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HOME FLEET SUBMARINES - March-September 1940, including Norwegian Campaign


Transcribed by Don Kindell

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ADM 373/373
Home Fleet Submarines March 1940


1st    THISTLE carried out independent and A/S exercises for new Commanding Officer in Firth of Forth

2nd    TRIAD undocked at Rosyth   
    V.A.S. visited Admiralty

3rd    URSULA arrived at Blyth from patrol
    TRUANT arrived Blyth from patrol
    NARWHAL sailed from Rosyth with ON. 16 for Scapa, to carry out special trials.
    V.A.S. visited Harwich and Admiralty

4th    Degaussing of submarines of 2nd Flotilla commenced
    TRIAD carried out special trials off Inchkeith.
    V.A.S.  visited Fort Blockhouse.

5th    V.A.S. returned to Aberdour
    TRITON arrived at Rosyth from patrol
    THISTLE and ORZEL left Rosyth for patrol in vicinity of Devil’s Hole and C.1, respectively.
    NARWHAL delayed arrival at Scapa owing to gale delaying convoy.
    TRUANT docked at Rosyth for reballasting

6th    STERLET arrived at Lowestoft for reballasting
    NARWHAL arrived Scapa
    UNITY reported ALTMARK left Josing fjord escorted by two Norwegian destroyers
    UNITY to patrol off Hantsholm
    ORZEL to E.1

7th    TRIDENT arrived Rosyth from patrol with damaged dome.  Docked p.m.
    SEAL undocked  at Rosyth
    SNAPPER arrived Harwich from patrol.
    URSULA docked at Blyth to make good leaking glands
    TRUANT undocked at Rosyth
    TRITON docked at Rosyth for reballasting
    SEAWOLF left Portsmouth under escort for Harwich
    SALMON left Harwich for patrol in H.2 (FF5)
    L 23 undocked at Blyth
    Three darkened destroyers sighted by UNITY 2 miles west of Hantsholm at 2200.  Attack not possible

8th    SEAWOLF arrived at Harwich
    URSULA undocked at Blyth
    SEALION into Zone B

9th    SEAWOLF sailed from Harwich for special patrol in vicinity of Outer Dowsing Light Vessel
    TRITON undocked at Rosyth

10th    SUNFISH left Lowestoft for Harwich  and arrived
    THISTLE arrived Rosyth from patrol
    STERLET’s undocking delayed

11th    UNITY arrived at Blyth from patrol
    STERLET left Lowestoft for Harwich and arrived.
    TRIBUNE full power trial proved unsatisfactory
    TRIDENT undocked at Rosyth
    L 23 left Blyth for patrol in A.2 (FF5)
    TRIBUNE docked at Blyth

12th    NARWHAL and SWORDFISH sailed under escort for Rosyth and Blyth, respectively
    PORPOISE sailed from Portsmouth escorted and in convoy to Rosyth
    SEALION in contact with two large trawlers in Zone B
    TRITON, TRUANT, and SEAL from Rosyth and URSULA from Blyth sailed for patrol positions for special operation.
    SUNFISH sailed from Harwich for A.3
    Bombing restrictions asked for for (sic) 13th for cover submarines from Rosyth and Blyth.

13th    TRIAD, THISTLE, and TRIDENT sailed for patrol positions for special operation
    SPEARFISH left Newcastle for diving trials and Blyth and arrived.
    NARWHAL arrived at Rosyth, sailed later for special patrol position
    L 23 moved from A.2 to new position for special operation
    SWORDFISH arrived Blyth
    TRIBUNE undocked at Rosyth
 14th    SEAWOLF arrived at Harwich from patrol.
    WILK undocked at Dundee
    STERLET and SNAPPER left Harwich for A.3 and A.5 (FF5), respectively
 15th    Admiralty ordered submarines to assume normal patrols.
    L 23 ordered to A.2 (FF5)
    STERLET and SALMON ordered to return to Harwich
    PORPOISE, TRIDENT, and ORZEL to Rosyth direct.
    NARWHAL and TRITON after 24 hours
    SEALION arrived Harwich
    SPEARFISH left Blyth for Scapa for working up and A/S exercises
    CLYDE left Portsmouth escorted for Blyth

16th    PORPOISE arrived at Rosyth from Portsmouth
    SALMON and STERLET arrived at Harwich from patrol
    SEAL and THISTLE ordered to exercise contraband control in Skagerrak

17th    ORZEL and TRIDENT arrived at Rosyth from patrol.
    SUNFISH in Zone B (FF5) sighted two large trawlers unescorted and kept clear at periscope depth.

18th    TRITON and NARWHAL arrived at Rosyth from patrol
    CLYDE arrived at Blyth

19th    SALMON left Harwich from (sic:  for) Chatham to refit
    STERLET left Harwich for patrol in A.3 (FF5)
    PORPOISE left Rosyth with OHN.21
    NARWHAL docked at Rosyth for repairs to muffler valves
    V.A.S. visited Blyth
    Operation DU postponed 24 hours.

20th    V.A.S. visited Admiralty
    Operation DU postponed a further 24 hours
    SEAL, THISTLE, TRIAD moved patrol dispositions for operation
    SUNFISH in Zone B (FF5) sighted ship possibly BREMSE after dark unlighted.  Attack impossible.  Dived

21st    CLYDE left Blyth for Scapa proceeding unescorted outside barrier
    URSULA sank German merchant ship HEDDERHEIM east of Skaw.  Crew safe.  URSULA proceeded out of Zone C.5 (FF5). Damaged by ice, but able to dive.

22nd    SNAPPER and SUNFISH ordered to operate against merchant shipping proceeding to and from Rotterdam northwards.
    SEAWOLF left Harwich for patrol in H.2 (FF5)
    SWORDFISH left Blyth for patrol in A.1 (FF5)
    SEAL ordered to operate off Arendal for JOHANN BLUMENTHAL
    French submarine depot ship JULES VERNE and submarines SYBILLE, ANTIOPE, and AMAZONE arrived at Harwich

23rd    CLYDE arrived at Scapa
    SUNFISH and SNAPPER arrived at Harwich from patrol.’
    SWORDFISH ordered to North of J (FF5)
    TRUANT sank S.S. EDMUND HUGO STINNES and captured the Master.

24th    UNITY left Blyth for patrol North of J (FF5)
    Report received of sinking of EDMUND HUGO STINNES by British submarine; confirmed later that submarine was TRUANT.  Ship sunk off Nissum Fjord
    L 23 returned to Blyth from A.2 (FF5)

25th    THISTLE and SEAL arrived at Rosyth from patrol
    URSULA and L 23 arrived at Blyth
    TRIBUNE left Rosyth for Scapa under escort then on to Clyde.
    TRIDENT left Rosyth for patrol in Zone C (FF5)
    UNITY rescued the survivors of the Dutch trawler PROTINUS

26th    URSULA docked at Blyth for repair after patrol
    TRUANT arrived at Rosyth with Captain of EDMUND HUGO STINNES
    UNITY ordered to leave patrol to land Dutch seamen picked up

27th    PORPOISE left Rosyth with OHN.23
    STERLET and SEAWOLF ordered to Zone B (FF5) after report of two K class cruisers being at sea
    V.A.S. took over operational control at Northways

28th    TRIAD arrived at Rosyth from patrol
    UNITY delayed arriving owing to weather
    NARWHAL undocked at Rosyth
    TRIBUNE left Scapa escorted for Clyde

29th    L 23 sailed unescorted outside barrier for Southend and on to Portsmouth
    Sailing of SEALION for patrol cancelled
    TRITON left Rosyth for patrol in C.5 (FF5)
    UNITY arrived Rosyth and landed Dutch seaman picked up from fishing vessel PROTINUS.  Ordered to proceed to Blyth and not to patrol.
    ORZEL docked at Rosyth
    V.A.S. attended conference at Admiralty on dispositions

30th    UNITY arrived at Blyth
    NARWHAL left Rosyth for dummy lay and then to Blyth
    SPEARFISH sailed from Scapa for Blyth

31st    STERLET and SEAWOLF arrived Harwich from patrol
    NARWHAL arrested POLAR PRINCE trawler in East Coast mine barrier and escorted her to Methil.  Thence proceeded as previously ordered to Blyth
    LA SYBILLE sailed from Harwich for H.2
    L 23 sailed for Portsmouth to join 5th Flotilla.



From….Vice Admiral (Submarines)
    Northways, London, N.W. 3

Date:      12th June 1940  No. 598/SM.1004

In continuation of my submission No. 188/SM.1004 of 26th April, be pleased to lay before Their Lordships the attached War Diary of Submarines covering the period 1st April to 31st May 1940

                                    (signed) Max Horton
                                    Vice Admiral 


1st April
Arrivals:    Blyth, NARWHAL    Harwich, SHARK from refit

Departures:    Southend, L 23 for Portsmouth in convoy
        SEALION for E.1
V.A.S. held a conference with Captains (S) Home Fleet, and explained that the projected British minelaying off the Norwegian coast was likely to bring immediate enemy counter actions and possibly the invasion of Norway.  He therefore intended that every available submarine should by daylight 5th April be at sea covering the exits to the Kattegat and east of the German declared area, as well as likely points of attack on the Norwegian coast.

Later this date was postponed  till the 8th.  The initial dispositions were as follows:
TRITON off Skaw, TRIDENT off Arendal, ORZEL off Lillesand, SUNFISH north of J, UNITY and SEALION E.2 and E.1, SWORDFISH off the N.W. point of Denmark.

And were augmented by sailings as shown in the next few days.  All these submarines were given as their object to attack and then report enemy warships and transports

2nd April

Arrivals:    Blyth, SPEARFISH from Scapa.  Portsmouth, L 23

Departures:    Blyth, UNITY for E.2.  Harwich, SUNFISH for J.  Immingham, NARWHAL for lay in Heligoland Bight (F.D. 1).  Portsmouth, TAKU for Loch Long for trials.   

SUNFISH and UNITY were sailed in accordance with V.A.S. Norwegian dispositions and SWORDFISH, TRIDENT, and TRITON were moved to positions off N.W. coast of Denmark, off Arendal, and off the Skaw respectively

3rd April

Departures:    Rosyth, ORZEL for Lillesand

4th April

Departures:    Harwich,  ANTIOPE and AMAZONE for M.2 and A.5.  SNAPPER for E.1

V.A.S. amended the Norwegian dispositions as follows:  ORZEL to Kristiansand South. TRIDENT off Laurvik (as given; Larvik and in all subsequent entries).  SEAL north of J.  SEALION to Kattegat.  SUNFISH east of Skaw.  SNAPPER E.1; and informed submarines that if transports and warships were encountered, it was most important to attack the transports.

NARWHAL carried out lay F.D. 1 in the Heligoland Bight.

5th April

Departures:    Blyth, SPEARFISH for N of E.1 to relieve SWORDFISH.  Portsmouth, SEVERN and TARPON in convoy for Rosyth, but ready to proceed on patrol from passage.  Rosyth, THISTLE for Scapa in convoy.

Arrivals:    Harwich, LA SYBILLE

Intelligence was received that German merchant ships going to Norway were using Skagerrak and Kattegat

6th April

Departures:    0300, URSULA for north of A.1, STERLET for North of A.1

Arrivals:    Blyth, SWORDFISH

V.A.S. was ordered to report to Admiralty during the forenoon to discuss submarine Dispositions (corrected in ink from departures).  The general disposition of Submarines was discussed and confirmed except that V.A.S. was instructed to withdraw submarines from off the Norwegian ports and use them to augment patrols between S.W. Norway and Zone J with the object of intercepting German naval forces on their return to their bases.

Before V.A.S. had time to put these instructions into force, a report was received from O.I.C. by telephone that reports from Oslo stated a German ship had been sunk East of Kristiansand and that German soldiers were being rescued by local small craft.  It was at once realized that ORZEL had sunk a German transport and in consequence, after consulting Admiralty, the original disposition remained unaltered.

Reports were received of German heavy forces in the Great Belt moving north and a large  concentration of ships of all kinds in the Sound northbound.

SEAL, ORZEL, and TRUANT were ordered with utmost dispatch to patrol in the Western Skagerrak on parallel of 57 degrees 50 minutes North.  After taking up these positions, TRUANT and SEAL both reported the H.E. of ships passing them in thick fog steering west and it was obvious that these were enemy forces.  CLYDE was ordered to patrol of Jaederens, THISTLE off Utsire, TARPON N. of J and SEALION off the north entrance to the Sound.  Orders were given to sail STERLET with dispatch to the northward of A.1

At 1800, TRITON north of the Skaw carried out an unsuccessful attack on GNEISENAU, who with 2 cruisers and destroyers were steering west.  Shortly after, SUNFISH sighted one heavy cruiser, 2 cruisers, and destroyers east of Skaw steering N.W.
V.A.S. informed Submarines on patrol of the policy of our surface forces and moved SPEARFISH close W. of the Skaw.

By Admiralty orders THISTLE and CLYDE were moved 42 miles S.S.W. and 16 miles S.W. respectively from their positions off Utsire and Jaederens to place them in the possible path of German heavy forces should they proceed up the west coast of Norway.  This move was unlucky since enemy transports entered Stavanger during the night.

URSULA was moved further east and TRIDENT and ORZEL were ordered to cover the S.E. and S.W. Approaches to Laurvik, respectively, and STERLET was ordered to sail for the N.W. of A.1.  TRIDENT’s movement was unfortunate as events turned out as it uncovered the entrance to Oslo Fjord, but at the time it was not thought that enemy would attempt to face Oslo’s strong defenses but would prefer in the first instance to land at Laurvik which has a good railway, good landing facilities and no defences.

9th April

Departure:    Harwich, LA SYBILLE for A.3

At 0600, the disposition of Submarines was as follows:

THISTLE  S.W. of Stavanger
CLYDE  S.W. of Egersund
SEAL  S. of Lister
TRUANT off the Naze
ORZEL off Laurvik
TRIDENT  Oslo Fjord.  TRIDENT had been ordered into Oslo Fjord to attack warships reported entering 0447.
SPEARFISH, SUNFISH, TRITON between Skaw and Sweden
SEALION Kattegat
TRIAD and STERLET proceeding to Skagerrak and N. of A.1

THISTLE had been ordered to return to Stavanger by V.A.S. and TRUANT was moved to the Skaw Oslo line.  CLYDE, THISTLE, and SEAL were ordered to close the coast and sink any German ship sighted.

Cabinet decision approved that German merchantmen encountered in the Kattegat and Skagerrak east of 08 degrees and E. of German declared area should be treated as transports and sunk without warning, and Submarines were informed according.  V.A.S. instructed submarines that attack at night in these areas should be made by H.E. if targets could not be seen.  This latter was made as the result of TRUANT’s and SEAL’s encounters in fog on 8th.

Admiralty ruled that NARWHAL should be used for minelaying in the Kattegat.  She was ordered to sail for Immingham as soon as possible.

THISTLE was ordered to dive into Stavanger at her discretion.  She later reported having unsuccessfully attacked a U boat off Skudesnes Fjord and her intention of carrying out these orders tomorrow, with 2 warheads remaining.  This news was received on 10th April and V.A.S. ordered her to patrol the entrance to Skudesnes Fjord.

Submarines were told not to hesitate to break W/T silence to report sightings of enemy ships.

The following movements were ordered.

TRIDENT and TRITON report situation, then to Swedish coast route.
TRUANT to Oslo Fjord.
TRIAD to Swedish Coast route.
TARPON to N. of E.1
SEAL to N. of J
CLYDE to Lister
UNITY to N.W. Point of Denmark.
SNAPPER to Kristiansand S.
SWORDFISH who returned from patrol on 8th was brought to 4 hours’ notice
UNITY in E.2 reported she had been depth charged by a German merchant ship

10th April

Departures:  Portsmouth, CACHALOT for Blyth
    Immingham, NARWHAL for F.D. 5 south of Skaw

TRUANT reported that she attacked and sunk a German cruiser south of Kristiansand (later found to have been the KARLSRUHE) and had been damaged in subsequent depth charge attack.  She was ordered to return to Rosyth and TRIAD to Oslo Fjord.

Aircraft had reported either the NURNBERG or the SCHARNHORST at Kristiansand.  SEVERN, CLYDE, and SNAPPER were ordered to Kristiansand approaches and it was V.A.S.’ intention to order SNAPPER to dive in to Kristiansand Fjord.  After careful examination of the photographs, V.A.S. decided that the ship in there was smaller than a cruiser and not a sufficiently valuable target.  CLYDE was ordered to return to the Lister and SNAPPER to the northern Kattegat.

V.A.S. ordered the following movements:  THISTLE to return to Rosyth as she had only two war heads remaining; SEAL to patrol the entrance to Skudesnes Fjord; TARPON to the North of J; STERLET to the Swedish coast near Hallo;  SHARK and SEAWOLF from the Heligoland Bight to the north of E.1; and made the following signal to Submarines on patrol:  “I am confident everyone of you appreciates the great issues at stake and that no possible opportunities of inflicting damage to the enemy will be let slip.”

11th April

Departures:    Greenock, TAKU for Egersund to relieve CLYDE (later diverted to Molde)

On receipt of a report that troops were being landed at Egersund, CLYDE was ordered to patrol off the entrance.

SUNFISH reported having sunk two northbound merchant ships, TRITON reported that she had secured four hits on a convoy and expended all her torpedoes, and SEALION sank the AUGUST LEONHARDT

SPEARFISH reported attacking the ADMIRAL SCHEER (pen insertion:  LUTZOW) near the Skaw south bound, and that he hit with at least one torpedo.

The following movements were ordered:

TRITON and TRIDENT to return to Rosyth
NARWHAL N. of J proceeding to lay mines inside the Skaw
ORZEL to the Swedish Coast route
SHARK to the vicinity of the Skaw
SEAWOLF to the western Skagerrak entrance
SYBILLE to E.3.   TARPON to the N. of E.1

Following a cabinet decision, the following signal was made to submarines “Any ships, merchant or otherwise, anywhere within 10 miles of the Norwegian coast south of latitude 61 degrees N and anywhere east of 06 degrees E, as far south as 54 degrees N are to be attacked at sight.  Ships at anchor may be attacked if identified as enemy.  Own aircraft operating under similar orders may attack tonight Thursday.”  (V.A.S. 1956/11)

Admiralty made to Submarines on patrol “You are all doing magnificent work”.

