraft on Es Senia airfield and capture Tafaraoui landing ground.

Instructions for Assault, Oran Beaches

The fast assault convoy, KMF O1, after proceeding through the Mediterranean at 11.5 knots under the orders of Commodore Troubridge, would meet the slow convoy, KMS O1, in position 36°26'N, 01°15'W around 1600A on 7 November 1942.

Here the convoys are split into nine groups; For ' X ' beach
Group I, 1st Division; Batory, HMS Princess Beatrix, Queen Emma, 2nd Division; Benalbenach, Mark Twain, Mary Slessor and Walt Whitman. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Aurora, destroyer HMS Wivern, corvettes HMS Gardenia, HMS Vetch and the motor launch HMS HDML 1139.
Group VIII, LST HMS Bachaquero escorted by the M/S trawler HMS Horatio.

For ' Y ' beach
Group II; HMS Glengyle, Monarch of Bermuda, Llangibby Castle, Clan Mactaggart and Salacia. They were escorted by the destroyers Brilliant, HMS Verity, M/S trawlers HMS Coriolanus, HMS Eday, HMS Inchmarnock, HMS Kerrera and the motor launches HMS ML 458, HMS ML 463, HMS ML 469, HMS ML 471 and HMS HDML 1128.

For ' Z ' beach
Group III, 1st Division; Duchess of Bedford, Durban Castle, Ettrick, Warwick Castle. 2nd Division; Derwentdale, Reina del Pacifico and Tegelberg. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Jamaica, escort destroyers HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale, minesweepers HMS Brixham, HMS Bude, HMS Clacton, HMS Felixtowe, HMS Polruan, HMS Rothesay, HMS Rhyl, HMS Stornoway and the motor launches HMS ML 280, HMS HDML 1127.

Group V; Alcinous, Alphard, Charles H. Cramp, Chatanooga City, Delilian, Recorder and Zebulon B. Vance. They were escorted by the sloop HMS Deptford, cutters HMS Hartland, HMS Walney, corvettes HMS Rhododendron, HMS Violet and the motor launches HMS ML 480 and HMS ML 483.

Group VI, 1st division; Derbyshire, Letitia, Mooltan and Nieuw Zeeland. 2nd division, Empire Confidence, Lycaon and Theseus.

Group VII, 1st division, Empire Mordred, Havildar, Pacific Exporter and St. Essylt. 2nd division; Edward Rutledge, William Floyd and William Wirt. Groups VI and VII were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Delhi, destroyer HMS Vansittart, sloop HMS Aberdeen and the frigates HMS Exe and HMS Swale.

Group IX; LST's HMS Misoa and HMS Tasajera. They were escorted by the M/S trawlers HMS Fluellen, HMS Ronaldsay and HMS Shiant.

For ' R ' beach
Group IV; HMS Royal Scotsman, HMS Royal Ulsterman and HMS Ulster Monarch. They had the same escort as Group III.

Two submarines were stationed off the beaches as beacons, these were HMS Ursula and HMS P 54.

HMS Aurora would be stationed ahead of Group II, HMS Jamaica ahead of Group III and HMS Delhi ahead of Group IV. On reaching position 35°52'N, 00°10'5"W, in the Gulf of Arzew, HMS Jamaica would proceed independently for fire support duty off 'Z' beach. On reaching position 35°48'N, 00°54'W, HMS Aurora was also detached from her group to patrol to the north of Mers-el-Kebir to engage, if needed reinforced by HMS Jamaica, any escaping vessels from Mers-el-Kebir during the darkness. During daylight HMS Aurora was to remain outside the range of the shore batteries. Meanwhile around 0400A/8, HMS Delhi, would leave her group to meet the aircraft carriers at 0530A/8 in position 36°07'N, 00°45'W so as to provide additional AA protection.

The battleship HMS Rodney, escorted by HMS Bulldog, HMS Boreas and HMS Beagle, detached from Force H, was to protect the anchorage from attack by heavy enemy units. She too was to join the carriers around 0530A/8.

Initial landings were to be made at all beaches simultaneously at H-hour with the follow up forces being landed as soon as possible.

Oran attack opens, 8 November 1942.

The attack opened, after some delay at 0116A/8. The assault on 'X' beach was delayed by around 35 minutes due to the strong current. The appearance of a small Vichy-French convoy of four ships escorted by a trawler had also caused some delay. One of the merchant vessels, the Eridan (9928 GRT, built 1929) had sabotaged her engines. She was boarded by an armed guard. The other three merchant vessels, the Agen (4186 GRT, built 1921), Carthage (2440 GRT, built 1897) and Montaigne (2770 GRT, built 1920) initially escaped to the north-east but then ran into Allied forces. They then beached themselves south of Cape Figalo.

The appearance of the convoy had the effect that the minesweepers were badly delayed and were almost run over by the ships proceeding to 'X' beach. The minesweepers were then ordered to keep clear and no sweep was carried out ahead of the ships proceeding to 'X' beach.

Despite some delays and other difficulties [it would go to far to give a full account of the landings here] that landings were successful.

HMS Walney's assault on Oran harbour.

It had been decided, that the cutters HMS Walney and HMS Hartland were to attack Oran harbour to prevent the French from performing demolition operations to destroy the ports facilities. They were to attack shortly after 0300A/8.

The cutters were to land American troops and anti-sabotage parties with orders to seize the shore batteries covering the harbour, prevent the scuttling of the dock and harbour works and prevent the blockage of the harbour. The motor launches ML 480 and ML 483 were to provide a smoke screen. HMS Aurora was to provide cover fire if needed and also to distract and confuse the shore batteries.

The attack was carried out under the command of A/Capt. (Retd.) F.T. Peters, DSO, DSC, RN, which was embarked on board HMS Walney. The attack commenced at 0245A/8, when HMS Walney and HMS Hartland with ML 480 and ML 483 in company, approached the harbour entrance. Sirens were heard sounding ashore and all lights in the town had been extinguished. For a time the force circled off the entrance while an announcement was made in French by loud hailer from HMS Walney. The reply was hostile. A searchlight was quickly trained on the Walney and she came under a heavy, though inaccurate, machine gun fire. Followed by the Hartland, she at once turned away northwards coming round in a full circle to charge the booms. At the same time ML 480 went on ahead to full speed, laying a smoke screen, but hit the outer boom, coming to rest under heavy fire half way across it. She got off again at 0310A/8, just as HMS Walney, after completing her circle, charged the two booms at 15 knots, through the smoke and entered the harbour. On reaching it, A/Capt. Peters, slipped three canoes, manned with special parties, but at least one of the was sunk almost immediately by gunfire.

HMS Walney herself was steaming up the harbour to westwards at slow speed was hit by pompom fire from the Ravin Blanc battery. Half way up the harbour she narrowly missed ramming a French destroyer proceeding towards the harbour entrance. It raked her with two broadsides from point blank range, wrecking her main engines, and a few minutes later she came under heavy cross fire from the destroyer Epervier laying alongside to the south and from submarines and destroyers moored to the northward. At last, blazing forward and amidships, she drifted out of control bows on to the jetty ahead of the Epervier. An attempt to get heaving lines ashore failed and she drifted once more slowly out into the harbour. Her guns were out of action, their crew virtually wiped out. Sixteen officers and men were lying dead on her bridge where A/Capt. Peters was the sole survivor. Below only five officers and men of the landing parties remained alive amidst scenes of undescridale carnage. Nothing further could be done and the ship was abandoned, her few survivors, including A/Capt. Peters were taken prisoner. The abandoned wreck rolled over shortly afterwards.

HMS Hartland's assault on Oran harbour.

