1 9 3 9
Part of 1st battlecruiser Squadron, Home Fleet, flying
the flag of CinC 1st BCS Rear Admiral W J Whitworth.
3rd - On Patrol in the North Sea off the approaches to
the Skagerrak in company with battlecruiser
and destroyers SOMALI, ASHANTI, ESKIMO, MASHONA, MATABELE, PUNJABI and TARTAR
(BEDOUIN had been in company but had detached with mechanical defects and
returned to Scapa Flow for repairs)
6th - Arrived back at Scapa Flow
8th - At 0600 hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company
and destroyers FAME, FEARLESS and FORESTER to patrol between Iceland and the
Faroes to reinforce the blockade. At sea destroyer FURY joined the Force.
10th - FEARLESS was detached
from the screen to investigate a merchant ship which proved to be Swedish.
12th - BELFAST and EDINBURGH
detached for Sullom Voe.
At 1200 hours the Force less BELFAST and EDINBURGH
arrived back at Scapa Flow.
14th - In the Evening sailed from Scapa Flow in company
destroyers TARTAR, ESKIMO, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI for Loch Ewe. En route TARTAR,
BEDOUIN, and PUNJABI detached join aircraft carrier
15th - Arrived at Loch Ewe.
17th - At Loch Ewe where she was visited by the First
Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill.
20th - At 1915 hours sailed from Loch Ewe in company with
and destroyers FIREDRAKE, FORTUNE, TARTAR and PUNJABI for Scapa Flow. En route
destroyers FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FURY, FEARLESS, FORESTER and FORESIGHT from Scapa
Flow joined the Fleet.
21st - At 0945 hours the Fleet arrived at Scapa Flow.
22nd - At 1100 hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company
and destroyers FAME, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE, FORTUNE, to provide cover for
Operation SK. (Operation SK was an operation by the cruisers and destroyers to
attack German shipping off the Norwegian coast.
At 2222/22/9/39 the operation
was abandoned following a collision between JAVELIN and JERSEY)
23rd - 1910 hours arrived back at Scapa Flow.
25th - At 0900 hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company
and destroyers FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FORESTER, FEARLESS, FORTUNE and FIREDRAKE to
provide distant cover for recovery of the damaged submarine SPEARFISH.
26th - At 1448 hours the HOOD force were subjected to
an air attack and HOOD was hit by a bomb which struck a glancing blow
immediately above the bulge on the port quarter. The damage was superficial and
was repaired by the ship’s crew.
27th - Arrived back at Scapa Flow.
1st - Sailed from Scapa Flow for Loch Ewe in company
and destroyers ASHANTI, MASHONA, MATABELE, SOMALI, FAME, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE and
FIREDRAKE. (The move to base the Home Fleet at Loch Ewe was in accordance with
Admiralty instructions and in pursuance of the policy of evading air attack on
2nd - At 0700 hours arrived at
5th - Sailed from Loch Ewe for Scapa Flow in company with
and aircraft carrier
and escorting destroyers.
6th - Arrived at Scapa Flow.
7th - At Scapa Flow, where she was visited by King George
8th - Overnight the CinC Home Fleet was made aware
that the German Navy was about to launch a sortie by heavy units.
At 1320 hours
the CinC Home Fleet received firm information from the RAF when one of Coastal
Command’s Hudson aircraft of 224 Sqdn. sighted the German battlecruiser
GNEISENAU, cruiser KOLN and 9 destroyers off Lister lighthouse (Lindesnes LH,
southern Norway) steaming north. (The purpose of this sortie was to sink any
allied shipping found and to entice out the Home Fleet onto waiting U-boats and
bring them into range of German bombers) At 1530 hours sailed from Scapa Flow in
company with battlecruiser
and destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, ASHANTI and
ESKIMO. They sailed northeast into rapidly worsening weather for a position 50
miles NW of Stadtlandet in 63‑00N, 04‑00E.
The remainder of the Home Fleet
sailed at 1840 hours. The battlecruisers and the Home Fleet were to form Force
F. (The plan was to set a trap for the German force. With Force F and Force E,
that had sailed from Rosyth and the Humber, being the two halves of the trap
that were to close on the German force. This failed to happen since the German
force reversed course and arrived back at Kiel at 0100/10/10/39)
8th - At 0600 hours the battlecruiser force was at
position 63‑00N, 04‑00E. They then set course to RV with the rest of the Home
At 1200 hours the two forces joined.
At 1225 hours course was altered to
295º to cover the Shetlands-Faroes gap. In the evening SHEFFIELD was detached to
patrol the Denmark Strait.
11th - Arrived at Loch Ewe in company with battleships
destroyers FAULKNOR, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, FURY, FORESTER and FIREDRAKE.
15th - At 1730 hours departed Loch Ewe in company with
battleships NELSON and
and destroyers BEDOUIN, FEARLESS, FOXHOUND and FURY. They sailed to the north of
Iceland to provide cover for and assist the Northern Patrol in the interception
of German merchant ships.
17th - The destroyers were refuelled at sea from the
22nd - At 0800 arrived back at Loch Ewe.
At 1830 hours
sailed from Loch Ewe in company with battleships NELSON and
and destroyers INTREPID, IVANHOE, ICARUS, KELLY and KINGSTON to cover the
movement of convoy NV1 of twelve British iron ore ships from Narvik.
24th - At 1200 hours off Muckle Flugga cruiser EDINBURGH
joined and KINGSTON detached.
26th - At 0130 hours off the Norwegian coast an RV was
made with convoy NV1 and cruiser AURORA and destroyers ASHANTI, FAME, TARTAR and
SOMALI joined and took over the close escort of the convoy.
31st - Arrived back at Loch Ewe.
