Convoy Route Codes,
Operation Code Names
Royal Navy Minelaying
WAR DIARY –
1st July 1942
enemy launched a general attack on our El Alamein
Royal Air Force carried out heavy attacks on advancing
throughout the day. Liberators bombed the harbour
installations at Tobruk.
Ammunition in the port area was reduced to nine days
As a result of the German advance in Egypt, the movement
French ships from Alexandria became a question of some
During the night Alexandria was raided by a few aircraft.
bombs were dropped but no naval damage was caused.
Stage three was reverted to four hours' notice.
All staff at 201 Naval Cooperation Group and Villa Laurens
remained at short notice to move, and gear was packed into
Ministry of War Transport, Middle East, and the Principal
Officer, (Egypt)'s offices in Alexandria were closed down,
being transferred to
The cased petrol carrier MARILYSE MOLLER was torpedoed and
by U boat at 1445 on 1st July in position 31-22N, 33-44E
whilst on passage from
Port Said to Haifa. The Senior Naval Officer, Levant Area
was informed that
delays occasioned by going into convoys could not at
present be accepted. Escorted
sailings were to continue and risks must be accepted to
keep shipping on the
NEWCASTLE returned to Aden being unable to proceed to
without sustaining further damage forward.
The Hospital ship MAINE, which had been sailed from
arrived at Ismailia.
PROMETHEUS was commissioned today as a nominal depot ship
patrol service personnel, in the Mediterranean under
command of Captain T.G.
Harrison, Royal Navy.
2nd July 1942
fighting continued all day with no appreciable gains being
made by the enemy. By the end of the day the situation was
satisfactory, the enemy making a slight withdrawal
Aircraft laid mines off Tobruk and Menelao (near Bomba).
The Commander in Chief's Operational Staff transferred to
Ismailia being established in Navy House. A few officers
went by air, but
remaining joining by road in convoy under the direction of
(Lieutenant Colonel Mosely). All arrived by nightfall
without incident. The
Chief of Intelligence Staff and Staff also reached
Ismailia. Accommodation in
Ismailia was very limited and the resourcefulness of the
Naval Officer in
Charge in finding accommodation for all was appreciated.
The decision to
establish the Commander in Chief's Operational Staff at
Ismailia was taken due
to the efficient communications at Ismailia, and the
facilities for close touch
with General Headquarters, Cairo, and H.M. Ships at Port
201 Naval Cooperation Group less an operational staff
Abu Sweir about 12 miles from Ismailia. Staff Officer
Mediterranean, and Staff Officer (Intelligence),
Alexandria, were established
at Port Said. JAVELIN reached Port Said with the Commander
in Chief's officer
records of a most secret nature.
The Captain (S), First Submarine Flotilla, completed a
preliminary survey of Haifa and Beirut with a view to
establishment of a
submarine base. For the time being, Haifa was decided as
Torpedo Wellingtons from Malta hit and probably sank one 8000
ton merchant vessel in a convoy 8 miles south of
Rear Admiral Commanding, Fourth Cruiser Squadron
flag to BIRMINGHAM, leaving the same day with HOTSPUR,
INCONSTANT, NIZAM, and
NORMAN for Kilindini.
Admiral Harwood had an interview with Vice Admiral Godfroy
regarding movement of his ships; the latter refused any
move without orders
from Vichy which he felt sure
would not be given. Vice
Admiral Godfroy made a counter proposal that Force X
should move to Bizerta;
this was refused. The deadlock was reported to the
Admiralty and a suggestion
was made that the inter- (n.b. page
chopped. Remaining line (s) are missing.)
3rd July 1942
fighting continued and the enemy's two main thrusts were
held. Royal Air Force air support reached its peak effort
of the Middle East
War when 155 bomb and 524 sorties were made in twenty
2. The Canal Area was raided by
mines being dropped chiefly in the Lower Section of the
ANTWERP and MALINES brought R.A.F. personnel from 201
Cooperation Group, disembarked them at Port Said, being
unable to proceed to
Ismailia owing to mining.
SIKH was taken in hand for repairs at
after minor damage had been caused by a near mine
explosion when leaving
Two further interviews between Admiral Harwood and Vice
Godfroy without any results. The President of the U.S.A.
offered asylum in a
North or South American port, and finally Martinique. None
of these suggestions
yielded anything. Thus the situation remained as being
with the recent
agreement still in force.
A and B
Force A based on Port Said:
EURYALUS, JERVIS, JAVELIN, EXMOOR, and ALDENHAM
B based on Haifa:
15), ARETHUSA, SIKH, ZULU, HERO, CROOME, and TETCOTT.
A force of four HUNTS were based on Alexandria consisting
ERIDGE, and BEAUFORT.
4th July 1942
forces continued to exert pressure to the South and East
El Alamein positions. During the day 600 German prisoners
of war were taken and
18 tanks destroyed.
Sixteen aircraft carried out a minelaying raid in the
and Suez Bay with slight diversionary bombing at Port
Said. There was no naval
damage. The Canal was closed to shipping.
H.M. Ships RESOURCE and WOOLWICH arrived at Port Sudan.
accommodation in the port was extremely restricted
especially with the large
numbers of merchant ships unloading. There were no Defence
arrangements were made to send two H.D.M.L.'s.
Captain (S), First Submarine Flotilla, reported that a
reconnaissance at Beirut had been completed and that it
was suitable for use as
a submarine base.
5th July 1942
the end of the day the enemy had retired behind an anti
screen south and southwest of El Alamein defended
position. It was apparent that
he had been forced to rest and reorganize his forces. Our
forces continued to
attack but were held.
About 35 aircraft raided the Alexandria and Port Said
aircraft in the Canal Area and two in the Alexandria area
were shot down.
Vice Admiral, Malta considered that the scale of mining
attacks had sufficiently decreased to allow the Tenth
Submarine Flotilla to
return with acceptable risks in the circumstances.
arrived at Haifa from Operation VIGOROUS and patrol in the
Central Mediterranean. At 0133/23 June, torpedoed and sank
one 2500 ton merchant vessel
in escorted eastbound convoy in
position 31-58N, 16-36E. At 1144 on 29th June, sank with
torpedoes a 3000 ton
southbound auxiliary in position 33-21N, 23-20E.
ALDENHAM and A.S.I.S. CID assisted by small craft
torpedoes (without warheads) from the wreckage of MEDWAY
in the vicinity of
Port Said swept channel.
6th July 1942
R.A.F. kept up their almost non-stop offensive on the
motor transport and particularly landing grounds.
DULVERTON and HURWORTH were kept at immediate notice
the night in the outer anchorage to act on air reports. It
appeared likely that
the enemy would attempt to supply his forward troops with
During the night a minelaying raid was carried out on Suez
four aircraft. The only casualty was one waterboat.
The Norwegian S.S. HERO was torpedoed and sunk by U boat
6th July in position 32-23N, 34-35E. Ship
was being escorted
by GLOXINIA, PROTEA, and SOUTHERN MAID from Haifa
to Port Said. KONDOURITIS
and LA MOQUESE and later, CROOME and TETCOTT carried out
an A/S search for U
boat, but did not achieve success.
7th July 1942
change in the land situation; considerable movement of the
enemy's transport was apparent throughout the day.
ERIDGE and BEAUFORT were detailed for the operation during
night, but no reports were received.
During the night about ten aircraft laid mines in the Gulf
Suez south of the Newport Channel. Some bombs were also
dropped in the Suez
area. One aircraft was shot down by nightfighters.
The S.S. BLAIRCLOVA, in a convoy escorted by PRIMULA
Officer), CUMBRAE, and H.M.S.A.S. SOUTHERN ISLES, grounded
in position 31-23N,
34-22E at 0110. She was refloated shortly afterwards and
was able to rejoin the
convoy which was on passage
from Port Said to Haifa.
7th July 1942
and HURWORTH carried out a shipping search to the westward
of Alexandria during the night but found nothing. M.L.'s
352 and 353 patrolled
in the vicinity of the harbour entrance.
Arrangements were made to stock Palestine and Syria with a
six month's supply of
ammunition. Sufficient stocks were
still maintained at Alexandria for its defence and
Negotiations were in progress between the Flag Officer
Commanding, Red Sea and Canal Area and Baron Benoist, Head
of the Suez Canal
Company with a view to our control of the Canal Company's
as a war measure. The military situation and recent air
raids had caused a
serious reduction of the Canal Company's workshops at a
time when increased
demands were being made upon them.
of the Victoria Cross
It was announced today that Commander A.C.C. Miers, Royal
D.S.O., had been awarded the Victoria Cross for valour in
command of H.M.
Submarine TORBAY in a daring and successful raid on Corfu
submarine had carried out numerous successful patrols
during the recent months
in the Mediterranean.
9th July 1942
the day the enemy occupied the positions at Deir El
and some ground to the eastward. There were indications
that the enemy was
strengthening his right flank preparatory to a renewed
Restricted traffic recommenced in the Suez Canal today.
– Capture of
Italian U boat
3. HYACINTH who was proceeding
Haifa to Beirut when in position 33-50N, 35-19E was
narrowly missed by two
torpedoes at 1727. The tracks of these were
sighted in time to enable
drastic avoiding action to be taken. Successful depth
charge attacks were
immediately carried out which twenty minutes later forced
the submarine to the
surface. After a few rounds on HYACINTH's Breda and 3"
gun, the crew of the U
boat surrendered. GLOXINIA by now had arrived on the scene
later being joined
by two M.T.B.s from Beirut with officers with knowledge of
boarding party was put onboard the submarine with Italian
their efforts to get the Italians to steam the submarine
underweigh did not
succeed and at dusk HYACINTH had her in tow. Many of the
crew panicked and were
picked up by HYACINTH. By 0100 the following morning, the
U boat had been towed
into Beirut. Five officers and 39 ratings were taken
prisoners; one rating was
killed having been blown out of the submarine.
This U boat was the Italian PERLA. She had left Messina on
July and specially diverted by signal to the Levant Area.
The machinery was found
to be in a poor state of repair. PERLA had been in Massawa
and after its fall
had managed to return to Italy via the Cape. The morale of
the ship's company
The Commander in Chief directed that a combined naval and
victualling store depot was to
be set up near Haifa.
It was also decided that three months' supplies to be
to the Levant.
10th July 1942
Australians launched an attack along the railway line from
Alamein gaining some ground; over a thousand prisoners
were taken during this
ERIDGE and BEAUFORT carried out operation MATCH during the
on Enemy Convoy
3. An enemy convoy of five merchant
escorted by five M.T.B.s and two destroyers on passage
from Crete to Tobruk was
attacked by Albacores at dawn. One merchant ship
was hit and left on
fire. Subsequent reconnaissance showed this convoy to be
in Tobruk less one
The Albacores were flown to an enemy landing group 44
of Sollum the previous afternoon. Bombay aircraft (n.b.
of 216 R.A.F. Squadron)
provided the fuel, stores, and
personnel. Of the ten Albacores which
took part it was
unfortunate that only four located the convoy. All
aircraft returned safely to
their normal bases and there was no evidence to show that
the enemy had any
knowledge of this special operation.
11th July 1942
midday the Australians had captured the Tel El Eisa
destroying 22 tanks and taking about two thousand German
and Italian prisoners.
A heavy daylight attack was carried
out by a large force of
Wellingtons, on the enemy convoy in Tobruk. One
ship was hit and
ERIDGE and BEAUFORT repeated last night's sweep to the
348 and 352 swept within ten miles of the coast as far as
029 East. Again nothing was
Captain (D), Fourteenth Destroyer Flotilla in JERVIS with
carried out an A/S search from Port Said to Jaffa and back
to Port Said with
A.S.V. Swordfish aircraft cooperating.
An Italian U boat was sunk by PROTEA and SOUTHERN MAID and
aircraft at 1700 in position 34-38N, 34-56E. The submarine
was forced to the
surface by depth charges whereupon the Walrus immediately
dived and attacked
from seventy feet. The A/S trawlers shelled the U boat and
it sank thirteen
minutes after opening the attack. Forty
TAKU returned from patrol off the Libyan Coast. This
went on patrol on the initiative of her Commanding
Officer, who owing the
critical situation in the Western Desert volunteered to go
to sea in spite of
the fact that he had just returned from an exceedingly
long and arduous patrol.
12th July 1942
the night DULVERTON and HURWORTH bombarded Mersa Matruh
harbour area; ships fired 400 rounds all of which fell in
the in the target
area. ERIDGE and BEAUFORT acted as cover and an ammunition
which had left harbour, probably as a result of
earlier air attacks, was
sunk by BEAUFORT. E boat which were escorted this ship
were engaged and driven
off by ERIDGE. Two Italian torpedo boats
which were sighted
proceeding to the westward at high speed were
engaged by the "Hunts" but
results were not known. No damage or
sustained by our Forces. M.T.B. 307 succeeded in
reaching Ras el Rum Bay
with a sabotage party (Commandos), but was unable to land
them due to the
weather and the presence of enemy forces in the vicinity.