When HMS Walney entered Oran harbour at 0310A/8, Lt.Cdr. Billot waited five minutes, in compliance with his orders, before heading towards the harbour entrance. As she approached the smoke screen laid by ML 480, HMS Walney was picked up by a searchlight, and came under a devastating fire from the Ravin Blanc battery which killed nearly all her guns crews and temporarily blinded Lt.Cdr. Billot with a splinter. Before he recovered his sight the ship struck the breakwater, but eventually she entered the harbour and made for her objective, the Quai de Dunkerque, under gunfire from point blank range from the destroyer Typhon laying alongside it. Shells bursting inside her hull brought her to a standstill turning her mess decks, on which the troops were waiting, into shambles. Then with fires raging fore and aft, she drifted alongside the mole but she almost immediately was blown back into the harbour where she anchored while being under heavy fire from the French but these then ceased fire so that the ship could be abandoned. By 0410A/8, all survivors had left and at 0525A/8 there was an explosion on board but she remained afloat buring furiously. She later blew up and sank after a huge explosion which caused damage to buildings in a large area around the mole.

Oran captured.

While HMS Walney and HMS Hartland were gate-crashing into Oran Harbour, HMS Aurora was patrolling five miles away to the northward. At 0527A/8, she opened fire on the searchlight illuminating HMS Hartland, successfully extinguishing its beam. Then shortly before first light she engaged and disabled a Vichy-French destroyer of the Simoun-class from a range of 6000 yards. This destroyer later sank and appears to have been the Tramontaine.

Around 0600A/8, two more destroyers of the Simoun-class were seen leaving Oran, but seeing that they were standing by their sinking consort, HMS Aurora for a time withheld her fire. These destroyers were however soon in action with HMS Boadicea and HMS Calpe, and when they fired torpedoes at HMS Aurora she too opened fire from 13600 yards. In the ensuing fight HMS Boadicea was hit forward, and one of the French destroyers, being severely damaged and set on fire by a broadside, was driven inshore [this was the Tornade]. The action ended abruptly at 0727A/8, when the other destroyer, on being hit aft, turned and fled to the direction of Oran [this was the Typhon]. Meanwhile the sloop / minelayer La Surprise was sunk by HMS Brilliant around 0630A/8.

Aircraft from HMS Furious, HMS Biter and HMS Dasher had meanwhile attacked airfield destroying enemy aircraft on the ground and also in the air with only small losses to themselves.

Shore batteries managed to hit the Reina del Pacifico and Llangibby Castle. HMS Rodney proceeded closer inshore and opened fire at 1010A/8 on the Jebel Santon battery from a range of over 20000 yards. The battery was engaged several times during the day before HMS Rodney retired to seaward again.

Fighting continued on 9 November 1942. At 1024A/9, HMS Jamaica and HMS Aurora engaged the Epervier and Typhon. The Epervier was driven ashore in flames south of Cape de l'Aiguille while the Typhon retired to Oran where she too was beached.

The Vichy-French at Oran capitulated around noon on the 10th. (60)

30 Nov 1942
Around 1800A/30, ' Force Q ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) departed Algiers for Bone where they arrived around 0800A/1. (61)

2 Dec 1942
Around 1700A/2, ' Force Q ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and the destroyer HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) departed Bone for Algiers where they arrived around 0730A/3. (62)

12 Dec 1942

Convoy KMF 5.

This convoy departed the U.K. (Clyde) on 12 December 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports;
Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), Circassia (British, 11136 GRT, built 1937), Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Dunnottar Castle (British, 15007 GRT, built 1936), Empire Tide (British, 9248 GRT, built 1941), Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Exiria (American, 6533 GRT, built 1941), Irénée du Pont (American, 6125 GRT, built 1941), Manchester Trader (British, 5671 GRT, built 1941), Strathallan (British, 23722 GRT, built 1938) and Zoella Lykes (American, 6829 GRT, built 1940).

On departure the convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, RN), destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walter, DSC, RN), sloops HMS Folkestone (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, OBE, RN), HMS Weston (Cdr. L.F. Durnford-Slater, RN), HMS Wellington (Lt. L.G. Toone, RN), HMS Gorleston (Cdr.(Retd.) R.W. Keymer, RN), HMS Totland (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and the frigate HMS Waveney (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Willmott, DSC, RNR).

HMS Wellington parted company on 13 December 1942 and proceeded to Londonderry due to weather damage she had sustained.

on the 17th it was reported that the Irénée du Pont was returning to the Clyde due to weather damage.

The convoy passed through the straits of Gibraltar during the morning of 20 December 1942. The convoy had been delayed due to adverse weather conditions being encountered on passage from the U.K.

The Gibraltar section of the convoy of seven transports then joined the convoy.
These were the following transports;
Ajax (British, 7540 GRT, built 1931), Clan Lamont (British, 7250 GRT, built 1939), Elisabeth Bakke (British, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Gloucester (British, 8532 GRT, built 1941), Pardo (British, 5400 GRT, built 1940) and Silverlaurel (British, 6142 GRT, built 1939).
This section had been escorted to the rendezvous by the destroyer HMS Verity, (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), minesweeper HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSO, DSC, RN) and corvette HMS Nasturtium (Lt. C.D. Smith, DSC, RNR) which also joined the convoy. On these ships joining HMS Totland and HMS Waveney then parted company with the convoy and entered Gibraltar. Both had defects due to weather damage.

HMS Laforey and HMS Lightning also made a call at Gibraltar before rejoining the convoy. Both fuelled, discharged stores brought out from the U.K., and made a few small repairs to weather damage, before proceeding to rejoin the convoy.

HMS Argus left the convoy and proceeded to Gibraltar. Escorted by the destroyers HMS Vanoc ( A/Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN) which had gone out to make rendezvous with convoy to escort the carrier into harbour.

The transports Manchester Citizen and Zoella Lykes, which had lost contact with the convoy due to the weather conditions, arrived at Gibraltar on 20 December 1942.

On 20 December 1942, the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir to make rendezvous with the convoy and then take the Oran section of the convoy with them to Oran the following day. They made rendezvous with the convoy around 1700A/20. The Oran section made up of the Duchess of Richmond, Duchess of York, Empress of Canada, Elisabeth Bakke, Exiria, Pardo and Silverlaurel parted company with the convoy around 0200A/21.

Around 0230A/21, the German submarine U-562 managed to torpedo and damage the troop transport Strathallan in position 36°52'N, 00°34'W. The destroyers HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Verity and sloop HMS Folkestone remained with the damaged ship. The destroyers HMAS Quiberon, HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder and HMS Meteor later jouned them. Also the tug HMRT Restive (Lt. D.M. Richards, RNR), salvage vessel King Salvor and two trawlers came out to render assistance.

On 21 December 1942, the Algiers section of 8 (troop) transports parted company. The destroyer HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) had come out from Algiers to escort this section. The Algiers section arrived at Algiers later the same day escorted by HMS Eskimo, HMS Lamerton, HMS Weston, HMS Gorleston, HMS Hussar and HMS Nasturtium.

Also on 21 December 1942, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, RN), destroyer HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R. de L. Brooke, DSC, RN) joined the convoy as escorts.

Around 0630A/22, the troop transport Cameronia, which was to proceed to Bone, had been hit by an aircraft torpedo in position 37°03'N, 05°24'E. An hour later it was reported that she was making for Bougie escorted by HMS Scylla and HMS Wheatland which later parted company to rejoin the convoy. From Bougie the tug Hengist and the M/S trawlers HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (Lt. J. Plomer, RCNVR) and HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR) were sent to her assitance.

On 22 December 1942, the Bone section arrived there escorted by HMS Aurora, HMS Scylla, HMS Quality, HMS Lamerton and HMS Wheatland.

[Further research regarding this convoy is required.]

13 Feb 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) departed Bone for Algiers where they arrived later the same day.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around noon, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about 40 minutes. (63)

1 Mar 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Bone. (64)

24 Mar 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Algiers for Bone where they arrived later the same day.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around noon, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about 35 minutes. Following the exercises the destroyers joined HMS Penelope and HMS Sirius to proceed with them to Bone. (65)

7 Apr 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) departed Bone for Algiers.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1130 hours, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about an hour. (66)

4 May 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Bone for Algiers.

On the same day HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, DSO, RN) and HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1130 hours, while en-route, these cruisers conducted exercises with each other for about half an hour. (67)

18 May 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Algiers to Bone.

On the same day HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, DSO, RN) and HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1115 hours, while en-route, these cruisers conducted exercises with each other for nearly half an hour. (67)

7 Jun 1943
Around 2015B/7, the light cruisers HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Malta to bombard Pantellaria.