2nd - At 0930 hours sailed from Loch Ewe in company
with battleships NELSON and
and destroyers ICARUS, INTREPID, IVANHOE,
IMPULSIVE, FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE and PUNJABI to provide cover for
cruisers and destroyers that were searching for the US freighter SS CITY of
FLINT, 4963 tons (This vessel had been captured by the DEUTSCHLAND and was
returning to Germany manned by a prize crew) that was known to be off the
Norwegian coast and for convoy ON1 which departed Methil at 1700/4/11/39.
Later destroyers FEARLESS and FOXHOUND
joined the force at sea.
3rd - At 1930 hours destroyers FAULKNOR, FORTUNE and
INTREPID were detached to refuel at Sullum Voe.
5th - destroyers FEARLESS, FOXHOUND, IMPERIAL and
KANDAHAR, after refuelling at Scapa Flow on the 4th, joined the force at sea.
6th - destroyer FAME departed Scapa Flow on the 5th and
joined the force at sea. 7th destroyers ICARUS and IMPULSIVE were detached for
refuelling at Kirkwall.
8th - Very early, east of the Orkneys HOOD was detached
with FEARLESS, following which she proceeded south to Plymouth.
11th - Arrived at Devonport to commence a refit escorted
by destroyers ISIS and ILEX.
24th - Refit cut short due to sinking of AMC HMS
25th - Sailed from Plymouth escorted by destroyers
EXMOUTH, ECHO and ECLIPSE to RV in the Channel with French battlecruiser DUNKERQUE, (Flag Ship of Vice Admiral Gensoul), cruisers MONTCALM and GEORGES
LEYGUES and destroyers MOGADOR and VOLTA.
(This deployment was in response to
a signal at 1551/23/11/39 from Armed Merchant
cruiser RAWALPINDI, patrolling the Iceland
Faroes gap, timed at 1545 hours stating she had sighted a German battlecruiser.
This was quickly changed, identifying the vessel as the Pocket battleship
DEUTSCHLAND. The first sighting report was in fact correct as she had sighted
the SCHARNHORST with GNEISENAU in company. The HOOD and DUNKERQUE were ordered
to patrol in the vicinity of 60-00N, 20-00W )
28th - EXMOUTH, ECHO and ECLIPSE were detached and
returned to the Clyde. MOGADOR and VOLTA detached and made for Belfast.
29th - At 0800 hours the CinC Home Fleet ordered all
forces to sweep to the northward following the trend of the Norwegian coast.
Destroyers SOMALI, PUNJABI and MASHONA joined at sea from Sullom Voe.
30th - Patrol maintained up to 65-00N in the Iceland,
1st - At 0820 hours the search for the DEUTSCHLAND
(not at that time identified as the SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU) was called off and the various hunting groups
were dispersed. HOOD, escorted by destroyers PUNJABI, GURKHA, KANDAHAR and
NUBIAN proceeded to the Clyde. DUNKERQUE, MONTCALM and GEORGES LEYGUES detached
and proceeded to Belfast.
2nd - At 0200 hours off Holy
Island, off the coast of Arran in the Firth of Clyde as HOOD and her escorts
were proceeding to Greenock, PUNJABI was in collision with steamer SS LAIRDCREST
(789grt). Arrived off Greenock to refuel.
At 1910 hours sailed from Greenock
escorted by destroyers KINGSTON, KHARTOUM and KASHMIR to patrol north of the
5th - In company with KINGSTON,
KHARTOUM and KASHMIR on patrol in the Iceland-Faeroes gap providing cover for
the AMCs of the Northern Patrol.
7th - Also provided distant
cover for the 9 ship convoy HN4 that sailed from Bergen on this date. (Note: due
to bad weather convoy HN4 was hove to from 2200/8/12/39 to 1600/10/12/39)
8th - Departed from the patrol
area in company with KINGSTON, KANDAHAR, KASHMIR and KHARTOUM for the Clyde.
10th - Arrived in the Clyde
13th - (At 0945 hours submarine
SALMON on patrol 130 miles W of Jutland in the North Sea sighted 3 enemy ships,
possibly battlecruisers or Pocket battleships and 4 cruisers.
At 1020 hours
SALMON fired torpedoes at this force and estimated that 3 hits were obtained.
SALMON was then depth charged and kept down until 1535 hours when she surfaced
and reported “Have attacked enemy battle fleet steering westward in position
56-47, 4-00E, 1020”. Actually what SALMON had sighted and attacked were the
German Light cruisers KÖLN, NÜRNBERG and LEIPZIG and she had succeeded in
torpedoing NÜRNBERG and LEIPZIG causing serious damage to both.
At 1605 hours on
receipt of SALMON’s signal the CinC Home Fleet considered that the enemy force
could be in the Fair Isle Channel by 2100/13/12/39 and ordered dispositions
accordingly) At 1930 hours sailed from the Clyde in company with battleships
WARSPITE and BARHAM screened by 6 destroyers. Off the Mull of KINTYRE 2 more
destroyers from Loch Ewe joined the Fleet. Course was then set westward to take
up an interception position and to provide cover for
the first Canadian troop convoy TCI to UK against
possible attack by the German force.
15th - The force was patrolling 250 miles west of
16th - At 0730 hours the force was 300 miles west of
Malin Head providing cover for convoy TC1.
17th - At 1220 hours arrived back in the Clyde.
27th - Sailed from the Clyde
escorted by destroyers MAORI, NUBIAN and AFRIDI to relieve battleship
on patrol NE of the Shetlands.