The Vice Admiral, Malta reported that the searched channel
the harbour had been finally cleared. A total of 206 mines
had been cut since
the operation began on the 8th May. Before the arrival of
the Fleet minesweepers
and motor launches from the June convoy, this
was carried out
by four local auxiliary minesweepers assisted by smaller
craft for danning.
The crews were in large part, Malta naval ratings who
faced up to the dangers and difficulties of the operation
with an indomitable
The Turkish tanker ANTARES on passage from Alexandretta to
was torpedoed by an U Boat at
2105 in position 34-35N,
35-39E. Ship was beached on the shoals inshore of Ruad
Island (North of Tripoli
(Syria)), with her engineroom and boiler rooms flooded.
She was subsequently
salvaged and towed to Iskanderun by the tug HENRIETTA
MOLLER, with the
assistance of H.M. Tug TIENTSIN, H.M.S.A.S. SOUTHERN
ISLES, and the Free French
ship REINA DES FLOTS.
QUEEN ELIZABETH escorted by NAPIER was sailed for Aden and
Final repairs were to be undertaken at the Naval Yard,
P 211 sank the Italian S.S. ADDA of 800 tons in the Gulf
Crosei by torpedoes and gunfire. Later in the same area a
merchant ship of 1500
tons was attacked by gunfire close inshore. P 211 was
forced to break off a
gunfire action owing to fire from coastal batteries. It
was probable that the
ship was later beached.
13th July 1942
Our occupation of the Tel El Eisa
maintained throughout the day in spite of heavy attacks
by the enemy. There
was little to report from other sectors of the front.
2. Four "F" lighters who were
proceeding to Libya
were attacked by Beaufighters and Wellingtons south of
Lampedusa. It is
probable that one was sunk and another damaged.
The Chief of Staff, Commodore Edelsten, left for a short
Palestine and Syria.
Sea – Aden
and HURSLEY arrived on the Mediterranean Station, being
from the Eastern Fleet.
14th July 1942
Thirty one Spitfires were
flown into Malta from H.M.S. EAGLE.
The white oil tanker ADINDA was torpedoed by a U boat at
today, in position 33-33N, 35-10E. She managed to effect
temporary repairs and
reached Haifa under her own power. It was subsequently
found that ADINDA was
astern of the convoy proceeding from Beirut to Haifa.
The Turkish submarine ATILAY sank off the entrance to the
Dardanelles during Fleet exercises by striking an
mine in 40 fathoms. She was testing the Dardanelles loops
at the time. Salvage
was impossible and the crew of thirty
eight officers) were lost. Sweepers had exploded three
Antennae in the
neighbourhood of the creek and it appears that the enemy
had previously laid a
minefield in this area. This was a German submarine
was assembled at Istanbul and completed in 1940.
SAHRA, SANTA, SILHOUETTE, SNOWDRIFT, and RAINSTORM arrived
Aden. They had been sent from the East Indies Station for
fitting out as LL minesweeping trawlers.
16th July 1942
view of the present situation in the port, advantage was
overhaul and repair all lighters for further service.
– Move GARWAY
The move of troops between Haifa and Famagusta was begun
ANTWERP and PRINCESS MARGUERITE were sailed from Port
Said, with an escort of three
destroyers, for Famagusta, and Haifa. The greater majority
of the personnel
were embarked in PRINCESS MARGUERITE.
Two spare 15" guns were despatched today in S.S. GAUSDALE
REMBRANDT respectively for Australia on Admiralty
16th July 1942
arrived carrying a cargo consisting of powdered milk,
edible oils and vitamin concentrates. In addition to this,
personnel took passage in WELSHMAN. Italian and German
aircraft carried out one
heavy attack resulting in several near misses but no
damage. Whilst in harbour
she was docked in number five dock
and given a list to
simulate damage. Fortunately, no attacks on the Harbour
developed during her
17th July 1942
continued to use the port on a limited scale; a limit of
one "dangerous" ship in harbour at a time was stipulated.
Two corvettes, two
A/S M/S vessels and ANTWERP were employed on escort duties
between Port Said
and Alexandria. Ship's requiring re arming and repairs
were sent to Alexandria,
and the Admiralty Floating Dock was used for merchant ship
The scale of air attack on Malta had shown a considerable
18th July 1942
HURWORTH, ERIDGE, and BEAUFORT carried out a bombardment
of Mersa Matruh harbour area during the night. Results
party owing to bad weather and failure of the aircraft to
drop his flares over
the target area.
It was reported that THORGRIM, previously sunk in an air
was badly damaged and must be considered a total loss.
PARTHIAN arrived with a small cargo of supplies from
was mostly cartridges and shells for MATCHLESS who could
not be sailed without
them. WELSHMAN was failed from Malta for Gibraltar having
unloaded her cargo
without enemy interference.
Schooner traffic was resumed in the Levant area as far
Haifa, having been stopped at the end of June when U Boat
activity was at its
19th July 1942
and HURWORTH repeated the bombardment of Mersa Matruh
area. Only six salvoes were fired since the presence of E
boats and bad weather
caused it to be discontinued. There was no air spotting
over the target when
the destroyers came to open fire due to their late
The Greek Commander in Chief, Admiral Sakellariou in
with the Vice President of the Council placed the Greek
units serving in the
Mediterranean entirely under the orders of the Commander
Mediterranean. The Greeks also expressed desire to remain
in the Mediterranean
to the last possible moment with our naval forces.
20th July 1942
Bombardment of Mersa Matruh
Rear Admiral Destroyers in DIDO with EURYALUS, JERVIS,
PAKENHAM, and PALADIN sailed from Port Said at 1300 on
19th and carried out a
successful bombardment of Mersa Matruh harbour area.
Aircraft spotting was
excellent the cruisers firing about 400 rounds at least
sixty percent of which
fell in the target area. One petrol ship was blown up and
damaged. At the same time DULVERTON and ALDENHAM carried
out an anti E boat
sweep inshore driving off two E boats and returned to
Alexandria the following
morning. There was little doubt that these bombardments
hindering the enemy's use of the port and upsetting
morale. The force returned
to Port Said at 1500 without incident.
At 0700 a mine was exploded in the swept channel to
MARGUERITE and ANTWERP were due to arrive an hour later.
The Naval Officer in
Charge closed the port and it was decided to anchor the
convoy off the port. In
four hours 1200 troops and three hundred tons of stores
were disembarked using
every available small craft in the harbour. Three hundred
Greek troops were
The arrival of P 42 marked the beginning of the return to
of the Tenth Submarine Flotilla.
ARPHA and SAGITTA sailed for the Yemen coast to intercept
and Italian refugees who were due to leave Jedda on the
22nd July. This was a
result of political pressure on Ibn Saud, who agreed that
these internees could
leave and that he would connive at out ships intercepting
ROBERTS was moved from Suez to Abu Zenina anchorage for
protection of shipping waiting call up to Suez.
21st July 1942
operation to block Mersa Matruh harbour with the Greek
GIORGIOS G on the 23rd was abandoned for the time being.
The R.A.F. considered
that as their fighters could not give full protection
owing to the distance
involved the operation would be impracticable. GIORGIOS G
had been taken over
by a Naval crew. The Operation was to be covered by
COVENTRY, 6 "Hunts", 2
M.T.B.s and 2 Fairmiles. Preparations were however
continued to carry out the
operation at a later date with a faster block ship.
Temporary repairs to BADSWORTH and MATCHLESS were reported
complete. These ships had been damaged on arrival of the
June Malta convoy.
3. MALINES, who was off the end of the
channel to enter harbour was torpedoed by
aircraft just abaft the engine
room. She was towed in by tugs and beached in the out
harbour just in time to
save her sinking. Seven ratings were killed and the same
number wounded. BOSTON
sustained slight damage whilst towing MALINES.
Beauforts from Malta attacked a merchant ship escorted by
destroyers 334 degrees Gheroghambo 63 miles. The merchant
was badly hit and
when last seen was stopped, emitting while (n.b.
white ?) smoke and being
circled by the
Schooner traffic in the entire Levant area was now
22nd July 1942
operating from Alexandria carried out an anti shipping
to the westward during the night but found nothing.
P 43 was sailed from Gibraltar to join the Mediterranean
Operation INSECT. EAGLE
flew off twenty nine Spitfire
aircraft which landed
safely at Malta with one exception.
Captain (S) Tenth Submarine Flotilla and his Staff arrived
by air today and assumed operational control of the Tenth
In view of the recent mining in Suez Bay, GENERAL BIRDWOOD
MINVER of the 23rd M/S Group were retained at Suez for
23rd July 1942
Bombardment of Mersa Matruh
Rear Admiral Destroyers in DIDO with EURYALUS, JERVIS,
JAVELIN, PALADIN, BELVOIR, and HURSLEY who had been sailed
from Port Said 2000
on 22nd attempted a bombardment of Mersa Matruh harbour
area, but after two
salvoes it had to be abandoned, due to failure of the
and very low cloud. DULVERTON and HURWORTH, who had sailed
acted as an anti E boat cover during the bombardment. The
force returned to
Port Said without incident.
Operation GARWAY. The
move of six thousand military personnel into Famagusta
from Haifa was completed
today. ANTWERP and PRINCESS MARGUERITE were employed and
an escort of three
destroyers for each trip was provided from Port Said and
Haifa as required.
At 0500, the Greek schooner VASSILIKI was sunk by a U boat
approximate position 34-45N, 34-35E. Survivors landed in
their own boat at
Famagusta during the day. As a result schooner traffic was
24th July 1942
asked for details as to possibility of moving Admiralty
Floating Dock number 5 to Kilindini.
Convoys were begun between Tripoli (Syria) and Port Said
sufficient escorts were now available and delays to
shipping could be accepted.
It was necessary to relieve the escorts to allow them to
get some maintenance
done. Up to now, many of them had been run continuously
maintenance. Convoys were numbered LE and LW onwards and
set to run every three day.
The scale of escorts was to be a minimum of two
escorts for one ship, three escorts for two ships and five
escorts for three
ships or more, and ships of seven knots and under were not
to be included.
A small Greek sailing vessel was sunk by gunfire from a U
miles east of Cape Greco.
25th July 1942
and M.L.s operating from Alexandria carried out a shipping
sweep from Ras el Daba to Ras el Rum during the night, but
Beauforts from Malta severely damaged an escorted merchant
ten miles west of Cape Gheroghambo. Ship was last seen on
fire and stopped with
her escort of four destroyers circling her.
26th July 1942
again an M.T.B. and M.L. shipping sweep west of Alexandria
THRASHER whilst on passage to her patrol area was
attacked by a Swordfish from 815 Squadron thirty
miles north of Port Said. Her main batteries were severely
damaged and major
defects to hull were also found. She was able to return to
harbour by dawn the
following day. One rating suffered minor injuries.
THRASHER was on her safe
route at the time.
Schooner traffic was once again resumed.
27th July 1942
authorities were informed that there was no objection to a
few ships being worked at the port. Only one "dangerous"
ship however, was
allowed to use the port at a time.
28th July 1942
Greek submarine NEREUS arrived at Port Said after a patrol
the Aegean. Three small caiques were sunk north of
Scarpanto and a possible hit
on an unescorted 7000 to merchant ship near Mandali
Island. Three Dodecanese
prisoners were taken from these vessels. This was a most
carried out in spite of continual electrical defects which
deprived NEREUS of
an almost certain victim in the Zea Channel.
About ten enemy aircraft raided the Suez area during the
FAWZIA who was employed on coastguard duty in the Rea Sea
was damaged by bombs
and later sank in shallow water. The boom defence vessel
PUNNET was damaged and
rendered unserviceable. The D.E.M.S. office buildings were
Salvage of FAWZIA was undertaken by
CONFEDERATE, the Egyptian
Government bearing the cost. COVENTRY was sailed
from Port Said to Suez
for A.A. duties in anchorages south of the Canal.
29th July 1942
M.T.B.s attempted an anti E boat sweep off Mersa Matruh
to the weather it had to be abandoned.
Ten miles south of Sapenza, Beauforts attacked a heavily
merchant ship and claim to have seriously damaged it.
of Navarin Bay the following day, showed a damaged
merchant ship in harbour.
H.M. Submarine CLYDE arrived at Malta with cargo chiefly
consisting of bulk oils and vital food commodities for the
garrison. An Italian
flying boat landed in St Julian's Bay. This aircraft had
been captured by one
of the crews of the Beauforts, who had been taken
prisoners and overpowered
their guards whilst on passage from Navarin to Italy.
Three schooners north of Damietta reported sunk by gunfire
Admiral Harwood lunched with H.M. King Farouk at Abdin
Prime Minister of Egypt was also present.
