Allied Warships

HMS London (69)

Heavy cruiser of the London class


HMS London after reconstruction

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
ClassLondon 
Pennant69 
Built byPortsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, U.K.): Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) 
Ordered10 Oct 1925 
Laid down23 Feb 1926 
Launched14 Sep 1927 
Commissioned31 Jan 1929 
End service 
History

From March 1939 she was under reconstruction and much altered in appearance, and somewhat resembled the Fiji class cruisers, replacement of the machinery was considered, but this idea was abandoned. Unfortunately the weight added by the construction of the new bridge overstressed the hull and considerable trouble was experienced until it was strengthened. In March 1941, the reconstruction work on the cruiser was completed.

On 25 April 1949, Vice Admiral A. Madden, second in command of the Far Eastern Station, flew his flag in HMS London and after learning of the frigate (sloop) HMS Amethyst being trapped up the Yangtse river, decided to sail upriver to render assistance in company with the frigate HMS Black Swan. The rebuilt heavy cruiser was an impressive ship, but her modern looks belied her age, and her main 8 inch gun turrets were long “past their prime”. Madden hoped that the mere presence of the cruiser would be enough, but it was soon clear that the Chinese Communists were not to be overawed by a warship, however impressive, sailing towards their vital river crossing. Within ten minutes of beginning her upriver dash, HMS London was under fire from 105 mm and 37mm guns. She replied with her main 8" armament and secondary 4" guns. Then a new more numerous battery joined in and Madden began to consider withdrawal. Again the Communists scored hits on their opponents bridge and the cruiser turned back. Still however she was fired upon, the action being heavier on the return trip than before. HMS London had both her forward turrets put out of action, and one of her aft turrets hit as well. Nevertheless the ship was still able to reply to her opponents before the action ended just over three hours after it had begun. The cruiser had expended 132 8" , 449 4", and over 2000 rounds from her light AA guns. Her casualties were 13 killed and 30 wounded. In June, she sailed from Hong Kong to the UK after being relieved by the cruiser HMS Kenya and was laid up on the river Fal.

Sold for scrap on 3 January 1950. On 22 January 1950 the scapping of HMS London commenced at the scrapyard of T.W. Ward at Barrow. 

Commands listed for HMS London (69)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Reginald Maxwell Servaes, RN10 Dec 19406 Nov 1941
2Cdr. William Kaye Edden, RN6 Nov 194110 Dec 1941
3Capt. Reginald Maxwell Servaes, RN10 Dec 194119 Dec 1942
4Capt. Richard Victor Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN19 Dec 194211 Feb 1943
5Lt.Cdr. Ronald Ker Silcock, RN11 Feb 194315 Apr 1943
6Capt. Richard Victor Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN15 Apr 194310 Dec 1944
7Capt. Stuart Latham Bateson, RN10 Dec 194415 Jan 1946

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Notable events involving London include:


The page for this heavy cruiser was last updated in January 2022.

7 Feb 1941
Nearing the end of her reconstruction at the Chatham Dockyard, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), is recommissioned at 0900 hours.

HMS London had been undergoing a major reconstruction at the Chatham Dockyard since early March 1939. Originally the reconstruction had been sheduled to be completed around August 1940 but other commitments for the dockyard delayed the original completion date by around half a year. During her reconstruction HMS London had been in dockyard control with no crew assigned. (1)

4 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) proceeded from the Chatham Dockyard to Sheerness. (2)

5 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted compass swing and D/G trials off Sheerness. (2)

6 Mar 1941
Around 1205A/6, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Sheerness for Scapa Flow to commence a work-up period there. She was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN) and HMS Cottesmore (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, RN).

Around 0845A/7, the destroyer HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) joined company.

Around 0950A/7, the destroyer HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN) joined company.

Around 1005A/7, HMS Garth and HMS Cottesmore parted companay.

HMS London, HMS Mashona and HMS Matabele arrived at Scapa Flow around 1530A/7. (2)

10 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted 8" gunnery trials at Scapa Flow. Following this she made several runs over the D/G range. (2)

18 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted aircraft launching and recovering exercises at Scapa Flow. (2)

19 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (2)

20 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (2)

24 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (2)

25 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Fiji (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, RN) both conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. Also RDF exercises were carried out with during the night of 25/26 March. (3)

27 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted compass swing and D/F calibration trials at Scapa Flow. (2)

28 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (4)

31 Mar 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. (2)

1 Apr 1941
HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) then joined for a range and inclination exercise. (5)

2 Apr 1941
Around 1100A/2, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) and HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow to patrol off the Bay of Biscay.

At 1215Z/4, the destroyers were detached to refuel at Londonderry where they arrived at 0600A/6.

At 1845Z/6, HMS London was detached for other duties.

At 0430A/8, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) joined coming from Greenock.

Around 0945A/8, the destroyers HMS Somali, HMS Bedouin, HMS Mashona and HMS Matabele rejoined from fuelling at Londonderry.

At 2000Z/8, HMS King George V, HMS Somali, HMS Bedouin, HMS Mashona and HMS Matabele departed patrol to return to Scapa Flow. HMS Kenya was ordered to make rendezvous with the 'Hood-Group'.

At 0600A/10, HMS Matabele was detached to proceed to Barrow-in-Furness for repairs.

At 1542A/10, HMS Bedouin is ordered to proceed to position 58°42'N, 09°41'W, to the north-west of St.Kilda, where a merchant vessel was reported to be on fire with survivors abandoning ship. HMS Bedouin did not find anything however and arrived at Scapa Flow on the 12th.

Around 1830A/10, HMS King George V, HMS Somali and HMS Mashona arrived at Scapa Flow. (6)

4 Apr 1941
The battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), and troopship Narkunda (British, 16632 GRT, built 1920) departed Gibraltar to proceed to the U.K. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. S. Boucher, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN).

Aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) departed later with ' Force H ' to swap some aircraft at sea with HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN). After doing so she split off from ' Force H ' escorted by destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN) and HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), and joined at sea around 0700/5. HMS Faulknor then set course to return to Gibraltar.

At 1100/7, in position 41°00'N, 22°30'W the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) joined after which HMS Repulse, HMS Highlander, HMS Fortune and HMS Fury were detached with orders to proceed to position 46°00'N, 21°00'W to make rendez-vous with the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN). HMS Velox was ordered to return to Gibraltar.

At 0800/8, HMS Repulse, HMS Highlander, HMS Fortune and HMS Fury made rendez-vous with HMS Queen Elizabeth.

At 1900/8, HMS Repulse, HMS Highlander, HMS Fortune and HMS Fury set course to return to Gibraltar.

At 0100/12 HMS Repulse, HMS Highlander and HMS Fortune arrived at Gibraltar. HMS Fury had been detached around 2230/11.

8 Apr 1941

Convoy SL 71.

This convoy departed Freetown on 8 April 1941 and arrived in U.K. waters on 4 May 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Abosso (British, 11330 GRT, built 1935), Adda (British, 7816 GRT, built 1922), Afrika (British, 8597 GRT, built 1920), Baron Erskine (British, 3657 GRT, built 1930), Baron Fairlie (British, 6706 GRT, built 1925), Bhima (British, 5280 GRT, built 1939), British Hussar (British (tanker), 6944 GRT, built 1923), City of Auckland (British, 8336 GRT, built 1914), City of Christchurch (British, 6009 GRT, built 1915), City of Yokohama (British, 7341 GRT, built 1922), Clan MacTaggart (British, 7622 GRT, built 1920), Dagfred (Norwegian, 4434 GRT, built 1930), Egton (British, 4363 GRT, built 1938), Empire Governor (British, 8657 GRT, built 1925), Empire Progress (British, 5249 GRT, built 1918), Evinos (Greek, 5627 GRT, built 1919), Grangepark (British, 5132 GRT, built 1919), Gudvin (Norwegian, 1824 GRT, built 1918), Janeta (British, 4312 GRT, built 1929), Jedmoor (British, 4392 GRT, built 1928), Kurdistan (British, 5844 GRT, built 1928), Leonidas N. Condylis (Greek, 3923 GRT, built 1912), Lisbeth (Norwegian, 2732 GRT, built 1922), Lise (Norwegian (tanker), 6826 GRT, built 1931), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), MacGregor Laird (British, 4992 GRT, built 1930), Margalau (British, 4541 GRT, built 1926), Meerkerk (Dutch, 7995 GRT, built 1916), Mount Mycale (British, 3556 GRT, built 1907), Myrtlebank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925), Nagpore (British, 5283 GRT, built 1920), New Brooklyn (British, 6546 GRT, built 1920), New Westminster City (British, 4747 GRT, built 1929), Newton Ash (British, 4625 GRT, built 1925), Nigerian (British, 5423 GRT, built 1936), Peribonk (British, 5673 GRT, built 1937), Princesa (British, 8731 GRT, built 1918), Ravnefjell (British, 1339 GRT, built 1938), Rhesus (British, 6530 GRT, built 1911), River Lugar (British, 5423 GRT, built 1937), Ross (British, 4878 GRT, built 1936), Sandown Castle (British, 7607 GRT, built 1921), Santiago (Panamanian, 3864 GRT, built 1908), St. Lindsay (British, 5370 GRT, built 1921), Stad Arnhem (Dutch, 3819 GRT, built 1920), Thorshov (Norwegian (tanker), 9955 GRT, built 1935), Tysa (Dutch, 5327 GRT, built 1938) and Veerhaven (Dutch, 5291 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cicilia (Capt.(Retd.) V.B. Cardwell, OBE, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Crocus (Lt.Cdr. E. Wheeler, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) and HMS Marguerite (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Blundell, RNR).

Around 1515N/10, the light cruiser HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN) joined the convoy escort.

Around 0630N/17, the four corvettes parted company with the convoy.

Around 0800ON(+1.5)/23, the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) joined the convoy escort and around two hours later HMS Mauritius parted company with the convoy.

Around 0600N/29, HMS London parted company with the convoy.

Around 0930N/30, HMS Cilicia parted company with the convoy. By then the first ships of the A/S escort had joined. [For the moment we lack details of the composition of the A/S escort in home waters and sources are contradicting so further research is required.]

9 Apr 1941
Around 0830A/9, the aircraft carriers HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), HMS Argus (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), troopship Narkunda (British, 16632 GRT, built 1920) and their escort, the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), were joined by the destroyers HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RN), HMS Beagle, (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Wolsey (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC, RN).

Around 1200A/9, the destroyer HMS Lincoln (Lt. R.J. Hanson, RN) was sighted which apparently joined company.

Around 2000A/10, HMS Furious, HMCS Restigouche and HMS Beagle parted company to proceed to Belfast. After escorting the aircraft carrier there the destroyers continued on the the Clyde.

Around 0300A/11, HMS Wolsey was detached to Londonderry.

The Narkunda with HMS Argus, HMS London, HMCS Sauguenay, HMS Viscount and HMS Lincoln arrived in the Clyde in the morning of the 11th. (7)

17 Apr 1941
Around 0045A/17, the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) and the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed the Clyde. HMS Argus was to proceed to Gibraltar and HMS London was to escort her until being relieved.

Around 1020A/17, the destroyer HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) joined.

Around 2215A/18, HMS Winchelsea and HMS Eridge parted company. (7)

22 Apr 1941
Around 1130A/22, the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) and the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) made rendezvous with the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN, HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN) and HMS Wrestler (Lt. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN).

The new arrivals then took over the escort of the carrier towards Gibraltar. HMS London then parted company for escort duty with northbound convoy SL 71. (8)

1 May 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow after convoy escort duty. (9)

6 May 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted 8" gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (9)

6 May 1941
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. G. Quint, RNN(R)) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, RN) and HMS Walpole (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Eaden, DSC, RN). (10)

10 May 1941
Around 1100B/10, the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock. (9)

11 May 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) arrived at Greenock around 0740B/11 coming from Scapa Flow. (9)

12 May 1941
The aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the dummy battleship HMS Centurion (resembling HMS Anson, King George V-class, Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) R.W.J. Martin, RN) departed Greenock for Gibraltar. They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN).

Shortly after dawn on the 15th, HMS Mashona, HMS Tartar and HMS Legion were detached.

Shortly after dawn on the 17th, the destroyers HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, DSC, RN) and HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN) joined.

HMS Furious, HMS Centurion, HMS London, HMS Harvester, HMS Havelock, HMS Hesperus and HMS Brilliant arrived at Gibraltar in the evening of May, 18th. (11)

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 (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. (12)

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. (12)

19 May 1941

Operation Splice.

Fighter aircraft to be flown off to Malta.

Around 0330A/19, ' Force H ', made up of the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. R.R. McGrigor, 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 Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, DSC, RN) and HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN) departed Gibraltar to the westward.

At 1500A/19, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) departed Gibraltar to the westward to make rendezvous with ' Force H '.

At 1445A/19, ' Force H ' had altered course to the eastward to pass through position 35°40'N, 07°05'W at 1900A/19.

At 1920A/19, HMS Furious, HMS London and the four destroyers were sighted. HMS London, HMS Harvester and HMS Havelock were then detached to briefly provide cover for the dummy battleship HMS Centurion (resembling HMS Anson, King George V-class, Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) R.W.J. Martin, RN) which had departed Gibraltar for Freetown. HMS London, HMS Harvester and HMS Havelock returned to Gibraltar around 2300A/20.

At 2130A/19, the destroyer HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) departed Gibraltar to the eastward to make rendezvous with ' Force H ' after dawn.

At 2245A/19, ' Force H ' entered the Straits of Gibraltar. It was a bright starlit night and it was thought to be almost impossible to pass the Straits without being observed by fishing vessels.

At 0720B/20, HMS Brilliant joined ' Force H '. A section of fighters was kept ranged in HMS Ark Royal to be flown off if shadowers appeared.

An aircraft was detected by RDF at 1128B/20 passing along the African coast from west to east. It did not approach neared than 38 miles, a distance greater than existing visibility, and finally faded from the screen at a range of 48 miles.

At 1215B/20, when 70 miles north fo Oran, ' Force H ' passed through a very straggling and unescorted northbound Vichy French convoy. Given the loose formation of this convoy there was no way of avoiding detection but no ships were heard making a report though.

At 1350B/20, an aircraft was detected by RDF passing rapidly down the port beam of ' Force H ' at a range of ten miles and was held between bearings of 020° and 220°. The aircraft was nog sighted. As a precauteionary measure course was altered towards Ibiza.

At 1515B/20, a favourable weather report was received from the Naval Officer in Charge, Malta. This indicated that a westerly wind of not less than ten miles per hour might be expected and HMS Ark Royal reported that a flying off position of 06°00'E would be acceptavle. Speed was then reduced to 20 knots.

Further favourable weather reports from the Naval Officer in Charge, Malta were received at 2000B/20 as also from the Vice-Admiral Commanding North Atlantic Station at 1520B/20.

Three groups of aircraft were detected at 2135B/20, 18 miles to the southward, steering 080° at 160 knots. It was thought that these aircraft were Wellingtons proceeding from Gibraltar to Malta.

At 2215B/20, course was altered to 097° and speed increased to 22 knots so as to arrive in appoximate position 37°50'N, 06°00'E at dawn the following morning for flying off the fighters to Malta. Visibility inceased to 14 miles in the evening. There was so far no indication that ' Force H ' had been reported by aircraft or shipping.

At 2300B/20, when in position 38°05'N, 03°10'E, three lighted merchant vessels were sighted to the southward steering approximately 225°.

At 0200B/21, when in position 37°56'N, 04°29'E, a lighted merchant ship passed ahead of ' Force H ' northbound, evidently from Bougie. Weather reports indicating westerly winds of 10 miles an hour or over were received from the Naval Officer in Charge, Malta at 0200B/21 and 0430B/21, and from the Vice-Admiral Commanding North Atlantic Station at 0330B/21. Information was also received from the Naval Officer in Command, Malta that only two Glenn-Martin bombers would be available to guide the first two flights of Hurricanes in.

At 0535B/21, an all-round screen was formed and 15 minutes later, course was altered to 300° into the wind for flying-off. The first aircraft took off at 0600B/21 in position 37°47'N, 06°08'E. The Fulmar flown off by HMS Furious to lead the first flight of Hurricanes was unable to retract its undercarriage. The stand-by Fulmar was then flown-off by HMS Furious at 0617B/21 as a relief. However the Hurricanes had already formed up on the defective aircraft and the Hurricanes could not be persuaded to follow the relief aircraft so finally both Fulmars went off in company, each leading a portion of the Hurricane flight.

The complete flying-off programme was as follows;
0600 - First Hurricane flew off from HMS Furious.
0605 - First Hurricane flew off from HMS Ark Royal..
0608 - First flight of 9 Hurricanes from HMS Furious was airborne. 0610 - First flight of 11 Hurricane from HMS Ark Royal was airborne. 0635 - Second flight of 10 Hurricanes was airborne from HMS Ark Royal. 0650 - Second flight of 9 Hurricanes from HMS Furious was airborne. 0729 - Third flight of 9 Hurricanes from HMS Furious was airborne.

The Hurricanes took off very well, the take-off distance being between 300 feet and 380 feet with a wind speed of 30 knots over the deck and with auxiliary tanks full.

When all Hurricanes had left HMS Ark Royal flew off a section of two Fulmars to patrol over the fleet and transferred a Fulmar crew by Swordfish to HMS Furious, who had four Fulmars on board wit only three trained crews. Each of the carriers then ranged four Fulmars on deck.

At 0750B/21, HMS Ark Royal's second flight returned and the escorting Fulmar made an emergency landing due to heavy oil leakage. It was decided that HMS Ark Royal was to fly off another Fulmar instead and at 0815B/21, the Hurricanes departed for Malta again now with their new leader.

An Italian signal was intercepted at 0824B/21, reporting that 9 aircraft had been sighted at 0750 hours steering 150°. At 0900B/21, a Cant floatplane was sighed low down 10 miles to the southward, shadowing the fleet which was then retiring to the westward. HMS Renown fired a few salvoes of 4.5" to indicate the enemy to the Fulmars, but these were unable to intercept. At 0930 hours and Italian signal was intercepted revealing the correct composition of ' Force H '. These two sightings must have revealed the whole operation to the enemy.

At 0940B/21, HMS Ark Royal flew off a second section of Fulmars. The visibility was 20 miles from 2000 feet at 15 miles from 1000 feet, with cloud base at this height.

Information was received from the Naval Officer in Charge, Malta at 1015B/21 that the first formation had landed and the second was in sight. This was followed at 1100B/21 by a report that the fourth formation had landed and that the fifth was approaching. Information of the delayed third flight was not received until 1400B/21 when the Naval Officer in Charge, Malta reported that 5 Fulmars and 47 Hurricanes had arrived, and that one Hurricane had been seen to dive into the sea off Cape Bon. One Fulmar was therefore missing and the Naval Officer in Charge Malta was informed accordingly. Weather conditions for the flight had been favourable, the average wind at 2000 feet being 15 miles an hour from the north-west. Visibility had been 10 to 15 miles.

A further Italian signal was intercepted at 1230B/21 indicating that ' Force H ' had been reported at 1100 hours. At 1310B/21, a formation of aircraft was sighted low down 15 miles to the southward on an easterly course. These were probably Blenheims on passage from Gibraltar to Malta. At 1320B/21, a single aircraft, probably a Vichy-French plane bound for Algiers, was detected by RDF bearing 345°, distant 26 miles.

Information was received from the Vice-Admiral Commanding North Atlantic Station at 1321B/21 that an SOS had been heard from one of the Blenheims en-route for Malta and that its estimated position was approximately 02°00'E and 04°00'E. Four TSR aircraft were at once flown off from position 37°57'N, 02°56'E to carry out a search over the area indicated. The visibility was 40 miles to the north and east but rain persisted to the southward with visibility down to half a mile. These aircraft landed on at 1800B/21 having sighted nothing.

At 1855B/21, the A/S patrol reported a dinghy with one occupant bearing 290°, distant 12 miles from ' Force H ' (37°22'N, 01°13'E). HMS Hesperus was detached and picked up one officer, which was the navigator of the aircraft that had sent out the SOS.

At 0045B/22, course was altered briefly to avoid a merchant vessel steering approximately 300°.

At 0530B/22, HMS Ark Royal flew off seven Swordfish to carry out exercises with ' Force H '.

At 0544B/22, a signal was received from the Naval Officer in Command, Malta that the destroyer HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN) had departed from there for Gibraltar at 2030B/21 and that her estimated time of arrival at Gibraltar was 1600A/23.

HMS Furious, escorted by HMS Brilliant and HMS Hesperus, was detached at 0800B/22 to proceed at best speed towards Gibraltar for a quick docking. They arrived at Gibraltar around 1215A/22.

During the forenoon more exercises were carried out by ' Force H '.

At 1038A/22, an intercepted Italian signal indicated that HMS Foresight was being shadowed by enemy aircraft. Her estimated position was midway between Galita Island and Bougie. ' Force H ' therefore altered course to the west to close and instructed HMS Foresight to report immediately in case she was being attacked by enemy bombers and the result of such attacks.

No report had been received from HMS Foresight by 1600A/22 and as it was though that by now she would be (almost) out of range of enemy bombers, ' Force H ' revised course to the west and increased speed to 25 knots.

' Force H ' arrived at Gibraltar around 2245A/22. (13)

23 May 1941
The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN) and HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar escorting the troopship Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921). They were to make rendezvous and join convoy SL 75 proceeding from Freetown to the UK.

This did not materialise, HMS London parted company on the 24th to join the hunt for the German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. However as HMS London had 471 passengers on board from Gibraltar this was considered to dangerous and she was ordered to search for German supply ships south of the Azores / west of the Canary Islands. Intially she was ordered to proceed to position 25°30'N, 42°00'W but she never got further West then 26°00'W.

The Arundel Castle arrived at Avonmouth on 1 June, HMS Harvester and HMS Havelock having arrived at Belfast on 30 May after having been detached.

HMS London arrived at Bathurst to fuel on 31 May. She had also been near convoy SL 75 briefly to provide cover for this convoy. (9)

31 May 1941
After fuelling, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), departed Bathurst for patrol to intercept German supply vessels. It had originally been intended that she would join convoy SL 76 but this did not materialise. (14)

3 Jun 1941
Around 1000Z/3, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) made rendezvous in approximate position 08°30'N, 30°15'W.

In the evening HMS Brilliant fuelled from HMS London. (15)

4 Jun 1941
In the early afternoon HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) intercepted the German tanker Esso Hamburg (9848 GRT, built 1939) in the mid-Atlantic in position 07°35'N, 31°25'W. However before the German ship can be captured she is scuttled by her crew of 87 officers and men which is subsequently picked up can taken prisoner by the British. (15)

5 Jun 1941
Around mid-morning, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), intercepted the German tanker Egerland (10040 GRT, built 1940) in the mid-Atlantic in approximate position 07°15'N, 30°40'W. However before the German ship can be captured she is scuttled by her crew of 94 officers and men which is subsequently picked up can taken prisoner by the British. (15)

6 Jun 1941
In the evening HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) fuelled from HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). (15)

10 Jun 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) arrived at Freetown from patrol. The German prisoners were then landed. (15)

13 Jun 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Freetown for patrol in the mid-Atlantic to continue the hunt for German supply vessels. (16)

15 Jun 1941
Around 1330ZO(+0.5)/15, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Highlander (Cdr. S. Boucher, RN) made rendezvous in approximate position 08°30'N, 30°15'W. (15)

16 Jun 1941
In the evening, HMS Highlander (Cdr. S. Boucher, RN), fuelled from HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). (15)

17 Jun 1941
Around 2230ZO(+0.5)/17, HMS Highlander (Cdr. S. Boucher, RN) parted company with HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). HMS London continued to patrol in the South Atlantic while HMS Highlander proceeded to Freetown. (15)

21 Jun 1941
In the morning the German blockade breaker Babitonga (4422 GRT, built 1922) was located by HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) in the South Atlantic about 930 nautical miles south-west of Freetown in position 02°05'S, 27°42'W. The Babitonga was en route from Santos, Brazil to France and was scuttled by her crew before she could be captured by the British. The crew of 46(?) was then taken prisoner.

26 Jun 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) is ordered to return to Freetown. (17)

28 Jun 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Freetown from patrol. (15)

6 Jul 1941
Around 1800N/6, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Freetown to arrive at Gibraltar at 0900B/12. (18)

12 Jul 1941
Around 2000A/12, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (19)

18 Jul 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Gibraltar for Scapa Flow. She is ordered to return from detached service due to the acute shortage of cruisers in home waters. (20)

22 Jul 1941
Around 0230B/22, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) was ordered to turn south as the Admiralty feared that the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst might break out into the Atlantic. Early in the afternoon, HMS London was ordered to resume her passage to Scapa Flow.

The next day the enemy battlecruiser was seen to be at La Pallice. (20)

23 Jul 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Gibraltar. (21)

28 Jul 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted torpedo firing and underway refuelling exercises (with an RFA tanker) at Scapa Flow. (19)

30 Jul 1941
HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, RN) conducted exercises to the west of Scapa Flow. During these exercises she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) and HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN).

Also participating in the exercises was HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). (22)

31 Jul 1941
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. G. Quint, RNN(R)) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN).

On completion of the exercises HMS London and HrMs Isaac Sweers both set course to proceed to Greenock, but apparently not in company with each other. (23)

1 Aug 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Greenock. (24)

2 Aug 1941

Convoy WS 10

This convoy assembled in the Clyde area on 2 August 1941 destined for the middle east area.

The convoy was made up of the following troop transports; Andes (25689 GRT, built 1939), Britannic (26943 GRT, built 1930), Cameronia (16297 GRT, built 1920), Highland Monarch (14139 GRT, built 1928), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Nea Hellas (16991 GRT, built 1922), Orcades (23456 GRT, built 1937), Rangitiki (16698 GRT, built 1928), Reina del Pacifico (17702 GRT, built 1931), Stirling Castle (25550 GRT, built 1936), Strathallan (23722 GRT, built 1938), Volendam (Dutch, 15434 GRT, built 1922), Warwick Castle (20107 GRT, built 1930), Windsor Castle (19141 GRT, built 1922) and the following transports; Diomed (10374 GRT, built 1922), Indian Prince (8587 GRT, built 1926), Manchester Port (7071 GRT, built 1935), Nigerstroom (Dutch, 4639 GRT, built 1939) and Phemius (7406 GRT, built 1921),

Escort was initially provided by the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) (2 – 10 August), armed merchant cruiser HMS Worcestershire (A/Capt.(Retd.) E.H. Hopkinson, RN) (2 – 6 August), the light cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. I.R.H. Black, RN) (2 – 5 August), the destroyers HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, OBE, DSC, RN) (2 – 5 August), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Holmes, RN) (2 – 5 August), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN) (2 – 5 August), HMS Broadway (Lt.Cdr. T. Taylor, RN) (2 – 6 August), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) (2 – 6 August), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) (2 – 6 August), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN) (2 – 6 August), HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN) (2 – 6 August), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) (2 – 6 August) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) (2 August – 17 August).