29th - destroyer ILEX joined the
HOOD force after refuelling at Scapa Flow. Provided distant cover for convoys
ON6 and HN6. (Convoy ON6 sailed from Methil on 29/12/39 and arrived at Bergen on
1/1/40) (Convoy HN6 sailed from Bergen on 31/12/39 and arrived at Methil on
1 9 4 0
5th - Arrived at Greenock escorted by destroyers
AFRIDI, IMPERIAL, MAORI and NUBIAN.
18th - Sailed from Scapa Flow in company with
destroyers FURY, FAME, FORESTER, FOXHOUND, FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE and
FORTUNE. To provide distant cover for the Northern Patrol and Norwegian convoys.
24th - The force returned to the Clyde.
5th - Covered passage of convoy TC3, the 3rd Canadian
7th - Arrived in the Clyde.
8th - At 1130 hours sailed from the Clyde in company
by destroyers FAULKNOR, FAME, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE, FURY, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE and
FORESTER to provide cover for the Northern Patrol and cover for convoy HN11.
(Convoy HN11 sailed from Bergen on 12/2/40 and arrived at Methil on 15/2/40)
10th - At 1900 hours FAME and FORESTER detached and
refuelled at Sullom Voe.
12th - At 0600 hours FAME and FORESTER rejoined the
At 0630 hours FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE detached and refuelled at
13th - At 1430 hours FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FORTUNE
rejoined the force.
At 1500 hours FURY, FORESIGHT and FIREDRAKE detached and
refuelled at Sullom Voe At 1750 hours FORESTER detached and refuelled at Sullom
14th - Patrolling north west of the Shetlands.
hours FURY, FORESIGHT and FIREDRAKE rejoined the force and course was set for
15th - At 1830 hours with Operation DT imminent,
course was altered to patrol west of the Pentland Firth.
16th - At 0010 hours, the ships involved in Operation
DT were ordered by the CinC Home Fleet to search the Leads and offshore islands
south of Bergen for the ALTMARK. (Operation DT was an operation by units of the
Home Fleet to intercept the German supply ship ALTMARK which was known to be
carrying British Merchant Navy prisoners) When the Operation commenced the HOOD
force was off the Pentland Firth covering the operation.
18th - At 0830 hours arrived back in the Clyde. (At
0930 hours the CinC Home Fleet received information that an RAF reconnaissance
over Heligoland at 0055 hours had observed up to 10 warships, 2 of which were
battlecruisers. The vessels were the German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and
GNEISENAU, the cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER and escorting destroyers. Their object was
to attack allied shipping between the Shetlands and Bergen)
19th - At 1400 hours sailed from the Clyde in company
FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FOXHOUND, FURY, FORESIGHT, FORTUNE and FIREDRAKE; and set
course for north of the Shetlands to provide cover for convoy ON14. Later
destroyer HARDY joined the force
20th - Destroyers KHARTOUM, KANDAHAR and TARTAR joined
from Scapa Flow. (The 23 ship convoy ON14 sailed from Methil on 17/2/40 and
following the sighting of the German force, at 1500/18/2/40 convoy ON14 was
ordered into Kirkwall, where it arrived at 0200/19/2/40. The convoy commenced
departing from Kirkwall at 1400/20/2/40, sailing into a south westerly gale,
When the HOOD force had arrived at a covering position) (During the night of
19th/20th the German force altered course and returned to their bases)
24th - Arrived back in the Clyde.
2nd - At 1600 hours sailed from Greenock in company
and destroyers KELLY, SIKH, KANDAHAR, FAULKNOR, FORESTER and FAME departed the
Clyde to provide cover for the Northern Patrol and the Norwegian convoys ON17,
ON17A and HN17.
7th - At 1600 hours arrived at Scapa Flow in company
KELLY, SIKH, KANDAHAR, FAULKNOR, FORESTER and FAME.
(HOOD and VALIANT were the first Capital ships to use Scapa Flow since the AA
defences had been improved)
11th - At sunset Vice Admiral W J Whitworth, Vice
Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron transferred his flag from Hood to
14th - At 1515 hours departed Scapa Flow escorted by
destroyers HARDY, HOTSPUR and IMOGEN for the Clyde.
15th - Arrived in the Clyde.
30th - At 0340 hours sailed from the Clyde escorted by
destroyers FORESTER, FOXHOUND and FORTUNE.
31st - At 1100 hours arrived at Devonport where she
was taken in hand for refit and various works including re- tubing of her
Under refit. Replacement of secondary 5.5" secondary
armament completed. Degaussing equipment fitted for protection against magnetic
mines. (Note: the following planned work was not carried out - fitting new
machinery, removal of both the conning tower and the above-water torpedo tubes,
the fitting of an aircraft catapult and crane and, most important of all, extra
horizontal and vertical armour.)
13th - A party of 250 Marines and Seamen from HOOD,
with ship's 3.7inch howitzer (the Marines were to form a landing parting and the
Seamen were to man the pom-poms AA and 3.7inch howitzer) entrained at Plymouth
for Rosyth to participate in Operation PRIMROSE. (Operation PRIMROSE was a plan
occupy Ålesund, Norway
to deny the use of the Leads to the Enemy. En route the destination was
changed to Andalsnes)
15th - At 0400 hours the HOOD group sailed from Rosyth
on board Sloop BLACK SWAN.
18th - By 0700 hours the HOOD group had landed at
Andalsnes from BLACK SWAN.
19th - The HOOD-manned 3.7inch howitzer was in action
against German Parachute troops at Dombaas.
30th - During the night of 30th/1st the landing party
re-embarked from Andalsnes on cruiser GALATEA
6th - All the landing force except 3 injured men
returned to the HOOD at Devonport.
