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HM, later HMAS Shropshire, heavy cruiser (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

on to Atlantic & Europe at the start


BEGINNING and END, 1939 and 1945

In September 1939, the heart of the British & Commonwealth Navies were their centuries old traditions and 200,000 officers and men including the Royal Marines and Naval Reserves. At the very top as professional head was the First Sea Lord, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound.

Warship Strengths

The Royal Navies, still the largest in the world in September 1939, included:

15 battleships & battlecruisers, of which only two were post-World War 1. Five 'King George V' class battleships were building.

7 aircraft carriers. One was new and five of the planned six fleet carriers were under construction. There were no escort carriers.

66 cruisers, mainly post-World War 1 with some older ships converted for AA duties. Including cruiser-minelayers, 23 new ones had been laid down.

184 destroyers of all types. Over half were modern, with 15 of the old 'V' and 'W' classes modified as escorts. Under construction or on order were 32 fleet destroyers and 20 escort types of the 'Hunt' class.

60 submarines, mainly modern with nine building.

45 escort and patrol vessels with nine building, and the first 56 'Flower' class corvettes on order to add to the converted 'V' and 'W's' and 'Hunts'. However, there were few fast, long-endurance convoy escorts.

Included in the totals were the Commonwealth Navies, including:

Royal Australian Navy - six cruisers, five destroyers and two sloops;

Royal Canadian Navy - six destroyers;

Royal Indian Navy - six escort and patrol vessels;

Royal New Zealand Navy, until October 1941 the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy - two cruisers and two sloops.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The Fleet was reasonably well-equipped to fight conventional surface actions with effective guns, torpedoes and fire control, but in a maritime war that would soon revolve around the battle with the U-boat, the exercise of air power, and eventually the ability to land large armies on hostile shores, the picture was far from good.

ASDIC, the British answer to the submarine, had limited range and was of little use against surfaced U-boats, and the stern-dropped or mortar-fired depth charge was the only reasonably lethal anti-submarine weapon available. The Fleet Air Arm (FAA), recently returned to full control of the Navy, was equipped with obsolescent aircraft, and in the face of heavy air attack the Fleet had few, modern anti-aircraft guns. Co-operation with the RAF was limited although three Area Combined Headquarters had been established in Britain. Coastal Command, the RAF's maritime wing, had only short range aircraft, mainly for reconnaissance. And there was little combined operations capability.

On the technical side, early air warning radars were fitted to a small number of ships. The introduction by the Germans of magnetic mines found the British Navy only equipped to sweep moored contact mines. Finally, the German Navy's B-Service could read the Navy's operational and convoy codes.

Main Wartime Developments

As the war progressed, the British & Commonwealth Navies expanded rapidly with large construction programmes, particularly escort carriers, destroyers, corvettes, frigates, submarines, landing ships and craft.

By mid-1944, 800,000 officers and men and 73,000 WRNS were in uniform.

Vastly improved radars and anti-submarine weapons had been introduced, and the tactics to use them effectively, were honed to a fine pitch.

Ship-borne and land-based aircraft became vital in the life and death struggle against the U-boat, the only concern Prime Minister Winston Churchill retained throughout six years of war.

Huge combined operations landings took place with air superiority usually assured.

Although not defeated, magnetic, then acoustic and finally pressure mines were kept under control.

Perhaps of greatest single significance, the 'Ultra' operation against the German Enigma codes allowed the Allies to penetrate to the very heart of German and Axis planning and operations.

In short, in a war that started with Polish cavalry and ended with the Anglo-US atomic bomb, the British & Commonwealth Navies faced new and continuing threats and learnt to deal with them technically, operationally and above all, successfully.

But the human price was high ....