On 5 August, around 2200 hours, HMS Cairo, HMS Winchelsea, HMS Witch and HMS Whitehall parted company with the convoy.

On 6 August, around 2300 hours, HMS Worcestershire, HMS Broadway, HMS Gurkha, HMS Lance, HMS Legion, HrMs Isaac Sweers and ORP Piorun parted company with the convoy. Shorty afterwards the troopships Warwick Castle and Windsor Castle collided. Due to this the Warwick Castle was detached and was escorted to Halifax, Nova Scotia by HMS Worcestershire. Windsor Castle dropped astern and was brought back to the convoy the next day by HMS Jupiter who had been despached to search for her.Jupiter

Very early on the 9th HMS Jupiter was detached to fuel at Ponta Delgada, Azores. HMS Jupiter re-joined the convoy around 0700 on the 10th.

Around noon on 10 August, HMS London, was relieved by the light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, RN) which had departed Gibraltar on the 8th. HMS Edinburgh remained with the convoy until it reached Freetown on the 17th.

When approaching Freetown A/S escorts joined the convoy. On 14 August 1941 two destroyers and a corvette joined, these were; HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Wrestler (Lt. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Bergamot (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.P. Chapman, RNR). The next day the corvette HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) also joined.

On 21 August 1941 the convoy departed Freetown for South Africa. Escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Edinburgh until 2 September 1941, when part of the convoy (Troopships Britannic, Indrapoera, Reina Del Pacifico, Striling Castle, Strathallan, Volendam, Windsor Castle and the transports Nigerstroom and Phemius) arrived at Capetown. HMS Edinburgh then went to Simonstown. On departure from Freetown A/S escort was provided until dawn on the 24th by the destroyer HMS Jupiter and the corvettes HMS Anchusa (Lt. J.E.L. Peters, RNR), HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Crocus (Lt.Cdr. E. Wheeler, RNR) and HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR). The corvettes then returned to Freetown while HMS Jupiter proceed to St. Helena.

The light cruiser HMS Hawkins (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN) then took over the remainer of the convoy and took these towards Durban were they arrived on 5 September 1941. These were the troopships Andes, Cameronia, Highland Monarch, Nea Hellas, Rangitiki and the transports Diomed, Indian Price and Manchester Port.

On 6 September 1941 the part of the convoy (minus Reina del Pacifico) that had entered Capetown on 2 September departed from Capetown escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carnarvon Castle (Capt.(Retd.) H.N.M. Hardy, DSO, RN). On 8 September the Britannic split off and proceeded to Durban to embark troops that had been on the Cameronia. Britannic rejoined the next day escorted by Hawkins. The troop transport Aronda (9031 GRT, built 1941) was also with them and joined the convoy. After these ships had joined HMS Carnavon Castle then split off with the Indrapoera, Volendam, Nigerstroom and Phemius and took these ships to Durban.

The convoy (by now called WS 10B), now made up of the troopships Aronda, Britannic, Stirling Castle, Strathallan and Windsor Castle, and escorted by HMS Hawkins proceeded to Bombay where it arrived on 20 September 1941. En-route, in position 03.25’S, 51.12’E and on September 13th, HMS Hawkins had been relieved by the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN).

[Other ships that had been part of convoy WS 10 later proceeded to their destinations in other convoys.]

9 Aug 1941
A commercial aircraft reported sighting a suspicious merchant vessel in position 46°37'N, 09°22'W.

Following this report the destroyer HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN), which had been detached from convoy HG 34 on the 8th, was ordered to investigate.

Also the light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN) departed Gibraltar around 2330/9 to intercepted this reported merchant vessel.

Then on the 10th, the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), detached from convoy WS 10, also proceeded to try to intercept the reported merchant vessel.

No contact was howefver made by these warships and on the 11th, HMS Hermione was ordered to return to Gibraltar, arriving around 0630/13.

18 Aug 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow after convoy escort and patrol duties in the North Atlantic. (24)

19 Aug 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Scapa Flow for boiler cleaning in the Clyde. (24)

20 Aug 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Greenock from Scapa Flow. (24)

26 Aug 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. (24)

27 Aug 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Greenock. (24)

30 Aug 1941
In the afternoon, HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

HMS Kenya returned to Scapa Flow on completion of the exercises.

HMS Euryalus remained out and conducted night encounter exercises with HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). On completion of these exercises HMS Euryalus returned to Scapa Flow while HMS London set course for Akureyi, Iceland. (25)

1 Sep 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Akureyi. She departed for Hvalfjord later the same day. (26)

2 Sep 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord. (26)

9 Sep 1941
Around 0315Z/9, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), departed Hvalfjord to proceed to the aid of the damaged HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) which had hit a mine off Northern Norway. She was however later given orders to return to Hvalfjord but even later she was ordered to patrol in the Denmark Stait. (27)

12 Sep 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) returned to Hvalfjord from patrol. (26)

14 Sep 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow. (26)

16 Sep 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (26)

22 Sep 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Archangelsk with an Anglo American deligation of 38 persons on board. (26)

26 Sep 1941
Around 0800B/26, the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) made rendezvous with the destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) in position 73°35'N, 34°30'E. They then proceeded in company towards Archangelsk. (28)

27 Sep 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) arrived at off the Dvina light vessel. The delegation was then put on board the Russian destroyer Sokrushitelny for passage up river. (26)

28 Sep 1941

Convoy QP 1.

This convoy departed Archangelsk on 28 September 1941 and was dispersed off the Orkney Islands on 10 October 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alchiba (Dutch, 4427 GRT, built 1920), Alma Ata (Russian, 3611 GRT, built 1920), Budenni (Russian, 2482 GRT, built 1923), Esneh (British, 1931 GRT, built 1919), Lancastrian Prince (British, 1914 GRT, built 1940), Llanstephan Castle (British, 11340 GRT, built 1914), Mossovet (British, 2981 GRT, built 1935), New Westminster City (British, 4747 GRT, built 1929), Rodina (British, 4441 GRT, built 1922), Sevzaples (British, 3974 GRT, built 1932), Stary Bolshevik (Russian, 3974 GRT, built 1933), Sukhona (Russian, 3124 GRT, built 1918) and Trehata (British, 4817 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Northern Russia the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN), mineseepers HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, MVO, DSO, RN), HMS Halcyon (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H. Harding, RNR), HMS Salamander (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Cooke, RN), M/S trawlers HMS Hamlet (T/Lt. H.H. Bolton, RNVR), HMS Macbeth (T/Lt. R.M. Thorne, RNR) and HMS Ophelia (T/Lt. S. Bennett, RNVR).

Around 1300C/30, HMS Harrier, HMS Halcyon and HMS Salamander parted company.

Around 1425C/2, HMS London parted company with the convoy and the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) joined the convoy. HMS London then set course to return to Archangelsk where she was to re-embark the Anglo-American delegation she had disembarked there on 27 September.

Around 2300A/4, the RFA tanker Black Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) escorted by the destroyer HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN) joined the convoy having parted company with eastbound convoy PQ 1.

In the morning of 5 October, HMS Active fuelled from the Black Ranger.

In the late afternoon of 5 October, HMS Anthony fuelled from HMS London.

At 1800A/7, HMS Active took the M/S trawler HMS Ophelia in tow as her engine had broken down. Course was set for Seidisfjord but this was later changed for Akureyi where they arrived on 10 October.

HMS Shorpshire parted company with the convoy around 1900A/10 to proceed to Scapa Flow where she arrived around 0015A/11.

The convoy was dispersed off Dunnet Head around 0830A/11 and most ships joined a coastal convoy.

Meanwhile HMS Anthony had parted company with the convoy with the Black Ranger and the Llanstephan Castle. They arrived at Scapa Flow around 0900A/11.

HMS Electra arrived at Scapa Flow around 1030A/11.

(29)

3 Oct 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) returned to the mouth of the Dvina River after convoy escort duty. (30)

4 Oct 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) embarked the members of the Anglo-American mission she had disembarked on 27 September. She then left for Scapa Flow. (30)

9 Oct 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. The members of the Anglo-American mission were then transferred to HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN) which then landed them at Scrabster for onward passage to London. (30)

13 Oct 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted D/F calibration trials at Scapa Flow. (31)

15 Oct 1941
In the morning HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS P 35 (Lt. S.L.C. Maydon, RN).

In the late afternoon, HMS London conducted a bombardment exercises with the 8" main battery. (31)

17 Oct 1941
In the evening, HMS Malaya (Capt. C. Coppinger, DSC, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) conducted exercises off the Orkneys. (32)

20 Oct 1941
While anchored at Scapa Flow during a gale both HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) and HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) dragged their anchors. Tugs came to their assistance. (33)

25 Oct 1941
Around 0230A/25, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Scapa Flow for North Shields, Tyne. HMS London was to refit at the Palmers Shipyard at Hebburn-on-Tyne.

Around 1030A/25, the destroyer HMS Valorous (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, RN) and the training vessel HMS Lairds Isle (Cdr. J. Lunnon, RD, RNR) joined company.

Around 1540A/25, HMS Lairds Isle parted company.

Around 1600A/25, HMS London entered the Tyne. (31)

30 Oct 1941
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) proceeded from North Shields to the Palmers Shipyard at Hebburn-on-Tyne. (31)

14 Nov 1941
During her refit, HMS London (Cdr. W.K. Edden, RN) is docked at Hebburn. (34)

12 Jan 1942
HMS London (Cdr. W.K. Edden, RN) is undocked. (35)

27 Jan 1942
With her refit completed, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), conducted D/G trials off North Shields. (35)

31 Jan 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed North Shields for Scapa Flow. (35)

1 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow to commence a post-refit work-up programme. (35)

4 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted D/G and compass swing trials at Scapa Flow. (36)

5 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (36)

6 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (36)

9 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. These were followed by A/S exercises with HNoMS Uredd (Lt. R.Q. Røren). (36)

10 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

14 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted gunnery exercises and speed trials off Scapa Flow. (36)

15 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted RDF and HA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

17 Feb 1942
Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN, struck his flag at Rosyth in HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN). He hoisted it at Scapa Flow, later the same day, in HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). (37)

18 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

20 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HNoMS Uredd (Lt. R.Q. Røren).

On ompletion of these HMS London made several runs over the D/G range. (36)

24 Feb 1942
At Scapa Flow, at Colours, Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN, struck his flag in HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and immediately afterwards Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, hoisted his flag. (38)

25 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, Iceland. (38)

27 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord, Iceland from Scapa Flow. (38)

28 Feb 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Hvalfjord to relieve HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN) on the Denmark Strait patrol. (38)

1 Mar 1942

Convoys PQ 12 and QP 8.

Convoy PQ 12 from Iceland to Northern Russia and Convoy QP 8 from Northern Russia to Iceland.

On 1 March 1942 convoy PQ 12 departed Reykjavik for ports in Northern Russia.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Artigas (Panamanian, 5613 GRT, built 1920), Bateau (Panamanian, 4687 GRT, built 1926), Beaconstreet (British (tanker), 7467 GRT, built 1927), Belomorcanal (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Capulin (Panamanian, 4977 GRT, built 1920), Dneprostroi (Russian, 4756 GRT, built 1919), Earlston (British, 7195 GRT, built 1941), El Coston (Panamanian, 7286 GRT, built 1924), El Occidente (Panamanian, 6008 GRT, built 1910), Empire Byron (British, 6645 GRT, built 1941), Lancaster Castle (British, 5172 GRT, built 1937), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Navarino (British, 4841 GRT, built 1937), Sevzaples (Russian, 3974 GRT, built 1932), Stone Street (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922) and Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940).

Close escort on departure from Reykjavik was provided by the A/S trawlers HMS Angle (T/Lt. E. Playne, RNVR), Chiltern (Ch.Skr.(Retd.) B. Bevans, RNR), HMS Notts County (T/Lt. R.H. Hampton, RNR) and HMS Stella Capella (Lt. W.L. Sadgrove, RANVR). These trawlers parted company with the convoy early on 5 March. the minesweeper HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN) and the A/S whaler Sulla (T/Skr. T. Meadows, RNR) were to join the convoy coming from Reykjavik as well as the destroyers HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) and the A/S whalers HMS Shera (T/Lt. W.E. Bulmer, RNR), Shusa (S.Lt. J.B. Powell, RNR), Stefa (T/Lt. T. Costley, RNVR) and Svega (T/Lt. F.P. Maitland, RNVR) which came from Seidisfjord.

Of the whalers Sulla later had to turn back.Shusa and Stefa were able to join the convoy while Svega made the passage to Murmansk independently with Shera until that ship sank on 9 March, presumably as a result of stability problems as she suddenly capsized. The Svega was able to pick up three survivors from the freezing water.

HMS Offa and HMS Oribi joined the convoy early on the 5th 100 miles south of Jan Mayen Island while HMS Gossamer could not find the convoy and proceeded to Murmansk independently.

The light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN) also joined on the 5th. She had departed Hvalfiord with the cover force at 0600/3. She parted company again on the 6th. She was however ordered to rejoin the convoy and she did so in the evening of the 6th.

The same evening the escorts were informed that a German heavy ship, thought to be the Tirpitz had left Trondheim and was proceeding northwards. The same evening the convoy encountered ice and course had to be changed from north-east to south-east. One of the merchant ships, the Bateau and the whaler Sulla had to turn back. The destroyer HMS Oribi sustained ice damage.

On the 7th the convoy was able to resume its original course. At noon on the 7th it passed convoy QP 8 in position 72°09'N, 10°34'E, some 200 miles south-west of Bear Island.

Around 1400/7, HMS Kenya sighted smoke on the horizon to the northward so she set off to investigate. Visibility was now at the maximum. It soon became apparent that it was a staggler from convoy QP 8 so Kenya then rejoined convoy PQ 12 at 1515/7.

Then around 1600/7 HMS Kenya received Admiralty signal 1519A/7 stating that enemy surface forces might be nearby. The convoy was ordered to steer north so at 1640/7 course was altered to 360°. Shortly afterwards a signal timed 1632/7 was received from the Russian merchant vessel Izhora, a staggler from convoy QP 8, that she was being gunned by an enemy warship in position 72°35'N, 10°50'E although the position was doubtful and the signal was garbled. It was thought this was the merchant vessel we sighted a few hours earlier. This ship was now thought to be 35 to 40 miles to the eastward of convoy PQ 12 and its northerly course might drive the convoy straight into the arms of the enemy.

Capt. Denny then decided to change course to 60°. Kenya's Walrus aircraft was launched at 1720/7 to search between 270° and 210°. The Walrus returned soon after 1800/7 having sighted nothing after searching to a depth of 45 miles. Course was therefore altered to 040° to bring the convoy closer to its original track.

No more news was heard from the Izhora or the enemy but soon after midnight another signal from the Admiralty was received telling the convoy to steer north of Bear Island, if ice permitted, a very considerable diversion from the original route. At daylight therefore the convoy altered further to the northward. Capt. Denny warning the convoy Commodore not to take the destroyers through the ice. The weather and information about the icefield, soon determined Capt. Denny and the convoy Commodore to disregard the Admiralty signal and they altered course to the south-east a little after mid-day, intending to cross the miridian of Bear Island to the southward after dark that evening. About 1530/8, between snowstorms, they sighted the island 40 miles off to the north-east, and the icefield at the same time. At dusk, 1700/8, they ran into the fringe of the ice.

it took the convoy three hours to work clear and reform, whereupon, to avoid further damage to HMS Oribi, Captain Denny detached her to make her own way to Murmansk, which she reached on March 10th.

The convoy went on, keeping as far north as the ice allowed. On the 9th, HMS Offa detected a patrolling aircraft by her radar, but thick and persistent sea smoke rising many feet into the air, combined with a change of course for two hours, prevented discovery, while intercepted signals showed that the Tirpitz was no longer likely to be a threat, for which she had been attacked off the Lofoten Islands by aircraft from HMS Victorious.

The convoy arrived at Murmansk on 12 March 1942.

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On 1 March 1942 convoy QP 8 departed Murmansk for Iceland.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), British Pride (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), British Workman (British (tanker), 6994 GRT, built 1922), Cold Harbor (Panamanian, 5105 GRT, built 1921), El Lago (Panamanian, 4219 GRT, built 1920), Elona (British (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1936), Empire Selwyn (British, 7167 GRT, built 1941), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Fridrikh Engels (Russian, 3972 GRT, built 1930), Izhora (Russian, 2815 GRT, built 1921), Larranga (American, 3892 GRT, built 1917), Noreg (Norwegian (tanker), 7605 GRT, built 1931), Revolutsioner (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Tbilisi (Russian, 7169 GRT, built 1912) and West Nohno (American, 6186 GRT, built 1919).

Close escort on departure from Murmansk was provided by the destroyers Gremyashchiy, Gromkiy, corvettes HMS Oxlip (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR), HMS Sweetbriar (Lt.(Retd.) J.W. Cooper, RNR) and the HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO, RN), HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN), HMS Salamander (Lt. W.R. Muttram, RN) and HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN).

The two Soviet destroyers, HMS Harrier and HMS Sharpshooter parted company with the convoy on 3 March. The other escorts remained with the convoy until it arrived in Iceland.

Close cover for the convoy was provided from 3 to 7 March by the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN) which had departed the Kola Inlet on 2 March and arrived at Scapa Flow on 8 March.

On 4 March the convoy scattered due to the bad weather conditions but was later reformed. On 9 March the convoy was disbanded after wich most ships arrived in Icelandic ports on 11 March 1942 minus a staggler from the convoy, the Soviet Izhora, which had been found and sunk around 1630/7 by the German destroyer Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn.

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Distant cover for these convoys was provided by battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, second in command Home Fleet), light cruiser HMS Kenya and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN). These ships had departed Hvalfjord, Iceland at 0600/3.

At 0600/4 the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A. de W. Kitcat, RN) departed Scapa Flow.

At 0700/4, the destoyers HMS Faulknor and HMS Eskimo were detached from the Renown group to refuel at Seidisfjord.

At 1600/4, HMS Berwick was detached from the King George V'-group to return to Scapa wscorted by HMS Bedouin. She had developed engine trouble. The cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) was ordered to take over her place after refuelling at Seidisfjord.

At 2300/4, HMS Kenya was detached from the Renown group to provide close cover for convoy PQ 12. Around the same time HMS Bedouin was ordered to part company with HMS Berwick and go to the aid of HMS Sheffield which had been mined near the Seidisfjord. HMS Faulknor and HMS Eskimo were also ordered to assist the damaged cruiser.

At 1200/5 the 'Renown'-group was in position 66°45'N, 06°30'W steering a northerly course. This was about 100 miles south of convoy PQ 12.

At the same time the 'King George V'-group was about 100 miles bearing 154° from the 'Renown'-group and was also steering a northerly course.

At 1900/5 HMS Kenya joined the close escort of convoy PQ 12.

At 2000/5, the 'Renown'-group altered course easterly to affect a rendezvous with the 'King George V'-group the next morning. Admiral Tovey had decided to concentrate his forces.

At 1030/6, both groups made rendezvous in position 71°00'N, 04°30'E amd the two forces joined together. They continued to steer a northerly course. The entire force was now made up of the battleships HMS King George V, HMS Duke of York, battlecruiser HMS Renown, aircraft carrier HMS Victorious and the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Lookout, HMS Ashanti, HMS Punjabi, HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Fury, HMS Echo and HMS Elcipse.

At 1100/6, the German battleship Tirpitz escorted by the destroyers Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann, Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn and Z 25 departed Trondheim and steered north to intercept a convoy (PQ 12) reported by Focke Wulf reconnaissance aircraft.

At 1400/6, the Home Fleet altered course to the south.

In a signal timed 1801/6 the submarine HMS Seawolf (Lt. R.P. Raikes, RN) reported sighting the Tirpitz off Kya. At 0010/7, Admiral Tovey received the news of Seawolf's sighting. Tovey now knew that Tirpitz was out but he was unsure if the German battleships was out to attack the convoy or to break out into the Atlantic. It had been intended to fly off search aircraft from HMS Victorious but the weather conditions prevented any flying from taking place.

At 1750/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the east and the destroyers HMS Icarus and HMS Intrepid detached to refuel in Iceland.

At 2000/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the north. At the same time the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Ashanti, HMS Punjabi, HMS Fury, HMS Echo and HMS Eclipse were detached to sweep north between the Home Fleet and the Lofoten Islands along what Admiral Tovey thought to be the enemy’s most likely route to return to Trondheim. After this sweep the destroyers were to proceed to Seidisfjord to refuel. Apparently only HMS Lookout remained with the Fleet.

At 2400/7, the Home Fleet altered course to the south so that the Fleet could be in position off the Lofoten Islands to launch a strike force at dawn in case the Tirpitz would be sighted by the destroyers. At 0400/8 Admiral Tovey concluded that he had missed the German battleships and since he was without destroyers except for HMS Lookout and in submarine infected waters, he turned south-west towards Iceland to collect some destroyers that had already refuelled.

At 1820/8 the Home Fleet altered course to the north-east despite that no destroyer had joined so far. Admiral Tovey then broke radio silence sending a signal to the Admiralty requesting destroyers to be sent out and refuelling facilities at sea for his destroyers. The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Iceland with orders to rendezvous with the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) coming from the Denmark patrol and the light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) and HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) departed Scapa Flow on 7 March. These cruisers were ordered to refuel destroyers at sea.

The heavy cruisers apparently did not fuel any destroyers. The light cruisers fuelled HMS Punjabi and HMS Fury on the 9th. HMS Echo was unable to fuel from them due to the bad weather conditions. She went to Seidisfjord to fuel as did HMS Onslow HMS Ashanti and HMS Eclipse.

Around 2000/8 the Tirpitz, having been unable to find the convoy, set course to return to Trondheim.

At 0240/9, the Admiralty informed Admiral Tovey that the Tirpitz was heading south so the Home Fleet altered course to the south-east to close the Lofoten Islands.

At 0640/9, Admiral Tovey ordered HMS Victorious to fly off a reconnaissance force of 6 Albacores on a diverging search between 105° and 155° to a depth of 150 miles to search for the German battleship.

At 0730/9, a strike force of 12 torpedo-carrying Albacores were flown off.

At 0802/9, one of the reconnaissance aircraft the Tirpitz and a destroyer (Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn) sailing south and made a report. Shortly after being sighted the Germans however altered course towards the Vestfjord and Narvik.

At 0917/9, the Tirpitz was attacked by the strike force. No hits were obtained though one torpedo only missed the battleships stern by 30 feet. Two of the attacking Albacores were shot down by AA fire.

At 0940/9, the Home Fleet turned west and then south-west.

At 1545/9, the Home Fleet was attacked by 3 Ju-88 bombers, one bomb landed close astern of HMS Victorious but no damaged was caused.

At 1620/9, The Tirpitz and Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn arrived at Narvik.

At 1840/9 the destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo and HMS Tartar (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) joined the Home Fleet coming from Iceland. The Home Fleet now set course to return to Scapa Flow.

Around 0800/10 the destroyers HMS Javelin (Cdr. G.E. Fardell, RN), HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and the escorted destroyers HMS Grove (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Rylands, RN) and HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) joined coming from Iceland.

Around 0920/10 the destroyers Verdun (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN), HMS Woolston (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN), HMS Lancaster (A/Cdr. N.H. Whatley, RN) and HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN) joined after they had fuelled at Scapa Flow coming from Rosyth (first two) and Port ZA (last two) respetively.

Around 1200/10 the destroyers HMS Intrepid and HMS Icarus joined.

Around 2300/10 the Home Fleet arrived at Scapa Flow. Shortly before arriving the destroyers HMS Verdun and HMS Woolston were detached to return to Rosyth and HMS Lancaster and HMS Wells were detached to return to Port ZA.

HMS Liverpool, HMS Trinidad, HMS Punjabi and HMS Fury arrived at Scapa Flow at 0930/11. (39)

7 Mar 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) returned to Hvalfjord from the Denmark Strait patrol. (40)

8 Mar 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Hvalfjord for operations in the Norwegian Sea. [See also the event ' Convoys PQ 12 and QP 8 ' for 1 March 1942.] (40)

9 Mar 1942
Around 1650A/9, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) made rendezvous in approximate position 70°03'N, 00°30'W. They remained in this general area where they were to make rendezvous with destroyers which they were to refuel for a while but no destroyer were sighted though and course was set towards Hvalfjord around 2100A/9. (41)

11 Mar 1942
Around 1340Z/11, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord. (41)

18 Mar 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Hvalfjord to relieve HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) on the Denmark Strait patrol. (42)

25 Mar 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) returned to Hvalfjord from the Denmark Strait patrol. (42)

30 Mar 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Hvalfjord to relieve HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) on the Denmark Strait patrol. (42)

6 Apr 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) returned to Hvalfjord from the Denmark Strait patrol. (43)

11 Apr 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Hvalfjord to relieve HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) on the Denmark Strait patrol. (43)

18 Apr 1942
Around 2000Z/18, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), returned to Hvalfjord from the Denmark Strait patrol and convoy cover operations respectively.

They had made rendezvous around 1300Z/18. En-route to Hvalfjord exercises had been carried out. (43)

19 Apr 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow. (44)

21 Apr 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (44)

26 Apr 1942

Convoys PQ 15 and QP 11 and the sinking of HMS Edinburgh and HMS Punjabi.

Convoy PQ 15 from Iceland to Northern Russia and Convoy QP 11 from Northern Russia to Iceland. Also includes an account on the sinking of HMS Edinburgh and HMS Punjabi.

On 26 April 1942 convoy PQ 15 departed Reykjavik for Murmansk where it arrived on 5 May 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alcoa Cadet (American, 4823 GRT, built 1919), Alcoa Rambler (American, 5500 GRT, built 1919), Bayou Chico (American, 5401 GRT, built 1920), Botavon (British, 5858 GRT, built 1912), Cape Corso (British, 3807 GRT, built 1929), Cape Race (British, 3807 GRT, built 1930), Capira (Panamanian, 5625 GRT, built 1920), Deer Lodge (American, 6187 GRT, built 1919), Empire Bard (British, 3114 GRT, built 1942), Empire Morn (British, CAM ship, 7092 GRT, built 1941), Expositor (American, 4959 GRT, built 1919), Francis Scott Key (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Hegira (American, 7588 GRT, built 1919), Jutland (British, 6153 GRT, built 1928), Lancaster (American, 7516 GRT, built 1918), Mormacrey (American, 5946 GRT, built 1919), Mormacrio (American, 5940 GRT, built 1919), Paul Luckenbach (American, 6606 GRT, built 1913), Seattle Spirit (American, 5627 GRT, built 1919), Southgate (British, 4862 GRT, built 1926), Texas (American, 5638 GRT, built 1919) and Zebulon B. Vance (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942).

