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REAR ADMIRAL, SECOND (2nd) CRUISER SQUADRON - March to December 1940


Transcribed by Don Kindell

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Source: ADM 199/379

Cruiser Squadron Two’s War Diary commenced on 1 March 1940. Before this time, their activities were carried by the Rosyth War Diary which only began on 5 November 1939 (ADM 199/362) and more broadly in the Daily Operations Report for First Lord (ADM 199/1939 et al).





1st - 15th March 1940


On 1st March 1940, the state of the Squadron was as follows:



Rosyth for degaussing and repair to D/F aerial.




At sea covering Convoy O.H.N. 16


At sea covering Convoy O.H.N. 16


Devonport, degaussing and giving leave.


The following programme had been approved:


(a). EDINBURGH and ARETHUSA to sail about 4th March to cover O.H.N. 17 and 18, EDINBURGH proceeded to Scapa to join 18th Cruiser Squadron on completion about 12th March, ARETHUSA returning to Rosyth.


(b). My flag to be transferred to FORTH on 4th March.


(c). GALATEA to sail for Scapa on 2nd March, carrying out practices and arrive Rosyth to take my flag on 11th March.


(d). AURORA and PENELOPE to cover O.H.N. 19 and 20, sailing about 12th March.


O.H.N. 17 was due to leave Methil at 1700, 3rd March, but in view of the large number of ships waiting, the convoy eventually ran in two parts, the additional destroyer escort required being provided by the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla.


The Final programme of sailings was:


O.N. 17 (40 ships from Methil) left Methil 1700, 3rd March.


O.N. 17 A (23 ships from Methil and 17 from Kirkwall) left Methil 1700, 4th March.


O.N. 18 (30 ships from Methil and 10 from Kirkwall) left Methil 1700, 7th March.


EDINBURGH and ARETHUSA sailed from Rosyth at 1500, 4th March, making contact with O.N. 17 about 0800, 5th March. They remained concentrated as close cover until dark on that day, thereafter remaining in the vicinity of Latitude 61 degrees North as distant cover for O.N. 17 and O.N. 17 A.


After the arrival of 17 A, they provided close cover for HN 17.


AURORA and PENELOPE arrived Rosyth on 4th March from covering O.H.N. 15 and 16 and were placed at 10 hours notice for steam until 0400, 8th March for boiler cleaning and to give night leave.


GALATEA arrived Scapa 1230 on 4th March. Harbour drills at anchor were carried out on 5th and 6th March. Day and night sub calibre and Day torpedo firing in the Flow on 7th March. It was intended to carry out H.A. sleeve practice on 8th March, but this was postponed on account of low cloud. GALATEA acted as Target ship for Submarine NARWHAL in the Flow p.m. 8th March. Whilst recovering NARWHAL’s torpedoes, enemy aircraft carried out a raid on Scapa. No warning was received and the first indication was the release of two bombs by an aircraft which approached from over Kirkwall, passed down the starboard side of GALATEA and carried out shallow dive bombing attack on S.S. FERNMOORE which was at anchor in Echnalich Bay, about 3 miles from GALATEA. Bombs were released at 1344. Two splashes were observed which FERNMOORE informed one were 500 feet from her. There was no time to engage aircraft which made off to the Eastward.


GALATEA carried out H.A. 4 inch and 0.5 inch sleeve target firing in Pentland Firth a.m. on 9th March and 6 inch Day F.C. and 6 inch Night F.C in Pentland Firth prior to sailing for Rosyth P.M. Sunday 10th March.


GALATEA arrived Rosyth a.m. 11th March and my flag was transferred to her p.m. on that day.


ON 19 sailed from Methil at 1700, 11th March. At 2230 instructions were received from Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, that EDINBURGH was to cover O.H.N. 19 after refuelling at Scapa. AURORA and PENELOPE were to remain at Rosyth (Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 2012/11).


Information was subsequently received that one ship of the Eighteenth Cruiser Squadron would provide cover for O.H.N. convoys until further orders (Commander in Chief’s 1746/13) and that SHEFFIELD would provide cover for O.H.N. 20 (Vice Admiral Commanding Eighteenth Cruiser Squadron’s 2155/12)


ARETHUSA arrived Rosyth pm. 12th March.


At 1400 on 12th March instructions were received to open envelopes A.S.P. 1, 2, and 3 (Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 1105/12) and at 0200 on 13th March orders were received for the squadron to sail as follows:


GALATEA and AURORA to arrive Clyde by 0800, 15th March.




The squadron sailed at 1200, having awaited the arrival of BERWICK, who was bringing copies of A.S.P. 3.


ARETHUSA and PENELOPE were detached to Scapa at 1948 on 13th March and GALATEA and AURORA arrived at Greenock at 1845/14th March.


At 1712/14 information was received from the Admiralty that plan R 3 was in abeyance and that it was at Commander in Chief’s discretion to withdraw GALATEA, AURORA, and destroyer escort from the Clyde (Admiralty Telegram 1537/14). Plan R 3 was canceled (Admiralty Telegram 2259/14) and GALATEA, AURORA and destroyers of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla were ordered to sail for Scapa a.m. 15th March (Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 0237/15).


Destroyers sailed at 1100 and cruisers on completion of fuelling at 1400.







16th to 31st March 1940


16th March


GALATEA and AURORA arrived Scapa at 1240. It had been intended to carry out practices in the Pentland Firth en route from the Clyde, but owing to a signal failing to get through, no targets were provided.


2. Warnings that enemy air attack might be expected were received during the forenoon and afternoon. In the evening an air raid took place, the RED warning being made at 1956, YELLOW at 215, and GREEN at 2131. GALATEA’s port 0.5 inch machine guns fired approximately 100 round per gun. The starboard 4 inch guns fired nine rounds per gun at an enemy aircraft at extreme range in the direction of Flotta. This aircraft is believed to have been brought down.


17th March


Orders were received for Operation D.U. to be carried out on the nights of 19/20th and 20/21st March.


3. The Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, directed that SHEFFIELD should cover O.H.N. 21 leaving Methil on 19th March. For subsequent convoys cruiser cover would be provided by one ship from each of the Second and Eighteenth Cruiser Squadrons (Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 1701/17).


4. At 1802, the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, informed the Fleet that nine German aircraft had left the Weser at 1700 and would arrive over Scapa at 1900. Fleet notice YELLOW was assumed at 1845; no attack developed, however.


18th March


5. In view of the adverse weather reports, I postponed Operation D.U. for 24 hours.


19th March


6. The Battlefleet and battlecruisers sailed p.m. to cover D.U. and sweep along the Norwegian coast. In view of the continuing unfavourable weather reports, I postponed D.U. a further 24 hours.


At 1920, a submarine was reported in Holm Sound, and at 1946 ships were ordered by the Admiral Commanding Orkneys and Shetlands to take up stations according to the plan for protecting the anchorage from submarine attack. Destroyers and A/S vessels proceeded to search. The Second Cruiser Squadron raised steam with all despatch.


20th March


At 0024, Admiral Commanding Orkneys and Shetlands ordered the Captain (D) Sixth Destroyer Flotilla to detail two destroyers to anchor covering the northern entrance to Gutter Sound and ships in the Flow; remainder to return to their berths or anchor as convenient. Two trawlers to remain on watch at the eastern entrance. Cruisers and destroyers to keep steam on one hour’s notice.


At 0801, anti submarine stations were negative and at 0845 cruisers and destroyers were ordered to revert to usual notice for steam.