Around 0800B/8, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, with General Eisenhower and Admiral Cunningham on board) departed Bone to join the other ships. At sea, around 0620B/8, she was joined by the destroyer HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN).

The island was bombarded between approximately 1115B/8 and 1215B/8. HMS Aurora also bombarded the island (harbour area). She opened fire at 1126 and ceased fire after having fired 35 round of 6".

Following the bombardment HMS Newfoundland, HMS Penelope, HMS Orion and the destroyers returned to Malta arriving around 2230B/8. HMS Euryalus proceeded to Bone where she arrived around 2130B/8. En-route to Bone HMS Euryalus, was attacked at 1405B/8, near Cape Bon in position 36°59'N, 11°17'E, by seven FW 109's but she was not damaged despite being near-missed several times. HMS Euryalus arrived at Bone around 2100B/8.

HMS Aurora, still escorted by HMS Troubridge, proceeded to Bizerta to land the General and the Admiral. She arrived there around 1700B/8. A little over an hour later she departed Bizerta for Malta escorted by HMS Troubridge and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas). They arrived at Malta around 0715B/9. (68)

11 Jun 1943

Operation Corkscrew.

Capture of Pantellaria and Lampedusa.

From Sfax, ' Convoy A ' sailed for the landings on Pantelleria. This convoy was made up the headquarters ship HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, OBE, RNR, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGregor, RN), landing ships HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN) and HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN). They were escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN).

From Sousse, departed ' Convoy B ' and ' Convoy C '.
' Convoy B ' was made up of the landing ship HMS Royal Ulsterman (Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR), 20 LCI(L)'s and 2 ML's. They were escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.deL. Brooke, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN).
' Convoy C ' was made up of landing ship HMS Misoa (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Grace, DSC, RD, RNR), gunboat HMS Aphis ( Lt.Cdr. F.Y. Bethell, RN), and 21 LCI(L)'s, 4 LCF's and 2 ML's. They were escorted by the minesweepers HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR), HMS Polruan (Lt. C.D. Sampson, RNVR), HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR) and the M/S trawlers HMS Hoy (T/Lt. G.H. McNair, MBE, RNVR), HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (T/Lt. R.R. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR).

From Malta departed the bombardment / cover force which was made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

Eight motor torpedo boats and / or motor gun boats were also set to patrol in the area.

All forces sailed on 10 June to be off Pantellaria on 11 June 1944.

A final bombardment was then carried out and also aircraft from North African air bases carried out attacks. The island surrendered shortly before noon without further fighting. Rear-Admiral McGregor transferred his flag to HMS Tartar. HMS Largs, landing ships, landing craft and escorts were then ordered to proceed to Sousse.

The cruisers and fleet destroyers then proceeded to Lampedusa. Bombandment of that island commenced at 2245/11 and continued throughout the 12th. Also air bombardments were carried out. The island surrendered in the evening.

Weather was to bad to land at Lampion Island but the island appeared to be uninhabited.

The surrender of Linosa Island was accepted by HMS Nubian.

The forces that were still at sea were then dispersed. (69)

24 Jun 1943

Convoy KMS 18B.

This convoy departed the U.K. on 24 June 1943.

The convoy was made up of the transports; Alcinous (Dutch, 6189 GRT, built 1925), Benedict (British, 4949 GRT, built 1930), City of Venice (British, 8762 GRT, built 1924), Derwenthall (British, 4934 GRT, built 1940), Devis (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), Empire Cato (British, 7039 GRT, built 1942), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1925), Empire Elaine (British, 7513 GRT, built 1942), Fort Buckingham (British, 7122 GRT, built 1943), Fort Lajoie (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Fort Meductic (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Nashwaak (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Stager (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Gudrun Maersk (British, 2294 GRT, built 1937), Norman Monarch (British, 7005 GRT, built 1943), Orestes (British, 7748 GRT, built 1926), Prometheus (British, 6096 GRT, built 1925), St. Essylt (British, 5634 GRT, built 1941) and Stanhill (British, 5969 GRT, built 1942).

The landing ship Derwentdale (Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), 8390 GRT, built 1941) was also part of the convoy.

Also with the convoy were the rescue vessel Rathlin (British, 1600 GRT, built 1936) and the rescue tug HMRT Allegiance.

The convoy was escorted by and the frigate HMS Teviot (Lt.Cdr. T. Taylor, DSC, RN), cutter HMS Banff (Lt. P. Brett, RNR) and the corvettes HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR), HMS Bryony (T/Lt. T. Hand, RNR), HMS Honeysuckle (Lt. H.H.D. MacKillican, DSC and Bar, RNR), HMS Hyderabad (T/Lt. T. Cooper, RNR), HMS Oxlip (Lt. C.W. Leadbetter, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (T/Lt. O.B. Medley, RNVR).

On 26 June 1943, the sloop HMS Erne (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, DSC, RN) departed Londonderry to join the convoy which she did later the same day.

On 3 July 1943, the Rathlin and HMRT Allegiance arrived at Gibraltar after having been detached from the convoy.

Around 2052B/4, in position 36°44'N, 01°25'E, the transport City of Venice was torpedoed by the German submarine U-409. The ship eventually sank the following morning.

Around 2145B/4, in position 36°44'N, 01°31'E, the transport St. Essylt was torpedoed by the German submarine U-375 which had fired a salvo of four torpedoes at the convoy. The ship eventually sank the following morning.

The escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.deL. Brooke, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Brocklesby (Lt. K.R.S. Leadlay, RN), which were en-route from Algiers to Oran were diverted to hunt these submarines as was HMS Quantock (Lt.Cdr. R.G.L. Pennell, DSC, RN) which was en-route from Gibraltar to Algiers.

On 5 July 1943, the original escort arrived at Algiers after having been relieved by a new escort made up the escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN), HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN), HMS Cleveland (Lt. J.K. Hamilton, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN), ORP Krakowiak (Kpt.mar. (Lt.Cdr.) Wszechwlad Maracewicz, ORP) and HMS Viceroy (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN).

Around 1541B/5, in position 37°01'N, 04°10'E, the transport Devis was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-593 which had fired two speads of two torpedoes at the convoy. THe destroyers HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Wallace, DSC, RN), USS Cole (T/Lt.Cdr. B. Chipman, USN), sloop HMS Erne and frigate HMS Teviot were sailed from Algiers to hunt this sumbarine.

With them the monitor HMS Roberts (A/Capt.(Retd.) R.E.C. Dunbar, RN) and the LST's HMS LST 301 (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) R.F. Hoyle, RNR), HMS LST 305 (A/Lt.Cdr. R.M. Naylor, RNR), HMS LST 319 (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Sutton, RN), HMS LST 321 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.H. Metcalfe, RNR), HMS LST 365 (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.F. Halliday, RNR), HMS LST 366 (A/Lt.Cdr. N. Hall, RNR) and HMS LST 424 (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Grandage, RNR) also joined the convoy.

Around 1500B/6, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) joined the convoy. They parted company with the convoy around 2200B/7.

On 7 July, the minesweepers HMS Fly (Capt. J.W. Boutwood, RN), HMS Espiegle (Lt.Cdr. G. Dibley, RD, RNR), HMS Circe (Lt.Cdr. J.H.M. Malcolm, RN) and HMS Cadmus (Lt.Cdr. (Retd.) J.S. Landers, RNR) joined the convoy.

Around 0515B/8, the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. D.H. Hall-Thompson, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1300B/9, the following transports parted company and joined convoy KMF 1B; Alcinous, Empire Confidence, Orestes, Prometeus, Derwentdale, HMS LST 301, HMS LST 305, HMS LST 319, HMS LST 321, HMS LST 365, HMS LST 366 and HMS LST 424. HMS Roberts Also joined convoy KMF 18.

Convoy KMS 18B arrived off Sicily in the afternoon of 10 July 1943.