12th April

Arrivals:    Harwich – AMAZONE and ANTIOPE
        Rosyth – TRUANT
        Blyth – CACHALOT

Departures:    Harwich – ANTIOPE for B

Various reports of German heavy forces at sea to the westward of the Naze were received.  These were summarized at 0913 as follows:  One battle cruiser, one pocket battleship and one cruiser MBND 2000 (30 miles N. of J) course 140 18 knots.  0900 V.A.S. made the following dispositions:

SEVERN and TRIDENT to intercept in a latitude 57 degrees, 50 minutes North.  SPEARFISH, SUNFISH, and SNAPPER, the three submarines grouped round the Skaw, were to proceed towards the Skaw.  SHARK to remain in E.1

These dispositions covered the enemy forces on the line from the Naze to the Skaw, the entrance to the Kattegat, or to the northward of the German declared minefield, putting 6 submarines in his path via the Skaw and 4 or 5 via Heligoland.  Later V.A.S. considered that the enemy if proceeding up the Skagerrak might double back at dusk towards Heligoland and TARPON, SHARK, and SEAWOLF were ordered to proceed as necessary to intercept the enemy should he do this.

CACHALOT was ordered to leave Blyth for Immingham the following day and embark mines, then to proceed to a position off the Skaw.

Nothing had been heard of THISTLE during the day and some anxiety for her safety was felt.

It was decided to base the “Redoubtable” class submarines on Dundee after they had carried out one patrol working from Harwich.

On aircraft reports of a battleship in Molde, TAKU was diverted there, but told not to enter the Fjord until the enemy ship was confirmed.

SNAPPER reported that she had sunk the tanker MOONSUND off the Skaw, and STERLET reported an unsuccessful attack on a convoy west of the Skaw.

SNAPPER, SEALION, SUNFISH, and SPEARFISH were grouped between the Skaw and the Swedish coast.

As no further reports had  been received of German heavy forces, TRIDENT was ordered to Rosyth and SEVERN to return to Kristiansand.

13th April

Departures:    Rosyth, PORPOISE to relieve CLYDE off Egersund
        Blyth:  CACHALOT for Immingham
        Portsmouth, TETRARCH for Rosyth

In view of aircraft reports of cruisers in Kristiansand, SHARK was sent to support SEVERN off the entrance.  Later SEVERN reported two “Wolf” class destroyers leaving Kristiansand and it was obvious that these were the alleged cruisers.

SEAL reported that he had dived into Stavanger, but had found no targets.

CACHALOT reported that she had been in collision with an Italian merchant ship and was ordered to proceed to the Tyne.

SEALION was ordered to return to Harwich and SEAWOLF moved to C.4

As presence of battleship was not confirmed at Molde, TAKU was ordered to Trondheim approaches.

14th April

Arrivals:   Tyne, CACHALOT.  Harwich, DORIS, CIRCE, and ORPHEE from Brest.  Rosyth, TRITON

THISTLE was reported as being 36 hours overdue and must be considered lost.  It was later considered probable that she had been torpedoed by a U boat.

Temporary zones C.6 to 12, numbered south to north were established in the Skagerrak; each zone 10 miles wide in a north south direction bounded on the east by the Swedish coast and on the west by 9 degrees 30 minutes E;  northern limit of C.12 58 degrees 60 minutes N; southern limit of C.6 57 degrees, 40 minutes N; zone C.13 N of C 12.

TETRARCH was ordered to leave convoy off Flamborough Head and proceed to Lister Light, and ORZEL to the Swedish coast N. of Skaw.

It was decided that SEAL would act as a navigational mark for bombarding ships off Skudesnes (Operation DUCK)

15th April

SUNFISH reported having sunk 4 merchant ships and SNAPPER having obtained a possible 4 hits on a convoy.  SPEARFISH vacated his zone off the Skaw which was untenable through A/S activity.

TRIDENT returning to Rosyth was bombed by friendly aircraft while in the sanctuary.

TAKU was ordered to proceed south to Utsire as it was decided that our submarines should not operate N. of Bergen to keep clear of our surface forces.

SPEARFISH, SNAPPER, ORZEL were ordered to return to harbour.

16th April

Departures:    Harwich, AMAZONE for H.2
        Blyth, SWORDFISH for C.6

Arrivals:    Blythe, CLYDE.  Rosyth, TRIDENT

ORZEL returning to harbour, reported that she had sunk the German transport RIO DE JANEIRO on the 8th April.  TAKU was told to report his estimated position at 0600/17 which was passed to Ships and Authorities in area A.

17th April

        Harwich, CASBIANCA, PASTEUR, SFAX, ACHILLE from Brest

TAKU, who had been operating off Trondheim, was proceeding to the southward to keep clear of our surface forces.  He reported that he carried out an unsuccessful attack on ASHANTI.  It transpired that TAKU, although being warned of the expected presence of German destroyers had not been told of the presence of our own forces.  The attack was carried out just before dawn and TAKU was depth charges by ASHANTI, but no damage was done.  He surfaced immediately and established his identity.

TRIAD reported that he considered the intense enemy A/S activity at present precluded success in C.12 and C.13.  He was ordered to patrol off Arendal.

NARWHAL reported F.D. 5 had been laid inside the Skaw on the 13th, and that she had carried out an unsuccessful attack on a convoy.
In C in C’s absence at sea, Admiralty ordered a destroyer sweep in the western Skagerrak.  V.A.S. pointed out to R.A.D. that the enemy A/S craft were in the eastern Skagerrak.  The sweep was ultimately cancelled.

TAKU’s patrol position was shifted 70 miles west of Haugesund, to bring him clear of the patrol positions of the German submarines of which intelligence had been received from papers taken in U 49.

Operation DUCK was carried out by SEAL and SUFFOLK, the former being ordered to return to harbour, and PORPOISE moved to Skudesnes in her place.  URSULA was ordered to return to harbour.

18th April

Arrivals:    Rosyth, ORZEL.  Harwich, SEALION, SYBILLE

Departures:    Harwich, CASABIANCA to Karmsund, SFAX for Egersund, ACHILLE for Jaederens

The submarine base at Dundee was commissioned as H.M.S. AMBROSE with Commander J.G. Roper in command of the Ninth Flotilla.
C in C Home Fleet made the following signal to V.A.S. “Well done.  We on the surface are very proud of our comrades who fight under the surface” to which V.A.S. made a suitable reply.

Admiralty informed V.A.S. that submarines could operate at their discretion in Swedish territorial waters.  Submarines already had this instruction to this effect and this was really a confirmation of these instructions.

TAKU was ordered to return to harbour.

19th April

        Rosyth, SEAL

Departures:    Harwich, DORIS and ORPHEE for N. of J.

The First Sea Lord sent the following message to V.A.S. through the Naval Secretary:  “The First Sea Lord has asked me to send you the following message: ‘Please convey to all ranks and ratings engaged in these brilliant and fruitful submarine operations, the admiration and regard with which their fellow countrymen follow their exploits’”.

This signal was passed to submarines on patrol and V.A.S. made a suitable reply to the First Lord.

It was reported that PASTEUR had been damaged while maneuvering at Harwich, and was unable to dive.  Her sailing for patrol was therefore cancelled.

20th April

Arrivals:    Blyth, URSULA, SEAL.  Rosyth, TAKU

Departures:    Rosyth, SEAL.  Harwich, CIRCE for A.3

TRIAD reported that she was leaving her patrol, having fired all of her torpedoes, sinking a merchant ship on the 11th and securing hits on a convoy on 20th

TARPON  was ordered to proceed to Rosyth.  Nothing had been heard from her since she sailed on patrol, and it subsequently transpired that she was never heard of again.

SWORDFISH reported an unsuccessful attack on a convoy in Bohus Bay.

21st April

Arrivals:    Rosyth, SEVERN from Kristiansand

SHARK reported an unsuccessful attack on a convoy west of the Skaw.  She and SEAWOLF were ordered to return to harbour.

CIRCE reported she was returning to Harwich with her after planes out of action.

22nd April

Arrivals:    Harwich, CIRCE

Departures:    Rosyth, TRITON and TRIDENT for C.6 and 7 and C.8 and 9, respectively

ORPHEE and DORIS reported that they were returning to Harwich with defects.

As a result of an enemy report SFAX was moved to Jaederens Buoy, ACHILLE to the southern entrance of Karmsund, and CASABIANCA to the entrance of Bjorne Fjord.

A sweep by French destroyers was carried out in the Skagerrak with the object of attacking enemy A/S vessels.  Owing to the shortage of destroyers and lack of aircraft support, this was the only time that offensive action was taken against A/S craft during the whole period when out submarines were operating in the Skagerrak.  The sweep was only partially successful as the French destroyers did not proceed to the east of meridian 10 degrees East.

23rd April

Arrivals:    TRIAD

TARPON was now overdue at Rosyth and considerable anxiety was felt for her safety.  STERLET was by this time also overdue and further anxiety was felt, especially when N.I.D. Admiralty reported that a German broadcast from Munich claimed two British submarines had been destroyed in the Skagerrak and Kattegat

SWORDFISH and TETRARCH were ordered to Arendal and Lillesand, respectively, and PORPOSE to Lister.  TRITON and TRIDENT were ordered to positions between Lister and J instead of Bohus Bay

24th April

Departures:    Blyth, NARWHAL for Immingham; CLYDE for N. of J.
        Harwich, PASTEUR, THETIS and CALYPSO
        Rosyth, SEVERN for Dundee, arriving same day; TRUANT for Operation KNIFE

Arrivals:    Harwich, ORPHEE
V.A.S. made a signal to ORPHEE congratulating her on her success in torpedoing a U Boat N. of J.

TETRARCH reported that she had been compelled to remain deep for 43 hours, while over 100 depth charges were dropped.  It was subsequently learned that she was severely counter attacked after an unsuccessful attack on a convoy in the evening.  During the night, the Commanding Officer realized that it was essential to freshen the air if the crew was going to survive being hunted in the night and during the next day.  Although two A/S trawlers were in contact, TETRARCH surfaced, ran his engines for three minutes, fired two torpedoes at the trawlers, and dived again when they were endeavouring to ram him with, to use the Commanding Officer’s own words, depth charges pattering on the casing.  TETRARCH eventually eluded the trawlers and continued diving for the rest of the next day.
It was reported to Admiralty that TARPON and STERLET must now be considered overdue.

Operation KNIFE.  The object of this operation was to supply arms and ammunitions to the Norwegians in Sogne Fjord and also to provide them with demolition gear and technical advice to blow up a viaduct on the Oslo-Bergen Railway.  A small party of Military and Naval Officers and ratings were taken in TRUANT, with a view of setting up an intelligence organization in Norway.

25th April

Departures:    Blyth, NARWHAL for Immingham

Arrivals:    Harwich, DORIS

TRUANT was attacked by a U Boat with two torpedoes, one of which exploded very close to TRUANT and caused considerable damage to her main battery containers.  She returned to Rosyth and CLYDE, who was on passage to patrol, was ordered to take TRUANT’s place in Operation KNIFE.

It was decided to sail PASTEUR and ORPHEE for Cherbourg for repairs.

26th April

Arrivals:    Harwich, SEAWOLF, SHARK

Departures:    Immingham, NARWHAL for F.D. 6 in Aalbeck Bight

V.A.S. proposal for a lay by RUBIS off Kristiansand was approved by the Admiralty.

Admiralty were informed that in view of the time taken for SHARK and SEAWOLF to return from the Skagerrak, STERLET should not be considered overdue until the 28th.

Admiralty passed a message from the Norwegian Government requesting that Sogne Fjord be held by the Navy to facilitate the extrication of Norwegian troops from Voss.  V.C.N.S. asked V.A.S. if there was anything that the Submarines could do to which V.A.S. replied that there was nothing.

27th April

Departures:    Harwich, LA SYBILLE for A.1
        Brest, RUBIS for Harwich
        Blyth, CACHALOT for Devonport under escort.

28th April

Arrivals:    Blyth, SWORDFISH
        Harwich, AMAZONE
        Dundee:  ACHILLE

Departures:    Harwich, ANTIOPE.  SEALION and SUNFISH for Bohus Bay

Captain J.A.W. Voelcker assumed command of the Six Submarine Flotilla and duties of N.O.I.C. Blyth in succession to Captain J.S. Bethel

29th April

Departures:    Harwich, SNAPPER for N. of E.l;     CIRCE for A.5; CALYPSO for H.2
        Dundee, SEVERN for C.1

Shortly after leaving Blyth, UNITY sank after a collision with Norwegian S.S. ATLE JARL in low visibility.  All officers and ratings were rescued with the exception of the First Lieutenant (Lieutenant H.A.N. Low (per text, should be J.A.N. Low)) and three ratings.

30th April

Arrivals:    Dundee, CLYDE from Rosyth

Departures:    Immingham, SEAL for F.D. 7 in Kattegat.
        Blyth, STURGEON to relieve TRITON off Skudesnes

As information had been received of leader cables in Zone H thought to be used by U boats, CALYPSO was ordered to patrol along these cables.


1st May

Departures:    Sheerness.  H.M.S. CACHALOT escorted by FOXGLOVE for Devonport
        Sailing of SPEARFISH was cancelled owing to airline defects.
        ORPHEE for Area M.

Arrivals:    CASABIANCA at Dundee.  RUBIS at Harwich.  SFAX at Dundee


ORZEL was ordered to vicinity of Jaederens Buoy.  SEVERN was directed to MBJV 4010.  Later SEVERN was moved 10 miles to northward to be out of the track of submarines entering the Skagerrak.

TRIDENT was told to return to Rosyth, reporting situation when 30 miles clear.

An aircraft’s report of one aircraft carrier, three cruisers, and three destroyers in Heligoland Bight was broadcast to submarines on patrol, also movements of enemy transports to Laurvik; and latest intelligence of lights in Skagerrak.

In view of aircraft report of four enemy transports, in Heligoland Bight, steering West, V.A.S. moved THETIS, CALYPSO, and CIRCE to intercepting positions in H.2 and ORPHEE was ordered to sail from Harwich as soon as possible, with dispatch, to a position in the broad 14s.

S. 10 reported that DORIS could be sailed at 2030 and AMAZONE would be available a.m. 2nd May.  To this V.A.S. replied that they would not be required.

SEAL was given alternative mine-laying position in Skudesnes, should he be unable to carry out F.D. 7 in the Kattegat.

After receiving PORPOISE’s T.P. patrol report, V.A.S. informed Admiralty that it would help submarines considerably if enemy M.T.B.s could be attacked by machine gun fire from aircraft.

C in C H.F. signaled to Admiralty that he hoped that no publicity would be given to lengthy hunts recently endured by TETRARCH and TRUANT, and with reference to this signal, V.A.S. informed Captains (S) Home Fleet that he need not emphasize the danger of leakage in this matter.

C in C H.F. requested that V.A.S. would carry out submarine minelaying operations off Nogvid Fjord and establish submarine patrol off the entrance of Fro Havet, during operations TUNNEL, BRICK, and KLAXON.  With regard to minelaying, V.A.S. suggested area in the vicinity of Hovden Island as being preferable from the submarine point of view and stated that CLYDE would be available for Fro Havet patrol when required.

2nd May


V.A.S. ordered ORPHEE to return to Harwich and THETIS, CIRCE, and CALYPSO to return to A.3, A.5, and H.2, respectively.
SEVERN and SNAPPER were ordered to patrol positions south of the Naze and north of area E.1, respectively.  TRITON was ordered to return to Rosyth p.m. 3rd, reporting situation when clear of position.

As no report had yet been received from NARWHAL of completion of F.D. 6, SEAL was told to remain in waiting position in the Skagerrak until further orders.

C in C H.F. requested that CLYDE might be sailed as soon as possible and she was ordered to proceed with dispatch to Fro Havet, and sailed at 0930.  She was given as her object attack of enemy transports and warships, and in addition was told that any merchant ship in the vicinity of Fro Havet might be sunk without warning, excluding small local passenger ferries working among the islands.

As a result of ORZEL’s report V.A.S. informed SFAX of shipping route for Jaederens.

Ports of Humber, Blyth, Sunderland, Hartlepool, and MIddlesborough were closed owing to magnetic mines.

NARWHAL reported completion of F.D. 6, shipping routes in vicinity of the Skaw and possibly successful attack on convoy.  Later SEAL was ordered to proceed for F.D. 7.

3rd May

Arrivals:    ORPHEE at Harwich.  CACHALOT at Devonport.  French mine carrier POLLUX at Dundee

Departures:    RUBIS from Harwich for lay off Kristiansand South.  PASTEUR and ORPEE from Harwich for Cherbourg, with British escort as far as the Downs, thereafter French escort.


ORZEL and TRITON were moved north to 59 degrees North as a sweep of French and British destroyers was to take place during the night off the S.W. coast of Norway.

TAKU was ordered to Bjorne Fjord proceeding inside when conditions were suitable and given information from CASABIANCA’s and TRIDENT’s reports.

TRIDENT reported having attacked by torpedo and gunfire and driven ashore a northward bound supply ship in Languenuen.

Aircraft report of a large northward bound convoy in E.3 was passed to submarines on patrol, also the latest intelligence of enemy shipping routes in the Skagerrak area.

It was decided to transfer RUBIS from 10th to 9th Submarine Flotilla

S.9 reported that POLLUX had orders from French Admiralty to disembark her mines at Dundee and return to Cherbourg.  As there was no suitable shore stowage area at Dundee, he requested that POLLUX be ordered to remain until laying is completed.

TRIBUNE reported that subject to satisfactory engine trials she would be ready to sail p.m. 10th May

Admiralty had given instructions in message 99A for action with regard to ships and aircraft wearing Danish colours.  V.A.S. summarized this to submarines on patrol as follows.  “When outside area given in my 1956/11/4, warships wearing Danish colours are to be attacked on sight and Danish merchant ships are to be treated as enemy merchants.”

Humber was opened to shipping p.m.

4th May

Arrivals:    TRIDENT at Rosyth from patrol in Bjorne Fjord

On receipt of a report from the Admiralty of a southbound enemy convoy proceeding to Stavanger, TAKU was ordered to intercept.  The receipt of a further report altering the position of convoy, TAKU was ordered to proceed in execution of previous orders and STURGEON was moved in to intercept.

V.A.S. redisposed submarines between southwest of Norway and northern end of the German declared minefield to intercept any enemy convoys proceeding up the Norwegian coast from Skagerrak or Heligoland Bight.  CLYDE was ordered to report conditions in the Fro Havet area after two or three days on patrol.  Further information of enemy defences in this area in this area was passed to him by C in C H.F.

ORZEL reported a line of moored mines off Jaederens and later that German minesweepers were sweeping in the vicinity.

SEVERN reported sinking Swedish ship MONARCK off the Naze, the Master having signed a statement that she ship was taken by the enemy at Stavanger and forced to proceed to Germany.  The MONARCK’s crew were seen safe in a power boat in calm sea near the coast and SEVERN took prisoner the German prize crew of five.

V.A.S. proposed to Admiralty the following minelaying programme.  NARWHAL in the approaches to Laurvik, SEAL off Jaederens, and PORPOISE in the vicinity of Havden Island.

Submarines on patrol were informed by V.A.S. that there were indications of several U boats passing down the North Sea homeward via Zone A.3

A report was received by N.I.D. that the Germans claimed to have destroyed a British submarine in the Skagerrak on 20th April in a mine barrage.  This could have been either TARPON or STERLET.