30th July 1942
was a noticeable increase in enemy attacks on the Island.
general bombers were escorted by a huge number of
fighters; many sorties turned
back on the appearance of the Spitfires.
During the month six months naval stores and provisions
Fleet had been transferred from Alexandria to Haifa.
Forty per cent of the Station resources of Naval stores
transferred to Port Sudan for eventual use at Alexandria.
Stocks in the Canal
area were built up, and the victualling store ship CHANGTE
was moved south of
the Canal in readiness to undertake supplies to destroyers
and small craft
which might be transferred to this area.
31st July 1942
air attacks were carried out on Tobruk and Mersa Matruh
harbour. At the latter one ship about 2 to 3000 tons were
sunk. Throughout the month, the R.A.F. and F.A.A.
Squadrons had kept up almost
continuous air attacks on land and on shipping in harbour
and at sea. Six ships
totaling 13,000 tons had definitely been sunk by air
attack during this month.
About six enemy aircraft operated over Alexandria during
night. There were some civilian casualties but no naval or
PARTHIAN, having unloaded her cargo and completed repairs
minor defects sailed for Gibraltar.
P 34 arrived after an uneventful passage from Haifa.
The following ships were escorting convoys between Beirut
SAKTOURIS, SNAPDRAGON, FALK, KLO,
ROMEO, and M.L. 356
PRIMULA, BURRA, SPETSAI, and IERAX
Our submarines were disposed as follows:
OTUS On passage from
to Malta and U.K.
PARTHIAN On passage from Malta to
On patrol west of Crete
THORN On patrol in Tobruk area
TURBULENT At Beirut
On patrol in Adriatic
P 31, P 43 On passage from
Gibraltar to Malta
34, P 44, and CLYDE At Malta
42 On patrol Messina Area
and THRASHER At Port Said refitting
Libyan coast patrol.
On patrol in Aegean
Port Said refitting
OF EVENTS FOR July 1942
most serious problem in the early part of the month was
land situation in the Western Desert would develop. The
enemy launched a
general attack against the El Alamein at the beginning of
the month which was repulsed
and the position was eventually
established on this line. As Alexandria was still within
escorted bomber range
it could not be considered as a safe Fleet Base and so the
policy of thinning
out as much a possible was continued.
A difficult question was that of the French Fleet at
the beginning of the month Admiral Harwood had an
interview with Vice Admiral
Godfroy regarding the movements of his ships; the latter
refused any move
without orders from Vichy which he felt sure would not be
given. Vice Admiral
Godfroy made a counter proposal that his ships should move
to Bizerta, which
was refused. A suggestion was made that the intervention
of the U.S.A. might
help, which resulted in an officer by the President for an
asylum in a North or
South American port and finally Martinique. This proposal
yielded nothing and
thus the situation remained as before with the present
agreement still in
force. A plan was prepared for any action necessary
against this force under
the varying situations that might arise.
and Canal Area
As Alexandria could not be considered as a safe Fleet Base
policy of dispersal and stores was continued, and the
Commander in Chief's
operations staff transferred to Ismailia, but Alexandria
was still used to a
limited extent for unloading essential military stores.
A number of air raids took place on both Alexandria and
area, chiefly on the latter where mines were dropped in
the Canal and one or
two ships damaged at Port Said.
After very heavy attacks and counter attacks the line was
eventually stabilized on the El Alamein position. The
R.A.F. kept up a very
heavy scale of air attack on the enemy positions and
ports. At Tobruk it is
estimated that six ships totaling 13,000 tons were sunk.
A number of bombardments at Mersa Matruh both by cruisers
destroyers were carried out,
some were very successful
whilst others were hampered by failure of the flare
droppers and bad weather. A
number of searches for enemy shipping along the coast to
the west of Alexandria
were also carried out.
Every opportunity was taken by both aircraft and
interfere with the enemy supply lines
in considerable success. One convoy was attacked by Albacores
which were flown to an enemy landing ground about
44 miles south of
Sollum when they refuelled from Bombays. All the aircraft
returned safely to
their bases on completion of the operation and there is no
evidence to show
that the enemy had any knowledge of what had taken place.
There was an increase in submarine activity against our
proceeding up and down the coast, which resulted in the
loss of two ships and
the damaging of a third. On the credit side, one Italian
submarine was captured
and one U boat sunk.
Beirut was opened up as a submarine base. It
previously been used by the French as such; there
was therefore a
good deal of equipment and accommodation already
On account of the wider dispersal of stores from
bombing Naval and Victualling Store Depot to take six
months' supplies for the
Fleet was opened up at Haifa.
An operation entailing the move of 6000 troops between
Famagusta was successfully carried out.
NEWCASTLE had to return to Aden being unable to proceed to
Kilindini without sustaining further damage; she had been
damaged when taking
part in the recent Malta convoy operations.
RESOURCE, WOOLWICH arrived at Port Sudan and QUEEN
left the Red Sea for repairs in America.
Two ships were sent to the Yemen coast to intercept German
Italian refugees who were known to be leaving Jedda.
Forty per cent of the Station reserves of naval stores
transferred to Port Sudan for eventual use at Alexandria,
and stocks in the
Canal area were also built up.
Vice Admiral, Malta considered that the scale of mining
attacks had sufficiently decreased to allow the Tenth
Submarine Flotilla to
return with acceptable losses; about the middle of the
month our Submarine
offensive from Malta commenced once again.
In recent weeks, 206 mines had been swept up, chiefly by
local auxiliary minesweepers manned most by Maltese naval
ratings, who faced up to this
dangerous and difficult operation with
an indomitable spirit.
During the month EAGLE in two operations flew into the
total of sixty Spitfires. WELSHMAN and CLYDE each did one
trip taking in
essential stores and personnel.
Aircraft took every opportunity to strike against the
Our submarines continued their successful offensive
enemy convoys, and with Malta operating again as a
Submarine base, this
offensive was able to be conducted over a wider area.
QUEEN ELIZABETH left the Red Sea for repairs in
HURSLEY arrived from the Eastern Fleet.
Cased petrol carrier MARILYSE MOLLER sunk by U
sunk by U Boat
by torpedo aircraft.
WAR DIARY –
1st August 1942
five aircraft operated over Alexandria. There was no naval
damage. Three Beaufighters were shot down.
H.M.S. P 31 arrived after an uneventful passage from
The Egyptian schooner ST SIMON was sunk by gunfire from a
35 miles northwest of Beirut whilst on passage to Larnaca.
An M.T.B. picked up
survivors and brought them to Limasol. Force B carried out
off Haifa during the day.
H.M.S. ARPHA intercepted five Italians off Melma Islands
(position 194-45N, 40-35.5E). These were some of the
Italian internees from
Yemen who had been given permission by Ibn Saud to leave
the country with our
connivance. They were mostly Italians who had fled from
Massawa before its
fall, and in some cases were crews of the scuttled Italian
numbers concerned were about sixty. Plans of routes to
Turkey via Syria and
Transjordan were found on some of the prisoners.
2nd August 1942
UNA arrived after a short patrol whilst on passage from
Haifa. P 34 arrived from Gibraltar to join the Tenth
Schooner traffic in the Levant was suspended.
3rd August 1942
on the submarine base at Beirut was now complete.
The Greek submarine depot ship CORINTHIA was sailed from
Beirut in convoy and arrived without incident.
H.M.S. SAGITTA intercepted fourteen Italian escapees from
Yemen at Sherm Makar. No objection
was raised by the local
authorities to H.M.S. SAGITTA's presence in
4th August 1942
Swordfish of 815 Squadron attacked and damaged a U boat
Alexandria during the night. This was partially confirmed
by reconnaissance the
next morning and later D/F bearings which showed her
returning to Dodecanese
The Eleventh Royal Marine Battalion was moved from Kabret
Haifa for special training.
of German U Boat
At 2123 on the 3rd August, an A.S.V. Wellington of 231
obtained contact of a submarine south west of Haifa. Captain
Twenty Second Destroyer Flotilla in H.M.S. SIKH and
H.M.S. ZULU hunted
throughout the night. As depth charges were
running low H.M. Ships
CROOME and TETCOTT were sailed from Haifa to relieve them.
Finally at 1337 the
U boat surfaced and was engagement by all the armament
possible till she
surrendered and sank badly damaged in position 32-28N,
34-37E. The complete
crew and one agent were taken prisoner. It was
subsequently learned that she
was on a special mission to sabotage oil installations,
quite probably at
Haifa. The Naval Officers in Charge Levant area were
warned of this possibility
and to review their present anti sabotage arrangements. The
boat was commanded by Kapitanleutenant Neumann.
H.M.S. RESOURCE returned to Suez after a months' stay at
Admiral Harwood had a meeting with Mr. Churchill at 1730
5th August 1942
M.T.B.s carried out an anti E boat sweep to the westward
the night but found nothing.
Out of two Italian aircraft which
attacked minesweepers at the end of the searched channel,
one was shot down by
H.M.S. FAREHAM. She picked up six survivors all of whom
H.M.S. DIDO escorted by H.M. Ships PALADIN and KELVIN
Haifa to relieve H.M.S. ARETHUSA who returned to Port Said
with H.M.S. DIDO's
escort, and H.M. Ships SIKH and TETCOTT. Schooner traffic
was again resumed.
5th August 1942
COVENTRY escorted by JERVIS and KELVIN was sailed from
Said to Beirut for a short rest period.
7th August 1942
arrived with passengers and vital
which included torpedoes, ammunition, and petrol.
ALDENHAM was sailed from Haifa to Beirut to reinforce the
8th August 1942
in Chief and
Operational Staff – Return to Alexandria
Commander in Chief, and a small operational staff returned
Alexandria, moving to offices in Sidi Bishr near 201 Naval
Cooperation Group. The
Administrative Staff remained at Port Said. The Flag of
Commander in Chief was
transferred to H.M.S. FLAMINGO.
General the Hon. Sir Harold R.L.G. Alexander, K.C.B.,
D.S.O., M.C., assumed command of Middle East Forces today.
9th August 1942
from 38 Squadron mined the entrance to Matruh Harbour
during the night.
The Greek submarine PAPANICOLIS returned to Beirut after a
patrol. Her main object was the evacuation of 22 Greeks
from the southern
shores of Crete. This was successfully accomplished in
spite of bad weather. PAPANICOLIS
suffered from engine defects, nearly exhausting her fuel
The Egyptian schooner KHAROUF was sunk by gunfire from a U
at 0300 between Sidon and Beirut.
escorted by ALDENHAM and ZULU arrived at Haifa from
The following ships were escorting convoys on the Levant:
10th August 1942
was decided to run a convoy to Malta. This convoy which
of 13 merchant ships and one tanker which left the United
Kingdom on the 2nd
August, entered the Mediterranean on the night 9/10th
August. The escorts
comprised NELSON, RODNEY, INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS, EAGLE,
KENYA, MANCHESTER, PHOEBE, CHARYBDIS, SIRIUS, CAIRO, and twenty
four destroyers. The Operation was under the
command of Acting Vice
Admiral E.N. Syfret, C.B., (Senior Officer, Force F) in
NELSON. The aircraft
carrier force was under the command of Rear Admiral A.L.
St. Lyster, C.B.,
C.V.O., D.S.C., in VICTORIOUS. The Flag Officer
Commanding, Tenth Cruiser
Squadron, Rear Admiral H.M. Burrough, C.B., was in
After passing through the Straits the force was sighted by
Spanish ship on opposite course.
MATCHLESS and BADSWORTH with two merchant ships which had
remained at Malta since the June convoy sailed after dark
and proceeded to
Gibraltar under the cover of Operation PEDESTAL.
It was decided to run a diversionary Malta convoy in the
Mediterranean with the object of preventing the enemy
directing the full weight
of surface and air forces against the convoy being run
At 2000 S.S. CITY OF
PRETORIA, CITY OF LINCOLN, and CITY OF EDINBURGH were
sailed from Port Said
escorted by ARETHUSA, EURYALUS, COVENTRY, PAKENHAM,
PALADIN, JERVIS, KELVIN,
DULVERTON, HURWORTH, ERIDGE, HURSLEY, BEAUFORT, and
This operation for blocking Mersa Matruh was finally
owing to the impossibility at this juncture of providing
the necessary fighter
cover and the Eighth Army no longer required it. The S.S.
NAWAB had been taken
up but found to be too slow and finally the S.S. CAPE
HAWK, a fast ship, was
taken up for the operation.
– Loss of an
Italian U Boat
H.M.S. ISLAY sank an Italian U Boat probably the SCIRCE at
end of the Haifa swept channel at 1610 by depth charges
and gunfire. There were
no survivors and the submarine sank in twenty fathoms. She
fitted to carry human torpedoes; two bodies which came to
the surface some days
later were wearing escape apparatus and together with
identity discs leave no
doubt as to the nationality of the U boat. CROOME and
TETCOTT attacked the
position of the U boat some hours afterwards till the loss
The Levant Escort Force was divided into two British
all Greek, and an all French escort group.