Two icebrakers were also part of the convoy, these were the Krassin (Russian, 4902 GRT, built 1917) and Montcalm (Canadian, 1432 GRT, built 1904, to be transferred to the Russians)

The RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) tanker Grey Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941) was also with the convoy.

On departure from Reykjavik the convoy was escorted by the minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. J.H.F. Crombie, RN), HMS Leda (Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, DSC, RN), HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Cape Palliser (Lt. B.T. Wortley, RNR), HMS Northern Pride (T/Lt. A.R. Cornish, RNR), HMS Vizalma (T/Lt. J.R. Anglebeck, RNVR) and the A/P trawler Chiltern (Ch.Skr.(ret) P. Bevans, RNR).

Around 0300Z/28, ' Force Q ' a refuelling force for the convoy escorts, made up of the RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) tanker Grey Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941) departed Seidisfiord with her escort, the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN). With them were the AA ship HMS Ulster Queen (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN) and the submarine HMS Sturgeon (Lt.Cdr. M.R.G. Wingfield, RN). They joined the convoy during the night of 28/29 April.

Around 0500Z/29, A close cover force made up of the light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Steward, RN), HNoMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr. S.V. Storheill, RNorN) and the escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN) departed Seidisfiord to join the convoy which they did early on 30 April.

The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) also joined the convoy (close cover force), she had departed Scapa Flow around 1645B/28.

around 0635B/1, the submarine HMS Sturgeon parted company with the convoy to take up a patrol position in the Artic Sea. ' Force Q ', the refuelling force made up of the tanker Grey Ranger and escort destroyer HMS Ledbury also parted company with the convoy on 1 May.

Around 2220B/1, Six German Ju.88 torpedo bombers attacked the convoy but no hits were obtained. One of the attackers was shot down by AA fire.

During the night of 1/2 May, HMS London was detached to provide close cover for convoy QP 11.'

At 1000B/2, HMS Nigeria also parted company with the convoy to join convoy QP 11. The Admiralty had decided that there was no need for the cruisers to proceed further to the east as the enemy destroyers operating in Northern Norway had been sunk or damaged in action with the cover force of convoy QP 11 (see below).

At 2009B/2, HNoMS St. Albans and HMS Seagull attacked an A/S contact with depth charges in position 73°01'N, 17°32'E. The submarine was forced to the surface but turned out to be the Polish submarine ORP Jastrzab (Lt.Cdr. B. Romanowski). She was way out of position and in waters where German submarines were expected to be operating. No blame could possibly be taacked to HNoMS St. Albans and HMS Seagull. Five of the crew of the Polish submarine died while the others were picked up.

At 0120B/3, the convoy was again attacked by enemy torpedo bombers. Visibility was bad and the enemy planes were not sighted until it was too late. Also radar had not picked them up. The succeeded in sinking two merchant vessels, the Botavon (the ship of the Convoy Commodore) and the Cape Corso. A third merchant vessel, the Jutland was damaged and was abandoned by her crew. The drifting ship was shortly afterwards torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-251.

At 2230C/3, a final German air attack took place while the convoy was in position 73°00'N, 31°15'E. A bomb near missed the A/S trawler HMS Cape Palliser which sustained some slight damage. One German Ju.88 aircraft was shot down. Visibility deteriorated in the evening of the 4th and a south-easterly gale sprang up bringing heavy snow. This provided the convoy with excellent cover for the remainder of the passage. The convoy arrived in the Kola Inlet around 2100C/5.

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On 28 April 1942 convoy QP 11 departed Murmansk for Reykjavik where it arrived on 7 May 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Atheltemplar (British (tanker), 8992 GRT, built 1930), Ballot (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922), Briarwood (British, 4019 GRT, built 1930), Dan-Y-Bryn (British, 5117 GRT, built 1940), Dunboyne (American, 3515 GRT, built 1919), El Estero (Panamanian, 4219 GRT, built 1920), Eldena (American, 6900 GRT, built 1919), Gallant Fox (Panamanian, 5473 GRT, built 1918), Mormacmar (American, 5453 GRT, built 1920), Stone Street (Panamanian, 6131 GRT, built 1922), Trehata (British, 4817 GRT, built 1928), Tsiolkovsky (Russian, 2847 GRT, built 1935) and West Cheswald (American, 5711 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Murmansk the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Roper, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, OBE, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Huddart, RN), HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN), corvettes HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. W. Hine, RNR), HMS Oxlip (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR), HMS Saxifage (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.P. Chapman, RNR), HMS Snowflake (Lt. H.G. Chesterman, RNR) and the A/S trawlers HMS Lord Middleton (T/Lt. R.H. Jameson, RNR) and HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR). Cover was provided by the light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN).

Besides these ships there was a local escort by the Russian destroyers Sokrushitelny and Gremyashchiy until at least 30°E and by the minesweepers HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN), HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO, RN), HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSC, RN) and HMS Niger (Cdr.(ret.) A.J. Cubison, DSC and Bar, RN) until the evening of the 29th.

The convoy was sighted and reported by enemy aircraft and submarines on the 29th, but no attacks took place that day. The following afternoon (30 September), however, HMS Edinburgh, then zigzagging at high speed some 15 nautical miles ahead of the convoy, in approximate position 73°09'N, 32°45'E, was struck by two torpedoes from the German submarine U-456. Her stern was blown off and her steering gear was wrecked. She was able to steam at slow speed on two shafts. The explosion was seen from the convoy and the destroyers HMS Foresight and HMS Forester were detached to her assistance, followed shortly afterwards by the two Russian destroyers. Escorted by these destroyers HMS Edinburgh started in the 250 nautical mile return passage to Murmansk.

The presence of the destroyers prevented U-456 from finishing the cruiser off. She continued to shadown and report the Edinburgh's movements. These reported tempted the German Flag Officer, Northern Waters to sent three destroyers from Kirkenes to attack convoy QP 11 with its depleted escort and the destroyers Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann, Z 24 and Z 25 put to sea and steered to the north.

Convoy QP 11, meanwhile, continued its passage. At 0540/1, being then about 150 miles to the east-south-east of Bear Island it was unsuccesfully attacked by four torpedo aircraft. At the same time an enemy submarine was sighted and forced to dive by HMS Amazon. Frequent HF/DF bearings indicated that four enemy submarines were keeping pace with the convoy on different bearings, and at 0820/1, course was altered 40° to starboard (to 320°) in an endeavour to shake them off. Then ice was sighted in large quantities ahead. This was found to extend some 20 miles to the southward of the route, and course was again altered to the westward.

The forenoon passed without incident. The weather was moderate, wind north-north-east, force 3. Frequent snow squalls caused the visibility to vary between ten and two miles.

At 1345/1, the convoy was in course 275°, skirting heavy drift ice to starboard, when HMS Snowflake reported three radar contacts bearing 185°. At the some moment, HMS Beverley, screening on the port bow, reported enemy in sight, bearing 210°. The enemy proved to be three large destroyers. In the course of the next four hours they made five separate attempts to reach the convoy, each of which wass foiled by the aggressive tactics of the escorting destroyers desipite their great inferiority in gun power to the Germans.

On receipt of the Beverley's sighting report, Commander Richmond who was on the starboard bow of the convoy, moved across to the threatened flank and ordered the destroyers to concentrate on him. The convoy (with the corvettes and trawlers) at once carried out an emergency turn of 40° to starboard, the destroyers making smoke to cover it.

At 1400/1, HMS Bulldog turned towards the enemy on a south-westerly course, with the destroyers in line ahead in the order HMS Beagle, HMS Amazon and HMS Beverley. The Germans were at this time in line of bearing formation, about 10000 yards distant, heading towards the convoy. At 1407/1, both sides opened fire, the Germans turning together to starboard to open 'A' arcs, and the British destroyers to port to a similar course. Both sides fired torpedoes but none of them found its mark, but a track was seen to pass close astern of HMS Bulldog. After three minutes (1410/1), the Germans turned away asnd the British destroyers returned towards the convoy, making smoke. In this brief engagement HMS Amazon was hit. Her steering gear, telegraphs and one gun being put out of action, but she managed to keep control and was stationed at the rear of the line.

A quarter of an hour after this action ceased, the convoy suffered its only loss, when the Russian merchant vessel Tsiolkovsky, which was staggling from the convoy, was hit by torpedo and sink rapidly. The survivors were rescued by the Lord Middleton.

Commander Richmond, meanwhile, was keeping his destroyers between the convoy and the estimate position of the enemy. At 1433/1 they were again sighted, bearing 160° about 15000 yards off, and the second attack developed. The British destroyers again steered for them and at 1440/1 fire was opened at 12000 yards range. No hits were obtained by either side, but after five minutes the enemy turned away and the British once more retired on the convoy. By this time the convoy was well within the ice and ' in order to maintain touch the destroyers were led through lanes of open water as opportunity offered, bearing in mind that sufficient sea room to manoeuvre in action must be maintained. The presented a nice problem.'

About an hour elapsed before the enemy's next attempt. Then at 1558/1, he was sighted six miles away coming in from the eastward, bearing 115°. Commander Richmond repeated his tactics, and both sides opened fire at 1600/1. HMS Bulldog was straddled several times and slightly damaged, but after ten minutes the enemy turned away under smoke to the southward and the British again closed the convoy, by then spread out over a distance of some seven miles, as it picked its way through the heavy drift ice in single line formation.

Shortly before 1700/1 the Germans were again sighted, following a radar report from HMS Snowflake, this time bearing 146°, 20000 yards. HMS Bulldog led round towards them, fire was opened at 1658/1 and after seven minutes the enemy made smoke and turned away.

Half an hour later the Germans made their fifth and last attempt to break through. Fire was exchanged between 1736/1 and 1742/1, when they once more turned away. The British held on towards them for a few minutes till the rear destroyer disappeared into the smoke to the south-east. This was the last seen of them, shortly afterwards they were ordered to attack the damaged Edinburgh some 200 nautical miles to the eastward, and altered course accordingly. Commander Richmond of course could not know this, and for the next three hours he kept his force cruising between the supposed direction of the enemy and the convoy, while the latter was breaking its way through the ice. By 2155/1, the convoy was in open water and the destroyer resumed their screening stations.

The remainder of the passage was uneventful. Convoy PQ 15 was sighted proceeding to the eastward at 1000/2. QP 11 arrived at Reykjavik at 0700/7.

In the meantime, while convoy QP 11 was being subjected to the attacks by the German destroyers, the damaged HMS Edinburgh had been making the best of her way towards Murmansk. The first torpedo had hit the starboard side forward, causing considarable flooding. The second torpedo hit right aft and virtually blew her stern off. She had lost her rudder and the two inner shafts, but could steam at about 8 knots with the outer propellers.

HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, Sokrushitelny and Gremyashchiy arrived about an hour after she had been hit. An attempt by HMS Forester to take her in tow failed, with no stern and seven feet down by the bow, she came rapidly into the wind as soon as she gathered headway, and parted the tow. Further attempts to aid her were then delayed while the destroyers hunted a German submarine that was sighted on the surface four miles away.

During the night of 30 April / 1 May some progress at about three knots was made by the Edinburgh taking HMS Foresight in tow and using her to control the steering. At 0600/1, however, the Russian destroyers reported that they had to return to harbour for fuel and parted company. German submarines were known to be about and in these circumstances Rear-Admiral Bonham-Carter deemed it essential that both the remaining destroyers should be used for screeing. So HMS Foresight was cast off and HMS Edinburgh struggled on, steering as best she could with her engines. Left to her own devices, a persitent swing to port could only be countered by gathering sternway every few minutes and the speed of advance fell to two knots. Thus she proceeded for about 23 hours. That no enemy submarine succeeded in attacking during this anxious period is the measure of alterness of HMS Forester and HMS Foresight.

That afternoon the Bulldog's report of the German destroyer attacks came in. The probability of their shifting their attentions to HMS Edinburgh was at once realised and Rear-Admiral Bonham-Carter and he gave the following instructions; ' In event of attack by German destroyers, HMS Forester and HMS Foresight are to act independently, taking every opportunity to defeat the enemy without taking undue risks to themselves in defending HMS Edinburgh. HMS Edinburgh is to proceed wherever the wind permits, probably straight into the wind. If minesweepers are present they will also be told to act independently retiring under smoke screen as necessary. HMS Edinburgh had no RDF or Director working.'

At 1800/1, the Russian escort vessel Rubin joined and six hours later the minesweepers Gossamer, Harrier, Hussar and Niger arrived with a Russian tug. Disappointingly, the tug was not powerful enough to tow. Eventually at 0530/2, HMS Edinburgh was again making three knots under her own power and holding a fairly steady course of 150°. She was steered by the tug fine on the starboard bow and HMS Gossamer acting as a drogue on the port quarter. HMS Niger had been detached during the night to make rendezvous with the Russian destroyers which would return after fuelling. However they did sail long after they were expected to do so and HMS Niger rejoined at 1020/2. HMS Harrier, HMS Hussar, Rubin, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester patrolled around the damaged cruiser in a circle.

The wind was north-north-east, force three. As usual there were frequent snow squalls and the visibility varied from ten to two miles. Despite the fact that enemy submarines were known to be taking up positions to intercept, and the probability of destroyer attack there seemed to be a chance of making port. But it was not to be.

At 0627/3 gunfire from HMS Hussar, then on the starboard quarter, heralded the approach of the enemy, which proved to be the three destroyers. HMS Hussar was almost immediately straddled, and fell back on HMS Edinburgh.

There ensued a series of individual actions, ships engaging whenever visibility permitted. The Germans kept about seven miles to the north-north-east of HMS Edinburgh making full use of snow squalls and smoke to get within torpedo range, and it was seldom that more than one of them was in sight at the same time.

At the first alarm HMS Edinburgh cast off the tows and went on to her maximum speed - about eight knots. Unable to steer, she circled round to port, sometimes rapidly, sometimes on a wider curve, firing with 'B' turret whenever it could be directed from the bridge on to a fleeting target. The minesweepers remained near her, engaging the enemy with their one gun salvoes whenever they appeared and looking out for enemy submarines. HMS Foresight at once steered for the gunflashes at 24 knots while HMS Forester, which was two or three miles to the westward, went on to 30 knots and steered to join her.

First blood on either side was drawn by HMS Edinburgh, which opened fire on the Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann at 0636/2. Her first salvo fell within 100 yards. The German destroyer increased speed to 31 knots, made smike and turned away, but the second salvo scored a hit, which put both engines out of action and destroyed all control instruments. This fortunate hit had a marked effect on the events of the day. She came to a stop and remained virtually out of action, while from then onwards the efforts of her consorts were largely directed towards succouring and screening her.

Meanwhile HMS Foresight had sighted an enemy destroyer, Z 24, 10000 yards off, steering straight towards her, just as HMS Edinburgh opened fire at 0836/2. At 0640/2 the range was down to 8000 yards and Commander Salter opened fire on Z 24, altering course to the eastwards to open 'A' arcs. For the next eight minutes all three enemy destroyers were playing hide and seek in the snow and their own smoke screens. Targets were engaged as and when they came into vision, ranges varying between 6000 and 8000 yards.

HMS Forester was also fighting under much the same conditions, but shestood on to the northward when HMS Foresight turned to open her 'A' arcs. At 0650/1 she fired torpedoes. almost at the same moment she received three hits. One in No.1 boiler room brought her to a standstill. One put 'B' gun out of action and killed the Commanding Officer and one on 'X' gun shattered its breech mechanism. At 0653/2, torpedoes were seen passing underneath the ship in the direction of HMS Edinburgh which was then about five miles north-west of HMS Foresight which had just, at 0648/2, altered away from the enemy to the westward, in order to close HMS Edinburgh. Seeing HMS Forester stopped and on fire, Commander Salter steered to her assistance. HMS Forester with her sole remaining gun and her 1st Lieutenant now in Command, was engaging the stationary Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann some three miles to the northward, and shifted to the other destroyers whenever they appeared from the snow. HMS Foresight had closed to within half a mile by 0700/2, and then turned to an easterly course, so as not to foul the Forester's range, and engaged on of the destroyers which had been firing on her.

Just at this time, 0702/2, HMS Edinburgh was torpedoed. The torpedoes were seen breaking surface as they approached. These was nothing she could do to avoid them but it looked as if her eccentric gyrations would take her clear. However her 'luck' was out. One torpedo, which was running deep, struck her port side amidships at a point practically opposite one of the former hits. She immediately listed to port and gradually came to a standstill. The ship was 'open from side to side'. It was clear that she might break in two and sink at any moment, and Rear-Admiral Bonham-Carter ordered HMS Gossamer alongside to take off the wounded and passanger. HMS Edinburgh nevertheless continued to engage the enemy whenever they appeared. Her shooting was described by the Z 24 as 'extra-ordinarily good' and twice deterred her from going to the assistance of the Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann. However the list was increasing and when it reached 17° her guns would no longer bear. The Rear-Admiral then directed Captain Faulkner to abandon ship.

Meanwhile HMS Foresight after engaging her opponent for five minutes again turned to the westward and seeing HMS Forester being heavily straddled, passed between her and the enemy, drawing their fire. At 0714/2, Commander Salter, altered course to close the range, and a few minutes later fired a salvo of torpedoes (which missed) at the Z 7 / Herman Schoemann. Just afterwards he came under a heavy concentration of fire from Z 24 and Z 25 at 4000 yards range. He increased to full speed and tried to get away under smoke, but received four hits, one of them in No.3 boiler, which brought the ship to a standstill at 0724/2 in welter of steam and smoke with only one gun still in action.

The Edinburgh, Foresight and Forester were thus all stopped with their gun power much reduced. There seemed nothing to prevent the two comparatively undamaged German destroyers from sinking each of them separately and afterwards dealing with the slow, lightly armed minesweepers at their leisure. But though they made repeated attacks on the destroyers with heavy but fortunate inaccurate fire, they did not press home their advantage. Their main concern was with the Hermann Schoemann. Already thee attempts by the Z 24 to go alongside and take off her ship's company had been foiled by British gunfire, and they let the opportunity pass.

Ten minutes after HMS Foresight stopped, HMS Forester managed to get underway (0735/2). At the same time Z 24 and Z 25 again opened fire on her but they soon disappeared into smoke, emerging a few minutes later to concentrate on HMS Foresight. This gave HMS Forester an opportunity to repay the debt she owned for the respite HMS Foresight had afforded her earlier in the day, and, zigzagging between her and the enemy, she covered her with a heavy efficient smoke screen. This was the close of the action. Shortly afterwards Z 24 finally managed to get alongside Z 7 / Hermann Schoemann and took off about 200 survivors. The latter - already in a sinking condition - was then scuttled, and the Z 24 and Z 25 (which had received a hit in her wireless room) withdrew at high speed to the north-west and were lost to view by the British around 0820/2.

Meanwhile HMS Foresight had effected temporary repairs and by 0815/2 was proceeding slowly on the port engine. HMS Edinburgh had been abandoned by 0800/15, HMS Gossamer taking about 440 men and HMS Harrier, in which Rear-Admiral Bonham-Carter hoisted his flag, about 350. Meanwhile HMS Hussar was screening them and laying a smoke screen. Attempts by HMS Harrier to sink the cruiser by gunfire and depth charges failed so HMS Foresight was ordered to finish her off with her last remaining torpedo. This she did and all ships then shaped course for the Kola Inlet where they arrived without further incident the next day.

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To provide distant cover for these convoys a heavy cover force was deployed which departed Scapa Flow around 2200/28 and was made up of the battleships HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruisers USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN), destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), USS Wilson (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Sturges, USN), USS Wainwright (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN), USS Madison (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Ammon, USN), USS Plunkett (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Standley, Jr., USN) and the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN),HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) and HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN).

At 0600/30, they were joined by the destroyers HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Oribi (Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN) which came from Seidisfiord. HMS Inglefield, USS Wilson, USS Wainwright, USS Madison and USS Plunkett then proceeded to Seidisfiord to refuel.

They rejoined the fleet in the afternoon. Another destroyer, HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), had come with them. The four escort destroyers were then detached to return to Scapa Flow.

At 1550/1, in very bad visibility, HMS Punjabi ended up in front of HMS King George V which could not avoid a collision and cut HMS Punjabi in half. The aft part sank immediately and there was no time to set the ready depth charges to safe which as a result exploded also causing damage to HMS King George V. The front part of HMS Punjabi took 40 minutes to sink during which time HMS Martin and HMS Marne managed to take off 5 officers and 201 ratings.

As a result of the damage to HMS King George V, the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN, second in command Home Fleet) departed from Hvalfiord, around 2045/1, to take her place in the cover force. HMS Duke of York was escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN). They made rendezvous with the cover force around 2330/2 after which HMS King George V parted company at 0006/3 and proceeded to Seidisfiord escorted by HMS Martin, HMS Marne and HMS Oribi. They arrived at Seidisfjord around 1100/3. HMS Martin, HMS Marne and HMS Oribi then rejoined the fleet, having also fuelled at Seidisfiord, around 0610/4.

At 1800/4, USS Washington, HMS Wichita, USS Tuscaloosa, USS Wilson, USS Wainwright, USS Madison and USS Plunkett were detached to Hvalfiord where they arrived around 0815/6.

Around 2100/5, HMS Duke of York, HMS Victorious, HMS Kenya, HMS Inglefield, HMS Faulknor, HMS Escapade, HMS Eskimo, HMS Martin, HMS Marne and HMS Oribi arrived at Scapa Flow. (45)

28 Apr 1942
Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, struck his flag in HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) which then departed Scapa Flow for convoy cover operations.

[See the event ' Convoys PQ 15 and QP 11 and the sinking of HMS Edinburgh and HMS Punjabi ' for 26 April 1942 for more information.] (43)

5 May 1942
Around 1800B/5, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), arrived at Scapa Flow from convoy cover operations. (46)

11 May 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises, D/G trials and gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (47)

12 May 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted rangefinding and inclination and gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (47)

12 May 1942

Attempted passage of the damaged light cruiser HMS Trinidad from northern Russia to Iceland.

Timespan: 12 May to 17 May 1942.

12 May 1942.

Shortly before midnight on this day a cruiser cover force departed Seidisfiord to provide cover during the passage of the damaged light cruiser HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CVO, DSO, RN) from northern Russia to Iceland. After the passage to Iceland it had been intended to send Trinidad to the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the U.S.A. for full repairs. This cruiser cover force was made up of the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN), light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN) HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN).

Earlier this day, in the early morning, HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) had departed Hvalfiord, Iceland to join the other cruisers at sea which she did shortly after midnight the following morning.

13 May 1942.

In the evening the damaged HMS Trinidad departed Murmansk for the U.S.A. via Hvalfiord, Iceland. She had a close escort made up of the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, OBE, RN) and HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Huddart, RN).

14 May 1942.

Around 0730 hours, HMS Trinidad, was spotted by enemy aircraft. She was shadowed from then on and Soviet air support, that had been promised failed to show up. At 2200 hours she was attacked by JU 88's dive bombers. After about 25 attacks the force did not sustain serious damage although many ships had been near-missed. About ten torpedo aircraft then attacked at 2237 hours. Then at 2245 hours a lone Ju 88 attacked from the clouds and released a bomb from the height of 400 feet which hit HMS Trinidad right in the area where her previous damage had been starting a serious fire. She was able to avoid the torpedoes that had been fired at her by the torpedo bombers. Trinidad soon took on a 14 degree list to starboard but was still able to make 20 knots.

Shortly before midnight HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade were detached by the cruiser cover force and set course to proceed to the Kola Inlet to reinforce the escort of the upcoming convoy QP 12.

15 May 1942. In the early morning however the fire in HMS Trinidad got out of control. In the end the ship had to be abandoned and was scuttled at 0120 hours by three torpedoes from HMS Matchless in position 73°35'N, 22°53'E.

Also in the early morning hours ships from the Home Fleet departed Scapa Flow to provide distant cover for HMS Trinidad during the later part of her passage. These ships were; battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN) and HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt. R.deL. Brooke, RN).

The US battleship USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, with Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN on board), heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN) and the destroyers USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN), USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. H.T. Read, USN), and USS Rowan (Lt.Cdr. B.R. Harrison, Jr., USN) departed Hvalfiord, Iceland to make rendez-vous at sea with the ships from the Home Fleet.

The cruiser cover force was attacked by German aircraft (about 25 Ju 88's) for over an hour in the early evening. Many near misses were obtained but none of the ships was hit. By this time the cruiser force had been joined by HMS Somali, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester.

16 May 1942.

HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade arrived at the Kola Inlet.

Both the cruiser cover force as the battlefleet were sighted and reported by enemy aircraft on this day but no attacks followed.

HMS Somali, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester, which all had survivors from Trinidad on board, were detached by the cruiser cover force with orders to proceed to Seidisfiord, Iceland to fuel and then to proceed to the Clyde.

17 May 1942.

HMS Somali, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester all arrived at Seidisfiord to fuel. After doing so they departed for the Clyde A.M. HMS Forester which had some wounded survivors from Trinidad on board that required immediate surgery was later diverted to Scapa Flow where she arrived on the 18th. The other three destroyers arrived at the Clyde on the 19th.

The cruiser cover force; HMS Nigeria (flag), HMS Liverpool, HMS Kent, HMS Norfolk, HMS Onslow and HMS Icarus arrived at Hvalfiord early in the afternoon.

The battlefleet; HMS Duke of York (flag), USS Washington, HMS Victorious, HMS London, USS Tuscaloosa, Faulknor, HMS Fury, HMS Eclipse, HMS Marne, HMS Oribi, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind, USS Rowan, HMS Wheatland, HMS Blankney, HMS Middleton and HMS Lamerton also arrived at Hvalfiord around the same time. (48)

21 May 1942

Convoy operation to and from northern Russia, convoy's PQ 16 and QP 12.

Convoy PQ 16 from Reykjavik to the Kola Inlet and convoy QP 12 from the Kola Inlet to Reykjavik.

Timespan: 21 May 1942 to 1 June 1942.