5th May

Arrivals:      At Rosyth, TRITON from patrol off Karmsund
        At Blyth, NARWHAL from F.D. 6 in the Kattegat

A signal was received from SEAL saying that she was flooded as far forward as 129 bulkhead caused by either mine or depth charge.  Her mines had been layed, her confidential books destroyed, and no casualties.  She was making for the Swedish coast and trying to enter Gothenborg.  V.A.S. acknowledged SEAL’s signal, agreed with it and wished him the best of luck, later added that safety of personnel should be his first consideration after destruction of Asdic.  This latter message was made to encourage SEAL not to try to save the submarine itself by risking personnel in an endeavour to make Gothenborg, which port was much further away that the nearest Swedish Islands.  At V.A.S. request, Admiralty passed the information about SEAL to the Assistant Naval Attache at Stockholm and asked him to arrange all possible assistance for her while preserving secrecy.  Naval Attache Stockholm signaled later I the day that the Admiral Commanding West coast reported an unknown submarine on the surface distinguished by number M.37 (which are SEAL’s pennants) with a white flag and in company with an unknown minesweeper off Vinga outside Swedish waters, steering south.

In view of this, the following new minelaying proposals were made.  The lay off Laurvik to be cancelled and NARWHAL to carry out SEAL’s lay off Jaederens.  This was approved by the Admiralty.

TAKU was moved from Bjorne Fjord to the southwest of Zone C.1 as it was considered that enemy patrols would be active in Bjorne Fjord after TRIDENT’s attack in this area.

In view of the possible threat to Holland, V.A.S. decided to employ submarines of the 3rd and 10th Flotilla in Zone south of 55 degrees North.

As a result of intelligence report of German A/S defences in the Kattegat, SUNFISH was told not to operate south of latitude 57 degrees, 47 degrees north, when east of the Skaw.

S.6 was ordered to sail NARWHAL when ready to carry out F.D.10 off Jaederens.

6th May

Arrivals:    At Harwich CIRCE from Zone B (defective hydroplane indications)

Departures:    From Harwich, SEAWOLF for Zone H.1

A number of highly coloured reports of the capture of a British submarine by a German seaplane and destroyer in the Kattegat appeared in Neutral Press.

In view of the growing threat of German invasion of Holland, V.A.S. redisposed submarines off the Dutch coast.  AMAZONE, DORIS, STURGEON, TRIAD, CALYPSO, SEAWOLF, SHARK, SNAPPER being stationed in Zones H.1, H.2, and to the southward to Zone M; Captains (S) H.F. Flotilla being informed that some T class and S class submarines of the 2nd and 6th Flotillas would be required in the near future to augment temporarily 3rd and 10th Flotillas.

Captain S.5 visited V.A.S. to discuss the bringing forward of some submarines of the 5th Flotilla for operational work in the Eastern end of the Channel.

Sailing of TIGRIS from Sheerness for trials and Portsmouth was delayed.

Efforts  to recover a magnetic mine in Blyth harbour without exploding it have so far been unsuccessful.

7th May

Arrivals:    THETIS at Harwich

Departures:    ACHILLE from Dundee for North of E.1.  NARWHAL from Immingham for Molde.  SHARK, AMAZONE, and DORIS from Harwich for H.

Intelligence reports indicate that long and detailed reports of capture of SEAL are appearing in the German press.

Submarines along the Dutch coast were moved to the Eastern end of their areas and warned that possibilities of enemy troop movements along the  Dutch coast still exist.  CASABIANCA and SFAX were ordered to relieve SEVERN and ORZEL

8th May

Arrivals:    ANTIOPE and SYBILLE at Harwich

TAKU reported attacking two screened transports north of area J securing three possible hits and that he had been depth charged.

V.A.S. informed C in C H.F. that CLYDE reported no air or surface activity in Fro Havet but had to withdraw well to westward to charge owing to light nights.  C in C was asked if he required a relief submarine sent.  C in C replied that he would like CLYDE to continue this patrol for present unless she was urgently required elsewhere, but did not need relief submarine.  As he had abandoned the laying of certain minefields off the Norwegian coast by surface craft, he asked if any of these could be laid by submarines.  V.A.S. consequently ordered NARWHAL to lay one of these minefields in 62 degrees, 58 minutes North, 6 degrees, 53 minutes East but stated that the other two would be impracticable to submarines owing the long diving approach and navigational difficulties.

The Dutch Naval Attache visited V.A.S. and discussed Dutch mining operations between Texel and Terschelling and probable Dutch submarine operations.  Our submarines on patrol were warned that Dutch submarines might operate within 15 miles of the coast north of the Texel and had been given orders not to attack other submarines.

Information was received that Norwegian submarine B 6, thought to be on passage to the English coast, had been abandoned by her crew on the Norwegian coast.

Information was received by D.N.I. that ACHILLE’s route had been compromised, from which it was apparent that the current recyphering table in use for submarines in the dangerous area had fallen into enemy hands.  This following action was therefore taken.

Captains (S) were ordered to make no further signals to submarines on patrol.

The alternate recyphering table was brought into force forthwith, but this was not held by the following submarines on patrol:  SEALION, SUNFISH, SEVERN, ORZEL, STURGEON, SNAPPER, CALYPSO.

RUBIS was ordered to lay her mines at Egersund instead off Kristiansand and NARWHAL was ordered to lay her mines as already stated above.  ACHILLES was ordered to take up a different position.

S.5 was ordered to convert the wireless equipment of five H boats of the Fifth Flotilla to enable them to read HS routines should they be required for operational services.

L.23 and L.26 of the Fifth Flotilla were ordered at four hours notice for operational services.

9th May

Departures:    CASABIANCA from Dundee for C.2

In view of the difficulties now arising in signaling to submarines on patrol in two different recyphering tables, one of which was known to be compromised, V.A.S. assumed full operational control of all submarines in the North Sea.  These submarines which only held the compromised tables were ordered to return to harbour (see 8th May overleaf).  SEAWOLF, SHARK, AMAZONE, and DORIS were consequently moved near the Dutch coast to fill the vacancies caused by return of STUREGON, CALYPSO, and SNAPPER and were warned to take care not to attack friendly submarines.

Admiralty were informed that officers and men of SEAL should be presumed missing believed prisoners of war, as from the 5th May.

10th May

Departures:    1100, L.26, L.23 escorted by WARROR II from Portsmouth.  1730, H.28, H.49, H.50 escorted by FOXGLOVE from Portsmouth, TIGRIS from Sheerness for Portsmouth.  ANTIOPE and THETIS from Harwich, SFAX from Dundee for C.1

Arrivals:    SEVERN at Dundee, SALMON and SNAPPER at Harwich

Information was received at 0535 that Germany invaded Holland.  The following action was taken by V.A.S.

Submarines off the Dutch coast were told to sink without warning any ships north of the Texel which were coming from Germany.  S.5 was ordered to sail six submarines of Fifth Flotilla for Harwich forthwith.  V.A.S. assumed operational control of these submarines on leaving Portsmouth until they entered Area A, when the control was taken over by S.3.  ANTIOPE and THETIS were brought to four hours notice and later sailed for patrol positions inside the Southern end of the East coast mine barrier until minelaying operation B.S. 4 should be completed.  AMAZONE and DORIS were ordered to patrol positions nearer the Dutch coast which had been vacated by SNAPPER and CALYPSO.   SNAPPER was told to return and patrol to the westward of SEAWOLF.  SWORDFISH was ordered to sail to relieve SNAPPER and SWORDFISH was ordered to sail on the 11th for patrol position off Flamborough Head in case of an attempted invasion of the Yorkshire coast.  SALMON who had arrived at Harwich at Sheerness was prepared for sea, her working up trials being postponed.  Submarines were cautioned that Dutch submarines might be operating off Terschilling and the Dutch coast, and further warned in view of the concentration of our own submarines to take care to identify any submarine as hostile before attacking.  Submarines were informed of the Dutch recognition signals.

RUBIS reported that she had laid her mines off Egersund as ordered.

Commanding Officers of TRUANT, TRITON, SPEARFISH, SUNFISH, and SNAPPER were awarded the D.S.O.,  Commanding Officer SEALION the D.S.C., and SEAL mentioned in despatches,  for patrol services.

The evolution of converting the wireless sets of the H boats of the Fifth Flotilla to meet patrol requirements was performed in a very creditably short space of time.

11 May

Departures:    SWORDFISH from Blyth for H

Arrivals:    STURGEON at Blyth, THETIS, ANTIOPE, and CALYPSO at Harwich

H.49 and H.50 relieved ANTIOPE and THETIS on patrol and L.23, L.26, H.28, and H.44 took up patrol positions off the Dutch coast.  SUNFISH reported nothing of importance and SEALION reported apparently successful attacking a Southbound convoy in the Skagerrak.  Both these submarines are now returning to Harwich and after the arrival of STURGEON at Blyth will be the only submarines at sea holding the compromised cipher.

Submarines off the Dutch coast were warned that considerable cross traffic including British and Dutch warships would take place and that Dutch submarines might be leaving Texel west bound, and asdic fitted submarines were told to communicate on SST at their discretion to check relative positions.

It was proposed that the next lay by RUBIS should be in the vicinity of Karmsund at a date to be reported later.  This was approved by Admiralty.

TAKU reported no serious damage as a result of his depth charging on the 8th May, that he suspected Danish fishing vessels in his vicinity were being used for A/S purposes.  V.A.S. ordered him to board one of these suspected fishing vessels and send her into Leith if necessary if the opportunity occurred.

As TRIBUNE’s sailing from the Clyde was delayed until tomorrow TETRARCH was ordered to sail from Rosyth tomorrow to relieve TAKU.

As a result of an Admiralty report of German transports up the Norwegian coast keeping well clear of the land, V.A.S., with C in C H.F. concurrence, ordered CLYDE to a patrol position 40 miles west of Stadtlandet.  CLYDE was also ordered to intercept an enemy transport expected to enter Trondheim tonight if he was in a position to do so.

A report was received through the Red Cross that Lieutenant Butler, First Lieutenant of SEAL was a prisoner of war, wounded at a hospital in Denmark.

Arrangements were made for Lieutenant Commander Davies, newly appointed Submarine Liaison Officer at Bizerte, to arrive there in time to be present at a conference to be held between Captain S.1 and French Submarine command.

12th May

Departures:    TRIBUNE from the Clyde for North of J, SPEARFISH from Blyth for position off Flamborough Head, PORPOISE for Havden, and TETRARCH for North of J from Rosyth

Arrivals:    SNAPPER at Harwich

NARWHAL reported his lay off Kolheinsflu Buoy (off Molde) completed

As a result of Dutch minelaying between the Haaks and the coast, DORIS was ordered to return to harbour and AMAZONE’s patrol area was moved.  AMAZONE reported that she had been unsuccessfully attacked by a submarine, believed U 40 type and that her own counter attack failure.  Later she reported that she had been again attacked by an unknown submarine in approximately the same position.

C in C suggested that in view of enemy air and A/S commitments in the South, submarines might again operate in the eastern Skagerrak and Oslo Fjord.  V.A.S. replied that he would confer with the Captains of SEALION and SUNFISH when they returned to harbour from Skagerrak before reporting his views.

13th May

CLYDE attacked an enemy transport off the West coast of Norway at long range by gunfire.  Although doing 21 knots, she was unable to close and the transport escaped in low visibility, probably undamaged.  CLYDE the proceeded to Northwards to endeavour to intercept.

A proposal was made to the Admiralty to enlarge the area in which submarines might attack merchant ships at sight to embrace the whole of the Norwegian West Coast to a depth of approximately ninety miles, extending down to the northern limit of the German declared minefield.  It was further suggested that merchant ships should be attacked at sight even in the Skagerrak channel defined in the Admiralty’s 1153/12/4, with the exception of such neutral ships of whose movements the Admiralty had been informed.

C in C H.F. was informed that if desired TRUANT could be sailed for northern Norwegian waters on the 16th of May.  It was suggested that TRUANT should join F.O.I.C. Narvik at Harstad before proceeding on patrol, and further that she should return to Rosyth on completion of her patrol to obviate and necessity for transporting and maintaining spare torpedoes at Harstad.  C in C H.F. further requested V.A.S. to consider instituting a River Class submarine patrol in Northern Norway on relief of TRUANT to the southward of the Vest Fjord area.

With the object of temporarily holding up German sea communications to Norway and Holland, two bogus signals, in the code which has been already compromised, were made.  These signals ordered submarine dispositions in the Heligoland Bight and submarine minelaying in the Oslo Fjord.  There were in fact no British or allied submarines in these areas.

As the Dutch submarines O.13, O.20, and O.21 had already arrived at Portsmouth and more Dutch submarines are expected shortly it was proposed that they should be ultimately based at Blyth as part of the Six Flotilla.

14th May

Arrivals:    Harwich, H.49, H.50.  Dundee, RUBIS

French submarine DORIS who had been operating in the Texel area since the 8th of May was ordered to return to Harwich p.m. 12th of May.  She was twice ordered to report her position on the 13th May and no reply has been received.

CLYDE sighted an enemy transport to the west of Stadtlandet, but lost touch in low visibility.

CASABIANCA sighted an enemy convoy to the southward of Lister Light, too far off to attack.

As the likelihood of any large number of German transports along the Dutch coast now seemed remote, SUNFISH and TRIAD (queried in ink entry) were told to return to Blyth and submarines of the 5th Flotilla were ordered to revert to their normal state of readiness on their return to Portsmouth and Portland.

15th May

Arrivals:    Harwich, SUNFISH

On receiving SEAWOLF’s report of enemy minesweepers off the Texel, submarines in those areas were told to keep to the eastern ends of their Zones.  It was thought minesweepers might be preceding surface ships.  Intercepted reports from German aircraft showed that some of these submarines were sighted before sunrise.

It was proposed that the next lay by RUBIS should be off Haugesund about the 27th of May.

In view of the threat of enemy air action, it was decided to move CYCLOPS and Third Flotilla and JULES VERNE and Tenth Flotilla to Rosyth.  It was originally desired that JULES VERNE and Tenth Flotilla should operate from Dundee, but Admiralty did not approve this as Dundee was relatively an undefended port as compared with Rosyth.

The intention to operate Dutch submarines from Blyth was now abandoned and it was decided that they should work from Portsmouth in the Southern area of the North Sea.

Admiralty was requested to keep H.M.S. MAIDSTONE available in the United Kingdom with a view to using her should CYCLOPS or JULES VERNE be put out of action or in case it should be desired to operate submarines from Invergordon.

French submarine DORIS is now considered lost.  She carried a British Liaison Officer (Lieutenant R.E. Westmacott, R.N.) and two British Communications ratings.

16th May

Departures:    Harwich, H.49 and H.50 for Portsmouth.  CYCLOPS and JULES VERNE for Rosyth.  ANTIOPE and SYBILLE for H.  CIRCE and THETIS for A.2 and A.1.
    Rosyth, TRUANT for Harstad

Arrival:    Harwich, SEALION

Docking:    TAKU at Rosyth

V.A.S. assumed operational control of Third and Tenth Flotillas on the sailing of CYCLOPS and JULES VERNE.

H.28 and H.44 were ordered to leave patrol and proceed to the Downs for escort to Portsmouth.

SEAWOLF and AMAZONE were ordered to leave patrol and proceed to Rosyth when relieved by ANTIOPE and SYBILLE.

PORPOISE reported her lay off Havden Island (F.D. 11) completed.

CASABIANCA reported she had left her patrol zone, having been heavily depth charges and hunted for two days and had been unable to charge.  She was told to operate to the North of J.

C.S. 1 who had assumed operational control of TRUANT stated that he intended her to operate from Vardo, East of the North Cape of Norway with the Norwegian submarines B.1 and B.3.

C in C Mediterranean requested information of any special measures in force for submarine operations in the North Sea as the result of war experience, particularly with reference to recognition and identification procedures.  A brief summary was signaled to him and Submarine War Memoranda and other standing orders regarding patrols and minelaying are being forwarded.

A proposal was made for CYCLOPS to turn over to MAIDSTONE while at Rosyth.  Admiralty concurred and MAIDSTONE will be sailed for Rosyth shortly (from Portland)

V.A.S. attended a conference at the Admiralty on submarine dispositions.  The results are as in reply to C in C H.F. on 17th May.

Further bogus signals made cancelling dispositions ordered to make it look as if we had realised our mistake.  (See 13th May)

17 May

Departures:    Harwich, CALYPSO for Lowestoft to dock (arrived p.m.)

Arrivals:    Rosyth, PORPOISE.  Dundee, CLYDE

Aircraft reports were received of two escorted convoy between C.1 and J proceeding southeast.

Admiralty requested that the Dutch crew of the Terschelling Light Ship should be removed by submarine.  L 23 was ordered to do this on returning from patrol and informed that the light ship was not to be sunk.

ACHILLE left her patrol position owing to activity of enemy surface patrols and aircraft.  She was ordered to take up a position to the North West of J, and TETRARCH and TRIBUNE were moved further to the Eastward.

Submarines were told that Dutch trawlers found north of a line joining Dover and Calais, whether fishing or not, should be captured and sent in, also that Dutch recognition signals were probably compromised.

C in C Nore was asked to approve the use of Dover Harbour by Dutch submarines when proceeding to and from patrol and awaiting escort.

Replying to C in C H.F.’s suggestion of the 12th May that submarines should again operate in the Skagerrak and Oslo Fjord, V.A.S. stated that after interrogating Commanding Officers of SUNFISH and SEALION, he was satisfied that the risks run by submarines operating in the Skagerrak under existing conditions were not compensated for by the results they were likely to achieve.  The intentions for the meantime that submarines should patrol A and H zones and the area between J and Lindesnes with a view to intercepting attacks on our own coasts and further that minelaying submarines should continue minelaying.

The Dutch Naval C in C visited V.A.S. to discuss the formation of a Dutch submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth and agreed that the Dutch Torpedo Boats Z.6 and Z.8, now at Portsmouth, should be used as tenders for this Flotilla.

18th May

Arrivals:    Rosyth, CYCLOPS, JULES VERNE, TRIAD.  Harwich, L.23, L 26

Departures:    Rosyth, TRIDENT for C.2.

Docking:    PORPOISE at Rosyth

Undocking:    TAKU at Rosyth

L.23 had some difficulty in persuading the crew of the Terschelling Light Ship to evacuate.  Five of the crew of eleven were retrieved, the remaining six escaped in a boat in the dark in the direction of Holland.

L.26 picked up nine refugees reputed to be Ex-German business men from an open boat off the Dutch coast.

CIRCE, proceeding to A.2, reported her starboard motor out of action.  She was ordered to proceed to Rosyth.

TRUANT was ordered to proceed to Tromso, which is North of Harstad.

H. 28 and H.44, who had been delayed by fog left the Downs for Portsmouth escorted by WARRIOR II.

It was decided that Minelaying equipment in T class submarines, which had been unsatisfactory under trial, should be abolished.