27th - At 1100 hours, HOOD sailed from Devonport
escorted by destroyers ESCORT, WITCH and
28th - Arrived at Liverpool
where she entered Gladstone Dock to complete her refit with repairs to the under
11th - Following commencement of hostilities against
Italy, HOOD was nominated for service with Force H at Gibraltar.
12th - Sailed from Liverpool
to RV with ANZAC Troop Convoy US3. West of
Lands End, HOOD was joined by destroyers BROKE and HMCS's RESTIGOUCHE, ST LAURENT
14th - 300 miles west of Cape Finisterre HOOD, BROKE,
RESTIGOUCHE, ST LAURENT and SKEENA joined aircraft carrier ARGUS, cruisers
DORSETSHIRE, CUMBERLAND and SHROPSHIRE escorting ANZAC Troop Convoy US3.
Following which DORSETSHIRE detached.
15th - In the Western Approaches destroyers WARWICK and
WITCH joined ANZAC Troop Convoy US3.
16th - Convoy US3 and escort arrived in the Clyde.
18th - At 0400 hours sailed from the Clyde escorted by
destroyer WANDERER and HMCS ST LAURENT, FRASER, RESTIGOUCHE and SKEENA.
hours destroyer ATHERSTONE joined and WANDERER detached.
At 2000 hours, 250
miles west of Malin Head The Hood force RVed with aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and
her escort destroyers ESCAPADE, FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, and FOXHOUND. Following
which ST LAURENT, FRASER, RESTIGOUCHE and SKEENA detached, and the force set
course for Gibraltar.
19th - During the day aircraft from ARK ROYAL made
dive-bombing attacks on HOOD and the destroyers. Late evening ATHERSTONE
23rd - At 0700 hours the force arrived at Gibraltar and
Force H was formed.
25th - The French battleship RICHELIEU and destroyer
FLEURET departed Dakar for Casablanca, shadowed by cruiser DORSETSHIRE.
hours sailed from Gibraltar in the direction of the Canary Islands to intercept
the French ships in company with aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, and destroyers
FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FOXHOUND and ESCAPADE. At sea ARK ROYAL embarked ten
Swordfish from Rabat.
26th - At 1900 hours the force was informed that the
French had turned back towards Dakar and the force was ordered back to
27th - At 1900 hours arrived back at Gibraltar.
28th - Departed
Gibraltar towards the Canary Islands in company with ARK ROYAL, following a
report, later proven incorrect, that the RICHELIEU had again left Dakar. When
report was corrected they immediately returned to Gibraltar.
30th - At 1745 hours cruiser
ARETHUSA arrived at Gibraltar with Vice Admiral Sir James F Somerville embarked.
Vice Admiral Somerville then transferred his flag to the HOOD as CinC Force H.
Later battleship VALIANT and destroyers ESCORT, FORESIGHT and FORESTER arrived
at Gibraltar to join Force H. (For details of
operations in the Mediterranean in 1940 see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by
D MacIntyre, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and The Naval Staff
2nd - At 1500 hours Force H destroyers ACTIVE, ESCORT,
FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND, KEPPEL, VORTIGERN, WATCHMAN and WISHART
sailed from Gibraltar to carry out an anti-submarine sweep in advance of the
main force leaving harbour.
At 1700 hours sailed from Gibraltar as Flag Ship of
Force H in company with battleships VALIANT and RESOLUTION, aircraft carrier ARK
ROYAL, cruisers ARETHUSA and ENTERPRISE and to carry out Operation CATAPULT.
(Operation CATAPULT was resultant from the French surrender which took place on
25/6/40 and the wording of the surrender document relating to the French naval
forces which stated, “The French fleet was to be assembled at ports under
Italian or German control and demilitarised”. This statement caused great
concern to the UK Government and they determined to ensure that the French fleet
would not be allowed to fall into enemy hands. Force H sailed to enforce the UK
Governments demands or sink the French warships at Mers-el-Kebir) (For details
see THE DEADLY STROKE by W Tute and The Naval Staff History)
3rd - At 0300 hours FOXHOUND was detached to proceed
ahead with Captain Holland who was to communicate the UK Governments message to
Admiral Gensoul on his Flag Ship the battleship DUNKERQUE. At 0910 hours Force H
arrived off Oran.
At 1200 hours FOXHOUND proceeded out of the entrance of
Mers-el-Kebir harbour but remained in visual touch with HOOD and DUNKERQUE.
1725 hours Captain Holland left the DUNKERQUE his mission having failed.
hours at a range of 17500 yards Force H opened fire on the French warships. At
1804 hours after 36 salvoes of 15 inch, Force H checked fire. This after the
French battleship BRETAGNE had blown up and the DUNKERQUE damaged.
At 1820 hours
the French battleship STRASBOURG and destroyers KERSAINT, LYNX, TERRIBLE, TIGRE
and LYNX sailed from Mers-el-Kebir. (This force was later joined by 6 destroyers
from Oran) At 1825 hours ARK ROYAL launched a strike of 6 Swordfish to attack
STRASBOURG without effect. The STRASBOURG force then made off at speed towards
the east, with Force H in pursuit.
At 1914 hours FORESTER picked up Captain
Holland and proceeded after the main force.
At 2020 hours the hot pursuit was
abandoned, STRASBOURG at the time was about 25 miles ahead of HOOD, and
RESOLUTION and VALIANT were falling behind.
At 2055 hours Swordfish from ARK
ROYAL made a torpedo attack on STRASBOURG without slowing her down. Force H then
proceeded after STRASBOURG at their best speed of 18 knots, governed by
4th - At 0400 hours Force H ran into fog and the
planned strike at 0430 hours by 12 Swordfish from ARK ROYAL was abandoned. Force
H destroyers were now running low on fuel and in consequence of this and the
message received at 2250/3/7/40 to Flag Officer, Force H had received from
Admiral Gensoul stating that “his ships were hors de combat and that
their personnel had been ordered to evacuate them”, Force H set course for
At 1900 hours Force H arrived back at Gibraltar. (The CinC Force H
signalled the Admiralty that it was not possible from aircraft observation
positively to assess the damage to the DUNKERQUE, but that she was aground.