At 2041, the Admiral Commanding Orkneys and Shetlands reported that trawlers were investigating an indicator loop crossing and that Hoxa and Switha Gates were temporarily closed.


9. This was canceled at 2119 and the Second Cruiser Squadron and destroyers proceeded for Operation D.U. at 2330.


21st March to 23rd March


10. Operation D.U. took place as reported in Second Cruiser Squadron No. 122/083/5 of 26th March 1940.


24th March


11. GALATEA, ARETHUSA, and PENELOPE arrived Rosyth at 0030. AURORA who had been detailed to cover O.H.N. 22 with one ship of the Eighteenth Cruiser Squadron, had been detached to Scapa with destroyers and arrived there at 1143. She left again at 1945, after fuelling, in company with SHEFFIELD to cover O.H.N. 22 which left Methil at 1500/23rd March.


12. At 1152, the S.S. BECHEVILLE reported being attacked by a raider in position 59-21N, 2-27W at 1044. It appeared improbable that a raider would be in this position, but I ordered YORK to raise steam for full speed with all despatch and the Second Cruiser Squadron, who were still fuelling, to raise steam for 24 knots at one hour’s notice.


The BECHEVILLE reported at 1125 that no ships had been seen, but an explosion was heard and splash observed close to, and at 1202 that she was proceeding to Kirkwall with boiler trouble.


I ordered ships to revert to two hours’ notice at 1257, and to usual notice at 1330.


26th March


13. On 23rd March, I was directed by the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, to detail two of the Second Cruiser Squadron to provide cover for O.H.N. 23 sailing 27th March. GALATEA and ARETHUSA were detailed. AURORA on return from O.H.N. 22 was to be taken in hand for engine repairs (flexible couplings), necessitating her being at 15 hours’ notice for about eight days. PENELOPE was to renew degaussing gear, subsequently covering O.H.N. 24 with SHEFFIELD.


27th March


14. O.H.N. 23 sailed from Methil at 1400 (23 ships for Point “E”, one for Aberdeen, and two to join from Kirkwall). Convoy proceeded west of Shetlands. In view of the large number of ships, the homeward bound convoy was to run in two sections, leaving Point “E” at 1900 30th March and 31st March, respectively.


28th March


GALATEA and ARETHUSA sailed from Rosyth at 1600 and proceeded East and North of Shetlands and joined O.H.N. 23 off Yell Sound at 2000 on 29th March.


29th March


AURORA arrived Rosyth and went to 15 hours’ notice for steam from 1800.


30th March


Instructions were received from the Admiralty that the Second Cruiser Squadron was to proceed to the Humber as soon as practicable and be based there. The Squadron would normally operate under the Commander in Chief, Nore, for the protection of the East Coast, but might be placed at the disposal of the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, should he require them for any specific operation (Admiralty telegram 2237/29). Later instructions were received that the Second Cruiser Squadron was to remain with the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet for the present (Admiralty telegram 1037/30).


18. H.N. 23 A sailed from Point “E” at 2030. O.N. 23 was delayed by bad weather and consequently the destroyers originally detailed for H.N. 23 B were ordered to escort H.N. 23 A.


31st March


19. O.N. 24 sailed from Methil at 1200 (19 ships for Point “E”).


O.N. 23 was dispersed by the gale and low visibility about 0700 off Point “E”. H.N. 23 B sailed after dark about 2000. Only 20 ships of 32 sailed and of these only 12 remained the next morning.


H.N.23 A was also very much scattered. The number of ships remaining out of 39 was about 20.







1st - 15th April 1940


On 31st March 1940, GALATEA and ARETHUSA were at sea covering H.N. 23 B. PENELOPE was due to sail from Rosyth on 1st April to cover O.H.N. 24. AURORA was at Rosyth on 15 hours’ notice.


1st April


At 1443/1, the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 1233 was received ordering the following dispositions to be made:


(a). AURORA to arrived Clyde by 5th April.


(b). PENELOPE to arrive Scapa on 7th April.


(c). GALATEA and ARETHUSA to be available as a striking force at Rosyth from p.m. 3rd April.


(a) and (b) were subsequently amended to required AURORA and PENELOPE to reach their destinations by 4th and 5th April respectively.


3. The bad weather was still continuing and at 0800/I decided that I would proceed with ARETHUSA direct to Rosyth at 2100, leaving SHEFFIELD and PENELOPE to cover H.N. 23 B.


4. PENELOPE sailed from Rosyth at 1445 to make contact with H.N. 23 B at 0900/2 and subsequently cover O.H.N. 24. The Vice Admiral Commanding, Eighteenth Cruiser Squadron ordered SHEFFIELD to release her from O.H.N. 24 in time to arrive Scapa on 5th April, stating that a relief would be detailed from the Eighteenth Cruiser Squadron if the convoys were delayed.


2nd April


5. GALATEA and ARETHUSA arrived Rosyth at 1345 and AURORA sailed at 1415.


6. The Admiralty orders for plan R.4 were received: from these together with the supplementary orders issued by the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, the following role were assigned to the Second Cruiser Squadron:


(a). AURORA flying the flag of Admiral Sir Edward Evans, PENELOPE, and destroyers to accompany convoys N.P. 1 and N.S. 1 destined for Narvik.


(b). GALATEA and ARETHUSA to remain at Rosyth as a striking force.


D.1 of the operation – the day on which the first troops would sail from the United Kingdom – was not yet settled, but it would not be earlier than 5th April.


3rd April


7. Admiralty announced that the laying of minefield in Norwegian waters (Operation WILFRED) would take place on 8th April. D.1 of plan R.4 would not be before that date (Admiral telegram 1352/3). They subsequently stated that though the earliest date of D.1 had been postponed three days, the embarkation programme had been postponed 48 hours only. Convoys and cruisers (including AURORA and PENELOPE) should therefore be ready to sea a.m. on 8th April (Admiralty telegram 1934/3). In view of the foregoing, I ordered GALATEA and ARETHUSA to proceed with boiler cleaning. The Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, ordered PENELOPE to continue covering H.N. 24 with SHEFFIELD, returning to Scapa on completion.


4th April


8. The Flag of Admiral Sir Edward Evans was hoisted in AURORA at the Clyde.


5th April


9. I was directed by the Commander in Chief, Rosyth, to take three Polish destroyers GROM, BLYSKAWICA, and BURZA under my orders during the time they were based at Rosyth.


10. On this day a change was made in the leave arrangements for officers. Formerly, ships at four hours’ notice for steam or longer were allowed to give leave to officers on either side of the Firth of Forth expiring at 2000. With the approval of the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, arrangements were now made to give leave from 1300 to 1900 on either side of the Firth and until 2330 on the North side.


6th April


11. PENELOPE arrived Scapa at 0815


7th April


12. Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, in his 1159/7 ordered GALATEA, ARETHUSA, and Polish destroyers to form Force “R” and have steam at two hours’ notice from 0400 8th April.


13. The events leading up to this force, and others, sailing at 2115 on 7th April, and of the subsequent three days have been reported separately in Second Cruiser Squadron No. 58/083/6 of 21st April 1940. (n.b. found at end of 1st-15th April 1940 section).


14. As regards the two other ships of the Squadron – AURORA was ordered to proceed to Scapa with all despatch without troops on board. She left the Clyde at 1300/8 and arrived Scapa at 0300/9. Admiral Evans was told by the Admiralty that he was to haul down his Flag, but might remain in AURORA if he so wished. He elected to remain. AURORA subsequently took part in the operations of the 8th and 10th April, during which period, she rescued the survivors from the GURKHA as reported in Rear Admiral (D), Home Fleet’s No. 361/H.D. 00571.A of 12th April 1940 and was attacked by bombers, and arrived back at Scapa at 1520 on 10th April.


