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Transcribed by Don Kindell

HMS Charybdis, AA cruiser, took part in Operation Pedesta
l(Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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North Atlantic, Gibraltar area, September 1939 to March 1942





Areas of Operations (click to enlarge). Only some locations in text are shown


Click for Convoy Route Codes, Operation Code Names and Royal Navy  Minelaying









General Remarks of the Vice Admiral Commanding


North Atlantic Station



Operation PEDESTAL (including Operations BERSERK, BELLOWS, and ASCENDANT)


 Operation Pedestal (click to enlarge).


The object of Operation PEDESTAL was the passing of 14 merchant vessels with supplies from U.K. through the Western Mediterranean to Malta. Under cover of this main operation, Spitfires were flown off to Malta (Operation BELLOWS), two merchant ships were sailed from Malta to Gibraltar (Operation ASCENDANT), and aircraft carrier exercises took place to the west of Gibraltar (Operation BERSERK.


2. The forces taking part were as follows:






Operation ASCENDANT: Merchant ships TROILUS and ORARI and destroyers MATCHLESS and BADSWORTH (all ex Operation HARPOON).


Operation BERSERK: VICTORIOUS, ARGUS, SIRIUS, INTREPID, ICARUS, FORESIGHT, and FURY (Force M), INDOMITABLE, PHOEBE, LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, and LOOKOUT (Force K), and EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, WRESTLER, and VANSITTART (Force J). For the period of this operation, the combined forces were known as Force G.


Force X: escorting the 14 merchant ships right through to Malta, consisted of: NIGERIA, KENYA, MANCHESTER, ASHANTI, INTREPID, ICARUS, FORESIGHT, CAIRO, FURY, DERWENT BRAMHAM, BICESTER, LEDBURY, PATHFINDER, and PENN.






3. Preliminary moves from Gibraltar in connection with these operations consisted in sailing submarines of the 8th Flotilla, which, with submarines of the 10th Flotilla, were to establish a patrol line off the East Coast of Sicily to cover the operation. Submarines sailed as follows:


(a). UTMOST at 1300/1st August for position 38-31N, 12-41E.


(b). P 46 at 1700/1st August for position 120 degrees P 211 30 miles.


(c). P 222 at 1800/2nd August for position 120 degrees P 211 10 miles.


(d). P 211 at 1400/3rd August for position 38-38N, 11-44E.


These positions were assumed on 9th and 10th August, by which time, the submarines of the 10th Flotilla had taken up their positions in the patrol line.


P 46 and UTMOST were to proceed to Malta, and P 211 and P 222 were to return to Gibraltar on completion of the operation.


4. Main events in chronological order were as follows:


2nd August


2136 - Convoy W.S. 21 S, consisting of the 14 merchant ships for Malta, sailed from the Clyde.


3rd August


0420 - WISHART, MALCOLM, VENOMOUS, DERWENT, and WOLVERINE sailed from Londonderry to escort convoy W.S. 21 S.


5th August


0200 - EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, VANSITTART, and WRESTLER sailed from Gibraltar to take part in Operation BERSERK


7th August


0030 - NIGERIA and KENYA arrived at Gibraltar and refuelled in the Bay, sailing to rejoin at 0440.


8th August


2215 - INDOMITABLE, escorted by LIGHTNING and LOOKOUT arrived at Gibraltar and fuelled in the Bay. INDOMITABLE was unable, owing to fuelling difficulties, to take sufficient fuel.


2355 - SIRIUS and PHOEBE arrived at Gibraltar, having been detached from Force F to refuel.


9th August


0030 - MANCHESTER arrived at Gibraltar to refuel, but was unable to take on sufficient before she sailed again.


0200 - BICESTER, BRAMHAM, LEDBURY, and WILTON sailed to rendezvous with Force F.


0300 - Force R, consisting of JONQUIL, GERANIUM, SPIRAEA, COLTSFOOT, JAUNTY, SALVONIA, and the oilers DINGLEDALE and BROWN RANGER sailed from Gibraltar.




0428 - WISHART, DERWENT, TARTAR, and ESKIMO arrived at Gibraltar.


1900 - ASHANTI (Captain D 6), SOMALI, and ZETLAND arrived at Gibraltar.


2300 - MANCHESTER arrived to fuel.




10th August


0001 - INDOMITABLE arrived to fuel.


0045 - EAGLE arrived to fuel.


0300 - ASHANTI, SOMALI, and ZETLAND sailed.


0420 - MANCHESTER, INDOMITABLE, LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, and LIGHTNING sailed after refuelling.


0500 - EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, PATHFINDER, and PENN sailed after refuelling.


0646 - ARGUS, MALCOLM, VENOMOUS, AMAZON, and WOLVERINE arrived at Gibraltar.


1600 - KEPPEL, AMAZON, VENOMOUS, WOLVERINE, MALCOLM, and WRESTLER sailed to join Force F, thence to escort FURIOUS for Operation BELLOWS.


1800 - The whole force had passed through the Strait and, with the exception of SIRIUS and PHOEBE (who were ahead oiling from Force R), were in company.


2100 - MATCHLESS and BADSWORTH, escorting TROILUS and ORARI sailed from Malta (Operation ASCENDANT).


11th August


0600 - Fuelling of CAIRO and 24 destroyers commenced to the eastward of Gibraltar, and was completed by 2030.


0620 - Force was reported by Rome Radio. Intermittent shadowing throughout the day by J.U. 88s, one of which was shot down and one damaged.


1230 - Flying off of Spitfires commenced. (Operation BELLOWS). 38 aircraft were flown off FURIOUS – one force landed on INDOMITABLE, and 36 safely arrived at Malta.


1315 - EAGLE was hit by three or four torpedoes and sank in eight minutes. Survivors were picked up by LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, and JAUNTY, and later transferred to Western Approaches destroyers and FURIOUS.


1830 - FURIOUS, escorted by 5 Western Approaches Destroyers, was detached to Gibraltar.


Dusk - H.L.B. and T/B attacks by 7 groups of six or twelve J.U. 88s. No damage to ships. One aircraft shot down.


12th August


0100 - WOLVERINE rammed and sank a U boat in position 37-18N, 01-46E. There were no survivors, and WOLVERINE was badly damaged forward.


0550 - Snooping aircraft sighted. These remained present throughout the day.


0917 - Heavy D/B attacks by 30 J.U. 88s. No damage to ships. Two enemy planes shot down.


0950 - A Hudson aircraft from Gibraltar reported that she had attacked a U boat on the surface in position 37-23N, 01-02E. One bomb hit was estimated, and the U boat was reported as severely damaged. MALCOLM was detached to assist in the hunt.


1200 - Fighters intercepted and drove off attack coming in ahead.


1214 - H.L.B. attack by 20 Cant 1007's.


1220 - 10 aircraft dropped parachute mines ahead of the convoy. A number of these mines exploded after a short delay.


1245 - T/B attack by 35 aircraft one of which pierced the outer screen. No ships hit, but DEUCALION was damaged by near misses and was detached with BRAMHAM to proceed to Malta by Tunisian territorial waters. During this attack, the enemy used circling torpedoes dropped from aircraft.


1300 - VICTORIOUS was attacked by two fighter bombers carrying 100 lb. Bombs. No his scored.


1330 - VIDETTE sailed from Gibraltar to provide additional escort for FURIOUS, who had KEPPEL, VENOMOUS, and WRESTLER in company.


1335 - A second U Boat was attacked by a Hudson aircraft and two hits with depth charges were made. The submarine's bows were damaged and some of her gun's crew were killed.


1400 - From 1400 to 1900 a destroyer on each flank of the screen dropped a depth charge every 10 minutes as a deterrent to U boat.


1600 - BURDOCK and ARMERIA sailed to escort WOLVERINE to Gibraltar.


1600 - From 1600 to 2000 Italian and German fighters were over the fleet in force, and during this period our fighters were unable to protect either themselves or the convoy.


1645 - Contact on the port side of the convoy was attacked by PATHFINDER. The U boat surfaced astern and was rammed and sunk by ITHURIEL, who sustained damage to her bows. Three officers and 38 ratings were captured from the submarine which was believed to be a new one of the MEDUSA class.


1800 - Heavy D/B attack by 40 J.U. 87s and 88s, coupled with T/B attack by 20 Cant 1007s. The T/B attacks were not pressed home. INDOMITABLE was hit by three bombs and sustained several near misses, and large fires forward and aft were started. These were soon under control. FORESIGHT was torpedoed, and taken in tow by TARTAR, who later sank her.


1832 - FURIOUS, KEPPEL, VENOMOUS, and WRESTLER arrived at Gibraltar from Operation BELLOWS.


1855 - Force X was detached with the main force with the convoy and Force Z turned to the westward.


2000 - NIGERIA and CAIRO were torpedoed by a U boat. C.S. 10 transferred from NIGERIA to ASHANTI. CAIRO's stern was blown off and she was sunk by our own forces. CHARYBDIS, ESKIMO, and TARTAR were detached from Force Z to reinforce Force X.


2000 - From 2000 to 2100 heavy attacks by J.U. 97s and T/B aircraft in groups of 10. EMPIRE HOPE and CLAN FERGUSON were sunk, and OHIO and BRISBANE STAR were damaged.


2112 - KENYA torpedoed by a U boat, but able to proceed. Off Kelibia, the force was attacked four times by E Boats and MANCHESTER was mined or possibly torpedoed. Numerous mines were seen or cut in this area. Two merchant vessels were sunk in this attack either by mines or torpedoes.


2112 - DEUCALION was torpedoed by U oat off Cani Rocks and sank.


13th August


During the night, ALMERIA LYKES and WAIRANGI were torpedoed by aircraft of E Boats, and C.S. 10 sank them on his return journey, as ordered by Vice Admiral Malta.


0400 - GLENORCHY was sunk by U Boat or E Boat torpedoes.


0400 - MANCHESTER sank


0530 - SANTA ELISA was sunk by aircraft attack.


0800 - WAIMARAMA sunk by aircraft bombing attack.


0806 - P 42 sighted 2 eight inch and possibly two smaller cruisers in position 48-43N, 14-57E; speed 25 knots. She claimed two unseen hits on one of the eight inch cruisers. The cruisers were escorted by destroyers.


 1152 - WOLVERINE arrived at Gibraltar


1335 - Fighter patrol in error shot at a French civil aircraft which passed close to the Fleet. It was possibly the Marseilles/Algiers air liner.


1600 - C.S. 10 in ASHANTI handed over the three merchant vessels to the Malta local forces, and with KENYA, CHARYBDIS, PATHFINDER, ICARUS, INTREPID, and FURY started on the return journey to Gibraltar.


1825 - Merchant vessels PORT CHALMERS, MELBOURNE STAR, and ROCHESTER CASTLE arrived at Malta.


1910 - WESTCOTT and AMAZON joined Force F, and VANSITTART was detached to Force R to oil.


2014 - Merchant vessel DORSET was damaged by bombs and sank.


2315 - RODNEY, INDOMITABLE, and six destroyers were detached to Gibraltar. NELSON, VICTORIOUS, PHOEBE, SIRIUS, and four destroyers turned eastward to support the retirement of Force X.


14th August


Force Z operated to the Northwards of Algiers during the day.


0200 - Force X attacked by E boats, one of which was sunk.


0500 - Attack by U boats – near miss ahead of ASHANTI.


Dawn - from dawn until 1315, there were continuous air attacks including high level bombing, medium level and dive bombing by J.U. 88s and Stukas, torpedo bombers and minelayers. Only near misses were incurred, and two aircraft were shot down.


1046 - MATCHLESS and BADSWORTH arrived at Gibraltar with the merchant vessels TROILUS and ORARI (Operation ASCENDANT)


1430 - BRISBANE STAR arrived at Malta.




1800 - Force Z joined Force X (comprising C.S. 10 in ASHANTI, KENYA, CHARYBDIS, PATHFINDER, INTREPID, ICARUS, and FURY).


2334 - NIGERIA, escorted by TARTAR, DERWENT, WILTON, BICESTER, KEPPEL, WRESTLER, and MALCOLM arrived at Gibraltar.


15th August


0450 - ESKIMO and SOMALI arrived at Gibraltar.


0755 - PENN, BRAHAM, and LEDBURY arrived at Malta escorting the merchant vessel OHIO. OHIO had been towed by the three destroyers and Malta local forces for the last 100 miles. The destroyers entered Malta to fuel.




1815 - C.S. 10 in ASHANTI, KENYA, CHARYBDIS, PATHFINDER, INTREPID, ICARUS, and FURY arrived at Gibraltar.


2300 - TROILUS and ORARI sailed for the U.K., escorted by BADSWORTH and WILTON.


16th April




1030 - SIRIUS, PHOEBE, and QUENTIN sailed for Freetown.




1230 - PATHFINDER and VANSITTART sailed for Freetown.


1900 - VIDETTE arrived at Gibraltar.


18th August


2048 - PENN, BRAHAM, and LEDBURY sailed from Malta for Gibraltar.


20th August




1748 - DERWENT sailed for U.K. as additional escort for convoy O.G. 88.


21st August


0400 - VIDETTE and WRESTLER sailed for U.K.


0630 - PENN, LEDBURY, and BRAMHAM arrived from Malta.


24th August







EAGLE, U boat torpedo 1315/11


CAIRO, U boat torpedo at 2000/12, later sunk by own forces


MANCHESTER, mined or torpedoed at 2112/12, sank at 0400/13


EMPIRE HOPE, by aircraft attack at 2036/12


DEUCALION, torpedoed by U boat at 2200/12


CLAN FERGUSON, aircraft or E boat torpedo on 12th


WAIMARAMA, aircraft bombing attack at 0800/13


SANTA ELISA, bombing attack at 0530/13


GLENORCHY , sunk by E Boat at 0400/13


DORSET, aircraft bombing attack at 2014/13


ALMERIA LYKES , torpedoed by U boat or E boat during night 13th and later sunk by own forces.


WAIRANGI, torpedoed by U boat or E boat during night 13th and later sunk by own force.


KENYA, serious damage by mine or torpedo


INDOMITABLE, serious damage by torpedo and bombs


NIGERIA, serious damage by torpedo


RODNEY , slight damage to rudder from near miss


WOLVERINE, serious damage from ramming U boat


ITHURIEL, serious damage from ramming U boat


BRISBANE STAR, damaged by aircraft torpedo – extent unknown


ROCHESTER CASTLE, damaged by E boat torpedo – extent unknown


OHIO , serious damage by mine, torpedo, and bombs.

Operation BARITONE


6. The original intention was that the 32 Spitfires, ex S.S. EMPIRE CLIVE should be flown off EAGLE was soon as practicable after her return from Operation PEDESTAL. When EAGLE was sunk, however, Admiralty ordered that FURIOUS was to be used for the operation.


7. BURDOCK and ARMERIA, who were patrolling in the vicinity of position 180 degrees Alboran, 10 miles, were ordered to leave patrol and rendezvous with Rescue Tug SALVONIA and patrol in the vicinity of 36-38N, 36-23N; and 02-30W and 02-11W; keeping out of sight of land, so as to be available, if required, for rescue work.


8. Force H, consisting of FURIOUS, CHARYBDIS, LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, ANTELOPE, WISHART, ESKIMO, DERWENT, KEPPEL, MALCOLM, BICESTER, VENOMOUS, and SOMALI sailed from Gibraltar at 0400B/16th August. LOOKOUT's departure was delayed on account of re ammunitioning until 0545B, when she sailed to overtake the Force.


9. Flying off took place in approximate position 37-31, 02-51E between 0730B and 0930B on 17th. One plane crashed on taking off and the pilot drowned. Two other pilots baled out owing to defects and both were saved. 29 aircraft landed safely at Malta.


10. The force was unobserved throughout the operation, and arrived back at Gibraltar at 1000/18th August.




11. At midnight on Monday, 31st August, clocks were put back one hour, when British Summer Time was adopted, conforming with similar action in Spain.




12. The month of August has been remarkable for the large number of days on which the visibility at Gibraltar Strait or approaches thereto has been low.






Saturday, 1st August


LORD HOTHAM and KINGSTON CHRYSOLITE sailed at 2200B to meet and escort tanker ACASTA to Gibraltar.


UTMOST sailed at 1300B for position 38-31N, 12-41E; in connection with Operation PEDESTAL.


P 46 sailed at 1700B to assume her position in the patrol line for Operation PEDESTAL.


P 31 arrived at Malta, and CLYDE sailed from Malta for Gibraltar.


RHODODENDRON reported that S.S. LAVINGTON COURT disappeared suddenly at 0355B in position 49-40N, 18-04W. It was considered that the ship foundered as a result of the bulkheads collapsing.


A Catalina aircraft reported an enemy submarine on the surface in position 43-57N, 14-25W: course 080 degrees at 8 knots. The U boat commenced to submerge, but depth charges were seen to explode very close to the starboard bow. Hits were obtained on the conning tower with gunfire. No further results were seen.


Sunday, 2nd August


P 222 sailed at 1800B to assume her position in the patrol line in connection with Operation PEDESTAL.


Rescue tug JAUNTY arrived at 1800B from U.K.


Convoy O.G. 87, escorted by BLACK SWAN, FOWEY, CARNATION, and STONECROP arrived at 2035B. CAMPION arrived at 2245B.


S.O. (I) Mediterranean reported that documents taken from U Boat PERLA gave details of night fuelling arrangements from the S.S. FULGOR which is lying in Cadiz Harbour.


P 43 arrived at Malta.


H.M.I.S. KONKAN and RAJPUTANA arrived at Freetown.


Monday, 3rd August


O 24 sailed at 1300B for Freetown.


British Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that the U Boat at Cartagena would probably be sold to Spain by the Germans for 1,400,000 Reichmarks. It was thought that the crew would then be interned; the Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed the point that there was no private agreement with the Germans for the release of the crew.


British Consul, Cartagena, reported that work would be recommenced this day on the damaged U boat there. It was estimated that preliminary repairs would take at least 15 to 20 days.


A Catalina aircraft reported a U boat on the surface in position 43-18N, 16-36W, at 1305B. One or two hits with depth charges were estimated. The U boat submerged, and no contact was obtained by BRAMHAM and WILTON who carried out a hunt.


Tuesday, 4th August


Oiler DINGLEDALE sailed at 0500B escorted by ITHURIEL, WESTCOTT, and VIDETTE. CAIRO sailed at 0600 and CHARYBDIS at 0730. Oil exercises were carried out and the ships returned to harbour p.m.


P 211 sailed at 1400B for position 38-38N, 11-44E; in the submarine patrol line established in connection with Operation PEDESTAL.


A heavy explosion occurred at 0735B at the head of the Bay within about 5 cables of Mala Point, Campamento, the cause of which has not been determined.


LOCH OSKAIG was ordered to intercept the Portuguese schooner PESCADOR off Caminha and send her in to Gibraltar.


SPIRAEA and GERANIUM arrived at 2130B.


Wednesday, 5th August


LIVERPOOL, escorted by MANSFIELD and GEORGETOWN, sailed at 2230B for U.K.


RORQUAL arrived at 1100B from U.K.


BRAMHAM and WILTON arrived at 1620B from U.K.


A U boat on the surface was sighted by a Catalina aircraft in position 37-51N, 23-04W, course 190 degrees, speed 8 knots. A depth charge attack was carried out and one hit estimated. Another Catalina dropped depth charges in the position marked by the first plane. KEPPEL proceeded to hunt, but no contact was obtained.


EAGLE, CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, VANSITTART, and WRESTLER sailed from Gibraltar to take part in Operation BERSERK continuing, later with Operation PEDESTAL.


Thursday, 6th August


LADY HOGARTH and ARCTIC RANGER sailed at 0001B to rendezvous with convoy O.S. 36 and escort S.S. LOCHEE to Gibraltar.


DINGLEDALE sailed at 1200 escorted by ITHURIEL, VIDETTE, and SPIRAEA for oiling practices.


BICESTER and LEDBURY arrived at 1014B from U.K.


FOWEY sailed at 2014B to rendezvous with IMPERIALIST and escort four merchant ships from Lisbon to join the main body of convoy H.G. 87. Seven ships were originally to be escorted, but breakdowns prevented the others from leaving.