THETIS in A.1 reported sighting a submarine’s periscope.  It turned out that this probably SPEARFISH whose Gyro compass had failed.

19th May

Arrivals:    Portsmouth, H.28 and H.44.  Rosyth:  SEAWOLF and CIRCE

Departures:    Rosyth, TRITON for C.1

ACHILLE reported that she had been in hydrophone contact with a suspected enemy submarine and with suspicious fishing vessels in the vicinity.  It subsequently transpired that this submarine may have been TETRARCH.  ACHILLE was ordered to treat these fishing vessels as enemy merchant ships, sinking them after provision had been made for the safety of the crew.

It was proposed to C in C H.F.that PORPOISE’s next lay should be off Jaederens instead of Smolen.  C in C concurred in this, but stated that he would like mines laid off Smolen at some future date.

20th May

Arrivals:      Dundee, ACHILLE.  Rosyth, AMAZON.  Tromso, TRUANT

Departures:     Harwich, SALMON for A.5.  Tromso, TRUANT for North Cape, Norway

ACHILLE, while returning from patrol, was bombed by our own aircraft while in the bombing restriction area.  She sustained damage to external fuel tanks, hydrophone, and echo sounding gear, and both propellers.  As she is due for refit in early June, it was decided that she should be sailed for France when convenient.

LA SYBILLE reported that an enemy submarine had fired two torpedoes at her which both missed.  It was subsequently transpired that this was the ANTIOPE.  ANTIOPE was ordered to return to her patrol zone and ANTIOPE, SYBILLE, and SHARK who were operating in adjacent areas were ordered not to attack submarines.

LA SYBILLE on patrol in Zone H, reported both periscope presses defective and one sick rating, she requested instructions.  She was ordered to proceed to Rosyth.

SPEARFISH in A.3 sank two Danish fishing vessels, having first taken off their crews.  She stated the fishermen had some apparent knowledge of German operations in the Kattegat.

CIRCE reported that she had been in collision, while diving on the 17th, with a submarine, possibly LA SYBILLE.  The latter reported that no damaged was incurred.

S.3 and S.10 reassumed operational control of their respective Flotillas.

The Commanding Officer, SALMON, visited V.A.S. for instructions with regard to secret Operation LAMP.

Captains (S) were informed that as the result of analysis of torpedo attacks carried out by our submarines, there was a tendency for the point of aim being too far ahead.  Instructions were given to correct this.

As the French mine carrier POLLUX was required by the French Admiralty to return to France, it was decided that she should transfer one lay of mines to RUBIS at Dundee, and then land the remaining two lays at Rosyth, sailing for Cherbourg p.m. 23rd west about.  It was further decided that she should escort ACHILLE to Cherbourg.

In response to a request from C in C Nore that submarines should assist in protecting destroyers and trawlers engaged in cable cutting to the westward of zones A.4 and 5, V.A.S. replied that he would do all he could.

It was estimated that repairs to PORPOISE’s damaged dome would take approximately 14 days to make good.  V.A.S. decided that this delay must be accepted as he would not sail PORPOISE for mine laying operations without her Asdic installation.

21st May

Arrivals:    Dundee, CASABIANCA

Departures:    Harwich, L.23 for H to relieve LA SYBILLE

C in C H.F. requested that a submarine should be sent to Scapa for A/S training and a River class submarine maintained on patrol in the Trondheim area.  To this, V.A.S. replied that the present dispositions of his submarines were made after ascertaining that, in the Admiralty’s view, the most serious threat at the moment was the possibility of a seaborne invasion of England.  Owing to recent breakdowns in the French submarines, the necessity of relieving the strain on our own submarines and the dispatch of TRUANT and shortly SEVERN to the Tromso area, the number of submarines in the patrol areas were even now too few properly to compete with the threat referred to.  By further reducing North Sea patrols, V.A.S. stated that STURGEON could be sailed for Scapa on the 22nd, or, alternatively, ORZEL or another British submarine at later dates, and asked  C in C H.F. which he preferred.  He further proposed that SEVERN on relieving TRUANT, should patrol in the Trondheim area instead of off the North Cape.

S.5 reported he had been unable, after thorough inquiry, to establish any foundation in fact of those alarming rumours of Nazi sympathies among the Dutch submarine ratings.

S.3 reported that after discussion with S.10 subsequent to the latter’s visit to Dundee it was considered preferable that the 10th Flotilla and JULES VERNE should go to Dundee in view of the obvious difficulties in operating three Flotillas from Rosyth.  V.A.S. proposed that Admiralty should approve this.

In view of the time to repair CIRCE’s main motor, estimated at one month, it was proposed to send CIRCE to France after exchanging her good battery with that of CALYPSO.

C in C Nore offered  to place two destroyers at V.A.S. disposal as cover for Operation LAMP.  This offer was accepted.

Arrangements were made for CALYPSO to proceed to Rosyth in convoy, sailing on the 23rd.

22 May

Departures:    Greenock, MAIDSTONE for Rosyth via Scapa.  Lowestoft, CALYPSO for Harwich.  Dundee, POLLUX for Rosyth.  Harwich, SNAPPER and L.26 for H.1, Blyth, STURGEON for A.3

Arrivals:    Harwich, CALYPSO.  Rosyth, POLLUX

V.A.S. appreciation of the situation was that enemy might, in the near future, attempt a landing in the south eastern area of England, accompanied at the same time by raids by surface forces in the channel.  This was confirmed by intelligence that U boats were about to operate in the North Sea, south of latitude of 53 degrees North.  It was therefore decided to retain SUNFISH and SNAPPER at HARWICH instead of sending them to Rosyth.  In addition, six submarines of the 5th flotilla and three Dutch submarines were ordered to prepare for war with all despatch in the English Channel, and come to two hours notice.  C in C Portsmouth was informed that these submarines had been ordered at short notice in anticipation of his requiring to operate in the English Channel in accordance with Portsmouth war orders.  C in C Portsmouth was requested to inform V.A.S. of the positions these submarines would occupy.

Operation LAMP was carried out during the night 22nd/23rd without result.

The deaths of officers and ratings of THISTLE, TARPON, and STERLET were officially presumed for the following dates 14th, 22nd, and 27th, respectively.

Admiralty approved the basing of the Tenth Flotilla on Dundee.

23rd May

Departures:    Dundee, RUBIS for F.D. 15 off Haugesund.  Harwich, CALYPSO for Rosyth in convoy F.N. 78.  Rosyth, ORZEL for A.3.

Arrivals:    Dundee:  SFAX

Submarines on patrol were informed that, in view of the possibility of a German raid on the Thames Estuary or English Channel, or of a landing on the South East Coast, the utmost importance was attached to the receipt of early information of enemy transports and warships.

C in C Portsmouth was informed that V.A.S. intended that the notice for sea of submarines of the Fifth Flotilla should be as desired by C in C Portsmouth, adjusting the number of torpedoes carried to allow for the continuation of submarine and A/S training if he had no objection.

In view of the possibility of U boats operating in the southern part of the North Sea, V.A.S. decided with C in C Nore that our submarines should keep north of a line joining Smith’s Knoll and Hook of Holland, and ships of the Nore Command south of this line.

TRITON reported capturing a Danish fishing vessel north of Area J.  He was told to sink her if he could accommodate the crew, otherwise to let her go.

TETRARCH reported that he had captured a Danish fishing vessel and was sending her to Rosyth with a prize crew.

TRITON was ordered to C.1 in SFAX’s place.

24th May

Departures:    Scapa, MAIDSTONE for Rosyth.  Rosyth, POLLUX and ACHILLE for Brest, west about.

Arrivals:    Rosyth, SHARK and LA SYBILLE.  Blyth, SPEARFISH

Docking:    Rosyth, AMAZONE

It was proposed to C in C H.F. that NARWHAL should lay mines 1st June off Jaederens and PORPOISE about 5th June off Trondheim.

In view of C in C’s request for a River class submarine to patrol off Stadtlandet, V.A.S. ordered SEVERN to be sailed to patrol between Bud and the Halten Islands, instead of relieving TRUANT in the North Cape area as previously arranged.

C.S. 1, who operating TRUANT, later stated that he considered her present patrol now redundant and that she would be better employed offensively further south.

TETRARCH was ordered to leave her patrol north of E.1 and return to Rosyth, TRIDENT being ordered to proceed from her position south of the Naze to TETRARCH’s billet.

25th May


Departures:    Rosyth, ACHILLE and POLLUX for Cherbourg.  SEVERN for Stadtlandet area.

V.A.S. informed Captains (S) that under present conditions, it was necessary to reduce to a minimum the period which submarines are not available for sailing.  Until further orders, submarines were to be brought to 8 hours notice, as soon as possible after return from patrol.

It was thought that submerged identification letter signals for recognition purposes had been compromised.  Submarines were ordered to discontinue their use until issue of new key memoranda was completed.

At V.A.S. request a light buoy was established near Brown Ridge for the use of submarines leaving and returning to Harwich.  This was particularly necessary in view of the recent removal of the Terschelling Light Vessel and that fact that the Gap in the East Coast mine barrier has decreased in size.

26th May

Arrivals:    Rosyth, TETRARCH

Departures:    Harwich, SUNFISH and SEALION to patrol positions in vicinity of Brown Ridge.

In view of the evacuation of the B.E.F., V.A.S. considered there was a likelihood of German Naval Raids on our forces engaged in the evacuation.  There was also a possibility of a German raid or invasion of the South East Coast.  In consequence, SUNFISH and SEALION were sent to patrol positions, as above; STURGEON was ordered to proceed with dispatch from A.3 to H, and TAKU was ordered to be sailed from Rosyth to take STURGEON’s place in A.3.

F.O. Narvik ordered TRUANT to proceed to Harstad.

SEVERN returned to Dundee to effect repairs to leaky conning tower hatch, sailing again later.

In response to a request from C in C Nore, who could spare no surface forces for the purpose, SALMON was ordered to search for the crew of a British aircraft down near his area.  He later reported that his search was unsuccessful.

On Admiralty orders, submarines were ordered to reduce their demolition outfits to the minimum necessary for efficient scuttling and/or destruction of Asdics.

Submarines in area H were told that submarines might be attacked provided they were certain that they were hostile.  It will be remembered that submarines in this area were ordered not to attack other submarines after ANTIOPE had fired three torpedoes at SYBILLE.

Orders were given for NARWHAL’s next lay F.D. 16 to be carried out off Jaederens as soon as she is available.

As a result of the decision to base the 10th Submarine Flotilla at Dundee, it was decided to transfer CASABIANCA and RUBIS to the 10th Flotilla; SEVERN and CLYDE to the 3rd Flotilla; PORPOISE to the 6th Flotilla; 9th Flotilla then lapsing temporarily.
It was decided that WHITE BEAR, the new submarine tender, should be attached to MAIDSTONE at Rosyth when ready.

27th May

Arrivals:    Harstad, TRUANT

Departures:    Rosyth, TAKU for A.3 vice STURGEON

C in C H.F. requested F.O. Narvik to sail TRUANT for Rosyth.

RUBIS reported that she had carried out her lay off Haugesund.

SEAWOLF and TRIAD were ordered to leave Rosyth on 28th May and proceed with dispatch to relieve L.23 and L.26 off the Dutch Coast.

S.3 assumed command of MAIDSTONE at Rosyth

28th May

Arrivals:    Rosyth, TRIBUNE.  Dundee, ANTIOPE, AMAZONE

Departures:    Harstad, TRUANT for Rosyth

Yesterday, V.A.S. informed C in C H.F. that in view of the serious situation now developing he considered it most important that all submarines should be available for operational in the centre or southern portion of the North Sea and requested that TRUANT should be withdrawn from Northern Norway and that SEVERN might be diverted to patrol in the central North Sea.  He further proposed that mine laying by submarines on the Norwegian coast should be discontinued, so that mine laying submarines might be available for patrol.  Admiralty concurred in the proposal regarding submarine mine laying.  C in C H.F. replied that he considered SEVERN should continue her present patrol and that mine laying by submarines should continue, as he was of the opinion that a seaborne expedition was as likely to sail from Norwegian waters as from anywhere else.  C in C H.F. had already ordered TRUANT to return to Rosyth. 

SALMON was ordered to patrol in H.9 and 12, when L.26 left.

29th May

Departures:    Rosyth, TRIAD for A.6 and 7.  SEAWOLF for H.7 and 8.  Dundee, CLYDE for Rosyth

Arrivals:    CLYDE at Rosyth

Docking:    Rosyth, TETRARCH

More with a view to giving these training submarines experience in patrol work than from any operational consideration, C in C Portsmouth instituted Channel Patrol A with eleven submarines of the Fifth Flotilla and attached Dutch submarines.  Control of these submarines was assumed by S.5 as directed by C in C Portsmouth. (see 22nd May)

Thinking that our submarines were inclined to withhold their fire against German destroyers on account of their shallow draught, V.A.S. ordered submarines on patrol off the Dutch coast not to allow any opportunity to pass of torpedoing these craft.
In response to Admiralty’s request for all available executive officers who could be spared for special service, the names of submarine officers were forwarded.

Admiralty directed a submarine patrol should be established forthwith off Dingle Bay in the south west of Ireland.  As H.34 was already operating in this vicinity with the trawler MANOR, V.A.S. proposed to C in C Western Approaches that she should be used for this purpose, being relieved as required by a submarine from the Fifth Flotilla, preferably OXLEY (sic, OXLEY lost 9/1939;  OBERON ?) or OTWAY.  V.A.S. further gave the object of this patrol to destroyer U Boats and to stop and examine, outside Irish territorial waters, any merchant vessels making for Dingle Bay.

V.A.S. visited C.N.S. to discuss submarine dispositions in the light of a letter from C in C H.F. which stated that it was desirable for submarines to be again employed on patrol off the Norwegian coast, and that submarines should again be made available at Scapa for the training of destroyers in A/S work.  As a result of this visit, Admiralty informed C in C H.F. that they considered the present concentration of submarines off the Dutch coast should be maintained for the time being, but that, should the situation alter, C in C H.F.’s proposals would be given further consideration.  Admiralty agreed with C in C H.F. that mine laying by submarines should continue.

30th May

Arrivals:    Dundee, RUBIS

Undocking:    Rosyth, TETRARCH

It was proposed that RUBIS’s next lay should be off Borkum.

C in C Western Approaches concurred generally in V.A.S.’s proposal for Dingle Bay patrol.  It subsequently transpired that H.43 had carried out a patrol in Dingle Bay on the 29th.

31st May

Arrivals:    Portland, O.9; Campbeltown, H.33; Plymouth, OTWAY and H.43; Harwich, L.26 and L.23

Departures:    Blyth, NARWHAL for Immingham

In view of the increasing likelihood of Italian intervention, the French Admiralty requested that JULES VERNE and Ten Flotilla might return to France for service in the Mediterranean.  Arrangements were, therefore, made for them to leave Dundee on the 4th June, proceeding west about.  RUBIS, the French minelaying submarine was to remain behind until she had carried out the lay referred to above.

In consequence it will be necessary to reduce submarines employed on training to a minimum to keep up the numbers in the North Sea.  Submarines of the Fifth Flotilla and Dutch submarines were therefore reallocated as follows:

Portsmouth, OTWAY and OBERON for submarine training
Portland, O.9, O.10, and H.32 (after refit) for A/S training
Harwich, H.34, H.44, H.49, H.50 for operational duties.
Dundee, L.23, L.26, and remaining Dutch submarines for operational duties.
Plymouth, H.43 for A/S training.

In order to effect the redisposition of the Fifth Flotilla without delay, and as the channel patrol had caused considerable embarrassment to our convoy escorts in the area, submarines on channel patrol were ordered to return to harbour, arriving on 1st June.

Dingle Bay patrol was abandoned.


ADM 199/373

From:      Vice Admiral (Submarines)
Northways, London N.W.3

Date:       10th July 1940        No. 789/SM.1004


In continuation of my submission No.593/SM.1004 of 12th June, be pleased to lay before their Lordships the attached War Diary of Submarines covering the period 1st June to 30th June.
(signed) Max Horton
        Vice Admiral


1st June

Arrivals:    Rosyth, TRUANT.  Sheerness, L.26.  Immingham, NARWHAL

Departures:    Harwich, L 26.  Immingham, NARWHAL for F.D. 16 off Jaederens

Information was received that the French Admiralty would not like RUBIS to carry out one more minelaying operation before returning to France.  It was therefore proposed that she should lay off Borkum.

TRITON, TRIDENT, SALMON, SNAPPER, SEALION, and SUNFISH left their patrol areas to their bases.  TRIAD was ordered to operate in A.5, SEAWOLF in H.1, STURGEON in H.2.  ORZEL was ordered to operate in A.1 and then to relieve TRIDENT north of E.1.

2nd June

Arrivals:    Rosyth, SUNFISH

Docking:    Sheerness, L.26

It was represented to Their Lordships that it was vitally important that delays in transmission of aircraft reconnaissance reports should be completely eliminated.

In view of the great importance of receiving early reports of invading forces, submarines on patrol were instructed that if these forces are encountered proceeding towards the United Kingdom, they should first be reported then attacked.

Information was received from N.I.D. that it was reliably reported that SEAL was in Kiel with her stern blown off.

V.A.S. left p.m. for Donibristle en route for Scapa.

3rd June

Arrivals:    Rosyth, SNAPPER, SALMON, SEALION

Departures:    Blyth, SPEARFISH for H.2

Portsmouth, WARRIOR II, H.34, H.49, H.50, and H.44 for Harwich.  WHITE BEAR, H.28, H.31, and Dutch O.13 for Blyth and Dundee

V.A.S. flew from Donibristle to Kirkwall and visited C in C H.F. in RODNEY.  N the evening, he returned by air to Leuchars and visited the Tenth Submarine Flotilla at Dundee.  It was decided by Admiralty with C in C H.F.’s and V.A.S.’s concurrence that PORPOISE and NARWHAL should be used to mine the Dover barrier close to the French coast.

After discussion with V.A.S., C in C H.F. decided that RUBIS’s lay should be in the vicinity of Bergen instead of Borkum.

NARWHAL reported that she had completed lay F.D. 16 off Jaederens

4th June

Arrivals:    Rosyth, TRITON, TRIDENT

Departures:    Rosyth, CLYDE to relieve SEVERN off Stadtlandet. 

Undocking:    PORPOISE (repairs to A/S installation completed)

SEVERN was ordered to leave patrol on the 5th.  TETRARCH was ordered to relieve ORZEL, and SHARK to be sailed for Scapa as soon as could be arranged, SHARK to be relieved by L.23 when available.  NARWHAL was ordered to return to Blyth instead of proceeding on patrol.

V-A Dover considered that the presence of many magnetic mines off the French coast made the advisability  of using submarines for mining in this area doubtful.  V.A.S. concurred and the project was abandoned.