15. PENELOPE left Scapa with the battle fleet at 2030 on 7th April. Subsequent information as to her movements is based on intercepted cypher messages and is necessarily incomplete.


At 1210/10, she reported she was covering the retirement of the Second Destroyer Flotilla after the first attack on Narvik.


In Battle Cruiser Squadron 1511/10, she was informed that her object was to prevent the escape of enemy forces from Narvik.


At 2010/10 she was told by the Admiralty that if, in the light of the morning’s experience, it was considered a feasible operation, she was to take available destroyers in the Narvik area and attack the enemy at Narvik that night or the following morning. The Vice Admiral Commanding, Battle Cruiser Squadron, in his 2219/10, questioned these orders and it appears from information available the PENELOPE at one time thought the operation was feasible but was finally compelled to state that it was not.


She was subsequently ordered by the Vice Admiral Commanding, Battle Cruiser Squadron to embark a pilot at Tranoy and, in company with ESKIMO and KIMBERLEY, firstly attack an enemy transport at Bodo (67-16 degrees N) and secondly try and capture a tanker at Tannholm (66-53 degrees N).


At 1359/11 ICARUS reported the German ship ALSTER at anchor in Skjel Fiord with a “PENELOPE manned crew on board.”


At 1500/11 PENELOPE reported being aground off Fleinvaer Light with KIMBERLY and ESKIMO standing by. At 1700 she reported being afloat in tow of ESKIMO proceeded to Skjel Fiord at four knots. KIMBERLEY had been instructed at 1630 to proceed to Bodo and deal with the enemy transport; BEDOUIN to detail two destroyers to deal with tanker in Tannholm Fiord. This latter instructions was subsequently cancelled.


At 1510/12 PENELOPE reported herself anchored in Vestfiord. Pumps had the damage under control, but should the diesel fail, the ship would have to be beached in Vestfiord.


The extent of the damage was reported by telegram to be: Keel, garboard, “A” and “B” strakes port and starboard and double bottom structure in vicinity buckled or fractured from stem to stern on both ships of the ship. Starboard forward and starboard after shaft “A” brackets fractured. Starboard outer, port outer, and starboard after inner propellers damaged, will require spares to be fitted. Rudder frame damaged, probably requiring renewal. (PENELOPE’s 0315/20 and 1446/25). She would probably be ready to sail on 8th May.


A full report of the damage based on investigations by the Constructor Officer on the Rear Admiral (D) Home Fleet’s staff was forwarded in Rear Admiral (D), Home Fleet’s 408 H.D. 00301 of 26th April.


(on 24th April, the Admiralty stated the ship would be taken in hand at Portsmouth.)


11th April


16. At 1335 Admiralty telegram 1250 was received directing one ship of the Second Cruiser Squadron to be sailed to arrive Rosyth a.m. 12th April, to hoist the Flag of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Cork and take him to Narvik.


EFFINGHAM and ENTERPRISE were to be sailed from Portsmouth for Narvik as soon as possible. On arrival Lord Cork was to transfer his flag to EFFINGHAM and the ship of the Second Cruiser Squadron was to rejoin me.


AURORA was detailed. She left Scapa at 1700.


12th April


AURORA arrived at Rosyth at 0640 on 12th April and sailed again at 1200 flying the Flag of Lord Cork.


Her subsequent movements are not known to me. Apparently she was to have rejoined about the 29th April, but Admiralty telegram 0850/29 gave Lord Cork permission to retain her for the present. At 1037/29, he told her to report were she then was.


13th April


17. GALATEA and ARETHUSA sailed from Scapa for Rosyth at 1300 for Operations MAURICE and SICKLE. A full report on these operations has been forwarded in Second Cruiser Squadron No. 63/083/5 of 28th April 1940


(n.b. no entries for 14th in Diary)






15th to 30th April 1940



15th April


On the 15th April, GALATEA and ARETHUSA were still engaged on Operations MAURICE and SICKLE, a full report on which has been forwarded in Second Cruiser Squadron’s 063/083/5 of 28th April.


20th April


They returned to Rosyth on 20th April.


21st April


2. ARETHUSA sailed again on 21st April to transport to Aandalsnes the stores and personnel necessary to establish an aerodrome at Lesjascog, and GALATEA with SHEFFIELD, GLASGOW, IVANHOE, ICARUS, IMPULSIVE, VANSITTART, WITCH, and CAMPBELL sailed for the same port on 22nd April with some 2000 men (Operation SICKLE II). A full report on which has been forwarded in Second Cruiser Squadron’s 063/083/5 of 28th April.


24th April


3. On her return from Aandalsnes on 23rd April, ARETHUSA was ordered by Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, to Scapa, where she was to keep steam at half hour’s notice while a sweep into the Skagerrak was carried out by the French ships INDOMPTABLE, TRIOMPHANT, and MILAN. She arrived at Scapa at 0530/24 and at 1358/24 was ordered by Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, to revert to usual notice for steam.


25th April.


4. GALATEA arrived Rosyth 1150.


5. At 1515 Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, ordered ARETHUSA to sail for Rosyth at 2039 and in his 1903/25 he stated she was required to embark about 300 troops and 30 tons of stores at Rosyth for transport to Sundalsoren (62-41 degrees N, 08-34 degrees E). An advance part of 100 marines was being sent to the place from PRIMROSE on the night of 25/26th April. JACKAL would rendezvous with ARETHUSA in the neighbourhood of the Orkneys and accompany her during the operation.


26th April


6. ARETHUSA arrived Rosyth at 0655.


7. Naval Officer in Charge, Aandalsnes in his 0535/26 (not received by me) apparently questioned the feasibility of landing troops at Sundalsoren as Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, in his 11/20/26 asked Admiralty whether it was desired that ARETHUSA should land her force at Aandalsnes, as this and Molde were considered the only places they could be landed.


8. Admiralty Telegram 1642/26 in reply stated that ARETHUSA was not to sail until two Bofors guns had been embarked and was then to sail for Sundalsoren.


Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, was to consider sending a small force of seamen from Aandalsnes to Sundalsoren to facilitate the disembarkation of troops from ARETHUSA.


27th April


9. ARETHUSA completed embarkation of troops and stores and sailed from Rosyth at 0800 on 27th April.


10. At 2058 she and JACKAL were ordered by the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, to proceed to Scapa, where they arrived at 0600 on 28th April.


28th April


11. At 0945 GALATEA was ordered to proceed to Scapa forthwith. A full report of the subsequent operations connected with the evacuation of Aandalsnes is contained in Second Cruiser Squadron’s 71/083/5 of 7th May 1940.


(n.b. no entries for 29th or 30th April)







7th – 10th April 1940


7th April


On receipt of the Aircraft enemy report timed 0848/7 I ordered Force “R” to raise steam for full steam with all despatch. Force “R” consisted of GALATEA, ARETHUSA, and the Polish destroyers GROM, BLYSKAWICA, and BURZA.


2. At 1025, I reported to the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, that Force “R” would be ready to proceed at 1200. In my 1235/6 I had already informed him of the limited full speed of BURZA and small endurance of all three Polish destroyers.


3. Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, informed me at 1300 through Commander in Chief, Rosyth, that my force would not proceed until the result of the Bomber attack was known. I accordingly kept steam at half hours’ notice.