A transit aircraft reported having sighted one M.E. 110 aircraft at 1057B in position 47-20N, 09-08W; which appeared to be escorting what might have been two destroyers on a Northerly course.


P 211 reported a U boat, probably German, in position 37-30N, 03-21E, course 260 degrees, speed 14 knots, at 1730. P 211 chased her, but abandoned the hunt when the enemy dived at 1800B.


Friday, 7th August


Convoy H.G. 87, escorted by BLACK SWAN, CAMPION, CARNATION, and STONECROP sailed at 1030. FOWEY was to escort the Lisbon section to join the main convoy.


NIGERIA and KENYA arrived at Gibraltar at 0030 from U.K., refuelled in the Bay and sailed again at 0440 to rejoin Force F.


Saturday, 8th August


KEPPEL arrived at 1550 from U.K.


British Consul, Vigo, reported that a number of German seaman were reported to have arrived at 0200, and to have gone on board the German ship BESSEL. These men were thought to be either new crews for tankers, or possibly submarine crews.


A transit Sunderland was attacked by Dewoitine 520's in position 34-15N, 06-48W, at 0700. The Sunderland sustained damage but no casualties.


SIRIUS and PHOEBE arrived at Gibraltar at 2355, having been detached from Force F to refuel.


INDOMITABLE, escorted by LIGHTNING and LOOKOUT, arrived at 2215 to refuel in the Bay. Owing to fuelling difficulties, INDOMITABLE was unable to complete with fuel and had to return to Gibraltar again on the 10th.


Sunday, 9th August


MANCHESTER arrived at Gibraltar to refuel at 0030, but was unable to complete with oil before she sailed again.


BRAMHAM, BICESTER, LEDBURY, and WILTON sailed at 0200 to join Force F.


WISHART, TARTAR, DERWENT, and ESKIMO arrived at Gibraltar at 0428.






CLYDE arrived from Malta at 0900B.




MANCHESTER arrived to refuel at 2300.


Friday, 10th August


INDOMITABLE arrived to refuel at 0001, and sailed again with MANCHESTER, LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, and LIGHTNING at 0420.


EAGLE arrived to refuel at 0045 and sailed again with CHARYBDIS, PATHFINDER, and PENN at 0500.


ASHANTI, SOMALI, and ZETLAND sailed at 0300.


ARGUS, MALCOLM, VENOMOUS, AMAZON, and WOLVERINE arrived at Gibraltar at 0640B.


KEPPEL, AMAZON, VENOMOUS, WOLVERINE, MALCOLM, and WRESTLER sailed at 1600 to join Force F, thence to escort FURIOUS for Operation BELLOWS.


PARTHIAN arrived from Malta at 1050B


MATCHLESS and BADSWORTH sailed from Malta at 2100 escorting S.S. TROILUS and ORARI to Gibraltar (Operation ASCENDANT).


IMPERIALIST was ordered to endeavour to intercept the Portuguese PESCADOR, reported to be sailing from Vianna p.m. on 11th.


Tuesday, 11th August


ARMERIA and BURDOCK arrived escorting R.F.A. ABBEYDALE.


LORD NUFFIELD sailed at 2100 to provide additional escort for S.S. LOCHEE, DOLIUS, and KOHISTAN (who were being escorted by ARCTIC RANGER and LADY HOGARTH), thence assume G Patrol.


Wednesday, 12th August


LIVERPOOL arrived at Rosyth at 0615A.


P 35 arrived at Malta at 1610B


P 43 sailed from Malta at 1736B.


Portuguese PESCADOR was intercepted by IMPERIALIST and sent in to Gibraltar.


VIDETTE sailed at 1300 to join FURIOUS and escorting destroyers and provide additional escort to Gibraltar.


BURDOCK and ARMERIA sailed at 1600 to escort WOLVERINE to Gibraltar.


FURIOUS, KEPPEL, VENOMOUS, and WRESTLER arrived from Operation BELLOWS at 1830A.




Thursday, 13th August


KEPPEL and WRESTLER sailed at 0300 to carry out an A/S sweep in an area bounded by longitude 00-01E and 02-00W, northern limit being Spanish territorial waters and southern limit 20 miles from the Algerian coast. VIDETTE, ARMERIA, and MALCOLM joined later to cooperate. KEPPEL, VIDETTE, and WRESTLER were later ordered to rendezvous with RODNEY, INDOMITABLE, and escort in daylight/14th and provide additional escort to Gibraltar.


WOLVERINE arrived at 1152 from Operation PEDESTAL.


TALISMAN arrived from U.K. at 1604A.


British Naval Attache, Madrid, reported that the German crew were no longer allowed to go on board the damaged submarine at Cartagena. Chief of Naval Staff, Madrid, affirmed that the crew cannot leave the port.


British Consul, Valencia, reported that the Italian submarine (later identified as possibly No. 47) which entered that port at 2330/12, disembarked 1 dead and two or three wounded, and sailed again at 0730/13. It was later reported that the submarine was damaged by a depth charge from an aeroplane. Submarine only entered harbour to land wounded, but also effected minor repairs.


Friday, 14th August


RORQUAL sailed at 1700B with stores for Malta.


MALCOLM and ARMERIA on A/S patrol were ordered to reinforce the screen of NIGERIA who was proceeding damaged to Gibraltar.


P 212, escorted by LORD NUFFIELD, arrived at 1900A from U.K.


BADSWORTH and MATCHLESS, escorting ORARI and TROILUS, arrived at Gibraltar at 1046A from Malta (Operation ASCENDANT)


ARMERIA was detached from NIGERIA to carry out an A/S and R.D.F. patrol in the vicinity of Alboran Island. BURDOCK sailed at 2000 from Gibraltar to rendezvous with ARMERIA and cooperate in the sweep.




VIDETTE was ordered to part company with NIGERIA and take ARMERIA and BURDOCK under her orders and search for a U boat sighted in position 34-45N, 02-58W at 1640B.




Saturday, 15th August


WILTON and BADSWORTH sailed at 2230A, escorting ORARI and TROILUS to U.K.


VIDETTE arrived from A/S sweep at 1900A.


ESKIMO and SOMALI arrived at 0450A.




BURDOCK and ARMERIA were ordered to leave patrol and rendezvous with Rescue Tug SALVONIA, thence to patrol in the vicinity of 36-38N, and 36-23N, and 2-30W and 2-11W; out of sight of land in connection with forthcoming operation BARITONE.




P 46 and UTMOST arrived at Malta at 2130B.


Sunday, 16th August






SIRIUS (flying flag of Rear Admiral A.J. Power), PHOEBE, and QUENTIN sailed at 1030 for Freetown. VANSITTART and PATHFINDER sailed at 1230 (on completion of ammunitioning) to overtake.




O 21 attacked an eastbound 500 ton U boat in position 46-40N, 12-20W. Four torpedoes (of German origin) were fired, two of which ran on the surface, and no hits were scored.


VIDETTE arrived at Gibraltar at 1900.


Monday, 17th August


LADY HOGARTH and LEYLAND sailed at 1900 to meet and escort tanker BRITISH PRESTIGE to Gibraltar.


LORD HOTHAM sailed at 0800 to meet and escort P 556 to Gibraltar.


P 556 arrived from Bermuda at 1620.


At 1746A, BURDOCK, ARMERIA, and SALVONIA were ordered to return to Gibraltar forthwith.


A Catalina aircraft sighted a U boat in position 37-44N, 01-40E, course 027 degrees, speed 12 knots, at 0546. The aircraft reported having lost touch at 0550.


GORLESTON, in position 38-37N, 23-37W, sighted a U boat on the surface, bearing 085 degrees, 8 miles, course N at 0900. No attack was made.


At 1542, LANDGUARD, escorting convoy O.S. 37, carried out two attacks on a suspected submarine (which had been previously reported by aircraft) in position 44-16N, 19-04W. No results were observed.


At 2359, Vice Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins proceeded to London in accordance with A.T. 1152/17th August.


Tuesday, 18th August


ST NECTAN accompanied by LORD HOTHAM sailed at 1700 to meet the tanker DAVILA and escort her to Gibraltar.




Report from Lisbon said that U Boat was sighted at 1330 in position 41-45N, 08-58W, steering S.W. on the surface. It was thought that this indicated the use of Vigo as a supply base for submarines.


British Naval Attache at Lisbon reported a submarine sighted off the coast of Portugal in position 41-45N, 08-58W; steering S.W. on the surface at 1530.


FOLKESTONE in the vicinity of position 39-06N, 22-12W, carried out three attacks at 2240/17, 0102/18, and 0440/18 on U boat which had attacked convoy S.L. 118. PENTSTEMON also chased 2 U boats in position 41-14N, 20-38W. One U boat was forced to dive by gunfire.


During an attack on S.L. 118 at 1903, S.S. HATARANA was torpedoed. A rescue tug was sent from Gibraltar, but was recalled when STORK reported that HATARANA had sunk.


At 1858, an aircraft reported a submarine which dived in position 41-46N, 19-40W.


At 1000, a transit aircraft sighted a twin engine aircraft, thought to be a JU 88, circling in position 43-20N, 09-00W.


P 42 arrived at Malta at 1200B.


Wednesday, 19th August


Rescue tug JAUNTY, escorted by COLTSFOOT, was sailed at 1700B to endeavour to salvage S.S. HATARANA, who was reported torpedoed and abandoned in position 41-30N, 19-49W at 1703Z/18.


FOLKESTONE, escorting convoy S.L. 118, sighted and attacked a U boat in position 42-05N, 19-05W. She attacked another U boat at 1630 in position 43-21N, 18-20W.


A damaged U boat was reported on the surface in position 43-13N, 17-47W at 1220.


WELLINGTON and FOLKESTONE carried out 5 attacks on a contact in position 43-24N, 18-39W, at 2030. A loud explosion was heard after the first attack, but there was no visible evidence of destruction.


British Consul, Jerez, reported a reliable source as stating that before daylight, approximately 6 miles from the coast and 5 miles south of Bajo Salmedina, opposite Chipiona, two submarines were seen steering west. Only the periscopes and part of the conning towers were visible. By daylight, they had disappeared.


UNA and P 44 arrived at Malta at 1220.


Thursday, 20th August


BURDOCK and ARMERIA sailed at 2300 to escort S.S. ABBEYDALE.


Force F, comprising ARGUS, FURIOUS, NELSON, KENYA, KEPPEL, MALCOLM, FURY, BICESTER, ESKIMO, TARTAR, SOMALI, and VENOMOUS sailed for U.K. between 0125B and 0300B.


Greek destroyer PINDOS arrived at 1250A, escorting M.L.s 307, 341, 443, and 493 from U.K.


At 1553B, P 48 in position 44-01N, 12-15W reported she was damaged and unable to dive. ALOUETTE was instructed to proceed from the vicinity of Lisbon to rendezvous with P 48 in daylight on the 21st to escort her to Gibraltar.


DERWENT sailed at 1748 to act as additional escort to convoy O.G. 88.


OTUS arrived at 1930A from Malta.


Netherlands submarine O 21 arrived at 1950A from U.K.


An aircraft reported a suspicious wake or swirl in position 35-40N, 06-03W, at 0415.


An aircraft reported a damaged U boat in vicinity of position 43-00N, 17-00W, proceeding eastward at slow speed at 1626. A Catalina aircraft was sent from Gibraltar to search.


A report, graded A.1 by Americans, but considered to be doubtful, received from Consul, Tangier, reported that German U boats arrived at Casablanca at 2315. Certain reports were effected, and the boats left again at 0322/21.


Friday, 21st August


VIDETTE and WRESTLER sailed at 0400B for Plymouth.


PENN, LEDBURY, and BRAMHAM arrived at 0730A from Malta. The force was shadowed from dawn to 1600 on D/2, otherwise passage was uneventful.


ALOUETTE was ordered to rendezvous with P 48 during daylight/22nd.


Saturday, 22nd August


CLYDE sailed at 1900B with stores for Malta.


Rescue tug SALVONIA escorted by JONQUIL sailed at 0045 to assist S.S. ALRESFORD who was reported ashore south of Punta del Sabinel in position 36-42N, 02-42W at 0045/22. They were later recalled as ALRESFORD refloated under her own power.


P 222 arrived at 0820 from Mediterranean patrol.


SPIRAEA sailed at 2200B to meet tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG and escort her to Gibraltar.


SIRIUS, PATHFINDER, and QUENTIN arrived at Freetown 1700Z.


Sunday, 23rd August


D 19 in LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, and PENN sailed at 1100B to meet and escort MALAYA and RAMILLIES to Gibraltar.


P 48 escorted by ALOUETTE arrived at 1600Z from U.K.


LADY HOGARTH and LEYLAND arrived at 1330A escorting tanker BRITISH PRESTIGE.


At 1132A, a U boat was reported by aircraft in position 40-50N, 08-55W, probable course N.


The pilot of a transit aircraft sighted a submarine surfacing in position 40-50N, 09-00W at 1132.


Monday, 24th August




WESTCOTT, WISHART, ANTELOPE, and Greek destroyer PINDOS sailed at 1200/24 to rendezvous and act as additional escort to MALAYA and RAMILLIES, ANTELOPE and PINDOS to proceed to Bathurst on meeting the battleships, or at 2200B/27, whichever is earlier.


COLTSFOOT arrived at 0210A from escorting JAUNTY to the assistance of S.S. HATAHARA.


P 211 arrived at 0820A from Mediterranean patrol. She had sunk at 10,000 ton tanker south of Cavoli Island on 18th August, as well as a 250 ton ammunition schooner and a sailing vessel.


P 31 arrived at 1040A from Malta.


LORD NUFFIELD sailed at 1400 to rendezvous with S.S. SPERO, FLAMINIAN, KERMA, and RENE PAUL in position 235 degrees Fort Bugio, 5 miles at 0100/26 and escort them to Gibraltar.


DERWENT arrived at 1220A from escorting convoy O.G. 88.


Convoy O.G. 88 escorted at STORK (E.G. 36), DEPTFORD, CONVOLVULUS, and SAMPHIRE arrived at 1640A. MARIGOLD arrived at 1940A.


GERANIUM was ordered to meet tanker DAVILA in position 31-53N, 15-20W at 2045Z/24 and escort her to Gibraltar.


An aircraft sighted a U boat in position 26-58N, 13-55W at 1305, course 250 degrees, speed 10 knots.


Tuesday, 25th August


P 219 arrived at 1050A from U.K.


Wellington aircraft forced landed 26-26N, 14-00W, mile in shore at 1100. LAFOREY was detailed to search for the crew. The crew were rescued and the Wellington destroyed by fire.


An aircraft reported a damaged submarine within 60 miles of position 42-30N, 17-00W.


LEITH, escorting convoy S.L. 119, reported a U boat in position 33-59N, 21-55W at 2313. The U boat finally dived in position 34-04, 21-50W.


LOOKOUT intercepted and boarded the French trawler KEROMAN, in position 28-08N, 13-13W, at 0715A. Despite a warning the vessel used her W/T to report the interception, but she was allowed to proceed after part of her W/T apparatus had been confiscated. KEROMAN's cargo was fish.


Wednesday, 26th August


AVONVALE and PANTHER escorting LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE and SIBAJAK (Dutch) arrived at Gibraltar at 1050 with personnel.


JONQUIL and COLTSFOOT sailed at 1800B to escort S.S. KOHISTAN and DOLIUS to join convoy O.S. 38. They were to escort tankers PETTER II, THORSHAVET, and ANNA KNUDSEN (ex convoy O.S. 38) to Gibraltar. GERANIUM was ordered at 1740A to proceed to overtake JONQUIL and COLTSFOOT and provide additional escort.


At 1223, ERNE escorting S.L. 119 reported a U boat in position 34-53N, 19-48W. The submarine later dived.


SANDWICH, also escorting S.L. 119, attacked a firm submarine contact in position 34-32N, 19-56W. No visible results. Further U boats were sighted by ERNE and LEITH in positions 34-51N, 19-35W at 1530 and 35-22N, 19-56W at 1500.


Thursday, 27th August


P 31 sailed at 1510 for U.K.


P 212 sailed at 1600 for working up patrol in area "R.R."


GERANIUM, escorting tanker DAVILA, arrived at 0840 and sailed again at 1100A to overtake JONQUIL and COLTSFOOT.


Rescue Tug JAUNTY sailed at 0700 to rendezvous with SCOTTISH who was towing S.S. OMEGA.


DERWENT and AVONVALE sailed at 2300B, escorting SIBAJAK to Bathurst.


Friday, 28th August


Convoy H.G. 88, escorted by STORK (E.G. 36), DEPTFORD, SAMPHIRE, MARIGOLD, and CONVOLVULUS sailed at 1800. Transport LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE sailed with this convoy.


PANTHER sailed at 0156A to provide additional escort to Gibraltar for MALAYA and RAMILLIES.


Rescue tug SALVONIA, escorted by LORD NUFFIELD, sailed at 2320A to render assistance to S.S. CITY OF CARDIFF (ex convoy S.L. 119) who had been torpedoed and abandoned in position 40-02N, 16-02W at 1913B/28.


At 1406, a civil aircraft sighted a submarine on the surface in position 38-20N, 20-25W, steering 265 degrees at 12 knots. At 1412, she sighted a large Portuguese steamer in position 38-17N, 20-37W steering towards the submarine.


A U boat sighted by LEITH in position 260 degrees 5 miles from 39-25N, 16-08W; at 1413 dived ten minutes later.


Saturday, 29th August


Rescue tug JAUNTY sailed at 1200 to tow to Gibraltar trawler SECUNDO ENRIQUE (ex convoy H.G. 88) who had broken down in position 35-57N, 06-01W.


SPIRAEA, escorting tanker GETTYSBURG (n.b. ESSO GETTYSBURG), arrived at 1430A.


LADY HOGARTH and rescue tug JAUNTY arrived at 2040A with the damaged S.S. ALRESFORD.


MALAYA and RAMILLIES, escorted by WESTCOTT, LOOKOUT, PENN, PANTHER, and WISHART arrived at 2040A. LAFOREY arrived at 0700/30.


Sunday, 30th August


O 21 sailed for Freetown.


P 212 sailed at 1600 for patrol in area "Q.Q."


Vice Admiral Sir G.F.B. Edward-Collins returned from U.K.


P 212 returned to Gibraltar at 1208 to land sick rating, and sailed again to resume her interrupted working up patrol.


An aircraft reported sighting a periscope in position 36-39N, 01-50W, course 220 degrees, speed 4 knots at 1200A.


ANTELOPE and Greek destroyer PINDOS arrived at Bathurst 0940Z.


CLYDE arrived at Malta 1150B.


Monday, 31st August


D 19 in LAFOREY and LOOKOUT sailed at 1600 to rendezvous with transport LEINSTER and escort her to Gibraltar. LEINSTER was proceeding in convoy W.S. 22.










Organisation of Convoys, routeing of independent ships, promulgation of latest Admiralty instructions to merchant vessels, issue and withdrawal of confidential books and route work of Naval Control Service carried out as usual.




O.G. 87 arrived 2nd August


H.G. 87, consisting of 20 ships (Commodore C.E. Turle, RNR in S.S. DOMBY) sailed 7th August.


O.G. 88 arrived 24th August


H.G. 88 consisting of 26 ships (Commodore Sir H.J.S. Brownrigg, RNR in S.S. SPERO) sailed 28th August.


Three ships (Spanish trawlers PRIMER ENRIQUE and SECUNDO ENRIQUE and S.S. ALRESFORD returned with defects.




7th August, Norwegian tanker ACASTA arrived from Trinidad with Admiral fuel oil. Sailed in H.G. 88 on 28th August for U.K.


23rd August, British tanker BRITISH PRESTIGE arrived from Curacao with Admiralty fuel oil and octane spirit. Due to sail in H.G. 88, but delayed by engine defects.


27th August, British tanker DAVILA arrived from Trinidad with Admiralty fuel oil.


29th August, American tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG arrived from Curacao with Admiralty fuel oil.




12th August, S.S. DOLIUS, KOHISTAN, and LOCHEE arrived ex O.S. 36. DOLIUS and KOHISTAN sailed 26th August for Capetown. LOCHEE sailed in H.G. 88 for U.K.