21 May 1942.

On this day convoy PQ 16 of 35 merchant vessels departed Reykjavik for northern Russia. The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels. Alamar (American, 5689 GRT, built 1916), Alcoa Banner (American, 5035 GRT, built 1919), American Press (American, 5131 GRT, built 1920), American Robin (American, 5172 GRT, built 1919), Arcos (Russian, 2343 GRT, built 1918), Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), Carlton (American, 5127 GRT, built 1920), Chernyshevski (Russian, 3588 GRT, built 1919), City of Joliet (American, 6167 GRT, built 1920), City of Omaha (American, 6124 GRT, built 1920), Empire Baffin (British, 6978 GRT, built 1941), Empire Elgar (British, 2847 GRT, built 1942), Empire Lawrence (British, 7457 GRT, built 1941), Empire Purcell (British, 7049 GRT, built 1942), Empire Selwyn (British, 7167 GRT, built 1941), Exterminator (Panamanian, 6115 GRT, built 1924), Heffron (American, 7611 GRT, built 1919), Hybert (American, 6120 GRT, built 1920), John Randolph (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Lowther Castle (British, 5171 GRT, built 1937), Massmar (American, 5828 GRT, built 1920), Mauna Kea (American, 6064 GRT, built 1920), Michigan (Panamanian, 6419 GRT, built 1920), Minotaur (American, 4554 GRT, built 1918), Mormacsul (American, 5481 GRT, built 1920), Nemaha (American, 6501 GRT, built 1920), Ocean Voice (British, 7174 GRT, built 1941), Pieter de Hoogh (Dutch, 7168 GRT, built 1941), Revolutsioner (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Richard Henry Lee (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Shchors (Russian, 3770 GRT, built 1921), Stary Bolshevik (Russian, 3974 GRT, built 1933), Steel Worker (American, 5685 GRT, built 1920), Syros (American, 6191 GRT, built 1920) and West Nilus (American, 5495 GRT, built 1920).

Close escort was initially provided by the western escort which was made up of the British minesweeper HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN) and the A/S trawlers St. Elstan (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR), Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. W.G.Ogden, RNVR), HMS Northern Spray (T/Lt. G.T. Gilbert, RNVR) and (until 23 May) Retriever (Free French).

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Also on this day convoy QP 12 of 15 merchant vessels departed northern Russia for Reykjavik. The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels. Alcoa Rambler (American, 5500 GRT, built 1919), Bayou Chico (American, 5401 GRT, built 1920), Cape Race (British, 3807 GRT, built 1930), Empire Morn (British, 7092 GRT, built 1941), Expositor (American, 4959 GRT, built 1919), Francis Scott Key (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Hegira (American, 7588 GRT, built 1919), Ilmen (Russian, 2369 GRT, built 1923), Kuzbass (Russian, 3109 GRT, built 1914), Paul Luckenbach (American, 6606 GRT, built 1913), Scotish American (British, 6999 GRT, built 1920), Seattle Spirit (American, 5627 GRT, built 1919), Southgate (British, 4862 GRT, built 1926), Texas (American, 5638 GRT, built 1919) and Topa Topa (American, 5356 GRT, built 1920).

Close escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Steward, RN), HNoMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr. S.V. Storheill, RNorN), escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN), AA-ship HMS Ulster Queen (Capt.(Retd.) D.S. McGrath, RN), minesweeper HMS Harrier (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Cape Palliser (Lt. B.T. Wortley, RNR), HMS Northern Pride (T/Lt. A.R. Cornish, RNR), HMS Northern Wave (T/Lt. W.G. Pardoe-Matthews, RNR) and HMS Vizalma (T/Lt. J.R. Anglebeck, RNVR).

Furthermore a eastern local escort escorted the convoy as far as 30°E. This was made up of the Russian destroyers Grozniy, Sokrushitelny and the British minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. J.H.F. Crombie, RN), HMS Leda (Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, DSC, RN), HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN), and HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Crease, RN).

22 May 1942.

The British heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) and light cruiser HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) left Hvalfiord to make rendez-vous with Rear Admiral Commanding, Tenth Cruiser Squadron in position 66°00'N, 13°00'E the next day and then form the cruiser covering force for convoy's PQ 16 and QP 12.

The US destroyers USS Wainwright (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN), USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN), USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. H.T. Read, USN), and USS Rowan (Lt.Cdr. B.R. Harrison, Jr., USN) left Hvalfiord for Seidisfiord to fuel before joining the battlefleet at sea.

Force Q; RFA tanker Black Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) and her escort, the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) as well as the close escort for convoy PQ 16 the AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(rtd.) H.F. Nash, RN), corvettes HMS Honeysuckle (Lt. H.H.D. MacKillican, DSC, RNR), FFS Roselys, HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR), HMS Hyderabad (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, RN)and the submarines HMS Seawolf (Lt. R.P. Raikes, RN)and HMS Trident (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) left Seidisfiord to join convoy PQ 16 at sea.

23 May 1942.

The battlefleet, made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, with Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN on board), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiers USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN), HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A. de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, RN), HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.de.L Brooke, RN) left Hvalfiord to provide distant cover for convoy's PQ 16 and QP 12.

Light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, DSO, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. H. Eibel, ORP) left Seidisfiord and joined the escort of PQ 16 P.M. heaving made rendez-vous with HMS Norfolk, HMS Kent and HMS Liverpool before joining the convoy.

Force Q (RFA Black Ranger and HMS Ledbury and the close escort HMS Alynbank, HMS Honeysuckle, FFS Roselys, HMS Starwort, HMS Hyderabad, HMS Seawolf and HMS Trident also joined convoy PQ 16 P.M.

The US destroyers USS Wainwright, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind and USS Rowan arrived at Seidisfiord to fuel before joining the battlefleet at sea sailing P.M.

24 May 1942.

The US destroyers USS Wainwright, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind and USS Rowan joined the battlefleet in position 65°50'N, 13°01'E.

British destroyers HMS Faulknor, HMS Fury, HMS Eclipse, HMS Intrepid and HMS Icarus were detached from the battlefleet to fuel at Seidisfiord, arriving A.M. and rejoining the battlefleet at sea P.M. HMS Middleton, HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland and HMS Blankney were then detached from the Battlefleet to fuel at Seidisfiord, arriving P.M.

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One merchant vessel of convoy QP 12 had to return with engine defects, this was the American Hegira.

25 May 1942.

Both convoy's were reported by enemy aircraft this day.

Also several German U-boats from the 'Greif-wolfpack' were able to make contact with convoy PQ 16 during the day.

First one was U-209 at 0620 hours (All times of the U-boats are Berlin time). She was however driven off with gunfire from HMS Martin a little over an hour later. She again made contact briefly around 1750 hours.

Then at 0645 hours, U-436 also made contact. She however lost contact around 0800 hours.

At 0655 hours, U-703 briefly made contact but was driven off.

At 0751 hours U-591 briefly made contact.

At 1200 hours U-703 again made contact but lost contact soon afterwards.

At 1500 hours U-591 was detected and engaged with gunfire by HMS Martin. She dived and was then depth charged but sustained no damage.

U-436 again made contact at 1522 hours but lost contact again soon afterwards.

At 1615 hours, U-586 made contact also to loose contact soon afterwards.

At 2005 hours U-591 briefly made contact with the convoy but lost it soon afterwards.

PQ 16 was also attacked by torpedo and dive bombers, many near misses were obtained, The American merchant ship Carlton had a fractured a steam pipe and proceeded to Seidisfiord in tow of the A/S trawler HMS Northern Spray.

26 May 1942.

Shortly before 0300 hours U-703 attacked convoy PQ 16 and managed to torpedo and sink the American merchant Syros in position 72°35'N, 05°30'E.

During the remainder of day enemy aircraft were in contact and were homing in U-boats.

At 0400 hours (All U-boat times are Berlin time) U-209 briefly made contact.

At the same time U-436 was also in contact and fired one torpedo which missed.

At 0427 hours U-436 fired two torpedoes at the A/S trawler HMS Lady Madeleine. Both missed and Lady Madeleine then counter attacked with depth charges causing damage to the German submarine forcing her to break off her patrol.

At 0846 hours U-591 attacked HMS Achates with three torpedoes which missed. Achates then counter attacked but the depth charges fell way off.

At 0930 hours U-586 was driven off with gunfire by HMS Martin.

At 1400 hours U-703 briefly made contact.

At 2212 hours U-703 was detected by HMS Martin and engaged with gunfire. On diving she was depth charged but sustained no damage.

27 May 1942.

During the day convoy PQ 16 was attacked many times by emeny aircraft. Three of the merchant vessels were sunk by bombs; Empire Lawrence, Empire Purcell and Mormacsul. The Alamar was heavily damaged by bombs and was scuttled by HMS Trident. Also the merchant vessel Lowther Castle was sunk by enemy torpedo aircraft.

The merchant vessels Stary Bolshevik, Ocean Voice (with the Convoi-Commodore Capt. Gale on board), Empire Baffin and City of Joliet were damaged during the air attacks.

The destroyer ORP Garland was also damaged and detached to Murmansk. It is possible the destroyer was damaged by her own depth charges while attacking U-703 shortly before noon.

The already damaged merchant vessel Carlton, in tow of HMS Northern Spray towards Seidisfiord is also attacked by enemy aircraft but no hits were obtained on her.

Also on this day Russian destroyers from the eastern local escort sailed from Murmansk to join convoy PQ 16. It was made up Grozniy, Sokrushitelny, Valerian Kyubishev. Also four British minesweepers sailed to join the escort as well, these were HMS Bramble, HMS Leda, HMS Seagull and HMS Gossamer. They all joined the convoy escort the next day.

Force Q (RFA tanker Black Ranger escorted by HMS Ledbury is detached to Scapa Flow.

HMS Middleton, HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland and HMS Blankney departed Seidisfiord to make rendez-vous with the battlefleet in position 66°50'N, 11°25'W.

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The merchant vessels Cape Race, Empire Morn and Southgate split off from convoy QP 12 and set course for the Clyde escorted by HMS Ulster Queen, HMS Venomous and HMS Badsworth.

28 May 1942.

HMS Victorious was detached from the battlefleet to Hvalfiord escorted by HMS Faulknor, HMS Fury and HMS Eclipse.

HMS Middleton, HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland and HMS Blankney joined the battlefleet at sea.

HMS Kent detached from the cruiser cover force and set course for Hvalfiord.

The damaged American merchant vessel City of Joliet had to be abandoned and was scuttled.

29 May 1942.

HMS Intrepid and HMS Icarus left the battlefleet for Skaalefiord to fuel, arriving A.M. and after fuelling sailed independently for Scapa Flow.

HMS Victorious end her escort HMS Faulknor, HMS Fury and HMS Eclipse arrived at Hvalfiord.

Force Q (RFA Black Ranger and HMS Ledbury) was ordered to proceed to Sullom Voe instead of Scapa Flow.

The cruiser cover force HMS Nigeria, HMS Liverpool, HMS Norfolk, HMS Onslow, HMS Oribi and HMS Marne arrived at Scapa Flow.

The battlefleet, which at that time was made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York, USS Washington, heavy cruisers HMS London, USS Wichita, destroyers USS Wainwright, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind and USS Rowan and the escort destroyers HMS Middleton, HMS Lamerton, HMS Wheatland and HMS Blankney also arrived at Scapa Flow.

HMS Kent arrived at Hvalfiord.

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Convoy QP 12 (minus the three merchants and their escort that had been detached on the 27th) arrived at Reykjavik, Iceland.

30 May 1942.

The merchant vessels Cape Race, Empire Morn and Southgate (Ex QP 12) escorted by HMS Venomous and HMS Badsworth arrived at the Clyde. Ulster Queen had been ordered to proceed to Belfast where she arrived also on this day.

Convoy PQ 16 arrived at Murmansk. Six merchant ships continued on to Archangel where they arrived on 1 June. (48)

1 Jun 1942
HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. During these exercises HMS Rodney was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt. R.deL. Brooke, RN).

A throw off shoot was carried out during which HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) acted as target. (49)

4 Jun 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted AA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (50)

5 Jun 1942
On his return to Scapa Flow from London, Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, foisted his flag in HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) (51)

9 Jun 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (52)

10 Jun 1942
HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Stoke City (Lt. D.P. Piggford, RNR), HMS Preston North End (Lt. K.A. Vasey, MBE, RNR). (53)

11 Jun 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock to give leave to her crew. (51)

12 Jun 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Greenock. (50)

16 Jun 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. (50)

17 Jun 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Greenock. En-route she had acted as target for aircraft during mass torpedo attacks. (51)

23 Jun 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord.

Earlier that day the Walrus aircraft of HMS Kent had crashed on landing. The pilot being killed. A new Walrus aircraft was then immediately supplied before the ships departure. (54)

25 Jun 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord from Scapa Flow. (55)

27 Jun 1942

Convoy operations PQ 17 / QP 13

Convoys to and from Northern Russia

On 27 June 1942 Convoy PQ 17 departed Reykjavik Iceland bound for northern Russia. This convoy was made up of the following merchant ships;

American
Alcoa Ranger (5116 GRT, built 1919), Bellingham (5345 GRT, built 1920), Benjamin Harrison (7191 GRT, built 1942), Carlton (5127 GRT, built 1920), Christopher Newport (7191 GRT, built 1942), Daniel Morgan (7177 GRT, built 1942), Exford (4969 GRT, built 1919), Fairfield City (5686 GRT, built 1920), Honomu (6977 GRT, built 1919), Hoosier (5060 GRT, built 1920), Ironclad (5685 GRT, built 1919), John Witherspoon (7191 GRT, built 1942), Olopana (6069 GRT, built 1920), Pan Atlantic (5411 GRT, built 1919), Pan Kraft (5644 GRT, built 1919), Peter Kerr (6476 GRT, built 1920), Richard Bland (7191 GRT, built 1942), Washington (5564 GRT, built 1919), West Gotomska (5728 GRT, built 1919), William Hooper (7177 GRT, built 1942), Winston-Salem (6223 GRT, built 1920),

British
Bolton Castle (5203 GRT, built 1939), Earlston (7195 GRT, built 1941), Empire Byron (6645 GRT, built 1941), Empire Tide (6978 GRT, built 1941), Hartlebury (5082 GRT, built 1934), Navarino (4841 GRT, built 1937), Ocean Freedom (7173 GRT, built 1942), River Afton (5479 GRT, built 1935), Samuel Chase (7191 GRT, built 1942), Silver Sword (4937 GRT, built 1920),

Dutch
Paulus Potter (7168 GRT, built 1942),

Panamanian
El Capitan (5255 GRT, built 1917), Troubadour (6428 GRT, built 1920),

The Russian tankers Azerbaidjan (6114 GRT, built 1932), Donbass (7925 GRT, built 1935),

The British (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) tanker Grey Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941).

Also with the convoy was a British rescue ship
Zaafaran (1559 GRT, built 1921).

The US merchants Exford and West Gotomska had to return both arrived back damaged at Reykjavik on 30 June. The first one due to ice damage and the second one due to damaged engines.

Escort was provided by the minesweepers HMS Britomart (Lt.Cdr. S.S. Stammwitz, RN), HMS Halcyon (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Corbet-Singleton, DSC, RN), HMS Salamander (Lt. W.R. Muttram, RN), A/S trawlers HMS Ayrshire (T/Lt. L.J.A. Gradwell, RNVR), HMS Lord Austin (T/Lt. O.B. Egjar, RNR), HMS Lord Middleton (T/Lt. R.H. Jameson, RNR) and HMS Northern Gem (Skr.Lt. W.J.V. Mullender, DSC, RD, RNR) and the submarine HMS P 615 (Lt. P.E. Newstead, RN).

The convoy was joined at sea by a close escort force made up of the following warships; destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN / in command of the close escort of the convoy) , HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Leamington (Lt. B.M.D. L’Anson, RN), escort destroyers HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN), HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN), corvettes HMS Lotus (Lt. H.J. Hall, RNR), HMS Poppy (Lt. N.K. Boyd, RNR), HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.G. Rankin, RNR), HMS La Malouine (T/Lt. V.D.H. Bidwell, RNR), Auxiliary AA ships HMS Palomares (A/Capt.(rtd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN) and HMS Pozarica (A/Capt.(rtd.) E.D.W. Lawford, RN) and submarine HMS P 614 (Lt. D.J. Beckley, RN). Also two more British rescue ships sailed with this force to join the convoy at sea; Rathlin (1600 GRT, built 1936) and Zamalek (1567 GRT, built 1921).

The RFA tanker Grey Ranger, which was to fuel the escorts, was now sailing independent from the convoy, she was escorted by the destroyer HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. R.B.S. Tennant, RN). Another RFA tanker, the Aldersdale, had now joined the convoy. It had originally been intended that the Aldersdale would take the role the Grey Ranger was now performing but Grey Ranger had been damaged by ice to the north of Iceland so both tankers swapped roles.

Meanwhile on June 26th the Archangel section of the return convoy QP 13 had departed that port. This section was made up of 22 merchant ships;

American
American Press (5131 GRT, built 1920), American Robin (5172 GRT, built 1919), Hegira (7588 GRT, built 1919), Lancaster (7516 GRT, built 1918), Massmar (5828 GRT, built 1920), Mormacrey (5946 GRT, built 1919), Yaka (5432 GRT, built 1920),

British
Chulmleigh (5445 GRT, built 1938), Empire Mavis (5704 GRT, built 1919), Empire Meteor (7457 GRT, built 1940), Empire Stevenson (6209 GRT, built 1941), St. Clears (4312 GRT, built 1936),

Dutch
Pieter de Hoogh (7168 GRT, built 1941),

Panamanian
Capira (5625 GRT, built 1920), Mount Evans (5598 GRT, built 1919),

Russian
Alma Ata (3611 GRT, built 1920), Archangel (2480 GRT, built 1929), Budenni (2482 GRT, built 1923), Komiles (3962 GRT, built 1932), Kuzbass (3109 GRT, built 1914), Petrovski (3771 GRT, built 1921), Rodina (4441 GRT, built 1922), Stary Bolshevik (3794 GRT, built 1933)

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A. de W. Kitcat, RN), ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. H. Eibel), the corvettes HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR), HMS Honeysuckle (Lt. H.H.D. MacKillican, DSC, RNR), the auxiliary AA ship HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(rtd.) H.F. Nash, RN) and a local escort of four minesweepers; HMS Bramble (Capt. J.H.F. Crombie, DSO, RN), HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN), HMS Leda (A/Cdr.(rtd.) A.H. Wynne-Edwards, RN) and HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. J.R.A. Seymour, RN).

the next day (27th) the Murmask section of convoy QP 13 also went to sea. This was made up of 12 merchant ships;

American
City of Omaha (6124 GRT, built 1920), Heffron (7611 GRT, built 1919), Hybert (6120 GRT, built 1920), John Randolph (7191 GRT, built 1941), Mauna Kea (6064 GRT, built 1919), Nemaha (6501 GRT, built 1920), Richard Henry Lee (7191 GRT, built 1941),

British
Atlantic (5414 GRT, built 1939), Empire Baffin (6978 GRT, built 1941), Empire Selwyn (7167 GRT, built 1941),

Panamanian
Exterminator (6115 GRT, built 1924), Michigan (6419 GRT, built 1920),

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, DSO, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN), the minesweepers HMS Niger (Cdr.ret.) A.J. Cubison, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Hussar (Lt. R.C. Biggs, DSC, RN), the corvettes HMS Hyderabad (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, RN), FFS Roselys and the A/S trawlers Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. W.G.Ogden, RNVR) and St. Elstan (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR). Also three Russian destroyers (Grozniy, Gremyashchiy and Valerian Kyubishev) joined the escort of convoy QP 13 as far as 30 degrees East.

To cover these convoy operations a close cover force departed Seidisfjord, Iceland around midnight during the night of 30 June / 1 July to take up a position to the north of convoy PQ 17. This force was made up of the British heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), as well as the American heavy cruisers USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN) and USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN). They were escorted by the British destroyer HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and the American destroyers USS Rowan (Lt.Cdr. B.R. Harrison, Jr., USN) and USS Wainwright (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN).

A distant cover force had meanwhile sailed from Scapa Flow late on the 29th to take up a cover position north-east of Jan Mayen Island. This force was made up of battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, with the Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Sir J. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN on board), USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, with Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN on board), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, with Vice-Admiral Sir B. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, second in command Home Fleet on board), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN, Capt. 8th Destroyer Flotilla), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.de.L Brooke, RN). The destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstong, DSC and Bar, RN, Capt. 17th Destroyer Flotilla), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN) and USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. H.T. Read, USN) meanwhile arrived at Seidisfiord, Iceland from Scapa Flow to fuel before joining the Battlefleet at sea later.

Earlier on the 29th Force X, which was to act as a decoy convoy to fool the Germans, had departed Scapa Flow. This force was made up of; the auxiliary minelayers Southern Prince (A/Capt. J. Cresswell, RN), Agamemnon (Capt.(rtd.) F. Ratsey, RN) , Port Quebec (A/Capt.(rtd.) V. Hammersley-Heenan, RN) , Menestheus (Capt.(rtd.) R.H.F. de Salis, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN) and four merchant vessels (colliers ?). They were escorted by the light cruisers Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), Curacoa (Capt. J.W. Boutwood, RN), minelayer Adventure (Capt. N.V. Grace, RN), destroyers Brighton (Cdr.(rtd). C.W.V.T.S. Lepper, RN), St. Marys (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Kruys. RNethN), the escort destroyers Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN), Catterick (Lt. A. Tyson, RN), and 4 A/S trawlers. This force sailed eastward twice, on 30 June and 2 July, to about position 61°30’N, 01°30’E but was not spotted by the Germans.

First contact with the enemy occurred on 1 July 1942 when escorts from convoy PQ 17 twice attacked German submarines that were spotted on the surface several miles from the convoy. These were U-456 that was depth charged by HMS Ledbury and sustained light damage and U-657 that was depth charged by HMS Ledbury and HMS Leamington, she sustained no damage. That evening convoy PQ 17 also suffered its first attack from the air. Nine torpedo aircraft approached the convoy at about 1800 hours in position 73°30’N, 04°00’E. Some dropped torpedoes but they exploded wide of the convoy. One aircraft was shot down, most likely by the destroyer USS Rowan which was en-route from the cruiser force to the convoy to fuel from the Aldersdale.

The next night the convoy ran into for which persisted until the forenoon of the 3rd. In the afternoon of 2 July, U-255 made a torpedo attack on one of the escorts, HMS Fury, two torpedoes were fire but both missed. Fury then counter attacked with depth charges but U-255 sustained no damage. At more or less the same time U-376 was also depth charged by two or three escorts, she was not damaged. Shortly afterwards U-334 was also depth charged but she also escaped without damage.

On the 3rd several U-Boats were in contact for short periods but three were driven off by the escorts in the afternoon. When the mist cleared shadowing aircraft soon regained contact on the convoy.

By the early morning of the 4th convoy PQ 17 was about 60 nautical miles north of Bear Island where it sustained its first loss. Just before 0500 hours the new American merchant vessel Christopher Newport was torpedoed by a single aircraft. Damage was serious and the ship was finished off by the British submarine HMS P 614 which was part of the convoys escort while the rescue ship Zamalek took off the crew. The ship however remained afloat and was finally finished off by U-457.

In the evening of the 4th German aircraft made a successful attack on the convoy hitting the British merchant vessel Navarino, the American merchant William Hooper and the Russian tanker Azerbaidjan. The Azerbaidjan was able to proceed at 9 knots and in the end reached port. The other two ships had to be sunk, most of their crews were picked up by the rescue vessels. William Hooper in fact remained afloat and was finally finished off by U-334.

The situation was now as follows. Convoy PQ 17 was now about 130 nautical miles north-east of Bear Island and had just come through the heavy air attack remarkably well. The convoy discipline and shooting had been admirable and a substantial toll had been taken on the enemy. Rear-Admiral Hamilton was still covering the convoy with his cruiser force some ten miles to the north-eastward, with orders by the Admiralty to do so until ordered otherwise. Some 350 miles to the westward the main cover force was cruising in the area south-west of Spitzbergen.

Now turning to the Germans. The approval of the Führer to sail the heavy ships to attack the convoy had still not been obtained. The Tirpitz and Admiral Hipper meanwhile had joined the Admiral Scheer at the Alternfjord but noting further could be done without the Führer’s approval.

Meanwhile at the Admiralty it was known that German heavy surface units had gone to sea from Trondheim (battleships Tirpitz and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper) and Narvik (pocket battleships Lützow and Admiral Scheer) but they had not been detected at sea. Fearing an attack on the convoy by these ships was imminent the convoy was ordered to scatter at 2123/4. Shortly before that the close cover force had been ordered to withdraw to the west as it was obviously no match for the German heavy ships.

The Admiralty decision was conveyed to Rear-Admiral Hamilton in the following three signals;
Most immediate. Cruiser force withdraw to the west at high speed. (2111B/4)
Most immediate. Owning to threat of surface ships, convoy is to disperse and to proceed to Russian ports. (2123B/4)
Most immediate. My 2323B/4. Convoy is to scatter. (2136B/4)
To Rear-Admiral Hamilton these signals could only mean that further information the admiralty had been hoping for had indeed come in and was of such a nature as to render imperative the drastic measures now ordered. Actually the reason for use of high speed by the cruisers was due to the massing of enemy submarines between 11°E and 20°E and the order to scatter was intended merely as a technical amendment of the term disperse that was used in the previous signal. This could not be known by the recipients, and the cumulative effect of these three signals – especially as the last one had a more important marking as the middle one – was to imply that pressing danger was actually upon them. As Commander Broome put it he expected to see the cruisers open fire and the enemy’s mast appear on the horizon at any moment. In this belief he decided to take the destroyers of his escort group to reinforce the cruiser force, and ordered the two submarines to stay near the convoy when it scattered and to try to attack the enemy, while the rest of the escorting ships were to proceed independently to Archangel.

At 2215/4 Commander Broome passed the signal to scatter to Commodore Dowding. The convoy was then in position 75°55’N, 27°52’E. Commander Broome then departed with the destroyers of the close screen to join the cruiser force of Rear-Admiral Hamilton.

Rear-Admiral Hamilton received the Admiralty orders at 2200/4. HMS Norfolk had just flown off her aircraft on an ice patrol. He therefore stood to the eastward for half an hour while attemps were made to recall it but these were without success and at 2230 hours the force turned to a westerly course at 25 knots steering to pass to the southward of the convoy so as to be between it and the probable direction of the enemy. An hour later they passed the merchant vessels which were now on widely divergent courses.

Rear-Admiral Hamilton was much concerned at the effect of the apparent desertion of the merchant ships had on morale. Had he been aware that the Admiralty had no further information of the enemy heavy units then he himself possessed he would have remained in a covering position until the convoy was widely dispersed.