4. At about 1800 I received Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 1617 informing me to sail with Force “R” as soon as SOMALI (Captain D 6), MATABELE, MASHONA, and TARTAR were refuelled, and could sail with me. At the time I did not know their expected time of arrival. They finally arrived alongside their oilers at 1955 and completed oiling about 2330.


5. At 1915 Captain (D) 4th Destroyer Flotilla was ordered to raise steam with all despatch in the destroyers under his command (namely AFRIDI (Captain D 4), GURKHA, SIKH, MOHAWK, ZULU, COSSACK, KASHMIR, KELVIN) and to accompany me to sea. As had been forecast by the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, I could not now keep the rendezvous ordered in his 1607 and I therefore informed him in my 1945 as follows:


“Intend to pass May Island at 2359 and through position 58 degrees N, 00 degrees at 0800/8. If high speed is required on passage intend to detach 2nd Sub Division.”


(i.e. the Polish destroyers on account of their very low endurance). This crossed the Commander in Chief’s 1946 ordering me to steer northwards after reaching position 58-30 degrees North, 3-50 degrees East).


6. Force “R” sailed at 2155 closed followed by Captain (D) 4th Destroyer Flotilla and his destroyers who were in company when May Island was passed at 2350. Captain (D) 6th Destroyer Flotilla was informed of the route I would take and was ordered to join me as soon as possible after daylight.


8th April


This he did at 0710/8.


7. The Polish destroyers were attached to the 6th Destroyer Flotilla as the 12th Division. Their presence considerably complicated communication.


8. The reports of GLOWWORM’s encounters between 0800 and 0900 were considered to be in an area too far north to warrant my departing from the Commander in Chief’s ordered plan observing that he knew my position at that time and I had no knowledge of his further intentions.


9. At 0714 course was altered to 076 degrees to pass through Latitude 58 degrees North, Longitude 00 at 0800. Enemy reconnaissance aircraft were sighted at intervals from 0940 onwards. These may have been several sightings of one reconnaissance aircraft. One of these sightings was reported by GALATEA at 1039 and Commander in Chief, Rosyth sent out two Bleinheims which were not seen.


The destroyers were warned at 0606 of movements of submarines CLYDE and THISTLE.


10. Several asdic contacts were investigated by the British destroyers and depth charges were dropped at 1035 by destroyer BURZA in approximately 58-10 degrees North, 0-06 degrees East and another destroyer opened fire at a suspected periscope. KELVIN dropped back to investigate and dropped depth charges at 1052 but reported “contact doubtful” on rejoining at 1124.


11. At 1200 the wind was N.W. Force 4, sea moderate, cloud 9/10, visibility extreme.


12. Between 1227 and 1800 six drifting mines were passed and all but one sunk.


13. At 1445 having reached position 58-30 degrees North, 3-30 degrees East, I turned to 000 degrees.


14. The aircraft report of 1 Battlecruiser, two destroyers and two cruisers in 64-07 degrees North, 6-25 degrees East at 1400 and First Cruiser Squadron’s indented movement from Rosyth both reached me at about 1530. I considered that the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, knew my position and movements with reasonable accuracy because I had kept to his instructions and therefore I did not break W/T silence but issued by intention to maintain course 000 degrees all night and gave the ships in company was much information as I had of the situation.


15. At 1800 on receipt of Admiralty message 1712 I reported my position, course, and speed. The wind was not N.W. Force 5, sky overcast, and visibility only 3 ½ miles. The sea was increasing.


16. At 2137 course was altered to 270 degrees to comply with Admiralty message 1842. Not knowing the position of the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, I turned 90 destroyers in order to clear is Zone as quickly as possible. He head sea forced me to reduce speed to 15 knots at 2146 and again to 12 knots at 0105, after course had been altered to 314 degrees on reaching my zone between 01-50 degrees East and 02-30 degrees East.


9th April


17. Commander in Chief’s 2252 ordering a cruiser sweep in the morning was received at 0140. It was not possible to reach the position ordered in time and no instructions for the destroyers were included. I decided to take them with me and steer to join the sweep about 0630. Course was reversed at 0208 and speed increased to 15 knots by 0240.


18. At this time Admiralty Message 0210 which cancelled the cruiser sweep was received. It was not possible to reach the new rendezvous without a large increase of speed so I altered course to 180 degrees at 0306 to meet the Vice Admiral Commanding, First Cruiser Squadron about 0605 as I was aware that he would steer northward from the position ordered.


19. At 0325 Captain (D) 6th Destroyer Flotilla reported that KASHMIR and KELVIN who were at the rear of the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla had been in collision. Later ZULU reported that ZULU and COSSACK had been detached to escort them, but I was not informed at the time as to how the collision occurred or the serious extent of the damage to the two ships.


20. Another drifting mine was sunk at 0600.


21. As the First Cruiser Squadron and French Squadron had not been sighted and it was most unlikely they were still to the southward, course was altered at 0622 to the Northward and speed increased to 19 knots.


These ships were first sighted at 0640 and by 0700 both squadrons were in sight. I stationed the First Cruiser Squadron (DEVONSHIRE, BERWICK, YORK, and GLASGOW) 3 miles ahead, and the French Squadron (EMILE BERTIN, TARTU and MAILLE BREZE) 4 miles astern, and at 0730 proceeded 030 degrees at 17 knots from position 59-50 degrees North, 02-19 degrees East to rendezvous with the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet.


22. At 0755 GALATEA opened fir on an aircraft shadowing at long range.


23. At 0905 two shadowing aircraft were reported by GALATEA. Soon afterwards, DEVONSHIRE reported the screen of the Battlefleet and at 0945 the RODNEY bore 348 degrees – 7 miles. The various units of my force were then stationed on the Battlefleet by order of the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet. GALATEA and ARETHUSA formed on the right wing unit of the A-K line with YORK and EMILE BERTIN. TARTU and MAILLE BREZE next towards the centre. At 1103 the Second Cruiser Squadron were station, course 180 degrees speed of advance 16 knots. Course was reversed at 1200 and the ships spread preserving compass bearings.


24. Fire was opened on shadowing aircraft at 1008 and again at 1145 but the aircraft were at extreme range.


25. The Eighteenth Cruiser Squadron, Fourth and Sixth Destroyers Flotillas parted company at 1245 and I re spread the cruisers from left to right in sequence DEVONSHIRE, BERWICK, YORK, ARETHUSA, EMILE BERTIN, GALATEA.


At 1600 and between 1722 and 1744, the cruisers were attacked by bombers as reported in my postagram timed 1000/11.


26. At 1753 a merchant ship was sighted bearing 010 degrees – 9 miles. GALATEA proceeded to intercept her. At 1845, she as stopped in position 61-28 degrees North, 2-27 degrees East and proved to be the Swedish ship VINGAREN. While signals were still being made to order to the United Kingdom, GALATEA was ordered to close the Commander in Chief. Station was resumed at 1912.


27. Commander in Chief’s 1837, giving his dispositions for the night, was received at 1923 and I ordered ARETHUSA and the French Squadron to join me and proceeded thence at 24 knots to patrol position ordered off the Fejeosen entrance to Bergen.


28. Subsequent movements were reported in my signal times 1818/10 and my 1240/10 reported the state of the Lights on the Norwegian Coast.


10th April


29. At 0400 course was set for the rendezvous ordered in 61 degrees N, 1 degree East. At 0550 a merchant ship was sighted and ARETHUSA was detached to investigate. The ship proved to be the Norwegian GRO and was sent to Kirkwall under armed guard from position 60-44 degrees North, 3-37 degrees East. Later ARETHUSA reported her “cargo coal, ship very much Norwegian and friendly, Captain deceived by German broadcasts and refused to go to United Kingdom in order to avoid having to make any decision himself.” ARETHUSA rejoined me at 1045/10. The GRO arrived at Kirkwall a.m. Thursday 11th.