V.A.S. proceeded to Rosyth to visit the Second and Third Flotillas.

5th June

Arrivals:    Harwich, WARRIOR II, H.34, H.44, H.49, H.50
        Blyth, NARWHAL and PORPOISE

Departures:    Rosyth, PORPOISE for Blyth, TETRARCH to relieve ORZEL north of E.1.  Blyth, SWORDFISH for H.1, vice SEAWOLF.  Dundee, RUBIS for F.D. 17 (Bergen approaches).  Harwich, L.23 for Dundee in convoy.

V.A.S. visited Second and Third Submarine Flotillas at Rosyth.

Consequent on the abandonment of submarine minelaying in Dover Straits, the following lays were proposed for PORPOISE and NARWHAL, PORPOISE in Trondheim approaches, NARWHAL off Haugesund or Bergen approaches or Kors Fjord.  Admiralty and C in C H.F. later concurred.

SEAWOLF and ORZEL were ordered to return to harbour p.m. 6th.

PORPOISE was transferred to the Sixth Flotilla.

TRIAD reported suspected presence of moored mines in A.5.

6th June

Arrivals:    Blyth, STURGEON, H.28, H.31.  Dundee, O.13

Docking:    Rosyth, TRIDENT
        TETRARCH reported an enemy submarine north west of A.1

SEVERN reported an enemy submarine north of Stadtlandet.  It subsequently transpired that this submarine fired three torpedoes at SEVERN which missed.

 C in C H.F. suggested that submarine minefield should be laid inside Kors Fjord in the Bergen approaches (60 degrees, 13.5 minutes N, 05 degrees, 10 minutes E).  V.A.S. replied that while he did not regard the operation as impossible, he considered its chance of success was not great and the risk to the submarine was considerable for the following reasons:  currents in the channel, the likelihood of being detected while laying, and the difficulty of controlling a submerged submarine in this narrow channel.  He did not therefore recommend its execution.

It was decided that, owing to the limited range of W/T transmission of H class submarines and as their primary object at present is to report the approach of enemy forces to our coasts, these submarines now based at Harwich and Blyth would probably work in the vicinity of Brown Ridge and close west of the Dogger Bank, respectively.

O.13 developed engine and compass defects which will necessitate her being at over eight hours notice for approximately four days.

It was decided to transfer River class submarines to the Ninth Flotilla

7th June

Arrivals:    Dundee   SEVERN, L.23

Undocking:    Rosyth   TRIDENT

SPEARFISH reported scraping mine mooring wires in the southern half of H.2

An aircraft reported that it had bombed a submarine east of the East Coast mine barrier in Latitude 54 degrees N and estimated three hits.  It was suspected that this might be SWORDFISH.  This was later confirmed by SWORDFISH who reported that she had not been hit or damaged.

As Admiralty had given orders prohibiting all fishing in the North Sea, east of the East Coast mine barrier, it was proposed that any merchant ships should be attacked at sight by submarines in this area.

TAKU was ordered to leave A.3 on the 9th, her place being taken by TRIAD, whose placed in A.5 would be taken by SWORDFISH, whose place in the southern half of H.2 would be taken by SPEARFISH.  H.34 to be sailed for the southern half of H.2.

8th June

Departures:    Harwich  H.34 for H.2
        Blyth  PORPOISE and NARWHAL for Immingham

Arrival:        Immingham   PORPOISE and NARWHAL

As SHARK’s sailing for Scapa was delayed by fog, and L.23 would be very shortly available to proceed to Scapa, SHARK’s sailing was cancelled.

ORZEL, who should have arrived at Rosyth today, was ordered to report her position.  No reply was received and considerable anxiety was felt for her safety

9th June

Departures:    Dundee  WILK for Rosyth (arrived same day), SEVERN for patrol east of Aberdeen.
        Immingham   PORPOISE for F.D. 18 off Smolen, NARWHAL for F.D.19 off Bergen.
        Harwich   H.44, H.49, H.50 for east of Brown Ridge. 
        Blyth  STURGEON, H.31, H.28 for local patrols.

As TETRARCH was now occupying the position vacated by ORZEL, TETRARCH was ordered to report the situation and move 30 miles northwest.  Her report was blank.

On receipt of a report of enemy battle cruisers off the north west coast of Norway, CLYDE was ordered to patrol the northern entrance to Fro Havet; RUBIS, unless about to lay within three hours, was ordered to patrol 30 miles west of Bergen; and TAKU and TRIAD were ordered into the Heligoland Bight from A 3 and A 5, respectively in case the battle cruisers should return to Germany via the Heligoland Bight.

Later V.A.S. considered that an enemy raid on the East Coast might be expected at dawn tomorrow for the following reasons:  (1) D.F. bearings indicated unusual enemy activity in the North Sea and Heligoland Bight; (2) Our main forces were at sea to the northward; (3) We had heavy commitments in France; (4) High water on the East Coast at 0400.  The following action was consequently taken:  all submarines were brought to immediate notice and sailed for the following patrol positions:  H.49, H.50, and H.44 for Brown Ridge, STURGEON off Blyth, H.28 and H.31 off Newcastle and Sunderland,  SEVERN off Aberdeen, PORPOISE and NARWHAL, who had sailed from Immingham, to positions off Flamborough Head.
Admiralty were informed that ORZEL being now 24 hours overdue must be considered lost.

In reply to an enquiry from C in C Nore, V.A.S. informed him of his submarine policy in view of attempted invasion.

RUBIS reported her lay off Bergen completed (F.D. 17)

10th June

Departures:    Rosyth  TRIBUNE for Fro Havet

Arrivals:       Dundee  SEVERN.  Blyth  STURGEON, H.28, H.31

Dockings:    Rosyth  SUNFISH

Additional submarines which had proceeded to sea yesterday were ordered to return lo harbour.  All submarines reverted to four hour notice.

RUBIS was ordered to return to Dundee, and PORPOISE and NARWHAL to proceed to their laying positions.

TAKU and TRIAD were ordered to return to harbour, reporting when clear of A.3.  When these reports were received, SHARK was ordered to proceed to A.3 and SWORDFISH to A.5, SPEARFISH then to operate in the northern half of H.1 and H.32 in the southern half.

As CLYDE reported one pocket battleship and one HIPPER class cruiser off Fro Havet, V.A.S. decided the a constant patrol was to be maintained off Fro Havet and ordered PORPOISE and TRIBUNE to join CLYDE there.  This will allow submarines to withdraw to the westward to charge as requisite without leaving Fro Havet completely unwatched.

V.A.S. visited Admiralty to discuss future mining policy.

11th June

Departures:    Rosyth  SHARK for A.3, WHITE BEAR for Blyth after exercises.

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.44, H.49, H.50.

Hostilities were commenced with Italy at 0001.

Intelligence was reported that the enemy might be transporting soldier from Bergen to Germany, and TETRACH was therefore ordered to operate between Jaederens and Lister keeping within 40 miles of the coast.  NARWHAL was ordered to patrol off Utsire on completion of her lay.  O.13 was ordered to sail from Dundee to take TETRARCH’s present position.

It was proposed to sail RUBIS for France about the 15th of June west about.

O.13 carried out satisfactory W/T trials off Dundee.

SALMON, SNAPPER, and SEALION exercises with WHITE BEAR  off Rosyth.

H.44 was placed at 48 hours notice for engine defects.

Submarines reverted to eight hours notice, with the exception of those at Harwich which were to remain at four.

12th June

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TRIAD, TAKU    Dundee:  RUBIS

Departures:    O.13 for North of J

Undocking:      Rosyth   SUNFISH

Docking:    SEALION

In response to a request from C in C H.F., TRIBUNE was ordered to patrol off Stadtlandet instead or proceeding to Fro Havet.
CLYDE reported that he considered the enemy were using the inner island route on the east of Fro Havet and he consequently was patrolling off Svos (perhaps Sves ?) Island.

Owing to the temporary lack employment for her at Scapa, L.23’s sailing was delayed until the 15th of June.

H.28 and H.31 exercised with WHITE BEAR off Blyth.

WHITE BEAR was transferred to the Second Flotilla.

NARWHAL reported F.D. 19 completed.

V.A.S. visited the Polish Admiral to express his regrets on the loss of ORZEL and his appreciation of her services.

13th June

Departures:    H.49 for H.2.
        H.28 and H.31 exercised with WHITE BEAR off Blyth

Owing to the difficulties of carrying out essential sea training from Portsmouth, S.5 is investigating the use of Fowey as a temporary base.

V.A.S. visited submarines at Harwich.

14th June

Departures:      Blyth   H.28 for A.5       Harwich    H.50 for H.2

Undocking:    Rosyth  SEALION

SWORDFISH and SPEARFISH were ordered to be relieved by H class submarines, and TETRARCH b y TRUANT.

H.34 was returning from patrol reported that her forward battery was flooded.

15th June

Departures:    Dundee   L.23 escorted by WHITE BEAR for Scapa.

Arrivals:    Harwich   H.34

Docking:    Rosyth    TRIAD

PORPOISE completed F.D. 18  off Smolen and took up her patrol position off Fro Havet.

WILK was ordered to sail on 18th to relieve O.13 north of J.

16th June

Departures:    Rosyth  TRUANT for Fro Havet

Arrivals:    L.23   at Scapa

Following programme of reliefs for submarines on patrol was ordered.  NARWHAL to return to Blyth on the 16th without relief.  H.44 to leave Harwich on the 18th to relieve H.49.  One “S” class of Third Flotilla to sail on the 17th to relieve TETRARCH.  Two “T” class to sail on the 18th to relieve CLYDE and PORPOISE.  Two “S” class to relieve H.50 and SHARK when desired.  SEVERN to relieve TRIBUNE on the 22nd June.

Admiralty ordered the five submarines remaining in China to be sailed for the Mediterranean when ready.

S.9 assumed operational control of CLYDE.

17th June
Departures:    Rosyth  SALMON for Jaederens – Lister.  Portland   Dutch T.B. Z.5, O 21, and O.22 for Milford Haven en route for Dundee

Further minelaying proposals for RUBIS, NARWHAL, and PORPOISE in the Trondheim approaches were made.

As a result of the French requests for an Armistice with Germany, V.A.S. ordered RUBIS to remain at Dundee instead of sailing for France as previously arranged.

18th June

Departures:       Rosyth  SUNFISH for H.2, WILK for north of J, TRIDENT and TRITON for Fro Havet.   Harwich   H.44 for H.2.  Sheerness  L 26 in convoy FN 99 for Dundee.

Arrivals:    Rosyth  Norwegian submarine B.1

TETRARCH returning from patrol reported that he had sighted a north bound screened tanker on the 14th June, and sunk a south bound screened transport off Lister on the 16th of June, but that no further shipping had been sighted except unscreened coastal craft close inshore.

In order to augment the number of submarines in harbour available at short notice, V.A.S. decided to leave zone A.3 unoccupied.  SHARK was therefore to return to harbour and SEALION’s sailing for A.3 was cancelled.

V.A.S. informed Admiralty that he intended to instruct submarines that they might attack at sight any merchant ship in the North Sea, east of the East Coast mine barrier and any ship to the eastward of 02 degrees E when north of 58 degrees N.  The only merchant ships exempt from attack in these area would be those neutral or allied ships of whose movements he had been informed in advance.

It was proposed that torpedo trials and working up practices of new construction submarines should be carried out in Loch Long and Clyde area.

As present conditions have rendered Portsmouth unsuitable as a base for sea training of Commanding Officers qualifying course, it was proposed that this should be carried out in the Campbelltown area, CYCLOPS being used as Depot ship for the submarines required in a suitable area, north of Arran.  She would then also serve as Depot ship for the submarines for A/S training at Campbelltown.

Norwegian submarine B.1 was attached to the Third Flotilla and Netherlands submarines O.21 and O.23 were transferred to the Ninth Flotilla.

19th June

Departures:    Blyth  H.31 for H.2, vice H.28

Arrivals:    Blyth   SWORDFISH

V.A.S. instructed submarines on patrol that they might attack merchant shipping as already stated on the 18th of June.

TRUANT on passage to Fro Havet was ordered to patrol off Grip to guard the south western approach to Trondheim until minelaying had taken place.

Admiralty was informed that in view of the possibility of the enemy basing large units of his fleet on the West coasts of Spain and France in the near future, a redisposition of submarine flotillas might be necessary.  It was considered that Milford Haven and Queenstown would be the most suitable harbours and that the Second and Third Flotillas were the most suitable to be moved at short notice, as they were independent of shore accommodation and FORTH and MAIDSTONE have good A/A armament.

F.O.I.C. Malta reported that GRAMPUS was 48 hours overdue on the 19th and that ODIN had not yet acknowledged signals of the 18th.

20th June

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TETRARCH, SHARK;   Dundee:  L.26;  Harwich  H.49, H.50; Belfast:  Z.5, O.21, O.22 (sailing later for Stornoway)

Departures:    Dundee  SEVERN for Stadtlandet vice TRIBUNE

Undocking:     Rosyth   TRIAD

Docking:    Rosyth   TAKU

TRIBUNE was ordered to return to Rosyth on the 21st

With reference to TETRARCH’s report of an enemy submarine on the 6th June, it appears that a torpedo was fired at him.  TETRARCH steamed back along the tracks to the firing position, dived and hunted for the U Boat without success.  After his attack on the transport on the 16th June, enemy screening vessels hunted for him with sweeps, wires being heard in contact with the hull on one occasion.

As no report has been received from O.13, who should have left her patrol position north of J on the 19th to return to Rosyth, she was ordered to report her position.  No reply was received to this signal.

21st June

Departures:    Dundee  RUBIS for F.D. 20 off Smolen.  Stornoway  Z.5, O.21, O.22 for Dundee

Undocking:    Rosyth  TAKU

At 0226, a signal was received from CLYDE reporting one battle cruiser, one pocket battleship, and one destroyer off Fro Havet, steering north west , that she had attacked the battle cruiser and obtained one hit at 2235 on the 20th.  As there is no dock in Norway that can take a pocket battle ship, V.A.S. considered that she might try to return to Germany and made the following  dispositions to cover her possible course down the Norwegian coast:  SEVERN to Utsire, WILK to south of C.1, SUNFISH from H.2 to Heligoland Bight.  TRUANT was already off the south western approaches to Trondheim and TRIBUNE off Stadtlandet.  Submarines on patrol were informed of the dispositions of our own surface forces as they become known.  At 1143, signal was received from aircraft reporting one battle cruiser and five destroyers off Sogne fjord steering to the south west.  Further reports were received from aircraft and it was estimated that they enemy would pass about 18 miles off the coast between Jaederens and Lister during the afternoon with a speed of advance of 23 knots.  This information was signaled to SALMON who was on patrol in this area.  At 1910, aircraft report indicated that the enemy had apparently gone into Haugesund.  V.A.S. ordered S.3 to sail an additional submarine for the vicinity of Oberstad.  Ordered SEVERN to close Skudesnes Fjord and SALMON to proceed to the vicinity of Jaederens.  The reason for this was that (1) it is not considered possible to send a submarine into Haugesund owing to the presence of our mines, (2)  it was considered likely the enemy might proceed southward from Haugesund through the fjords and make for the open sea from Skudesnes.  At 2229, it was learned that the report that the enemy was at Haugesund were in Haugesund was incorrect and that at the time they were actually to the westward of Haugesund steering south.  No further reports were received of the enemy.  TRIBUNE and TRUANT were ordered to patrol in the vicinity of Utsire.

C in C Nore proposed certain emergency dispositions to be taken up by submarines in harbour at Harwich in the event of invasion, to which V.A.S. concurred in general.

Admiralty ordered CYCLOPS to be sailed from Rosyth for Clyde at the first opportunity (see the 18th of June).  V.A.S. informed F.O.I.C. Greenock that he would prefer her to berth in the entrance to Holy Loch in preference to Rothesay Bay.

TRUANT on patrol off Grip reported that she was forced to seaward to charge by aircraft.

CLYDE and PORPOISE were ordered  to remain in their positions off Fro Havet until the evening, when they were to return to harbour.

No signals were received from O.13 and considerable anxiety was felt for her safety.

22nd June

Arrivals:     Dundee  O.21 and O. 22 escorted  by Z.5

Departures:    Rosyth  SNAPPER for Oberstadt

Docking:    Norwegian B.1 at Rosyth

On receipt of intelligence that W/T traffic indicated that an important enemy unit might be leaving a south Norwegian port for the southward, SNAPPER was ordered to C.1.  The dispositions of remaining submarines was the same as p.m. 21st.

CLYDE on leaving patrol area, reported that he was uncertain whether his target on the 20th was a battle cruiser or a pocket battleship.

PORPOISE reported a seaplane patrol off Fro Havet.

No signals having been received from O.13, who should have arrived at Dundee on the 21st, she was presumed lost.  Although extremely unlikely, the possibility that she may have returned to Holland exists.

23rd June

Departures:    Sheerness  H.32 in convoy for Portsmouth, thence Campbelltown.   Harwich  H.34 for H.2.  Portsmouth   TIGRIS for Fowey.

Docking:    SPEARFISH to change battery.

WILK reported that she had sustained leaks as the result of an external explosion on the 20th and that she was returning to Rosyth at 6 knots.  V.A.S. requested C in C Rosyth to provide a surface escort with good A/A armament and WILK was asked if she could dive.  Two enemy destroyers were reported one to the westward of Skudesnes and the other in the vicinity of WILK’s estimated position.  Aircraft were sent to shadow the destroyers and to locate WILK, and SHEFFIELD, BIRMINGHAM, and GALLANT sailed as cover and escort for WILK.  WILK was eventually located by aircraft and the escort withdrawn p.m. as there were no further reports of enemy forces in the vicinity.

It was proposed that CYCLOPS should be the Depot ship for the new Seventh Submarine Flotilla, working from Clyde and providing submarines for C.O.Q.C. and A/S training.

As aircraft reconnaissance had been unable to locate an enemy battle cruiser in Stavanger, TRIBUNE was ordered to return to Rosyth, SEVERN to C.1, TRUANT to north of J, and SALMON and SNAPPER to patrol the entrance to Skudesnes alternately.

24th June

Arrivals:    Portsmouth  H.32.  Blyth  H.28.  Dundee  CLYDE

SUNFISH was ordered to proceed from B to A.3

H.49 and H.50 at Harwich took part in a practice operation PURGE (emergency anti invasion dispositions).

CLYDE’s attack on the SCHARNHORST on the 20th June was carried out under difficult weather conditions.  Destroyer counter attacked with eight depth charges which did no damage, but CLYDE lost trim at 250 feet and some distortion occurred in after end, buckling a 4” pillar.  Heavy seas and poor visibility made identification of the target very difficult.

25th June

Arrivals:     Blyth  PORPOISE.   Rosyth  TRIBUNE.

SALMON, SUNFISH, and TRUANT were ordered to return to harbour, SEVERN to patrol north of J. and SNAPPER to patrol in C.1.