The Greek steamer S.S. MARIA "L" in ballast
had been stranded off Ras Abu Baker was towed off
CONFEDERATE. H.M.S. ROBERTS assisted in the operation.
Lieutenant General B.L. Montgomery assumed command of the
Army vice General Auchinleck.
11th August 1942
(click to enlarge).
aircraft shadowed the convoy during the day. Thirty
eight Spitfires were flown off from FURIOUS of
thirty six reached Malta.
of H.M.S. EAGLE
2. At 1514, EAGLE was torpedoed by a
German U boat
in position 38-05N, 03-02E. She was hit by four
torpedoes and sank in
six minutes. Her Commanding Officer
(Captain L.D. MacIntosh,
D.S.C., R.N.) and 929 officers and ratings were picked
up by LAFOREY, LOOKOUT,
and H.M. Tug JAUNTY. They were later transferred
to MALCOLM, KEPPEL, and
VENOMOUS for passage to Gibraltar with FURIOUS. EAGLE was
on the starboard
quarter of the convoy and the U Boat penetrated the screen
WOLVERINE rammed and sank a U boat in position 37-12N,
0205 on the 12th.
An ineffective attack by bombers and torpedo aircraft took
at dusk. During the day, CAIRO and twenty
destroyers had fuelled from a tanker escorted by corvettes
ahead of the convoy.
S.S. AJAX escorted by the Rear Admiral Commanding,
Cruiser Squadron in CLEOPATRA, DIDO, SIKH, ZULU, JAVELIN,
TETCOTT, and CROOME
were sailed from Haifa at 0500 to rendezvous with the
remainder of the convoy
from Port Said. After dark the force turned back. KELVIN
joined C.S. 15's
force which proceeded to carry
out another operation. CITY
OF PRETORIA escorted by ERIDGE and HURSLEY were detached
to Port Said. CITY OF
EDINBURGH escorted by BEAUFORT and BELVOIR was detached to
Haifa. CITY OF
LINCOLN escorted by DULVERTON and HURWORTH was detached to
escorted by CROOME and TETCOTT was detached to Haifa. DIDO
PAKENHAM, PALADIN, and JERVIS had to return to Port Said
with hull defects.
Catenary nets to increase the defence of Haifa were placed
after initial delays due to a shortage of material.
H.M.S. THORN (Lieutenant Commander R.G. Norfolk, D.S.O.,
did not return from patrol was considered lost. She left
Beirut on 21st July to
operate in the vicinity of Tobruk and Ras et
requested permission to remain in the Tobruk area on 29th
July and as a result
she was ordered to remain in the area till 6th August.
There was no indication
as to her loss.
12th August 1942
attacks took place throughout the day in which many
were shot down. Fleet fighters broke up many attacks. Only
one M.T. ship was
damaged in these attacks. At 1634 after a heavy depth
charge attack down the
port side of the convoy by PATHFINDER, the submarine
surfaced and was rammed
and sunk by ITHURIEL in approximate position 37-41N,
10-00E. Four officers
(including the Commanding Officer) and 38 ratings were
picked up. This U boat
was believed to be the COBALTO and had only left Cagliari
two days previously.
At dusk very heavy dive bombing attacks concurrently with
level and torpedo bombing took place on the Fleet.
INDOMITABLE was hit by three
bombs and near missed by three or four others. Her flight
deck was seriously damaged,
large fires broke out forward and after, but were
quickly got under control. Six officers and 60 ratings
were killed and in
addition 55 ratings were wounded. FORESIGHT
was hit by a
torpedo bomber. TARTAR took her in tow.
At 1855 the covering force turned back and the convoy with
Tenth Cruiser Squadron, CAIRO, and destroyers (Force X)
entered Skerki Channel.
RODNEY's speed was reduced owing to boiler defects.
4. During the night the force was
attacked by U boats and E boats. At 2056 NIGERIA
and CAIRO were hit by
the same salvo from a U boat. CAIRO had her stern blown
off and both engines
disabled. As towing was impracticable she
was sunk by
PATHFINDER in position 37-35N, 10-00W. NIGERIA
was hit in the forward
boiler room and returned to Gibraltar escorted by four
HUNTs. At this time, the
U.S. tanker OHIO was also torpedoed but carried on with
the convoy. Rear
Admiral Commanding, Tenth Cruiser Squadron transferred to
ASHANTI. At 2137,
KENYA was torpedoed by either U boats
or E boats but was
able to continue with the convoy. At this time, four
merchant ships had been
P 35 arrived after a twelve day
from Haifa without incident.
FURIOUS escorted by KEPPEL, VENOMOUS, and WRESTLER arrived
Gibraltar at 2130.
Operation (n.b. Operation WASH LEATHER)
As a diversion for Operation PEDESTAL, UNA landed a
party in Catania Bay, on the night 11th/12th August. As one
the folboats was smashed by the seas three other
ranks were left in
the submarine. At the time the aerodrome and flare paths
were lit; no
opposition was met when the party landed. Three officers
and three other ranks
failed to make the rendezvous that night and the following
night. The results of
the operation are not known, but it is of interest to note
on the 9th August showed a total of 170 aircraft present.
13th August 1942
Italian force of four cruisers and eight destroyers which
the N.W. coast of Sicily turned back at 0230 without
making contact with the
During the night MANCHESTER was hit by E boats and
mined. She sank at 0400 in Kelibia Roads. Her Commanding
Officer (Captain H.
Drew, D.S.C., R.N.) was interned in Tunis along with large
numbers of his
ship's company. ESKIMO and SOMALI on passage to Gibraltar
picked up 141
survivors from MANCHESTER at 2100.
At dawn the convoy was still in an unformed state, but was
reorganized. At 0700 five M.T. ships were in company with
KENYA, destroyers and
CHARYBDIS who had been detached from the covering force
during the night and
had now joined. Four other merchant ships had been sunk by
air and E boat
attacks during the day. Worthy of special mention is the
U.S. Tanker OHIO which had
been torpedoed by an E boat the previous day
and had managed to rejoin the convoy in hand steering. By
the end of the day
she had been immobilized near Linosa Island where attempts
to tow her in to
At 1800 three merchant ships had arrived in the Grand Harbour,
one of these had been torpedoed.
In the vicinity of Lipari Island, P 42 was fortunate in
in an attack on the retiring enemy cruisers. One 8"
cruiser, the BOLZANO, and a
6" cruiser, the ATTENDOLO were both claimed to have been
hit. P.R.U. of the
latter showed her to have 60 feet of her bows blown off in
WOLVERINE, damaged after ramming a U boat arrived at
Three merchant ships were handed over by C.S. 10 to the
Force off the end of the swept channel at about 1700.
Force X, less PENN,
LEDBURY, and BRAHAM, returned to Gibraltar.
The Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron in
CLEOPATRA with ARETHUSA, SIKH, ZULU, KELVIN, and JAVELIN,
carried out a
bombardment of Rhodes Harbour and the Alliotti Flour Mills
during the night. Owing
to searchlights and the presence of at least three E boats
the bombardment was
carried out at a longer range than intended. As a result
of the air attack the
largest area was covered with smoke. Flares were good;
salvoes were fired but
hits were not observed or reported. It appears doubtful
whether much material
damage was caused, though it should have had some effect
Diversionary air attacks were carried
out on the Maritsa Aerodrome
by the Royal Air Force. JAVELIN attacked a U boat
contact from 0654 till
0804 in position 34-45N, 31-04E and reported no doubt that
Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron, in
with ARETHUSA, SIKH and ZULU, and CROOME and TETCOTT,
arrived at Haifa at 1900.
GLOXINIA attacked a contact in position 31-47N, 34-21.5E
to a convoy on passage from Haifa to Port Said. An
aircraft sighted a submarine
six hours later ten miles away and GLOXINIA's attack may
well have prevented an
attack on this convoy.
14th August 1942
S.S. BRISBANE STAR arrived at Malta at 1630. She had left
convoy after having been torpedoed and had spent all day
of the 13th in
territorial waters in the Gulf of Hammamet. Under cover of
darkness she managed
to reach the limit of fighter protection. One seriously
wounded man was landed
at Susa. Owing to incorrect use of a call sign she was
thought by Vice Admiral,
Malta to be the KENYA and was ordered to retire to
Gibraltar if able;
fortunately, the Master ignored this and carried on to
Towing operations on the OHIO continued all day with PENN,
BRAHAM, RYE, and SPEEDY and by nightfall slow progress was
being made up the
swept channel. LEDBURY and M.L.s also assisted.
3. On the return journey, C.S. 10 and
attacked by E Boats one of which was sunk. Heavy
air attacks were
encountered but no damage was caused.
MATCHLESS and BADSWORTH arrived Gibraltar at 1346 with the
Merchant Vessels TROILUS and ORARI.
ESKIMO and SOMALI arrived Gibraltar at 1858 with 376
RODNEY and INDOMITABLE escorted by WESTCOTT, WISHART,
ANTELOPE, VANSITTART, and QUENTIN arrived Gibraltar at
TRAVELLER returned from patrol and reported that at
July in position 44-30N, 14-00E she estimated two hits on
cruiser DALMACIJA who was escorted by three destroyers. At
1045 5th August in
position 42-48N, 14-31E she claimed one hit by gunfire on
a German 500 ton U
boat which he had previously missed by torpedoes. This was
Officer's (Lieutenant M.B. St John, R.N.) first
Mediterranean War Patrol. Tube
and torpedo failures seriously affected what might have
been a very successful
patrol. PROTEUS also returned from patrol and reported
that at 0730 7th August
northwest of Anti Milo she attacked a convoy of three
merchant ships, sinking one of 7000 tons. At 1040 in the
same position, she
estimated one his on an unescorted merchant ship of 9000
tons. Two schooner and
two caiques were also sunk during this patrol, in all
cases laden with troops
8. The landing of a sabotage party of
officers and four other ranks in the vicinity of
Kalamata was carried out by
PROTEUS on the night of 2nd/3rd August.
15th August 1942
escorted by KEPPEL, TARTAR, WILTON, BICESTER, and DERWENT
arrived at Gibraltar at 0234.
PENN, BRAHAM, and LEDBURY arrived at Malta at 0855 with
tanker OHIO. This was just reward after many hours efforts
in face of air
attack and submarine menace. The majority of the cargo was
Senior Officer, Force "F" in NELSON with VICTORIOUS,
SIRIUS, KENYA, CHARYBDIS, escorted by ICARUS, LIGHTNING,
INTREPID, PATHFINDER, FURY and ASHANTI arrived Gibraltar
M.T.B.s 307, 310, 315, and 316 landed a sabotage party in
El Daba area; two M.T.B.'s covered the landing against E
boat attacks. Four
trucks, one large vehicle, and a small store dump were
blown up. One officer
and one other rank failed to return. Slight opposition
from the shore was encountered
by the M.T.B.s, who sustained neither damage nor
The Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron in
CLEOPATRA with ARETHUSA, DULVERTON, HURWORTH, ZULU,
JAVELIN, KELVIN, and
TETCOTT sailed from Haifa to Port Said. The Flag of Rear
Mediterranean, was transferred from ARETHUSA to WOOLWICH.
M.T.B. 73 on passage from Paphos to Port Said sighted a
of the ARGO class on the surface. She attacked with depth
charges but the
result was unobserved.
P 46 arrived at Malta to join the Tenth Submarine
from Gibraltar was uneventful. P 46's part in Operation
PEDESTAL was without
UTMOST also arrived from Gibraltar and Operation PEDESTAL
rejoin the Tenth Submarine Flotilla after a refit in the
United Kingdom. UTMOST
probably sank a southbound enemy merchant ship of 6000
tons off Marittimo on
the 10th August.
Commander in Chief Mediterranean assumed operational
all Royal Air Force marine craft employed on air sea
rescue duties as from
16th August 1942
Enemy aircraft Shot Down
Fleet fighters 39 certain and 5 probables
A.A. Gunnery 17 certain and 10 probables
Malta Aircraft 10 certain and 2 probables.
The following paragraph is extracted from Senior Officer,
F's report of proceedings:
10 is loud in his praise for both Beaufighters and
Spitfires from Malta who seemed to do everything possible
under the circumstances of being bereft of their Fighter
Direction Ships CAIRO and NIGERIA. Long Range Spitfires
were out as early as possible on D.4. Force X had a number
of Spitfires overhead for the remainder of the journey.
They shot down a number of enemy aircraft and undoubtedly
greatly reduced the scale of attack."