6 Jul 1943
Around 1245/6, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Bone to join the escort of convoy KMF 18B which was en-route to Sicily for operation Husky.

Both cruisers were part of the cover force for operation Husky.

They joined the convoy around 1500/6 and remained with it until 2200/7 after the convoy had passed through the Tunisian War Channel. (70)

8 Jul 1943
Around 0620/8, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), briefly joined up with ' Force H, 1st Division ' the main cover force for the landings before. They parted company around 1100/8 to fuel at Malta where they arrived around 1515/8.

After fuelling the departed again around 1800 hours to rejoin ' Force H, 1st Division ' which was cruising to the north of the Gulf of Sirte to provide cover for Operation Husky. (70)

8 Jul 1943
Around 0530B/8, the destroyers HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), which came from Malta, joined ' Force H, 1st Division ', which was at that time made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz).

The original destroyer screen then proceeded to Malta to refuel. They returned later the same day, around 1720B/8, after which the relief destroyers were detached to convoys MWF 36 and KMF 18. HMS Quilliam, HMS Quail and HMS Queenborough had already rejoined around 1505B/8.

The light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) also joined early on the day. They then proceeded to Malta around 1100B/8 to refuel. They rejoined around 0900B/9.

HMS Cleopatra and HMS Euryalus were detached at 1450B/8 to Tripoli to refuel there. They rejoined around 1140B/9. (71)

9 Jul 1943
The 1st and 2nd divisions of ' Force H ', the main cover force for Operation Husky, were operating in the area the south of Malta. They had met around dawn.

The ' 1st Division ', was at that time made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz).

The ' 2nd Division ' was at that time made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

Also operating in the area was ' Force R ', the battlefleet oiling force, it was made up of the RFA tankers Pearleaf (5911 GRT, built 1917) [this tanker was apparently not present at the moment] and Cedardale (8132 GRT, built 1939). These tankers were escorted by the corvettes HMS Delphinium (Cdr. V.F. Smith, DSO, RD, RNR), the A/S trawler HMS Wolborough (T/Lt. H.S. May, RNR), A/S whalers HMSAS Protea (Lt. G. Burn-Wood, SANF), HMSAS Southern Isles (Lt. M.R.T. Terry-Lloyd, SANF), HMSAS Southern Sea (Lt. W.L. Graham, SANF) and the M/S trawler HMS Romeo (T/S.Lt. G. Clixby, RNVR). During the day twelve destroyers were fuelled by this force which then proceeded to Benghazi.

The light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) rejoined the ' 1st Division ' around 0900B/9 having been detached around 1100B/8 to refuel at Malta.

The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) rejoined the ' 1st Division ' around 1140B/9 having been detached around 1450B/8 to refuel at Tripoli.

At 1255B/9, ' Force Q ', made up of HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Inglefield and HMS Offa parted company to patrol to the east of the south-east tip of Sicily and for bombardment duties. (71)

10 Jul 1943
Between 0115 and 0130/10, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) bombarded Catania, on the east coast of Sicily. Targets were allocated as follows; HMS Aurora the central railway station, HMS Penelope the power station and the destroyers the 'Bacino di Ponente' (this was probably a water basin).

Between 0220 and 0230/10, they bombarded Taormina which was further to the North. The railway station was the main target.

At 0630/10, they rejoined ' Force H ' which by now had come up from just north of the Gulf of Sirte to a position to the east of the south-east tip of Sicily.

At 1937/10, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope were detached again to act independently from the main force. Now the destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) were with them. They were to patrol further north, to the south of the Straits of Messina.

Shortly after 2300/10, they were attacked by enemy aircraft but no damage was sustained. Enemy aircraft continued to be around during the night. (72)

10 Jul 1943
The 1st and 2nd divisions of ' Force H ', the main cover force for Operation Husky, were still operating in the area the south of Malta.

The ' 1st Division ', was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz).

The ' 2nd Division ' was made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

Around 0630B/10, ' Force Q ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) and HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) rejoined after patrol and bombardment duties during the night.

Around 1930B/10, ' Force Q ', now made up of the same light cruiser but now with the destroyers HMS Ilex and HMS Raider parted company to patrol the northern flank of the assault area. (71)

11 Jul 1943
Around 0700/11, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) rejoined ' Force H ', the main cover force for operation Husky.

Around 0850/11, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope were detached to fuel at Malta where they arrived around 1315/11.

They departed again around 1700/11 to rejoin ' Force H ' which they did around 2000/11. (72)

11 Jul 1943
The 1st and 2nd divisions of ' Force H ', the main cover force for Operation Husky, continue to operate in the Ionian Sea near Malta.

The ' 1st Division ', was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz).

The ' 2nd Division ' was made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

' Force R ', the battlefleet oiling force, departed Benghazi to rendezvous with ' Force H '. ' Force R ' was made up of the RFA tankers Pearleaf (5911 GRT, built 1917) and Cedardale (8132 GRT, built 1939). These tankers were escorted by the corvettes HMS Delphinium (Cdr. V.F. Smith, DSO, RD, RNR), the A/S trawler HMS Wolborough (T/Lt. H.S. May, RNR), A/S whalers HMSAS Protea (Lt. G. Burn-Wood, SANF), HMSAS Southern Isles (Lt. M.R.T. Terry-Lloyd, SANF) and HMSAS Southern Sea (Lt. W.L. Graham, SANF).

Around 0700B/10, ' Force Q ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) rejoined after a patrol to the east of Sicily.

At 0900B/11, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope parted company to proceed to Malta to refuel. They rejoined around 2000B/11.

Around 1530B/11, HMS Petard which was required for other duties was relieved by the escort destroyer HMS Brecon (Lt.Cdr. T.D. Herrick, DSC and Bar, RN).

Around 1700B/11, ' Force Q ', now made up of the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra, HMS Euryalus and the destroyers HMS Ilex and HMS Echo parted company to patrol to the east of Sicily during the night. They were to proceed to Malta to refuel upon completion of their patrol.

' Force R ' departed Benghazi on this day to rejoin. (71)

12 Jul 1943
Between about 0900B/12 and 1315B/12, the capital ships of ' Force H, 1st Division ', which made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz) and the escort destoyer HMS Brecon (Lt.Cdr. T.D. Herrick, DSC and Bar, RN), anchored off Valetta, Malta while their escorting destroyers went into the harbour to fuel.

When they departed from Malta ' Force H, 2nd division was approaching to do the same as the 1st division. The second division at that time made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas). The ' 2nd Division 'departed Malta again around 1930B/12.

In the meantime the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), which had fuelled the previous day, remained underway near Malta.

Around 1715B/12, ' Force Q ', still made up of light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), departed Malta to operate off the east coast of Sicily during the night. (71)

13 Jul 1943
The 1st and 2nd divisions of ' Force H ', the main cover force for Operation Husky, were still operating in the Ionian Sea near Malta.

The ' 1st Division ', was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz) and the escort destroyer HMS Brecon (Lt.Cdr. T.D. Herrick, DSC and Bar, RN). At dawn HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) relieved HMS Brecon which was then detached to Malta.

The ' 2nd Division ' was made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

' Force Q ', still made up of light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) was operating to the east of Sicily. At 0420B/13, when HMS Euryalus detected a surface contact at a range of 10200 yards. The squadron then proceeded as to get into a favourable position relative to the moon. The radar reports, continuing, at 0432B/13, HMS Euryalus fired starshell at the target, which was now at a range of 5800 yards, which in the starshell's illumintation was seen to be a submarine on the surface. The squadron was immediately turned 90° to starboard and HMS Ilex and HMS Echo were detached to hunt the enemy. They had orders to rejoin an hour later if not in contact. At 0535B/13, when in position 37°25'N, 16°07'E, HMS Ilex obtained a firm contact about 700 yards away on her starboard bow. HMS Ilex made six depth charge attacks while HMS Echo made three attacks. After HMS Echo's last attack the Italian submarine Nereide surfaced at 0655B/13. Both destroyers immediately opened fire. HMS Echo scored a hit on the hull below the subvmarines conning tower and while passing ahead of the enemy she dropped four depth charges set to 50 feet. The Italian crew began to jump overboard and the Italian submarine sank within a minute or so after surfacing. HMS Echo picked up five officers and fifteen men, including the Commanding Officer. HMS Ilex picked up seven men. The destroyers then left the area at high speed and at 0812B/13 they rejoined HMS Cleopatra and HMS Euryalus. ' Force Q ' then joined ' Force H '.