During the month 13 vessels in addition to the tankers mentioned above had been routed independently – 7 into the Mediterranean.




7th August, Admiralty gave instructions that independently sailed ships bound for Gibraltar, if not fitted with H/F transmission, are to report their position on crossing 15 degrees W.


18th August, Admiralty called attention to the necessity of strict observance of precautions against sabotage on board merchant ships in harbour.


21st August, Admiralty promulgated revised instructions regarding ships fitted with H/F. reporting their position every three days after leaving harbour.


Convoy "Standard Route in future to be known as "Straggler's Route."


22nd August, Admiralty gave instructions that, in future, where the convoy route is altered after sailing, "Straggler's Route" shall be amended by the authority ordering the change in convoy route, instead of by the Commodore of the convoy as previously.




 (sgd) E.W. PEGLER

 Commander, R.N.

 Naval Control Service Officer.












General Remarks of the Vice Admiral Commanding


North Atlantic Station






1. A Catalina aircraft reported a medium sized merchant ship in position 42N, 15W at 1825/10, steering 235 degrees at 10 knots. The Catalina was ordered to endeavour to stop and identify the vessel, and attack if the reply was not satisfactory.


2. CHARYBDIS was ordered to raise steam and with all despatch, and sailed at 2120. H.M.S. VERITY, on passage from Halifax to Gibraltar, was ordered to search to prudent limit of endurance and return to Gibraltar.


3. An enemy tanker was sighted by aircraft at 1545 in position 43-54, 08-15W, course 300 degrees, speed 10 knots. Three Whitleys and one other aircraft attacked, but the results were unknown. Search was finally abandoned.


4. At 0645 an ALTMARK type tanker was sighted in position 43-38N, 05-00W; but is believed to have returned to a Bay of Biscay port.


5. No aircraft were available at Gibraltar on the night of 11th to cooperate, but a force of Wellingtons was ordered to be ready to attack at dawn. The Catalina aircraft which was ordered to investigate the ship sighted at 1825/10 did not return to its base, and is presumed to have been shot down by the enemy vessel.


6. VERITY and CHARYBDIS failed to intercept any of the three vessels, and CHARYBDIS was ordered in my 1042A to return to Gibraltar. She arrived at 0720/24 and VERITY arrived at 1800 on the same day.




7. The difficulties of Gibraltar escort vessels rendezvousing with incoming tankers have been increased in the past by reason of the tankers' routes not being known exactly, and also by reason of the tankers being unaware that escorts were searching for them. In certain cases the tankers had deviated from their promulgated route in order to avoid being seen by other independently routed ships.


8. My signal times 1550A/9 to F.O.I.C. Trinidad (R) S.B.N.O. W.A.T., S.O. (I) Jamaica and Admiralty requested authorities sailing tankers to Gibraltar to inform Masters of tankers to expect escorts in the vicinity of 20 degrees West.




9. S.S. RAVENS PORT, lying in the Commercial Anchorage in position 338 degrees, 7 cables from North Mole Light, was damaged by underwater explosions between 0750 and 1010 on 15th September. Three explosions occurred under the bilge keel on the port side, and two others clear of the ship. The ship was flooded fore and aft, and after the attack rested on the bottom on an even keel in 30 feet of water.


10. The method of attack is thought to have been by "limpet" mines, attached by men using D.S.E.A. type gear, similar to those used in the attack on 14th July last.


11. The finding of the Board of Inquiry into the incident will be forwarded in due course.




12. There was an alert between 2231 and 2330 on 24th September. Two of more aircraft, of which one was identified as Italian, came over from N.E. and returned in the same direction. A.A. engaged, but results were observed. No bombs fell on land, but objects were reported to have fallen in the sea outside the Moles – the area was later swept with negative results. Fragments of bomb recovered on the North Arm of North Mole indicated the use of a larger anti personnel type of bomb then known here. Shrapnel consisted of cuttings from 3/8 inch bar about 1 inch long. The casing was about inch thick.


13. British Consul, Almeria reported two aircraft over Almeria at 2230, well overland, heading west.




14. At 0455/3rd September, in a position 3 miles off Cape Sines, five merchant ships, S.S. META, ESKDALEGATE, NORTH DEVON, PENROSE, and HOLLINSIDE (who were unescorted at the time of the attack) were attacked by one or more U boats and S.S. PENROSE and HOLLINSIDE were sunk. S.S. ESKDALEGATE was also attacked but managed to avoid the torpedo. Ninety nine survivors were landed at Lisbon, a total of 1 killed and 4 missing being the total casualties.


15. This is the first time that U boats have made an attack on British ships on the Lisbon/Gibraltar run, and may indicate a change of policy towards Portuguese as prior to this it was assumed that a desire not to irritate them was a prime factor in refraining from attacks in or near Portuguese territorial waters.


16. Information from survivors suggested that the silhouettes of the vessels were clearly outlined against Cape Sines Light, and that the submarine was lying in wait for just this eventuality.


17. The circumstances attending the temporarily unescorted passage of these ships were fully explained in my submission to Admiralty No. X 416/395 of 9th September.




18. GERANIUM, STELLA CARINA and ST NECTAN sailed at 2030A/2nd September, escorting S.S. BRITISH PRESTIGE, DAVILA, and ALRESFORD to join convoy S.L. 120 on passage to U.K. BRITISH PRESTIGE was towed SEGUNDO ENRIQUE and DAVILA was towing PRIMER ENRIQUE.


19. SEGUNDO ENRIQUE sank on 4th September and PRIMER ENRIQUE on 3rd September through stress of weather – a full report was forwarded to Admiralty in my submission No. X 443/395 of 22nd September.




20. Naval Attache, Lisbon reported on 4th September that arrangements had been completed with the Port of Lisbon Authority for the tug CABO ESPICHEL to be kept at 4 hours' note ready to proceed out of harbour for rescue work on the Portuguese coast. She is equipped with W/T and D/F gear.


21. Detailed arrangements have not yet been concluded, and in my letter No. 801/7876 of 29th September 1942 (copy to D.N.I.) I asked the Naval Attache, Lisbon, to obtain the Portuguese Authorities precise views on the interpretation of International Law regarding Merchant Navy and H.M. Ships inside and outside territorial waters, in respect of salvage operations.




22. In view of the presence of two Captains (D) at Gibraltar (D 13 and D 19), a reorganisation of the Maintenance, Training, and Operational Administration of small craft is proposed. Units involved include Destroyers, Corvettes, Trawlers, Armed Boarding Vessels, Motor Launches, Minesweepers, and Coastwatching Flotilla, and the detailed proposals of the reorganisation were forwarded in my letter No. X. 447/402 of 24th September.




23. A communication from Naval Attache, Madrid, quoted a report from Vice Consul, Huelva, that a General Order by Spanish naval authorities to trawler owners required that trawlers fitted with W/T must report by W/T the position, course, etc of British vessels with particular reference to convoys. A special code is to be used, and German agents will pick up the messages. It was stated the order was not yet in force, though it may be brought into force at any time.


24. An independent source, graded B, reported that certain Port Captain has stated that trawlers already have this order, though it is not certain whether it is in force. This source stated that the trawlers were to report via their owners to the Captain of the Port who would in turn inform the Ministry of Marine. No mention was made by this source of passing of this information to the Germans.


25. It was stated that the code would be as follows:


"6 ships" becomes "60 cases of fish"


"15 ships" becomes "51 cases of fish."


"12 ships" becomes "21 cases of fish", etc.


26. A later report from Naval Attache, Madrid, stated that so far there was no confirmation of the existence of this Order.




27. The position regarding the German tankers at Vigo continues to be unsatisfactory, and the promise made by the Spanish Minister of Marine to place an armed guard on board the BESSEL has not been implemented.


28. In the first instance the Captain of the cruiser NAVARRO, who was responsible for the guards, misinterpreted his instructions and failed to put a guard on board BESSEL as he considered it unnecessary, nothing being able to go alongside her, in his opinion, without being observed either from the Naval Base or his guards on the tankers. The Spanish Minster of Marine, however, gave orders that a guard should also be placed in BESSEL.


29. In a report from the British Naval Attache, Madrid, dated 26th August, it was confirmed that there was still no guard in BESSEL. This report further stated that the Spanish D.N.I. informed him that the order given by the Spanish Minister of Marine was never passed it to the Operations Division. In fact, the Minister, who wrote it out in the presence of the British Naval Attache, forgot it. When asked later if it had been carried out her replied "yes" and again forgot it.


30. H.B.M. Consul at Vigo reported that he had been informed that here were about 18 Germans in each ship, of whom some were old hands, the remainder being very young. Their rig was apparently service issue, suggesting they were really ratings. They seemed to do about six weeks' service on board, after which they went on leave and were replaced by others, so that they were constantly changing. The Consul stated that this agreed with shore observations; the groups leave Vigo by train for Madrid and others arrive by train. The same informant reported that about the end of May six automatic rifles and four boxes of ammunition were taken on board each ship from Rios Naval Base, where they had been sent for cleaning. It was said that the German crews were nervous and that they had a watchman on the bridge all night with a flash lamp. It was also said that NAVARRO was no longer supplying the Spanish guards, but that there came from the Naval Base At Rios.


31. A later report from H.B.M. at Vigo stated that six lorry loads of cases were reported to have been received by one of the German tankers on 27th June, also that members of the crew under 27 years of age were being sent away.


32. Some German seaman were reported to have arrived at Vigo at 0200 on 8th August, and to have gone on board BESSEL. These may have been crews for the German tankers, about which the British Consul stated there have been reports of intention to sail, or they may possibly have been intended for submarine crews.


33. The British Consul, Vigo, reported that the following supplies for these ships were received from German on 16th September:


4 machines enclosed in metal with radiator at end (These appeared to be petrol-electric generators)


15 drums of electric cable. Diameter of drums about 1 metre.


Truck load of wooden cases (These may be degaussing gear for the tankers.


34. On 23rd September, H.B.M., Vigo, reported that one of the Spanish Guards had stated the German tankers intended to sail and that the Masters had been in touch with the Captain of NAVARRO, presumably, on the subject of the guards.








Tuesday, 1st September


VETCH, escorting tug DECISION, B.D.V. BARDOLF, 110th M.M/S Flotilla, 111th H.D. M.L. Flotilla, and 3rd L.C.T. Flotilla arrived at Gibraltar at 0250.


LORD NUFFIELD arrived escorting tugs SALVONIA and BUSTLER.


P 37 sailed at 0815 for working up patrol off Almeria.


SPIRAEA sailed at 2045 escorting the tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG. She was to part company at dark/5th.


CALEDON arrived at 0940 from Bathurst, and sailed again for U.K. at 2200.


P 222 sailed at 0815 for patrol in the Gulf of Genoa.


LOCH OSKAIG was ordered to leave Y.3 patrol and rendezvous at 1140/3 in position 220 degrees Cape St Vincent, 3 miles, with S.S. META, ESKDALEGATE, NORTH DEVON, PENROSE, and HOLLINSIDE and escort them coastwise to Gibraltar.


OTUS sailed at 1320 for U.K.


JONQUIL, COLTSFOOT, and GERANIUM arrived at 2020 escorting tankers PETTER II, THORSHAVET, and ANNA KNUDSEN.


British Consul, Barcelona reported that German ship ELIZABETH HENDRICK FISSER with 8000 tons of cargo ran ashore p.m. 29th August off Cape Oropesa.


At 0925, an Italian U boat reported in P/L being attacked by two Sunderlands in position 44-49N, 06-06W. She was successfully attacked by a Sunderland at 1028, another at 1744, and a Whitley at 1140/2. The latter attack was very effective, and the U boat was left listing badly and unable to dive in a patch of oil 400' in diameter.


Wednesday, 2nd September


GERANIUM, STELLA CARINA, and ST NECTAN sailed at 2045 escorting convoy S.L. 120G to join the main body of S.L. 120. Convoy S.L. 120G consisted of DAVILA (towing trawler PRIMER ENRIQUE), BRITISH PRESTIGE (towing trawler SEGUNDO ENRIQUE), and ALRESFORD. GERANIUM, STELLA CARINA, and ST NECTAN were to return to Gibraltar on meeting Convoy S.L. 120.


A report from Consul General, Tangier, quoted American Consul, Tunis' report that on 2nd September several E boats and 4 Italian minelayers were apparently laying mines off Kelibia in French waters between the coast and previous minefields.


Thursday, 3rd September


RAMILLIES, escorted by WESTCOTT, WISHART, PENN, and PANTHER sailed at 0100 for U.K. WESTCOTT, WISHART, and PANTHER were to return to Gibraltar on relief by BEVERLEY and CHESTERFIELD in position 41-20N, 20-01W at 1100/5. In the event of BEVERLEY and CHESTERFIELD not meeting RAMILLIES, PANTHER was to continue to U.K.; WESTCOTT and WISHART escorting to the prudent limit of endurance then to return to Gibraltar.


S.S. DURHAM, towed by Tug BUSTLER and escorted by VETCH and LADY HOGARTH sailed at 1700 for U.K.


A convoy of five ships from Lisbon to Gibraltar, with which LOCH OSKAIG had been ordered to rendezvous, was attacked by a U Boat off Cape Sines and PENROSE and HOLLINSIDE were sunk. See Part I for detailed report.


JONQUIL sailed from Gibraltar at 1835 to patrol off Cape St Mary.


British Consul, Santander, reported that an Italian submarine had entered that port with engine trouble.


CLYDE sailed from Malta at 1650B for Gibraltar


VERITY sailed from Halifax for Gibraltar at 1930Z.


Report from Valencia regarding the German S.S. ELIZABETH HENDRICK FISSER stated that the vessel had jettisoned part of her cargo, but the tugs had so far failed to move her.


Portuguese S.S. CORVO reported sighting a U boat in position 38-39N, 10-23W.


Friday, 4th September


Cable Vessel MIRROR sailed at 1930, escorted by LEYLAND, to repair the Waterville/Fayal, and Fayal/San Miguel, and Fayal/Pico cables.


GERANIUM, escorting convoy S.L. 120G, reported that the trawlers PRIMER ENRIQUE and SEGUNDO ENRIQUE which were being towed to U.K. had both foundered. See fuller port in Section I.


British Consul, Santander, reported that the Italian submarine which entered that port on 3rd September was attacked by aircraft at 0400/3, some 6 miles off Santander, receiving some damage and casualties (4 wounded, including the Commander). The ship was to be dry docked for repairs.


Saturday, 5th September


S.S. LEINSTER, carrying personnel from U.K., arrived at 0130, escorted by LAFOREY and LOOKOUT.


A transit aircraft report a U boat on the surface in position 43-27N, -0-01W, at 1056Z, course 060 degrees, at 4 knots. The U boat dived at once on being sighted.


A Sunderland reported at 1725 a U boat in position 36-31N, 03-00W, course 260 degrees, at 8 knots. A Swordfish and Hudson patrol was established but no contact was made by the aircraft.


PETUNIA arrived at 2100, escorting tugs CHARON, CHARON, the 108th M.M/S Flotilla and the 117th H.D. M.L. Flotilla.


Two or three U boats were estimated to be within 150 miles of the coast between Lisbon and Gibraltar at 1200.


Sunday, 6th September


M.L.s 172 and 176 sailed at 2115 for an A/S and R.D.F. sweep along the Spanish coast to Marbella, thence back to Gibraltar. M.L.s 443 and 341 sailed at the same time for an A/S and R.D.F. sweep along the Moroccan coast to longitude 4-50W, thence returning to Gibraltar.


SCOTTISH sailed at 2130 to escort RENE PAUL to Lisbon, parting company off the Tagus and proceeding to Y.1 patrol.


P 212 sailed at 1600 for working up patrol in an area bounded by latitudes 39-00N, and 41-20N, and longitudes 07-00E and 08-30E.


Monday, 7th September


P 219 sailed at 1600 for working up patrol off Almeria (Area "T.T.").


ARCTIC RANGER sailed at 1100 to escort S.S. BRITISH COAST to convoy O.S. 39, thence returning to Gibraltar.


LEINSTER sailed at 2200 for U.K., escorted by LAFOREY, who was to refit in U.K.


P 37 arrived at 1150 from U.K.


GERANIUM was ordered to proceed with all despatch to provide additional escort for DURHAM to U.K. LADY HOGARTH had broken down and ST NECTAN (relieved later by DECISION, who sailed from Gibraltar at 1600) took her in tow to Gibraltar.


M.L.s 170 and 307 sailed at 2115 for an A/S and R.D.F. Sweep along the Spanish Coast as far as Marbella, thence returning to Gibraltar.


WESTCOTT and WISHART arrived at 1830 from escorting RAMILLIES.


British Consul Santander reported that the Italian submarine there had attempted to escape on the 5th, but was prevented from doing so. She was still alongside the quay and had not yet been docked.


EGRET, escorting convoy S.L. 120, in position 39-30N, 17-55W, sighted a submarine on the surface bearing 336 degrees, 7 miles, course 030 degrees. During the ensuing chase, the U boat was estimated to be making 20 knots. She dived at 1125, but an attack by EGRET and LARGS was fruitless. Hunt was abandoned at 1730.


Tuesday, 8th September


O 21 sailed at 1700 for Freetown.


SCOTTISH sailed at 2130 to escort S.S. ALGERIAN and RENE PAUL, the former to Huelva and the latter to Lisbon. SCOTTISH was then to rendezvous with S.S. ARDEOLA, ALPERA, and TADORNA off Fort Bugio Light and escort them to Gibraltar.


M.L.s 443 and 170 sailed at 2020 for an A/S and R.D.F. sweep along the Spanish coast to Marbella, returning to Gibraltar after daylight.


B.N.A. Madrid reported that the Italian submarine at Santander was the GUILANI. The damage was stated to be heavy. No time limit for completion of repairs had yet been announced.


A B.O.A.C. aircraft reported sighting a submarine on the surface in position 14-19N, 18-10W, course 130 degrees at 1856. The submarine later submerged.


LAFOREY, escorting LEINSTER to U.K., reported a possible U boat on the surface in position 36-15N, 07-25W. A Sunderland was diverted to search, but nothing was seen.


Wednesday, 9th September


B.N.A. Madrid reported that the Italian U boat in Santander was the REGIONE GUILANI and that repairs were estimated to take 70 days (from 10th September, when she dry docked).


At 1225, a Hudson aircraft sighted a U boat, possibly Italian, in position 38-10N, 01-50E; course 160 degrees, at 5 knots. The U boat dived on sighting.


At 2020 a Sunderland aircraft sighted a submarine periscope in position 37-38N, 01-21E, course 032 degrees, at 5 knots.


Thursday, 10th September


TALISMAN sailed at 1710 for Malta.


CLYDE arrived at 1040 from Malta.


ST NECTAN was ordered to proceed with all despatch to rendezvous with SCOTTISH, who was escorting ARDEOLA and ALPERA to Gibraltar. Information had been received that an attack might be expected on the convoy on the night of the 10th.


SPIRAEA arrived at 1350 from escorting the outward bound tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG.


M.L. 469 sailed at 2030 for A/S sweep along the Spanish coast between Punta Paloma Light and 06W inside territorial waters, returning at daylight/11th.


An intercepted signal at 0155 G.M.T. on 9967 Kc/s placed a German U boat bearing 291 degrees from Gibraltar. This U boat was thought to be in the close approaches to Gibraltar.


CHARYBDIS sailed at 2120 in an attempt to intercept the suspected blockade breaker reported by Catalina aircraft to be in position 42N, 15W, steering 235 degrees at 10 knots at 1825.


The Portuguese fishing boat DELAES was sunk by gunfire in position 50-03N, 29-32W. All the crew were saved. No British or Allied submarine (other than American) was in the vicinity at the time.


Friday, 11th September


A Hudson aircraft reported attacking a U boat periscope in position 36-46N, 08-15W at 1230. The enemy, when sighted, was steering 180 degrees, at 5 knots. No results were seen.


An enemy tanker was sighted by aircraft at 1545 in position 43-45N, 08-15W, course 300, speed 10 knots. Three Whitleys attacked with unknown results. Search was finally abandoned.