30. AFRIDI and MOHAWK were sighted at 0855 and at 0940 SIKH escorting the Norwegian T.B. DRAUG to Sullom Voe with 67 German prisoners on board.


31. GLASGOW, SHEFFIELD with SOMALI and MASHONA in company were sighted at 1005 and joined me at 1115. At 1100 Captain D 1 met me at the rendezvous and informed me as follows:


“Have been ordered by the CinC to meet 18th and 2nd C.S. and tell C.S. 18 to proceed with cruisers and French Force to Scapa to refuel. Have met C.S. 18 who has proceeded direct to Scapa with SOUTHAMPTON in company. Destroyers proceed to Sullom Voe to refuel and await orders.”


32. At 1115 Convoy H N 25 borer 295 degrees – 14 miles with destroyer escort and aircraft overhead. It was this aircraft which was reported at 1056 as a shadowing aircraft in ignorance of the convoy’s proximity. On the previous evening the convoy had been sighted bearing 057 degrees – 12 miles at 1950 from which it had been expected to be much further west than was the case.


33. At 1230 GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD proceeded ahead to be available for the operation ordered in Admiralty’s 1045/10.


34. On passage to Scapa my force was attacked by bombers as reported in my 1000/11. I reported that I was being shadowed at 1540 and requested an air escort at 1747. The attack developed a few minutes later in low visibility.


35. When the fighters arrived at 1854 they dived so close at the ships that they were mistaken for enemy and a few rounds were fired at them by the French ships and our own, fortunately without damage.


36. The Force arrived at Scapa at 1945 and was present during the Air Raid which lasted from 2100 to 2200. No damage was sustained.


37. AURORA was found at anchor in the Flow having arrived at 1520 with survivors from GURKHA. C.S. 18 in MANCHESTER with SOUTHAMPTON in company arrived just after we did, having come west of Orkney.


38. Second Cruiser Squadron fuelled and completed with ammunition by 1800 on 11th April.









1st – 15th May 1940


1st May


GALATEA and ARETHUSA were returning from Aandalsnes on completion of operations TUNNEL and BRICK 1.


2nd May


GALATEA and ARETHUSA arrived at Scapa at 0200. In accordance with verbal instructions from Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, they sailed for Rosyth at 2100 to boiler clean and carry out repairs to the degaussing gear in ARETHUSA prior to proceeding to Sheerness.


3rd May


They arrived At Rosyth 0815.


The Commander in Chief’s orders were confirmed by A.T. 2325/3 which stated that in view of the German Threat in Holland, GALATEA and ARETHUSA were to be sailed for Sheerness and placed under the orders of the Commander in Chief, the Nore, as soon as convenient and subject to degaussing gear being efficient.


The cleaning of one boiler, which was put in hand on arrival at Rosyth was completed by GALATEA a.m. on 5th May and by ARETHUSA p.m. 6th May, by which time the fitting of temporary degaussing gear was also completed.


7th May


ARETHUSA proceeded at 0545 to carry out D.G. trials and both ships sailed for Sheerness, arriving at 0800/8.


8th May


On arrival they were placed at the following notice for steam – half an hour between 0300 and 0800 daily, otherwise two hours.


9th May


Captain D 19 came by car from Dover to discuss cooperation.


10th May


At 0557 the Admiralty announced that German had invaded Holland and at 0648 Belgium and Luxembourg had also been attacked. GALATEA and ARETHUSA were brought to immediate notice for steam at 0535, reverting to five minutes’ notice at 0635.


They sailed in company with KEITH and BOREAS at 1245 to escort the Dutch gold convoy to Southend. Full reports on this operation, on the abortive attempts on this


11th May


 and the following night to evacuate Princess Julianna and her children and the transport of Generals Van de Vijver and Noothoven Van Good and their staffs from Ymuiden to Sheerness for onward passage to France and Belgium respectively are contained in Second Cruiser Squadron’s No. 156/083/6 of 12th May 1940, and No. 157/083/6 of 12th May 1940.


12th May


GALATEA returned to Sheerness at 1035. Cruisers were ordered by Commander in Chief, Nore, to remain in harbour at half hour’s notice and to sail without further orders if definite news was heard of German surface warships moving towards the Dutch Coast (Commander In Chief, Nore’s 1855/12).


Commander in Chief Nore in his 0951/12 asked Admiralty if strong cruiser reinforcements could be made available if enemy cruisers moved towards Holland. Commander in Chief, Home Fleet replied in his 1037 that MANCHESTER, SHEFFIELD, and YORK were at Rosyth and at his disposal. SHEFFIELD and (…….n.b. page chopped)


13th May


GALATEA and ARETHUSA reverted to one hours’ notice for steam at 1554


14th May


At 1200 cruisers reverted to two hours’ notice for steam and leave was given. At 1521 instructions were received to raise steam for full speed in order to cover the evacuation of the Dutch army, if necessary. They reverted to one hours’ notice at 2000 and to two hours notice at 0834/15.


15th May


The proceedings of the two other ship of my squadron during this period are not known to me in detail.


On 9th May, I received a signal timed 2208/7 from AURORA reporting to Flag Officer Narvik that seven Royal Marines had been killed, one seriously wounded, and six wounded. B turret was out of action, no damage outside turret. From a subsequent report contained in AURORA’s 1250/10 it appears that she was hit by a bomb.


Admiralty Telegram 2115/9 required a cruiser to be available at Rosyth from p.m. 10th May to convey certain Norwegian officials to Tromso and, subsequently, at the discretion of the Commander in Chief Home Fleet to relieve AURORA. It is not known whether any further action was taken on this message.


On 6th May, Commander in Chief informed Flag Officer, Narvik, that BANDIT and BUCCANEER were due to Skjel Fiord on 8th May and requested that PENELOPE might be sailed as soon as practicable with an escort of four destroyers, and CALCUTTA providing A.A. escort. PENELOPE was to endeavour to raise steam on her port inner shaft, trailing the remainder, and proceed to the Clyde if fuel and circumstances permitted.


PENELOPE intended to sail at 2200 on 8th May or early a.m. on 9th May (PENELOPE 1926/7) but this was deferred and she eventually sailed in tow at 2300 on 10th May together with ISIS in tow, SEA VALOUR and LOCHEE, escorted by CAMPBELL and WITCH. ZULU and ESCORT joined the escort at some later date.


At 0600/14 PENELOPE was in position 062 degrees 45 miles North 004-30 degrees West 205 degrees speed 7 knots (Read Admiral (D) 1035/14) and at 1600/15 in position 61-21 degrees North, 05-08 degrees West course 183 degrees 8 knots (Rear Admiral (D) 1515/14).


ACASTA was ordered to relieve ZULU in the escort and CALCUTTA to leave PENELOPE at 2000 on 14th May.









16th – 31st MAY 1940


16th May


At 1025, Commander in Chief, Nore, ordered GALATEA and ARETHUSA to keep steam at half an hours notice. This was followed by his 1220 which directed ships to proceed to Portsmouth arriving at the Nab Tower before 2100. I had no prior notice of this intended move. It was made in anticipation of heavy bombing on the Sheerness Area in retaliation for British bombing in Germany. Ships slipped at 1230, anchored at Spithead at 2030.