At 1715B/13, ' Force Q ' parted company for another patrol during the night. ' Force Q ' was now made up of HMS Cleopatra, HMS Euryalus, HMS Quilliam and HMS Quail.

At 1820B/13, the ' 1st Division' and ' 2nd Division ' parted company. At 1925B/13, a requist came in for a battleship bombardment of Catania airport. The ' 2nd Division ' was closest to Catania and proceeded at 20 knots to comply. Course was reversed however when the bombardment was later cancelled. (71)

14 Jul 1943
At 0206B/14, ' Force Q ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), was attacked by six enemy torpedo bombers. HMS Euryalus reported sighting two torpedoes and HMS Quail reported being missed by one by 100 yards.

At 0715B/14, ' Force Q ' joined ' Force H, 2nd Division ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

Around 1215B/14, ' Force Q ' was ordered to refuel at Malta and was detached from ' Force H, 2nd Division. They were however recalled at 1750B/14 and rejoined after dark.

In the aftenoon, ' Force H, 1st Division ', arrived at Malta to fuel. These were the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN). (73)

15 Jul 1943
' Force H, 2nd Division ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas) kept patrolling the area during the day. ' Force Q ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN) was with ' Force H, 2nd Division ' during the day. ' Force Q ' was detached at 1700B/15 for yet another patrol to the east of Sicily.

Early in the evening, ' Force H, 1st Division ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) departed Malta to resume their patrol off Sicily to provide cover for the ships participating in the landings. (73)

16 Jul 1943
Around 0020B/16 ' Force H, 1st Division ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) was attacked by an Italian aircraft. The aircraft was difficult to identify and was first thought to be friendly but at 0028B/16 HMS Indomitale was hit by a torpedo abreast the boiler room on her port side. Position of the attack was 36°22'N, 16°08'E.

Following the attack, HMS Indomitable, listed 12° to port. She lost speed and subsequently dropped out of line which at that point had been HMS Aurora, HMS Nelson, HMS Rodney, HMS Indomitable and HMS Penelope. On seeing her dropping astern Vice-Admiral Willis ordered ORP Piorun and HMS Echo to join her, later HMS Ilex was also ordered to stay with the carrier. Eventually HMS Indomatable rejoined the Division.

At 0730B/16, rendezvous was effected with ' Force H, 2nd division ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Rear-Admiral. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

HMS Formidable then joined the 1st Division while the damaged HMS Indomitable joined the 2nd Division which then proceeded to Malta to refuel arriving there in the morning.

At 1530B/16, HMS Formidable was detached to proceed to Malta escorted by the destroyer HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN). These three ships had joined the force shortly before HMS Formidable was detached. They apparently did not enter Malta but just escorted the carrier there. (74)

17 Jul 1943
Around 0930B/17, ' Force H, 1st Division ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Rear-Admiral. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) arrived at Malta. (74)

18 Jul 1943
Around 1300/18, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) departed Malta for a sweep along the south coast of Calabria. No shipping was sighted. One aircraft was shot down by HMS Ilex.

Around 1045/19, HMS Troubridge, HMS Tumult, HMS Quilliam, HMS Offa and ORP Piorun were detached to hunt a reported U-boat.

HMS Aurora, HMS Ilex and HMS Echo returned to Malta around 1420/19.

HMS Troubridge, HMS Tumult, HMS Quilliam, HMS Offa and ORP Piorun returned to Malta around 0145/20. (75)

20 Jul 1943
Around 1330/20, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz) departed Malta for a bombardment of Crotone.

The bombardment was carried out shortly before 0200/21. Main targets were the harbour area and a chemical plant.

The force returned to Malta around 1600/21. (70)

28 Jul 1943
Around 1500/28, light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) departed Malta for a patrol to the south of the Straits of Messina after which they were to proceed to Augusta.

The force arrived at Augusta around 1000/29. (70)

31 Jul 1943
Around 1715/31, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Augusta.

They made rendezvous around 1950/31 with the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

Course was then set towards Crotone.

At 0207/1, the bombardment commenced. After about 15 to 20 minutes fire was ceased. During the bombardment two small craft that were patrolling off the coast were sunk.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout returned to Augusta around 1200/1. One hour before HMS Faulknor, HMS Inglefield, HMS Loyal and HMS Raidar were detached to Malta where they arrived later the same day. (76)

3 Aug 1943
Around 0230/3, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Augusta for Malta where they arrived around 0730/3. (77)

5 Aug 1943
Around 0800/5, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Malta for Bizerta where they arrived around 1900/5. (77)

9 Aug 1943

Operation Annoyance.

Bombardment of Castellammare di Stabia, Naples, Italy and sweep towards Paola, Cosenza, Italy..

Around 1015/9, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) departed Bizerta for operation Annoyance.

At 2100/9, HMS Dido, HMS Sirius, HMS Panther and HMS Pathfinder were detached for a sweep towards Paola while the other ships proceeded to the Gulf of Naples.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis and HMS Paladin bombarded Castellammare di Stabia from 0050/10 to 0115/10.

Around 0730/11, both groups made rendezvous and then proceeded to return to Bizerta where they arrived around 1545/10. (78)

12 Aug 1943
Around 1015/12, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for sweep along the coast of Northern Calabria, Italy.

The force arrived at Palermo around 0800/13. (79)

13 Aug 1943
Around 1800/13, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for a bombardment of Vibo Valentia, Calabria, Italy.

The bombardment was commenced around 0125/14 for around 15 minutes. A large fire was started in the harbour area and apparently a coaster was sunk.

The force arrived at Palermo around 0800/14. (79)

22 Aug 1943
Around 1000 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for Palermo where they arrived around 1830 hours.

At 1654 hours, the German submarine U-431, attacked the cruisers with four torpedoes but all missed. There is no mention of this attack in the logbooks of the cruisers so most likely the attack was not observed. (80)

24 Aug 1943
Around 1630/24, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for a sweep in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

They returned to Palermo around 0800/25. (80)

26 Aug 1943
Around 1030 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for Bizerta where they arrived around 1845 hours. (80)

8 Sep 1943

Operation Slapstick.

Landing of troops at Taranto following the Italian armistice.

Around 1545/8, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), USS Boise (T/Rear-Admiral T.H. Thebaud, USN) and the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. D. Orr-Ewing, DSO, RN) departed Bizerta for Taranto. These cruisers and the minelayer had troops on board as well as stores and vehicles.

Around 0630/9, they joined the battleships HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN) and HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN) which had departed Malta around 2200/8 with the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN).

Around 1315/9, the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and RHS Kanaris joined coming from Sousse (via Malta) from where they had sailed on the 8th. They had on board a port party for Taranto.

Around 1400B/9, the Italian battleships Caio Duilio (flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Da Zara), Andrea Doria, light cruisers Luigi Cadorna, Pompeo Magno and the destroyer Nicoloso da Recco were sighted proceeding towards Malta to surrender. HMS King George V with HMS Panther, Pathfinder, HMS Penn then parted company to escort these ships to Malta.

Around 1630/9, the minesweepers HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Smith, RN), HMS Hebe (Lt.Cdr. G. Mowatt, RD, RNR), HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. W.L. O'Mara, DSC, RN) and HMS BYMS 2012 (T/A/Skr.Lt. C.J. Watson, RNR) joined. These ships had also departed Malta on the 8th.

In the evening all the other ships entered the harbour of Taranto where the troops, port party, stores and vehicles were disembarked.

Troops were then to be disembarked, however, on 10 September, shortly after midnight, HMS Abdiel was mined and sunk with heavy loss of life inside the harbour before she had been able to disembark her troops.