Saturday, 12th September


P 211 sailed at 1713 for Malta.


WISHART, JONQUIL, SPIRAEA, and COLTSFOOT sailed at 2020 escorting THORSHAVET, ANNA KNUDSEN, and PETTER II to position 4-31N, 16-50W, where TINTERN ABBEY, SNELAND I, and LYMINGE (escorted by CHESTERFIELD, STARWORT, and ACONITE) were to be met – the latter three ships to be escorted to Gibraltar by the North Atlantic escort vessels; CHESTERFIELD, STARWORT, and ACONITE were to continue with THORSHAVET, ANNA KNUDSEN, and PETTER II. WISHART was to part company before dark/13th and provide additional escort for convoy O.G. 89 to Gibraltar.


PETUNIA sailed at 0730 escorting H.M. Tugs PRUDENT and CHARON to Freetown.


At 0645, an ALTMARK type tanker was sighted in position 43-38N, 05-00W; but is believed to have returned to a Bay of Biscay port.


Sunday, 13th September


P 37 sailed at 1620 for Malta.


ALOUETTE sailed at 1645 to escort S.S. ESNEH to Huelva, thence to assume Y.1 patrol.


WISHART, escorting O.G. 89, was ordered to proceed with all despatch to assist PHILIPP M who had broken down in position 36-43N, 09-45W at 1800 and escort her to Huelva.


LAFOREY arrived at Portsmouth at 0637.


P 42 and P 34 arrived at Malta at 1210B.


S.S. DURHAM, towed by H.M. Tug BUSTLER and escorted by GERANIUM and VETCH arrived at U.K. at 1900A.


A transit Wellington sighted a U boat on the surface at 0800Z in position 45-43N, 07-05W, course 060 degrees. The submarine dived on sighting.


Monday, 14th September


TALISMAN reported a U boat in position 37-48N, 06-00E, at 0645, course 250 degrees at 14 knots. Four Hudson aircraft were airborne at 1100 sweeping to 02-00W.


Convoy O.G. 89 arrived at Gibraltar at 1240, escorted by FOWEY, BLACK SWAN, MYOSOTIS, MALLOW, COREOPSIS and local escort WISHART.


A Sunderland aircraft of 202 Squadron reported sinking a U boat in position 37-38N, 04-35E at 1510. 36 of the crew were seen in the water. Photographs taken clearly establish the sinking.


VERITY arrived at 1800 from Halifax.


A transit aircraft reported an unidentified light cruiser painted white and grey in position 32-46N, 10-02W, course 170 degrees, speed 10 knots, at 0944.


Tuesday, 15th September


LOCH OSKAIG, IMPERIALIST, and ALOUETTE rendezvoused with RENE PAUL, VOLTURNO, COMO, GUIDO, TADORNA and trawler PORT NATAL off Port Bugio at 2100 to escort them to Gibraltar. ALOUETTE parting company off Trafalgar and proceeding to Y 3 patrol.


SCOTTISH was ordered to leave Y 3 patrol to escort S.S. ESNEH and ESKDALEGATE from Punta del Picacho Light to Gibraltar.


S.S. RAVENSPOINT was damaged by underwater explosions whilst lying in the Commercial Anchorage between 0750 and 1010. A full report is contained in Section I.


P 219 arrived at 1100 from Mediterranean working up patrol.


German U boat transmission on 11068 kc/s was intercepted at 1208. Submarine was bearing 298 degrees from Gibraltar.


M.L. 170 sailed at 2030 to carry out an A/S sweep along the Spanish coast between Punta Paloma Light and 6 W in territorial waters, returning by daylight/16th.


An aircraft sighted a submarine which crash dived in position 270 degrees Cape Trafalgar 10 miles at 1550.


TALISMAN on passage to Malta, reported sighting a U boat in position 37-48N, 06-00E at 0845B.


Wednesday, 16th September


ST NECTAN and M.L. 307 sailed at 1400 to rendezvous with S.S. KAOLACK off Malaga and escort her to Gibraltar.


British Consul, Huelva, reported that two fast M.L.s had arrived at that port.


P 21 (should read O 21) arrived at Freetown at 1900Z.


Thursday, 17th September


P 247 sailed at 1720 for working up patrol in the Gulf of Valencia.


British Consul, Santander, reported that repairs to the Italian U boat at that port were expected to take about one month at least.


Friday, 18th September


Convoy H.G. 89 sailed at 1930 escorted by BLACK SWAN (E.G. 37), FOWEY, MYOSOTIS, CARNATION, MALLOW, LADY HOGARTH, and WESTCOTT, the latter to part company at prudent limit of endurance and return to Gibraltar.


ST NECTAN and M.L. 170 arrived at 0950 escorting S.S. KAOLACK.


Saturday, 19th September


M.L.s 170 and 463 sailed at 1745 to escort S.S. EMPIRE HEATH to Huelva, parting company outside territorial waters and returning direct to Gibraltar.


VANSITTART arrived at 1100.


P 222 arrived at 1410 from patrol in the Gulf of Genoa.


H.M. Trawler ALOUETTE was torpedoed and sunk 7 miles west of Ceximbra at 0230A. One officer and 13 ratings out of her complement of 44 were lost.


P 211 arrived at Malta at 1220B


P 44 arrived at Malta at 1640B


Tugs PRUDENT and CHARON, escorted by PETUNIA, arrived at Freetown.


Sunday, 20th September


COREOPSIS sailed at 1900 to meet and escort the tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG to Gibraltar.


VANSITTART sailed for U.K. at 2030.


Six M.L.s (458, 443, 341, 176, 170, and 463) sailed at 1600 for an A/S sweep to Cape St. Vincent. They were to rendezvous with S.S. CARA off Punta del Picacho, and escort her to Gibraltar.


Cable Vessel MIRROR arrived at Ponta Delgada at 2100 G.M.T.


Monday, 21st September


Six M.L.s (Senior Officer M.L. 458) rendezvoused with S.S. CARA in position 180 degrees, 3 miles at 2100 and escorted her to Gibraltar.


Commander in Chief, Mediterranean, reported that TALISMAN, who had sailed from Gibraltar at 1700/10th September, had not answered signals and was three days overdue. The last signal received from her was at 0845B/15 when she reported an enemy submarine in position 37-48N, 06-00E. She was presumed lost.


JONQUIL, SPIRAEA, and COLTSFOOT arrived at 0720, escorting S.S. TINTERN ABBEY and SNELAND I.


P 212 arrived from patrol off the west coast of Sardinia at 1010. She had sunk several schooners by gunfire and torpedo.


H.M. Trawlers CORIOLANUS and JULIET arrived at 1240, escorting H.M. Tug RESTIVE who was towing Crane Lighter No. 3.


N.C.S.O. Lisbon reported that local fishermen had said that the submarine which sank ALOUETTE was still in the vicinity, and that she had been seen frequently between the mouth of the Tagus and Espichel.


Tuesday, 22nd September


WISHART and VERITY sailed at 0700 to carry out an A/S sweep from Cape St Vincent to 39 degrees North. The destroyers were to cover the passage of a convoy from Lisbon to Gibraltar, to part company at daylight/24th and return to Gibraltar.


H.M. Tug EMPIRE WARLOCK arrived at 1510 from U.K. escorting the F.F.S. Chasseurs 42 and 43.


Wednesday, 23rd September


JULIET and CORIOLANUS sailed at 2000 escorting H.M. Tug SALVONIA towing Crane Light No. 3 to Freetown.


Thursday, 24th September


QUENTIN and PATHFINDER sailed from Freetown for U.K. (via Gibraltar) at 2310Z.


WOLVERINE sailed at 2030 for U.K.


WISHART and VERITY returned to Gibraltar from A/S sweep at 1850.


Slight air raid on Gibraltar between 2231 and 2330. For details see Section I.


Friday, 25th September


VANSITTART arrived at Liverpool at 1730A.


WESTCOTT arrived at Gibraltar at 1000 from providing additional local escort to convoy H.G. 89.


Saturday, 26th September


PARTHIAN sailed at 1030 for Malta.


JONQUIL sailed at 1440 to meet and escort tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG.


The EMPIRE WARLOCK sailed at 1830 for Bathurst, towing F.S.S. Chasseurs 42 and 43.


PENN, PANTHER, and GERANIUM arrived at Gibraltar at 2010, escorting a special convoy from U.K. The convoy consisted of S.S. EILDON, MIRIAM, VERA RADCLIFFE, SHETLAND, and LYMINGE.


Sunday, 27th September


H.M.S. LINNET and trawlers SHIANT, EDAY, INCHMARNOCK, CAVA, KERRERA, RONALDSAY arrived at Gibraltar at 1100, escorting the 103rd and 114th M.M/S Flotillas, M.M/S Nos. 80, 9, and 47, salvage vessel KING SALVOR, Tug EMPIRE PAT, and Dutch ship ITTERSUM.


P 247 arrived at 1400 from Malta.


Monday, 28th September


JONQUIL, having failed to meet the tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG, was ordered to return to Gibraltar along the tanker's route.


LOCH OSKAIG, in position 315 degrees Cape Espichel, 12 miles, reported a Focke Wulf aircraft steering 180 degrees at 1256, and at 1600 another 284 degrees Cape Espichel 15 miles, course 150 degrees.


Tuesday, 29th September


P 48 sailed at 1600 for working up patrol in an area north of Alboran Island (Area "P.P")


CLYDE sailed at 1500 with stores for Malta.


P 219 sailed at 1800 for working up patrol in an area within 25 miles of the North African coast between longitudes 02-20E and 03-40E.


MALAYA sailed at 0030 escorted by WESTCOTT, WISHART, LOOKOUT, PENN, and PANTHER for exercises and firing East of Gibraltar, returning to harbour p.m.


JONQUIL arrived at 0700, having failed to meet tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG.


ST NECTAN sailed at 1930 to rendezvous with S.S. BARON FORBES and EMPIRE HEATH off Huelva and escort ships coastwise to rendezvous with S.S. PHILIPP M off Guadalquivir, all three ships to be escorted to Gibraltar.


At 1333 an aircraft reported sighting an enemy tanker of the KROSSFON type of about 4000 tons in position 43-10N, 12-16W, course 270 degrees, speed 7 to 10 knots, painted grey and showing no flags or markings. She fired 6 rounds at the aircraft. CHARYBDIS was sailed at 2100 to endeavour to intercept, and also to provide cover for a convoy of 5 tankers escorted by VIMY and BURDOCK.


A transit aircraft reported sighting a U boat which dives in position 47-15N, 07-50W at 1155, course and speed unknown.


At 1652, in position 10 miles east of Europa, CLYDE was attacked by a JU 88 who subsequently machine gunned CLYNE CASTLE who was towing a B.P.T for MALAYA's shoot. No damage or casualties were sustained by H.M. ships.


One U boat was estimated to be off Lisbon at 1200, also two off Cape Ortegal, possibly proceeding southward.


Wednesday, 30th September


At 1215, an aircraft reported an enemy submarine in position 43-44N, 12-16W, course 070 degrees, at 3 knots.


MAIDSTONE (? N.b. MALAYA) sailed a.m. for exercises and firings to eastward of Gibraltar, escorted by WESTCOTT, WISHART, PENN, and PANTHER returning to harbour p.m.


P 222 sailed at 1800 to patrol in an area within 25 miles of the North African coast between longitudes 00-15E and 01-28W.


COREOPSIS arrived at 0700 having failed to meet tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG.


MALAYA, escorted by PENN, PANTHER, and LOOKOUT sailed at 2100 for Scapa to join the Home Fleet.










Organisation of Convoys, routeing of independent ships, promulgation of latest Admiralty instructions to merchant vessels, issue and withdrawal of confidential books and route work of Naval Control Service carried out as usual.




O.G. 89 arrived 14th September.


H.G. 89, consisting of 19 ships (Commodore A.J. Baxter) sailed 18th September.


Gibraltar special convoy, consisting of 5 ships, arrived 26th September.




1st September, Norwegian tankers THORSHAVET, ANNA KNUDSEN, and PETTER II arrived from U.K. with Admiralty fuel oil. Sailed in company 12th September for U.K.


2nd September, tankers BRITISH PRESTIGE and DAVILLA (in company with S.S. ALRESFORD) sailed to join S.L. 120 for U.K.


28th September, American tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG arrived from Curacao with Admiralty fuel oil. Sailed 1st October for Curacao, via Trinidad.




21st September, SNELAND I and TINTERN ABBEY arrived from U.K. with coal and Government stores.


27th September, Dutch vessel ITTERSUM arrived from U.K.


During the month 15 vessels in addition to the tankers mentioned above had been routed independently – 9 into the Mediterranean.




13th September, Admiralty gave instructions that Masters of British managed independently routed Merchant Vessels, fitted with H/F are, when west of 15 degrees West, to originate a message giving weather report on each occasion of breaking W/T silence to report their position.


14th September, Admiralty promulgated revised instructions regarding choice of Stragglers' Route. Such route, in future, to be on one side or other of the convoy route, but not to cross it.


16th September, Admiralty instructed that, to guard against time being needlessly searching for survivors, Masters of Unescorted ships fitted with H/F are to be instructed to report by W/T the picking up of survivors.


23rd September, Admiralty instructed that, in future, a merchant ship which only sights the track of a torpedo is not to fire two white rockets as previously.


Changes of Personnel


27th September, Commander R.P.D. Webster, arrived to take over the duties of N.C.S.O. (these duties were taken over on October 3rd.


27th September, the following officers arrived for N.C.S. duties:


Lieutenant S.L.A. Ball, R.N.R.


Lieutenant J.W. Donaldson, R.N.R.


Lieutenant B.R. Niven, R.N.V.R.


 (sgd) D. Webster

 Commander, R.N.

 Naval Control Service Officer




 (sgd) E.W. PEGLER

 Commander, R.N.

 Naval Control Service Officer.













General Remarks of the Vice Admiral Commanding


North Atlantic Station




Operation TORCH


Preparations for the operation proceeded throughout the month.


2. A revised code for treatment of French warships and aircraft was promulgated on 6th October.


3. The underground Combined Headquarters were brought into occupation on the 22nd.


4. On 22nd October, I signalled to CinC, H.F., suggesting that ships should load to capacity with potatoes, bacon, beer, and spirits for human consumption, all of which were in low supply at Gibraltar. I also emphasized that demands for fresh water must be kept to a minimum.


5. Submarines were kept busily employed making reconnaissances, transporting distinguished visitors to the North African coast and moving to their appointed positions to mark the landing beaches. Details have been fully reported elsewhere.


6. Operation TRAIN was carried out towards the end of the month to fly aircraft to Malta.


7. Two Swedish Relief Ships, the AKKA and YARRAWONGA performed a "Derby Dog" act at the last moment, by refusing to alter their course, which led them through the TORCH convoys, without the prior consent of the Swedish Government.




8. At 1245 on 11th October, one JU 88 carried out a reconnaissance of the Rock at 24,000 feet approaching from a north easterly direction. The Fortress A/A engaged; Two Spitfires were airborne and intercepted the enemy fifty miles to the Eastward. One Spitfire was shot down into the sea. The JU was seen with the port engine on fire and indications suggest it was destroyed.


9. At 1955 on 20th October, two aircraft approached the Rock at 17,000 feet and were engaged by A/A One was illuminated and identified as a Piaggio P 108. Bombs were dropped in Linea and Campamento areas and in the sea to the east of Eastern Beach. Two Hurricanes were airborne, but no interception.


10. At 2030 on 21st October, three aircraft approached the Rock at 16,000 feet. One turned back while a considerable distance away; the other two came on and were engaged by A/A. One was illuminated and identified as a Piaggio P 108. Burst were seen close to the target and hits claimed. H.E. and incendiary bombs were dropped in Spain near Campamento, but non in the Fortress. Two Hurricanes were airborne but no contacts.


11. At 0910 on 26th October, a JU 88 flew over the Rock at 24,000 feet approaching along the Spanish coast from North East. A/A engaged. No fighters airborne.


12. At 1304 on 27th October, a JU 88 flew over the Rock at a height of 14,000 feet. A/A engaged. Spitfires were airborne, but no interception.




13. The S.S. ANGLO MAERSK, straggler from convoy S.L. 125, was torpedoed at 1650/26th October in position 27-50N, 22-15W and proceeded to Teneriffe at speed of 7 knots with the U boat following. H.M.S. JULIET and Rescue Tug SALVONIA were diverted to assist. British Consul at Teneriffe reported at 1030/27 that she was not in immediate difficulties and hope to reach the Canary Islands. The Spanish minelayer MARTE was standing by to sail from Las Palmas to assist. At 1430, ANGLO MAERSK reported that she was still being followed by the U boat, who had fired seven torpedoes, all of which missed. She was hit three times at about 1830 and sank, the crew landing at Hierro for onward transport to Teneriffe.


14. An attack at 2250/27 resulted in the sinking of the STENTOR and the torpedoing of the PACIFIC STAR. The latter reported at 1936/28 that she was sinking and the crew taking to the boats. The Spanish tanker CAMPILO, who was about 50 miles from the spot, searched unsuccessfully for survivors for ten hours. The Portuguese destroyer TEJO was unable to sail from Funchal to assist due to lack of fuel. All members of the crew eventually reached the Canary Islands safely.


15. The NAGPORE, TASMANIA, and HOPE CASTLE were sunk early on the 29th, and the PRESIDENT DOUMER, BARON VERNON, and CORINALDO after dark on the 30th. Some survivors of the tanker BULLMOUTH were later reported as having landed at Funchal, but it is not clear when she actually sank.


16. The Norwegian ALASKA reported at 0117/31 that she was sinking slowly in position 36-05N, 16-59W and needed help. The Portuguese SERPA PINTO who was in the vicinity and had been ordered by the Portuguese to search found her still afloat at 1500. She refused help as she was expecting a British warship.




17. It was reported that seven German ships at Seville, Cadiz, and Ayamonte had been taken over by the Spanish Government. Admiralty stated that the Spaniards had been notified frequently that the transfer of flag would not be recognized. These ships, whatever flag they might be flying were to be intercepted if outside Spanish territorial waters and brought to a British port. If they were escorted by Spanish warships, they should not be intercepted but an immediate report made to Admiralty.




18. An urgent meeting was called by the Military Governor of Huelva in the early house of 17th October as a result of a cypher message he had received during the night. All armed forces were ordered to stand by in the barracks, two motor launches were sent down river and the surveying ship MALASPINA raised steam. The alarm appeared to have been caused by a report that sixty to ninety British warships were in the vicinity, coupled with a German inspired rumour that a landing was intended at Huelva. The situation was nearly back to normal by the 19th October.




19. Admiralty once again raised the question of the disposal of the ex Italian POLLENZO. This vessel is not a prize; she is anchored beyond the area recognized as our province, and is claimed also by the Spanish. She cannot proceed under her own steam, and short of towing her out of sight during the night and explaining in the morning that she had sunk suddenly – operation which was once attempted – there appears to be no other solution.




20. IN view of the prevalence of attacks by limpet mines and time bombs clamped to the bilge keels of British vessels in Spanish waters, enquiries were made whether Spanish authorities would be prepared to arrange for ships to be examined by divers. Replies showed that the scheme would be practicable at Seville and Cadiz, but it was decided not to proceed with it in view of the notorious amenability of the Spaniards to bribery. It was hope that the knowledge that at any time we might institute such a search might have a deterrent effect.




21. Admiralty approval was received on 1st October to proceed with the building of additional accommodation on the CORMORANT reclamation. 42 Nissen huts were to be erected as an interim measure until the permanent barracks scheme could be put in hand, the ablution and kitchen blocks of the permanent scheme being also erected now.









Thursday, 1st October


PATHFINDER and QUENTIN at 1000 from Freetown and sailed again at 2000 for U.K.


LORD HOTHAM and STELLA CARINA sailed at 2005 to rendezvous and escort Lisbon portion of convoy WK 1 to join the main convoy. GERANIUM sailed later to provide additional escort.


ESSO GETTYSBURG sailed at 1940 escorted by WISHART to prudent limit of endurance.