British & Commonwealth Naval Casualties, not including RAF and Army personnel killed in maritime operations, for example, Coastal Command, Defensively-Equipped Merchant Ships (DEMS) etc. were:

Royal Navies - 50,758 killed, 820 missing, 14,663 wounded

Women's Royal Naval Service - 102 killed, 22 wounded

Merchant Navy - 30,248 lost through enemy action

Single Ship Actions & Royal Marine Corps Memorable Dates, 1939-45


ATLANTIC 1939-45 - Theatre, escort & support group ships in North Atlantic from Equator to Arctic Circle, 3rd September-May 1945

NORTH SEA 1939-45 - Theatre, all waters from Southend-on-Sea, Thames Estuary north to Shetland Isles, excluding Norwegian coastal waters

ENGLISH CHANNEL 1939-45 - Theatre, Southend-on-Sea, Thames Estuary round to Bristol, Bristol Channel; Western limit line from Ushant, France to Scilly Islands, SW England

RIVER PLATE 1939 or "Graf Spee" Action - Battle, off Uruguay, S America, 13th December 1939



NORWAY 1940-45 - Campaign & theatre, North Sea from 8th April to June 1940, thereafter Norwegian coastal waters as far N as Tromso, 8th April 1940-May 1945

ADMIRAL HIPPER 1940 - HMS Glowworm, Single-ship action off coast of Norway, 8th April 1940

NARVIK 1940 - Two battles, N Norway, 10th & 13th April 1940

DUNKIRK 1940 (Operation Dynamo) - Evacuation, N coast of France, 28th May-4th June 1940

SCHARNHOST 1940 - HMS Acasta & Ardent, Single-ship action off coast of Norway, 8th June 1940

BISCAY 1940-45 - Theatre, Ushant to Cape Ortegal, from 12W to French coast

MEDITERRANEAN 1940-45 - Theatre, entire Mediterranean to line Cape Trafalgar/Cape Spartel just W of Gibraltar, June 1940-May 1945

CALABRIA 1940 or Punto Stilo - Battle, off SW Italy, 9th July 1940

SPADA 1940 or Cape Spada - Battle, off N coast of Crete, 19th July 1940

LIBYA 1940-42 - Campaign, Inshore Squadron (Force W) sailing in inshore waters between Benghazi, Libya and Port Said, Egypt, from around September 1940-June 1942

ADMIRAL SCHEER 1940 - HMS Jervis Bay, Single-ship action in North Atlantic, 5th November 1940

TARANTO 1940 - Fleet Air Arm attack, SE Italy, 11th November 1940

SPARTIVENTO 1940 - Battle, SW tip of Italy, 27th November 1940




MATAPAN 1941 or Cape Matapan - Battle, S tip of Greece, 28th-29th March 1941

GREECE 1941, April 1941 - Evacuation

SFAX 1941 - Battle, off E coast of Tunisia, 15th-16th April 1941

CRETE 1941 - Battles and evacuation, SE of Greece, 20th May-1st June1941

"BISMARCK" 1941 or Denmark Strait - Battles, North Atlantic,23rd-27th May 1941

ARCTIC 1941-45 or Russian Convoys - Theatre, N of Arctic, but excluding Norwegian coastal waters S of Tromso, August 1941-May 1945

KORMORAN 1941 - HMAS Sydney, Single-ship action off Western Australia in Indian Ocean, 19th November 1941

CAPE BON 1941 - Battle, Tunisia, 13th December 1941



MALAYA 1942-45 - Theatre, Malacca Straits between Malaya and Sumatra, from 7N to 7S, and 95E to 108E, January 1942-August 1945

PACIFIC 1942-45 - Theatre, January 1942-August 1945

SUNDA STRAIT 1942 - HMAS Perth, Single-ship action between Sumatra and Java, 28th February/1st March 1942

SIRTE 1942 - Battle, N of central Libya, 22nd March 1942

ST NAZAIRE 1942 - Raid, W coast of France, 28th March 1942

CORAL SEA 1942 - Battle, between Australia and Solomons Islands, 4th-8th May 1942

DIEGO SAUREZ 1942 or Madagascar - Invasion, off East Africa, 5th-7th May 1942

NEW GUINEA 1942-44 - Campaign, N of Australia, June 1942-1944

GUADALCANAL 1942-43 - Campaign, southern Solomons Islands, August 1942-February 1943

SAVO ISLAND 1942 - Battle, off Guadalcanal, southern Solomons Islands, 9th August 1942

DIEPPE 1942 - Raid, N coast of France, 19th August 1942

NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 (Operation Torch) - Invasion, Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia, 8th November 1942-20th February 1943

HOKOKU MARU 1942 - HMIS Bengal, Single-ship action in Indian Ocean, 11th November 1942

BARENTS SEA 1942 - Battle, N of Norway and Russia, 31st December 1942



SICILY 1943 - Invasion, S tip of Italy, 10th July-17th August 1943

KULA GULF 1943 - Battle, central Solomons Islands, 13th July 1943. NOTE: In all other reference sources, the Battle of Kula Gulf was fought on the night of the 5th/6th July. The battle on the night of the 12th/13th July when HMNZS Leander was in action and damaged is referred to as the Battle of Kolombangara.