C in C Mediterranean reported that GRAMPUS must be considered lost.

PORPOISE was attacked by a U boat off Stadtlandet on the 12th of June at 400 yards range, torpedo  missed close ahead.  On the 13th June PORPOISE sighted a HIPPER class cruiser at long range at Smolen.

V.A.S. interviewed Lieutenant Commander Ingram, Commanding Officer CLYDE, and after careful study of photographs and silhouettes, it was decided that CLYDE’s target was either the battle cruiser GNEISENAU or the light cruiser NURNBERG, and that the other ship was probably the SCHARNHORST. 

SNAPPER reported attacking a southbound convoy off Skudesnes, one ship believed sunk.

TRIBUNE reported he had carried out an unsuccessful attack on a merchant ship on the 22nd.

26th June

Departures:    Blyth  STURGEON for A.5.  Birkenhead  TALISMAN for Clyde.  Dundee  WILK for Rosyth

Arrivals:        Lowestoft  H.44

V.A.S. called on the Dutch Admiral.

On WILK’s return to harbour, it was ascertained that the damaged he incurred on the 20th June was due to collision with a submerged object, probably a U Boat.

SALMON reported that he had carried out an unsuccessful attack on a southbound convoy off Jaederens on the 20th June.

H.44 reported that he had sunk on north bound merchantman, flying Danish colours in area H.2 on the 21st.

RUBIS reported that he had laid F.D. 20 off Smolen.

O.21 carried out independent exercises off Dundee.

27th June

Departures:    Dundee  L.26 escorted by Z.5 for Scapa.  Rosyth  TRIAD for Fro Havet.

Arrivals:    Greenock  TALISMAN.  Rosyth  SALMON, SUNFISH, TRUANT

As a result of TRIBUNE’s report that he did not consider enemy shipping was passing Stadtlandet outside the hundred fathom line, orders were given for submarines proceeding to and from Fro Havet to be routed 20 to 30 miles off the coast.

As the Orfordness Radio Beacon has been proved of great assistance to submarines returning to Harwich, it was proposed that Admiralty should take over and operate this beacon and that another beacon should be taken over from the R.A.F. and sited in the vicinity of Rosyth.

28th June

Departures:    Rosyth  TAKU for Fro Havet.  Scapa  L.23 escorted by A.5 for Dundee.  Harwich H.50 for H.2

Undocking:    Rosyth  Norwegian B.1

TRIAD on passage to Fro Havet reported he had been bombed by enemy aircraft, no damage being caused.

Captain A/S stated his requirements for submarines for training at Portland would be two until the end of July when the major part of A/S training will have been transferred to NIMROD.  After that, only one submarine only will be required for M.A/S.B.s and experimental purposes.

C in C Mediterranean reported that ODIN was now overdue and must be considered lost.

29th June

Departures:    Fowey  WARRIOR II, TIGRIS, OTWAY, and OBERON for Portsmouth arriving the same day.  Dundee  O.21 and O.22 arriving same day.  Blyth  NARWHAL for Immingham.

Arrivals:    Dundee  L.23

Undocking:    Blyth  SPEARFISH
Docking:    Rosyth  WILK

TALISMAN’s diving trials were completed in the Clyde.

As W/T equipment of H class submarines has proved inadequate for their reconnaissance duties, steps were taken to fit H.44 with an R.A.F. set as an experiment.

C in C Mediterranean reported that ORPHEUS must now be considered overdue, and that he considered the losses of ODIN, GRAMPUS, and ORPHEUS were probably due to Italian minefields laid in depths up to 200 fathoms.  He had consequently ordered submarines not to cross the 200 fathom line unless in pursuit of important enemy units.

WHITE BEAR reported that she had sunk an enemy submarine by depth charges.

As a result of intercepted enemy aircraft reports, it was thought that an expedition might be proceeding from Norway to the north of Scotland.  NARWHAL and H.31 were ordered to patrol positions off Flamborough Head, and RUBIS off Aberdeen.  All available submarines were brought to immediate notice.  It was later decided that this expedition had not in fact sailed, and submarines reverted to normal notice.

30th June

Arrivals:    Immingham  NARWHAL.  Dundee  RUBIS

Departures:    Immingham NARWHAL for F.D. 21 off Smolen,

Admiralty gave orders that RUBIS was to be detained at Dundee on some suitable excuse.  She had valuable information of enemy patrols off Smolen and NARWHAL’s sailing was delayed until she had received these details by special messenger.
SNAPPER reported that he had been attacked by a U boat 27 miles S.S.W. of Lister Light

SEVERN reported an unsuccessful attack on a northbound destroyer north of J and that three of his four main motor coolers were leaking slightly.

Intercepted enemy aircraft signals indicated that SEALION had been sighted in the Skagerrak and he was informed of this.




Date:  23rd August 1940            No. 1106/SM.1004

In continuation of my submission No. 789/SM 1004 of 10th July, be pleased to lay before Their Lordships the attached War Diary covering the period 1st July to 31st July.
                            (signed) Max Horton
                            Vice Admiral

1st July

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.34.     Blyth  H.31

Departures:    Rosyth  O.21 and O.22 for Dundee

On receipt of an aircraft report of a convoy to the west of C.1, SEVERN was ordered to intercept and TRIDENT to patrol in the vicinity of Skudesnes.

As the present wireless equipment of H boats has shown that they are unsuitable for patrol in H.2 and it was desired to have a submarine patrol further southward, H.50 was moved to a patrol position north of Hinder.

TRITON on leaving Fro Havet reported regular enemy aircraft and trawler patrol in his area.

TRIDENT reported two eastbound enemy destroyers off Stadtlandet

SEVERN was ordered to return to harbour owning to main motor cooler defects.

In order to place two H class submarines under Vice Admiral Dover’s orders for operating in the Straits, H.49 was ordered to be sailed for Dover, H.28 from Blyth to Harwich, and H.44 from Harwich to Dover on completion of defects.

From aircraft reconnaissance at Trondheim, it was decided that the large ship there was a HIPPER class cruiser and not a battle cruiser as previously thought.

Owing to the intensification of air warfare at Portland, it was decided that torpedo trials of new construction should be carried out in the Clyde.

TALISMAN was transferred from the Fifth to the Second Flotilla.

SEALION reported that enemy air and surface A/S patrols had prevented him fully penetrating into the Skagerrak, that there was considerable enemy traffic, that he had been bombed by aircraft and had withdrawn in accordance with his orders.

2 July

Arrivals:    Portsmouth  WARRIOR II and TIGRIS.  Dundee  SEVERN

Departures:    Blyth  H.28 for Harwich,  SWORDFISH for H.2, SEAWOLF for C.1 and Operation THWART.  Harwich  H.49 for Dover, arriving same day.

In view of the many indications that a German invasion would take place shortly, about the period of new moon and high tide, V.A.S. decided that all available submarines should proceed to sea in the next two days, and the following dispositions were ordered:  TETRARCH to Fejeosen, SUNFISH to Kors Fjord, TRIBUNE off Selbjorn Fjord, PORPOISE north of Utsire, SHARK off Skudesnes to patrol alternately with SEALION, SALMON to patrol north of J, SPEARFISH to A.5, SEALION returning from the Skagerrak was ordered to Skudesnes.

V.A.S. ordered S.5 to make every effort to accelerate the trial programme of TIGRIS and TALISMAN in order that they may be ready for service as soon as possible.

As SEVERN and TRIDENT had not sighted the convoy referred to yesterday, they were ordered to return to harbour.
O.21 and O.22 carried out independent exercises off Dundee.

Intercepted wireless signals showed that German aircraft had attacked a submarine off the Norwegian coast.  This later transpired to have been TRITON who was undamaged.

3rd July

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TRIDENT.    Harwich  H.28

Departures:    Blyth  SPEARFISH for A.5.  Rosyth  TETRARCH for Fejeosen.  SHARK for Skudesnes.

Docking:    Dundee  L.23

V.A.S. attended a conference on invasion at the Admiralty.

SEALION reported a southbound convoy off Jaederens.

SNAPPZER reported a successful attack on a southbound convoy in C.1, three hits being estimated, and that he was returning to harbour having expended all his torpedoes.

OBERON, OTWAY, H.32, O.9, and O.10 were brought to four hours notice by S.5.

V.A.S. informed Vice Admiral Dover that should he require submarines to patrol to the westward of Dover mine barrier during the next seven days,  OBERON, OTWAY, and H.32 were at his disposal with the concurrence of C in C Portsmouth.

Submarines on patrol were informed that it was particularly important that their presence should not be disclosed during the next few days, even though this would prevent such a close watch on the exits to the Fjords.

O.21 and O.22 exercised off Dundee.

All French ships in British ports were taken over by the Navy.  Commander D.V. Sprague, Commanding Officer THAMES, was dangerously wounded while performing this duty on the submarine SURCOUF.

4th July

Departures:     Blyth  PORPOISE for Utsire.  Rosyth  TRIBUNE for Selbjorn, SUNFISH for Kors Fjord, SALMON for north of J.
Arrivals:    Rosyth  TRITON.  Dundee  N.T.B. Z.8 from Portsmouth

Commander D.V. Sprague, Commanding Officer THAMES, died from wounds received yesterday.

Submarines on patrol were informed that analysis of enemy reports showed that the main traffic route between Jaederens and Lister lay about 15 and 20 miles off the coast.

S.5 was ordered to sail H.32 for Campbeltown as soon as escort was available.

In view of the satisfactory results obtained from the R.A.F. G.P. W/T set fitted in H.44, steps were taken for the immediate fitting of similar sets in remaining H boats of the Third and Sixth Flotillas.

The following arrangements were made for the Fifth and Seventh Training Flotillas:  OBERON, OTWAY and WARRIOR II to leave Portsmouth about the 12th of July and join CYCLOPS at Rothesay, being transferred to the Seventh Flotilla: L 23 and L 26 to be transferred to the Seventh Flotilla about the 12th of July, and one, or whenever possible, two submarines to be available at Scapa for A/S training; H.33 already in the Clyde to  be transferred to the Seventh Submarine Flotilla; O.9 and O.10 to remain at Portland till early August then proceed to the Clyde , being transferred to the Seventh Flotilla; B.1 to be transferred from the Third to the Seventh Flotilla when available for service and used for A/S training in the Clyde.  The composition of the Fifth Flotilla will eventually be:  L.27 at Portsmouth for training classes, H.43 at Plymouth for A/S, H.32 at Portland for A/S.  The composition of the Seventh Flotilla will be: CYCLOPS, WARRIOR II, OBERON, OTWAY, L.23, H.33, B.1, O.9, and O.10 will carry out C.O.Q.C. and A/S training.

Polish Admiral Swirski visited V.A.S.

5th July

Departures:    Portsmouth  TIGRIS and H.32 escorted by WARRIOR II for Clyde.  OBERON and OTWAY for F.1 and F.2

Arrivals:    Rosyth  SNAPPER

SEAWOLF reported Part 1 of Operation THWART completed.

NARWHAL reported laying of F.D. 21 off Smolen completed.

R.A.D. requested that consideration might be given to the stationing of an additional submarine at Scapa for A/S training, and was informed that one would be provided whenever circumstances allow.

Swordfish aircraft operating from Hatston reported that they had attacked a submarine to the west of Stadtlandet and obtained one hit with a torpedo.  It was considered that this might have been TETRARCH who subsequently reported, in reply to a signal from V.A.S., that it was her and that she was undamaged.

6th July

Departures:    Dundee  O.21 and O.22 (arrived Rosyth same day); Harwich  H.28 for north of the Hinder; Plymouth  H.43 for Operation ANGER

Undockings:    Rosyth  WILK   Dundee  L.23

SEALION reported that she had withdrawn from her patrol position off Skudesnes for one day as she had been kept down for 45 hours.  Her patrol position was consequently shifted further west and she was ordered not to close Skudesnes unless under special circumstances.

Owing to battery defects in L.23, L.26 was ordered to remain at Scapa for the present.  L.23 is to  be sailed for Scapa when ready for service in order that two submarines may be maintained for A/S training.

Commander R.L.M. Edwards was appointed to command CYCLOPS and as Captain S.7, holding the rank if Acting Captain.
TITANIA was commissioned as Submarine Depot Ship with Captain H.M.C. Ionides in command.

Admiralty signal 2005/6 defined the area in which merchant ships might be sunk on sight.  This was virtually same as that already ordered by V.A.S. (see 18th June)

Loss of SHARK

At 2250 on the 5th, SHARK reported that she was unable to dive and gave her position off Skudesnes course 230 degrees, 10 knots, and requested escort.  V.A.S. requested Admiralty that air and surface support should be sent.  4 destroyers, supported by SOUTHAMPTON and COVENTRY left Scapa at 0254 on the 6th, and three Blenheims were sent to locate SHARK.  Air and surface escorted failed to make contact.  SHARK was ordered to report her position at 1009 and was repeatedly called throughout the day.  No answer was received and at 1311, V.A.S. informed C in C H.F.  that he feared that the risk entailed n continuing the search with surface vessels was no longer justified.  Surface forces were later ordered to return to Scapa.
From intercepted German signals it seems that SHARK was sighted by aircraft at 0200/6 on which SHARK opened fire and inflicted some damage.  SHARK appears to have then broken down and at 0254 aircraft reported that she was drifting.  At 0931, another aircraft reported that a trawler had destroyed the submarine and was rescuing the crew.  This latter information was also promulgated by German broadcasts.

It was later learnt that PORPOISE returning from patrol sighted flares and rockets over the horizon in SHARK’s approximate position and at 0458 heard a very heavy and prolonged explosion.

The cause for SHARK’s inability to dive is not known.

7th July

Departures:    Devonport  THAMES for the Clyde

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.44 and H.50.   Blyth  NARWHAL

Dockings:    Rosyth  O.21 and O.22

It was reported to Admiralty that SHARK must be considered lost.

As it was now considered that the imminence of invasion during the next few days had decreased, the following submarines were ordered to return to harbour on the 9th July:  SUNFISH, TRIBUNE, PORPOISE, SEALION, SALMON, STURGEON.

At C in C H.F.’s request, SEALION was ordered to investigate a 5000 ton merchant vessel, reported aground off Oberstadt.
Information was received from S.9 that all officers and ratings of RUBIS, with the exception of about five, wished to continue fighting in British service.

In view of intense aerial activity in the Channel, all A/S practices at Portland were stopped and in consequence O.9 and O.10 were ordered to sail for the Clyde.

V.A.S. proposed to Admiralty with reference to their 2005/6 that merchant vessels inside the East Coast mine barrier should also be attacked.

8th July

Arrivals:    Campbeltown  H.32.   Rothesay  TIGRIS.  Clyde  THAMES

Departures:    Dundee  SEVERN for Rosyth, arriving same day.  Rosyth  TRUANT for Fro Havet.

Dockings:    Rosyth  Norwegian B.1

TETRARCH was ordered to patrol off Kors Fjord and SUNFISH and SALMON were ordered to patrol to the westward of Skudesnes instead of returning to harbour.

Orders were given that French submarines submerged or unescorted on the surface were to be treated as hostile.

Aircraft reports showed that one HIPPER class cruiser was still in Trondheim.

9th July

Departures:    Portsmouth and Portland  O.9, O.10, O.23 escorted  by Z.6 for the Clyde.  Dundee  CLYDE for Stadtlandet;   Harwich  H.44 for patrol near the Hinder.   Plymouth  H.43 for operation ANGER Part II

STURGEON reported unceasing enemy A/S by trawlers and in H.1 and gave positions of the enemy swept channel.

TAKU and TRIAD off Fro Havet reported intense enemy air activity and no shipping seen.  They had  both been bombed on several occasions without damage.  In view of this, V.A.S. consulted C in C H.F.  and they were ordered to leave their patrol positions forthwith, TAKU returning to Rosyth and TRIAD proceeding to patrol off Stadtlandet.  TRUANT on passage to Fro Havet was ordered to Fejeosen.

SEALION reported that the merchant vessel which she was ordered to investigate off Jaederens on the 7th July was a total wreck, also that she  carried out an unsuccessful attack on the convoy reported on 3rd July.

F.O.I.C. Greenock asked that C.O. CYCLOPS should perform the duties of resident Naval Officer at Rothesay.  V.A.S. did not concur in this as CYCLOPS was at normal notice for sea and liable to transfer with little warning.

WILK’s sailing was delayed owing to defective main motors.

ALECTO was ordered to proceed to Tobermory as soon as possible to act temporarily as Depot Ship for submarines to  be based there for A/S training, and was transferred to the Seventh Flotilla.

S.5 ordered the following transfers of submarines:  TIGRIS to Second Flotilla from the 6th July; H.33, O.9, O.10 to the Seventh Flotilla from the 11th July;  O.23 to the Ninth Flotilla from the 10th July.

Netherlands authorities placed O.15 at Curacoa, under the orders of C in C N.A. & W.I., who was ordered to sail her for passage to United Kingdom, via Bermuda and Halifax.

10th July

Departures:    Rosyth  SEVERN escorted for Plymouth, west about; Dundee  WILK for south of C.1; Portland  ALECTO for Tobermory.

Arrivals:    Blyth  PORPOISE

SEAWOLF reported that Operation THWART Part II was completed and that he had important information to report verbally.  He was ordered to return to harbour.

SPEARFISH was ordered to operate in H.2 as a result of STURGEON’s report of the 9th.

S.5 transferred ALECTO and H.32 to the Seventh Flotilla from the 11th July.

11th July

Arrivals:        Rosyth  SEALION; Milford Haven  O.9, O.10, 0.23 escorted by .6; Blyth  STURGEON

Dockings:    Blyth  STURGEON for repairs to Asdic dome

TRIAD on leaving Stadtlandet reported an unsuccessful attack on a small steamer with Swedish colours which he suspected of being a possible Q ship

SUNFISH and SALMON were ordered to move their patrol positions 20 miles to the northward to cover the route between Skudesnes and north of the Shetlands.

C in C Western Approaches requested that very early consideration might be given to the establishment of submarine patrols off Brest and the French West Coast ports, to give warning of any expedition leaving those ports.

WARRIOR II while on passage from the Clyde to Portsmouth was sunk by dive bombers in a position to the southward of Portland.

12th July

Arrivals:        Rosyth  SEAWOLF and TAKU; Harwich  H.28;  Plymouth  H.43; Blyth  SWORDFISH; Greenock  WHITE BEAR

Departures:    Milford Haven  O.9, O.10, O.23, escorted by Z.6 for the Clyde; Harwich  H.50 for Sheerness, arriving same day.

H.28 and H.49 were withdrawn from Dover Straits patrol.

SALMON was ordered to return to harbour and SUNFISH to operate 10 miles further south.

SEAWOLF reported an unsuccessful attack on a large trawler on the 10th July off Lister.

H.28 on return to harbour reported a large number of drifting mines and 10 dan buoys with top marking flags in his patrol area north of the Hinder.