EAGLE sunk by
German U Boat
torpedoed by U Boat, disabled and sunk by PATHFINDER.
torpedo by E boats and probably mined.
hit by torpedo bomber, towed, and later sunk by TARTAR.
by air attack
NIGERIA by U
KENYA by U
boats or E boats
ramming U boats
WOLVERINE by ramming U boats.
by bombs or aircraft torpedo
by bombs and E boats
WAIRANGI by E
(U.S.) probably by E Boats
blew up after air attack
(U.S.) by bombs
damaged by bombs and sunk by torpedo bombers.
by E boat and air attack
STAR by E Boat
by torpedo bomber
STAR sustained damaged in WAIMARAMA blowing up.
One U boat
The Palestinian schooner DANIEL was reported sunk by
an U boat at 2330 whilst on
passage from Haifa to
Cyrus. She was carrying petrol and all the crew was saved.
COVENTRY escorted by JERVIS and PALADIN arrived at Beirut
short rest period.
17th August 1942
of 29 Spitfires were flown into Malta from H.M.S.
FURIOUS this afternoon. CHARYBDIS, LAFOREY, LOOKOUT,
WISHART, DERWENT, KEPPEL, MALCOLM, BICESTER, ESKIMO,
SOMALI, and VENOMOUS
provided the escort. One Spitfire crashed on taking off
and two others crashed
due to engine trouble.
– Move ROBERTSBRIDGE
The movement of 7000 troops into Cyprus and 4800 out,
began today. In Serial One PRINCESS MARGUERITE carrying
approximately a thousand troops was torpedoed and sunk at
1559 in position
32-03N, 32-47E. ANTWERP, also carrying troops, was in
company escorted by
KELVIN, BEAUFORT, TETCOTT, and HERO. Eleven
were picked up by HERO and KELVIN. 49 lives were
lost and 59 injured. Serial
One was cancelled and all ships
returned to Port Said.
DIDO arrived at Massawa. ROBERTS was sailed from Suez for
and the Eastern Fleet in accordance with Admiralty's
signal timed 1839A of the
The Principal Sea Transport Officer (Egypt) arrived at
for a tour of the Persian Gulf ports.
18th August 1942
and CHARYBDIS escorted by LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, LIGHTNING,
ANTELOPE, WISHART, DERWENT, KEPPEL, MALCOLM, BICESTER,
ESKIMO, SOMALI, and
VENOMOUS returned to Gibraltar.
PENN, BRAHAM, and LEDBURY were sailed at 2100 for
high speed. PENN had completed repairs sustained during
the towing operation
with OHIO. All merchant ships of the convoy continued
unloading their cargo.
PALADIN whilst hunting an U boat 125 miles north east of
Said shot down one out of two torpedo bombers which
attacked her. The entire
crew of this machine, a Savoia 79, were picked up and
taken prisoner. KELVIN
who had been hunting with PALADIN, returned to Port Said
at 0930 with 82
survivors from PRINCESS MARGUERITE.
PRINCESS KATHLEEN, who had replaced PRINCESS MARGUERITE,
sailed from Port Said for Haifa, escorted by ANTWERP,
HERO, BEAUFORT, and
19th August 1942
44 returned to Malta from patrol and Operation PEDESTAL.
2307/17th, P 44 torpedoed and sank a southbound tanker
had been previously damaged by air attack in position 302
degrees Lampion 29
miles. This was an excellent piece of air and submarine cooperation
which enable P 44 to find her target. The
explosion was of extreme
violence and even though at 1500 yards distance P 44
sustained damage which
caused her to return to harbour.
PALADIN, now joined by JERVIS, continued an A/S search for
the U boat which had sunk the
PRINCESS MARGUERITE throughout the
DIDO docked in the Admiralty Floating Dock today.
dockyard labour had been taken south in the ship from Suez
for this special
case. She had sustained damage aft due to vibration.
20th August 1942
arrived for quick docking and repairs to her oil fuel
JERVIS carried out an A/S sweep north of Port Said during
21st August 1942
BRAHAM, and LEDBURY arrived at 0930 after an uneventful
passage from Malta.
PORPOISE arrived in harbour with extensive damage to her
batteries. She reported that following a dawn encounter
with an Italian
destroyer north of Ras et Tin
on 19th August, when she
was depth charged for two hours, that she could not dive.
BELVOIR and HURSLEY
were sailed from Alexandria and escorted her into Port
Said. Beaufighters gave
During her patrol PORPOISE laid mines in position 32-42N,
on the 12th August. Two merchant ships and one CROTONE
class minelayer passed
through the minefield three minutes later. At 1022, two
miles west of the
minefield, she sank one merchant ship
which she had
previously torpedoed. At 1928, 15th August, one southbound
merchant ship was
torpedoed and sunk in position 34-45N, 21-32E.
PALADIN carried out an A/S sweep north of Port Said during
The U.S.A. CHARLES K. PINCKNEY on passage from America to
with M.T. and ammunition ran aground in position 27-50N,
33-52E on a coral
reef. CONFEDERATE was sailed to her assistance, and after
partial discharge of
her cargo, she was able to be
refloated a week later.
RESOURCE was sailed from Suez to Aden, calling at Port
had been lent to the Eastern Fleet.
22nd August 1942
carried out an A/S Sweep north of the harbour throughout
COVENTRY escorted by 3 HUNTS arrived at 1000 from Beirut,
former immediately transitting the canal.
on U Boat
At 0610 an aircraft claimed three hits on a U boat 040
Port Said 80 miles. COVENTRY on passage detached EXMOOR
who was later joined by
BEAUFORT and TETCOTT on her arrival off the searched
channel. There was no result
and the hunt was abandoned at nightfall.
ZULU arrived from boiler cleaning at Suez and was sailed
Vice Admiral, Malta, reported that the unloading of
cargo from ships of the convoy was complete except for
about 400 tons in the
holds of BRISBANE STAR and ROCHESTER CASTLE, both of whom
had been torpedoed. There
was no enemy interference during the whole of this period.
Thirty two thousand
tons was unloaded, dispersed, and cleared from dumps
mainly by the Army in
P 211 returned to Gibraltar after a short patrol off the
coast of Sardinia and operation PEDESTAL. On the 16th a 50
ton sailing vessel was sunk by gunfire and the
following day a 125 ton
ammunition schooner was blown up by gunfire; both of these
were in the Gulf of
Crosei. An empty tanker of 10,000 tons was torpedoed south
of Cavoli Island on
the 18th August.
As from p.m. today, Brazil considered herself at war with
COVENTRY arrived at Suez for A.A. duties south of
23rd August 1942
escorting S.S. AJAX arrived at 0945. CROOME was sailed for
Alexandria at 2000.
RORQUAL arrived with 48 tons of petrol and other stores
garrison. P 34 also arrived after taking part in Operation
carrying out short but eventful patrol.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Red Sea and Canal Area was
that the netting of the Suez Canal project was to cease,
as it was considered
that the effort was not worth while. Spotting from shore
posts was found
24th August 1942
rejoined Force A after docking
and TETCOTT escorted CITY OF LINCOLN from Beirut to Port
P 43 returned from patrol off Western Greece. At 0343 on
August she estimated one hit on a 5000
merchant ship in position 38-57N, 20-24E.
Local coast watchers reported a submarine off Siyara
miles North East of Berbera) during the afternoon. This
was substantiated the
following day by a patrol with a British officer. The
submarine was 800 yards
from the shore and was seen to move out to seaward and
reconnaissance was carried out but found nothing. POOLE
was sent from Aden to
carry out an A/S search.
25th August 1942
was every indication that the enemy was about to renew his
attack. Considerable numbers of mechanized transports and
tanks were in the
Moonlight smoke screening trials were carried out over the
harbour, with a view to ascertaining their effect on a
BELVOIR arrived Alexandria.
THRASHER escorted by JERVIS and KELVIN carried out diving
off Port Said, returning to harbour on completion.
5. A U boat was sighted by aircraft on
at 1315 in position 32-03N, 31-40E. JERVIS, JAVELIN, and
KELVIN carried out a
search during the day but without result.
Force A came to short notice
in view of possible enemy attack in the Western Desert.
The British Naval Attache, Ankara reported that the
General Staff confirmed that two Italian cruisers with
escort had arrived Leros
and other cruisers were expected. Photographic
reconnaissance did not, however,
No. 75 commissioned today at Port Said.
DIDO was sailed from Massawa after completion of repairs
underwater plates aft. These repairs were completed in six
days, a good deal
less than anticipated, largely due to the efforts of
Captain Ellsberg, U.S.N.,
head of the North African Mission at Massawa. Officers and
ratings were sent in
watches to the Rest Camp at Asmara. Massawa at this time
is extremely hot and
DIDO found conditions in the Floating Dock most
ARPHA was sailed from Port Sudan to carry out a
of ports and anchorages in the Gulf of Suez, to find
suitable unloading berths
for military stores.
26th August 1942
and ALDENHAM carried out an anti shipping sweep to the
westward of Alexandria and in addition carried out a short
bombardment of the
Daba Area. As no spotting aircraft were available results
Motor Launch No. 350 commissioned for service today.
At 1225 an aircraft claimed two hits on a U boat in
31-26N, 33-30E. PAKENHAM and KELVIN carried out a search
for it without
Force A reverted to normal notice for steam.
In a southbound convoy consisting of four merchant ships
by ANTWERP, SOUTHERN SEAS, PROTEA, KLO, and GLOXINIA the
British S.S. EMPIRE
KUMARI was torpedoed by a U boat in position 31-53N,
34-10E at 1840. She was taken in tow
by GLOXINIA and later BRIGAND, reaching Haifa
the following day. Her engines were completely
wrecked. ZULU and PROTEA
acted as close screen during towing operations. There were
no other casualties
in the convoy; BRIGAND had two torpedoes fired at her and
which missed. The EMPIRE KUMARI sank later in the outer
anchorage of Haifa. Her
Master had refused to allow the ship to be beached. Later
it was discovered
that pumps could not compete with the water until salvage
parties could board
27th August 1942
and HURSLEY patrolled to the westward as far as Ras
but found nothing.
JERVIS and JAVELIN carried out an A/S search to the
Port Said with air cooperation during the night.
Motor Torpedo Boat 76 was commissioned at Port Said today.
28th August 1942
and ALDENHAM carried out an anti shipping sweep to the
westward, but sighted nothing.
S.S. PRINCESS KATHLEEN escorted by BELVOIR, DULVERTON,
and BEAUFORT arrived Port Said at 0730 completing the
final serial of the
DULVERTON and EXMOOR were sailed at 1900 for Haifa. DIDO
after docking at Massawa.
29th August 1942
CROOME, and HURSLEY carried out a bombardment of the Daba
area at 0415. This was successfully carried out, several
fires being started
amongst stores and Motor Transport. On completion of the
was torpedoed by what appeared to be a one
boat in position 31-07N, 28-26E.
ALDENHAM had been acting as E boat cover during the
was hit in the after engine room and was unable to steer
or steam and was taken
in tow by ALDENHAM. From 0615 till 1305 the
continuously attacked by enemy aircraft in spite of
fighter protection. The
force reached Alexandria at 1700. Casualties in ERIDGE
were five ratings killed
and five wounded. The one man
torpedo boat was
destroyed by CROOME and ERIDGE and an E Boat was shortly
by a Swordfish from 815 Squadron.
A few enemy aircraft dropped bombs in the Mex area without
BEAUFORT and BELVOIR were sailed for Alexandria at 1300.
The Fighting French sloop LA MOQUEUSE was paid off and
hand for an extensive refit.
Moonlight smoke screening trials were carried out over the
escorting W.S. 21 P.
arrived at Aden. She had completed an extensive refit in
the U.S.A. and United
Kingdom after being seriously damaged in the Battle of
Crete. She sailed later
in the day for Suez as A.A. escort in company with EMPRESS
S.S. CAIRO CITY was seriously damaged by fire in Suez Bay
The following ships arrived at Piraeus from Gothenburg and
Montreal with wheat supplies for Greece and had been
granted safe conduct by
the belligerent powers:
FORMOSA, CAMELIA, and EROS.
30th August 1942
reconnaissance of Tobruk showed today a total of 54 F
boats in harbour, the highest number so far recorded.
M.T.B.'s 315 (Senior Officer), 311, 312, 307, 305, and 316
sailed from Alexandria to attack enemy shipping en route
to North Africa from
the Aegean. The last three M.T.B.s mentioned acted as
tankers to refuel the
others west of Alexandria.
CLYDE arrived with petrol stores and some aircraft
The following ships were escorting convoys:
Northbound – H.M.S. SNAPDRAGON,
SOUTHERN MAID, H.M.S.A.S. SOUTHERN ISLES, H.M.S.
CUMBRAE, and H.M.S. BURRA.
- H.M.S. ERICA,
H.M.S. GLOXINIA, H.M.S. ISLAY, H.M.S. KLO, and H.H.M.S.
31st August 1942
enemy attack in the Western Desert began at 0030 today
long period of static warfare.