AEGEAN 1943-44 - Campaign, Aegean Sea N of 35N and from 22E to 30E, 7th September-28th November 1943, and January-December 1944

SALERNO 1943 - Invasion, W Italy, 9th September-6th October 1943

TIRPITZ 1943 - HM Midget Submarines X6, X7, Single-ship action in N Norway, 22nd September 1943

NORTH CAPE 1943 or "Scharnhorst" Action - Battle, N of Norway, 26th December 1943



ANZIO 1944 - Invasion, Italy, 22nd January 1944

ADRIATIC 1944 - Theatre, Adriatic Sea N of 40N, January-December 1944

NORMANDY 1944 (Operation Overlord) - Invasion, N France, 6th June 1944

LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, N France - Royal Marine Corps Memorable Date, 6th June 1944

SABANG 1944 - Fleet Air Arm attack, Sumatra, 25th July 1944

SOUTH FRANCE 1944 - Invasion, 15th-27th August 1944

LEYTE GULF 1944 - Battles, central Philippines, 20th-27th October 1944

BURMA 1944-45 - Campaign, SE Asia, October 1944-April 1945, May-August 1945

WALCHEREN 1944 - Amphibious landing, island, SW Holland, 1st November 1944

ASSAULT ON WALCHEREN, SW Holland - Royal Marine Corps Memorable Date, 1st November 1944



LINGAYEN GULF 1945 - Invasion, northern Philippines, 5th-9th January 1945

PALEMBANG 1945 - Fleet Air Arm attack, Sumatra; restricted to four fleet carriers present and their FAA Squadrons, 24th and 29th January 1945

OKINAWA 1945 (Operation Iceberg) - Campaign, island chain SW of Japan, 24th March-21st June 1945

JAPAN 1945 - Fleet Air Arm operations, restricted to four fleet carriers present and their FAA Squadrons, 16th July-11th August 1945

TAKAO 1945 - HM Midget Submarines XE1, XE3, Single-ship action off Singapore, SE Asia, 31st July 1945





Norwegian Invasion & Campaign, Operation 'Wilfred' - Royal Navy destroyers laid minefields, simulated and real at three points off the Norwegian coast, including near Bodo on the 8th. Battlecruiser “Renown” and other destroyers provided cover. One of the screen, “GLOWWORM” (Lt-Cdr Roope) was detached to search for a man overboard just as 8in-gunned cruiser “Admiral Hipper” headed into Trondheim. They met to the northwest of the port and the destroyer was soon sunk, but not before she rammed and damaged “Hipper”. Lt-Cdr Gerard Roope RN was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

First Battle of Narvik - The 2nd Destroyer Flotilla (Capt. Warburton-Lee) with “Hardy”, “Havock”, “Hostile”, “Hotspur” and “Hunter”, entered Ofotfiord on the 10th to attack the German ships assigned to the occupation of Narvik. These included 10 large destroyers. Several transports were sunk together with destroyers “ANTON SCHMITT” and “WILHELM HEIDKAMP” in Narvik Bay. Other German destroyers were damaged, but as the British 2nd Flotilla retired, “HARDY” was beached, “HUNTER” sunk by the remaining German ships and “Hotspur” badly damaged. Capt Bernard Warburton-Lee RN was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.


Norwegian Campaign, continued - In three days and nights the last 10,000 British and French troops were evacuated from Namsos and around Andalsnes by the 2nd/3rd, following the failure to attack towards Trondheim and hold central Norway. Other troops were later landed further north, including at Bodo in an attempt to block the German advance from Trondheim towards Narvik. The Allies continued to build up forces for the attack on Narvik. Lt-Cdr Richard Stannard RNR, commanding officer of HM trawler Arab of the 15th Anti-Submarine Striking Force, was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry under air attack during operations off Namsos.