As time went on without further developments Rear-Admiral Hamilton became more and more puzzled as to what have led to the sudden scattering of the convoy. But whatever the reason, the orders for his own force were clear, so he remained his westerly course at 25 knots. Thick fog was encountered soon after midnight, which persisted with brief intervals till 0630/5. Commander Broome, equally mystified by the course of events, soon began to feel that his place was with the merchant ships but he thought Rear-Admiral Hamilton was acting on fuller information then himself. As soon as the fog lifted sufficiently for visual signalling he informed the Rear-Admiral of his last hurried instructions to PQ 17 and requested that they should be amplified or amended as nessesary.

Actually Rear-Admiral Hamilton, who was still under the impression that enemy surface forces were in close proximity, argued that once the convoy had been scattered the enemy would leave it to their air forces and submarines to deal with it (and this was exactly what the Germans did). He feared the enemy surface forces would be ordered to deal with his force and reinforced by Commander Broome’s destroyers he felt that he could fight a delaying action, and had a good chance of leading the enemy within reach of the aircraft of HMS Victorious and possibly the heavy ships of the force of the Commander-in-Chief.

At 0700/5, while in position 75°40’N, 16°00’E, Rear-Admiral Hamilton reduced to 20 knots and at 0930 hours set course for Jan Mayen Island. It was not until that forenoon that the situation as regards the enemy heavy ships was made clear to him. Meanwhile he had to decide what to do with Commander Broome’s destroyers. Accordingly he ordered them to fuel from HMS London and HMS Norfolk. By 1630 hours the fueling of HMS Ledbury, HMS Wilton, USS Rowan and HMS Keppel had been completed. At 1740 hours a German Focke Wulf aircraft made contact and correctly reported the force in position 74°30’N, 07°40’E. Having been located, Rear-Admiral Hamilton broke wireless silence and at 1830/5 informed the Commander-in-Chief of his position, course, speed and the composition of his force. This was the first time the Commander-in-Chief was informed of the fact the Commander Broome’s destroyers with with the force of Rear-Admiral Hamilton, a fact which he regretted.

The Commander-in-Chief, having spent 4 July cruising about 150 nautical miles north-west of Bear Island, had turned to the south-westward in the early morning of the 5th, and was then on his way back to Scapa Flow some 120 nautical miles south-west of the force of Rear-Admiral Hamilton. Shortly afterwards there came news at last of the German heavy ships. The Russian submarine K-21 reported at 1700/5 the Tirpitz, Admiral Scheer and eight destroyers in position 71°25’N, 23°40’E, steering course 045°. She claimed to have hit the Tirpitz with two torpedoes. An hour or so later, at 1816 hours, a reconnoitring aircraft reported eleven strange ships in position 71°31’N, 27°10’E steering 065°, speed 10 knots. And finally HMS P 54 (Lt. C.E. Oxborrow, DSC, RN), at 2029/5 reported the Tirpitz and Admiral Hipper escorted by at least six destroyers and eight aircraft in position 71°30’N, 28°40’E steering a course of 060° at a speed of 22 knots.

Actually the cruise of the German ships was of short duration. Hitler’s permission to lauch the operation had only been obtained in the forenoon of the 5th and the executive order was given at 1137 hours. Rear-Admiral Hamilton’s cruisers were then known to be moving to the westward and Admiral Tovey’s covering force was some 450 miles away from the convoy. It seemed there would be no immediate danger for the German heavy ships provided they could approach the merchant ships unseen and engage them for a time as short as possible. But the Allied sighting reports were intercepted and the Naval Staff calculated that Admiral Tovey would be able to close sufficiently to launch an air attack before they would be able to return to port I they continued operations against the merchant ships after 0100/6. Air and U-boat attacks were meanwhile taking a heavy toll on the convoy and it did not seem that it was worth the risk. At 2132/5 orders were given to abandon the operation. At 2152 hours, while in position 71°38’N, 31°05’E the German ships reversed course and returned to Altafjord.

During the night of 5/6 July the Admiralty made three signals to the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet suggesting that the Tirpitz might be ‘reluctant to go as far as the convoy’ if the battlefleet was sighted steering to the eastward, and that aircraft from HMS Victorious might be able to attack her if she had ben damaged by the Russian submarines. The latter appeared to Admiral Tovey unlikely, for as it seemed certain that the Tirpitz, especially if damaged, would not be sailed down the Norwegian coast until adequate fighter cover and seaward reconnaissance were available. However, arrangements were made for the fleet to reverse its course if the approach of enemy aircraft was detected and at 0645/6 course was altered back to the north-eastward. An hour later an enemy aircraft passed over the fleet above the clouds but endeavours to attract its attention by gunfire and fighters were unsuccessful. That forenoon Rear-Admiral Hamilton’s force joined the fleet at 1040/6. Weather was unsuitable for air reconnaissance and Admiral Tovey felt that nothing was to be gained by continuing to the north-eastward. Rear-Admiral Hamilton’s cruisers and eight destroyers were detached to Seidisfjord at 1230 hours and the battlefleet turned to the southward again shortly afterwards. All ships reached harbour on the 8th.

The last news of the enemy ships came on 7 July, when a British aircraft working from Vaenga, near Murmansk, reported the Tirpitz, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper and some destroyers followed by an oiler from a neighbouring fjord turning out of Lang Fjord in Arnoy (70°N, 20°30’E). By this time the Allied ships were well on their way home but an attempt to attack the enemy was once again made by submarines. Anticipating their return to Narvik, HMS Sturgeon (Lt. M.R.G. Wingfield, RN) and FFS Minerve (Lt. P.M. Sonneville) had been ordered on 6 July to leave the main patrol line and to patrol to the mouth of the Vest Fjord on the 7th and the 8th, one at a time, in case the Tirpitz should pass on the outside of the Lofoten Islands, owning to her heavy draught due to possible damage. Nothing came of this, however, nor of a further patrol carried out by HMS Sturgeon on the night of 9/10 July close inshore some 70 nautical miles north of Trondheim in case of any German ships going to that port.

Now back to the ships of convoy PQ 17. The sudden order to scatter came to Commodore Dowding as an unpleasant surprise. Like Rear-Admiral Hamilton and Commander Broome he did not doubt that it heralded the immediate appearance of enemy heavy ships, and as the escorting destroyers parted company to join the cruisers, he signalled to HMS Keppel ‘Many thanks, goodbye and good hunting’ to which Commander Broome replied ‘It’s a grim business leaving you here’. It was indeed a grim business and the gravity of the situation was clear to all. Weather attack by surface craft developed in a few minutes or by aircraft and submarines during the next few days, the plight of the individual merchant ships – deprived of mutual support of their escort - was parlous in the extreme.

The convoy scattered as laid down in the instructions, in perfect order, though it must have been apparent to the ships that had to turn to the south-west that they were heading towards where the most trouble might be expected. The merchant ships proceeded mostly alone, or in groups of two or three. The anti-aircraft ships HMS Palomares and HMS Pozarica each took charge of a group, each collecting also two or three minesweepers or corvettes to act as a screen. They joined company the next day and proceeded towards Novaya Zemlya. HMS Salamander accompanied two merchantmen and a rescue ship. HMS Daniella was escorting the submarines, HMS P 614 and HMS P 615. She stood them clear of the convoy, when they separated to patrol in its wake, while the corvette went on by itself. At first the different groups spread on courses ranging from north to east, a few steering afterwards for Archangel, most seeking shelter in Novaya Zemlya. But less than half the merchant ships reached even ‘horrid Zembla’s frozen realms’, for 17 in addition to the oiler Aldersdale and the rescue ship Zaafaran were sunk during the next three days by bombing aircraft and U-boats. The bulk of the losses took place on the 5th while the ships were still far to the north, six being sunk by bombs and six were torpedoed by submarines. One ship was bombed on the 6th. Four were torpedoed by U-boats off the south-west coast of Novaya Zemlya between the evening of the 6th and the early morning of the 8th.

By the 7th of July, most of the escort, the rescue ship Zamalek and five merchant ships, the Ocean Freedom, Hoosier, Benjamin Harrison, El Capitan and Samual Chase, had reached Matochkin Strait. Commodore Dowding, whose ship the River Afton had been sunk by a U-boat on the 5th, arrived in HMS Lotus, which had rescued him and 36 survivors, including the Master after 3.5 hours on rafts and floats. After a conference on board HMS Palomares, these merchantmen were formed into a convoy into a convoy and sailed that evening, escorted by the two AA ships, HMS Halcyon, HMS Salamander, HMS Britomart, HMS Poppy, HMS Lotus and HMS La Malouine and three A/S trawlers. The Benjamin Harrison soon got separated in fog and returned to the Matochkin Strait but the remainder were still in company when the fog temporarily cleared during the forenoon of the 8th, and course was shaped to pass east and south of Kolguyev Island. It was an anxious passage, much fog and ice was encountered and U-boats were known to be about. From time to time boatloads of survivors from other ships already sunk were encountered and picked up. A remainder of the fate that might be in store for any of them. During the night of 9-10 July some 40 bombers carried out high level attacks on this small convoy. The attacks lasted for four hours, the Hoosier and El Capitan were sunk by near misses some 60 nautical miles north of Cape Kanin. Four aircraft are believed to have been shot down. The attacks ended at 0230/10 and half an hour later two Russian flying boats appeared. The surviving ships arrived at Archangel the next day, 11 July. Three ships out of thirty-seven were now in port, not a very successful convoy so far. Things were however not that bad as Commodore Dowding thought at that moment. The rescue ship Rathlin with two merchant ships, the Donbass and the Bellingham had arrived on the 9th, having shot down an aircraft the day before, and before long the news of other ships sheltering in Novaya Zemlya came in.

At his special request, Commodore Dowding, despite all he had been through, left Archangel in HMS Poppy on 16 July, in company with HMS Lotus and HMS La Malouine, to form these merchant ships into a convoy and bring them to Archangel. After a stormy passage they arrived at Byelushya Bay on the 19th. There 12 survivors from the merchant Olopana were found. During the day the coast was searched and in the evening the Winston Salem was found agound and later the Empire Tide was found at anchor. The next morning Motochkin Strait was entered and five merchant ships were found at anchor, the Benjamin Harrison, Silver Sword, Troubadour, Ironclad and the Azerbaidjan. A Russian icebreaker (the Murman) was also there as was a Russian trawler (the Kerov). Also, one of the escorts of convoy PQ 17 was found there, the British A/S trawler Ayrshire.

Commodore Dowding wasted no time. A conference was held that forenoon and in the evening all ships sailed, the Commodore leading in the Russian icebreaker Murman. The Empire Tide, which had a lot of survivors from sunken ships aboard joined the convoy early the next day. The Winston Salem was however still aground with two Russian tugs standing by. Much fog was encountered during the passage which was uneventful except for two U-boat alarms. The escort was reinforced by HMS Pozarica, HMS Bramble, HMS Hazard, HMS Leda, HMS Dianella and two Russian destroyers on the 22th. The convoy arrived safe at Archangel on the 24th.

Four days later (on the 28th) the Winston Salem was finally refloated. She managed reached harbour as the last ship of the ill-fated PQ 17 convoy making a total of 11 survivors out of a total of 35 ships. It was realised afterwards by the Admiralty that the decision to scatter the convoy had been premature.

The disastrous passage of convoy PQ 17 tended to throw into the background the fortunes of the westbound convoy, QP 13. This convoy of 35 ships sailed in two parts from Archangel and Murmansk and joined at sea on 28 June under Commodore N.H. Gale. Thick weather prevailed during most of the passage, but the convoy was reported by enemy aircraft on 30 June while still east of Bear Island and again on 2 July. No attacks developed, the enemy focus was on the eastbound convoy. That afternoon the ill-fated convoy PQ 17 was passed.

After an uneventful passage, convoy QP 13 divided off the north-east coast of Iceland on 4 July. Commodore Gale with 16 merchant ships turned south for Loch Ewe while the remaining 9 merchant ships continued round the north coast of Iceland for Reykjavik. At 1900/5 these ships formed into a five column convoy. They were escorted by HMS Niger (SO), HMS Hussar, FFL Roselys, HMS Lady Madeleine and HMS St. Elstan. They were now approaching the north-west corner of Iceland. The weather was overcast, visibility about one mile, wind north-east, force 8, sea rough. No sights had been obtained since 1800/2 and the convoys position was considerably in doubt. At 1910/5 Commander Cubison (C.O. HMS Niger) suggested that the front of the convoy should be reduced to two columns in order to pass between Straumnes and the minefield off the north-west coast of Iceland. This was the first the convoy Commodore had heard of the existence of this minefield. Soon afterwards, Commander Cubison gave his estimated position at 2000/5 as 66°45’N, 22°22’W and suggested altering course 222° for Straumnes Point at that time. This was done. About two hours later, at 2200 hours, HMS Niger which had gone ahead to try to make landfall leaving HMS Hussar as a visual link with the convoy, sighted what she took to be North Cape bearing 150° at a range of one mile and ordered the course of the convoy to be altered to 270°. Actually what HMS Niger sighted was a large iceberg but this was not realised for some time. At 2240/5 HMS Niger blew up and sank with heavy loss of life, including Commander Cubison. Five minutes later a last signal from her, explaining her mistaken landfall and recommending a return to course 222° was handed to the convoy Commodore. But it was too late, already explosions were occurring amongst the merchant ships. The westerly course had led the convoy straight into the minefield. Considerable confusion prevailed, some thinking that a U-boat attack was in progress, other imagining a surface raider. Four ships were sunk, the Heffron, Hybert, Massmar and the Rodina and two were seriously damaged, the John Randolph and the Exterminator. Good rescue work was carried out by the escorts, especially the FFL Roselys which picked up 179 survivors from various ships. Meanwhile HMS Hussar had obtained a shore fix, led out the remaining merchant ships, which reformed on a southerly course for Reykjavik where they arrived without further misadventure.

30 Jun 1942
Around midnight during the night of 30 June / 1 July 1942, the heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN), USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN). and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), USS Rowan (Lt.Cdr. B.R. Harrison, Jr., USN) and USS Wainwright (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN) departed Seidisfjord for convoy cover duty.

[See the event ' Convoy operations PQ 17 / QP 13 ' for 27 June 1942 for more info.] (56)

8 Jul 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from convoy cover duty. (57)

15 Jul 1942
The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfiord. (58)

17 Jul 1942
The heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) arrived at Hvalfiord from Scapa Flow.

Before they entered Hvalfjord they carried out exercises for which they were joined by ships that had already been at Hvalfjord, these were the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN), USS Wichita (Capt. H.W. Hill, USN) and the destroyer HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN). (58)

21 Jul 1942
Around 0915Z/21, HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) departed Hvalfiord, followed about one hour later by HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN).

Around noon they were joined at sea by HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) which came from Scapa Flow.

Also participating in these exercises were the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) and HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN).

Exercises were then carried out during the afternoon. Upon completion of the exercises HMS London, HMS Cumberland and the destroyers proceeded to Hvalfiord while HMS Norfolk and HMS Kenya set course for Scapa Flow. (59)

28 Jul 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Hvalfjord. At sea they made rendezvous with the battleship HMS Duke of York (R.Adm. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) and 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) which had come from Scapa Flow.

On completion of the exercises, in which HMS Duke of York portrayed the Tirpitz, all ships entered Hvalfjord. (60)

8 Aug 1942
HMS Duke of York (R.Adm. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. HMS Duke of York was escorted by the destroyers USS Hambleton (T/.Cdr. F. Close, USN), USS Macomb (T/Cdr. W.H. Duvall, USN) and HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN). (60)

12 Aug 1942
Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, was discharged to the Reykjavik Hospital with appendicitis. His staff and flag remained in HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). (61)

20 Aug 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, though he was not on board as he was in hospital) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. On completion of the days exercises HMS Cumberland returned to Hvalfjord. HMS London remained at sea for night exercises and returned early the following day. (62)

26 Aug 1942
Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, returned from the Reykjavik Hospital on board HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). It was apparent that due to his condition following his recent surgery he would be unable to command the First Cruiser Squadron for a while.

HMS London then departed Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow where she arrived on 28 August.

The Rear-Admiral proceeded on sick leave on 29 August. His staff remained in HMS London until 5 September when they were transferred to the base ship HMS Dunluce Castle. (63)

2 Sep 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted gunnery and torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. (64)

2 Sep 1942

Convoy operations to and from northern Russia, convoy's PQ 18 and QP 14.

Convoy PQ 18 from Loch Ewe to the Kola Inlet and convoy QP 14 from the Kola Inlet to Loch Ewe.

Convoy PQ 18 departed Loch Ewe on 2 September 1942 and arrived in the Kola Inlet on 21 September 1942.

On departure from Loch Ewe it was made up of the following merchant vessels; Africander (Panamanian, 5441 GRT, built 1921), Atheltemplar (British (tanker), 8992 GRT, built 1930), Campfire (American, 5671 GRT, built 1919), Charles R. McCormick (American, 6027 GRT, built 1920), Dan-Y-Bryn (British, 5117 GRT, built 1940), Empire Baffin (British, 6978 GRT, built 1941), Empire Beaumont (British, 7044 GRT, built 1942), Empire Morn (British, 7092 GRT, built 1941), Empire Snow (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Empire Stevenson (British, 6209 GRT, built 1941), Empire Trinstram (British, 7167 GRT, built 1942), Esek Hopkins (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Gateway City (American, 5432 GRT, built 1920), Goolistan (British, 5851 GRT, built 1929), Hollywood (American, 5498 GRT, built 1920), John Penn II (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Kentucky (American, 5446 GRT, built 1921), Lafayette (Russian, 5887 GRT, built 1919), Macbeth (Panamanian, 4941 GRT, built 1920), Mary Luckenbach (American, 5049 GRT, built 1919), Meanticut (American, 6061 GRT, built 1921), Nathaniel Greene (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Faith (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Oliver Ellsworth (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Oregonian (American, 4862 GRT, built 1917), Oremar (American, 6854 GRT, built 1919), Patrick Henry (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Sahale (American, 5028 GRT, built 1919), San Zotico (British (tanker), 5582 GRT, built 1919), Schoharie (American, 4971 GRT, built 1919), St. Olaf (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Virginia Dare (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Wacosta (American, 5432 GRT, built 1920), White Clover (Panamanian, 5462 GRT, built 1920) and William Moultrie (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942).

The RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) tankers Black Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) and Grey Ranger (3313 GRT, built 1941) were also part of the convoy. These ships were known as ' Force Q '.

As was the rescue ship Copeland (British, 1526 GRT, built 1923).

The merchant vessel Beauregard (American, 5976 GRT, built 1920) had also sailed with the convoy but soon returned to Loch Ewe with engine trouble.

On departure from Loch Ewe the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Campbell (A/Cdr. E.C. Coats, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Mackay ( Lt. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN), escort destroyers HNoMS Eskdale (Lt.Cdr. S. Storheill), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Arab (T/Lt. F.M. Procter, RCNVR), HMS Duncton (T/Lt. J.P. Kilbee, RNR), HMS Hugh Walpole (T/Lt. J. Mackenzie, RNR), HMS King Sol (Lt. P.A. Read, RNR) and HMS Paynter (Lt. R.H. Nossiter, RANVR).

On 6 September 1942 the escort was reinforced by the destroyers HMS Montrose (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Phipps, OBE, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) and HMS Walpole (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN) which came from Hvalfjord.

On 7 September 1942 three ships which had taken passage in this convoy arrived at Reykjavik, Iceland, these were the Gateway City, Oremar and San Zotico. Also the five A/S trawlers had parted company with the convoy.

Also on this day eight more merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Reykjavik, these were the; Andre Marti (Russian, 2352 GRT, built 1918), Exford (American, 4969 GRT, built 1919), Komiles (Russian, 3962 GRT, built 1932), Petrovski (Russian, 3771 GRT, built 1921), Richard Bassett (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Stalingrad (Russian, 3559 GRT, built 1931), Sukhona (Russian, 3124 GRT, built 1918) and Tblisi (Russian, 7169 GRT, built 1912).

The Richard Bassett however soon returned to Reykjavik.

Also with this section were three motor minesweepers which were to be transferred to the Russian Navy, these were MMS 90 (Skr. J. Dinwoodie, RNR), MMS 203 ( Skr. J.H. Petherbridge, DSC, RNR) and MMS 212 ( T/Lt. W.J. Walker, RNVR).

These ships were escorted by the destroyers HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. A.H.T. Johns, RN), minesweepers HMS Gleaner (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Hewitt, DSC, RN), HMS Harrier (Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, DSC, RN), corvettes HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR), HMS Bluebell (Lt. G.H. Walker, RNVR), HMS Bryony (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RNR), HMS Camellia (T/Lt. R.F.J. Maberley, RNVR), A/S trawlers HMS Cape Argona (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.R. Pate, RNR), HMS Cape Mariato (T/Lt. H.T.S. Clouston, RNVR), HMS Daneman (T/Lt. G.O.T.D. Henderson, RNVR), HMS St. Kenan (Lt. J. Mackay, RNR) and the AA ships HMS Alynbank (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.F. Nash, RN) and HMS Ulster Queen (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.K. Adam, RN).

When the Reykjavik section joined the convoy the escort destroyers HNoMS Eskdale and HMS Farndale parted company and proceeded to Hvalfjord. HMS Walpole also returned to Hvalfjord with defects as did HMS Amazon. After repairs, HMS Amazon proceeded to Akureyri.

HMS Campbell and HMS Mackay arrived at Hvalfjord on the 9th, having been detached from the convoy escort. They later went on to Akureyri.

Around 0615A/8 the minesweepers HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. W.L. O'Mara, RN) departed Seidisfjord escorting the submarines HMS P 614 (Lt. D.J. Beckley, RN) and HMS P 615 (Lt. P.E. Newstead, RN). All three ships joined the convoy shortly after noon on the 9th.

Around 2100A/8, ' Force A ', made up of the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. M.L. Power, OBE, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Somali (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Akureyri for Spitsbergen where they were to refuel from ' Force P ' (see below).

Around 2145A/8, ' Force B ', made up of the AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN) and the ' Carrier Force ' made up of the escort carrier HMS Avenger (Cdr. A.P. Colthurst, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.de.L Brooke, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN) departed Seidisfjord to join the convoy which they did around 2200A/9.

Around 2230A/9, HMS Echo parted company with the convoy to return to Hvalfjord as did HMS Montrose which proceeded to Akureyri. Both destroyers arrived at their destinations on the 10th.

' Force A ', made up of the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Offa, HMS Onslaught, HMS Opportune, HMS Ashanti, HMS Eskimo, HMS Somali and HMS Tartar, arrived at Spitsbergen on the 11th, fuelled from ' Force P ' and departed P.M. to join convoy PQ 18 which they did in the morning of the 13th.

Meanwhile HMS Scylla, HMS Milne, HMS Marne, HMS Martin, HMS Meteor and HMS Intrepid parted company with the convoy at 1130A/11 to proceed to Spitsbergen to fuel from ' Force P '. The other destroyers / escort destroyers with the convoy fuelled from ' Force Q '.

HMS Scylla, HMS Milne, HMS Marne, HMS Martin, HMS Meteor and HMS Intrepid completed fuelling in the morning of the 13th and they rejoined the convoy around 1400A/13. The escort was complete then.

Meanwhile the convoy, had been picked up again by German aircraft on the 12th. Also at 2109A/12, the destroyer HMS Faulknor attacked a contact ahead of the convoy with depth charges in position 75°04'N, 04°49'E, this meant the end of the German submarine U-88.

On 13 September the convoy was heavily attacked by the enemy resulting in the loss of ten of the merchant vessels; by U-boat (U-408) Stalingrad and the Oliver Ellsworth and by German aircraft the Wacosta, Oregonian, Macbeth, Africander, Empire Stevenson, Empire Beaumont, John Penn and Sukhona.

On 14 September the German submarine U-457 hit the tanker Atheltemplar. The tanker burst into flames and was abandoned by her crew. HMS Harrier tried to scuttle the tanker with gunfire but failed to do so and she was last seen heavily on fire but still afloat. The capsized wreck was sunk by the German submarine U-408 in the afternoon.

Early in the afternoon the German submarine U-589 was hunted by Swordfish aircraft from HMS Avenger and she was sunk in position 75°40'N, 20°32'E with depth charges by HMS Onslow.

The German airforce also attacked the convoy on this day but concentrated initially on attacking the escort instead of the merchant ships. The HMS Avenger was heavily attacked but she was not hit though she had a lucky escape during a dive bomb attack. Torpedoes fired at her were dropped from long range due to effecive fire from her close escort, the escort destroyers HMS Wheatland and HMS Wilton and the AA ship HMS Ulster Queen which had also come to her aid.

In the afternoon the merchant vessel Mary Luckenbach was torpedoed. She exploded and completely vaporised due to her cargo of 1000 tons of TNT. There were no survivors.

On September 15th, German aircraft could not inflict damage to the convoy though some ships had narrow escapes. The U-boats could be kept at bay by the escorts.

In the early hours of the 16th, the German submarine U-457 tried to attack the convoy but she was depth charged and sunk by HMS Impulsive in position 75°05'N, 43°15'E.

Shortly before noon the destroyers HMS Offa and HMS Opportune conducted depth charge attacks on the German submarines U-255 and U-378 during which the former sustained some damage.

Around 1530A/16, HMS Scylla, HMS Avenger, Milne, Marne, Martin, Meteor, Faulknor, Fury, Impulsive, Intrepid, HMS Onslow, HMS Offa, HMS Onslaught, HMS Opportune, HMS Ashanti, HMS Eskimo, HMS Somali, HMS Tartar, HMS Wheatland, HMS Wilton, HMS Alynbank, HMS P 614 and HMS P 615 parted company with PQ 18 to join the westbound convoy QP 14 (see below) which they did the following morning. The two RFA tankers from ' Force Q ' were also with them.

On September 17th, the Russian destroyers Gremyashchiy, and Sokrushitelny joined the convoy escort.

On September 18th, the Russian destroyers Valerian Kyubishev and Uritsky joined the convoy as did the British minesweepers HMS Britomart (Lt.Cdr. S.S. Stammwitz, RN), HMS Halcyon (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Corbet-Singleton, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Hazard (Lt.(Retd.) G.C. Hocart, RNR), HMS Salamander (Lt. W.R. Muttram, RN) joined the convoy escort. Also on this day the merchant vessel Kentucky was lost due to a German air attack.

The convoy arrived at Archangelsk on 21 September 1941. Some delay having been experienced due to heavy weather on the 19th.

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Convoy QP 14 departed Archangelsk on 13 September 1942 and arrived at Loch Ewe on 26 September 1942.