CHARYBDIS reported she was hove to in position 38-06N, 15-50W owing to bad weather; boat damaged and two casualties. (n.b. one rating killed) Later reported weather moderated and steering 270 at 20 knots.


Friday, 2nd October 1942


WESTCOTT, JONQUIL, SPIRAEA, COLTSFOOT, and LORD NUFFIELD sailed at 1630, escorting convoy XK 1. The Lisbon section of this convoy, escorted by GERANIUM, LORD HOTHAM, and STELLA CARINA, was to join in position 37-30N, 11-59W. WESTCOTT was to part company at prudent limit of endurance and return to Gibraltar. In position 44-59N, 20-48W, convoy KX 1 (from U.K.) escorted by IBIS, STARWORT, PENTSTEMON, and ROSE, and the 11th Trawler Group (JURA, RUSKHOLM, STRONSAY, and ROUSAY) was to be met and escort ships exchanged. JONQUIL, SPIRAEA, COLTSFOOT, GERANIUM, LORD HOTHAM, LORD NUFFIELD, and STELLA CARINA returning with Convoy KX 1 (and the 11th Trawler Group) to Gibraltar. LORD HOTHAM, STELLA CARINA, and LORD NUFFIELD were to part company in 40 North and return direct to Gibraltar.


PROTEUS arrived at 0940 from Malta.


Aircraft reported medium sized ship, about 4000 tons, probably Italian PIETRO ORSEOLO in 44-08N, 06-39W, course 250, speed 10 knots at 1600. P 552 was ordered by F.O.S. to patrol in vicinity of 43-11N, 12-20W. CHARYBDIS, MALAYA, PATHFINDER, QUENTIN, PENN, and LOOKOUT were also informed by Admiralty. CHARYBDIS was instructed by V.A.C.N.A. to endeavour to intercept, but stated that she was able to do until dark/3rd, owing to lack of fuel.


P 212 sailed at 1930 for Malta.


Saturday, 3rd October


A signal from an aircraft gave position, course, and speed of enemy ship as "LRTQ 4010 090 15." It was thought from this that enemy ship was seriously damaged by aircraft attack and that she might endeavour to break out if she could shake off aircraft. CHARYBDIS and P 552 were informed that enemy M/V had been reported by aircraft in position 43-10N, 09-50W, course 090, speed 15 knots at 0943.


M.L.s 443 and 480 sailed at 1600 to endeavour to intercept Spanish S.S. CONAME I, who was expected to sail from Motril for Valencia on 3rd with a cargo of strontium. If intercepted, she was to be sent in.


Cable Ship MIRROR arrived at 1940, escorted by LEYLAND.


Sunday, 4th October


P 51 arrived at 1340 from U.K.


P 552 was ordered by F.O.S. to leave patrol after dark and proceed to Gibraltar.


Monday, 5th October


CHARYBDIS arrived at 0900 from search for enemy shipping in vicinity of 43-10N, 12-16W. She had not contacted the enemy ships, and had received damage from rough weather.


EDAY sailed at 0900 to rendezvous with S.S. PHILLIP M. off Guadalquivir and escort her to Gibraltar.


Netherlands cruiser SUMATRA arrived at 0940 escorted by QUIBERON and PARTRIDGE.


PROTEUS sailed at 1530 for U.K.


Five French submarines, escorted by surface vessels, passed through the Strait, eastbound.




Tuesday, 6th October


VIMY and BURDOCK arrived at 0700, escorting the tankers CLIONA, ABBEYDALE, BRITISH GOVERNOR, and NORLYS.


M.L.s 469 and 483 sailed at 0900 to endeavour to intercept S.S. CONAME I (Spanish) believed to be sailing shortly from Motril for Valencia with a cargo of strontium.


P 48 arrived at 0928 from working up patrol in Mediterranean.


P 44 and CLYDE arrived Malta at 1200.


At 1230, the trawlers FLUELLEN, HORATIO, STROMA, and OTHELLO arrived escorting the 134th H.D.M.L. Flotilla.


Netherlands cruiser SUMATRA, escorted by QUIBERON and PARTRIDGE sailed at 2000 for U.K.


Wednesday, 7th October


WISHART arrived at 1530 from escorting the tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG.


P 552 arrived at 1830 from U.K.


VIMY sailed at 1930 for Plymouth.


Thursday, 8th October


CAVA sailed at 1000 to rendezvous with S.S. VERA RADCLIFFE off Huelva and escort her to Gibraltar.


ARMERIA and BORDE arrived at 1120 from Freetown.


Friday, 9th October


P 34 arrived at 0900 from Malta


WESTCOTT arrived at 1100 from escorting convoy XK 1.


ARMERIA sailed at 1900 escorting tug EMPIRE PAT to Freetown.


P 247 sailed at 1915 for Malta.


A report received from Admiralty stated that German S.S. BELGRANO was ready to sail today from Ferrol. Permission was given to attack her outside Spanish territorial waters, provided that ships or aircraft were not observed, that neutral shipping or property ashore were not damaged, and that attack was not made in harbour or immediate approaches.


A transit Beaufort reported the wake of a submarine in position 48-00N, 07-24W at 0723Z and a transit Whitley reported a conning tower, painted grey, stationary in position 47-30N, 08-00W at 0805Z.


P 217 reported sighting a submarine on the surface in position 44-33N, 09-47W steering 080. P 217 attempted to ram, but the U boat dived and P 217 passed over her.


P 212 arrived Malta at 1230.


Saturday, 10th October


CAVA sailed at 1430 escorting S.S. RENE PAUL to Lisbon, thence to rendezvous with S.S. LYMINGE and escort her to Gibraltar.


JULIET, CORIOLANUS, SALVONIA, and Crane Lighter No.3 arrived Freetown at 1915.


LEYLAND sailed at 2200 to rendezvous with S.S. GRODNO off Almeria and escort her to Gibraltar.


P 247, on passage to Malta, made unsuccessful attack on a U boat in position 36-20N, 02-35W, course 080 at 1005. P 247 stated intention to return to Gibraltar for torpedoes. WISHART was ordered to hunt, and WESTCOTT sailed at 1330 to cooperate.


An aircraft reported enemy M/V in position 46-46N, 10-20W, course 270, speed about 15 knots at 1400. Vessel thought to be BURGENLAND.


P 217 reported an unsuccessful attack on a German blockade runner of BELGRANO class in position 43-27N, 08-33W, course 290, speed 13 knots at 2148.


Sunday, 11th October


P 247 arrived back at Gibraltar at 1030 to take on more torpedoes and sailed again for Malta at 2015.


WESTCOTT and WISHART, hunting the U boat sighted by P 247 on 10th, were informed in V.A.C.N.A.'s signal timed 1042A that 6 or 7 JU 88s might be in their vicinity.


A German JU 88 aircraft carried out a reconnaissance of the Rock at 1245. A full report is contained in Section I.


An aircraft reported a submarine, which dived, in position 37-31N, 01-27E at 1342.


INCHMARNOCK sailed at 1745 escorting S.S. VERA RADCLIFFE to Melilla to load, thence returning to Gibraltar.


The German S.S. BELGRANO sailed from Ferrol at 0500. Aircraft reported an enemy tanker of about 6000 tons in position 46-10N, 08-44W, course 210, speed 11 knots at 1155. This tanker was attacked unsuccessfully by various aircraft and subsequently altered course to Eastward. An enemy M/V, later identified as the BELGRANO, was sighted by aircraft at 1219 in position 44-35N, 12-05W, steering 320 at 13 knots. P 228 and P 217 were ordered by F.O.S. to proceed on surface at best speed to position 44-50N, 09-50W, whence, if nothing was sighted they were to patrol in the vicinity of 43-20N, 11-50W and 43-02N, 11-20W, respectively. PROTEUS, on passage to U.K. was ordered to patrol in the vicinity of 43-31N, 08-35W. Aircraft carried out unsuccessful attacks at 1315 and 1408, and BELGRANO altered course to 180 at 1420. Report was received on the 14th that she had reentered Ferrol on the 11th.


A report from Cadiz stated that on the night of the 11th, a workman fishing in Cadiz Bay in a small boat without lights approximately 500 yard from the tanker FULGORE was nearly run down by a submarine which was proceeding to the tanker.


Monday, 12th October


COREOPSIS, EDAY, KERRERA, and SHIANT sailed at 0645 escorting convoy S.L. 124 G to rendezvous with convoy S.L. 124 in position 38-15N, 16-00W at 0500/15. COREOPSIS was to part company after the rendezvous and proceed independently to Gibraltar, the three trawlers doing likewise.


WESTCOTT reported that the hunt for the U boat had been abandoned owing to mechanical failures on both WESTCOTT and WISHART.


Aircraft reported enemy tanker and merchant vessel in company in position 46-30N, 09-20W, course 270, speed 15 knots at 1200. Tanker was thought to be the same one as attacked by aircraft on 11th, while the merchant ship was the same as that reported by aircraft at 1400/10, but now thought to be SILVAPLANA, not BURGENLAND. Attacks were carried out by aircraft the ships proceeded independently, the tanker being sighted at 2115 in position 45-51N, 08-43W steering East and the SILVAPLANA at 1428 in position 45-33N, 11-04W steering south at 8 knots.


CHARYBDIS sailed at 1650 to carry out search for enemy shipping.


Tuesday, 13th October


LORD HOTHAM, LORD NUFFIELD, and STELLA CARINA arrived at 1200 from escorting Lisbon section of convoy XK 1.


CHARYBDIS reported that he was proceeding to Finisterre area in an endeavour to locate enemy tanker attacked by aircraft at 1745/12.


Aircraft reported 5000 ton enemy merchant vessel, thought to be SILVAPLANA in position 46-50N, 15-40W, course 260, speed 10 knots at 1300. CHARYBDIS was ordered by Admiralty to proceed to intercept. EGRET and BANFF were also endeavouring to intercept. CHARYBDIS stated that search could be carried out only until dusk/14th when she would have to proceed to Ponta Delgada to fuel.


P 228 reported an Italian U boat in position 41-48N, 12-28W, course 010, speed 14 knots at 1910.


Wednesday, 14th October


NIGERIA sailed at 1900 for Charleston, U.S.A., for refit.


EGRET reported at 0102 that his search for SILVAPLANA had so far been unsuccessful. CHARYBDIS gave up search owing to shortage of fuel and proceeded to Ponta Delgada.


Thursday, 15th October


P 217 arrived at 1320 from U.K.


CHARYBDIS arrived Ponta Delgada at 1830 to fuel, and was ordered to return to Gibraltar with all convenient despatch on completion.


A report received from Santander stated that the repairs to the U Boat there were nearing completion, and that insistent rumours suggested the intention to escape.


Friday, 16th October


St NECTAN sailed at 1830 to meet S.S. LYMINGE off Melilla and escort her to Gibraltar.


P 228 arrived at 1430 from U.K.


STELLA CARINA sailed at 1700 to escort S.S. KAOLACK to U.K.


P 51 sailed at 1900 for working up patrol in vicinity of Alboran Island.


BURDOCK sailed at 2130 for Freetown.


LOCH OSKAIG was ordered to leave patrol and rendezvous S.S. MIRIAM in position 180 Punta del Pichacho Light 3 miles at 1800/17 and escort her coastwise to Gibraltar.


CHARYBDIS left Ponta Delgada at 0730 for Gibraltar.


ARMERIA arrived Bathurst p.m. escorting tug EMPIRE PAT.


Saturday, 17th October


ARCTIC RANGER sailed 0900 to rendezvous with S.S. SHETLAND from Lisbon and escort her to Gibraltar.


STELLA CARINA returned to Gibraltar escorting S.S. KAOLACK, both ships being unable to proceed owing to defects.


COREOPSIS arrived 1258 from escorting Gibraltar portion of convoy S.L. 124 to rendezvous with convoy S.L. 124.


Sunday, 18th October


CHARYBDIS arrived at 0728 from Ponta Delgada and docked on arrival.


P 34 sailed 1500 for U.K.


SCOTTISH was ordered to leave patrol to rendezvous with S.S. RENE PAUL off Oporto in position 236 S. Jac da Foz Light 5 miles at 0900/19 and escort her to Tagus where RENE PAUL was to part company for Lisbon. SCOTTISH patrolling the vicinity of 235 Bugio 5 miles and subsequently to rendezvous with RENE PAUL in that position at 2200/20 and escort her to Gibraltar.


AURORA sailed from Freetown at 0800 bound for Gibraltar.


Monday, 19th October


P 552 sailed at 1500 for Freetown.


P 219 sailed at 2215 for patrol.


A Catalina aircraft reported a U boat on the surface in position 42-20N, 21-10W steering 180 at 8 knots. Eight depth charges straddled the U boat abaft the conning tower and machine gun fire also hit the conning tower. The U boat dived, leaving a patch of oil 100 feet in diameter.


P 35 and P 247 arrived at Malta at 1320.


PROTEUS arrived Plymouth at 1703.


Tuesday, 20th October


Enemy aircraft approached the Rock (See Section I)


One French seaman was picked up in the Strait by SAYONARA, having jumped overboard from S.S. JAMAIQUE proceeding eastbound in convoy.


Wednesday, 21st October


P 221 arrived at 1300 from U.K.


LORD HOTHAM sailed at 1600 to escort S.S. BLAIRESK to Melilla, patrolling outside territorial waters there while BLAIRESK loaded and subsequently escorting back to Gibraltar.


Italian tanker LAVORA sailed at 1800 eastbound with safe conduct.


POLRUAN, CLACTON, 25th M.L. Flotilla and M.M/S 5 arrived at 1830 from U.K.


JONQUIL and GERANIUM sailed at 1900 to rendezvous with tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG and escort her to Gibraltar.


Three enemy aircraft approached Rock (See Section I)


Thursday, 22nd October


AURORA arrived 1200 from Freetown.


P 45 arrived 1300 from U.K.


URSULA arrived 1515 from U.K.


UNIQUE due at 1830 from U.K. did not arrive and was later presumed lost.


Friday, 23rd October


P 51 arrived 1200 from patrol


Italian repatriation liners VULCANIA and SATURNIA arrived 1200, embarked Senior British Naval Officer, Naval Party and Military Guard and sailed at 1800.


P 54 arrived at 1230 from U.K.


ST NECTAN sailed at 1700 to rendezvous with S.S. EMPIRE SNIPE in position 270 Chipiona Light 5 miles at 0400/24 and escort her to Gibraltar.


STELLA CARINA sailed at 1700 escorting S.S. KAOLACK and OMEGA to U.K. with ZETLAND acting as local escort.


Aircraft reported U boat on surface in position 40-06N, 18-20W steering 040 at 8 knots at 1030. U boat was seen to submerge at 1445.


Saturday, 24th October


Italian repatriation liners GUILIO CESARE and DUILIO arrived 1200, embarked Senior British Naval Officer, Naval Party, and Military Guard and sailed at 1800.


BRAMHAM, COWDRAY, and O.R.P. BLYSKAWICA arrived at 1430 from U.K.


P 556 sailed at 1700 for U.K.


LORD NUFFIELD and ARCTIC RANGER sailed at 1800 to intercept Spanish RECHOU VILLA GARCIA from Las Palmas and escort to Gibraltar.


JONQUIL reported sighting a submarine in position 30-36N, 19-56W at 1830. Attack was carried out by both JONQUIL and GERANIUM, both attacks produced quantities of diesel oil, after which contact was lost.


Sunday, 25th October


P 219 arrived at 1830 from patrol.


FURIOUS, ISAAC SWEERS, MARNE, and ESCAPADE arrived at 1200 from U.K.


SPIRAEA, COLTSFOOT, EDAY, INCHMARNOCK, STROMA, and CAVA sailed at 1730 to escort convoy S.L. 125 G.


VANOC and ACHATES arrived 2100 from U.K. escorting S.S. LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE.


JONQUIL reported sighting a submarine in position 29-28N, 22-38W at 2142.


Monday, 26th October


ISAAC SWEERS, MARNE, and ESCAPADE sailed at 1300 for Ponta Delgada to fuel, thence to rendezvous and act as additional escort to convoy K.M.F. 1


Tuesday, 27th October


WIVERN arrived at 1230 from Bathurst


P 219 sailed at 2000 for patrol to Eastward.


Wednesday, 28th October


CLACTON and RESTIVE sailed at 0700 to patrol in the vicinity of Cape de Gata.




M.L.s 172, 173, and 1221 sailed at 0900 to patrol off Malaga in an endeavour to intercept Spanish ROSA N. ILLUECA and bring her in to Gibraltar.


Thursday, 29th October




BERMUDA arrived at 0950 from U.K.


JONQUIL, GERANIUM arrived 1030 escorting tanker ESSO GETTYSBURG.


RODNEY, PENN, PANTHER, and LOOKOUT arrived 1130 from U.K.


Friday, 30th October


BOADICEA, PENN, PANTHER, and LOOKOUT sailed at 0730 to escort oilers DINGLEDALE and BROWN RANGER for oiling at sea exercises with Force M, returning to Gibraltar on completion.




CLACTON and RESTIVE arrived 1930 from patrol off Cape de Gata in connection with Operation TRAIN.


Saturday, 31st October


ANTELOPE and BOREAS arrived at 0900 from Bathurst.


SPEEDWELL and HUSSAR arrived 0950 from U.K.


BRILLIANT and AVONVALE arrived 1100 from Bathurst.


GERANIUM, FLUELLEN, HORATIO, SHIANT, and RONALDSAY sailed at 1500 to rendezvous and act as additional escort to convoy K.X. 4A.


P 34 arrived off the Needles at 1500.


KINGSTON CHRYSOLITE sailed at 1745 to escort EMPIRE TRENT to Huelva.


VELOX and PUCKERIDGE arrived at 1830 from Bathurst.


Two French submarines, escorted by a surface vessel, made a passage of the Strait, westbound.










Organisation of Convoys, routeing of independent ships, promulgation of latest Admiralty instructions to merchant vessels, issue and withdrawal of confidential books and route work of Naval Control Service carried out as usual.




K.X. 1 consisting of 5 ships arrived from U.K. 13th October.


K.X. 2 consisting of 14 ships arrived 29th October.


X.K. 1 consisting of 8 ships sailed on 2nd October


Six ships were sailed 12th October to join convoy S.L. 124 and another eleven to join S.L. 125 on the 25th October.





BRITISH GOVERNOR, ABBEYDALE, CLIONA, NORLYS arrived from Trinidad and Curacao on 6th October.


American ESSO GETTYSBURG arrived 29th October from Curacao and sailed for Curacao on the 6th November.




During the month, 9 ships returned from Spanish ports or possessions in the Mediterranean and 10 from Spanish and Portuguese ports west of Gibraltar. Seven ships were sailed during the month into the Mediterranean and six to Portuguese and Spanish ports outside the Mediterranean.


Most of these ships were accompanied by an A/S escort.




2nd October, Admiralty drew attention to the necessity for ensuing that there was cooperation in dealing with the question of mails for Merchant Navy Personnel.


9th October, Suggestion for facilitating anti sabotage watch in Spanish and Portuguese ports were received from B.N.A.


12th October, revised instructions were received from Admiralty regarding areas in which Merchant Vessels are not to open fire on aircraft unless actually attacked. Admiralty also issued instructions regarding streaming of nets by ships fitting with A.N.D.


15th October, Admiralty instructed that ships for all Spanish ports from Rio Guadiana to the East are to remain in convoy to Gib., before proceeding to their destination.


19th October, Admiralty gave instructions regarding streaming of paravanes by Merchant ships proceeding to U.K.


20th October, Revised Instructions were received from Admiralty regarding ships which disclose degaussing defects in ports aboard.


22nd October, revised instructions for making Vesca signals and route signals relating to Independent ships were received from Admiralty.


31st October, Admiralty instructed that where ships failed to receive diversion signals addressed to them a full investigation into the circumstances had always to be made on arrive of the ship at her next port of call.



Changes of Personnel


3rd October, Commander R.P.D. Webster, took over as N.C.S.O., from Commander Pegler, who returned to the U.K.


 (sgd) D. Webster

 Commander, R.N.