2. At 2305 I informed Commander in Chief Nore that I intended GALATEA and ARETHUSA to commence boiler cleaning at 0900/17. Ships would be four hours notice for 20 knots and 8 hours notice for full speed.


17th May


3. At 0938 Commander in Chief Nore requested Commander in Chief Portsmouth to sail GALATEA and ARETHUSA for Portland as convenient on the 17th with boilers in use if it was not practicable to berth them in the harbour. Commander in Chief, Portsmouth, replied that ships were being brought up harbour, and they were berthed alongside at 1700 and 1430 respectively.


18th May


4. GALATEA carried out calibration on the degaussing range at Stokes Bay. The results of this showed that the ship was not safe in less than 20 fathoms owing to the unusual amount of fore and aft permanent magnetism. To overcome this, it was decided to fit F and Q coils in addition to the M coil already fitted and also to carry out deperming.


The VERNON degaussing representative stated that the fitting of the additional coils would probably be completed in about 48 hours. Commander in Chief Nore approved of the work being taken in hand.


At 2359 GALATEA and ARETHUSA came to 2 ½ hours notice for 20 knots and 4 hours for full steam.


20th May


5. At 0015 an aircraft report was received of one enemy battleship and a large number of destroyers in position 53-47 degrees North, 7-15 degrees East steering 270 speed 15 knots.


Commander in Chief Home Fleet ordered RENOWN, SOUTHAMPTON, MANCHESTER, SHEFFIELD, BIRMINGHAM to raise steam for full speed at 0155. I ordered GALATEA and ARETHUSA to raise steam for full speed at 0203. Both ships were ready to proceed by 0415.


It was eventually reported at 0635 that the enemy forces consisted of one heavy ship and only four destroyers and that it seemed likely the heavy ship had proceeded up the Ems.


The Commander in Chief Home Fleet ordered Eighteenth Cruiser Squadron and RENOWN to keep steam at one hour’s notice at 0714 and at 0837 I ordered GALATEA and ARETHUSA to revert to 2 ½ hours notice for 20 knots and 4 hours for full speed.


6. At 2307 I informed Commander in Chief Nore and authorities concerned that I understood that the degaussing coils in GALATEA could not be completed until p.m. 24th May. Coils could however be secured temporarily in place if the ship were ordered to sea after 1200 on 21st. Deperming would be completed by 2359/21.


21st May


7. The Commander in Chief Nore in his 1212/21 ordered GALATEA and ARETHUSA to sail for the Humber not later than a.m. 22nd May. I asked that, if the situation permitted, the sailing might be deferred until 24th May to allow the degaussing of GALATEA being completed before proceeding to the shallow water of the Humber approaches. This was approved by the Commander in Chief Nore in his 2223/21.


22nd May


Admiralty requested Commander in Chief Home Fleet to sail CALCUTTA for Portsmouth to join me and be placed temporarily under the orders of Commander in Chief Nore (Admiralty telegram 1844/22).


23rd May


CALCUTTA was sailed from Rosyth accordingly but, by Commander in Chief Nore’s 1758/23 she was diverted to Harwich.


24th May


I ordered GALATEA to sail at 1445 to calibrate on degaussing range, subsequently anchoring at Spithead prior to sailing with ARETHUSA for Immingham at 2300.


However, at 1258 I was ordered by Commander in Chief Portsmouth to raise steam for full speed forthwith and at 1300 by Admiralty to raise steam with all dispatch.


GALATEA proceeded down harbour at 1450 followed by ARETHUSA.


Orders were received in Admiralty Telegram 1349/24 that the two ships were to proceed towards Dover. They were to be prepared to bombard a battery established on shore westward of Calais.


In Admiralty Telegram 1515, I was informed the target was probably behind a hill south of Sangatte. The approximate position of the battery was ¼ miles south of a large chalk pit, three miles west of the town. The hill could not be seen from seaward. Six Swordfish should then be bombing the target.


On arrival at Spithead I was at first told to anchor, but at 1555 orders were received to proceed in execution of my previous orders.


In my 1637 and 1735 I asked for further information as to the target to be bombarded, the route to be followed from Folkestone gate, and Dover mine barrage, and whether air spotting aircraft would be available.


Further details were contained in Admiralty telegram 1641 received at 1726 and I started promulgate my intentions. Before these were completely transmitted, however, I received Admiralty Telegram 1853 informing me that the situation at (n.b… chopped …….) and at 2040 Vice Admiral Dover’s 1901 that I was not to pass Dungeness until after dark and that the bombardment was cancelled.


12. At 2045 I was ordered by Vice Admiral Dover 2035 to return to Portsmouth, but these orders were cancelled by Admiralty Telegram 2222 which directed me to proceed to Sheerness with my Squadron.


25th May


13. GALATEA and ARETHUSA arrived Sheerness at 0700 and were placed on half an hour’s notice for steam. The Commander in Chief, The Nore, subsequently approved that they should be at two hours notice between 1930 and 0145 and a half an hour’s notice from 0315 to 1930 daily.


26th May


14. At 0133, the Commander in Chief, the Nore, ordered me to detail a cruiser to raise steam and be ready to slip by 0345 to bombard Calais. GALATEA was detailed and slipped at 0430.


Admiralty telegram 0148, received before sailing, confirmed that the object was to bombard enemy batteries that disclosed themselves or enemy positions that could be located. Spotting, reconnaissance and fighter protection were being arranged. The Operation was under the orders of Vice Admiral Dover.


15. GRAFTON was ordered by Vice Admiral, Dover, to escort the GALATEA from the Downs onward.


16. GALATEA arrived off Calais at 0730 and commenced bombardment of the batteries to the westward of the town at 0759. A full report on the bombardment is being rendered by GALATEA. All H.E. was expended by 1003, 197 rounds having been fired. At 1005 the aircraft reported 10 minutes fuel remaining. The aircraft did not appear to be able to spot C.P.B.C. bursts and returned to base for fuel. Visibility was deteriorating and GALATEA returned to Sheerness, arriving there at 1400. GRAFTON was detached to Dover at 1100.


17. At 0900 one of the spotting aircraft had been attacked by two enemy fighters. He put up a very good show and had, I hoped, escaped unscathed. I learnt subsequently to my regret that the observer had fallen out of the aircraft during the attack and been killed.


The result of the bombardment as far as could be ascertained was that two batteries were silenced.


18. At 1025 Vice Admiral Dover signalled that Calais asked for continued artillery support, and at 1108 I informed him that ARETHUSA was at half an hour’s notice for steam if required.


At 1215 ARETHUSA was ordered by Admiralty (…..n.b. page chopped…..)


19. She was ordered by Vice Admiral, Dover, in his 1906 to proceed to Portsmouth on completion of the bombardment. She was subsequently ordered at 2126 to anchor in the Downs for the night and at 1224/27 to proceed to Sheerness, a proposed bombardment of Dunkirk having been cancelled.


20. At 1847 Commander in Chief, the Nore, ordered cruisers and destroyers at Sheerness, Harwich, and the Humber to come to half an hour’s notice, and at 2240 he ordered the following dispositions:


21.        Force A: CODRINGTON, JAVELIN, JAGUAR, GRENADE to be in position 52-00 degrees North, 03-00 degrees East at 0400 and patrol thence to Brown Ridge to act as distant covering force for merchant vessels leaving French ports.


Force B: GALATEA to leave Sheerness at daylight and rendezvous with BLYSKAWICA, GALLANT, and VIVACIOUS, then patrolling between position 51-47N, 01-48-36E and South Falls Buoy.