Consequently the Admiralty directed that unless Vice Admiral Somerville was
certain that the DUNKERQUE could not be re-floated and repaired in less than a
year, she was to be subjected to further destruction by bombardment. The
operation to carry out a further attack on the DUNKERQUE was code named
5th - At 2000 hours sailed from Gibraltar as Flag Ship
of Force H in company with battleship VALIANT, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL,
cruisers ARETHUSA and ENTERPRISE and destroyers ACTIVE, ESCORT, FAULKNOR,
FEARLESS, FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND, KEPPEL, VORTIGERN and WISHART to carry out
6th - At 0250 hours the Admiralty signalled Somerville
that he could carry out the task with an air strike, as they agreed that a
bombardment could well lead to a slaughter of civilians.
At 0520 hours 90 miles
north west of Oran a strike force of 12 torpedo armed Swordfish was launched
from ARK ROYAL against the DUNKERQUE. At 0650 hours the strike wave of 6
Swordfish achieved one torpedo hit on the
patrol boat TERRE NEUVE (780grt), that was alongside DUNKERQUE at the time.
TERRE NEUVE was sunk and her depth charges exploded ripping a huge gash in
DUNKERQUE's side. Four officers and one hundred and fifty ratings were killed or
wounded. One officer, one petty officer, and six ratings were killed in the
patrol boat. Total French casualties for the raids of 3 and 6 July on
Mers-el-Kebir were 1297 killed and 351 wounded.
At 0830 hours further attacks
were called off and Force H set course for Gibraltar.
At 1830 hours Force H
arrived back at Gibraltar.
8th - At 0700
hours sailed from Gibraltar as Flagship of Force H in company with battleships
RESOLUTION and VALIANT, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, cruisers ARETHUSA, DELHI,
and ENTERPRISE, and destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FOXHOUND, ESCORT, FEARLESS,
ACTIVE, DOUGLAS, VELOX, VORTIGERN, and WRESTLER to cover the Mediterranean
Fleet. As a diversion for the convoys leaving Malta. ARK ROYAL was to launch an
air raid against Cagliari. En route Force H was detected by Italian
reconnaissance aircraft. Force H had also been seen leaving Gibraltar and
reported by Italian agents in Spain. Between 1545 hours and 1840 hours Force H
was attacked by 40 high level Savoia SM 79 aircraft that dropped over 100 bombs.
No hits were achieved but there were several near misses. (The SM 79’s had flown
from the airfield at Villacidro, near Cagliari) The loss of surprise and the
possibility of serious damage to the ARK ROYAL on an operation that was only a
diversion, led to Somerville abandoning the operation.
At 2215 hours Force H
reversed course and set course for Gibraltar.
11th - At 0215
hours destroyer ESCORT was torpedoed by the Italian submarine GUGLIELMO MARCONI.
At 0800 hours arrived back at Gibraltar.
31st - At 0800
hours sailed from Gibraltar as Flagship of Force H in company with battleships
RESOLUTION and VALIANT, aircraft carriers ARK ROYAL and ARGUS, cruisers ARETHUSA
and ENTERPRISE, and destroyers ENCOUNTER, FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FORESIGHT,
FOXHOUND, FEARLESS, GALLANT, GREYHOUND, HOTSPUR and VELOX. To carry out
Operation HURRY. (Operation HURRY was an operation to deliver 12 Hurricanes to
Malta. These were carried by ARGUS who had arrived at Gibraltar on 30/7/40)
1st - At 2045 hours, 100 miles south west of Majorca,
Force H divided into two groups, Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 comprised HOOD,
ARK ROYAL, ENTERPRISE, FAULKNOR, FOXHOUND, FORESIGHT and FORESTER. Group 1 then
proceeded to a flying off position for aircraft from ARK ROYAL to carry out
Operation CRUSH, a diversionary air attack against Cagliari. Group 2 continued
towards southern Sardinia to fly off the Hurricanes.
2nd - At 0230 hours ARK ROYAL launched Swordfish, 6 to
attack the Italian air base of Elmas and 3 to mine Cagliari harbour. One
aircraft from 810 Sqdn. was lost on take off and one, 4F of 820 Sqdn. forced
landed on Elmas airfield.
At 0530 hours Groups 1 and 2 rejoined. By 0700 hours
all 8 Swordfish had been recovered and Force H set course to return to
4th - At 0600 hours arrived back at Gibraltar. (The
decision was taken to reorganise Force H, with HOOD being replaced by RENOWN,
the change was to take place in the UK) At 1915 hours Force H, comprising HOOD,
battle ship VALIANT, aircraft carrier ARGUS, cruiser ARETHUSA escorted by
destroyers ESCAPADE, FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT, FORESTER and FOXHOUND sailed from
Gibraltar for the UK. Aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, cruiser ENTERPRISE and
destroyers GREYHOUND, GALLANT, ENCOUNTER and HOTSPUR also sailed with Force H.
(En route Force H was instructed to search for neutral mercantiles thought to be
breaking the blockade. To increase the effectiveness of the search Force H was
initially accompanied by ARK ROYAL and her escort)
5th - destroyer FEARLESS joined Force H.
6th - At 1050 hours ARK ROYAL, ENTERPRISE, GREYHOUND,
GALLANT, ENCOUNTER and HOTSPUR detached and returned to Gibraltar. HOOD carried
out a 15 inch practice shoot.