V.A.S. decided (word “decided” queried in ink) to maintain one submarine off the West Coast of France, TIGRIS, TALISMAN, and CACHALOT to be used for this patrol, working from the Clyde.  S.7 was ordered to report how soon TIGRIS could sail.

In view of the loss of WARRIOR II, it was decided that WHITE BEAR should be used temporarily for C.O.Q.C. target ship, after escorting THAMES from Greenock to Dundee.

13th July

Arrivals:        Tobermory  ALECTO; Harwich  H.49;  Plymouth  SEVERN; Rosyth  TRIAD.

Departures:    Portsmouth  OBERON and OTWAY for the Clyde.

S.7 reported that TIGRIS would be ready to sail on patrol noon 14th.  TIGRIS and TALISMAN were lent from the Second to the Seventh Flotilla.

Personnel of RUBIS and French base staff at Dundee have all elected to serve in the British Navy, with the exception of one officer and two ratings.

V.A.S. requested that A/S Rosyth should arrange for early completion of O.21 and O.22 as they were required for patrol.

In view of the establishment of a submarine patrol in the Bay of Biscay, the home station will now be considered a “Dangerous Area” for the purposes of signal publications.

14th July

Arrivals:    Rothesay  O.23, O.9, O.10, and Z.6

Departures:    Plymouth  H.43; Blyth H.31 for H.1

In view of unusual enemy W/T activity, submarines were brought to one hours notice.

Anxiety was felt for the safety of SALMON who was expected to arrive p.m. today at the latest and from whom no signals had been received..

THAMES was delayed by tube defects.

OBERON and OTWAY were transferred from the Fifth to Seventh Flotilla.

15th July

Arrivals:    Plymouth  H.43

Departures:    Harwich  H.34 for H.1

Dockings:    Blyth  SWORDFISH; Rosyth TRITON

Undockings:    Rosyth  Norwegian B.1

TETRARCH and SUNFISH were ordered to leave patrol and return to harbour.

Submarines reverted to normal notice.

TETRARCH reported an unsuccessful attack on a U boat off Kors Fjord and that he intended to return diving by day in hopes of intercepting other enemy submarines.

H.44 in H.2 reported enemy and A/S minesweeping patrol up to a distance of 12 miles from the Dutch coast and that he had been hunted by a trawler.

It was reported to Admiralty that, as SALMON was due at Rosyth p.m. 14th, and as no signals had been received from her since she sailed on patrol on the 4th July, she must be presumed lost if no indication of her whereabouts is received by the 16th.

S.7 reported that O.10 had developed a tank defect which would eventually necessitate docking.

Commanding Officer, V.R.F. RUBIS visited V.A.S.

16th July

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.44; Rosyth  SUNFISH; Rothesay  OTWAY and OBERON

Departures:     Rothesay  TIGRIS escorted for Bordeaux patrol;  Dundee  L.23 escorted by Z.8 for Scapa

Docking;    Rosyth  SEAWOLF

Undocking:    Rosyth  TRITON

SUNFISH reported infrequent aircraft and surface patrols off Skudesnes and that he had been bombed, but was undamaged;  that he had carried out an unsuccessful attack on an escorted empty southbound tanker off Skudesnes.

NARWHAL was ordered to carry out F.D. 22 in the Trondheim approaches.

TITANIA was ordered to proceed to Rosyth on completion of refit.

S.7 reported that the defects in O.10 were no aggravated and the submarine was unable to dive.

Yacht BREDA was allocated to V.A.S. as target ship for C.O.Q.C. in place of WARRIOR II who was sunk off Portland.

17th July

Arrivals:    Blyth  SPEARFISH

Departures:    (Rosyth)  TRIDENT for Kors Fjord.

TETRARCH reported he suspected an enemy submarine patrol lie running 330 degrees through position 59 degrees N, 03 degrees E.

V.A.V. ordered TRIBUNE and SPEARFISH to be transferred to the Third Flotilla whose strength was now reduced to four submarines as a result of recent losses.

THAMES reported that torpedoes had been fired satisfactorily from all tubes.

18th July

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TETRARCH; Dundee  Z.8

Departures:    Tobermory  ALECTO for Rothesay

Docking        Dundee  RUBIS

Undocking    Rosyth  SEAWOLF

TRIDENT was informed that she had been sighted and reported by German aircraft.

TETRARCH on return to harbour stated, with reference to the attack carried out on his by Swordfish aircraft on the 5th July, that he sighted 7 biplanes steering west at a range of 2 miles and dived.  When at 90 feet, he heard one loud explosion on the port quarter.  It will be remembered that these aircraft reported having sunk a submarine with torpedoes.  During his patrol TETRARCH had several encounters with U boats and formed the belief that they were using Bergen as a  base.

V.A.S. decided in view of the decreased likelihood of imminent invasion to further reduce the number of submarines on patrol.  TRUANT and CLYDE were ordered to return to harbour, TRIDENT relieving CLYDE off Stadtlandet.  SNAPPER was ordered to sail for patrol off Skudesnes and TRITON for Fejeosen.

As a result of patrol reports of submarines off the Norwegian coast, it was evident that under present conditions of light, the hours when the sun is below the horizon are the worst for charging as aircraft are very difficult to see until fairly close.  This information was passed to A.C.O.S. as it was considered that the present conditions of light and moon should prove most profitable for the destruction of enemy submarines provided they can be relentlessly harassed night and day by aircraft working in cooperation with surface ships.

TIGRIS on patrol off Bordeaux was informed that French submarines were not to be attacked.

Diving trials of URSULA were satisfactorily completed.

Arrangements were made to dock O.10 at Govan.

19th July

Arrivals:    Rothesay  ALECTRO, BREDA

Departures:    Rothesay  THAMES escorted by WHITE BEAR for Dundee; Tyne  URSULA for trials and Blyth  (arrived same day)

C in C H.F.  was informed that PORPOISE would be ready to lay about 25th July and that, in view of the light nights off the Norwegian coast and the fact that she carries external fuel, it was not desirable that she should lay in close waters.  C in C H.F. was asked if there was any particular position in which he would like the lay to take place; he replied that he would like the mines laid in Zone E.2

S.7 reported that TALISMAN would require docking for repairs to tube gear before being ready for operational duty.

The distribution of the new submarine flares being near complete, it was decided that they should be brought into force on the 22 July.

C in C N.A. &W.I. stated that he intended to dock O.15 at Halifax for repairs before sailing her for the United Kingdom.

TRIBUNE was placed at 12 hours notice for four days to make good repairs to frames.

20th July

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TRITON, SNAPPER; Harwich  H.50

Departures:    Blyth  NARWHAL arriving Humber same day

Undocking:    Blyth  SWORDFISH

On receipt of a report that GNEISENAU might have left Trondheim at 0900, TRIDENT was ordered to remain in her position off Kors Fjord and TRUANT who was returning to Rosyth, was ordered to patrol off the westward of Sogne Fjord.

As it was reported that the dan buoys sighted by H.50 in the vicinity of Hinder had now been removed, C in C Nore requested that a submarine might patrol in this locality to watch for any further laying of buoys.  It was decided to sail H.50 to this position.

21st July

Arrivals:    Dundee  THAMES, WHITE BEAR; Tobermory  ALECTRO, O.9
Departures:    Harwich  H.50 for Hinder
Docking:    Glasgow  TALISMAN
As there was no further indication of the battle cruiser reported yesterday, TRIDENT was ordered to proceed to Stadtlandet to relieve CLYDE, and TRUANT was ordered to return to Rosyth.
C in C Mediterranean reported that PHOENIX was now 48 hours overdue and must be considered lost.  She as patrolling off the Sicilian Coast.
From the evidence of recent patrol reports it appears probable that German aircraft are dropping single depth charges of great power.  SEALION was lifted bodily from 30 to 10 feet.  V.A.S. submitted to the Admiralty that immediate steps should be taken to equip our aircraft with depth charges.

22 July

Departures:    Humber  NARWHAL for F.D. 22 off Trondheim

TRITON was ordered to patrol off Selbjorn Fjord for 48 hours and then to proceed to Kors Fjord reporting on leaving the former.
H.34 reported that he encountered an unknown submarine in area H.2.  This may have been H.31.

TRUANT reported that Fejeosen was apparently not used as he had sighted no enemy patrol vessels or air activity.

23rd July

Arrivals:    Dundee  CLYDE

WILK who had been on patrol north of J reported no surface patrols and little air activity.  He had been bombed three times without damage.

On the 22nd July CLYDE fired 6 torpedoes at a supposed submarine which missed.  After the attack, it was discovered that this submarine was TRUANT.  V.A.S. ordered S.2 to conduct an investigation into the circumstances and to make recommendations to avoid the recurrence of similar incidents.

THAMES’ patrol position was shifted to the northwest of J, and later to the north of J to intercept enemy forces reported by aircraft.

V.A.S. informed Admiralty and the Commanders in Chief concerned of his intended submarine dispositions for the forthcoming dark night period.  These were:  one submarine each off Fro Havet, Fejeosen, Kors Fjord, and in the Skagerrak;  two off Skudesnes; four south of Lister covering the Skagerrak approaches; one off Dover; one southeast of Gap E, and two off the Texel.  Two Netherlands submarines, if available, on the meridian of 3 degrees East between 58 degrees and 60 degrees North.
Owing to defects, it will be necessary for L.26 to return to Dundee from Scapa.

S.7 was ordered to sail TALISMAN to relieve TIGRIS on the Bay of Biscay patrol.

24th July

Departures:    Blyth  PORPOISE for Humber, SPEARFISH and URSULA for Rosyth, all arriving same day.  Plymouth  CACHALOT escorted for Rothesay.

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TRUANT and WILK

From aircraft reports during the night of 23/24, it was evident that the enemy had been carrying out minelaying operations to the northwest of J.  THAMES was moved to the eastward to clear this area and Captains (S) were ordered to route submarines clear.  Admiralty subsequently issued a QZ message to cover this.

H.31 reported he had carried out an unsuccessful attack on the 18th July on three A/S trawlers off Terschelling, that he was undamaged by subsequent depth charge attack and that the enemy were using a frequency of 10 K/Cs.  He also reported that there were a large number of logs off Terschelling which did not support  nets.

TRUANT reported being bombed without damage on the 23rd.

V.A.S. ordered the following submarine dispositions to cover the dispositions outlined on the 23rd:  TAKU to be sailed so as to be off Fro Havet on the 3rd August; SNAPPER to be relieved off Skudesnes by SPEARFISH on the 2nd August; SEALION to be sailed on the 27th to the Skagerrak along the latitude of 57 degrees, 50 minutes N, between 08 degrees and 09 degrees; TRIAD to be sailed on the 27th to patrol off Fejeosen; SWORDFISH, TRIBUNE, and SUNFISH to be sailed on the 27th July to patrol between the German Declared area and Lister; Porpoise was also ordered to be patrol in this vicinity on completion of F.D.23; SEAWOLF to be sailed on the 28th July for additional patrol off Skudesnes; TRIDENT was ordered to leave patrol on the 30th July and return to base; H.28 to be relieved by STURGEON in H.1 and H.2; URSULA when available to patrol in H.2 south.

V.A.S. gave orders for TALISMAN to carry out an operation in the Bay of Biscay similar to Operation THWART recently carried out by SEAWOLF.

German broadcasts claimed that one of their bombers had succeeded in sinking a submarine off Aberdeen on 23rd July.

25th July

V.A.S. submitted to the C in C H.F. that as the new German minefields have imposed long and circuitous routes on submarines proceeding to and from patrols, it would be of considerable assistance if an exploratory sweep under suitable weather conditions could be arranged to investigate a safe passage through these minefields.  C in C replied that this had been considered, but that it could not be done until there was a considerably greater dark period.

THAMES was ordered to a patrol position west of J, proceeding north of 143 QZX.

26th July

Arrivals:    Rothesay  CACHALOT; Blyth  H.31

Departures:    Rothesay  O.23 escorted by Z.6 for Dundee

V.A.S. emphasized to Captains (S) home Fleet that, although it was desirable to route submarines clear of each other, there are many occasions when this cannot be done.  Consequently, close cooperation between Captains (S) in routing of submarines is essential, and further C.O.’s of submarines must always bear in mind the positions of friendly submarines relative to themselves and must no attack on sight if there is any possibility of a friendly submarine being in the vicinity.  Captains (S) Home Fleet were further informed that the increased patrols now being instituted were in case of raid or invasion taking place during the forthcoming moonless period.  It was therefore particularly important that all submarines should take extra care not to disclose their presence on patrol.  The possibility of enemy invading forces proceeding to Iceland, the Shetlands or the Faroes in addition to or instead of to the United Kingdom must be borne in mind.

27th July

Arrivals:    Stornoway  O.23, Z.6

Departures:    Blyth  STURGEON for H.2, SWORDFISH for north of E.1; Rosyth  SEALION for C.3, SUNFISH for C.1, TRIAD for Fejeosen, TAKU for Fro Havet, TRIBUNE for south of C.1

Docking:    Rosyth  WILK

As there were indications that the Germans might be carrying out an operation from Norway, probably Trondheim, TRIDENT was ordered to patrol off Fro Havet and NARWHAL to patrol off Stadtlandet on completion of F.D. 22.

Owing to engine defects, O.15 will not be ready to leave Bermuda for Halifax before 1st August.

28th July

Departures:    Rosyth  URSULA for Blyth, arriving same day; Stornoway  Z.6 and O.23 for Dundee; Harwich  H.44 for north of the Hinder; Tyne  TITANIA for Blyth, arriving same day.

Undockings:    Rosyth  O.21 and O.22

Air reconnaissance showed that the enemy forces had left Trondheim; TRITON was ordered to patrol 20 miles westward of Kors Fjord.

TIGRIS was ordered to leave patrol on the 31st and return to Falmouth for onward escort.

29th July

Arrivals:    Harwich   H.50; Rosyth L.26, O.23, and Z.6

SEALION reported that he had unsuccessfully attacked a 230 ton U boat with gun and torpedo to the westward of Jaederens.

TRITON reported an enemy submarine off Kors Fjord steering west.

SWORDFISH reported that he had rescued 4 Norwegians from a derelict yacht.

As enemy forces had now left Trondheim, NARWHAL was ordered to proceed to Rosyth on completion of F.D. 22.

In view of recent air attack, Vice Admiral Dover decided that Dover was not a suitable base from which to operate submarines.

O.23 and L.26 were diverted to Rosyth as Dundee was closed owing to mining.

30th July

Departures:    Rosyth  O.21 and O.22 for patrol positions west of A.1 and A.2;  Blyth  URSULA for H.2.

Undocking:    Rosyth  WILK

As it is estimated that NARWHAL would report completion of F.D. 22 on approximately 28th or 29th, and as no signals had been received from her, considerable anxiety was felt for her safety.  She was ordered to report her position as soon practicable.  No answer was received to this signal.

TRITON was ordered to resume her patrol off Kors Fjord.

In view of the possibility of operating additional submarines from the Clyde area shortly, F.O.I.C. Greenock was asked to examine the question of a possible berth for FORTH and the Second Flotilla.  He replied that Holy Loch or Rothesay appeared to be the most suitable berths, but the question of shore basing in the Clyde had been investigated.

31st July

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.28

TIGRIS on leaving patrol off Bordeaux reported searchlight activity nightly and a small amount of northbound coastal traffic.

TALISMAN was ordered to patrol off Bordeaux in place of TIGRIS.

It was reported to the Admiralty that as no reply had been received from NARWHAL to V.A.S.’s signal of the 30th July, she must be presumed lot, and it was further considered that F.D. 22 should be presumed to have been laid in the position ordered.


1st August

Departures:    Rosyth  TETRARCH for the north of E.l

Arrivals:    Dundee  O.23

O.21 reported an unsuccessful attack on a small U Boat to the westward of A.2, and O.22 sighted what was probably the same northbound U.boat, out of range, to the westward of A.1

V.A.S. informed Captains (S) Home Fleet that on return from patrols, submarines might now revert to extended notice of seven days, during which period leave might be granted.  One submarine of each Flotilla, however, was to be at 8 hours notice for the period of extended notice.  This did not apply to submarines based at Harwich

2nd August

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.34; Falmouth  TIGRIS; Rosyth  TRIDENT

Dockings:    Rosyth  B.1

O.22 reported an unsuccessful attack on a northbound U boat westward of A.1, also sighted a south bound U boat out of range.

V.A.S. decided, as the threat of invasion was not now considered imminent, to reduce the number of submarines on Anti Invasion patrol and carry out a concerted attack on coastal traffic between Skudesnes and Lillesand.  TRITON, SNAPPER, TRIAD, THAMES, TRIBUNE, and PORPOISE were ordered to return to harbour.  SEALION, SUNFISH, SPEARFISH, and SEAWOLF were ordered to the close the coast so as to attack coastal shipping on the night of the 3rd and 4th of August.  SEALION, SWORDFISH, SUNFISH, SEAWOLF were ordered to return to harbour on the 5th August, SPEARFISH proceeding to C.1 on 6th August.

Italian broadcast announced the sinking of H.M.S. OSWALD in the Mediterranean.

German broadcast announced that the U boat which sank the WHIRLWIND had also sunk a submarine.

TAKU was ordered to proceed coastwise from Fro Havet to patrol in the vicinity of Stadtlandet.

TIGRIS reported various engine defects on arrival at Falmouth

3rd August

Departures:    TIGRIS escorted for Rothesay

Arrivals:    L.26

It was proposed that O.10 should proceed to Dundee to refit as soon as B.1 has joined the Seventh Flotilla about the 15th August.

It was expected that THAMES would arrive Dundee pm. And as no signals had been received from her, considerable anxiety was felt for her safety.

4th August

Arrivals:    Rosyth  SNAPPER, TRIAD, TRITON

TRIAD reported that he had unsuccessfully attacked a 740 ton U boat by gun fire on the 3rd August.  The enemy was sighted while diving and relative positions precluded torpedo attack.  TRIAD consequently surfaced and engaged the enemy by gunfire, who dived after the third round had been fired.  TRIAD also dived to hunt the enemy but could not maintain contact.

SNAPPER reported that he had made two ineffectual attempts to charge on the surface in daylight hours in Zone C.1, having been sighted by aircraft on each occasion within five minutes of surfacing.  On one of these occasions, the area was searched by A/S surface and air patrols on the next day.

TRITON reported sighting two U boats, both out of range, during his patrol, one apparently outward bound from Selbjorn.
No signals were received from THAMES and she was ordered to report her position.  No reply was received to this signal.
Admiralty ordered that preparations should be made for CACHALOT to lay her mines off Penmarch, with Belle Ile and the Ile d’Yeu as alternative positions.  (These are all on the west coast of France).  V.A.S. informed S.7 that CACHALOT would be required to leave Rothesay on the 8th to relieve TALISMAN.