22. Both forces were to stand by for further calls as required. They were to use high speed or retire as necessary if air attacks became unpleasant. Fighter protection would be available if required.


27th May


23. GALATEA slipped at 0345. She left patrol at 1845 by order of the Commander in Chief, the Nore, arriving Sheerness at 2030.


24. PENELOPE arrived Greenock on 16th May. Her provisional programme was to dock in the Clyde on or about 10th June for temporary repairs to render her sufficiently seaworthy for onward passage. Her final destination was not then settled.


25. On 26th May, Commander in Chief, Home Fleet, ordered AURORA, if fuel permitted to Portsmouth westabout via the Minches to be taken in hand for repairs. She arrived at Portsmouth at 0600 on 29th May.


(n.b. no entries for 28th to 31st May, inclusive)









June 1940



(Thursday, 30th May)


Rear Admiral A.T.B. Curteis assumed command of Second Cruiser Squadron, Flag being hoisted in GALATEA at Sheerness.


ARETHUSA in company



(n.b. apparently no entries for 1st to 3rd June, inclusive)



Tuesday, 4th June


ARETHUSA sailed for Gibraltar at 1603 in accordance with Admiralty Message 1030/4 June.


Wednesday, 5th June


CARDIFF joined flag of Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron at Sheerness in accordance with Admiralty message 1119/4 June.


Saturday, 8th June


CARDIFF sailed in accordance with Admiralty message 1418/8 June.


Friday, 14th June


CARDIFF rejoined flag of Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, at Sheerness in accordance with Admiralty message 1916/13 June.


Sunday, 16th June


GALATEA and IMOGEN sailed for Spithead at 1715 in accordance with Admiralty message 1646/16 June.


GRIFFIN joined off Dover.


Monday, 17th June


GALATEA, IMOGEN, and GRIFFIN anchored at Spithead at 0720.


GALATEA carried out runs over the Stokes Bay degaussing range p.m.


Tuesday, 18th June


GALATEA, IMOGEN, and GRIFFIN sailed for Plymouth at 0315 in accordance with Commander in Chief, Portsmouth 0127/18 June.


Arrived Plymouth and anchored in Sound at 0945.


NOTE: Narrative of events between 19th and 27th June inclusive have been forwarded to Commander in Chief, Western Approaches in C.S. 2 42/021/2 of 6th July.


Wednesday, 19th June


GALATEA sailed for Arcachon at 1715 in accordance with Admiralty Message 1354/19 June.


Thursday, 20th to Friday 21st June


GALATEA patrolled of Arcachon. Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron in communication with H.M. Ambassador to France at Bordeaux.


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron in general charge of evacuation of British refugees and Polish troops from West Coast of France.


Saturday, 22nd June


GALATEA patrolled off Arcachon and steamed to the southward during the night.


Sunday, 23rd June


H.M.C.S. FRASER embarked H.M. Ambassador and staff at 1100 off Arcachon. GALATEA proceeded to St Jean de Luz, anchoring the Bay at 1344.


H.M.C.S. FRASER arrived at 1500 and H.M. Ambassador and staff were transferred to GALATEA.


CALCUTTA arrived at 2100 and Flag of Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron was transferred to her at 2300, GALATEA sailing for Plymouth at 0130/24 June.


Monday, 24th June


CALCUTTA at St Jean de Luz. Embarkation (….n.b. page chopped…..)


Tuesday, 25th June


Evacuation completed and last convoy sailed for United Kingdom by 1530.


CALCUTTA, HIGHLANDER, FRASER, RESTIGOUCHE sailed 1530 to sweep for foreign merchant vessels while proceeding to Plymouth.


HIGHLANDER detached to Bayonne and up the coast at 1630.


FRASER collided with CALCUTTA at 2215, the former being cut in half. The fore part sank, and after survivors had been picked up the after part was sunk.


Wednesday, 26th June


HIGHLANDER rejoined 0430 and formed A/S screen for CALCUTTA.


RESTIGOUCHE sent on to the Plymouth with all despatch with injured survivors from FRASER.


Thursday 27th June


CALCUTTA and HIGHLANDER arrived Plymouth 0945.


Flag of Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron transferred to GALATEA at 1100.


(n.b. no entries for 28th – 30th June, inclusive.)









1st - 15th July 1940


Monday 1st July


GALATEA at Plymouth.


Proceeded up harbour A.M. and landed at catapult at Devonport dockyard.


Proceeded to sea p.m. and carried out 6 inch sub calibre and full calibre firings at target, and 4 inch H.A. full calibre at sleeve target.


Tuesday 2nd July


Received orders for operation “G.S.F.” and preparations made.


NEWCASTLE arrived 2030.


Wednesday 3rd July


0415. Commenced Operation “G.S.F.” taking control of French ships LE TRIOMPHANT and MISTRAL (separate report forwarded – 2nd C.S. 41/02/1 of 5th July, 1940 to Commander in Chief, Western Approaches).


1900. GALATEA slipped and proceeded on passage to Humber, in accordance with Admiralty Message 1356/3rd July.


Thursday 4th July


GALATEA on passage. Arrived Immingham and anchored in A2 berth at 1854.


Friday 5th July


1900. AURORA joined my flag on completion of refit at Portsmouth.


Saturday 6th July


AURORA sailed 1930 to reinforce patrol “U” (Flamborough Head to Sheringham Light Float).


Sunday 7th July


Commander in Chief, Nore’s 1146/7 received, ordering one ship of Second Cruiser Squadron to reinforce patrol “U” each night until further notice.


This was carried out by GALATEA on the nights of 7th, 9th, and 11th, and AURORA on the nights of 8th and 10th.


Thursday 11th July


AURORA attacked by enemy aircraft at 0516 while on patrol. No damage.


Friday 12th July


Reinforcement of patrol “U” by one ship of Second Cruiser Squadron was suspended until further notice, in accordance with Commander in Chief, Nore’s 1130/11th July.


Sunday 14th July


AURORA sailed for Scapa to carry out gunnery practices in accordance with my 2325 and 2326/13th July


(n.b. no entry for 15th July)







H.M.S. GALATEA - 8th August 1940




WAR DIARY – 16th – 31st JULY 1940


Tuesday 17th to Monday 22nd


GALATEA at Immingham.


AURORA at Scapa (Gunnery Practices)

Monday 22nd July


1700. GALATEA left Immingham for Scapa.


AURORA returned to Immingham from Scapa


Tuesday 23rd July


GALATEA arrived Scapa 1430


Wednesday 24th July


GALATEA carried out 6 inch sub calibre practices A.M.


Thursday 25th July


GALATEA carried out 6 inch full calibre firing A.M.


6 inch sub calibre firing P.M.


Friday 26th July


GALATEA carried out 6 inch full calibre firing A.M.


4 inch H.A. full calibre firing P.M.


On completion, GALATEA sailed for Humber.


Saturday 27th July


GALATEA arrived Immingham.







H.M.S. GALATEA - 1st September 1940








Thursday 1st August


GALATEA (C.S. 2) and AURORA at Immingham.


CARDIFF at Harwich.


Monday 26th August


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, in GALATEA with CARDIFF left Scapa at 0130 for Humber in accordance with Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 2345/25 and arrived Immingham 2000.


Wednesday 28th August


CARDIFF taken in hand for repairs to D.G. Circuit by Humber Graving Dock Co.


Friday 30th August


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, in GALATEA with AURORA proceed to sea at 0930 for exercises off the Humber, returning to Immingham at 1700.