7th - HOOD carried out a 15 inch full charge practice
shoot. The result of these practice shoots revealed that the rifling of one of
the guns was defective.
8th - At 0700 hours west of Ireland Force H was joined
by destroyers PUNJABI, TARTAR and BEDOUIN. Following which VALIANT, ARGUS,
FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FORESIGHT and FORESTER detached for Liverpool.
10th - At 0600 hours arrived at Scapa Flow in company
with ARETHUSA, ESCAPADE, FOXHOUND, PUNJABI, TARTAR and BEDOUIN. At 1800 hours
the Flag of CinC Force H was struck.
At 1900 hours the Flag of Vice Admiral W J
Whitworth CinC battlecruiser Squadron was hoisted.
16th - At 0620 hours sailed from Scapa Flow for Rosyth
escorted by destroyers
MAORI and VORTIGERN.
At 1900 hours arrived at
Rosyth dockyard where she was taken in hand for replacement of the port 15 inch
gun in A turret.
24th - At 1730 hours sailed from Rosyth escorted by
ESCAPADE, ECHO and JAVELIN.
25th - At 0640 hours arrived at Scapa Flow
INGLEFIELD, ESCAPADE, ECHO and JAVELIN.
3rd - HOOD
reported that until the defects in her starboard inner turbine were made good
and in order to avoid further damage it was necessary to limit her speed to 25
13th - At 0600
hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company with battleship NELSON, cruisers NAIAD,
BONAVENTURE and destroyers KASHMIR, KIPLING, ZULU, SIKH, SOMALI, and ESKIMO to
Rosyth for anti-invasion duties. En route the force was met by destroyers JACKAL
and ELECTRA. Off Noss Head cruiser CAIRO joined.
At 1900 hours the force arrived
was in response to the Admiralty informing the CinC Home Fleet that all evidence
pointed to an attempted invasion being imminent with the Germans using the
battleship BISMARCK, the battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU, old
battleships SCHELSIEN and SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN and a Pocket battleship)
28th - At 1815
hours sailed from Rosyth in company with cruiser NAIAD and destroyers ZULU,
TARTAR and ELECTRA and set course for 57-05N, 00-20W, to RV with the force that
was due to sail from Scapa Flow at 2015 hours. (This deployment was based on a
report timed at 1400/28/9/40 of a German heavy cruiser, possibly the HIPPER,
escorting a convoy off Norway in 62‑00N, 3‑30E, sixty miles off Scavenger)
29th - At 0909
the operation was called off and the HOOD force set course for Scapa Flow.
1920 hours arrived back at Scapa Flow escorted by ZULU, TARTAR, and ELECTRA.
15th - At 1550 hours
Flow escorted by destroyers SOMALI, ESKIMO and MASHONA to provide cover for
aircraft carrier FURIOUS, cruisers BERWICK and NORFOLK and destroyers MATABELE
and PUNJABI who were carrying out Operation DHU. (Operation DHU, was an air
strike on Tromso that was carried out at 0410/16/10/40 by aircraft from FURIOUS.
The HOOD force was deployed following reports of enemy activity in the Skagerrak
which was thought might be German heavy units reacting to the presence of the
19th - At 1330
hours arrived back at Scapa Flow.
23rd - At 1530
hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company with battlecruisers REPULSE, cruisers
DIDO and PHOEBE and destroyers ISIS, MASHONA, BULLDOG, KEPPEL and DOUGLAS for
anti-aircraft exercises in the Pentland Firth and to provide southern cover for
Operation DNU. (Operation DNU was a sweep off the Norwegian coast to attack
enemy coastal shipping. The only vessel sunk was the German weather ship WBS 5
(trawler ADOLF VINNEN, 391grt) sunk west of Stadlandet by destroyers SOMALI,
MATABELE and PUNJABI)
24th - Arrived
back at Scapa Flow.
28th - At 1430
hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company with battlecruiser REPULSE, aircraft
carrier FURIOUS, cruisers SOUTHAMPTON, DIDO and PHOEBE and destroyers MASHONA,
SOMALI, ESKIMO, PUNJABI, DOUGLAS, KEPPEL, CLEVELAND and VIMY and set course for
north of the Faeroes.
At 2400 hours CLEVELAND and VIMY detached and returned to
Scapa Flow. (This deployment was in response to a signal from the British
merchant ship SS MAHOUT (7921grt), who on the evening of 27/10/40 when in
position 400 miles west of Rockall had reported being followed by a suspicious
vessel that had ordered the MAHOUT to heave to. The description of the vessel
given by the MAHOUT matched that of the German cruiser KONIGSBERG. The unknown
vessel made off to the north-eastward)
29th - In the
afternoon the Force ran into heavy weather culminating in a hurricane that
caused damage to some the ships. Shells came adrift in the DIDO in the heavy
weather, causing her turrets to jam. She was forced to detach and put into the
Faroes for shelter and repairs.
30th - SOUTHAMPTON intercepted the Finnish merchant SS DORE K. SOUTHAMPTON, turned her
over to armed boarding vessel NORTHERN SKY which took the steamer to Kirkwall.
1st - At 1350 hours arrived back at Scapa Flow in
FURIOUS, SOMALI, ESKIMO, MASHONA, PUNJABI and DOUGLAS.
5th - At 2330
hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company with battlecruiser REPULSE, cruisers
PHOEBE, NAIAD and BONAVENTURE and destroyers ESKIMO, MASHONA, MATABELE, ELECTRA,
SOMALI and PUNJABI for position 52-50N, 32-15W (ADMIRAL SCHEER's last known
position). (This deployment was in response to distress signal from the SS
RANGITIKI (16908 grt) part of convoy HX 84 received by the Admiralty at
2003/5/10/42, stating she was under attack from a raider of the GRAF SPEE class.