Force A came to short notice
During August, the R.N.A.S., flying Hurricane Bombers
four successful sorties over enemy aerodromes in Sicily.
At 0530 an explosion occurred in a loaded military petrol
lying alongside the pier at Larnaca. The lighter was burnt
out and slight
damage was done to the pier. It was considered that the
explosion was due to an
accident and not sabotage. One man was killed.
During August, H.M.S. ENDEAVOUR completed a survey of
submarine were disposed as follows:
– P 35 (damaged)
On passage to
patrol area off Kithera – UNA
from minelaying operations off Corfu to Beirut – RORQUAL
off Cephalonia – UTMOST
On passage to
patrol off Messina – P 42
north of Ras el Hilal – P 46
Tobruk area – THRASHER
On passage to
Tobruk area – TRAVELLER
On passage to
Aegean – H.H.M.S. PAPANICOLIS
At Beirut - TURBULENT,
TAKU, PROTEUS, and H.H.M.S. NEREUS
At Port Said
– H.H.M.S. KATSONIS (refitting)
During the month, 13 ships totaling 67,600 tons and 8
totaling 50,200 tons were sunk and damaged respectively.
OF EVENTS FOR August 1942
land situation in the Western Desert remained static until
last day of the month when the enemy launched his attack.
He had brought up a
large number of paratroops into Libya
which so far
have been utilized as infantry. As Alexandria was still
within escorted bomber
range the Fleet continued to remain dispersed between
Haifa and Port Said. A force
of four HUNTS and one Flotilla of M.T.B.s was
based on Alexandria throughout the month.
The main event during August was the passage of a convoy
from Gibraltar. Our losses were undoubtedly heavy, but
after strenuous efforts,
five merchant ships, including the tanker, reached Malta.
With drastic cuts it
was estimated that they could last out until the end of
though, was still very short. A diversionary convoy was
sailed from Port Said
and Haifa at the same time as that in the west, which
turned back to the
westward of Cyprus. Subsequently a bombardment
of Rhodes was
carried out by a small force of cruisers.
3. Offensive sweeps to the westward
Boats were frequently carried out by two HUNTS,
although all were
without incident. Two bombardments of the Daba area were
completed. M.T.B.s landed a sabotage raiding party in the
El Daba area causing
some damage to the enemy's trucks and supply dumps. Plans
for blocking Mersa
Matruh reached an advanced stage, but were finally
abandoned, primarily due to
the impossibility of providing fighter cover, and the
presence of strong
Submarines and aircraft attacks continued to interfere
enemy's supply lines to Libya. The resulting figure of 13
sunk, totally 67,600 tons, was encouraging.
An example of good air and submarine cooperation was
P 44's sinking of a loaded enemy tanker
which had been
stopped and damaged in the vicinity of Lampion.
PORPOISE laid a minefield in the Gulf of Bomba in the path
approaching convoy. She subsequently torpedoed and sank
two laden merchant
U boats were active but their results were not
their losses. SIKH, ZULU, CROOME, and TETCOTT destroyed
the German U Boat 372
after many hours of hunting. She was forced to surface as
a result of depth
charges, surrendered, and quickly sank badly damaged. It
is interesting to note
that this U Boat had previously sunk MEDWAY in June.
An Italian U Boat, probably the SCIRE, was sunk by ISLAY
Haifa swept channel. There were no survivors and she
appeared to be fitted for
the carriage of Human torpedoes. Diving and subsequent
searches failed to
reveal the actual presence of any Human Torpedoes; two
bodies were, however,
recovered wearing escape apparatus. JAVELIN made a very
promising attack on a U
boat west of Cyprus and an aircraft claimed hits on
another north of Port Said.
The enemy's net gain for the definite loss of two U boats
merchant ship and two schooners sunk.
The submarine base at Beirut was completed and working
satisfactorily. It was capable of fuelling and operating
one Flotilla of
submarines, though dockings and battery refits have to be
An operation for the relief of personnel took place during
S.S. PRINCESS MARGUERITE with over a thousand personnel on
unfortunately sunk by an U boat shortly after leaving Port
Said at the
beginning of the move. There were over a hundred
casualties, including 49
killed, nearly all of whom
were military personnel.
The Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron carried out several
between Port Said and Haifa.
DIDO was docked in the Admiralty Floating Dock at Massawa
repairs to her plates aft.
14. Nineteen Italian internees were
ARPHA and SAGITTA off the Yemen Coast south of Jedda.
OTUS, RORQUAL, and CLYDE carried supplies of petrol,
torpedoes and ammunition for the garrison. The ships of
the convoy were all
unloaded without enemy air interference.
FURIOUS flew in Spitfire reinforcements on two occasions,
and after Operation PEDESTAL.
on the Station
RESOURCE left for the Eastern Fleet
left for Freetown
left for repairs in the United Kingdom.
in the Eastern
THORN overdue and presumed
damaged by depth charges.
WAR DIARY –
1st September 1942
the night 31/8 August/1 September, M.T.B.s 315, 311, and
who had reached a position south of Crete were forced to
turn back owing to the
weather. On the return journey to Alexandria, enemy
aircraft made repeated
attacked on this force, on attacked included ten aircraft;
all were repulsed
and no damage or casualties were sustained by the M.T.B.s
who arrived at
Alexandria at 1040.
Heavy fighting took place throughout the day. The enemy
to make slight progress in the Southern sector of the El
Alamein line, but
suffered severely in tank losses.
P 35 returned to Malta from patrol and reported that at
in position 35-39N, 23-05E sank a 6500
merchant ship; this ship was in a convoy of two merchant
ships escorted by two
TURBULENT returned from a 27 day
in the vicinity of Crete and Western Greece. There were
many sightings but only
one opportunity for an attack occurred, which TURBULENT
took. At 1633 on the
17th August in position 36-35N, 21-34E she obtained one
hit on each of two
large merchant ships escorted by three destroyers. During
the course of her
patrol, two special operations were carried out. On the
night of 8th/9th
August, two men were brought off from the southeast corner
of Crete and on the
night of 12th/13th August, two Greeks were landed in the
Gulf of Arcadia on the
western coast of Greece.
The Yugo Slav submarine NEBOSCJA was handed over to the
Admiralty on loan under the following conditions:
Yugo Slav members of the crew will be embarked in the
2). When a
fully trained Yugo Slav crew is available, the submarine
will be returned.
submarine can be used for any purpose considered fit by
4). The Yugo
Slav flag will be flown.
H.M.S. RESOURCE was sailed from Aden for Kilindini. She
lent to the Eastern Fleet, as during the present
situation, the Commander in
Chief considered she was unable to do her full share of
repair work in the
A British aircraft sighted a submarine on the surface at
the Cape Guardafui area.
British S.S. GAZCON was torpedoed and sunk by an enemy
(n.b. Japanese inserted in ink) in
position 13-01N, 50-41E at 2315. Survivors were picked up
by S.S. GRAINTON and
landed at Aden on the 4th September. This ship was on
passage from New York to
Alexandria with a cargo consisting chiefly of motor
transport, tanks, planes,
2nd September 1942
were signs that the enemy's attack was failing. Meanwhile
R.A.F. carried out very heavy bombing attacks on his
armour and motor
H.M.S. CROOME and HURSLEY carried out a patrol for a
enemy submarine to seaward. M.L.s 1032 and 1083 patrolled
The Naval Air Squadron secured two hits on a medium sized
merchant vessel off Cape Spartivento.
The hospital ship MAINE was sailed from Ismailia to Port
bunkering and storing; on completion she returned to her
The Principal Sea Transport Officer (Egypt) returned after
of the Persian Gulf ports.
3rd September 1942
enemy who had advanced in the Southern sector of the
line was unable to penetrate our armour on the Ruweisat
Ridge. He decided to
cut his losses and began a withdrawal behind his
At 2000, 2nd September, Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth
Cruiser Squadron in CLEOPATRA with DIDO, ARETHUSA, JERVIS,
KELVIN, JAVELIN, AND
PAKENHAM sailed from Port Said to carry out a night
bombardment exercise with
EURYALUS, DULVERTON, EXMOOR, HERO, and TETCOTT who had
sailed from Haifa at the
same time. On completion, EURYALUS returned to Port Said
and DIDO to Haifa. The remaining
units as before.
The Palestinian S.S. ARNON was attacked by gunfire from an
submarine in position 34-59N, 35-51E. The ship was beached
and then torpedoed. She
was sailing unescorted from Tripoli (Syria) to Palestine.
All the crew
were saved. The ship was a
total loss. Two schooners were
also attacked in this area; one was sunk and the other was
later towed to
The Master of the S.S. BRITISH GENIUS on arrival at Aden,
reported that a torpedo exploded near is ship in
position 13-00N, 48-04E at 100 G.M.T.
5. The Italian Hospital ship GRADISCA
by a Beaufort in error at position 35-56N, 24-33E.
The ship was machine gunned
and torpedoes were fired, but no damage
4th September 1942
and ALDENHAM carried out an anti shipping sweep to the
westward, but found nothing. A.S.V. aircraft patrolled
close inshore to signal
reports of shipping, if found.
During the night, an Italian sabotage party of one officer
thirteen other ranks from the San Marco Marines landed
sixteen miles west of
Agami from an E boat. This was quite close to the Tactical
Headquarters. The water pipe line and railway were cut.
The entire party were later
taken prisoners. Two enemy E boats are
known to have taken part in the operation, of which one
turned back. H.M.S.
BEAUFORT on patrol, did, however, encounter
these but incorrectly assumed it to be an H.S.L. Launch
known to be on patrol.
on Enemy Convoy
An enemy convoy of three merchant ships with a destroyer
was sighted at 0105 in position 33-18N, 24-15E, steering
south. These ships were attacked by
Wellingtons and Liberators
throughout the night, and at dawn by Hudsons. One tanker
and two merchant ships
were definitely sunk. Hospital ships north of Tobruk were
seen picking up
survivors. In addition to all, one destroyer was seriously
damaged. H.M.S. P 34
claimed one hit on the rear ship of the convoy, and was
attacked, forcing her to return to Malta with some damage.
This was her last
patrol on the Station before refitting in the United
A Seaman Guard Battalion was formed for guarding
points in the Alexandria area and came under the orders of
Commanding, British Troops in Egypt. This was a result of
the Egyptian Army,
who would no longer undertake to guard vulnerable points
on land in the event
of enemy attacks on the Delta.
H.M.S. KELVIN picked up the crew of a Bisley Blenheim of
S.A.A.F. Squadron which had
crashed north of Damietta
the previous evening whilst on A/S patrol.
H.M.S. EURYALUS transitted the Suez Canal on passage
The following signal was made by the Commander in Chief to
U boats in the Mediterranean suffered greater loss by
and damage during August than in any month since June
results in the greatest credit on all Naval and Air Force
personnel engaged in this work and I congratulate them on
their fine achievement."
The Commander in Chief sent a telegram to the Governor of
expressing the gratitude (n.b. pen
correction, gratitude crossed out and "congratulations"
is inserted) of the
whole Mediterranean Fleet to the people of Malta on the
occasion of the
anniversary of the Great Siege of Malta.
The Commodore, Aden, reported that POOLE was being
convoy escort as far eastward as 500 miles. She was the
only escort vessel
Motor Torpedo Boat No. 65 commissioned today.
5th September 1942
view of last night's enemy landing, increased military
were established between Burg El Arab and Agami.
H.M.S. CROOME and HURWORTH on E boat patrol to the
during the night, met nothing.
In the view of the presence of enemy U boats in the Gulf
H.M.S. HERO and TETCOTT were sailed during the night from
Haifa to Aden as A/S
S.S. NIRPURA arrived at Iskanderun with a cargo of over
hundred horses from Australia. She was escorted from Port
Said by the Free
French ship COMMANDANT DOMINE and the Greek destroyer PAUL
ninety horses had died in passage. At 0814/4, she had
struck an unchartered
shoal in position 32-23.5N, 34-51.2E. No damage occurred.
Commodore in Charge, Aden, was ordered to make
setting up R.D.F. stations on Dameira and Perim Islands.
Mr. Wendell Wilkie stayed with Admiral Harwood at
6th September 1942
Ships CROOME and HURWORTH carried out an anti shipping
to the westward of Alexandria during the night, but found
An unidentified schooner was sunk by gunfire from a U boat
1128 in position 35-28N, 35-40E.
Sea: 158th M/S Group
The minesweeping trawler AIGLON arrived at Aden to join
7th September 1942
was little activity during the day. The enemy was
back on to his former positions on the El Alamein line.
H.M.S. BEAUFORT and ALDENHAM carried out a shipping sweep
westward during the night, but found nothing.
H.M.S. UTMOST and P 46 arrived at Malta from unsuccessful
in the Central Mediterranean.