Battle of Britain - Anchored off the SE breakwater within Portland Harbour, auxiliary AA ship "FOYLE BANK" (Capt H P Wilson) was attacked by 33 Ju87 divebombers on the 4th and hit by a total of around 22 bombs. With one of the attackers shot down, she sank to the bottom with 176 men killed out of a total crew of 19 officers and 279 crew. Leading Seaman Jack Mantle, gunner in the "Foyle Bank", continued in action although mortally wounded and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.


Loss of the "Jervis Bay" - Halifax/UK convoy HX84 with 37 ships and its solitary escort, armed merchant cruiser "Jervis Bay" (Capt Fegen) was attacked by 11in-gunned pocket battleship "Admiral Scheer" in mid-Atlantic on the 5th. The convoy was ordered to scatter as "JERVIS BAY" headed for the "Scheer", guns firing. The end was in no doubt and she went down, but her sacrifice saved all but five of the merchant ships. Capt Edward Fegen RN was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.




German Heavy Ships - The arrival of battlecruisers "Scharnhorst" and "Gneisenau" in Brest led to a long series of heavy RAF bomber raids. These did not end until the Channel Dash in February 1942. During this time both ships sustained varying amounts of damage. On the 6th April "Gneisenau" was torpedoed and badly damaged by an RAF Beaufort of No 22 Squadron, Coastal Command. Flg Off Kenneth Campbell RAFVR, Canadian pilot of the Beaufort, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.


Battle for Crete - On patrol south of Crete, AA cruiser "Coventry" was heavily attacked from the air on the 18th. Petty Officer Alfred Sephton continued to carry out his duties in the director after being mortally wounded. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. 

Submarine Operations - "Upholder" (Lt-Cdr Wanklyn) attacked a strongly escorted troop convoy off the coast of Sicily on the 24th May and sank 18,000-ton liner "Conte Rosso". Lt-Cdr Malcolm Wanklyn RN was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross for this and other successful patrols in "Upholder".




"The Channel Dash" - The Brest Squadron (Vice-Adm Ciliax) with "Scharnhorst", "Gneisenau" and "Prinz Eugen", heavily escorted by air and other naval forces, left late on the 11th for Germany in Operation 'Cerberus'. The aim was to pass through the Strait of Dover around noon the next day. A number of problems conspired to prevent the RAF standing patrols detecting their departure. The first intimation of the breakout came with a RAF report around 10.45 on the 12th as the German force steamed towards Boulogne. This left little time for attacks to be mounted. Soon after midday the first was made by five motor torpedo boats from Dover and six Swordfish torpedo-bombers of 825 Squadron (Lt-Cdr Esmonde), but no hits were made. All Swordfish were shot down. Lt-Cdr Eugene Esmonde was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross


Submarine Operations - Royal Navy submarine "Thresher" was counter-attacked by the escorts of a convoy off northern Crete on the 16th. Two unexploded bombs lodged between the casing and hull, and with the likelihood of drowning should she have to submerge, two of the boat's crew managed to remove them. Lt Peter Roberts RN and Petty Officer Thomas Gould were awarded the Victoria Cross.


Evacuation of Singapore - Attempting to escape to Batavia, auxiliary patrol ship "LI WO" with a single 4in gun attacked a troop convoy south of Singapore and was soon sunk by a Japanese cruiser. Commanding officer Lt Thomas Wilkinson RNR was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.


Raid on St Nazaire - Concerned about the possibility of battleship "Tirpitz" breaking out into the Atlantic, the decision was made to put out of action the only dry-dock in France capable of taking her - the 'Normandie' at St Nazaire. Ex-US destroyer "Campbeltown" would be loaded with high explosives and rammed into the lock gates while British commandos, carried over in Royal Navy ML's or motor launches landed to destroy the dry-dock installations. The force sailed from southwest England on the 26th, and by a number of ruses penetrated the heavily defended port early on the 28th. In the face of intense fire, "Campbeltown" was placed exactly in position and many of the commandos got ashore to carry out their mission. Losses in men and coastal forces' craft were heavy, but when "CAMPBELTOWN" did blow up, the lock gates were put out of commission for the rest of the war and many Germans killed. + The Victoria Cross was awarded to three members of the Royal Navy taking part - Cdr Robert Ryder RN, Commanding Officer, Naval Forces sailing with his staff on board "MGB-314", Lt-Cdr Stephen Beattie RN, Commanding Officer, HMS Campbeltown, and posthumously to Able Seaman William Savage, gunner on "MGB-314" for gallantry under heavy fire.