10 Sep 1943
Around 0700/10, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and USS Boise (T/Rear-Admiral T.H. Thebaud, USN) departed Taranto after disembaring their troops, stores and vehicles.

Course was set to return to Bizerta where they arrived around 1100/11. (81)

13 Sep 1943
Around 0545 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) departed Taranto for Augusta where they arrived around 1600 hours.

HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope departed Augusta again around 2130 hours for the Salerno area for bombardment duties. (82)

14 Sep 1943
Shortly after 0800 hours, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), both anchored in the Gulf of Salerno.

Both cruisers patrolled of the beaches later in the day, HMS Aurora between 1305 and 1840 hours and HMS Penelope between 1425 and 1915 hours. During her patrol HMS Aurora conducted two bombardments of shore targets (troops and a battery) between 1640 and 1650 hours. She fired a total of 51 rounds. (83)

4 Oct 1943
On 4 October 1943, the four light cruisers of the 12th Cruiser Squadron, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) departed Malta. Also the destroyers HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) and HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) departed Malta. These ships were temporary loaned to the Levant Station.

HMS Echo and HMS Tumult departed Malta around 0630/4, HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder departed Malta around 0830/4 and finally HMS Dido and HMS Sirius departed Malta around 1800/4 but appeared not to have proceeded in company.

At 1750/4, HMS Echo and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder.

Around 1100/5, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult parted company with HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Echo. The destroyers were to proceed to Tobruk to refuel.

Around 1245/5, HMS Penelope and HMS Echo parted company with HMS Aurora. HMS Penelope and HMS Echo were to proceed direct to Alexandria where they arrived around 2005/5.

Around 1830/5, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora. Around 2100/5, HMS Dido joined HMS Aurora, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult and course was set for a patrol in the Aegean. However at 2103/5, HMS Aurora and HMS Dido collided forcing the cruisers to abandon the patrol. The destroyers were detached at 2130/5 and proceeded on patrol by themselves. HMS Aurora and HMS Dido arrived at Alexandria around 1500/6. HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult arrived around the same time. During their anti-shipping sweep they had sighted nothing. It was estimated that it would take a week for temporary repairs on HMS Aurora to be completed. HMS Dido needed full repairs and these were estimated to take seven weeks.

HMS Sirius arrived at Alexandria around 0700/6. (84)

12 May 1944
During 12/13 May 1944, HMS Hawkins (Capt. J.W. Josselyn, DSC, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. G. Bernard, CBE, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (85)

9 Sep 1944
Between 0730C/9 and 0830C/9, ' Force A ' of the ' British Aegean Force' departed Alexandria to operate of Crete and the Dodecanese Islands to attack the (retiring) German forces in the area.

The Force was made up of the light cruiser HMS Royalist (Capt. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN, flying the flag of R.Adm. T.H. Troubridge, DSO and Bar, RN), escort carriers HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Pursuer (A/Capt. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Searcher (Capt. G.O.C. Davies, RN), HMS Khedive (Capt.(Retd.) H.J. Haynes, DSO, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, DSO, MVO, RN, Capt. D.24), HMS Teazer (Lt.Cdr. A.A.F. Talbot, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Tenacious (Lt.Cdr. D.F. Townsend, RN), HMS Termagant (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC, RN) and HMS Terpsichore (Cdr. A.C. Behague, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, DSC, RN), HMS Tuscan (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), ORP Garland (Kmdr.ppor.(Cdr.) B.J. Biskupski) and RHS Navarinon.

On 10 September 1944, ' Force A ' operated south of Crete during the entire day.

On 11 September 1944, ' Force A ' remained to the south of Crete.

On 12 September 1944, ' Force A ' remained to the south of Crete and starting around 0700C/12, some ships were fuelled,HMS Royalist and RHS Navarinon were fuelled by HMS Hunter and HMS Tuscan by HMS Searcher.

At 1445C/12, HMS Tenacious and HMS Tumult were detached to Malta.

During the night of 12/13 September 1944, (Group 1) HMS Royalist with RHS Navarinon, (Group 2) HMS Troubridge and HMS Tuscan and (Group 3) HMS Tyrian and HMS Teaser conducted anti-shipping sweeps in the Aegean.

Group 1, drew blank.

Group 2, encountered a convoy of one cargo ship, two escorts and three caiques between Santorin and Candia. The entire convoy was destroyed. Among these ships were the transport Toni (638 BRT, built 1911) and the caiques Specht / PI 17 and Agios Demitrios / PI 687. HMS Tuscan sustained some minor damage in the action.

Group 3, conducted a sweep from Pigadia Bay on Karpathos and then along the east side of Rhodes. They sighted nothing.

At 0630C/13, Groups 1 and 2 made rendezvous in position 35°30'N, 25°36'E and then set course to rejoin the remainer of ' Force A '. Fighter cover was provided by aircraft from HMS Pursuer.

Around 0930C/13, HMS Tuscan parted company with ' Force A ' to return to Alexandria where she arrived around 0700C/14.

Around 1330C/13, HMS Termagant, HMS Terpsichore and ORP Garland commenced fuelling from HMS Searcher, HMS Pursuer and HMS Khedive respectively.

Around 1830C/13, HMS Khedive was detached to proceed to the vicinity of position 37°30'N, 19°30'E. She was escorted by ORP Garland. They were then to make rendezvous on the 15th with the landing ship HMCS Prince David (T/Cdr. T.D. Kelly, RCNR) and the destroyers HMS Tenacious and HMS Tumult and provide air cover for these ships. HMCS Prince David was to land a force which were to establish a coastal forces base on Kythira Island.

During the night of 13/14 September 1944, (Group 1) HMS Tyrian with HMS Teazer and (Group 2) HMS Termagant and HMS Terpsichore conducted anti-shipping sweeps in the Aegean. Both groups sighted nothing.

Around 0730C/14, Groups 1 and 2 rejoined ' Force A '.

Around 0930C/14, a small caique was sighted in the vicinity of position 35°25'N, 26°15'E. HMS Termagant boarded and remover 1 German officer and 23 German naval ratings as well as 2 Greeks. The caique was then sunk. The prisoners stated that they were evacuating from Scarpanto to Crete.

Around 1445C/14, the escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), HMS Emperor (A/Capt. T.J.N. Hilken, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Black Prince (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) and the destroyer HMS Tuscan departed Alexandria to join ' Force A '.

Around 1730C/14, HMS Searcher, escorted by HMS Tyrian and RHS Navarinon were detached to proceed to the vicinity of position 35°40'N, 22°20'E.

Around 2000C/14, HMS Hunter and HMS Troubridge were detached to Alexandria where they arrived around 1400C/15.

During the night of 14/15 September 1944, HMS Royalist and HMS Teazer conducted an anti-shipping sweep in the Aegean. HMS Royalist also directed night fighters. These two ships sank two German transports around 20 miles north-east of Suda Bay around 0400C/15. These were the transport Erpel (834 GRT, built 1944, former KT 26) and the auxiliary submarine chaser UJ 2171 / Heidelberg (former transport KT 4).

On 15 September 1944, HMS Searcher and HMS Khedive provided air cover over the Kythira area.

Around 0900C/15, a number of dinghies were sighted near position 35°37'N, 25°52'E. HMS Teazer then was sent to this location and picked up 10 Germans. These were survivors from the action during the night of 12/13 September.

Around 1200C/15, HMS Attacker, HMS Emperor, HMS Black Prince and HMS Tuscan joined ' Force A ' in position 35°02'N, 26°28'E. But 15 minutes later, HMS Black Prince, which had refridgerator trouble was ordered to return to Alexandria where she arrived around 0700C/16.

Around 1300C/15, HMS Termagant and HMS Terpsichore commenced fuelling from HMS Emperor and HMS Attacker.

Around 1800C/15, HMS Teazer and HMS Tuscan commenced fuelling from HMS Emperor and HMS Attacker.

At the same time HMS Termagant and HMS Terpsichore were detached for an anti-shipping sweep in the Aegean.