On departure from Archangelsk it was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alcoa Banner (American, 5035 GRT, built 1919), Bellingham (American, 5345 GRT, built 1920), Benjamin Harrison (American, 2191 GRT, built 1942), Deer Lodge (American, 6187 GRT, built 1919), Empire Tide (British, 6978 GRT, built 1941), Harmatris (British, 5395 GRT, built 1932), Minotaur (American, 4554 GRT, built 1918), Ocean Freedom (British, 7173 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Voice (British, 7174 GRT, built 1941), Samuel Chase (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Silver Sword (British, 4937 GRT, built 1919), Tobruk (Polish, 7048 GRT, built 1942), Troubadour (Panamanian, 6428 GRT, built 1920), West Nilus (American, 5495 GRT, built 1920) and Winston Salem (American, 6223 GRT, built 1920).

The rescue vessels Rathlin (British, 1600 GRT, built 1936) and Zamalek (British, 1567 GRT, built 1921) were also part of the convoy.

On departure from Archangelsk the convoy was escorted by the (Russian) destroyer Kuibyshev, Uritski, escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), minesweepers Britomart, HMS Bramble (Capt. J.H.F. Crombie, DSO, RN), Halcyon, Hazard, HMS Leda (A/Cdr.(Retd.) A.H. Wynne-Edwards, RN), Salamander, HMS Seagull (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Pollock, RN), corvettes HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.G. Rankin, RNR), HMS La Malouine (T/Lt. V.D.H. Bidwell, RNR), HMS Lotus (Lt. H.J. Hall, RNR), HMS Poppy (Lt. N.K. Boyd, RNR), A/S trawlers HMS Ayrshire (T/Lt. L.J.A. Gradwell, RNVR), HMS Lord Austin (T/Lt. O.B. Egjar, RNR), HMS Lord Middleton (T/Lt. R.H. Jameson, RNR), HMS Northern Gem (Skr.Lt. W.J.V. Mullender, DSC, RD, RNR), and the AA ships HMS Palomares (A/Capt.(rtd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN) and HMS Pozarica (A/Capt.(rtd.) E.D.W. Lawford, RN).

In the morning of the 17th, HMS Scylla, HMS Avenger, Milne, Marne, Martin, Meteor, Faulknor, Fury, Impulsive, Intrepid, HMS Onslow, HMS Offa, HMS Onslaught, HMS Opportune, HMS Ashanti, HMS Eskimo, HMS Somali, HMS Tartar, HMS Wheatland, HMS Wilton, HMS Alynbank, HMS P 614 and HMS P 615 joined the convoy. The two RFA tankers from ' Force Q ' were also with them.

Also on the 17th, the Kuibyshev, Uritski, Britomart, Halcyon, Hazard and Salamander parted company with the convoy to join the escort of convoy PQ 18 (see above).

On the 18th (or early on the 19th ?) the destroyers HMS Fury and HMS Impulsive were detached from the convoy for Spitsbergen. They rejoined the convoy around 1700A/19 having escorted the RFA tanker Oligarch from Spitsbergen to the convoy. The destroyer HMS Worcester was also with them.

On 20 September U-boats began to attack the convoy and the minesweeper HMS Leda was torpedoed and sunk around 0530A/20 by U-435 in position 76°30'N, 05°00'E. She sank around 0700A/20.

Shortly after noon, the submarines HMS P 614 and HMS P 615 also parted company with the convoy to proceed to Lerwick but they first swept astern of the convoy to try to attack shadowing enemy submarines. HMS P 614 attacked U-408 with four torpedoes thinking to have sunk the enemy but this was not the case.

Later that day the merchant vessel Silver Sword was torpedoed and sunk by U-255. The Silver Sword did not sink immediately, her wreck was scuttled by gunfire from the destroyer HMS Worcester.

And finally on the 20th, the destroyer HMS Somali was torpedoed and damaged around 1850A/20 by the U-703. The ship was taken in tow towards Akureyri or Seidisfjord by her sistership HMS Ashanti and screened by HMS Opportune, HMS Eskimo and HMS Intrepid but HMS Somali finally breaking in two around 0230A/24 when the weather conditions had worsened. Both halves sank quickly.

Also on this day, Rear-Admiral Burnett transferred his flag from HMS Scylla to HMS Milne. HMS Scylla, HMS Avenger, HMS Fury, HMS Wheatland and HMS Wilton then parted company to proceed to Seidisfjord where they arrived on 22 September. The destroyer HMS Onslaught was detached to escort the staggler Troubadour. They later joined the remainder of ' Force P ' (RFA tanker Blue Ranger, destroyer HMS Windsor and the escort destroyers HMS Cowdray and HMS Oakley) which had departed Spitsbergen. On 22 September they joined HMS Somali under tow by HMS Ashanti and the escorting destroyers HMS Opportune, HMS Eskimo and HMS Intrepid.

Three German submarines were attacked by the A/S escort on 20 September, these were U-378 by a Swordfish aircraft from HMS Avenger, U-212 by HMS Ashanti and finally U-255 by HMS Eskimo. All submarines managed to escape without damage.

On 21 September a Catalina (RAF(Norwegian) 330Sq./Z) attacked the German submarine U-606 but the aircraft is shot down by the enemy.

Early on 22 September, HMS Milne detached from the convoy to proceed to Seidisfjord where she arrived in the evening.

On 22 September the German submarine U-435 again attacked the convoy and managed to sink the merchant vessels Bellingham, Ocean Voyce and the RFA tanker Grey Ranger.

On 23 September, HMS Onslow, HMS Offa, HMS Worcester and the two rescue ships, were detached to Seidisfjord arriving there later on the same day.

Also on 23 September, HMS Scylla, HMS Avenger, HMS Milne, HMS Wheatland and HMS Wilton departed Seidisfjord for Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 24th.

The staggler Troubadour was detached from ' Force P ' on the 24th to proceed to Akureyri.

On 24 September, HMS Marne was detached to proceed to Seidisfjord to land the survivors that she had picked up from the Catalina aircraft that had been shot down on 21 September by U-606. She rejoined the convoy later the same day. HMS Onslow, HMS Offa, HMS Worcester and the two rescue ship left Seidisfjord to rejoin the convoy which they did on the 25th.

On the 25th, HMS Martin was detached to escort the staggler Winston Salem while HMS Ayrshire was detached to Seidisfjord with defects.

Around 2115A/25, HMS Ashanti, HMS Intrepid, HMS Onslaught and HMS Opportune arrived at Scapa Flow. HMS Eskimo arrived around 0700A/26. Following the sinking of Somali they had detached from ' Force P ' on the 24th.

On the 26th, HMS Faulknor, HMS Onslow, HMS Offa, HMS Marne, HMS Meteor, HMS Tartar, HMS Impulsive, HMS Worcester, HMS Blankney, HMS Middleton, HMS Bramble, HMS Seagull and the tankers Oligarch and Black Ranger were detached to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the same day.

The convoy arrived at Loch Ewe on the 26th.

The staggler Winston Salem arrived at Loch Ewe the following day after which HMS Martin proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving around 1930A/27.

' Force P ', Blue Ranger escorted by HMS Windsor, HMS Cowdray and HMS Oakley arrived at Scapa Flow on the 27th.

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To provide cover and support for this convoy four forces were deployed.

' Force P ' was the Spitsbergen refueling force. It was made up of the RFA tankers Blue Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) and Oligarch (6894 GRT, built 1918) and departed Scapa Flow on 3 September escorted by the destroyer HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. D.H.F. Hetherington, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, RN), HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN), and Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN).

On 4 September the destroyer HMS Worcester (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Juniper, RN), coming from Seidisfjord, Iceland, relieved HMS Bramham which then proceeded to Seidisfjord. She later went on to Akureyri.

' Force P ' arrived at Spitsbergen (Lowe Sound) on 10 September. [For futher movements of ' Force P ' see the text above and below.]

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There was also the ' Cruiser Force ' was was to provide close cover for the convoys during their passage through the most dangerous area. Also two ships of the force were to land stores, personnel and dogs on Spitsbergen (Operation Gearbox II). It was made up of the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Echo, HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN). They departed Hvalfjord around 1145Z/14.

Around 1330A/15, they were joined in position 67°40'N, 19°55'W by HMS Amazon coming from Akureyri.

Around 1200A/16, HMS Cumberland and HMS Eclipse were detached for operation Gearbox II.

In the evening of the 16th the destroyers were fuelled by the cruisers. Due to these ships having to be available to intercept and engage German surface forces in case these would come out to attack the convoys the fuel levels in the destroyers were kept as high as possible. HMS Bulldog was fuelled by HMS Norfolk, HMS Echo was fuelled by HMS London, HMS Amazon was fuelled by HMS Suffolk.

At 0600A/17, HMS Eclipse was detached by HMS Cumberland to patrol to seaward while HMS Cumberland went on to Barentsburg. She anchored there around 1420A/17 and the first boat with stores was underway at 1445A/17. At 1900A/17, HMS Eclipse came alongside to fuel. This was completed at 2110A/17 and she got underway. At 2145A/17 weighted and departed Barentsburg to rejoin the other cruisers which she did around 0600A/18.

At 2200A/17, HMS Sheffield parted company with the other cruisers for her part in Operation Gearbox II. She anchored off Barentsburg around 1530A/18 and commenced disembarking. At 1930A/18, HMS Eclipse went alongside to fuel which was completed at 2105A/18. HMS Sheffield and HMS Eclipse departed the fjord around 2130A/18. They rejoined the other ships around 1050A/19.

Meanwhile in the late afternoon / early evening of the 17th, HMS Amazon, HMS Bulldog and HMS Echo were fuelled by ' Force P ' which had come out of the fjords. The destroyers were again topped off by ' Force P ' in the later morning / afternoon of the 18th.

The ' Cruiser Force ' returned to Hvalfjord around 1730Z/22.

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And finally there was the ' Distant Cover / Battlefleet Force '. This force was made up of the battleships HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral B.A. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN, 2nd in Command, Home Fleet), HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN), destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Campbell, HMS Mackay, HMS Montrose and the escort destroyer HMS Bramham. They departed from Akureyri around 1700Z/11 to provide cover for convoy PQ 18. The destroyers had sailed a little earlier presumably to conduct an A/S sweep off the fjord first.

They returned to Akureyri around 0900Z/14 except for HMS Bramham which had been detached to proceed to Hvalfjord.

HMS Anson, HMS Duke of York, HMS Jamaica, HMS Keppel, HMS Campbell, HMS Mackay and HMS Montrose departed again around 0630Z/19 to provide cover for convoy QP 14. The destroyer HMS Broke (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) had meanwhile joined them at Akureyri and sailed with them. Once again the destroyers joined off the fjord presumable having conducted an A/S sweep of the fjord first.

The ' Battlefleet Force ' arrived at Hvalfjord around 2100Z/22.

5 Sep 1942
Around 1730A/5, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, Iceland. (65)

7 Sep 1942
Around 1030Z/7, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and HMS Jamaica (Capt. J.L. Storey, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord from Scapa Flow. (65)

14 Sep 1942
Around 1145Z/14, the heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN) departed Hvalfjord for operations.

[For their subsequent movements and info on these operations see the event ' Convoy operations to and from northern Russia, convoy's PQ 18 and QP 14 ' for 2 September 1942. (66)

22 Sep 1942
The heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN) and HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord from operations. (66)

24 Sep 1942
Around 0845Z/24, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral S.S. Bonham-Carter, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN) and HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN) departed Hvalfjord for the U.K.

Around 2245A/25, north of the Butt of Lewis, HMS Sheffield and HMS Eclipse parted company with the other ships and proceeded to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 0600A/26.

HMS London, HMS Cumberland, HMS Bulldog and HMS Amazon proceeded to the Clyde arriving around 1530A/26. (67)

3 Oct 1942
Around 1100A/3, Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, re-hoisted his flag in HMS London on his return from sick leave.

Around 1400A/3, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. (68)

4 Oct 1942
Around 1100A/4, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Greenock. (68)

13 Oct 1942
Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, struck his flag in HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and hoisted it in the base ship HMS Dunluce Castle.

HMS London left Scapa Flow for exercises in the afternoon, returning early the following morning.

Part of these exercises were with the battleship HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and her destroyer screen. (69)

14 Oct 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (70)

18 Oct 1942
Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, struck his flag in HMS Dunluce Castle and re-hoisted it in HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN). (69)

19 Oct 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Scapa Flow for exercises west of Iceland and then to proceed to Hvalfjord on completion of these exercises. (69)

20 Oct 1942
Around 1315Z/20, the heavy cruisers HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) and HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) departed Hvalfjord for exercises the following day.

They were followed around 1830Z/20 by the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN), the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN).

Coming from Scapa Flow was the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) which was to simulate the German battleship Tirpitz trying to break out into the Atlantic.

On completion of the exercises the ships arrived at Hvalfjord in the early hours of 22 October. (71)

6 Nov 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. On completion of these exercises HMS Berwick returned to Hvalfjord while HMS London set course for Scapa Flow. (72)

8 Nov 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (73)

12 Nov 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) conducted torpedo firing and gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (73)

13 Nov 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (74)

16 Nov 1942
Around 2100A/16, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Seidisfjord, Iceland. (75)

17 Nov 1942

Convoy QP 15.

This convoy departed the Archangelsk on 17 November 1942 and arrived at Loch Ewe on 30 November 1942.

The convoy was made up the following merchant vessels; Andre Marti (Russian, 2352 GRT, built 1918), Belomorcanal (Russian, 2900 GRT, built 1936), Charles R. McCormick (American, 6027 GRT, built 1920), Dan-Y-Brin (British, 5117 GRT, built 1940), Empire Baffin (British, 6978 GRT, built 1941), Empire Morn (British, 7092 GRT, built 1941), Empire Snow (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Empire Tristram (British, 7167 GRT, built 1942), Esek Hopkins (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Exford (American, 4969 GRT, built 1919), Friedrich Engels (Russian, 3972 GRT, built 1930), Goolistan (British, 5851 GRT, built 1929), Hollywood (American, 5498 GRT, built 1920), Ironclad (American, 5685 GRT, built 1919), Komiles (Russian, 3962 GRT, built 1932), Kuznetz Lesov (Russian, 3974 GRT, built 1933), Lafayette (American, 5887 GRT, built 1919), Meanticut (American, 6061 GRT, built 1921), Nathaniel Greene (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Faith (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Patrick Henry (American, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Petrovski (Russian, 3771 GRT, built 1921), Sahale (American, 5028 GRT, built 1919), Schoharie (American, 4971 GRT, built 1919), St. Olaf (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Tblisi (Russian, 7169 GRT, built 1912), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Virginia Dare (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), White Clover (Panamanian, 5462 GRT, built 1920), William Moultrie (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942) and

The rescue vessel (British, 1526 GRT, built 1923) is also part of the convoy.

On departed from the Kola Inlet the convoy was escorted by the AA ship Ulster Queen, destroyers Baku, Sokrushitelny, minesweepers HMS Britomart (Lt.Cdr. S.S. Stammwitz, RN), HMS Halcyon (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Corbet-Singleton, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Hazard (Lt.(Retd.) G.C. Hocart, RNR), HMS Salamander (Lt. W.R. Muttram, RN), HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. W.L. O'Mara, RN), corvettes HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR), HMS Bluebell (Lt. G.H. Walker, RNVR), HMS Bryony (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, DSC, RNR), HMS Camellia (T/Lt. R.F.J. Maberley, RNVR).

The merchant vessels Ironclad and Meanticut soon returned to the Kola Inlet with defects.

On 19 November 1941 the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN) departed the Kola Inlet to overtake and join the convoy which they did the following day.

On 20 November 1941 the destroyers HMS Musketeer (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Orwell ( Lt.Cdr. N.H.G. Austen, DSO, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Ledbury (Lt. D.R.N. Murdoch, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN) and HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN) departed Seidisfjord to join the convoy from the westward.

The Russian escort parted company with the convoy to return to the Kola Inlet, these were; Baku, Sokrushitelny. They were both damaged in the heavy weather, Baku managed to reach port with difficulty while Sokrushitelny almost broke in half. She foundered and sank on 22 November.

Due to the weather conditions the convoy got scattered.

On 23 November the staggling merchant vessels Goolistan and Kusnets Lesov were sunk by the German submarines U-625 and U-601 respectively. There were no survivors from both ships.

Also on 23 November, HMS Musketeer, HMS Orwell and the escort destroyers HMS Ledbury, HMS Middleton and HMS Oakley joined the convoy.

On 25 November, HMS Ulster Queen, HMS Icarus, HMS Bluebell and HMS Camellia arrived at Seidisfjord to fuel having parted company with the convoy the day before.

On 26 November, the Convoy Commodore with a total of nine ships set course to proceed direct to Loch Ewe. A total of seven stagglers arrived at Akureyri during the day.

Also on 26 November, HMS Faulknor, Echo, HMS Impulsive, HMS Intrepid, HMS Musketeer, HMS Orwell, HMS Ledbury and HMS Middleton arrived at Seidisfjord followed later by HMS Halcyon.

HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Burnett, DSC, RN) and HMS Impulsive departed Seidisfjord to go the the assistance of HMS Sharpshooter which had engine trouble and was still to the north-east of Iceland in position 68°05'N, 11°40'W.

On 27 November, a staggler escorted by HMS Oakley arrived at Seidisfjord. This ship later departed again escorted by HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Ledbury, HMS Middleton, HMS Bluebell and HMS Camellia to join the Convoy Commodore and his group of ships. On joining HMS Britomart, HMS Hazard, HMS Bergamot and HMS Bryony parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Seidisfjord to fuel. HMS Ulster Queen later also rejoined the convoy.

Also on 27 November nine more stagglers of the convoy arrived at Akureyri.

HMS Salamander and a staggler arrived at Seidisford as did HMS Forester with HMS Sharpshooter. HMS Impulsive remainded out on patrol off Seidisfjord reinforced by HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN). On arriving at Seidisfjord HMS Sharpshooter collided with another ship. She departed to effect repairs at Hvalfjord later the same day arriving there on 28 November.

On 28 November HMS Impulsive and HMS Obdurate abandoned their patrol proceeding to Seidisfjord and Hvalfjord (arrived 29 November) respectively.

Also on 28 November HMS Faulknor departed Seidisfjord for Scapa Flow while HMS Forester, HMS Echo, HMS Musketeer, HMS Orwell, HMS Oakley, HMS Britomart and HMS Hazard departed Seidisfjord to proceed to Akureyri to pick up the stagglers there and proceed with them to Loch Ewe. Convoy QP 15M, made up of 14 merchant ships, then departed Akureyi on the 29th. They were joined off Seidisfjord by one more merchant ship and a tanker which came out escorted by HMS Impulsive, HMS Bergamot and HMS Bryony.

On 29 November, HMS Halcyon and HMS Salamander departed Seidisfjord for Scapa Flow where they arrived on 1 December.

On 30 November, the Commodore's section of convoy QP 15 (9 ships) arrived at Loch Ewe. HMS Ulster Queen and HMS Ledbury then proceeded to the Clyde arriving later the same day. HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid and HMS Middleton proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving later the same day. HMS Bluebell went to the Tyne arriving on 1 December and HMS Camellia went to Cardiff also arriving on 1 December.

Also on 30 November, HMS Orwell and HMS Oakley were detached from the escort for convoy QP 15M to proceed to Scapa Flow arriving on 1 December.

On 2 December, HMS Echo was detached from the escort of convoy QP 15M to proceed to the Clyde where she arrived on 3 December.

Also on 2 December, HMS Britomart and HMS Hazard were detached from convoy QP 15M with the tanker and escorted her to Scapa Flow where they arrived on 3 December.

On 3 December, HMS Forester, HMS Impulsive and HMS Musketeer were detached from convoy QP 15M to Scapa Flow where they arrived later the same day.

Convoy QP 15M (15 ships) arrived at Loch Ewe on 3 December, HMS Bergamot and HMS Bryony then went to the Tyne arriving there on 4 December.

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To provide cover for this convoy a cruiser force was deployed.

On 14 November the destroyers HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) and HMS Obdurate departed Scapa Flow for Seidisfjord where they arrived on 17 November.

On 16 November the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) and destroyer HMS Forester departed Hvalfjord for Seidisdfjord where they arrived the following day.

Also on the 16th, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Seidisfjord arriving on the 18th.

On the 19th HMS London, HMS Suffolk, HMS Forester, HMS Obdurate and HMS Onslaught departed Seidisford to provide distant cover for the convoy from a position to the south-west of Bear Island.

On 23 November the destroyers were sent to Seidisfjord to refuel. They arrived at Seidisfjord on the 25th. Heavy weather had been encountered so presumably it was not possible to fuel at sea.

On 25 November HMS London and HMS Suffolk discontinued their patrol. They proceeded to Scapa Flow and Hvalfjord respectively both arriving at their destinations on the 27th. HMS Suffolk arrived at Hvalfjord with some weather damage.

Also on the 25th, HMS Onslaught departed Seidisfjord for Scapa Flow arriving on the 27th.

18 Nov 1942
Around 1130A/18, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Seidisfjord, Iceland from Scapa Flow. (75)

19 Nov 1942
The heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Burnett, DSC, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) departed Seidisfjord to provide cover for convoy QP 15.

[For more information on this convoy see the event ' Convoy QP 15 ' for 17 November 1942.] (76)

26 Nov 1942
Around 2345A/26, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from operations.

HMS London, which was due for refit and strengthening, arrived at Scapa Flow with some leaking fuel and feed water tanks which would reduce her operational capabilities. (75)

2 Dec 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (77)

4 Dec 1942
At Scapa Flow, Rear-Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN, struck his flag on board HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) and hoisted it in HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN). (78)

15 Dec 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Tyne where she is to refit. (79)

16 Dec 1942
HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) arrived at North Shields, Tyne from Scapa Flow. (79)

21 Dec 1942
After de-ammunitioning at North Shields, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) is docked at the Middle Docks & Engineering Company Ltd. at South Shields where she is taken in hand for refit and strenghtening of her hull. (79)

17 May 1943
Having almost completed her refit and strenghtening, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) is undocked at the Middle Docks & Engineering Company Ltd. at South Shields. She is then moored at the TIC Quay at North Shields for some more work, storing and ammunitioning. (80)

23 May 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted D/G trials off North Shields. (80)

24 May 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) proceeded from North Shields to Rosyth. (80)

26 May 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) proceeded from Rosyth to Scapa Flow to commence a post-refit work-up period. (80)

4 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted gunnery exercises and compass swing trials at Scapa Flow.

She then left Scapa Flow for a range and inclination exercise in the Pentland Firth with HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN). On completion of this exercise HMS London conducted 4" HA gunnery exercises.

HMS London then returned to Scapa Flow. (81)

4 Jun 1943
HMS Sceptre (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, MBE, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises off Scapa Flow. Target was HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN). (82)

7 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (81)

11 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (81)

12 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted compass swing trials at Scapa Flow following which she conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (81)

14 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted exercises with aircraft at Scapa Flow. (81)

15 Jun 1943
During 15/16 June, a large exercise was carried out off Scapa Flow by ships that were to participate in the upcoming landings on Sicily. The ships that participated 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 (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN). They were escorted by destroyers the destroyers 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 Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) (these last four remained with the Home Fleet) and escort destroyers HMS Viceroy (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN) and HMS Woolston (Lt. F.W. Hawkins, RN). [It is likely that even more destroyers / escort destroyers participated in these exercises.

The Home Fleet cruisers HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.T. Addis, RN), screened by the Home Fleet destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Scorpion (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN) simulated an enemy fleet.

The exercises included night encounter exercises. (83)

17 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. (81)

18 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) and HMS Colombo (Capt. D.H. Hall-Thompson, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (84)

23 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (81)

24 Jun 1943
In the morning and early afternoon, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Norfolk (A/Capt. J.S.S. Litchfield-Speer, RN), conducted towing exercises at Scapa Flow.

On completion of these exercises HMS London ran over the D/G range several times and she then conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow.

HMS Norfolk proceeded to the Pentland Firth where she conducted gunnery exercises. (85)

25 Jun 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Norfolk (A/Capt. J.S.S. Litchfield-Speer, RN) and HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (86)

28 Jun 1943
In the morning, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow, most likely with the submarine HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN).

Following these A/S exercises, 4" gunnery calibration trials were carried out.

HMS London then proceeded to the Pentland Firth for 4" gunnery exercises with aircraft. (81)

30 Jun 1943
Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) to HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN). (87)

2 Jul 1943
In the morning, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

In the afternoon she was joined by HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.T. Addis, RN) for rangefinding and inclination and gunnery exercises. (88)

5 Jul 1943
In the morning, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow.

In the afternoon she proceeded to the Pentland Firth where gunnery exercises were carried out with HMS Renown (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN). (89)

6 Jul 1943

Operation Camera.

The object of this operation was to pin down enemy forces in Norway before the Sicilian campaign commenced.

Four Forces were deployed during this operation, these were; ' The Battlefleet ' to provide cover for the operation. It was made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, RN), USS South Dakota (Capt. L.D. McCormick, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral O.M. Hustvedt, USN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN) and the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, DSO, RN), HMS Mahratta (Lt.Cdr. E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) and HMS Musketeer (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), USS Ellyson (T/Cdr. E.W. Longton, USN), USS Rodman (T/Cdr. J.F. Foley, USN), USS Emmons (T/Cdr. E.B. Billingsley, USN), USS Macomb (T/Cdr. J.C. South, USN) and USS Fitch (T/Cdr. K.C. Walpole, USN).

' Force Q ' was made up of the light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, DSO, OBE, RN, Senior Officer ' Force Q ' ), heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN) and the destroyers HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN).

' Force R ', which was representing a convoy was made up of the destroyers HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN, Senior Officer ' Force R '), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN), trawlers HMS Bressay (T/Lt. J.E. Wilmot, RNVR), HMS Cape Barracouta (Skr.Lt.(Retd.) A. Flaws, DSC, RNR), HMS Cape Nyemetzki (T/Lt. A. Flaaten, RNR), HMS Hamlet (T/Lt. J.C. Boyd, RNVR), HMS Hawthorn (T/Lt. G.W. Fox, RNVR), HMS Larch (T/Skr. J.G. Mackay, RNR), HMS Macbeth (T/Lt. A. Parker, RNR), HMS Oak (A/Skr.Lt. P. Buchan, DSC, RNR), HMS Skye (T/Lt. W.G. Burt, RNR), HMS Sycamore (Skr. G. Reaich, RNR) and the Motor Launches HMML 276 (T/Lt. E.W. Lovelady, RNVR), HMML 286 (T/Lt. J.R.T. Ward, RNVR), HMML 345 (T/Lt. A. Priestly, RNVR), HMML 445 (T/Lt. B.W. Kelly, RNVR), HMML 452 (T/Lt. P.L.K. Wait, RNVR), HMML 466 (T/Lt.Cdr. D. Wilkie, RNVR).