RN Submarine Operations - Another submariner won the Victoria Cross. HM Submarine Torbay (Cdr Miers) carried out a difficult attack on shipping off Corfu on the 4th and torpedoed two merchantmen. This was only the latest of a number of successful patrols. Cdr Anthony Miers RN was awarded the Victoria Cross.


Oran, Algeria, "Operation Torch" - Within the Mediterranean, the landings to the west and east of Oran on the 8th were followed by an attempt to smash through the harbour boom and land troops directly from ex-US Coast Guard cutters "WALNEY" (Capt Peters) and "HARTLAND". Both were disabled by ship and shore gunfire and soon sank. Capt Frederick Peters RN of the "Walney" was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry. Five days later he was kiIled in an aircraft accident.


Battle of the Barents Sea & Russian Convoy JW51B - JW51B (14 ships) left on the 22nd escorted by six destroyers, a minesweeper and four smaller vessels under the command of Capt St. V. Sherbrooke in "Onslow". Adm Burnett with "Jamaica" and "Sheffield" joined the convoy south west of Bear Island on the 29th to provide close cover through the Barents Sea. By now "Tirpitz", pocket battleship "Lutzow", heavy cruiser "Admiral Hipper", light cruisers "Koln" and "Nurnberg" and a number of 5in and 5.9in gun destroyers were in Norwegian waters. Convoy JW51B was reported an the 30th and 8in "Hipper" (Adm Kummetz), 11in "Lutzow" and six destroyers put to sea from Altenfiord to intercept north of North Cape. Early on the 31st, New Year's Eve, the British ships were in four groups. The main convoy with five remaining 4in or 4.7in destroyers "Achates", "Onslow", "Obdurate", "Obedient" and "Orwell" headed due east. (Some of the escort and merchantmen had been scattered by gales and never regained the convoy). Northeast of the convoy, detached minesweeper "Bramble" was searching for missing ships. Adm Burnett's two 6in cruisers covered to the north. Further north still a straggling merchant ship and escorting trawler tried to reach the convoy. Capt Sherbrooke planned to use the same tactics as Adm Vian in the Second Battle of Sirte and head for the enemy while the convoy turned away under smoke. Unfortunately Adm Kummetz divided his force in two and planned to attack from astern on both sides - "Hipper" and three destroyers in the north and "Lutzow" with the other three in the south. On the 31st around 09.30, the action started with "Hipper's" three destroyers heading north across the rear of the convoy, and opening fire on "Obdurate". The convoy later turned as planned, but south towards "Lutzow". Then "Onslow", Orwell" and Obedient" sighted Hipper" and held her off until, at 10.20, "Onslow" was hit and Capt Sherbrooke badly wounded (Capt Rupert St. V. Sherbrooke RN was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry). Adm Burnett's cruisers meanwhile, following a radar contact, had diverted north towards the straggler and escort. They only headed towards the action at 10.00. Still to the north of the convoy, "Hipper" and her destroyers came across the hapless "BRAMBLE" and sent her to the bottom around 10.40. They headed south, and 40min later the 8in cruiser approached JW51B, opened fire and hit "ACHATES" which sank after the battle was over. Lutzow had already come up on the convoy from the south but did not join battle until 11.45. She was driven off by the remaining destroyers. By now "Jamaica" and "Sheffield" had arrived on the scene. They quickly hit "Hipper" and sank destroyer "FRIEDRICH ECKOLDT". "Hipper" tried to get back to the convoy but again the destroyers skillfully kept her at bay. By midday the German ships were withdrawing with the two cruisers in pursuit. Contact was shortly lost. None of the merchantmen were more than lightly damaged and all 14 reached Kola on the 3rd January.