Around 1900C/16, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. G. Bernard, CBE, DSO, RN) and the destroyer HMS Troubridge departed Alexandria to join ' Force A '.

Around 0630C/16, HMS Termagant and HMS Terpsichore rejoined ' Force A '. They had sighted nothing.

Around 1215C/16, HMS Aurora and HMS Terpsichore joined from Alexandria.

Around 1230C/16, HMS Aurora and HMS Terpsichore parted company to bombard Milos around 1600C/16. Fighter protection and air spotting would be provided by aircraft from HMS Pursuer.

Around 1700C/16, HMS Teazer was detached to Alexandria where she arrived around 0730C/17.

Around 1820C/16, HMS Aurora and HMS Terpsichore were ordered to remain in the Aegean to patrol off Milos.

Around 2000C/16, HMS Royalist, HMS Troubridge and HMS Termagant were detached to the Aegean. HMS Royalist was to direct night fighters, HMS Troubridge was to patrol off Candia and HMS Termagent was to patrol off Suda Bay.

Around 0700C/17, HMS Troubridge and HMS Termagant rejoined. They had sighted nothing.

Around 0950C/17, HMS Royalist, which had now also rejoined ' Force A ' commenced fuelling from HMS Attacker.

Aircraft reported the the German minelayer Drache had arrived at Milos. HMS Aurora then opened fire on the harbour with HMS Terpsichore blockading the harbour entrance. The target however proved to be elusive but shore istallations, including the radar station, were hit.

HMS Troubridge bombarded caiques seen in Santorin harbour.

Around 1500C/17, the escort destroyers HMS Zetland (Lt. C.R. Bax, RN) and HMS Brecon (Lt. N.R.H. Rodney, RN) departed Alexandria to join ' Force A '.

Around 2030C/17, HMS Khedive and ORP Garland rejoined.

During the night of 17/18 September 1944, HMS Troubridge and HMS Tuscan blockaded Suda Bay and Standia respectively.

On 18 September, HMS Aurora and HMS Terpsichore carried out a harassing bombardment of W/T and radar stations on Milos with the assistance of air spotting.

HMS Troubridge, HMS Termagant, HMS Terpsichore, HMS Tuscan and ORP Garland fuelled from HMS Attacker and HMS Khedive.

15 Enemy flying boats were seen in Suda Bay and an air strike of 16 dive bombers attacked them but the results are unknown due to the weather conditions did not made it possible to conduct a photographic reconnaissance after the attack.

At 1730A/18, ORP Garland sighted a schnorkel from a submerged U-boat. She was joined by HMS Troubridge, HMS Terpsichore and the escort destroyers HMS Zetland and HMS Brecon. These last two ships had just joined ' Force A '. This U-Boat was subsequently destroyed after a long hunt and 48 prisoners were taken.

During the night of 18/19 September 1944, HMS Aurora bombarded Candia harbour and Heraklion airfield.

On 19 September, HMS Terpsichore, HMS Teazer and HMS Zetland fuelled from HMS Attacker, HMS Emperor and HMS Khedive respectively.

Around 0815C/19, the escort destroyers HMS Farndale (Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Haydon (Lt. R.G.R. Clay, RN) departed Alexandria to join ' Force A '. At sea they joined the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.T. Jellicoe, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) which had already departed around 0630C/19 and had first conducted exercises.

Around 1020C/19, an air strike force of 45 fighter bombers was sent to Rhodes. They destroyed several enemy ships and caused damage to the harbour facilities.

Around 0500C/20, HMS Colombo, HMS Farndale and HMS Haydon joined.

HMS Terpsichore, HMS Termagant, HMS Zetland and HMS Brecon then fuelled from HMS Attacker and HMS Emperor.

Around 1340C/20, HMS Colombo and HMS Termagant were detached to blockade Candia, HMS Teazer and HMS Farndale to blockade Suda Bay and HMS Zetland to blockade Santorin.

Around 1910C/20, the remainder of ' Force A ' set course for Alexandria.

Around 1400C/21, HMS Attacker, HMS Pursuer, HMS Emperor, HMS Khedive, HMS Royalist, HMS Troubridge, HMS Terpsichore, HMS Tuscan, HMS Brecon arrived at Alexandria.

Around 1815C/21, HMS Searcher, HMS Tyrian and RHS Navarinon arrived at Alexandria.

Around 1930C/21, HMS Colombo, HMS Teazer, HMS Termagant, HMS Farndale, HMS Haydon and HMS Zetland arrived at Alexandria.

During the entire time ' Force A ' had been off Crete aircraft from the escort carriers had attacked numerous enemy targets. (86)

30 Sep 1944
Around 1500C/30, ' Force A ', made up of the light cruiser HMS Royalist (Capt. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN, flying the flag of R.Adm. T.H. Troubridge, DSO and Bar, RN), AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.T. Jellicoe, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), escort carriers HMS Attacker (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), HMS Emperor (A/Capt. T.J.N. Hilken, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, DSO, MVO, RN, Capt. D.24), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Teazer (Lt.Cdr. A.A.F. Talbot, DSO and Bar, RN) and RHS Navarinon departed Alexandria for operations in the Aegean.

A.M. on 1 October 1944, three reconnaissance missions, of two aircraft each, were flown off to reconnoitre Rhodes, Scarpanto and Leros. Nothing of interest was seen at the first two but at Leros a number of caiques were seen.

P.M. on 1 October 1944, a reconnaissance mission, of two aircraft, was flown off to reconnoitre Santorini but nothing of interest was seen. Two aircraft carried out an A/S patrol over the Kaso Strait to search for the submarine which was reported to have left Piraeus. [actually there were no operational U-boats left in the Mediterranean. The last two boats had been scuttled near Piraeus on 30 September, one of these was probably reported as having left for patrol]

Around 1600C/1, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Bernard, CBE, DSO, RN) and HMS Colombo were ordered to the vicinity of Rhodes. HMS Colombo was to proceed to the north-west of the island to detect possible enemy aircraft approaching so that HMS Aurora could bombard Calato airfield.

On 2 October 1944, extensive reconnaissance was flown in the forenoon. Eight fighter bombers were sent to Milos to attack caiques. No other enemy shipping was seen.

During the night of 2/3 October 1944, HMS Aurora bombarded Maleme airfield. RHS Navarinon patrolled between Milos and Santorini. The destroyer HMS Tuscan (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Wood, DSC, RNVR) and escort destroyer HMS Catterick (Lt. D.P. Willan, DSC, RN), which had come from Alexandria, blockaded Candia. HMS Royalist, HMS Emperor and HMS Troubridge remained to the west of Rhodes to operate Hellcat aircraft against enemy air transport. The remainder of the force had been ordered to retire though the Scarpanto Strait. During 3 October 1944, some ships of the force were fuelled by the escort carriers; HMS Emperor fuelled RHS Navarinon and HMS Tuscan. HMS Hunter fuelled HMS Aurora.

On 3 October 1944, a photographic reconnaissance of Rhodes was carried out in the forenoon while the force was retiring to the western area.

At 1100C/3, a reconnaissance flight was flown off to locate the German hospital ship Gradisca (13868 GRT, built 1913) who had been reported to have embarked military stores and 'spurious' wounded troops at Suda Bay. The ship was located while en-route from Suda Bay to Leros. HMS Colombo was then detached to intercept her. HMS Colombo later reported that nothing suspicious had been found and that the hospital ship had been allowed to proceed.

Around 1605C/3, a strike of 16 fighters was flown off from the escort carriers HMS Attacker and HMS Hunter to attack the enemy W/T station on Levitha Island. The attack was delivered at 1645C/3, but it appeared that the W/T station had already been abandoned.

Around 1630C/3, a strike of 16 fighter-bombers was flown off by HMS Emperor to attack enemy shipping at Portolago, Leros at 1710C/3. One large barge was set on fire and two small coasters were strafed. At least 12 caiques were attacked an hit. One Hellcat (pilot, T/A/S.Lt.(A), K.F. Wilson, RNVR) failed to return. This aircraft was believed to have been hit by flak and crashed into the sea to the east of Leros. The pilot is listed as missing, presumed killed.