' Force S ' which was made up of the heavy cruisers HMS Berwick (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN, Senior Officer ' Force S '), HMS Norfolk (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN) and the destroyer HMS Scorpion (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN).

On 6 July ' Force S ' left Hvalfiord, Iceland for position 'A' (66°13'N, 12°05'W) and then to position 'B' (66°40'N, 10°01'W).

On 7 July ' Force R ' left Scapa Flow for position ' W ' (61°15'N, 01°25'W) and then to position ' X ' (61°40'N, 01°00'E).

' Force Q ' (besides HMS Obdurate) left Scapa Flow for position ' T ' (62°20'N, 05°30'W) where it was joined by HMS Obdurate coming from Skaalefiord, Faeroer, and then to position ' V ' (62°20'N, 01°00'E).

' The Battlefleet ' left Scapa Flow for position ' Y ' (62°52'N, 01°45'W) and then to position ' Z ' (61°20'N, 01°00'E).

In the afternoon of 8 July all forces commenced to withdraw having been sighted by enemy aircraft as had been the idea.

Martlets from HMS Furious shot down one BV 138 aircraft which was shadowing the ' Battlefleet ' and ' Force R '.

On 9 July, HMS Obdurate was detached from ' Force Q ' to return to Skaalefiord.

The ' Battlefleet ' and later ' Force Q ' returned to Scapa Flow.

' Force R ' arrived at Sullom Voe, sailing again P.M. for Scapa Flow.

On 10 July, ' Force S ' returned to Hvalfiord and ' Force R ' returned to Scapa Flow. (90)

17 Jul 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord, Iceland.

En-route towards Iceland, exercises were carried out near Rockall with aircraft from HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN) which was on passage from the Clyde to Scapa Flow. (91)

20 Jul 1943

Exercise X.C.M.

Exercises were carried out off Iceland. HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), coming from Scapa Flow, portrayed the German battleship Tirpitz trying to break out into the Atlantic.

Weather conditions were good and the icefield was well to the south leaving only a narrow gap to pass through and the ' Tirpitz ' (HMS London was soon intercepted by the cruisers on the Denmark Strait patrol (HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN)) which led the Battlefleet, made up of the battleships HMS Anson (Rear-Admiral H.R.G. Kinahan, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, DSO, CVO, RN) and USS Alabama (Capt. F.D. Kirtland, USN) escorted by the destroyers USS Ellyson (T/Cdr. E.W. Longton, USN), USS Rodman (T/Cdr. J.F. Foley, USN), USS Emmons (T/Cdr. E.B. Billingsley, USN), USS Macomb (T/Cdr. J.C. South, USN) and USS Fitch (T/Cdr. K.C. Walpole, USN) on to the 'German' vessel. These ships had departed Hvalfjord on 19 July 1943 except for HMS Norfolk which had departed Akureyri on 18 July to first carry out a reconnaissance of the ice edge.

After the exercise was completed all ships proceeded to Hvalfjord arriving on the 20th. (92)

22 Jul 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. (93)

25 Jul 1943

Operation Governor.

The object of this operation was again to pin down enemy forces in Norway and try to get the large German warships to intervene.

Five Force took part in the operation;
' Force A ', which was made up of the battleships HMS Anson (Rear-Admiral H.R.G. Kinahan, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, DSO, CVO, RN) and USS Alabama (Capt. F.D. Kirtland, USN), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN) and the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, DSO, RN), HMS Mahratta (Lt.Cdr. E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) and HMS Musketeer (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), USS Rodman (T/Cdr. J.F. Foley, USN), USS Emmons (T/Cdr. E.B. Billingsley, USN), USS Macomb (T/Cdr. J.C. South, USN) and USS Fitch (T/Cdr. K.C. Walpole, USN).

' Force B ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, RN), USS South Dakota (Capt. L.D. McCormick, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral O.M. Hustvedt, USN), aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN), HMS Ulster (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN), HMS Saumarez (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN), HMS Scorpion (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, DSO, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt. P. Bekenn, RN).

' Force C ' representing a convoy, was made up of the destroyers HMS Savage (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN, Senior Officer ' Force C '), HMS Ripley (Lt. L.G. Toone, RN), trawlers HMS Cedar (T/Skr. B. Godfrey, RNR), HMS Hawthorn (T/Lt. G.W. Fox, RNVR), HMS Larch (T/Skr. J.G. Mackay, RNR), HMS Lilac (T/Skr. J.W. Brown, RNR), HMS Oak (A/Skr.Lt. P. Buchan, DSC, RNR), HMS Skye (T/Lt. W.G. Burt, RNR), HMS Switha (T/Lt. L.H. Green, RNR), HMS Willow (T/Lt. J.E.W. Graves, RNVR), Motor Launches HMML 252 (T/Lt. T.R. Neale, RNVR), HMML 286 (T/Lt. J.R.T. Ward, RNVR), HMML 442 (T/Lt. R.W. Dunn, RANVR), HMML 445 (T/Lt. B.W. Kelly, RNVR), HMML 473 (T/Lt. J.C. Sargeant, RNVR), and the landing craft HMLCI(L) 167 (?).

' Force D ' was made up of the light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, DSO, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, DSC, RN) and HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, DSO, RN).

' Force E ' which was made up of the heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN).

On 25 July, ' Force C ' departed from Scapa Flow for Sullom Voe where it arrived the following day.

On 26 July ' Force A ' departed from Hvalfiord to pass through position ' N ' (66°30'N, 08°00' W) and then through position ' P ' (66°00'N, 01°30'E).

On 27 July ' Force E ' departed from Hvalfiord for position ' M ' (67°20'N, 02°00'W).

' Force B ' departed from Scapa Flow to pass through position ' W ' (61°40'N, 04°40'W) and then through position ' T ' (61°30'N, 01°30'E).

' Force C ' departed from Sullom Voe to pass through position ' U ' (61°45N, 00°50W) and then through postition ' S ' (61°50'N, 01°00'E).

' Force D ' (minus both destroyers) departed from Scapa Flow to proceed to position ' V ' (62°15'N, 05°20'W) where they were to rendezvous on the 28th with the destroyers coming from Skaalefiord, Faeroer Island and then to position ' R ' (62°00'N, 00°30'E).

On 28 July ' Force D ' was sighted and reported by enemy aircraft. The other forces were apparently not sighted by the Germans.

Beaufighters shot down two BV 138's in the vicinity of ' Force D ' and damaged two others.

Martlets from HMS Illustious shot down two BV 138's in the vicinity of Forces ' A ' and ' D '.

' Force D ' joined ' Force A ' in position ' Q ' (63°10'N, 01°30'E). The two destroyers from ' Force D ' were then detached to return to Skaalefiord where they arrived on the 29th.

All forces commenced to withdraw.

' Force C ' arrived at Sullom Voe, sailing PM for Scapa Flow.

' Force B ' arrived at Scapa Flow.

Forces ' A ' and ' D ' (less the two destroyers) arrived at Scapa Flow.

On 30 July ' Force C ' arrived at Scapa Flow and ' Force E ' arrived at Hvalfiord. (92)

5 Aug 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Norfolk (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. P. Bekenn, RN) conducted exercises off Hvalfjord. (94)

8 Aug 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow. (95)

10 Aug 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from Hvalfjord. (95)

13 Aug 1943
At Scapa Flow, His Majesty, King George VI, made a short visit to HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN). (96)

19 Aug 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Danae (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (97)

24 Aug 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (95)

24 Aug 1943
In the morning, HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN), conducted attack exercises at/off Scapa Flow for the C.O.Q.C. (Commanding Officers Qualifying Course) with HMS Duke of York (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN) that was escorted by HMS Savage (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN) and HMS Mahratta (Lt.Cdr. E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN).

During the afternoon attack exercises were carried out with HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN). (98)

27 Aug 1943
The battleships HMS Duke of York ( Capt. B.B. Schofield, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, RN), HMS Anson (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, DSO, CVO, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier USS Ranger (Capt. G. Rowe, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral O.M. Hustvedt, USN), heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. J.B.W. Waller, USN), light cruiser HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Huron (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Rayner, DSC, RCN), HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. J.C. Hibbard DSC, RCN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Savage (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN), USS Forrest (T/Cdr. K.P. Letts, USN), USS Corry (T/Cdr. L.B. Ensey, USN), USS Hobson (T/Lt.Cdr. K. Loveland, USN), USS Isherwood (T/Cdr. R.E. Gadrow, USN), USS Bell (T/Cdr. L.C. Petross, USN) and the escort destroyer HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN) conducted large scale tactical exercises off Scapa Flow. (99)

29 Aug 1943
Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, CB, DSO and Bar, RN, struck his flag on board HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN). (96)

30 Aug 1943
Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN, hoisted his flag on board HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN). (96)

4 Sep 1943
The battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. B.B. Schofield, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, RN), HMS Anson (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, DSO, CVO, RN), HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), aircraft carrier USS Ranger (Capt. G. Rowe, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral O.M. Hustvedt, USN), heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN), USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. J.B.W. Waller, USN), light cruiser HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Scorpion (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN), HMS Scourge (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Onslow (Capt. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki), HMCS Huron (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Rayner, DSC, RCN), HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, DSC, RCN), USS Corry (T/Cdr. L.B. Ensey, USN), USS Hobson (T/Lt.Cdr. K. Loveland, USN), USS Isherwood (T/Cdr. R.E. Gadrow, USN), USS Bell (T/Cdr. L.C. Petross, USN) conducted large scale tactical exercises off Scapa Flow. (100)

7 Sep 1943
In the morning HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with (most likely) HMS Seadog (Lt. C.R. Pelly, RN).

These were followed by gunnery exercises off Scapa flow.

in the early afternoon, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN), conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow.

She then too, left Scapa Flow and then HMS London and HMS Spartan conducted rangefinding and inclination exercises. These included night exercises and both cruisers returned to Scapa Flow early the following day. (101)

8 Sep 1943
As enemy ships were reported off Spitsbergen ships from the Home Fleet went to sea around 1615A/8 from Scapa Flow to try to intercept. These were the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. B.B. Schofield, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, RN), HMS Anson (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, DSO, CVO, RN), aircraft carrier USS Ranger (Capt. G. Rowe, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral O.M. Hustvedt, USN), heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN), USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN), USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. J.B.W. Waller, USN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Mahratta (Lt.Cdr. E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN), ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki), HMCS Huron (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Rayner, DSC, RCN), HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. J.C. Hibbard DSC, RCN), USS Forrest (T/Cdr. K.P. Letts, USN), USS Corry (T/Cdr. L.B. Ensey, USN), USS Hobson (T/Lt.Cdr. K. Loveland, USN), USS Isherwood (T/Cdr. R.E. Gadrow, USN), USS Bell (T/Cdr. L.C. Petross, USN).

The light cruiser HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.L. Burnett, CB, DSO, OBE, RN) and the destroyer HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. P. Bekenn, RN) sailed from Hvalfjord, Iceland around 1645Z/8 to make rendezvous north-east of Iceland.

As it would be impossible to be on time to intercept the German before they would be back in their anchorages in Northern Norway all ships set course to return to their ports of origin in the afternoon of September 9th.

Ships from the Home Fleet returned to Scapa Flow around 1215A/10 except for HMS London and the American ships which had been detached for exercises around 2000A/9. They returned to Scapa Flow around 1630A/10.

HMS Belfast and HMS Impulsive arrived back at Hvalfjord around 1500Z/10. (102)

15 Sep 1943
During 15/16 September 1943, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN) and HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. These included night exercises. (101)

22 Sep 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN) and USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN) departed Scapa Flow for Hvalfjord. (103)

25 Sep 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN) and USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN) arrived at Hvalfjord for Scapa Flow. Heavy weather had delayed them on passage. (103)

2 Oct 1943

Operation Holder.

Passage of three destroyers to and from Northern Russia with stores, mail and personnel.

Around 0830Z/2, the heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN), USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN) and the destroyer HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. P. Bekenn, RN) departed Hvalfjord to provide cover for the destroyers HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN), HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. J.C. Hibbard DSC, RCN) and HMCS Huron (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Rayner, DSC, RCN) which were to proceed from Skaalefjord, Faroer Islands on 2 October 1943 to the Kola Inlet with stores, mail and personnel. They had embarked these stores, mail and personnel at Scapa Flow from where they had departed on 1 October having arrived at Skaalefjord early the next day.

HMS Impulsive was topped off with fuel by HMS London in the afternoon of the 3rd.

The cruisers and HMS Impulsive patrolled an area bounded by 76.30'N, 74.30'N, 01.00'W, 03.00'E until 2300A/7 when course was set to return to Hvalfjord where they arrived around 0730Z/10.

The three destroyers arrived in the Kola Inlet early on the 6th. They then disembarked the stores, mail and personnel and departed again later the same day having embarked personnel for the return trip for Skaalefjord where they arrived on the 10th to fuel. They then continued on to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 11th disembarking their passengers there. (104)

18 Oct 1943
The heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN), USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN) and the escort destroyer HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN) departed Hvalfjord for Akureyi. (105)

19 Oct 1943
The heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN), USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN) and the escort destroyer HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN) arrived at Akureyi from Hvalfjord. (105)

23 Oct 1943

Operation FR.

Sailing of Russian small craft (American built) from Iceland to Northern Russia as well as escorts for an upcoming convoy operation from Northern Russia.

On 23 October 1943, ' Force 3 ', which was made up of the Russian minesweepers T-111, T-113, T-114, T-115 and the submarine chasers BO-201, BO-202, BO-203, BO-204, BO-206 and BO-210. These were former US minesweepers of the Admirable-class and SC-class submarine chasers. These ships were escorted by the destroyer HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H. Lambton, RN), corvette HNoMS Eglantine (?) and the minesweepers HMS Harrier (Cdr. H.E.H. Nicholls, RN) and HMS Seagull (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.W Ellis, DSC, RNR).

On 30 October 1943 the Russian ships were detached off the Kola Inlet escorted by a Russian destroyer which has come out to meet them.

The British escorts then proceeded to Archangelsk arriving there on 31 October.

On 24 October 1943, ' Force 4 ', which was made up of the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, DSO, RN), HMS Mahratta (Lt.Cdr. E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, DSO, RN), HMS Musketeer (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, OBE, RN), HMS Saumarez (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN), HMS Savage (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN), HMS Scorpion (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and HMS Scourge (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN) departed Seidisfjord to proceed to the Kola Inlet. They were to provide close cover for ' Force 3 ' during its passage. ' Force 4 ' arrived in the Kola Inlet on 28 October 1943.

On 25 October 1943, ' Force 5 ', which made up of of the heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN) and USS Augusta (Capt. G. Hutchins, USN) departed Akureyri to provide distant cover for ' Force 3 ' and ' Force 4 '.

Having completed this objective USS Augusta arrived at Hvalfjord on 29 October 1943 and HMS London arrived at Scapa Flow on 30 October 1943. (102)

8 Nov 1943
Rear Admiral A.F.E. Palliser, CB, DSC, RN, struck his flag in HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), which then departed Scapa Flow for Plymouth. (106)

10 Nov 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) arrived at Plymouth from Scapa Flow. (107)

12 Nov 1943
HMS Renown (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN) departed Plymouth for Gibraltar. On board were the Prime Minister and his entourage. Mr. Churchill was to proceed to Cairo for the Sextant conference with President Roosevelt from the USA and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek from China.

On departure from Plymouth HMS Renown was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Teazer (Lt.Cdr. A.A.F. Talbot, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Ulster (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN).

They arrived in Gibraltar Bay around 1900/15 where HMS Renown picked up some passengers. HMS Renown and HMS London departed Gibraltar Bay again around 1930/15 with their destroyer escort. Around 2130/15 the destroyers HMS Douglas (Lt.Cdr. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS Antelope (Cdr. J.G. Gould, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Wallace, DSC, RN) and HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN) took over the escort.

Around 1230/16, HMS Renown, HMS London, HMS Douglas, HMS Antelope, HMS Anthony and HMS Grenville arrived at Algiers. While at Algiers most of Mr. Churchills entourage left HMS Renown and embarked on HMS London.

Around 1930/16, HMS Renown, HMS London, HMS Grenville departed Algiers for Malta. They were joined (later) at sea by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) and Rocket which came from Gibraltar.

Around 1730/17, HMS Renown, HMS London, HMS Grenville, HMS Rocket and HMS Inglefield arrived at Malta.

As Mr. Churchill was sick, HMS Renown remained at Malta for the moment but HMS London left for Alexandria at 2200/17 escorted by HMS Rocket and HMS Ulster.

At 1830/18, HMS Rocket parted company to return to Malta where she arrived at 1115/19.

At 0615/19, HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) joined.

At 1300/19, HMS London, HMS Ulster and HMS Fury arrived at Alexandria.

At 2345/19, HMS Renown slipped her buoy at Malta to proceed to Alexandria. She was escorted by HMS Grenville, HMS Rocket and HMS Inglefield. They arrived at Alexandria at 1200/21. The Prime Minister and a small staff disembarked at 1315/21. (108)

9 Dec 1943
Around 1600/9, the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis ( Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. F.W. Hawkins, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Gibraltar or Malta.

Around 0915/10, the were joined by the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR). These ships parted company around 1545/10.

Around 0400/11, HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) joined.

Around 0415/11, HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Penn parted company to proceed to Malta where they arrived around 0700/11.

HMS London, HMS Fury and HMS Inglefield then continued on to Gibraltar where they arrived around 0430/13. (109)

17 Dec 1943
Around 2130A/17, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN), HMS Ulster (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN) and HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) departed Gibraltar for the Clyde.

Around 1200A/19, the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN), HMS Termagent (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC, RN) and HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN) joined coming from Horta, Azores.

Around 2000A/19, HMS Grenville, HMS Ulster and HMS Rocket parted company to proceed to Horta, Azores to fuel.

HMS King George V, HMS London, HMS Kempenfelt, HMS Termagent and HMS Obdurate arrived at Greenock around 1830A/22. There HMS King George V and HMS London disembarked the passengers they had been carrying. (110)

23 Dec 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) departed Greenock for Rosyth. (111)

24 Dec 1943
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) arrived at Rosyth where she is taken in hand for a short refit before leaving home waters as she is assigned to the Eastern Fleet. (112)

10 Jan 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) is docked in No.3 Dock at the Rosyth Dockyard. (113)

4 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) is undocked. (114)

6 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) proceeded from Rosyth to Scapa Flow. (114)

10 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (114)

11 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted D/G trials and gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (114)

12 Feb 1944
HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, CBE, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Adm. B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Scourge (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN) and HMS Mahratta (Lt.Cdr. E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (115)

14 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. She then left Scapa Flow and conducted exercises in the Pentland Firth together with the destroyers HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Urania (Lt.Cdr. D.H.P. Gardiner, DSC, RN). (114)

17 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock. (116)

18 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Greenock from Scapa Flow. She departed for Gibraltar later the same day. (116)

22 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Gibraltar from Greenock. (116)

23 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Gibraltar for Algiers. (116)

24 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Algiers from Gibraltar. They departed for Malta later the same day. (116)

25 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Malta from Algiers. (116)

26 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Malta for Alexandria. (116)

28 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Alexandria from Malta. (116)

29 Feb 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Alexandria for Suez. (116)

1 Mar 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Port Said. They then transited the Suez Canal southbound and arrived at Suez later the same day. (117)

4 Mar 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Suez for Aden. (117)

7 Mar 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Aden from Suez. (117)

8 Mar 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Aden for Colombo. (117)

13 Mar 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Colombo from Aden. (117)

17 Mar 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. (117)

18 Mar 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Trincomalee from Colombo. Both cruisers now joined the Eastern Fleet. (117)

19 Mar 1944

Operation Diplomat

On 19 March the light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) departed Trincomalee to escort the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937), Eaglesdale (8032 GRT, built 1942) and Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942).

These tankers were to refuel the ships from the Eastern Fleet that were to participate in operation Diplomat. During operation Diplomat the Eastern Fleet proceeded to the south-west of Cocos Island where the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (Capt. J.H. Cassady, USN) and the destroyers USS Cummings (Cdr. P.D. Williams, USN), USS Dunlap (Cdr. C. Iverson, USN) and USS Fanning (Cdr. R.M. MacKinnon, USN).

Ships from the Eastern Fleet departed Trincomalee on 21 March, these were the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, RNN).

The battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) departed Colombo on the same day. They made rendezvous with the other ships the following day.

On 24 March 1944, the Eastern Fleet met HrMs Tromp and the tankers at 0930 hours in position 07°57'S, 82°14'E and during the next three days they experienced good weather. Ships were fuelled as follows;

24 March 1944
Easedale - HMS Renown
Arndale - HMS Valiant and HMS Ceylon
Eaglesdale - HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMNZS Gambia

25 March 1944
Easedale - HMS Quilliam, HMS Queenborough, HMAS Quiberon, HMS Quality and HMS Pathfinder
Arndale - HMS Illustrious and HrMs Tromp
Eaglesdale - HMS London, HMS Cumberland, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nepal and HMAS Norman

26 March 1944
Easedale - HMS Pathfinder, HrMs Van Galen, HMS Quiberon and HMAS Norman
Eaglesdale - HMAS Napier, HMS Quilliam, HMS Queensborough, HMS Quality and HMAS Nepal

Tanker Arndale had been detached after fuelling on the 25th escorted by HrMS Tjerk Hiddes which was suffering from defects. The other two oilers were detached after fuelling on the 26th still escorted by HrMs Tromp.

HrMs Ceylon and HMS Napier arrived at Colombo on 31 March. All the other ships arrived at Trincomalee on the same day except HrMs Tromp which arrived at Trincomalee with the tankers on 2 April. (118)

11 Apr 1944
During 11 to 12 April 1944, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. In the afternoon of the 11th they joined HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) which were also out on exercises. (119)

12 Apr 1944
Around 0930/12, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN) and HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet) departed Trincomalee. Off the harbour entrance they joined the destoyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, DSO, RN) which had departed half an hour before. At sea they joined the heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) for exercises.

Around 1600/12, HMS Cumberland parted company to return to Trincomalee where she arrived an hour later.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Renown and HMS London returned to Harbour around 0815/13 followed about an hour later by HMS Rotherham and HMS Petard. HMAS Nepal and HMAS Nizam remained at sea. (120)

16 Apr 1944

Operation Cockpit

Carrier raid against Sabang by the Eastern Fleet.

On 16 April 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon in two task forces;
Task Force 69, which was made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. Lambert), the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, DSO, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

Task Force 70, which was made up of the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), the British aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), USS Saratoga (Capt. J.H. Cassady, USN), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), USS Cummings (Cdr. P.D. Williams, USN), USS Dunlap (Cdr. C. Iverson, USN) and USS Fanning (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Bentley, USN).

During the forenoon of the 17th the four 'N' class and two 'P' class destroyers of Force 69 were fuelled by HMS Newcastle, HMS Nigeria, HMS Ceylon, HMNZS Gambia. The three 'Q' class destroyers from Force 70 were fuelled by HMS Renown and HMS London.

On the 18th HMS Ceylon and HMNZS Gambia were transferred from Force 69 to Force 70 to bolster the latters AA defence. (On the 19th HMS Nigeria replaced HMS Ceylon in this force as HMS Ceylon had problems with one shaft and could only make 24 knots.) At sunset Force 70 was detached so as to arrive at the flying off position for the aircraft at 0530/19.

At 0530/19 the carriers launched 46 bombers and 37 fighters (17 Barracudas and 13 Corsairs from HMS Illustrious and 11 Avenges, 18 Dauntless and 24 Hellcats from USS Saratoga) to attack Sabang and nearby airfields. Besides that 12 fighters were launched to patrol overhead of both Task forces.

The enemy was taken completely by surprise and 24 Japanese aircraft were destroyed on the ground. Only 1 fighter, a Hellcat from the Saratoga, was lost on the Allied side and it's pilot was rescued out of the water by the British submarine HMS Tactician (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN). All aircraft, except the one lost, had returned to the carriers by 0930 hours after which both task forces retired to the west. The Japanese tried to attack the Allied task force with three torpedo bombers but these were shot down by Allied fighter aircraft at 1010 hours.

At Sabang the Japanese merchants Kunitsu Maru (2722 GRT, built 1937) and Haruno Maru (775 GRT, built 1927, former Dutch Kidoel) were sunk by the Allied aircraft while the Japanese minelayer Hatsutaka was damaged.

At 0800 hours on the 20th the fleet set course to return to Trincomalee. The cruisers and destroyer meanwhile carried out attack exercises.

The fleet returned to Trincomalee on 21 April. (121)

24 Apr 1944
HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Trincomalee together with HMS Templar (Lt. T.G. Ridgeway, RN).

Later the same day (actually until the morning of the next day) HrMs Tromp carried out exercises together with HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) which were also out exercising during 24/25 April 1944. These included night exercises. (122)

30 Apr 1944
Task Force 67, made up of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers; Eaglesdale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941), Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937), Pearleaf (5911 GRT, built 1917), Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917) and supplyship (used as distilling ship) Bacchus (3154 GRT, built 1936) and their escort made up of the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN) and the frigate HMS Findhorn (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Dawson, RD, RNR) departed Trincomalee.

Task Force 67 was to proceed to Exmouth Gulf, Australia.

On 1 May 1944 the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (A/Capt. W.F.H.C. Rutherford, RN) departed Trincomalee to overtake and join Task Force 67.

HMS Rotherham, HrMs Van Galen and HMS Findhorn parted company around 0900FG/3 to return to Trincomalee.

[For more infomation on the movements of Task Force 67 see the event ' Operation Transom ' for 6 May 1944.]

6 May 1944

Operation Transom.

Carrier raid against Surabaya by the Eastern Fleet.

On 6 May 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee or Colombo in two task forces;
Task Force 65, which was made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), the light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

Task Force 66, which was made up of the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet) (went to Task Force 65 the next day), the aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), USS Saratoga (Capt. J.H. Cassady, USN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), USS Cummings (Cdr. P.D. Williams, USN), USS Dunlap (Cdr. C. Iverson, USN) and USS Fanning (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Bentley, USN).

On 10 May 1944, the Dutch light cruiser Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled at sea by the capital ships and the cruisers. During fuelling from HMS Valiant the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen sustained some minor damage (fractured hull plate on her port side) but the crew of the Van Galen was able to effect emergency repairs.