Submarine Operations - "TURBULENT" (Cdr Linton) attacked an escorted ship off Maddalena, Sardinia on the 12th and was presumed sunk in the counter-attack by Italian MTB escorts. Cdr John Linton RN was awarded the Victoria Cross for his record as commanding officer of "Turbulent". The award was not gazetted until May 1943.


Battle of the Atlantic - "U-468" was sunk off Dakar, West Africa on the 11th by a RAF Liberator of No 200 Squadron. The final attack was carried out with the aircraft in flames and just before she crashed. The Liberator's commanding officer, Plt Off Lloyd Trigg RNZAF, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, solely on the evidence of the U-boat's survivors.


Midget Submarine Attack on Tirpitz, Operation 'Source' - Battleship "Tirpitz" posed such a threat to Russian convoys and held down so much of Home Fleet's strength that almost any measures to immobilise her were justified. Now it was the turn of midget submarines - the X-craft each with two 2-ton saddle charges. Six left for northern Norway towed by 'S' or 'T' class submarines. Two were lost on passage, but on the 20th off Altenfiord, "X-5", "X-6" and "X-7" set out to attack "Tirpitz" and "X-10" the Scharnhorst. "X-5" was lost and "X-10" was unable to attack, but "X-6" (Lt Cameron) and "X-7" (Lt Place) penetrated all the defences to reach "Tirpitz" laying in Kaafiord at the far end of Altenfiord on the 22nd. Both dropped their charges under or near the battleship before they sank and some of their crews escaped. "Tirpitz" managed to shift position slightly, but not enough to avoid damage when the charges went up. She was out of action for six months. Lt Donald Cameron RNR and Lt Basil Place RN were awarded the Victoria Cross.




Battle of the Atlantic - U-boats passing through the Bay of Biscay were the target for aircraft covering the Normandy invasion, and also continued to suffer badly at the hands of the aircraft of the Northern Transit Area patrol. Throughout the month, seven were sunk and one severely damaged by RAF, RCAF and Norwegian aircraft. In the case of "U-1225" to the northwest of Bergen on the 24th, the attacking Canadian Canso (or Catalina) was badly hit and crashed but not before sinking her. Flt Lt David Hornell RCAF, pilot of the Canso of No 162 Squadron, Coastal Command, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.


FAA Attack on "Tirpitz" - Barracuda torpedo bombers from Home Fleet carriers "Formidable", "Indefatigable" and "Furious" attempted to hit "Tirpitz" in Altenfiord on the 17th, but failed, partly because of defensive smokescreens. U-boats were sent to attack the carrier force, but over a period of four days, RAF Coastal Command sank three in the Northern Transit Area and won another Victoria Cross. On the 17th, west of Narvik, "U-347" was lost to a RAF Catalina of No 210 Squadron. Flg Off John Cruickshank RAFVR, pilot of the Catalina, continued to attack in spite of his wounds from the return fire and was awarded the Victoria Cross.




Italy - The last and decisive Allied offensive aimed at clearing the Germans from Italy got underway with commando assaults near Lake Comacchio on the 1st. In these operations the Royal Marines won their only VC of the war. Cpl Thomas Hunter, 43 Commando, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in action against German forces on the 2nd.


Sinking of the "Takao" - Japanese heavy cruiser "Takao", previously damaged by US submarines on passage to the Battle of Leyte Gulf, was now laying off Singapore in the Johore Straits. On the night of the 30th/31st, midget submarines "XE-1" (Lt Smart) and "XE-3" (Lt Fraser) were released by towing submarines "Spark" and "Stygian" and managed to reach the cruiser to drop their charges. "XE-3" was almost trapped beneath the hull of "Takao" on a falling tide. "TAKAO" was badly damaged in the resulting explosions and sank to the bottom. Lt Ian Fraser RNR and his diver, Leading Seaman James Magennis were awarded the Victoria Cross.


Japan - As US Third Fleet and the British Pacific Fleet continued to bombard Japan, the British and Commonwealth Navies won their last Victoria Cross of World War 2. Lt Robert Gray RCNVR, Corsair fighter-bomber pilot with "Formidable's" 1841 Squadron pressed home an attack on shipping in Onagawa harbour, north-eastern Honshu on the 9th. Under heavy fire, he sank his target before crashing in flames and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.


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revised 24/12/10