During August 1940, the effective strength of the Second Cruiser Squadron consisted of:


GALATEA (Flag of Rear Admiral)




2. GALATEA and AURORA were based at Immingham and CARDIFF at Harwich.


3. It was considered that cruisers of the Nore Command were getting insufficient sea time and gunnery practices (Commander in Chief, Nore’s 2050/6 and 1108/7).


4. Arrangements were accordingly made to sail ships singly for a week’s practices at Scapa.


AURORA left on 9th August and was able to carry out 6 days exercises, followed by a period of 5 days at Rosyth, during which period 2 boilers were cleaned.


5. GALATEA left on 20th August, and CARDIFF, on 23rd August, left Humber for Scapa, but were able to remain there only for 4 days and 36 hours, respectively, being then sailed with despatch to return to Humber.











WAR DIARY 1st – 15th SEPTEMBER 1940




Sunday 1st September


GALATEA and AURORA proceeded to sea at 0130 in accordance with Commander in Chief, Nore’s 2325/31 August, and steamed down swept channel.


WINCHESTER joined at 0500 and CARDIFF, who had been delayed by unlocking at 0530.


The Squadron returned to Immingham in accordance with Commander in Chief, Nore’s 0207/1 September.


A mine exploded at 0736, about 100 yards on GALATEA’s port bow and some damage was caused to the ship. The occurrence was reported to Commander in Chief, Nore, in 2nd C.S. 147/021/1 of 5th September 1940.


Tuesday, 3rd September


GALATEA entered dock for repairs by the Humber Graving Dock Company and exchange of heightfinder.


Thursday 5th September


GALATEA undocked at 1800, and at 2130 the Second Cruiser Squadron sailed for Sheerness in accordance with Commander In Chief, Nore’s 1050/5 and my 1703/5, being joined by VENOMOUS and WILD SWAN off the Humber Light Vessel.


Friday 6th September


The Second Cruiser Squadron arrived at Sheerness at 0845, destroyers having been detached to Harwich.


Saturday 7th September


CARDIFF left the flag of Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, and sailed for Portsmouth at 1830, escorted by FERNIE and BERKELEY.


Sunday 8th September


The Second Cruiser Squadron the Twenty First Destroyer Flotilla, carried out operations off Calais and Boulogne in accordance with Admiralty message 1210/5 September.


The report has been forwarded to the Commander in Chief, Nore, in 2nd C.S. 083/2 of 9th September 1940 and 2nd C.S. 082/2 of 11th September 1940.


Monday 9th September


The Second Cruiser Squadron returned to Sheerness at 0700. A mine exploded close to GALATEA’s starboard side at 0525 in the vicinity of the East Tongue Buoy and some damage was again caused. The occurrence was reported to Commander In Chief, Nore, in 2nd C.S. 162/021/1 of 12th September 1940.





From 1st to 7th September, the Second Cruiser Squadron consisted of GALATEA (Flag), AURORA, and CARDIFF.


CARDIFF was transferred to the command of Commander in Chief, Portsmouth, on 7th September.


2. The Squadron moved from Immingham to Sheerness on 5th September, and has experienced air raids several times daily since arrival. The majority of these raids have been attempts to London and have passed and returned via the Sheerness area.


On one occasion a stick of bombs was aimed at GALATEA by a single enemy raider, and both ships of the squadron have opened fire with 4 inch and close range weapons on several occasions.


3. It has been the practice to shift berth to anchor berth off Southend after dark on clear nights, with the object of avoiding air attack. On these occasions, both ships return to buoys at Sheerness at 0700 the next morning.







H.M.S. ARETHUSA - 2ND November 1940








16th September – 9th October


Nothing to report.


Thursday, 10th October


Flag of Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, transferred from GALATEA to ARETHUSA.


ARETHUSA sailed for Scapa for gunnery practices.


Wednesday, 23rd October


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, in ARETHUSA with NORFOLK and SOUTHAMPTON left Scapa 1440 in accordance with Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s signal 1249/23 proceeding towards Stadlandet.


Thursday, 24th October


Returned to Scapa 1800


Saturday, 26th October


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, left Scapa in ARETHUSA for Rosyth.


Sunday, 27th October


ARETHUSA in collision with merchant ship in EN.12 Convoy at 0323 in position 58-03 degrees North , 02-17 degrees West.


ARETHUSA proceeded to Rosyth arriving 1200.


Tuesday, 29th October


ARETHUSA left Rosyth for Tyne and was taken in hand for repairs to stem by Smith’s Dock Co., North Shields








On Wednesday, 23rd October, while ARETHUSA was exercising at Scapa, intelligence was received of the possibility of a movement of enemy surface forces from Northern Norway to the Skagerrak.


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, was ordered to take NORFOLK and SOUTHAMPTON (Group One) under his orders and proceed towards Stadlandet (Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s Signal 1249/23).


2. Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteenth Cruiser Squadron was carrying out a sweep off the Norwegian coast (in the vicinity of Egero) with NAIAD and BONAVENTURE, and Captain (D) Sixth Destroyer Flotilla another sweep in the vicinity of Stadlandet.


3. Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, was to be in support of Captain (D) Sixth Destroyer Flotilla, and Vice Admiral Commanding, Battle Cruiser Squadron with HOOD, REPULSE, DIDO, PHOEBE, and a destroyer screen in support of Rear Admiral Commanding, Fifteen Cruiser Squadron.


4. Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron, with Group One, left Scapa at 1440 and proceeded, making good 26 knots, for a position 30 miles off Stadlandet.


5. On reaching the latitude of 62 degrees North, at 0240/24 course was altered to 265 degrees in accordance with previous instructions to this effect if nothing had been sighted by then.


6. Contact was made with Captain (D) Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at daylight on 24th and all forces returned to their bases, Group One arriving at Scapa at 1800.


7. At 0325/27th October, while on passage from Scapa to Rosyth, ARETHUSA collided with an unknown merchant ship in the EN.12 Convoy, some 23 miles 344 degrees from Kinnaird Head. The merchant ship proceeded on her way and ARETHUSA with slight damage to her stem proceeded to Rosyth.


The merchant ship concerned later to have been the S.S. FLAMINIAN, Ellerman Lines, Ltd.


8. On Tuesday, 27th, ARETHUSA proceed to the Tyne and was taken in hand for repairs by Smith’s Dock, Co., North Shields.







H.M.S. ARETHUSA - 12TH January 1941








Saturday, 23rd Nov.


AURORA left Scapa as escort for minelayers in Operation S.N. 11.


Friday, 29th Nov.


AURORA returned to Scapa


Tuesday, 3rd Dec. and Wednesday 4th Dec.


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron in ARETHUSA with AURORA carried out Operation D.N.


A report of this operation was forwarded in Second Cruiser Squadron’s No. 178/249/021/1 of 4th December 1040 to Commander in Chief, Home Fleet.


Thursday, 5th December


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron sailed from Scapa in ARETHUSA as ocean escort for minelayers in Operation S.N. 10A


Sunday, 8th December


Operation S.N. 10 A completed


Tuesday, 10th December


Rear Admiral Commanding, Second Cruiser Squadron in ARETHUSA arrived Scapa.






H.M.S. ARETHUSA - 12TH January 1941








Tuesday, 24th December


AURORA left Scapa and arrived Oban in accordance with Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 0001/24/12/40 and Admiralty’s 0749/24/12/40


Thursday, 26th December


AURORA left Oban and arrived Scapa in accordance with Admiralty’s 2157/25/12/40 and Commander in Chief, Home Fleet’s 2356/26/12/40



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