Convoy HX 84 was under attack from the German Pocket battleship ADMIRAL SCHEER.
Confirmation of the attack was received shortly afterwards from the AMC JERVIS
BAY and the SS CORNISH CITY (4952 grt). The ADMIRAL SCHEER had departed
Brunsbuttel on the 27/10/40 and had passed through the Denmark Straits on the
At 1032 hours
the force was sighted and reported by enemy aircraft.
At 1100 hours in position north of the Butt of Lewis the Admiralty ordered the
force to split with HOOD,
SOMALI, ESKIMO and PUNJABI to proceeded to cover the approaches to Brest and
7th - At 1130
hours in position the HOOD force turned north westerly and shortly afterwards
was shadowed for 20 minutes and reported by enemy aircraft as steering 240º at
8th - At 0800
hours the HOOD force was in position 49-10N, 13-24W.
hours the HOOD force was in position 52-16N, 18-20W from where they set course
to return to Scapa Flow after a fruitless search for the ADMIRAL SCHEER.
11th - At 1400
hours arrived back at Scapa Flow in company with PHOEBE, NAIAD, SOMALI, ESKIMO
23rd - At 1730
hours sailed from Scapa Flow escorted by destroyers ESCAPADE, COSSACK, SIKH and
24th - South of
the Faeroes the HOOD force RVed with the 1st Minelaying Squadron comprising
Auxiliary Minelayers SOUTHERN PRINCE, AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS and PORT QUEBEC who
were escorted by cruiser AURORA and destroyers BATH, ST ALBANS and KEPPEL and
provided cover for Operation SN 11. (Operation
SN 11: was the laying of a minefield off SW of Iceland at the entrance to the
Denmark Straight. For details see Naval Staff History)
26th - Off the
south west of Iceland covering the minelaying force
29th - Arrived
back at Scapa Flow.
11th - At Scapa Flow where she was inspected by the
CinC Home Fleet Admiral Sir John Tovey.
24th - At 1730 hours
Flow in company with cruiser EDINBURGH and destroyers COSSACK, ESCAPADE, ECHO
and ELECTRA to patrol east of the Iceland Faroes Passage to intercept outbound
or inbound raiders. (At 0740/25/12/40 the German cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER attacked
Troop convoy WS 5A, 700 miles west of Cape Finisterre. The HOOD force was
alerted to the possibility of the ADMIRAL HIPPER attempting to return to Germany
via the Iceland-Faroes passage. The ADMIRAL HIPPER had passed south through the
Denmark Strait on the night of 6-7/12/40)
29th - Arrived
back at Scapa Flow.
1 9 4 1
2nd - At 1600 hours sailed from Scapa Flow escorted by
destroyers ECHO, ELECTRA, SIKH and ESKIMO.
Covered ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during
minelay in Northern Barrage. (Operation SN6A)
4th - Covered ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during
minelay in Northern Barrage. (Operation SN65)
5th - At 0930 hours when HOOD was 1.75 miles south of
Cantick Head and entering Scapa Flow she cut a mine in her paravane. ESKIMO
stood by the mine until 1030 hours when it was established it was a British
mine. (Until the mine was identified as British the Pentland Frith was closed to
13th - At 0100 hours sailed from Scapa Flow escorted
by destroyers ECHO, ELECTRA and KEPPEL.
At 1315 hours arrived at Rosyth for
16th - Taken in hand for refit at Rosyth. Fire
-Control Radar Type 284 fitted for forward main armament. (For details of
development and use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)
Under refit Newly developed aircraft warning radar
Type 79B using only one mast fitted. Followed by a successful sea trial at the
end of the refit.
18th - At 1600 hours on completion of refit sailed
from Rosyth to RV with battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH in the Pentland Firth. (This
deployment was because German battlecruisers
SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU were attacking shipping off Newfoundland)
19th - At 0630 hours north of Dunnet Head, HOOD RVed
with battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, cruiser LONDON and destroyers ARROW, ECHO,
ECLIPSE, ELECTRA, ESKIMO and INGLEFIELD. Following which LONDON detached, and
the force set course north westerly to RV with the CinC Home Fleet in NELSON.
20th - At 1030 hours in position 62-50N, 14-40W the
HOOD force RVed with battleship NELSON CinC HF, cruiser NIGERIA and destroyers
ACTIVE, BOADICEA, COSSACK, ESCAPADE, MAORI and ZULU. The HOOD force were
instructed to operate 30 miles to the southward of the NELSON force (At
2042/21/3/41 the Admiralty signalled the CinC HF that the German ships had been
sighted by a Swordfish from aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, 600 miles WNW of Cape
At 0107/22/3/41 the Admiralty signalled the CinC HF that if the HOOD
had sufficient fuel, then she plus any available cruisers should proceed to
patrol to the westward of the Bay of Biscay)
21st - At 2000 hours the fuel state of the HOOD force
was, HOOD 62%, QUEEN ELIZABETH 57% and the destroyers 48%.
22nd - At 0431 hours CinC HF signalled the Admiralty;
‘Consider HOOD should complete with fuel. She has had no opportunity to work up
after long refit and many changes in personnel. Consider 48 hours most
desirable’ At 0730 hours the HOOD force were in position 56-15N, 13-53W, course
045º and making 18 knots for Scapa Flow.
23rd - At 0658 hours arrived at Scapa Flow in company
with QUEEN ELIZABETH, INGLEFIELD, ELECTRA, ESKIMO, and ECHO.