 Naval Control Service Officer














General Remarks of the Vice Admiral Commanding


North Atlantic Station


The principal event of November was Operation TORCH. As the operational aspect will have been dealt with fully by Naval Commander, Expeditionary Force, the present diary is devoted chiefly to general remarks on the effects of TORCH on Gibraltar. A detailed report of lessons learned is in preparation.


2. The chief requirement of Gibraltar was accommodation for ships, personnel, and stores. Shortly before the operation it became known that a certain service department at home had been planning (in another connection) on the assumption that Gibraltar was 27 miles long by 3 broad. If it had been, the situation would have been considerably simplified.


3. Headquarters Staff. An underground A.C.H.Q. had been started some time before the operation and was due to be ready for occupation in January 1943, the limiting factor being the completion of the air conditioning plant which was to be ready for shipping from the United Kingdom about December.


When requirements were known, it was decided that the A.C.H.Q. would be the only suitable place to house the allied staffs, despite the lack of air conditioning, and work was pressed on to complete as much as possible in the time available.


It was taken into occupation by my staff and the advance party of the TORCH staff on 22nd October.


4. Accommodation of personnel. Senior Army and naval officers were lodged at Government House and the Mount, respectively, the remainder being divided between the Rock Hotel and Loretto Convent, which was converted into a mess for the purpose.


Considerable adjustments were required to house the mobile squad of dockyard workmen, the displaced naval personnel and those sent out for the period for the operation being accommodated in hutted camps at Little Bay and on the Alameda parade ground.


5. Berthing. In anticipation of the large volume of shipping to be expected, the Captain of the Dockyard took over responsibility for all berthing in the port, both Admiralty and Commercial Harbours. Every effort was made to press on with the A/T baffle to protect ships in the Bay. A Port Emergency Committee was set up to deal with allocations of berths, labour, etc.


6. Maintenance. The transfer of small craft destined for the operation was well under way at the beginning of September, but the provision of repair and maintenance facilities did not keep pace with the increase in ships based at Gibraltar. On 17th September, I had to point out to the Admiralty that a Coastal Force Base designed for 16 M.L.s then had 24 M.L.s and 24 H.D.M.L.s and the Trawler Base designed for 21 trawlers and yachts was allocated at least 66. I asked that VIENNA and BORDE be sent as soon as possible. Admiralty replied on the 20th that VIENNA was not being sent in advance of her original intended date. BORDE was sailed up from Freetown on 27th September.


A party of 387 workmen vote 8 and vote 9 combined was sent out to service under mobile squad conditions and 100 naval artificers for temporary accommodation at Gibraltar pending employment elsewhere.


7. Administration. Efforts were made to find out what additional commitments, apart from the actual servicing of units involved immediately prior to the operation, would have to be undertaken at Gibraltar, so that extra staff could be obtained if necessary. No official reply was forthcoming, but I was given to understand that I would have few commitments, apart from my own force. In the event, I had to administer a large additional number of ships, A Commodore F as appointed but his staff was negligible and his status and responsibilities were never properly settled. The result was that my staff, which is none too strong in normal times, had to cope with a vastly increased volume of work sailing convoys, administering visiting ships, received and disposing of survivors. I was glad to see that there efforts were recognized by two signals from N.C.X.F, congratulating both naval and civil sides for their excellent arrangements made for the berthing, fuelling, and storing of the large number of ships arriving immediately prior to the assault. All this time I was without the services of a Maintenance Captain and less urgent business (including this Diary) had of necessity to be side tracked.


A form of organisation was issued in N.C.X.F.'s 1452/19th November but was never fully implemented or promulgates. It is clear that in further operations when a large number of ships are detached from their normal administrative authorities, some proper organisation for dealing with the immediate day to day administration should be thought out beforehand.


8. Operational Control. On N.C.X.F. moving forward to Algiers for following division of responsibilities was ordered to take effect from 0001/26th November.


Rear Admiral Hall, U.S.N. to assumed title of S.N.O. Casablanca with the north limit of his area lat. 35N and the south 28-40N.


Vice Admiral Gibraltar to assume under the general direction of N.C.X.F., operational control of the Western Torch area, bounded by 43-20N, 02-13W and 40W.


The responsibility for A/ (n.b. four words unintelligible) on patrols determined on 28th November as follows:


R.A.F. Squadrons at Gibraltar to be primarily responsible for north of 35N,


S.N.O. Casablanca to be responsible for the area between 35N and 31-30N.


To a range of 300 miles from the respective bases.


9. Contraband Control Service. Admiralty directed that the Contraband Control Service was to cease immediately before Operation TORCH started and that it was to be reinstituted as and when I thought fit. In the point of act, the Service has never completely ceased to function though its scope has been materially lessened owing to the withdrawal of Trawlers, A.B.V.s & c for TORCH Operation.


10. Submarines. In anticipation of the early move of MAIDSTONE to Algiers, PIGMY was commissioned on 23rd November as depot for submarines at Gibraltar. F.O.S. suggested that a Commander be appointed in command, but it was felt that as a majority of submarine operations would be conducted from Algiers, a Lieutenant Commander should suffice.


11. Operation CRUPPER. Two M/Vs TADORNA and ARDEOLA with stores for Malta were sailed from U.K. in convoy K.M.S. 1. On 8th November, they separated from the convoy and proceeded independently. No further news was received until the 25th, when it was learned that they had both been stopped by shore batteries at Bizerta on 9th November. Neither ship was scuttled: in the case of ARDEOLA, because the Master believed he would be allowed to proceed, and in the case of TADORNA because the scuttling charges were locked up and the Naval Liaison Officer could not get at them. The French unloaded the ships at Bizerta, interning the crews, who were later released and sent home.


12. Water. The large number of transports and merchant ships passing through caused a heavy demand on the water stocks. Luckily, the rainfall for the month was nearly double the average over the last 25 years (12.48" as against 6.40"). Demands, however, were such that it was necessary to continue purchasing water from Algeciras and to request that the distilling ship GRYFEVALE from Freetown be sent to assist. Severe shortage of water was also reported from Oran.


13. Air. The following dispositions were ordered by N.C.X.F.:


(a). Six Swordfish (X Flight) of 813 Squadron to Oran 10th November for A/S patrols, and to Algiers on relief.


(b). Remaining six Swordfish (Y flight) of 813 Squadron to Oran 11th November to relieve X flight . Subsequently, moved forward to Algiers on November 29th.


(c). 833 Squadron to be completed to six aircraft for local patrols at Gibraltar.


(d). Five Walrus from fleet to be disembarked to Algiers.


Admiralty ordered 833 Squadron to return home in ARCHER on relief by 779 Squadron (Wellingtons). N.C.X.F. stated that 833 Squadron were to be used for local patrols, for which duty Wellingtons were unsuitable. He intended to send home three Swordfish nearing major inspections only in ARCHER.


(n.b. this part of page was poorly copied. "...." indicates unintelligible portion" .......pointed out that on 833 Squadron being brought to.........there were only three Swordfish left as pool as reserve for......shore borne aircraft of 813 and 833 Squadrons N.C.X.F. agreed that this was insufficient and considered that maintenance personnel at Gibraltar should be increased to enable major inspections to be carried out locally.


Admiralty replied ARGUS would leave U.K. for Gibraltar mid December with six Walrus, six Albacores, three Swordfish, three Martlets, and maintenance crews. The Walrus were to relieve 833 Squadron at Gibraltar unless required elsewhere by N.C.X.F.. It was not possible to substitute Swordfish for Wellingtons as former were urgently required to auxiliary carriers. Remaining aircraft and personnel of 833 Squadron to be returned in ARGUS.






Sunday, 1st November 1942


SCYLLA arrived at 0730 with the Naval Commander Expeditionary Force and staff on board.


A conference of Commanding Officers and Senior Officers of Flotillas was held in the Tower at 1130.


Instructions were received from Admiralty to carry out Operation TORCH (Admiralty's 1417A/1/11. The Naval Commander Expeditionary Force hoisted his Flag in NELSON at Gibraltar at 1200/1


H.M.S. URSULA and P 221 sailed a.m. and P 54 sailed p.m. to take up patrol positions for Operation TORCH.


P 228, which had left Gibraltar the previous day, reported a defect and returned to harbour at 1930. P 51 sailed at 1600 to take her place. VENOMOUS and MALCOLM, part of the escorts of K.X. 4 A. arrived at Gibraltar to fuel, and sailed again to rejoin their convoy.


AMAZON arrived.


Monday, 2nd November 1942


BULLDOG, PENN, PANTHER, LOOKOUT, OPPORTUNE, BOADICEA, BEAGLE, AVONVALE, and PUCKERIDGE sailed to rendezvous with Force H (T.O.N. II (n.b. number not legible) 1.


The 13th Minesweeping Flotilla sailed to rendezvous with Convoy K.M.S. 1 (T.O.N. II 32) with the exception of FELIXSTOWE, which was in collision with a tanker on the detached mole. FELIXSTOWE sustained damage to her M/S gear, requiring three to four days to repair.


Extensive orders were issued to submarines which had already proceeded on TORCH patrols to carry out Operation TORCH.




BROKE engaged in escorting Convoy K.X. 4 A, arrived to fuel at Gibraltar, and sailed to rejoined convoy.




Tuesday, 3rd November 1942


AMAZON, ANTELOPE, WISHART, VERITY, ACHATES, WESTCOTT, VELOX, PALOMARES, and POZARICA sailed at 0200 to join K.M.F. 1 on 4th November, (T.O.N. II 43). Owing to a defect, WIVERN was delayed and sailed at 1045 to overtake.




JAMAICA sailed at 1230 to rendezvous with K.M.F. 1 (T.O.N. II 44).


A French armed trawler, escorting four French M.V.s, passed through the Straits from West to East at 1340.


BERMUDA sailed at 1830 to rendezvous with Force H (T.O.N. II 2)


Convoy K.X. 4 A, escorted by BUDE and BRIXHAM, arrived p.m.


SIRIUS arrived 2133.


A/S aircraft escorts were provided from Gibraltar for convoys K.M.S. 1, K.M.F. 1, and K.X. 4A. The Catalina escorting K.M.F. 1 failed to return.


Photographic reconnaissances were carried out over Algiers by Gibraltar based aircraft. One escort vessel, two submarines, and twenty four M/V were observed in Algiers.


One U boat was attacked at 1515 by Catalina L.210 forty miles off Cape Tenez, four depth charges were dropped but the result was inconclusive. Three other U boats were sighted by aircraft, but no attacks were made.


Wednesday, 4th November 1942




Convoy K.X. 4 A arrived escorted by H.M. ships VENOMOUS, MALCOLM, BROKE, and WRESTLER, and the 10th Trawler Group.


H.M.S. ALGERINE escorting one M/V arrived


H.M.S. AURORA sailed to join K.M.F.0. 1 (T.O.N. II 66).


Cable ship MIRROR, escorted by H.M. Ships RUSKHOLM and JURA, sailed at 1900A for Lisbon to carry out repairs to cables. Three M/V for Lisbon sailed with her.


Convoys K.M.F. 1 and K.M.S. 1 split into K.M.F.A. 1 K.M.F.O. 1, K.M.S.A. 1 and K.M.S.O. 1 in accordance with T.O.N. orders, the O portions of the convoys proceeded westwards in order to pass through the Straits at their scheduled times.


The S/Ms to be stated off Oran (URSULA and P 54) and Algiers (P 45, P 48, and P 221) arrived at their appointed positions.




A/S escorts were provided for K.M.S. 1 and K.X. 4 A. One Catalina crashed when taking off to escort K.M.F. 1, eight of the crew being killed.


At 1149, one JU 88 approached from the N.E. and attacked the harbour area with cannon. No damage was caused. Four Spitfires went up but failed to intercept. The undercarriage of one of these was damaged in the take off and the pilot was badly injured when he baled out. A.A. guns on shore opened fire, but no hits were claimed.


Thursday, 5th November 1942




H.M.S. SAMPHIRE from K.M.S. A. 1 arrived at 0700 with a defect.


H.M.S. LOUISBERG, which had arrived off Gibraltar p.m. on 4th, entered harbour at 0730, subsequently fuelling and sailing at 1730 to carry out a patrol to the eastward of the Rock, and then to rendezvous with L.S.I. (H) as they passed into the Mediterranean.


H.M.S. HUSSAR, SPEEDWELL, and ALGERINE sailed at 0800 to rendezvous with K.M.S.A. 1 (T.O.N. II 85).


H.M.S. ONSLOW, OFFA, and ORIBI having fuelled at Ponta Delgada made a rendezvous with NORFOLK and CUMBERLAND in position W at 0900 Force Q, then proceeded to their patrol position.


H.M.S. SPIRAEA and JONQUIL sailed at 1000 to join K.M.F.A. 1 (T.O.N. II 50).


H.M.S. FARNDALE and CALPE sailed at 0700 to rendezvous with Force H (T.O.N. II 6 . (n.b. number illegible). H.M.S. SIRIUS was delayed by defective turrets and sailed at 1740 to overtake.


H.M.N.S. ISAAC SWEERS left convoy K.M.F. A. 1 a.m. to join Force H.


Force H split into two sections in accordance with T.O.N. II series 9.




H.M.S. SHEFFIELD and WELSHMAN arrived at 0815 and 0845 respectively.


The Boom obstruction running from P – Q in Gibraltar Bay was completed.


The Vichy French ship CAUDEBEC having been boarded by a party from H.M.S. WIVERN was brought into Gibraltar by an armed guard at 1130.


H.M.S. STURGEON arrived 1500.


H.M.SM.s P 217 and P 222 arrived at their patrol positions off Toulon.


U.S. Submarines arrived at their patrol positions as follows:


BART off Safi (n.b. this submarine should read BARB)


HERRING off Casablanca


SHAD off Medhia


GUNNEL off Fedala


BLACKFISH had been patrolling of Dakar for some days.


H.M.S. VANSITTART entered harbour to collect TORCH orders.


H.M. S/M. P 217 was ordered to leave her patrol position and proceed to position 43-01E to carry out a special mission.


Force R (BROWN RANGER and DINGLEDALE, escorted by COREOPSIS, LOCH OSKAIG, IMPERIALIST, ARCTIC RANGER, and ST NECTAN) sailed at 1830. They were accompanied by the 4th Trawler Group (CAVA, OTHELLO, JULIET, and STROMA), the 5th Trawler Group (HOY, INCHOLM, MULL, and RYSA), and M/Ls 307, 238, 273, 283, 295, 336, 338, and 444 (T.O.N. II 122).




H.M.S. DUKE OF YORK and RENOWN arrived after dark to fuel in the Bay.


H.M.S. ULSTER MONARCH, ROYAL SCOTSMAN, and ROYAL ULSTERMAN (K.M.S. 1 (H)) with S.S. LEINSTER, the latter carrying U.S.A. and R.A.F. pilots and additional plotting staffs for A.C.H.Q. arrived p.m.


Major war vessels in Gibraltar harbour were instructed to assume 3rd degree of A.A. readiness.


During the night, K.M.S.A. 2 passed through the Straits into the Mediterranean.




Air escorts based at Gibraltar were provided for K.M.S. O. 1, K.M.F. 0. 1, K.M.F.A.1, and U.G.F. 1.


Five Fortress aircraft and fourteen Hudsons arrived from the U.K.


At 1032, one enemy aircraft approached Gibraltar from the East at 25,000 feet. Fighters went up but no contact was made.


Friday, 6th November 1942


During the early hours of the morning, K.M.F.A. 1 passed through the Straits closely followed by the L.C.T., which kept near to the Moroccan coast.


H.M.S. RODNEY and ARGONAUT, escorted by ESKIMO, ASHANTI, METEOR, MARTIN, QUENTIN, QUALITY, QUIBERON, PATHFINDER, PARTRIDGE, MILNE, PENN, PANTHER, LOOKOUT, OPPORTUNE, BULLDOG, and BEAGLE left harbour at 0400, joined H.M.S. DUKE OF YORK and RENOWN in the Bay and proceeded into the Mediterranean (T.O.N. II 13 and 14).


H.M.S. VICTORIOUS, FORMIDABLE, BERMUDA, and SIRIUS escorted by BRILLIANT, BOADICEA, AVONVALE, FARNDALE, PUCKERIDGE, and CALPE passed through the Strait and joined Force H as it entered the Mediterranean (T.O.N. II 15)


H.M.S. VANOC, MALCOLM, and WRESTLER sailed at 0200 to relieve H.M.S. AMAZON, ACHATES, ANTELOPE, and WIVERN, escorting K.M.F. A. 1) (T.O.N. II 57)


H.M.S. WIVERN, AMAZON, ACHATES, and ANTELOPE entered harbour at 0545 (T.O.N. II 59).


Two French submarines, escorted by a destroyer, passed through the Straits from West to East at 1025.


Five Vichy French M/V passed through the Straits eastbound at 1300.


H.M.S/M. P 51 arrived at its patrol position off Toulon.


H.M.S. ESCAPADE sailed at 1300 to join K.M.F. 2 as an additional escort.


H.M.S. BUDE, BRIXHAM, FELIXSTOWE, and VANSITTART sailed at 1500 to join K.M.S.O. 1.


H.M.S. VENOMOUS sailed at 1700 to rendezvous with convoy C.F. 7 and escort VINDICTIVE and HECLA to Gibraltar.


At 1700, convoy K.M.S.O.1 passed through the Straits eastbound, followed by K.M.F. 0.1. at 1830.


Two L.C.T., escorted by the 8th Trawler Group, sailed to join K.M.S.O.1 after dark. M/Ls 280, 463, 369, 471, 480, and 483 and H.D.M.L.s 1127, 1128, 1139, and 1142 sailed at the same time.


Tug ST DAY sailed at 2145 to patrol off ape de Gata.


Orders were issued to the three L.S.T. in the vicinity of Alboran Island to alter course in order to avoid a U boat.


H.M.S. DASHER, escorted by AMAZON, ACHATES, ANTELOPE, and WIVERN, BRILLIANT, and BOADICEA sailed at (n.b. unintelligible..about seven words).


H.M.S. WALNEY reported that when carrying out T.O.N. II serial (n.b. intelligible word), her engines had broken down, and that she had grounded at the northern end of Rosia Bay. H.M.S. VELOX, who was due to be relieved from escorted K.M.F. O.1., was instructed to come in with the convoy in her placed. H.M.S. WALNEY, however, was able to get under way again without assistance and proceeded with H.M.S. HARTLAND to join K.M.F.O.1. H.M.S. VELOX returned to harbour with WESTCOTT, VERITY, and WISHART, entering harbour at 21 (n.b. unintelligible characters) (T.O.N. II 73.




A/S escorts from aircraft based at Gibraltar were provided for K.M.S.A.2, K.M.S.O.1, K.M.F.A.1, K.M.F.O, and U.G.F. 1.


Ten Spitfires and ten Hudsons arrived from the U.K.


SATURDAY, 7th November 1942




H.M.S. FURIOUS and DELHI, escorted by H.M.S. FARNDALE, AVONVALE, PUCKERIDGE, and CALPE, sailed at 0300 (T.O.N. II 74).


H.M.S. WESTCOTT and H.M.S. VERITY sailed at 0600 to join N.C.O.T.F. (T.O.N. II 76).


WISHART and VELOX were sailed in order to rendezvous with and to escort to Gibraltar, U.S.S. THOMAS STONE, torpedoed 0650 by a U boat in position 37-34N, 00-01W. THOMAS STONE reported to be in no danger of sinking and 2115 was taken in tow by WISHART and sailed for Algiers. SPEY reported at 1800 that under the orders of the C.O. THOMAS STONE, he was escorting 24 of her landing craft with 700 to the beach. N.C.X.F. heartily agreed.


H.M.S. MARNE sailed at 0800 to overtake H.M.S. VENOMOUS and escort VINDICTIVE and HECLA to Gibraltar.


Convoy T.E. 1, escorted by H.M.S. SCOTTISH, LORD HOTHAM, KINGSTON CHRYSOLITE, and LORD NUFFIELD, sailed at 1800 for Oran and Algiers. H.M.S. MINNA, having missed the convoy, sailed at 2159 to overtake.


H.M.S. JONQUIL, SPIRAEA, and LOUISBERG arrived at 1800 (T.O.N. II 78).