On 15 May 1944, task forces 65 and 66 were fuelled at Exmouth Gulf, Australia by Task Force 67 which was made up of of six Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers; Eaglesdale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941), Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937), Pearleaf (5911 GRT, built 1917), Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917) and supplyship (used as distilling ship) Bacchus (3154 GRT, built 1936). This force had already left Trincomalee on 30 April and was escorted by the heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Suffolk (A/Capt. W.F.H.C. Rutherford, RN). They had also been escorted near Ceylon by a local escort for A/S purposes, this local escort had been made up of the destroyers HMS Rotherham, HrMs Van Galen and the frigate HMS Findhorn (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Dawson, RD, RNR). The local escort returned to Ceylon on 5 May 1944. The two cruisers mentioned above now joined Task Force 66. Later this day Task Forces 65 and 66 went to sea again for the actual attack on Surabaya. On leaving Exmouth Gulf the fleet was spotted by the merchant vessel Aroona. This ship was now instructed to put into Exmouth Gulf and was held there by HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdale, OBE, RAN) for 24 hours and to impress on the master and crew of this vessel the necessity of not disclosing any information concerning the Fleet on the arrival of their ship at Fremantle (their next port of call).

In the early morning hours of the 17th the carriers launched 45 dive bombers and 40 fighters for an attack on the harbour and oil installations (Wonokromo oil refeniry) of Surabaya, Netherlands East Indies. (USS Saratoga: 12 Avengers (1 had to return with engine trouble shortly after being launched), 18 Dauntless, 24 Hellcats; HMS Illustrious: 18 Avengers (2 of which force landed in the sea shortly after being launched), 16 Corsairs). On the ground they destroyed 12 enemy aircraft (20 were claimed). The damage to the harbour and shipping were over estimated (10 ships were thought to have been hit) as in fact only the small transport ship Shinrei Maru (987 GRT, built 1918) was sunk and patrol vessel P 36, auxiliary submarine chasers CHa-107 and CHa-108, tanker Yosei Maru (2594 GRT, built 1928, former Dutch Josefina) and cargo ships Choka Maru (???? GRT, built ????) and Tencho Maru (2716 GRT, built 1919) were damaged.

On the 18th the US ships were released. The other ships then proceeded to Exmouth Gulf where they arrived to fuel the next day before starting on the return trip to Ceylon less destroyer HMAS Quiberon which was to refit in Australia and was sent to Fremantle.

On 23 May 1944, the Dutch light cruiser Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled at sea by the capital ships and the cruisers.

The ships of Task Force 65 and 66 arrived back at Colombo or Trincomalee on the 26 or 27th.

On 1 June 1944, Task Force 67 arrived at Trincomalee from Exmouth Gulf having been escorted by HMS London and HMS Suffolk until 1700FG/31. On arrival at Trincomalee Task Force 67 had an A/S escort made up of the destroyers HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch, HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and corvette HMS Burnet (Lt. D.S. Charles, RNR). These ships had joined at 2300FG/28 (HMAS Nizam, HMS Roebuck and HMS Burnet) and 0630FG/30 (HMAS Quickmatch and HMS Raider).

During this operation several US Submarine guarded the passages to the Indian Ocean to spot a possible Japanese counter attack. The submarines deployed for this purpose were the following; In the Sunda Strait from 12 to 23 May 1944; USS Angler (Cdr. R. I. Olsen, USN) and USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN).
South of Lombok Strait from 13 to 20 May 1944; USS Cabrilla (Cdr. W.C. Thompson, Jr., USN) and also the USS Bluefish (Cdr. C.M. Henderson, USN) from 13 May until the night of the 16th.
South of Bali Strait from 17 to 20 May; USS Bluefish.
North of Bali Strait; USS Puffer (Cdr. F.G. Selby, USN) during the night of 16/17 May.

The following US Submarines were deployed in the Surabaya area for air/sea rescue duties; USS Puffer in the Madura Strait about 40 miles to the east of Surabaya.
USS Rasher (Cdr. W.R. Laughton, USN) in the Java Sea about 40 miles to the north of Surabaya. (123)

1 Jun 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Suffolk (A/Capt. W.F.H.C. Rutherford, RN) arrived at Colombo from operations / escort duty.

Later the same day HMS Suffolk departed Colombo for Durban where she is to be taken in hand for refit. (124)

3 Jun 1944
The cruisers from the Eastern Fleet were split up into two Cruiser Squadrons. HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) became the flagship of the 5th Cruiser Squadron and Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN, hoisted his flag in her at Colombo on this day. (125)

9 Jun 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee.

[She made the passage on her own despite the fact that more ships proceeded from Colombo to Trincomalee on this day.] (126)

10 Jun 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) arrived at Trincomalee from Colombo. (126)

21 Jun 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) conducted bombardment exercises off Trincomalee. (126)

24 Jun 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) departed Trincomalee for Fremantle, Australia. (127)

2 Jul 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) arrived at Fremantle from Trincomalee. (128)

11 Jul 1944

Convoy US 24B.

This 'convoy' departed Fremantle on 11 July 1944 and arrived at Aden on 28 July 1944.

This convoy was made up of just one troopship the Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930).

Escort was the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) which was detached around 1340FG(-6.5)/20 in approximate position 08°00'S, 70°00'E when the destroyers HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, DSO, DSC, RN) took over which remained with the Highland Princess until arrival at Aden.

(129)

23 Jul 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) arrived at Colombo from escort duty. (128)

25 Jul 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. (128)

26 Jul 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) arrived at Trincomalee from Colombo. Before entering harbour exercises were carried out. (128)

8 Aug 1944
During 8/9 August 1944, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) and HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. On completion of the exercises HMS Nigeria and HMS Kenya proceeded to Palk Bay where they arrived in the afternoon of the 10th. HMS London and HMNZS Gambia returned to Trincomalee. (130)

8 Sep 1944
During 8/9 September 1944, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) and HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. On completion of the exercises HMS Cumberland returned to Trincomalee, HMNZS Gambia proceeded to Colombo and HMS London proceeded to Bombay. (131)

12 Sep 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) arrived at Bombay. (132)

14 Sep 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) is docked in the Hughes dry dock at Bombay. (132)

23 Sep 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) is undocked. (132)

25 Sep 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) conducted HA gunnery and bombardment exercises off Bombay. On completion of these exercises HMS London set course for Trincomalee. (132)

28 Sep 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) arrived at Trincomalee from Bombay. (132)

29 Sep 1944
During 29/30 September exercises were carried out off Trincomalee by ships from the Eastern Fleet. These included night exercises.

Ships that participated were; HMS Howe (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, DSO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, KCB, KBE, DSM, RN, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. P.C. Hopkins, RN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN), HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN).

On completion of the exercises HMS Cumberland set course to proceed to Colombo. (133)

5 Oct 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. F.J. Butler, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. HMS London, HMS Phoebe and HMNZS Achilles returned to harbour on completion of their exercises. HMS Suffolk remained out for night exercises during the night of 5/6 October returning to Trincomalee in the morning of the 6th. (134)

7 Oct 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) departed Trincomalee for Colombo. (135)

8 Oct 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) arrived at Colombo from Trincomalee. At Colombo she almost immediately entered dock. (135)

10 Oct 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) is undocked, ran over the D/G range and then left Colombo for Trincomalee later the same day. (135)

11 Oct 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) arrived at Trincomalee from Colombo. (135)

13 Oct 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) conducted bombardment and AA gunnery exercises off Trincomalee. (135)

15 Oct 1944

Operation Millet.

Attack on the Nicobar Islands which was also to serve as a diversion for the American landings at Leyte.

In the morning of the 15th of October Task Force 63 departed Trincomalee, it was made up of the following units;
Task Group 63.1: battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN).

Task Group 63.2: heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), destroyers HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and HrMs Van Galen (Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

Task Group 63.3: aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wessex (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN) and HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN).

During the morning of the 16th HMS Phoebe, HrMs Van Galen and HMAS Norman were topped off with fuel by HMS Renown. HMS Quilliam, HMS Queensborough and HMAS Quiberon were topped off by HMS London. HMS Wakeful, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp were topped off by HMS Cumberland. HMS Raider, HMS Wessex and HMS Relentless were topped off by HMS Suffolk.

In the morning of the 17th HMS Renown, HMS Cumberland, HMS London and HMS Suffolk bombarded Car Nicobar Island. Some of the destroyers also bombarded the Island. Air attacks on the island were made by the aircraft from the carriers which acted independently for flying operations.

During the night of 17/18 October HMS London, HMAS Norman and HrMs Van Galen conducted another bombardment of Car Nicobar Island. Upon completion of this bombardment these three ships proceeded to Trincomalee arriving around 1715FG(-6.5)/19.

Force 63 had retired to the south on the 18th and during the afternoon HMS Phoebe and the destroyers were once again refuelled by the capital ships.
HMS Renown refuelled HMS Phoebe, HMS Wessex and HMS Queenborough. HMS Cumberland refuelled HMS Whelp, HMS Wager, HMS Quilliam and HMS Raider. HMS Suffolk refuelled HMS Wakeful, HMS Relentless and HMS Raider.
[Note: HMS Raider is listed in the both the logs of HMS Cumberland and HMS Suffolk and HMAS Quiberon is not listed as having fuelled. most likely somebody made a mistake and listed the wrong destroyer as having been fuelled by either HMS Cumberland or HMS Suffolk.]

On the 19th the carriers launched an air strike against Nancowry Island while HMS Renown and HMS Suffolk bombarded Car Nicobar Island again.

The Japanese counter attacked with nine aircraftbut no damage was done except that three of the fighters that intercepted the Japanese aircraft were shot down. Seven of the Japanese aircraft were shot down.

Upon completion of the operations Force 63 set course to return to Trincomalee.

Force 63 arrived at Trincomalee in the morning of 21 October 1944 minus HMS Cumberland which had arrived on October 20th.

26 Oct 1944
During 26/27 October 1944, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN) and HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (136)

27 Oct 1944
During 27 and 28 October 1944, HMS Spirit (Lt. A.A. Catlow, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee with HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) (27 October only), HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) (27 October only), HMS Lewes (T/Lt. M.H. Grylls, SANF(V)), HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) and HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN). (137)

7 Nov 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) [although he was not on board during the exercises] conducted exercises off Trincomalee. She also acted as target for torpedo attacks by destroyers. These were, most likely, HMS Queenborough (Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN). On completion of these exercises HMS London returned to harbour while these two destroyers remained at sea for night exercises. (138)

8 Nov 1944
HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. Again she acted as target for torpedo attacks by destroyers. These were, most likely, again HMS Queenborough (Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN). On completion of these exercises HMS London, HMS Queenborough and HMAS Quiberon returned to harbour in company with each other. (138)

23 Nov 1944
During 23/24 November 1944, HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. F.J. Butler, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (139)

30 Nov 1944
During 30 November / 1 December 1944, HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises.

During 30 November HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) also participated in the exercises but she returned back to harbour early in the evening. (140)

11 Dec 1944
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN) conducted D/G trials at Trincomalee. She then departed for a day of exercises which included a throw off shoot during which HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) acted as target. (141)

15 Dec 1944
Vice-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN, struck his flag in HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN). (141)

17 Dec 1944
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) departed Trincomalee to make rendezvous with the US troop transport USS General John Pope (17832 GRT, built 1943) and then escort her to Australia. (141)

19 Dec 1944
Around 1700FG(-6.5)/19, HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) made rendezvous with the US troop transport USS General John Pope (17832 GRT, built 1943) and her two escorting destroyers HMS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. C.E.R. Sharp, RN) and HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN).

HMS Undaunted and HMS Ursa parted company around 0200FG/20. (141)

24 Dec 1944
Around 1600G/24, HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) parted company with the US troop transport USS General John Pope (17832 GRT, built 1943) and set course for Fremantle. (141)

26 Dec 1944
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) arrived at Fremantle from escort duty. (141)

9 Jan 1945

Convoy HB 1.

This convoy departed Hobart, Tasmania on 9 January 1945 and was dispersed at sea on 21 January 1945.

The convoy was made up of the British troop transport Empress of Scotland (Former Empress of Japan, 26032 GRT, built 1930) and the US troopships USS General William Mitchell (17811 GRT, built 1944) and USS General George M. Randall (17811 GRT, built 1944). [The Empress of Scotland had departed Wellington on 5 January 1945 and arrived at Hobart on 8 January 1945, this movement was known as 'convoy' US 25.]

On departure from Hobart the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMNZS Achilles (Capt. F.J. Butler, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC and Bar, RAN).

Around 1105H/14, HMAS Quiberon and HMAS Quickmatch parted company with the convoy.

Around 1140H/14, HMNZS Achilles was relieved by the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN).

Around 1400F/20, HMS London was relieved as escort by the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

At 0530F/21, the Empress of Scotland parted company with the US troopships and then proceeded to Aden escorted by HMS Roebuck. They arrived at Aden on 25 January 1945.

The US troopships, and their escort of HMS Rotherham and HMS Relentless arrived at Bombay on 23 January. (142)

13 Jan 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) departed Fremantle for convoy escort duty.

See the event ' Convoy US-SU ' for 9 January 1945 for more information on this convoy. (143)

22 Jan 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee after convoy escort duty. (143)

25 Jan 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (143)

26 Jan 1945
Ships belonging to the Fleet Train of the British Pacific Fleet departed Trincomalee for Fremantle. These were the destroyer deport ship Tyne (Capt. S. Boucher, RN), repairs ships HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN), Artifex (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Flemming, RN) and the target ship HMS Lewes (T/Lt. M.H. Grylls, SANF(V)). The tanker Battle Rock (American, 10448 GRT, built 1944) was also in company with these ships.

Escort was provided by the heavy cruiser London and the minesweepers HMAS Cairns (T/Lt. N.G. Weber, RANR(S)), HMAS Cessnock (Lt. A.G. Chapman, RANR(S)), HMAS Gawler (Lt.Cdr. J.H.P. Dixon, RANR(S)), HMAS Geraldton (Cdr. J.K. Walton, RAN), HMAS Ipswich (T/Lt. R.H. Creasey, RANR(S)), HMAS Tamworth (T/Lt. D.B. Lloyd-Jones, RANR(S)) and HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)).

They arrived at Fremantle on 9 February 1945. (144)

12 Feb 1945
HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) departed Fremantle for Trincomalee. (145)

20 Feb 1945
HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee from Fremantle. (145)

7 Mar 1945
During 7/8 March 1945 HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) and HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (146)

21 Mar 1945
During 21/22 March 1945, HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN), HMS Newcastle (Capt. J.G. Roper, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN) and HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. The cruisers were later joined by three destroyers. (147)

27 Mar 1945
During 27/28 March 1945 the battleship Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN) and HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (147)

3 Apr 1945
During 3/4 April 1945, HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included, torpedo firing, night bombardment and an underway refuelling exercises with the RFA tanker Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941). (148)

8 Apr 1945

Operation Sunfish.

Photographic reconnaissance of the west coast of Sumatra and air attacks on northern Sumatra.

On 8 April 1945, ' Force 63 ' made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN), Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), escort carriers HMS Emperor (A/Capt. C. Madden, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.R. Patterson, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Khedive (A/Capt. D.H. Magnay, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Saumarez (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. H.G.D. De Chair, DSC with Bar, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, DSC, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, DSC, RN) and HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, DSC, RN) departed Trincomalee.

The original intention was to carry out the planned photographic reconnaissance, beginning on 12th April from a flying off position west of Padang. Anti-shipping strikes would follow later.

This programme unfortunately had to be re-cast when HMS Emperor's catapult broke down, necessitating the postponement of the photographic reconnaissance for two days.

Accordingly, on 11 April 1945, HMS Queen Elizabeth, Richelieu and HMS London bombarded Sabang, while HMS Saumarez HMS Verulam and HMS Vigilant bombarded Ulee Lhoe. No shipping was present at Sabang, but the destroyers damaged a small coaster, which was already beached.

' Force 63 ' was subsequently attacked by a force of ten enemy aircraft, two of which were shot down by the Combat Air Patrol.

On 12 April 1945, ships from ' Force 63 ' refuelled from ' Force 70 ' (RFA tanker Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942) escorted by the frigate HMS Lossie (Lt.Cdr. A.F. MacFie, OBE, RNR)) and HMS London was detached to proceed to Simonstown, South Africa where it had been arranged for her to refit. She was first to return to Trincomalee though.

' Force 63 ' then proceeded to operate off the west coast of Sumatra, and photographic reconnaissance was carried out as planned on 14th and 15th April with almost complete success. One of our aircraft was lost. One enemy aircraft was shot down by the Combat Air Patrol.

An air strike was made on Emmahaven on 16 April, hits being scored on a 4000 ton merchant ship and workshops in the harbour. Our fighters shot down one more enemy aircraft and three were claimed to have been damaged on the ground. Destroyers HMS Venus and HMS Virago, meanwhile made a sweep between the outlying islands and the mainland, from Ayerbangis Bay to Natal Road. A total of six junks were sunk.

' Force 63 ' arrived back in Ceylon, either at Trincomalee or Colombo on 20 April 1945. (144)

13 Apr 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) returned to Trincomalee from operations. She departed for Simonstown, South Africa later the same day. (148)

25 Apr 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) arrived at Simonstown from Trincomalee. (148)

29 Apr 1945
Having completed de-ammunitioning, HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN), is taken in hand for refit at the Simonstown Dockyard. (148)

31 May 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) is docked at the Simonstown Dockyard. (149)

2 Jul 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) is undocked. (150)

11 Jul 1945
With her refit completed HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) conducted trials in False Bay. (150)

12 Jul 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) conducted gunnery exercises in False Bay. She departed for Trincomalee later the same day. (150)

25 Jul 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) arrived at Trincomalee from Simonstown. (150)

26 Jul 1945
During 26/27 July 1945, HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee, these included night exercises.

On the 26th, a range and inclination exercise was carried out during which HMS Wizard (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Hodgkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) served as target. (150)

2 Aug 1945
During 2/3 August, HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) and HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (151)

3 Aug 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) departed Trincomalee for Mandapam. (152)

4 Aug 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) arrived at Mandapam from Trincomalee. (152)

6 Aug 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) proceeded from Mandapam to Trincomalee. (152)

12 Aug 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) proceeded from Trincomalee to Mandapam. (152)

13 Aug 1945
HMS London (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) proceeded from Mandapam to Trincomalee.

[Following the Japanese surrender, HMS London remained on station until January 1946 when she returned to the UK.]

[In the morning of 31 August 1945, At Sabang, the surrender of Sumatra was accepted on board HMS London by Commodore A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN, from the Japanese Vice-Admiral Sueto Hirose.] (152)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/114552
  2. ADM 53/114553
  3. ADM 53/114263 + ADM 53/114553
  4. ADM 53/114553 + ADM 53/115097
  5. ADM 53/114554 + ADM 53/115098
  6. ADM 53/114503 + ADM 53/114554 + ADM 199/396
  7. ADM 53/113616 + ADM 53/114554
  8. ADM 53/113616 + ADM 53/114554 + ADM 53/115053
  9. ADM 53/114555
  10. File 2.12.03.6387 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  11. ADM 53/114555 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399 + ADM 199/409
  12. ADM 234/322
  13. ADM 199/657
  14. ADM 53/114555 + ADM 199/409
  15. ADM 53/114556
  16. ADM 199/114556 + ADM 199/394
  17. ADM 199/394
  18. ADM 53/114557 + ADM 199/395
  19. ADM 53/114557
  20. ADM 53/114557 + ADM 199/409
  21. ADM 199/114557
  22. ADM 53/114890
  23. ADM 53/114557 + File 2.12.03.6387 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  24. ADM 53/114558
  25. ADM 53/114246 + ADM 53/114494 + ADM 53/114558
  26. ADM 53/114559
  27. ADM 53/114559 + ADM 199/409
  28. ADM 199/114559
  29. ADM 53/114559 + ADM 53/114560 + ADM 53/115078 + ADM 199/399 + ADM 199/409
  30. ADM 53/114560 + ADM 199/409
  31. ADM 53/114560
  32. ADM 53/114607
  33. ADM 53/114485 + ADM 53/114560
  34. ADM 53/114561
  35. ADM 53/116167
  36. ADM 53/116168
  37. ADM 53/116168 + ADM 53/116382 + ADM 199/644
  38. ADM 53/116168 + ADM 199/644
  39. ADM 234/340
  40. ADM 53/116169
  41. ADM 53/116109 + ADM 53/116169 + ADM 199/644
  42. ADM 53/116169 + ADM 199/644
  43. ADM 53/116170 + ADM 199/644
  44. ADM 53/116170
  45. ADM 234/359
  46. ADM 53/116170 + ADM 53/116367 + ADM 199/644
  47. ADM 53/116171
  48. ADM 199/427 + ADM 234/369
  49. ADM 53/116172 + ADM 53/116593
  50. ADM 53/116172
  51. ADM 53/116172 + ADM 199/644
  52. ADM 53/116172 + ADM 53/116386
  53. ADM 173/17407
  54. ADM 53/116112 + ADM 53/116172 + ADM 199/644
  55. ADM 53/116112 + ADM 53/116172
  56. ADM 53/116172 + ADM 53/116173 + ADM 53/116386 + ADM 53/116387 + ADM 199/644
  57. ADM 53/116173 + ADM 199/644
  58. ADM 53/116125 + ADM 53/116173 + ADM 199/427
  59. ADM 53/115687 + ADM 53/116125 + ADM 53/116173 + ADM 53/116387 + ADM 199/644
  60. ADM 53/115688 + ADM 53/115833 + ADM 53/116174 + ADM 199/644
  61. ADM 53/116174 + ADM 199/644
  62. ADM 53/115688 + ADM 53/116174
  63. ADM 53/116174 + ADM 53/116175 + ADM 199/644
  64. ADM 53/116175
  65. ADM 53/116097 + ADM 53/116175 + ADM 199/644
  66. ADM 199/427 + ADM 199/429 + ADM 199/644
  67. ADM 53/115689 + ADM 53/116175 + ADM 53/116630 + ADM 199/644
  68. ADM 53/115690 + ADM 53/116176 + ADM 199/644
  69. ADM 53/116176 + ADM 199/644
  70. ADM 53/116176
  71. ADM 53/115325 + ADM 53/115426 + ADM 53/116176 + ADM 53/116678 + ADM 199/644
  72. ADM 53/115427 + ADM 53/116177 + ADM 199/644
  73. ADM 53/116177
  74. ADM 53/115992 + ADM 53/116177
  75. ADM 53/116177 + ADM 199/644
  76. ADM 53/116177 + ADM 53/116679 + ADM 199/427 + ADM 199/429 + ADM 199/644
  77. ADM 53/116118 + ADM 53/117178
  78. ADM 53/116118 + ADM 53/117178 + ADM 199/644
  79. ADM 53/116178
  80. ADM 53/117838
  81. ADM 53/117839
  82. ADM 173/18004
  83. ADM 53/117014 + ADM 53/117576 + ADM 53/117670 + ADM 53/117839 + ADM 53/118252 + ADM 53/118480 + ADM 53/118629 + ADM 53/118673 + ADM 53/118714
  84. ADM 53/ + ADM 53/ + ADM 53/117839
  85. ADM 53/117839 + ADM 53/118301
  86. ADM 53/117576 + ADM 53/117839 + ADM 53/118301
  87. ADM 53/117694 + ADM 53/117839 + ADM 199/766
  88. ADM 53/117840 + ADM 53/118527
  89. ADM 53/117840 + ADM 53/118432
  90. ADM 199/632
  91. ADM 53/117840 + ADM 199/766
  92. ADM 199/766
  93. ADM 53/117695 + ADM 53/117840 + ADM 53/118302
  94. ADM 53/117841 + ADM 53/118303
  95. ADM 53/117841
  96. ADM 53/117841 + ADM 199/766
  97. ADM 53/117184 + ADM 53/117305 + ADM 53/117841 + ADM 53/118566
  98. ADM 173/18198
  99. ADM 53/117184
  100. ADM 199/766 + logbook of USS Augusta for Sep. 1943
  101. ADM 53/117842 + ADM 53/118567
  102. ADM 199/632 + ADM 199/766
  103. ADM 53/117842 + ADM 199/766 + Logbook of USS Augusta for Sep. 1943
  104. ADM 53/117843 + ADM 199/632 + ADM 199/766
  105. ADM 53/117843 + ADM 199/766 + Logbook of USS Augusta for Oct. 1943.
  106. ADM 53/117844 + ADM 199/766
  107. ADM 53/117844
  108. ADM 53/118436
  109. ADM 53/117845 + ADM 53/118346 + ADM 199/774
  110. ADM 53/117724 + ADM 53/117845 + ADM 199/632 + ADM 199/766
  111. ADM 53/117845 + ADM 199/766
  112. ADM 53/117845 + ADM 199/2560
  113. ADM 53/119798
  114. ADM 53/119799
  115. ADM 53/119290 + ADM 53/119799
  116. ADM 53/119169 + ADM 53/119799
  117. ADM 53/119170 + ADM 53/119800
  118. Files 2.12.03.6853, 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and ADM 199/1388
  119. ADM 53/119171 + ADM 53/119801
  120. ADM 53/119171 + ADM 53/119801 + ADM 53/120306 + ADM 53/120377
  121. Files 2.12.03.6853 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4621 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  122. ADM 53/119481 + ADM 53/119801 + ADM 53/120163 + File 2.12.03.6853 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  123. Files 2.12.03.6853 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4767 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  124. ADM 53/119803 + ADM 53/120573
  125. ADM 53/119803 + ADM 199/2560
  126. ADM 53/119803
  127. ADM 53/119803 + ADM 199/1388
  128. ADM 53/119804
  129. ADM 53/119804 + ADM 199/1388
  130. ADM 53/119484 + ADM 53/119805 + ADM 53/119649 + ADM 53/120167
  131. ADM 53/119176 + ADM 53/119485 + ADM 53/119806
  132. ADM 53/119806
  133. ADM 53/119176 + ADM 53/119559 + ADM 53/119806 + ADM 53/120241 + ADM 53/120576
  134. ADM 53/120577
  135. ADM 53/119807
  136. ADM 53/119177 + ADM 53/119807 + ADM 53/120169 + ADM 53/120242 + ADM 53/120577
  137. ADM 173/18789
  138. ADM 53/119808
  139. ADM 53/118757 + ADM 53/119808 + ADM 53/120146 + ADM 53/120243
  140. ADM 53/119179 + ADM 53/119809 + ADM 53/120147 + ADM 53/120579
  141. ADM 53/119809
  142. ADM 53/120780 + ADM 53/121692 + ADM 199/1457 + logbook of USS General William Mitchell
  143. ADM 53/121692
  144. ADM 199/1457
  145. ADM 53/121693 + ADM 53/122322
  146. ADM 53/121087 + ADM 53/121694
  147. File 2.12.03.6854 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  148. ADM 53/121695
  149. ADM 53/121696
  150. ADM 53/121698
  151. ADM 53/121699 + ADM 53/121985
  152. ADM 53/121699

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


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