H.M.S. RORQUAL returned from patrol off Corfu. Fifteen
laid in position 39-17N, 20-18E on 30th August. At
1529/30th August, she
probably sank a lightly laden southbound merchant ship in
the vicinity of
Corfu. Owing to defects to her minelaying gear further
operations could not be
S.S. VACPORT, escorted by DELPHINIUM, passage from Haifa
Beirut, grounded in position 33-24N, 35-13E. She was
with assistance of H.M. Tug TIENSTIN.
H.M.S. JAVELIN and PALADIN carried out an A/S search for a
sighted in position 31-46N, 32-03E.
The Palestinian schooner SALINA was sunk by gunfire from a
submarine at 1115 in position 35-31N, 35-42E. All the crew
In view of recent U boat activity two M.L.'s were sailed
Beirut to Tripoli (Syria).
9. The following message was sent by
Officer Commander in Chief, Middle East to Albacore
Squadrons of the Fleet Air
convey to 826 and 821 Squadrons my sincere congratulations
on their magnificent work with and for the Wellingtons.
There is no doubt that
these continuous night attacks were one of the decisive
factors in crushing the
enemy's attack. The successful conclusion of this phase of
the land battle may well prove to be a turning point in
the war in Africa."
8th September 1942
Ships BEAUFORT and ALDENHAM repeated their patrol to the
westward during the night with incident.
H.M. Ships JERVIS and KELVIN took over the A/S hunt for a
suspected U boat north of Port Said from JAVELIN and
PALADIN. This was
H.E.M.S. EL AMIRA
FAWZIA which had been sunk in
an air raid at the end of July was refloated.
Captain A.G.V. Hubback, R.N. assumed command as Captain
Forces, Eastern Mediterranean. This included all M.T.B.s,
Fairmiles, and M.L.
Flotillas on the Station.
9th September 1942
was little fighting, the enemy being on the defensive on
fronts. In the south, we were now holding the
Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron in
with ARETHUSA, ORION, and destroyers carried out exercises
north of Port Said. On
completion, ORION escorted by SIKH and ZULU was sailed fro
CLEOPATRA had to return early due to strained plates aft.
damaged her stern in collision with A Lighter 120 in Port
All schooner traffic north of Tripoli was suspended. The
following ships were escorting convoys.
SNAPDRAGON, H.M.S.A.S. SOUTHERN ISLES, SOUTHERN MAID and
GLOXINIA, DELPHINIUM, H.M.S.A.S.
Beirut to Famagusta: H.H.M.S. IERAX and F.F.S. COMMANDANT
10th September 1942
CLYDE returned to Gibraltar after a storing trip to Malta.
11th September 1942
FOUDIEH escorted by H.H.M.S. IERAX and F.F.S. COMMANDANT
arrived at Famagusta from Beirut with 250 service
H.E.M.S. FAWZIA which had been sunk
in an air
raid on Suez Bay at the end of July was raised by
12th September 1942
combined operation under the command of Captain (D),
Flotilla to destroy shipping and port facilities in Tobruk
SIKH and ZULU were sailed from Haifa to Alexandria
arriving after dark. Both
ships completed with fuel and extra ammunition. The
strictest secrecy was
maintained in order not to disclose the presence of the
M.T.B.s and three Fairmiles were sailed from Alexandria at
dusk with 150
support troops to take part in Operation AGREEMENT. One
M.T.B. was forced to
return with engine defects, her troops being transferred
to an M.L.
COVENTRY, DULVERTON, HURSLEY, BELVOIR, CROOME, and HERO
sailed at 2000 from
Port Said to rendezvous with Captain (D), Twenty Second
Destroyer Flotilla off
Wellingtons mined the entrance and channel in Mersa Matruh
harbour during the night.
of Flag Officers
Rear Admiral A.J. Power, C.B., C.V.O. relieved Rear
L. Vian, K.B.E., D.S.O. as Rear Admiral Commanding the
201 Naval Cooperation Group Rear Headquarters at Abu Sweir
returned to Combined Headquarters, Alexandria.
13th September 1942
(D), Twenty Second Destroyer Flotilla in SIKH with ZULU,
HURWORTH, BEAUFORT, EXMOOR, and ALDENHAM were sailed from
Alexandria at 0600 to
rendezvous with COVENTRY and the remainder of the Fifth
H.M.S. DIDO escorted by JERVIS, JAVELIN, PAKENHAM,
KELVIN was sailed from Port Said at 1500 for a bombardment
in support of the
H.M.S. P 34 returned from patrol with slight damage after
unsuccessful attack on a heavily escorted southbound
convoy of three merchant
ships in position 36-17N, 21-03E at 0921/8th September.
P 42 returned from her patrol and reported that at 2004 on
September, she had shelled a bridge over the Amendolia
River, west of Spartivento,
securing twelve hits. On the evening of 8th September, P
42 bombarded a bridge
near the railway in the Gulf of Squallios since no trains
Captain R. Wilson, D.S.C., Royal Artillery of the Special
section with a new type of self propelled depth keeping
limpet was landed off
Crotone Harbour on the night of 3rd/4th September; due to
A/S craft hunting, P
42 had to withdraw for some hours, and subsequent search
did not locate him.
M.L. 351 commissioned for service today.
The Turkish ferry DERINGE on passage from Beirut to
ran aground in position 326 Latakia 3.6 miles. H.H.M.S.
SAKTOURIS was escorting
her with the new Greek
Commander in Chief.
of Flag Officer
Commodore P. Todd, C.B.E., D.S.O. relieved Rear Admiral
Glennie and assumed duties of Commodore (Destroyers),
14th September 1942
Ships SIKH and ZULU, with a force of 350 Royal Marines,
land north of Tobruk harbour and the M.T.B.s with 150
support troops for our
land forces were to land in an inlet outside the south end
of Tobruk Harbour.
On completion of the demolitions, the forces would
the destroyers, who would spend the day inside Tobruk
covered by the enemy gun
positions manned by us.
forces proceeding to the westward were not attacked by
enemy aircraft, though an enemy reconnaissance did sight COVENTRY
and her Fifth Destroyer Flotilla before SIKH and ZULU had
During the night, the
military force, which had proceeded overland from Kufra,
perimeter and at 0120 reported that they had captured the
gun positions at
Marsa Umm Es Sciausc, an inlet outside the south end of
Tobruk Harbour. Unless
this objective had been attained, the operation would have
had to be
As cover for the
operation, a heavy air attack on Tobruk took place from
2130 to 0300. Many
fires were started and several particularly large
explosions took place.
At 0130, TAKU reported
that the weather was suitable for landings by Assault
Craft at Mersa Mreira. The
landing of the Beach Marking Party in Folbots failed due
Only two of the
seventeen M.T.B.s succeeded in landing their troops;
both of these grounded and one was unable to get off and
had to be destroyed. Many
of the M.T.B.s attempted to enter Tobruk Harbour, but
failed owning to the
heavy gun opposition and searchlights.
At 0400 destroyers
landed their first flight of about 200 at Mersa Mreira,
and this force got
ashore unopposed, later they met heavy opposition. It
appears possible that the
assault craft landed in the wrong bay and were wrecked,
direction as a result of the heavy fires ashore. They did
not return for the
second flight. SIKH closed to one mile off the shore to
locate them. At this
close range, SIKH was sighted and at 0530 was engaged by
shore batteries, her
steering gear and starboard engine being put out of
action. ZULU took her in
tow, but further hits parted the tow. At 0800, Captain
(D), Twenty Second
Destroyer Flotilla ordered ZULU to part company and return
to Alexandria. SIKH
was last seen close to the shore, heavily on fire and
being repeatedly hit, but
firing all guns. The sinking of SIKH and enforced
departure of ZULU completed
wrecked the withdrawal plans.
The Royal Marines
fought for some time North of Tobruk town and advanced
towards the harbour as
intended but eventually they must have run out of
ammunition. Some explosions
as of demolitions were seen and heard on shore after
daylight. The majority of
SIKH's crew and the remaining Royal Marines managed to get
ashore and are
prisoners of war.
The Military forces
are known to have held the area south end of the harbour
until 0600 on the 14th
when the M.T.B.s left.
The latter were
repeatedly attacked by high level and dive bombers; apart
from a few near
misses they came through unscathed.
At 0900 COVENTRY and
the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla were ordered to return to the
westward to support
ZULU, who was retiring to the north east at high speed.
ALDENHAM and BELVOIR
were detached to Alexandria to fuel. The M.T.B.s retired
in groups of four or
less towards Alexandria.
COVENTRY was hit by
enemy aircraft at 1140 and became heavily on fire. At
1213, she was abandoned. DULVERTON,
EXMOOR, HURWORTH took off survivors and proceeded to
pencil notation: EXMOOR and HURWORTH scored out and
BEAUFORT added with a question mark).
CROOME and HURSLEY tried to sink her by depth charges and
after having avoided some eighty attacks joined CROOME and
HURSLEY at 1515 and
sank COVENTRY with torpedoes in position 32-45N, 28-17E.
was hit at 1615 by the last bomb in the last attack and
disabled. HURSLEY took her in tow, but at 2154 she sank in
position 32-00N, 28-56E.
At the same time as
the attack on Tobruk L.R.D.G. forces with a small naval
demolition party were
to attack shipping and block Benghazi harbour.
a diversion to Operation AGREEMENT a bombardment of the
Daba area was carried
out by DIDO
at 0001 for thirty
minutes. 350 rounds were fired, 50% hits being in the main
target area. JERVIS,
JAVELIN, PALADIN, PAKENHAM, and KELVIN escorted DIDO. The
entire force returned
to Port Said at 1530 without incident.
A Sunderland sank a U
boat at 1510 in position 37-28N, 04-35E. The U boat was
sighted on the surface
and opened fire at a range of two miles, it was seen to
submerge with a portion
of her crew on deck, finally sank bows first. Thirty
men were counted in the water.
Schooner traffic north
of Tripoli (Syria) was resumed.
The Turkish ferry
steamer DERINGE was refloated and continued her voyage
H.M.S. UNA returned
from a patrol in the Kithera area and reported that at
1106 on 10th September
in position 35-11.5N, 23-28.5E she probably sank a 4000
northbound merchant ship similar to the RAMB class.
15th September 1942
1500, twelve M.T.B.s and one M.L. had returned to harbour.
The following ships were lost during the operation.
310, 312, 314
M.L.s 352 and
and M.L. 354
of the M.T.B.s suffered minor damage as a result of these
in H.M. Ships
COVENTRY Killed and Missing 3 officers,
H.M.S. ZULU Killed and Missing 4 officers and 34 ratings
M.L.s Killed and Missing 8 officers and
H.M.S. SIKH Killed and
Missing 2 officers and 20 ratings. Some 200
Units of the L.R.D.G. occupied Jalo Oasis, destroying
material and subsequently retiring.
The Greek submarine PAPANICOLIS returned from a patrol in
Aegean. During the night of 4th/5th September an aerodrome
sabotage part was
successfully landed near Rhodes. The remainder of this
patrol was uneventful.
H.M.S. EURYALUS arrived at Port Said. The Flag of the Rear
Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron was
transferred to EURYALUS from
CLEOPATRA who was sailed for refit at Massawa.
16th September 1942
BEAUFORT and BELVOIR, escorting S.S. LOWLANDER arrived
H.M.S. CLEOPATRA transitted the Canal on passage to
H.M.S. EXMOOR and ALDENHAM arrived at Haifa from
H.M.S. PETARD arrived at Aden to join the Mediterranean
and was sailed to Port Said.
S.S. OCEAN HONOUR was torpedoed, shelled, and sunk by an U
at 0600 in position 12-48N, 50-50E She was bound for the
Middle East and had a
cargo which chiefly consisted of M.T. and ammunition.
17th September 1942
P 45 returned to Malta after a patrol in the Anti Kithera
area and north of Crete.
H.M.S. BEAUFORT arrived from Port Said for boiler cleaning
18th September 1942
bombed and left stationary a 2,000
ton merchant ship off Kelibia. Reconnaissance on
the following day
showed a very large quantity of wreckage in this area.
Beaufighters also attacked
three schooners with bombs and cannon fire east of
Tripoli. All the ships were
hit and one was left stationary and on fire.
TALISMAN who was on passage from Gibraltar to Beirut to
rejoin the Mediterranean Station was overdue at Malta and
had to be considered
lost. It is possible that she attacked a merchant vessel
off Marittimo p.m. on
the 16th September and that she was successfully
counterattacked; there was
partial confirmation of this from the Italian news.
The Eleventh Royal Marine Battalion was moved from
Haifa to reorganize and train. After the Tobruk
operations, their strength was
reduced to about one company.
19th September 1942
P 44 returned to Malta from patrol and reported having
by gunfire and torpedoes a 200 ton
schooner and a
small merchant vessel Ziliten Roads (west of Misurata) on
H.M.S. P 211 joined the Tenth Submarine Flotilla at Malta
an uneventful passage from Gibraltar.