During the night of 3/4 October 1944, HMS Colombo and HMS Teazer blockaded Candia while HMS Tyrian blockaded Suda Bay.

Around 0700C/4, HMS Aurora, HMS Hunter, RHS Navarinon, HMS Tuscan and HMS Catterick were detached to cover minesweeping operations in the Kinaros Channel.

Around 0810C/4, two reconnaissance flights were flown off to reconnoitre Santorini, Milos and the north coast of Crete. The latter mission attacked and probably destroyer a JU-52 aircraft landing at Maleme. This could not be confirmed at the time as the leading aircraft of the flight had been damaged by flak fire in her undercarriage and had been ordered to land in Turkey. A 2000 ton ship was reported at Milos. HMS Royalist and HMS Troubridge then proceeded to bombard which began at 1315C/4 aided by spotting aircraft from HMS Attacker. Shore batteries replied with considerable accuracy and fire was then shifted to these batteries and they were silenced with a direct hit on the gun emplacement. HMS Royalist and HMS Troubridge rejoined the group around 1615C/4.

Around 2005C/4, HMS Royalist and HMS Troubridge parted company to proceed ahead to Alexandria where they arrived around 0900C/5.

HMS Colombo, HMS Attacker, HMS Emperor, HMS Tyrian and HMS Teazer returned to Alexandria around 1530C/4. (87)

21 Nov 1944
During 21/22 November 1944, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Bernard, CBE, DSO, RN, flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, CBE, RN) and HMS Black Prince (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These included night exercises.

[Destroyers also participated in the exercises but their identity is not known to us.] (88)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/393
  2. ADM 53/107577 + ADM 53/107730
  3. ADM 53/111494 + ADM 53/111495 + ADM 53/112956 + ADM 53/112957 + ADM 199/362
  4. ADM 53/111409 + ADM 53/111495 + ADM 53/112279 + ADM 53/112957
  5. ADM 53/111495 + ADM 53/112279
  6. ADM 1/10582
  7. ADM 53/112663 + ADM 186/798
  8. ADM 234/332
  9. ADM 53/111499 + ADM 199/375 + ADM 199/379
  10. ADM 53/111500 + ADM 199/375
  11. ADM 53/111500 + ADM 53/112284
  12. ADM 199/379
  13. ADM 53/112284 + ADM 199/375 + ADM 199/379
  14. ADM 53/112536
  15. ADM 53/112537
  16. ADM 53/112860
  17. ADM 53/ + ADM 53 + ADM 53/ + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560+ ADM 234/561
  18. ADM 53/113672 + ADM 53/114302
  19. ADM 53/113672 + ADM 53/114302 + ADM 53/114490 + ADM 53/11476 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  20. ADM 53/113672 + ADM 53/114302 + ADM 199/409 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  21. ADM 53/113603 + ADM 53/113672 + ADM 53/114108 + ADM 53/114302 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/409
  22. ADM 53/113673 + ADM 53/114303 + ADM 53/114809 + ADM 53/115098 + ADM 199/409 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  23. ADM 234/322
  24. ADM 53/114304 + ADM 53/114316 + ADM 53/114491
  25. ADM 53/114888
  26. ADM 53/113674 + ADM 53/114491
  27. ADM 53/114491
  28. ADM 53/113675 + ADM 53/114492
  29. ADM 53/114505 + ADM 53/113606 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399
  30. ADM 53/113675 + ADM 53/114492 + ADM 53/114797 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  31. ADM 53/113675 + ADM 53/114492 + ADM 199/411 + ADM 234/560 + ADM 234/561
  32. ADM 53/114626 + ADM 199/399
  33. ADM 53/113676 + ADM 53/113677 + ADM 53/114798 + ADM 53/114799 + ADM 199/396
  34. ADM 53/113677 + ADM 53/114799
  35. ADM 53/113677 + ADM 53/113678 + ADM 53/114799 + ADM 53/114800 + ADM 53/114850 + ADM 199/396
  36. ADM 53/113678 + ADM 53/114508 + ADM 53/115157 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399
  37. ADM 53/113678 + ADM 53/115077
  38. ADM 53/113679 + ADM 53/114509 + ADM 53/114851 + ADM 53/115158 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399
  39. ADM 53/113679
  40. ADM 53/113679 + ADM 53/113851
  41. ADM 199/657
  42. ADM 53/113679 + ADM 53/113851 + ADM 199/415
  43. ADM 53/113680 + ADM 53/114852 + ADM 199/415
  44. ADM 199/415
  45. ADM 1/12257 + ADM 199/415
  46. ADM 53/113680 + ADM 53/114852 + ADM 199/413 + ADM 199/415
  47. ADM 53/113535 + ADM 53/113536 + ADM 53/113680 + ADM 53/113681 + ADM 53/114780 + ADM 53/114852 + ADM 53/114853 + ADM 199/413 + ADM 199/415
  48. ADM 53/114853 + ADM 199/415
  49. ADM 1/11947
  50. ADM 53/115405 + ADM 53/116095
  51. ADM 53/115405 + ADM 53/115832 + ADM 53/117680
  52. ADM 53/116137
  53. ADM 53/115405 + ADM 53/116675
  54. ADM 53/115405 + ADM 53/116387 + ADM 53/116676
  55. ADM 53/115406 + ADM 53/116096 + ADM 53/116617 + ADM 53/116629
  56. ADM 53/115406 + ADM 53/115551
  57. ADM 199/1211
  58. ADM 53/115407 + Report of proceeding of HMAS Quiberon for September 1942
  59. ADM 53/115408 + ADM 53/115579 + ADM 53/115967 + ADM 199/662
  60. ADM 234/359
  61. ADM 53/115357 + ADM 53/115409 + ADM 53/115410 + ADM 53/116663 + ADM 53/116664 + ADM 199/652 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for November 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for December 1942
  62. ADM 53/115357 + ADM 53/115410 + ADM 53/116664 + ADM 199/652 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Quiberon for December 1942
  63. ADM 53/116987 + ADM 53/117372 + ADM 53/118336 + ADM 53/118552
  64. ADM 53/116988 + ADM 53/117373 + ADM 53/118337
  65. ADM 53/116988 + ADM 53/117373 + ADM 53/118337 + ADM 53/118553
  66. ADM 53/116989 + ADM 53/117374 + ADM 53/118338 + ADM 53/118554
  67. ADM 53/116989 + ADM 53/118275 + ADM 53/118339 + ADM 53/118555
  68. ADM 53/116990 + ADM 53/117492 + ADM 53/118276 + ADM 53/118313 + ADM 53/118340 + ADM 199/639
  69. ADM 199/639
  70. ADM 53/116991 + ADM 53/118341 + ADM 199/640
  71. ADM 199/641 + ADM 234/356
  72. ADM 53/116991 + ADM 53/118341
  73. ADM 199/640
  74. ADM 234/356
  75. ADM 53/116991 + ADM 199/640
  76. ADM 53/116991 + ADM 53/116992 + ADM 53/118341 + ADM 53/118342 + ADM 199/640
  77. ADM 53/116992 + ADM 53/118342
  78. ADM 53/116992 + ADM 53/117378 + ADM 53/118342 + ADM 234/356
  79. ADM 53/116992 + ADM 53/118342 + ADM 234/356
  80. ADM 53/116992 + ADM 53/118342 + ADM 199/640
  81. ADM 53/116993 + ADM 53/117379 + ADM 53/118343 + ADM 53/118558 + logbook of USS Boise
  82. ADM 53/116993 + ADM 53/118343 + ADM 199/641
  83. ADM 51/116993 + ADM 118343 + ADM 234/358
  84. ADM 53/116994 + ADM 53/117380 + ADM 53/118344 + ADM 53/118559 + ADM 199/774
  85. ADM 53/119541
  86. ADM 199/297 + ADM 199/1429 + ADM 199/1434
  87. ADM 199/1429
  88. ADM 53/119674

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


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