25th - At 1645 signalled CinC HF that full power trial
28th - At 0600 hours sailed from Scapa Flow escorted
by destroyers ELECTRA, ESCAPADE and TARTAR to operate generally in the vicinity
of OG, HG, and SL convoy routes between the latitude of Ushant and Lisbon to
guard against an attack by the German battlecruisers
SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU.
29th - At 0900
hours in position 56-32N, 15-02W, cruisers NIGERIA and FIJI joined and
ELECTRA, ESCAPADE and TARTAR detached for Londonderry.
HOOD, NIGERIA and FIJI then proceeded to the patrol area.
4th - At 0645 hours In position 52N, 22W, RVed with
battleship KING GEORGE V, cruiser LONDON and destroyers BEDOUIN, MASHONA,
MATABELE and SOMALI. BC 1 in HOOD reported that no ships had been sighted since
28/3/41 when they had cleared land and that their operational area had been in
the region of 43N, 18W. The HOOD force then cleared the area and set course for
6th - At 0815 hours arrived at Scapa Flow escorted by
destroyers ELECTRA, ESCAPADE, and TARTAR.
(At 0900/6/4/41 the CinC HF in
KING GEORGE V divided the area off Brest into 4 sectors A to D each 15º
between bearings 213º and 273º, mean distance from Brest 560 miles.
the Admiralty signalled “Consider battlecruisers will probably leave Brest
tonight”. This was because the GNEISENAU had moved out of dry dock into the
inner harbour; which was in fact due to a 250lb UXB in the dock.)
At 1946 hours sailed from Scapa Flow
escorted by destroyers ZULU, MAORI and ARROW and sailed for position 50N, 20W in
sector C off Brest.
GNEISENAU was hit in the stern, and put out of action for 7 months, by a torpedo
dropped by Bristol Beaufort OA-X of 22 Squadron RAF flown by F.O. Kenneth
Campbell, who was posthumously awarded the VC. However, this was not known to
the Admiralty for some time)
8th - At 0800 hours arrived at position 54N, 15-30W to
8th - At 1200 hours in position 50N, 21W RVed with
10th - Destroyers ARROW and COSSACK detached to refuel
11th - At 0800 hours the refuelled destroyers ARROW
and COSSACK from Londonderry rejoined. Following which destroyers MAORI and ZULU
detached to refuel at Londonderry
13th - The refuelled destroyers MAORI and ZULU from
15th - At 0630 hours arrived back at Scapa Flow
escorted by destroyers COSSACK, ZULU, and MAORI. ARROW, who was unable to
maintain the speed and had been detached, arrived at Scapa Flow later.
18th - At 1645 hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company
with cruiser KENYA and destroyers COSSACK, MAORI and ZULU for the Biscay patrol
to relieve KING GEORGE V.
19th - At 0120 hours following Admiralty order the
HOOD force were diverted to Hvalfjord. (This deployment was to counter any
attempt by the German battleship BISMARCK to break out into the Atlantic.
Following a report of a German force passing through the Skagerrak)
21st - At 1000 hours arrived at Hvalfjord in company
with COSSACK, INGLEFIELD, MAORI and ZULU.
24th - At Hvalfjord where the BC 1 in HOOD signalled
the Admiralty that he was concerned about the security of the harbour from
28th - battlecruiser HOOD and destroyers ECHO, ACTIVE,
ACHATES, and ANTHONY departed Hvalfjord to provide cover for convoys HX 122,
escorted by AMC ALAUNIA, and SC 29, escorted by AMC RANPURA.
30th - In approximate position 56N, 33W the HOOD force
sighted convoy SC 29 and signals were exchanged with the RANPURA. HX 122 was
2nd - At 1900 hours in approximate position 57N, 22W,
HOOD, ECHO, ACTIVE, ANTHONY, and ACHATES parted company with SC 29 following an
order to return to Scapa Flow. They set course for Hvalfjord to refuel.
3rd - At 2350 hours arrived at Hvalfjord to refuel.
4th - At 1800 hours sailed from Hvalfjord escorted by
ACTIVE, ANTHONY, and ACHATES.
6th - At 1300 hours arrived at Scapa Flow in company
with ACTIVE, ANTHONY, and ACHATES.
8th - At Scapa Flow. In the PM the flag of Vice
Admiral Whitworth was struck
12th - At Scapa Flow. In the AM the flag of Vice
Admiral Holland was hoisted in HOOD and VA Holland became FO BC 1 and second in
command of the HF.
22nd - At 0100 hours sailed from Scapa Flow in company
with battleship PRINCE OF WALES and destroyers ACHATES, ANTELOPE, ANTHONY, ECHO,
ELECTRA, and ICARUS to cover cruiser on patrol in the Denmark Strait. (This
deployment followed receipt of a report that the BISMARCK and PRINZ EUGEN had
23rd - At 1939 hours when south of Iceland the HOOD
force altered course, following receipt of Enemy Sighting Report from cruiser
SUFFOLK in the Denmark Strait, to achieve an interception course with the German
battleship BISMARCK and the cruiser PRINZ EUGEN.
24th - At 0400 hours due to the pounding from the seas
the destroyers were given permission to reduce speed, following which they fell
behind the capital ships.
At 0552 hours at a range of about 25.000 yards HOOD
opened fire on the leading German ship which happened to be the PRINZ EUGEN.
0600 hours HOOD was hit after the fifth salvo of return fire, following which
she blew up and sank within 3 to 4 minutes.
(Note: Loss was due to design weakness which gave
inadequate armour protection against plunging shells. See BRITISH BATTLESHIPS.)
Destroyer ELECTRA rescued the only three survivors out
of a total complement of over 1,418 on board. (Casualty List
(For further details see PURSUIT by L K Kennedy,
BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Müllenheim Rechberg and The Naval Staff History.)