H.M.S. EURYALUS escorted by EXMOOR and BELVOIR arrived at
after carrying out exercises whilst on passage from Port
Said. ORION, escorted
by JERVIS, KELVIN, and JAVELIN was sailed from Haifa for
EURYALUS during passage to Port Said.
H.M.S. DIDO was docked at Massawa for hull repairs.
Admiral Harwood visited the General Officer Commanding
Army and the Air Officer Commanding, Western Desert, at
the Main Headquarters of
the Eighth Army.
20th September 1942
TRAVELLER arrived at Beirut from patrol. At 0235/5 in
position 33-02N, 23-13E she torpedoed and sank a heavily
laden merchant ship. At
2140/5 in position 33-27N, 21-59E she estimated one hit on
ton northbound merchant ship.
TRAVELLER re embarked one officer and one Royal Marine
the vicinity of Calato on the night of 17th/18th
September. These were all that
remained of a party who had been landed earlier in the
month from PAPANICOLIS. They
reported that 13 to 15 aircraft had been destroyed on the
Calato Aerodrome on
the night of 12th/13th September.
21st September 1942
P 212 arrived at Gibraltar from a working up patrol off
western coast of Sardinia. Two
schooners were sunk by
gunfire, one off Colummagia and the other off Cape
Argentierra. She also
fired a torpedo into the wharf at Buggerru
exploded among some schooners.
At 0238, H.M.S. EMPIRE PINTAIL on passage from the U.S.A.
ran aground on Hindi Gider Reef near Port Sudan in
position 19-23N, 37-54E. This
ship was carrying British and U.S. cargo and still
retained her commissioned
crew, wearing the white ensign.
H.M.S. PROTEUS, on passage to the United Kingdom, arrived
aircraft torpedoes and petrol.
22nd September 1942
returned to Beirut and reported torpedoing and probably
sinking a 5000 ton southbound
merchant ship at 0355/4th
in position 32-58N, 24-11E.
The Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron
tour of the Levant area to meet Senior Naval, Military,
A U boat which had been sighted by
M.L. 348 in
Famagusta Bay was hunted throughout the night but
The Aircraft Transport Vessel H.M.S. ATHENE arrived at Abu
and embarked 805 Squadron for Kilindini.
23rd September 1942
P 46 returned to Malta from a patrol and reported that at
0105/21 in position 33-34N, 11-06E she fired 12 rounds at
a large southbound
schooner scoring 8 hits. Four hours later the vessel was
At 0213/13 in position 35-36N, 11-09E (n.b. pencil
query in text regarding 33 north of the prior entry and
north in this entry although the attacks were a little
more than an hour apart)
she torpedoed and sank the Vichy S.S. LIBERIA. As this
ship could not be
identified by the Commanding Officer in publications held
by the submarine, he
considered it to be an enemy merchant ship employing a
"ruse de guerre" and
according sank her.
At 0440/21 in position 35-45N, 11-11E she torpedoed and
2000 tons southbound merchant ship.
H.D.M.L.s 1126, 1149, and 1159 of the 113th M.L. Flotilla
at Suez for service on the Mediterranean Station.
Escort vessels were re organized into the 1st, 2nd, and
Escort Groups as follows: Each group was under the command
of a Commander, R.N.
first two groups were allocated to the Levant and the
the Port Said to Alexandria run.
S.S. PORT PHILLIP arrived at Aden with her 6" gun
wrecked as a result of a serious accident during a
7. S.S. EMPIRE PATROL on passage from
Suez was bombed by enemy aircraft at 2203 in
position 26-06N, 33-25E.
Three attacks by single aircraft were made and she
suffered neither damage or
24th September 1942
315 and 316 with an Air Sea Rescue Launch carried out a
search without result for a Spitfire pilot known to have
crashed some ninety
miles northwest of Alexandria.
At 2109/23 the R.D.F. Station at Paphos reported surface
moving at high speed about 30 miles south west of Paphos.
During the night, the
Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteen Cruiser Squadron in
EURYALUS was sailed from
Haifa escorted by EXMOOR and BELVOIR, and ORION and
ARETHUSA, escorted by
PAKENHAM, PETARD, PALADIN, JERVIS, JAVELIN, and KELVIN was
sailed from Port
Said. Nothing was found and all forces returned to harbour
CLEOPATRA, whilst in the Admiralty Floating Dock at
slightly damaged when the keel
collapsed. The ship settled four feet aft and then bodily
two and a half feet down.
CLEOPATRA was very slightly damaged and was undocked the
following day. The
dock was out of action for about four days.
25th September 1942
P 37 arrived at Malta from Gibraltar to join the 10th
Submarine Flotilla. P 34 was sailed from Malta for a refit
in the United
H.M.S. EMPIRE PINTAIL was refloated at midnight with the
assistance of H.M. Tug HENRIETTA MOLLER from Massawa and
tugs and lighters from
Port Sudan. She was towed stern first into Port Sudan
where her cargo was
unloaded and temporary repairs were effected.
26th September 1942
Tobruk harbour area was heavily mined
during the night.
The destruction of shipping
Harbour and in the harbour.
M.T.B.s 307, 309, 311, 316 were sailed from Alexandria for
where they laid up, refuelled and awaited a suitable
opportunity to carry out
the operation. The R.A.F. provided 10,000 gallons of fuel,
H.M.S. UTMOST returned to Malta after an observation
Empedocle and in the Gulf of Hammamet for enemy
minelaying. Sightings were
confined to fishing boats. On her return passage a
practice bombardment shoot
was carried out on Linosa Island.
The Palestinian schooner SPHINX was sunk by gunfire from a
submarine 36 miles west of Tyre during the night.
Survivors were landed at
5. The Swedish S.S. KARLSHAMN on
passage from Aden
to Suez was damaged by torpedo aircraft 9 miles
north of Ashrafi Island
at 0455. She was able to proceed to Port Sudan.
At 0435, the Panamanian tanker YORBA
was machine gunned by a single Heinkel 111 whilst
discharging at Ras Gharib. There
was no damage or casualties.
27th September 1942
CLEOPATRA arrived at Suez from Massawa and relieved DIDO
was carrying out A.A. Protection duties south of the
Canal. DIDO proceeded to
H.M.S. ENDEAVOUR completed a survey of Port Berenice.
28th September 1942
few M.T.B.s were sailed to the westward at 1600 as a
keep enemy reconnaissance preoccupied in the Alexandria
area. This continued
for several days.
Two M.T.B.s and an Air Sea Rescue Launch carried out an
unsuccessful search in cooperation with aircraft for the
crew of a Wellington
which had crashed fifty miles northwest of Ras el Kanayia.
German Sea Rescue
Flight subsequently picked them up.
Four enemy aircraft raided Suez Bay during the night. One
circling torpedo hit the British S.S. TREVALGAN but did
not explode. There was
no other damage.
29th September 1942
H.M.S. CLYDE on passage to Malta was
attacked by a
single Junkers 88 ten miles east of Europa Point.
There was no damage or
H.M.S. CROOME was sailed from Alexandria to Suez for
A.A. protection to shipping south of the Canal.
The Greek submarine NEREUS returned to Beirut after a
the Aegean. At 1404/24 she torpedoed and sank a 1500
M.V., probably the Italian FIUME in position 130 degrees
Cape Alupo 6 miles. At
1510/25, an 80 ton caique was
rammed and sunk in
position 190 degrees Cape Krio 5.5 miles.
30th September 1942
M.T.B.s sailed from Paphos to attack shipping near Rhodes,
were forced to turn back due to foul weather.
An attack was made in the southern sector to secure the
depression which was achieved
after forty eight hours of
3. S.S. CLAN CAMERON on passage to
attacked by one torpedo bomber at 0243 in
position 27-20N, 34-15E. There
were no casualties and only slight superficial structural
damage. The German
S.S. LIEBENFELS which had been raised
and refloated at
Massawa was seized in prize.
The following ships were carrying out escort duties.
WHITEHAVEN, PRIMULA, BOSTON, FALK, and HYACINTH
Said to Alexandria: DELPHINIUM, SOUTHERN SEA, Yugoslav
anti submarine boats DURMITOR and KAJMAKCLAN
UNA On patrol off Kuriat
UTMOST, P 37,
P 46 Malta
P 34 On patrol Western Sardinia
P 35 Returning to Malta from patrol
P 42 On patrol off Cape Misurata
P 43 On passage to patrol area from Malta
P 44 On patrol south of Messina
P 46 Working up patrol north of Alboran
P 211 On patrol Gulf of Taranto
P 247 Working up patrol off Valencia
TAKU Returning to Beirut from patrol
TURBULENT On patrol off Benghazi
TRAVELLER At Beirut
THRASHER At Beirut
PORPOISE On passage to patrol area and Malta
OSIRIS Refitting at Port Said
NEREUS At Beirut
PAPANICOLIS At Suez
TRITON At Port Said refitting
KATSONIS At Ismailia refitting
NEBOSJCA At Port Said refitting
shipping losses during the month were as follows:
sunk, totaling 27,500 tons
damaged, totaling 39,600 tons
one Vichy French merchant ship of 4000 tons and one
Italian hospital ship of
8000 tons were sunk.
OF EVENTS FOR September
main event of the month was a combined operation to
port facilities of Tobruk and Benghazi. A Naval demolition
party and a
detachment of the Special Boat Section proceeded overland
with the Military
force for Benghazi. To assist these operations, attacks
were carried out on
Barce landing ground and Gialo. The attack on Benghazi had
to be called off as
it was evident the enemy were fully aware of our forces
and in addition they
were behind time. Though the military force successfully
penetrated the Tobruk
perimeter undetected and many Royal Marines were able to
land on the northern
shorts, the enemy rapidly became aware of what was
intended putting up heavy
resistance which, early on, disabled destroyer SIKH.
Considerable damage was
caused at Barce and Gialo and casualties were light. The
R.A.F.'s very heavy
attack on Tobruk undoubtedly caused considerable damage
and dummy paratroops
were dropped on various objectives.
Early in the month an attempt was made to destroyer enemy
shipping off south western Crete, using M.T.B.s near
Elaphonisi, which was
frustrated by weather at the last minute.
The enemy's offensive was short lived and after ten days
forced back again to his original lines. He clearly
underestimated the strength
of our armour. His losses in M.T. and tanks were fairly
Anti shipping sweeps to the Daba area were frequently
by Hunts but all were without incident. A small party of
Italian Marines made
an abortive landing behind our lines to sabotage the
railway to the front. Their
attempt was a failure and a very disillusioned party gave
themselves up at
A seaman battalion was formed to guard vital points in the
The Egyptian Army for political reasons,
would not retaliate if threatened with airborne attack. At
this juncture, the
army could not spare forces for this duty.
Our submarines and aircraft continued their successful
enemy shipping and there was little doubt that the
efficacy of these seriously
hampered his supply problems.
U boat activity was very slight only four schooners being
were no losses in convoy.
The Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron,
visited all ports in the Levant area on taking over
There was no activity during the month. At Suez, H.E.M.S.
was successfully refloated with the assistance of
Enemy U boats made their appearance in the Gulf of Aden,
only two ships were sunk. Aircraft made several attacks
with unknown results. HERO
and TETCOTT were sailed for local A/S escort duties.
Long range aircraft made several attacks on shipping in
of Suez during the moon period. Two ships were hit by
circling torpedoes but in
neither case did they explode.
EURYALUS and CLEOPATRA completed quick docking in the
Floating Dock at Massawa.
H.M.S. EMPIRE PINTAIL on passage to Suez from the U.S.A.
valuable war materials ran aground on Hindi Gider reef.
After discharging most
of her cargo into lighters, she was refloated and towed
stern first into Port
Sudan were only temporary repairs could be made.
H.M.S. ENDEAVOUR carried out surveys of many Red Sea ports
One store carrying trip was
PROTEUS whilst on passage to the United Kingdom for refit.
rejoined the Tenth Submarine Flotilla from Gibraltar.
Enemy bombing of the
Island was on a negligible scale, mainly due to the
sufficiency of Spitfires.
A/S escort vessels were formed into three groups under the
administration of Rear Admiral (Destroyers) (n.b.
Commodore (D) P. Todd). A commander was placed in
command of each group in
order to achieve a higher state of efficiency and to
overcome the difficulties
of command with the relatively senior Greek Commanding
Officers. A Levant
convoy system was also instituted which gave escorts more
time for much needed
maintenance and practices.
All M.T.B.s and M.L.s in the Eastern Mediterranean were
into a separate unit under the command of a Captain,
31, P 34, and PROTEUS
left for refits in the United Kingdom.
on loan to the Eastern Fleet
AIGLON, P 37 and 3 H.D.M.L.s joined the station.
H.M. Ships COVENTRY, SIKH,
ZULU, TALISMAN, 4 M.T.B.s and 2 Fairmiles.