H.M.S. SHEFFIELD requested that A/S patrols be extended until dark as there was a U boat in the vicinity and she had been spotted by aircraft.


P 228 sailed at 1700 to relieve P 217 on patrol off Toulon.


At 1833, H.M.S. PANTHER (Force H) was holed and flooded forward by a near miss during an enemy air attack in position 37-46N, 002-52E. She reported that she was returning to Gibraltar at six knots later increasing to 14 knots. She arrived p.m. 8th November. On passage, when in position 37-46N, 02-12E, a U boat was sighted and forced to submerge. PANTHER's casualties were ten wounded, of which five were stretcher cases.


N.C.X.F. sent a signal of congratulations to the Captain of the Dockyard and his staff for the smooth working of harbour movements during 5th and 6th November.




A/S air escorts from Gibraltar were provided for the following convoys: H.M.S.A. 1, U.G.F. 1, K.M.C.A.1, K.M.S.O.1, K.M.F. O.1, and K.M.S. 2.


Photographic reconnaissance were carried out over Oran and Algiers. Algiers showed no change of naval shipping since November.


A photographic reconnaissance of Casablanca showed an increase of one large destroyer, two escort vessels, and six or seven submarines. Toulon showed DUNKERQUE in dry dock, one near the dry dock, three cruisers, and fifteen S/Ms., eighteen large destroyers and twelve destroyers.


At 1216 one JU 88 flew at 1200 feet towards Gibraltar. Fighters went up but failed to make contact before the aircraft retired.


Six U boats were sighted by R.A.F. patrol flying boats and four attacks were made, one of which appeared promising.


Sunday, 8th November


A.C.H.Q. and ships at Gibraltar changed to G.M.T. at 0100/8 November.


52 Spitfires and 2 Hurricanes were flown from Gibraltar to Maison Blanche and Blida aerodromes on the North African coast.


24 Spitfires were flown 1440 from Gibraltar for Tafaraoui aerodrome, North African coast.


At 1545, ACHATES sank a U boat, probably French in position 36-06N, 00-44W.


PANTHER, damaged on 7th November, arriving p.m.


At 1023, P 46 claimed one hit on an Italian 6" cruiser.


GUARDIAN, ARMERIA, and CYCLAMEN arrived from Freetown.


H.M.S/M. TRIBUNE arrived from U.K.


Aircraft escorts, from aircraft based at Gibraltar, were provided for Force H, convoys K.M.S. 2, K.X. 5, and U.S.S. THOMAS STONE. Eleven A/S patrols were carried out, and one U boat sighted. Two aircraft failed to return from these patrols.


Monday, 9th November


30 Spitfires and one Fortress aircraft were flown to Oran.




VINDICTIVE, MILNE, and ITHURIEL at 0500 for Mers el Kebir.


STORNOWAY, escorting NORTH DEVON to Hornillo then to rendezvous with KINGSLAND off Almeria and escort her back to Gibraltar.


LOCH OSKAIG, escorting ANTIGONE to Melilla, and escorting her back to Gibraltar.


WISHART and BRILLIANT to rendezvous with AVENGER and escort her back to Gibraltar.


VELOX to rendezvous with S/M 311 and escort her through the Straits eastwards.


WEYBURN to join K.M.S. 3


CYCLAMEN and ARMERIA for Freetown.




A/S aircraft escorts were provided for Convoy K.M.F. S, K.X. 5, and THOMAS STONE. 12 aircraft carried out A/S patrols, but no U boats were sighted.






French ship LA MALOUINE from Convoy K.M.S. 3.


Convoy T.E. 2, escorted by CHARLES MACIVER, BARDOLF, and the 11th Trawler Group, sailed 1700 for Oran and Algiers.


Tuesday, 10th November 1942


A.O.C., Eastern Air Command, and Staff left for Algiers.


Seven Hurricanes and six Swordfish aircraft were flown to Algiers.


Twenty five American Spitfire aircraft flew to Oran.


Convoy K.X. 5 arrived a.m.


Convoy K.M.F. 2 passed through the Straits p.m.


FURIOUS arrived a.m. and flew Albacore aircraft in the Bay.


BITER and DASHER with destroyer escort arrived p.m.


IBIS hit by aircraft torpedo at 1002 ten miles North of Algiers and capsized almost immediately.


H.M.S/M. STURGEON sailed on patrol duties.


MARTIN blown up and sunk at 0258 in position 37-33N, 03-57E.


Twenty five aircraft from Gibraltar were engaged on A/S or shipping patrols.




Force Q on passage to Gibraltar from Azores Patrol, E.T.A. Gibraltar 0730/11th November.


S.S. VICEROY OF INDIA, OTRANTO, and SOBIESKI, independently routed, sailed Algiers for Gibraltar.


S.S. NIEUW ZEELAND sailed Oran for Gibraltar.


Wednesday, 11th November 1942


Convoy T.E. 3, escorted by AUBRETIA, POPPY, DIANELLA, LOTUS, and STARWORT, sailed 0800 for Oran and Algiers. V.A. Gibraltar was requested to investigate why ALPERO failed to sail with the convoy.


M/V ALPERO, escorted by WOODSTOCK, sailed 1400 for Oran.


Six Swordfish aircraft were flown to Oran.


N.C.X.F. informed N.C.W.N.T.P. that convoy T.F. 1 was awaiting sailing orders at four hours' notice.


Force Q (H.M.S. NORFOLK, CUMBERLAND, ONSLOW, ORIBI, and OFFA) arrived a.m. and sailed at 1600 to escort BATORY and S.S. MONARCH OF BERMUDA to U.K.


JONQUIL and LOUISBERG sailed at 1800 to rendezvous with convoy U.G.F. 2 and to escort tankers BULKOIL and SEAKAY to Gibraltar.


Hospital ships AMARAPOORA and NEWFOUNDLAND arrived.


Twenty seven aircraft took off to carry out A/S patrols. Seven U boats were sighted and three attacked: results unknown.


Four hundred and twenty five survivors from S.S. VICEROY OF INDIA (sunk at 0803 in position 36-24N, 00-35W) were brought into Gibraltar by H.M.S. BOADICEA.


H.M.S. ALBRIGHTON and rescue tug SALVONIA sailed to assist M/V NIEUW ZEELAND torpedoed in position 35-59N, 08-45W. SALVONIA sailed with troops and baggage as there not time to land them. The NIEUW ZEELAND sank before assistance could reach her. A Hudson aircraft circled over survivors until the Naval Units arrived. All survivors, number 361 were picked up by H.M.N.S. ISAAC SWEERS, which sailed to Gibraltar, accompanied by PORCUPINE and ALBRIGHTON.


Convoy K.M.F. 2 was diverted to Mer el Kebir harbour and arrived their p.m.


Thursday, 12th November 1942


H.M. Rescue tug SALVONIA sailed at 0035 to assist H.M.S. HECLA, torpedoed by S/M in position 35-42N, 09-54 1/2W at 2315/11th November.


H.M.S. ALBRIGHTON and GLAISDALE sailed at 0230 to escort back to Gibraltar H.M.S. HECLA and MARNE (the latter had been also torpedoed by S/M while standing by HECLA). At 0650, it was reported that HECLA had sunk. A Hudson aircraft carried out A/S escort duties from dawn with the above rescue ships.


H.M.S. PRESCOTT sailed 0400 to the assistance of MARNE, and was followed at 1343 by LULWORTH and LANDGUARD. These latter relieved VENOMOUS , who had been standing by MARNE, and was not running short on fuel.


ALBRIGHTON and GLAISDALE, accompanied by VINDICTIVE and BLEAN who had joined these in standing by H.M.S. HECLA and MARNE entered Gibraltar Harbour.


Admiral Bieri, U.S.N., and five staff Officers proceeded from Gibraltar to Casablanca in H.M.S. WELSHMAN.


N.C.X.F. has reported on 11th November that convoy T.F. 1 was ready to sail as soon as Casablanca was in fit state to receive the ships, and N.C.W.T.F. submitted on 12th November that the Convoy be sailed as soon as possible.


Commodore, Algiers, reported this day that owing to lack of harbour accommodation, it was not possible to berth any cruisers.


H.M.S. CLEVELAND, ESCAPADE, ACHATES, BOADICEA, ESKDALE, BRILLIANT, VANSITTART, and ALBRIGHTON sailed at 1600 to escort Convoy M.K.F. 1 (X), consisting of BITER, DASHER, and eleven M/Vs, to the U.K.


H.M.S/M. TRIBUNE sailed 1700 to relieve P 222 on patrol area B off Toulon.


P 54 and URSULA arrived from Patrol.


Eleven aircraft carried out A/S patrols. Five U boats were sighted, of which two were attacked. Results unknown.


Friday, 13th November 1942




BRILLIANT sailed from Gibraltar.


N.C.X.F. flew to Algiers.


ISAAC SWEERS torpedoed and sunk in position 37-23N, 02-12E at 0536.


French escort vessel SETOISE, authorized to unload food stuffs from two French ships, MONTAIGNE and CARTHAGE, aground off Sassel, and to enter Oran or Nemours to discharge.


Saturday, 14th November 1942


In response to a request from Algiers, Mr. Kerr, new shipping administration representative, proceeded by air via Gibraltar to assist in negotiations concerning French merchant vessels.


N.C.X.F. stated that four ships at present in Gibraltar harbour would be ready by 17th to sail to U.S.A., and requested information of N.C.W.T.F. when G.U.F. 1 and G.U.F. 2 were to be sailed.


Force H, consisting of SCYLLA and CHARYBDIS, and ships in company DUKE OF YORK, FORMIDABLE, SIRIUS, BERMUDA, ARGONAUT, ESKIMO, ASHANTI, TARTAR, PENN, PATHFINDER, PARTRIDGE, OPPORTUNE, and PORCUPINE, rendezvoused with R.A.A. and F.O. (H). The Force then proceeded to Gibraltar, arriving during the night.


The following ships arrived:








MALCOLM (damaged in attempting to force the harbour – Operation TERMINAL- on 8th November) and CONVOLVULUS arrived with two M/Vs.


MIRROR and LEYLAND arrived


M.K.O. 1 arrived from Oran.


M.K.F.A. 1 arrived from Algiers.


The following ships sailed:


DEPTFORD and ANTELOPE escorting H.M.S. VIENNA and two M/Vs (Convoy T.E. 4) for Oran and Algiers.


WELSHMAN for Malta via Algiers.


SHEFFIELD and JAMAICA for the U.K. They carried out a sweep west of the Bay of Biscay en route in an attempt to intercept blockade runners.


BRILLIANT sailed to hunt U boat and returned p.m.




BLEAN to rendezvous with U.G.F. 2.


Convoy M.K.F. L. (Y) sailed from Gibraltar for the U.K., escorted by ARGUS, AMAZON, WRESTLER, AVENGER, EXE, SWALE, and GLAISDALE.


VANOC and VELOX to screen ARGUS until convoy met, and then return to harbour.


T.F. 1 escorted by JONQUIL and ARMERIA sailed.


French S/M LE TONNANT arrived Cadiz for repairs, reported due to sail for Casablanca 16th November.


At 0619, H.M.S. MARIGOLD reported that M/V LALANDE had been torpedoed in position 36-09N, 03-50W, but was in no immediate danger of sinking. ABERDEEN, IMPERIALIST, and tug ST OMAR sailed to her assistance. Three survivors were picked up by PATHFINDER and thirty three by MARIGOLD, of which two were injured.


In the Algiers area: a seaplane base for Walrus aircraft has been established at Air France Station, and six Swordfish are based at Blinda aerodrome for A/S patrol work.


N.C.S.O. Oran request to be informed of future movements of Convoys in order to adjust sailings from Oran. He reported that all berths at Oran and Mers el Kebir were occupied, and requested that no more ships be sent at present.


Flag of N.C.X.F. transferred from NELSON to AURORA at sunset.


SUNDAY, 15th November 1942


Flag of C.S. 10 transferred from SHEFFIELD to BERMUDA at 0001.


The Naval Commander Expeditionary Force sailed 2115 for Algiers in H.M.S. AURORA, escorted by WISHART and BEAGLE.


Flag of F.O. H. transferred from DUKE OF YORK to NELSON.


FURIOUS with WISHART, BEAGLE, and VANOC sailed to rendezvous with R.A.A. and transfer aircraft. These ships later returned to harbour.


Hospital ship NEWFOUNDLAND sailed for Casablanca, in order to bring away survivors from the S.S. LACONIA.


BIDEFORD sailed to rendezvous with the Lisbon portion of Convoy M.K.S. 1


Admiralty recommended, that in view of U boat activity Lisbon portion of convoy M.K.S. 1 (X) should not yet be sailed unless two escorts could be provided. Ships were ordered to remain at Lisbon and BIDEFORD to join M.K.S. 1 (X).




BICESTER reported being attacked by eighteen enemy aircraft at 0915.


F.O.I.C. Oran was instructed to sail two French M/Vs empty to Gibraltar in convoy M.X.F. 2 and other French M/V in Convoy E.T. 1 in order to clear berths.


The following ships arrived:




H.M.S. MARNE, in tow of tug SALVONIA.


Force H and escorting destroyers


R.A.A. in FURIOUS and escorting destroyers.




BULLDOG, BEAGLE, BOREAS, and LARGS escorting four M/Vs.


EGRET, BLYSKAWICA, KEREN, and PHILANTE escorting Convoy M.K.F. 1 A.


VERITY, VIOLET, and seven ships of the 13th M/S Flotilla, escorting Convoy M.K.S. 1 (O); WESTCOTT arrived later, having been delayed by boiler defects.


M/V LALANDE, in tow of tug ST OMAR, and escorted by ENCHANTRESS, IMPERIALIST, and ABERDEEN .


Two M/Vs, escorted by SPEY and ROTHER.


BLEAN and PRESCOTT reported that they had both failed to rendezvous with Convoy U.G.F. 2.


P 42 sailed to carry out patrol south of Bocca Piccol.


PORPOISE sailed 0931 for Cape Misurata area.


Convoy M.K.F. 1 (V) attacked by U boats at 0931 in position 36-26N, 07-39W.


H.M.S. AVENGER blew up. ALMAAK torpedoed; GLAISDALE standing by.


Tug JAUNTY and H.M.S. BRILLIANT were sailed from Gibraltar to stand by the ALMAAK and to tow her to Gibraltar. LOCH OSKAIG and LEYLAND sailed at 1900 to relieve GLAISDALE who was to return to Gibraltar on their arrival. She arrived Gibraltar at 2315 with 12 survivors from AVENGER and approximately 500 from M/V ETTRICK, which had been torpedoed at 0715 in position 36-12N, 08-02W and sank at 1200.


Admiralty pointed out the desirability of keeping together escorts accustomed to work together, particularly in view of the present concentration of U Boats on either side of Gibraltar.


Monday, 16th November 1942


N.C.X.F. arrived Oran 0800 from Gibraltar.


A minefield has been laid off Casablanca.


In view of the intense S/M activity off the coast, N.C.W.N.T.F., Casablanca, requested 18 T.B.F. aircraft to be allocated to him for A/S patrols.


Force H, consisting of NELSON, RODNEY, FORMIDABLE, FURIOUS, ARGONAUT, SIRIUS, ESKIMO, ASHANTI, TARTAR, PENN, PATHFINDER, PARTRIDGE, PORCUPINE, OPPORTUNE, BULLDOG, and VANOC sailed eastwards at 1000 to carry out a sweep in the vicinity of the Balearic Islands.


METEOR, LOOKOUT, PUCKERIDGE, and CALPE sailed at 1730 to rendezvous with Force H and to release OPPORTUNE and BULLDOG to return to Gibraltar.


M/V ALCINOUS, escorted by BUDE, sailed to rendezvous with convoy M.K.S. 1 (X).


PRESCOTT sailed to overtake Convoy M.K.S. 1 (Y).


Hospital ship NEWFOUNDLAND sailed for Casablanca. At 1958, she reported a heavy explosion 33-50N, 07-31W and at 2054 that no assistance was needed.


Convoy M.K.F. 2, escorted by PELICAN, FLEETWOOD, BANFF, and SENNEN, passed Gibraltar at 2339, sailing westward.


H.M. S/M. CLYDE arrived and reported that she probably sunk a U boat on passage Malta to Beirut on 9th October.


Convoy M.K.S.A. escorted by WIVERN, SPEEDWELL, and HUSSAR arrived.


French S/M LE TONNANT, which was reporting to be undergoing repairs at Cadiz prior to sailing to Casablanca, is now reported to have been scuttled to prevent her falling under Axis control.


F.O.I.S. requested that the sailing of the Trawlers and M.L.s for local defence of Bone and Philippeville might be expedited.


Tuesday, 17th November 1942


The Commodore, Algiers, reported that the unloading of collier WILLOWDALE had been completed, and requested that further colliers be sailed in order to build up supplies.


The Following ships arrived:








The Following ships sailed:


T.E. 4 (A) consisting of two M/Vs and a cable ship escorted by CLACTON, BUDE, KERRERA, EDAY, and CORIOLANUS sailed at 0615.


Convoy M.K.F. 2 (G) at 0300 escorted by CLARE, BOREAS, VENOMOUS, EGRET, and PHILANTE to rendezvous with Convoy M.K.F. 2, VENOMOUS and BOREAS to return to Gibraltar on rendezvous being made.


WIVERN and WESTCOTT at 1000 with three M/Vs (Convoy G.U.F. 2 (G)) to rendezvous with convoy G.U.F. 2 which sailed Casablanca 0900 for U.S.A.


BOREAS, VENOMOUS, and VELOX at 1800 to rendezvous with convoy U.G.F. 2, and to escort ARCHER, BULKOIL, and SEAKAY to Gibraltar.


VERITY to overtake WIVERN and WESTCOTT and to relieve WESTCOTT.


V.A. Malta reported that British Mines had been laid in the entrance to La Goulette, Tunis.


A report received indicates that Arzeu harbour appears favourable for the unloading of stores, and that the port should be able to handle daily six ships, carrying a total of 2500 tons.


Wednesday, 18th November 1942


The following ships arrived:




JONQUIL and ARMERIA, escorting M/V CONTESSA, from Casablanca.


N.C.X.F. in AURORA, escorted by WISHART and ANTELOPE from Algiers.




Force A, R.A.A. in VICTORIOUS with DUKE OF YORK, OPPORTUNE, BULLDOG, and BEAGLE, and Force B, MILNE, QUIBERON, QUALITY, and QUENTIN, sailed 1600 and Force C, WESTCOTT, MALCOLM, and GLAISDALE at 1400 from Gibraltar, both to westwards to rendezvous in position 37-00N, 10-40W at 1600/19th November, after which Force B was directed to return to Gibraltar.


The following ships sailed:


M/V STAR at 2140 for Oran.


At 2200, BLEAN, LANCASTER, WELLS, HONEYSUCKLE, HYDERABAD, CONVOLVULUS, OXLIP, and VELOX escorting Convoy T.E. 5 to Oran and Algiers.


H.M.S. FLEETWOOD, escorting Convoy M.K.F. 2, was ordered to return to Gibraltar, and left the convoy at 1030.


F.O.I.S. reported that casualties to landing craft had been heavy, but that any salvaged which were repairable would be returned to the U.K. as soon as possible.


Admiralty ordered that all special assault ships, L.S.G., L.S.I. (H), L.S.T., etc. should be routed to the Clyde on their return to the U.K.


The Commodore, Algiers, requested that seven Water boats might be supplied for Algiers. He also requested that torpedo men might be drafted for defence duties at the port.


N.O.I.C. Bougie reports Port W/T Station is now working satisfactorily; and W/T and Telephone communications also established with Djedjelli aerodrome. A P.W.S.S. has been established with Cape Bouek.


Information received that ships are not to approach Casablanca or Fedala during dark hours.


M.L. 175 and M.L. 170 were in collision 0240 while on patrol near Gibraltar. Both were badly damaged, but returned to harbour. There were no casualties.


Thursday, 19th November 1942


Port of Philippeville in use from today.


Oran harbour now open with straight channel 80 feet wide, 26 feet deep. The 2500 ton capacity south dry dock at Oran has been raised and is ready to operate.


U.S. tanker WINOOSKI is being sent to Gibraltar from Casablanca for temporary repairs.


Wellington aircraft, carrying searchlights, will start A/S sweeps at night on 19th November.


The following ships arrived: VERITY, WIVERN, P 222, hospital ship NEWFOUNDLAND.


AVONVALE sailed to rendezvous with a U.S. transport ship from Casablanca and escort her to Gibraltar.


Two sightings of U boats by Hudson aircraft. One attack was made on a submerged submarine.


Friday, 20th November 1942


In view of berthing difficulties, F.O.I.S. requested that the eighteen ships at Algiers, included in convoy K.M.S. 3 might be held at Gibraltar and be sailed to arrive Algiers on 26th November. It was not possible to accede to this request due to the shortage of escorts.


The Commodore, Algiers, reported that fuel was running short, and requested that an oiler be sent.


Commodore, Algiers, also requested two small colliers be sailed with coal for the trawlers, for onward routing to Bone and Bougie.


It was proposed to retain Tug ST DAY at Bougie as weather conditions had proved a tug to be necessary.


It was reported that the only tug at Bone had been sunk, and it was requested that a harbour tug be sent as soon as possible.


Owing to salvage operations, the channel into the inner harbour of Oran is limited to ships of 20 feet draft.


LOTUS, POPPY, STARWORT, DIANELLA, and AUBRETIA, escorting Convoy E.T. 1, arrived.


The following ships sailed:


H.M.S/M URSULA sailed at 1200, and proceeded eastwards on the surface five miles from the Spanish coast.


ROTHESAY at 1645 escorting M/V ANTIGONE for Melilla.


P 54 sailed at 1700 to carry out patrol duties in the Gulf of Genoa.


RHODODENDRON and VIOLET escorting ABERDEEN and S.S. BARON FORBES to rendezvous with the Lisbon portion of convoy M.K.S. 1 (Y).


H.M.S/M. THUNDERBOLT passed eastwards through the Strait, escorted by FARNDALE, at 2030.


AVONVALE to rendezvous with Convoy K.M.F. 3 and to return with mail for Gibraltar.


K.M.F. 3 passed through the Strait eastwards at 2230.


Nineteen aircraft took part in A/S patrols, three U boats were sighted and one attacked. The attack was carried out by moonlight, and U boat was almost certainly damaged.


One Catalina aircraft was shot down in flames by A.A. from Allied M/Vs; there were no survivors.


Convoy K.M.S. 3 was attacked by a U boat in position 35-54N, 10-32W at 0910, and the following ships were torpedoed and sunk: GRANGE PARK and PRINS HARALD, both carrying M.T. and stores (cargo of the latter ship included hospital stores). OCEAN PILGRIM was also attacked, but the torpedo exploded on her A.N.D. gear and she was undamaged.


Saturday, 21st November 1942


Force H left Mers el Kebir a.m. and proceeded N.E. to operate south of the Balearic Islands until after dark, when they returned to westwards in order to reach Gibraltar in daylight 22nd November.


C.S. 10 in H.M.S. BERMUDA sailed from Gibraltar for Mers el Kebir with the intention of forming a Cruiser Striking Force to be based eventually at Algiers.


H.M.S. BLEAN joined the 58th Destroyer Division vice COWDRAY.


The Italian tanker LAVORO sailed from Algeciras for Italy. She was granted safe conduct as another tanker which had been granted safe conduct in connection with the Italian repatriation scheme had been sunk by one of our submarines. Later news showed she had put into Cartagena with defects, the crew displaying no anxiety to return to the war zone.


The following ships arrived:


LUNENBURG at 1640 with defective R.D.F. and Asdic gear.


Five M/V (the Gibraltar section) of convoy K.M.S. 3, escorted by BLACK SWAN, CARNATION, MALLOW, LA MALOUINE, MYOSOTIS, and FOWEY, entered harbour with survivors from PRINS HARALD and GRANGE PARK (torpedoed on 20th November). The remainder of Convoy K.M.S. 3 passed through the Strait after dark.




The following ships sailed:


SPEY, ROTHER, STORMONT, POPPY, DIANELLA, and ABERDEEN, to escort convoy M.K.S. 1 (Y). Convoy consisting of 18 M/V (DERWENTDALE having returned to Gibraltar, and NOLISEMENT having failed to sail from Lisbon).


CYCLAMEN and ARMERIA for Freetown.


M.L. 172 to escort S.S. HINDUSTAN to rendezvous with Convoy K.M.S. 3.


VENOMOUS, WIVERN, VERITY, ENCHANTRESS, FLEETWOOD, COREOPSIS, JONQUIL, BRIXHAM, and POLRUAN, to escort DINGLEDALE and BROWN RANGER to rendezvous with Convoy K.M.S. 3 and subsequently to escort the convoy to Oran and Algiers.


LUNENBERG sailed to rejoin Convoy K.M.S. 3.


20 aircraft took part in A/S patrols, but no U boats were sighted.


All ships and establishments in Operation TORCH area were ordered to keep Zone Time minus One from 2330Z.


Nineteen aircraft arrived at Gibraltar and thirty seven left for various destinations.


Instructions were issued that all pilots were to be warned against flying over Spanish territory.


Sunday, 22nd November 1942


The Flag of N.C.X.F. was transferred at sunset to RENOWN.


Information as promulgated concerning the additional boom obstructions in Mers el Kebir harbour.


Oil storage facilities at Oran for 45,000 tons have been arranged.


SIRIUS and ARGONAUT (Force H) were detached to join C.S. 10 at Mers el Kebir.


The following ships arrived:




French ship LA MALOUINE from convoy K.M.S. 3.


The following ships sailed:


VINDICTIVE, MILNE, and ITHURIEL at 0500 for Mers el Kebir.


STORNOWAY, escorting NORTH DEVON to Hornillo, then to rendezvous with KINGSLAND off Almeria and escort her back to Gibraltar.


LOCH OSKAIG, escorting ANTIGONE to Melilla, and escorting her back to Gibraltar.


WISHART and BRILLIANT to rendezvous with AVENGER and escort her to Gibraltar. (n.b. AVENGER lost week before).


VELOX to rendezvous with S/M P 311 and escort her through the Strait eastwards.


WEYBURN to join K.M.S. 3


(n.b. all departure entries duplicates from 9 November! ?)


Commander Sea Frontier, Western Naval Task Force, Casablanca, stated that he proposed to sail U.S. Mine Divisions No. 19 and 21 for Home Waters after the arrival of the escort vessels and minesweepers of Task Force No. 37.


P 311 was met by H.M.S. VELOX, and escorted through the Straits eastward at 2345.


P 217 sailed at 1630 to establish a patrol off Naples.


The importance of cable ship MIRROR's operations were pointed out to F.O.I.S., who was requested to arrange specific precautions.


Monday, 23rd November 1942


F.O.I.S. Algiers requested that all available smoke floats be forwarded to Algiers, for use in the smoke defence of the harbour.


Salvage operations in the harbour at Oran are continuing.


C.G.C.T.F. was instructed to report daily the situation in regard to ships completed and discharged in order that convoys may be arranged.


General Eisenhower, CinC, X.F., left Gibraltar by air for Oran and Algiers.


Details were received from Casablanca of fuel storage facilities at present available, consisting of 5,000,000 gallons at Fedala, 4,000,000 at Port Lyautey.


An additional 6,000,000 will be available at Fedala in two months time.


The following ships sailed:


NEGRO, FILEY BAY, GOTH, ELBURY, M.L.s 458, 443, M.M/S 53, 114, 70, 85, 68, 93, 116, 171, 118 at 0530 for Oran and Algiers.


BOREAS to escort S/M TROOPER through the Strait.


WELLS to pick up survivors reported in position 36-36N, 09-47W. No survivors were found and WELLS returned to harbour.


H.M.S/M. TIGRIS sailed at 0830 to carry out exercises east of Gibraltar; she returned to harbour at 1430.


PIGMY was commissioned as a tender to the H.M.S. CORMORANT S/M Base at Gibraltar.


H.M.S/M. TROOPER, escorted by BOREAS, passed through the Strait at 2130, sailing eastward.


H.M.S. LANCASTER, escorting ORMONDE, arrived.


Tuesday, 24th November 1942


The Flag of N.C.X.F. was transferred at 1200 from RENOWN to RODNEY.


F.O.I.S., Algiers requested F.O. H to provide a destroyer as a relief escort for S.S. STRATHAIRD, which was to sail for Gibraltar escorted by a destroyer from Algiers. It was not possible, however, to accede to this request.


F.O.I.S. asked that SPEEDWELL, HUSSAR, and O.R.P. BLYSKAWICA might be returned to Algiers as soon as possible. The former two are required to relieve other Fleet M/S for boiler cleaning.


N.O.I.C., Philippeville, reported that communication on service wave had not yet been established. Communication with Admiralty and Gibraltar is possible on 4700 kcs. And intermittent communication is held with Bone on the port wave.


QUALITY sailed Oran 0745 for Gibraltar, having effected necessary temporary repairs she would probably require Dockyard assistance on arrival.


N.C.X.F. was requested by N.O.W.T.F. to delay the sailing of oiler SEAKAY. All berths at Casablanca were occupied and berthing facilities inadequate.


MILNE arrived a.m.




U.S. Destroyers MAYO and NIBLACK arrived, with oiler WINOOSKI.


ADVENTURE arrived, escorted by WISHART and BRILLIANT.


The following ships sailed:




VANOC to join Force H in place of PORCUPINE, who did not sail owing to defects.


RHYL, SPEEDWELL, and HUSSAR escorting TASAJERA and BACHAQUERO to Casablanca; and later to escort HILDUR and FINTRA back to Gibraltar from Port Lyautey.




BLACK SWAN, FOWEY, MYOSOTIS, CAMPION, STONECROP, AUBRETIA, LA MALOUINE, CARNATION, and MALLOW, with Gibraltar potion of M.K.S. 2; and to relieve existing escorts.


Convoy M.K.S. 2 passed through the Strait east to west, the existing escorts being relieved by ships sailed from Gibraltar.


F.O.C.W.A. stated that GLENEARN would not rendezvous with convoy M.K.F. 3 on 28th November, as she could not reach the required position in time.


LOCH OSKAIG, while patrolling off Melilla, found an abandoned "Motor Assault Craft" No. P 59-15 which she took in tow. The tow parted during the night, and it is believed that the assault craft was sunk.


P 219 sailed 1600, proceeding eastwards 10 miles from the Spanish coast to establish a patrol off Naples.


Twelve Spitfire aircraft flew to Oran from Casablanca.


Wednesday, 25th November 1942


The Staff of A.F.H.Q. transferred from Gibraltar to Algiers, sailing in SCYLLA and CHARYBDIS.


Admiralty warned N.O.I.C. of Mediterranean ports of the likelihood of aerial torpedo attack, and advised the use of smoke as a defensive measure.


H.M.S. BRAMHAM, which was damaged on 20th by bombs, is to be docked in Algiers for temporary repairs before being sailed for Gibraltar.


F.O.I.S. Algiers, reported that there were only sufficient generators for one week's screening by smoke, and it was urgently requested that further supplies be sent. The present consumption is about 50 tons weekly, per port.


The cable circuit between Gibraltar and Algiers was reported to be out of action.


Commanding Officer, P 54 reported at 1905 that her Commanding Officer and two ratings had been lost overboard in position 41-53N, 05-15E. Report of Board of Inquiry was forwarded in my No. 877/3505 of 14th December 1942.


The following ships arrived:


WESTLAND, TOTLAND, WELLINGTON, AVONVALE, with the first part of Convoy M.K.F. 3 from Algiers.


STORNOWAY with one M/V from Hornillo.


P 211 at 1000 from patrol duties.


The following ships sailed:




IMPERIALIST, escorting one M/V for Melilla.


American destroyers NIBLACK and MAYO, escorting SEAKAY to Casablanca. (American destroyers have on board American personnel from ALMAAK).


H.M.S/M. TIGRIS sailed from Gibraltar p.m. for working up; and for anti U boat patrol in an area with 20 miles of 38-01N, 07-30E.


Admiralty reported that convoy O.N.S. 146 had scattered in a gale in the North Atlantic and that fifteen ships for the South Atlantic were proceeding independently.


Eight L.C.I. (L) and escorts sailed from Bermuda at 0800 for Gibraltar.


CYCLAMEN, en route to Freetown, was instructed to rendezvous with cable ship LADY DENNISON PENDER and escorts.


In the Gibraltar area, A/S aircraft escorts were provided for Convoys M.K.S. 2, M.K.F. 3A, and M.K.S. 2A


Twenty one aircraft took part in A/S sweeps. Five U boats were seen, of which two were attacked. One of these made no attempt to dive although it was attacked with depth charges, and was last seen on the surface.


At 1432, an S.O.S. was received from an aircraft down in the sea in position 51-00N, 05-40W.


Thursday, 26th November 1942


N.C.X.F. and his Operational Staff moved to Algiers, sailing in H.M.S. AURORA and BRILLIANT.


The Algiers and Oran Sections of M.K.S. 2A arrived a.m.


H.M.S/M. CLYDE sailed at 1400 for U.K.


H.M.S. DEPTFORD and MARIGOLD, escorting Convoy T.E. 6 (consisting of 3 M/V) sailed for Oran.




Arrangements are being made for 48 S/M ratings and 20 tons S/M gear to be transported to Algiers, en route for Malta.


Gibraltar based aircraft: A/S patrols were provided for Convoys M.K.S. 2 and T.E. 6; 21 aircraft took part in A/S sweeps, but no U boats were sighted. Ten Wellington aircraft flew to Mersa Matruh.


H.M.S. LEYLAND, while on patrol in Gibraltar Bay, was rammed by U.S.S. JOHN SARGENT and sank. A full report has been forwarded in my No. 855/4700 of 4th December 1942.


Friday, 27th November 1942


Arrangements are being made for material required for berthing of warships at Mers el Kebir to be sent in Convoy T.E. 8.


A/S aircraft escorts were provided for Convoys M.K.S. 2, T.E. 6, and M.K.F. 3.


Four Catalina aircraft took off from Gibraltar for A/S sweeps, but were recalled on account of bad weather. No U boats were sighted.


Scheduled for Algiers, Y Flight, 813 Squadron, carrying torpedoes, was delayed by weather at Gibraltar.


Captain Fox, RE, was washed overboard 0836 from AURORA.


Saturday, 28th November 1942


Information promulgated concerning the searched channels established at Oran and Mers el Kebir.


RHYL, SPEEDWELL, and HUSSAR, escorting BACHAQUERO and TASAJERA sailed from Casablanca for Gibraltar.


The following ships arrived:




IMPERIALIST escorting one M/V from Melilla.




The following ships sailed:


SAMPHIRE at 0700 to rendezvous with P 54.


PENTSTEMON, WEYBURN, NASTURIUM, and LUNENBURG, escorting one M/V (T.F. 2) to rendezvous with Convoy G.U.F. 2 from Casablanca.


ROCHESTER, LEITH, SANDWICH, and SCARBOROUGH, escorting convoy T.E.Y. (consisting of 7 M/V and H.M.S. BORDE, sailed 1600 for Algiers.


A/S aircraft escorts were provided for Convoy M.K.S. 2A, but these were recalled due to weather.


No A/S patrols took off due to bad weather.


Sunday, 29th November 1942


Commodore F sailed for Algiers in SAYONARA, a part of convoy T.E. 7.


Details were promulgated concerning the swept channel which has been established at Philippeville.


Convoy G.U.F. 2 consisting of twenty M/V sailed Casablanca 1800 for the U.S.A.


BORINQUEN from convoy T.F. 2 made a rendezvous with convoy G.U.F. 2.


Cable ship LADY DENISON PENDER working on the Gibraltar-Casablanca cable.


Flag of C.S. 12 was transferred from BERMUDA to AURORA, and BERMUDA sailed from Algiers for Gibraltar and onward routing to U.K.


The following ships arrived:








The following ships sailed:


ST NECTAN, escorting one M/V to Melilla and then back to Gibraltar.




VERITY to rendezvous with and to act as additional escort to Convoy U.G.S. 2.


WISHART and AZALEA, escorting SAN ADOLFO and Convoy T.E.7A eastwards.


H.M.S. SAMPHIRE reported that she had successfully transferred to P 54, the new Commanding Officer of that submarine, and that P 54 would now return to Gibraltar along the coast of Spain, diving by day and keeping between 10 to 5 miles off the Spanish coast.


During the week ended 29th November, Naval A.A. gunfire in forward areas accounted for four confirmed and two probable aircraft shot down.


Y Flight, 813 Squadron (T/B) having been delayed by weather on 27th and 28th November, took off 0800 for Algiers.


A/S aircraft escorts were provided for Convoys T.E. 7 and M.K.S. 2 A.


Eighteen aircraft, based Gibraltar, took part in A/S sweeps; no U boats were sighted.


Note re Convoy G.U.F. 2: A convoy reported as G.U.F. 2 left Casablanca on 17th November; later this convoy was learned not to have had the Code Name G.U.F. 2. She was plotted off the War Room Map, A.C.H.Q., as G.U.F. 2, however, and has since remained nameless. The real convoy G.U.F. 2 left Casablanca on the 29th.


Monday, 30th November 1942


Alterations to the swept channels at Oran and Mers el Kebir were promulgated.


S.N.O. Casablanca requested permission to sail S.S. EXPORT to Gibraltar to load 600 tons bituminous coal in order to provide sufficient fuel for larger ships to sail to the U.K. for additional coal supplies; and in order to operate the dredging dock crane and tug.


The following ships arrived:




BERMUDA at 1600 from Algiers.


SAMPHIRE from rendezvous with H.M. S/M. P 54.


The following ships sailed:


BERMUDA and STRATHAIRD for U.K. (the latter with a number of British and Allied Personnel for the U.K.), escorted by FARNDALE and AVONVALE. Escorting destroyers to part company at 39 degrees North and return to Gibraltar to become additional escorts to convoy K.M.F. 4.


SANDWICH to escort on M/V coastwise to Huelva, and then to escort WILLOWDALE from Cadiz to Gibraltar.


P 222 eastwards along the Spanish coast to patrol station.


A/S aircraft escorts were provided for Convoys M.K.S. 2, T.E. 7A, and T.E. 7B.


Twenty four aircraft took off for A/S sweeps. Three U boats were sighted, two of which were attacked. In one case, oil was observed after the attack.


One Wellington taking off for Egypt crashed into two other Wellingtons. All three aircraft were written off, but only two people were injured.


Commander Task Group 26.7.2 was asked to provide air cover the Mediterranean portion of U.G.S. 2 until relieved by Gibraltar based aircraft.










Organisation of Convoys, routeing of independent ships, promulgation of latest Admiralty instructions to merchant vessels, issue and withdrawal of confidential books and route work of Naval Control Service carried out as usual.




K.X. 4 (B) arrived on 3rd November (2 ships).


K.X. 4 (A) arrived on the 4th November.


K.X. 5, 27 ships arrived on the 10th November


K.X. 6, 25 ships arrived on 17th November.


In addition to the above convoys, 140 ships arrived at Gibraltar from French North Africa. These and the ships arriving in K.X. convoys were routed as follows:


To U.K.




No. of Ships Sailed




5th November

M.K.S. 1(X)





12th November

M.K.F. 1





14th November

M.K.F. 1(Y)





17th November

M.K.F. 2





21st November

M.K.S. 1(Y)





24th November

M.K.S. 2





26th November

M.K.F. 3





27th November

M.K.S. 2(A)




To Mediterranean Ports


7th November

T.E. 1





9th November

T.E. 2





11th November

T.E. 3





14th November

T.E. 4





17th November

T.E. 4 A





18th November

T.E. 5





21st November

K.M.S. 3





26th November

T.E. 6





27th November

T.E. 7





29th November

T.E. 7 A



To Casablanca


14th November

T.F. 1



27th November

T.F. 2



To U.S.A.


17th November

G.U.F. 2




In addition to the above, 8 ships were routed independently to Spanish and Portuguese ports, and 7 ships under special escort to various ports in the Mediterranean.


During the month, 209 ships arrived at Gibraltar and 191 were sailed.




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