In the event of being required to maintain additional submarines in the Bay of Biscay and further south, V.A.S. decided that FORTH and the requisite number of submarines of the Second Flotilla should be based on Holy Loch.

PORPOISE reported F.D. 23 in the Heligoland Bight completed.

In forwarding H.43’s report on Operation ANGER, the C in C Western Approaches commended the Commanding Officer H.43 for the manner in which he had carried out this operation.

5th August

Arrivals:    Rothesay  TIGRIS; Rosyth  TRIBUNE, PORPOISE; Harwich  H.44

Departures:    Plymouth  H.43 for Brest; Harwich  H.34 for the Hinder

A German broadcast claimed that a U boat had sunk H.M.S. SPEARFISH.  SPEARFISH was consequently ordered to withdraw clear of the coast and report during the dark hours.

Admiralty were informed that it was now regretted that THAMES must be presumed lost.

TAKU was ordered to a position westward of Kors Fjord with the object of attacking U boats on passage between the Fair Island Channel and Kors or Selbjorn Fjords.

Owing to enemy mining activity in the Forth approaches, it is no longer practicable for submarines to carry out practices in this area.  V.A.S.  therefore decided with the concurrence of A.C.O.S. that independent exercises when necessary should be carried out at Scapa.

It was proposed that CACHALOT should lay F.D. 24 off Penmarch off the northwest coast of France.

6th August

Arrivals:      Blyth  PORPOISE from Rosyth

As no reports were received from SPEARFISH, she was ordered to return to harbour.

In view of operational developments which may require four “T” class submarines to be sent to the Mediterranean in the near future, Admiralty requested to make arrangements for them to undergo a 14 day refit and docking forthwith, and in consequence TETRARCH was ordered to return to harbour.

The sailing of CACHALOT was postponed pending Admiralty decision on the declaration of a mined area of the west coast of France.

As it may be necessary to base FORTH and the Second Flotilla on the Clyde at an early date, Admiralty were requested that a mooring buoy should be laid in Holy Loch for FORTH.

Arrangements were made for H.28 to refit at Sheerness forthwith.

As L.23 had developed a defect which necessitates her return to Dundee, S.9 was ordered to sail L.26 for Scapa on the 11th August, L.23 leaving Scapa on the next day.

7th August

Arrivals:     Rosyth  SEAWOLF, SUNFISH

Departures:    Harwich  H.50 for H.1 and H.2 south; Dundee  CLYDE for westward of Kors Fjord.

Dockings:    Rosyth  SNAPPER; Dundee  L.26

V.A.S. attended two conferences at the Admiralty with the First Sea Lord and the First Lord on the subject of our recent submarine losses, further disposition of submarines, and the fitting of aircraft with depth charges for attack on submarines.
CLYDE was ordered to sail to relieve TAKU, who will leave patrol p.m. on the 8th.

WILK was ordered to sail on the 8th August to relieve O.22 to the westward of A.1, the object of both these submarines being to attack enemy submarines.

Arrangements were made to dock TRIAD at Dundee, TRUANT at Blyth, TETRARCH at Newcastle, and TRITON at Rosyth.

S.5 reported that O.24, completing at Southampton, would be ready to sail on the 21st August.

SUNFISH reported sighting three escort vessels on the 30th July and one small convoy on the 3rd August, both in Zone C.1 and out of range.

In connection with CACHALOT’s proposed lay, investigations were made into reported channels and obstructions off the Northwest coast of France.

As the number of submarines on patrol is now being substantially reduced, arrangements were made to broadcast dummy messages on the H.S. routines to keep the traffic up to normal.

It was decided that DWARF should be transferred to the Seventh Flotilla on completion of refit.

C in C Mediterranean reported that OSWALD must now be presumed lost.  It should be remembered that Italian broadcasts claimed that she had been rammed and sunk by an Italian destroyer on 2nd August, the crew being rescued.

The French submarines MINERVE and JUNON, now at Plymouth, will be attached to the Fifth Submarine Flotilla for administration.

8th August

Departures:    Blyth  H.31 for H.1; Rosyth  WILK for the west of A.1; Harwich  H.28 for Sheerness, arrived same day.

Arrivals:    Blyth  SWORDFISH

Undocking:    Rosyth  B.1; Dundee  L.26

Docking:    Rosyth TRIBUNE

TALISMAN reported that he had landed his agent near Bordeaux and had sighted three merchant vessels flying French colours steering northwest of Bordeaux.

URSULA moving from the southern to the northern half of H.2 reported sighting a spar buoy in the southern area.

STURGEON reported frequent A/S patrols by trawlers in H.1, and that on the 4th August, he had unsuccessfully attacked a small southbound convoy off Terschelling.  He was subsequently depth charged by the escort without damage.

SWORDFISH carried out an unsuccessful attack at long range on a merchant ship on 4th August, south of Lister.

SEALION reported that she had lost both her periscope standards and that she expected to arrive late Saturday.  (10th August inserted in pen)

V.A.S. decided that when URSULA leaves patrol on 10th August, only one submarine will be required in Zone H.  H.50 was therefore ordered to withdraw from H.2 south p.m. 10th August.

The French submarines MINERVE and JUNON were taken over by French crews for the Free French Navy, administration still being S.5.

9th August

Arrivals:    Dundee  O.21, O.22; Blyth  TRUANT from Rosyth, STURGEON.

Dockings:    Dundee  TRIAD.

H.50 was ordered to proceed from H.2 on the 10th August to relieve H.34 north of the Hinder.

It will be remembered that a German broadcast on the 5th August claimed that SPEARFISH had been sunk by a U boat and that there was one survivor.  She was therefore ordered to withdraw from the coast and report during the dark hours.  No report was received.  On the 6th August, SPEARFISH was ordered to return to her base where she was due a.m. on the 9th.  No signals had been received from her since proceeding on patrol and Admiralty were now informed that she must be considered lost.

10th August

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TETRARCH, SEALION

Docking:    Newcastle  TRUANT

TALISMAN was ordered to leave patrol so as to arrive Falmouth a.m. 14th August.

SEALION reported that on 3rd August she sank the Norwegian M.V. TORN to the eastward of Lillesand.  Both periscopes and standards were damaged when she was rammed by a small merchant ship during an unsuccessful attack on a convoy on the 6th August to the eastward of Grimstad.

It was decided by the Admiralty on representation by V.A.S. that combined air and surface operations should be carried out against the U boats operating in the northwestern approaches.  TITANIA was ordered to Belfast to act as depot ship and Captain Ruck-Keene was lent to C in C Western Approaches to take charge of these operations.

H.28, temporarily lent to the Third Submarine Flotilla, Harwich, was ordered to revert to the Sixth Submarine Flotilla.

11th August

Departures:    Dundee  L.26 escorted by Z.6 for Scapa; Rosyth  TITANIA for Belfast

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TAKU; Harwich  H.34; Plymouth  H.43

Undocking:    Rosyth  TRIBUNE

H.43 reported no patrols or shipping sighted off Brest with the exception of a few fishing craft.

As a result of the decision to establish an anti U boat surface striking force at Belfast based on TITANIA, the following revised allocation of submarine flotillas was promulgated:  “U” class submarines on completion, up to six in number, are to be transferred to the Sixth Submarine Flotilla at Blyth.  TUNA when ready is to be transferred to the Second Flotilla and TRIBUNE is to remain in the Second Flotilla.  At a later date STURGEON and SUNFISH will be probably be transferred from the Sixth to the Third Flotilla.  It was proposed that Captain H.M.C. Ionides should assume command of MAIDSTONE and the Third Flotilla temporarily vice Captain Ruck-Keene, and that Captain Ruck-Keene should assume command of TITANIA for the period of anti U boat operations.

A signal was received from C in C H.F. sympathizing with the loss of SPEARFISH and THAMES and congratulating SEALION on her safe return.

12th August

Departures:    Scapa  L.23 escorted by Z.6 for Dundee; Harwich  H.49 for Lowestoft

Arrivals:    Blyth  URSULA; Scapa  L.26

H.31 was ordered to patrol in the northern half of A.5 during the night of the 13/14th to keep clear of a destroyer sweep in H.1.  The object of the destroyer sweep was to attack enemy patrols and minesweepers in a searched area previously reported by submarines in this area.

TALISMAN on leaving patrol off Bordeaux reported one merchant ship left steering northeast on the 12th and three on the 11th.  Apart from shipping already reported on the 8th, he had sighted nothing further during his patrol.

In view of surface patrols and minelaying operations, V.A.S. proposed to C in C Nore that the submarine patrol north of the Hinder be discontinued.  C in C concurred and H.50 was ordered to return to Harwich p.m. 13th.

13th August

Departures:    Rosyth  TETRARCH and SEALION escorted by WHITE BEAR for Newcastle (arrived same day);  Harwich H.44 for H.2.

Arrivals:    Dundee  L.23 escorted by Z.6

Information was received that German embarkation on the Norwegian coast was taking place.  All available submarines were brought to immediate notice, but later in the day were reverted to two hours notice.

O.23 carried out independent exercises off Dundee.

C in C W.A. decided that Captain Ruck-Keene should take charge of A/S Operations from Plymouth.

C in C H.F. requested V.A.S. to consider the early establishment of an anti U boat submarine patrol in the northwestern approaches.

14th August

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.50; Belfast  TITANIA; Falmouth  TALISMAN

Departures:    Falmouth  TALISMAN for Rothesay

Undocking:    Rosyth  SNAPPER

Intercepted German signals indicated that CLYDE was probably sighted and reported by German aircraft.  Her patrol position was therefore moved 30 miles to the southward.

Admiralty ordered CACHALOT to be sailed for F.D. 24 off Penmarch when ready.  She was ordered to proceed to patrol off Bordeaux on completion of her lay.

C in C W.A. proposed that submarine patrol lines suggested by C in C H.F. (see 13th August) should be placed further north, clear of convoy routes.

V.A.S. asked C in C H.F. if there was any particular position in which he would like PORPOISE to carry out her next lay, and suggested that if a lay was desired in close waters it would be desirable to postpone it until the next dark night period.
Noise trials were carried out in OTWAY at Rothesay.

(Note to the reader.  The page containing 15th and 16th August when copied was folded over at the right lower corner.  All information that can be read was entered.  Information that cannot be read is shown as “……”. In most cases, only a word or two were unable to transcribe.   Sorry for this inconvenience- DK)

15th August

Departures:    Barrow  UTMOST for the Clyde; Rosyth  B.1 for Stornoway en route to Rothesay; Rothesay  CACHALOT for F.D. 24 and Bay of Biscay patrol.

L.23 was taken in hand at Dundee for repairs to battery tanks.

As trials of O.23 for reduction in exhaust smoke have proved satisfactory, she was reported ready for patrol.

C in C H.F. suggested that PORPOISE should lay either off Sogne fjord or off the southwest coast of Norway in a position selected by V.A.S.

H.31 was ordered to investigate and report enemy movements in the swept channel off Terschelling with a view to finding out the effect (sic) of the sweep carried out by destroyers on the 13th.

In reply to C in C H.F.’s suggestion for submarine patrols in the northwestern approaches, V.A.S. raised the following points:

(1). The number of submarines available for operation in Home Waters has been recently drastically reduced.
(2). The opportunity afforded by the full moon is being taken to give a proportion of the submarine crews a much needed rest and effect necessary repairs to their submarines.
(3). If anti invasion submarine patrols are to be reasonably effective during the forthcoming  dark night period, no submarines can be spared from the North Sea.
(4). A northwestern approaches patrol would necessitate bombing restriction and would therefore restrict our forces in this area.
(5). Submarines in the North Sea can, to a certain……..combined anti invasion and A/S patrols, and it was …………they should do this.  If the northwestern approaches….. still desired, TRIDENT and SNAPPER could carry it……..on the 18th August.
H.49 developed electrical defects which will…..from the 19th to the 21st August.

16th August

Arrivals:    Stornoway  B.1; Rothesay  TALISMAN

Docking:    Rosyth  TRITON

H.31 reported no enemy movement in the …………… convoy sighted off Terschelling.

WILK was ordered to return to harbour……….CLYDE on the 21st.

Submarines reverted to normal notice.

Replying to C in C H.F.’s suggestion………the northwest approaches, Admiral…..submarines should continue to operate……..present for the following reasons:

(1). Use of our submarine and……… lead to unfortunate incidents.
(2). All available submarines…………..
(3). Our submarines are on…………….disadvantage against …….  C in C did not share……..
As a result of noise trials …………….various proposals.

17th August

Departures:    Harwich  H.34 for H.1 and 2; Stornoway  B.1 escorted by Z.6 for Rothesay

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.44

Docking:    Rosyth  SUNFISH

Diving trials of UTMOST were satisfactorily completed.

C in M Mediterranean was informed of the names of the 5 “T” class submarines and their approximate dates of arrival at Gibraltar would be as follows:  TRIAD and TRUANT, 6th September; TETRARCH and TRITON, 12th September; TRIUMPH, 22nd October.
Admiralty concurred that PORPOISE should wait for the next dark period and then lay off Sogne Fjord (see 14th and 15th August.)

18th August

Arrivals:    Rothesay  B.1 escorted by Z.6

Undocking:    Dundee  TRIAD

V.A.S. informed Admiral-Superintendent, Devonport, that as MINERVE was with a month of completion, for operational and other considerations her very early completion was a matter of importance.  It was realized that this might effect the progress of SEVERN for a short time, but it was hoped that every effort would be made to avoid delay

19th August

C in C Western Approaches informed Admiralty that he considered the recent apparent lack of success in the anti U boat campaign could be contributed in a large measure to lack of A/S training.  He consider the most suitable base for this purpose were Campbeltown and Tobermory and requested the necessary submarines might be provided as early as possible.

V.A.S. congratulated S.O. Submarines Harwich on the prompt manner in which the defect to H.50’s engine air compressor was made good.

20th August

CACHALOT reported completion of lay F.D. 24 off Penmarch, and one enemy submarine, heading for Lorient, sunk without survivors.  C in C H.F. expressed the hope that this sinking would be kept secret in order to keep the enemy guessing.

OSIRIS reported sinking 3000 ton Italian merchant ship on the 15th August in the Straits of Otranto.

21st August

Arrivals:    Blyth  H.31; Rosyth  WILK

Departures:    Rothesay  TUNA and O.10 for Dundee.

In view of increasing length of dark hours, V.A.S. ordered submarines normally to proceed diving by day when on passage to and from patrol, unless escorted.  Bombing restrictions are not normally imposed to cover patrol areas and should only the portion of the passages in the vicinity of submarine bases.

22nd August

Departure:    Portsmouth  O.24 for Rothesay via Falmouth.

S.6 reported that H.31 observed the STURGEON channel (in area H.1) periodically for 3 days without seeing any use of it by the enemy.  V.A.S. ordered H.34 to investigate the channel further with a view to surface ship operations being carried out in this vicinity.

23rd August

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TRIAD; Dundee  CLYDE

Departures:    Harwich  H.44 for area H.1; Rosyth  TRIDENT and TRIBUNE for the West coast.

Transfer:    O.24 from the Fifth to the Ninth Flotilla

TRIDENT and TRIBUNE sailed to carry out A/S patrols west of St Kilda and in the vicinity of Rosemary Bank, respectively.

V.A.S. informed Admiralty that he considered it inadvisable to transfer more submarines from the North Sea to Bay of Biscay patrols, as desired by C in C Western Approaches, at this stage, and promulgated his decision to establish submarine patrols for the forthcoming dark period as follows, with the primary object anti invasion:  2 in Zone H, 1 in Zone A.5, 1 in Skagerrak, 3 between Zone E.1 and Zone C.1, 2 off Skudesnes, 1 off Kors, 1 off Fejeosen.

V.A.S. considered it probable that CACHALOT would find suitable targets off Bordeaux, but would move her to a position off Lorient, as recommended by C in C Western Approaches, if she reported no targets in the former position.

24th August

C in C H.F. informed V.A.S. that he considered the submarine patrol for anti invasion purposes is too great and imposes tactical restrictions by which enemy ships escape attack.  V.A.S. replied that this was the last dark night period in which he intended to dispose a large number of submarines for anti invasion in view of the increased state of the country’s preparedness and owing to the advent of less favourable weather conditions.  V.A.S. decided however to reduce one submarine from the Zone A.5 and to transfer one “T” class for patrol in the Bay of Biscay.

25th August

Arrivals:    Rothesay  O.24

V.A.S. ordered CACHALOT to report on situation off Bordeaux and then to proceed to westward of the Ile de Groix to attack U boats entering and leaving Lorient.

C in C H.F. informed Admiralty that he must withdraw MAIDSTONE from Submarine Command for use at Scapa consequent upon Admiralty ordering WOOLWICH to the Mediterranean.

Late at night, all available submarines were brought to immediate notice on receipt of a report of possible invasion.

A Rome Broadcast in English for England gave alleged interview with prisoners of OSWALD.  From these statements it was claimed that 52 out of 55 of the crew were said to be prisoners and that the destroyer VIVALDI picked up survivors after OSWALD was rammed and sunk.

H.34 reported no enemy activity in this vicinity of STURGEON swept channel.

26th August

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.34; Rosyth  TRUANT, TUNA; Scapa  L.23; Dundee  O.10 (for refit)

Submarines reverted to normal notice.

CLYDE was taken in hand for docking at Dundee.

Admiralty proposed to C in C H.F, who agrees, that PORPOISE should lay her next mines in Bay of Biscay instead of off Sogne Fjord.

V.A.S. warned Captains (S) that submarines on passage to and from patrols were not to attack submarines unless certain of their hostile identity.

27th August

Arrivals:    Rosyth  PORPOISE

Departures:    Blyth  STURGEON for North of E.1, SWORDFISH for north of J.; PORPOISE for Rosyth;  Rothesay  TIGRIS for Lorient patrol; Rosyth  SNAPPER for C.3

TRITON undocked at Rosyth.

Capitaines de Fregate Wietzel and Ortoli representing Vice Admiral Musilier inspected French submarines at Portsmouth and Plymouth, respectively.

C in C H.F. informed Admiralty that it was essential for H.F. Destroyers to have an efficient repair ship to replace WOOLWICH if the already inadequate number of running destroyers is to b e maintained to deal with the U boat menace.

SUNFISH was unable to proceed on patrol owing to defective stern tube bush, necessitating redocking.

UTMOST commenced torpedo discharge trials in the Clyde.

H.44 in area H.2 was informed of an aircraft report of 8 to 11 small merchant ships off the Texel steering North.

28th August

Arrivals:        Rothesay  O.9; Rosyth  TETRARCH

Departures:    Blyth  URSULA for Skudesnes; Harwich  H.50 for H.2;  Newcastle  TETRARCH for Rosyth; Rosyth  TAKU and PORPOISE for Rothesay.

V.A.S. informed Admiralty that, in accordance with the wish of the French Admiral, it was proposed to withdraw the British Care and Maintenance now in SURCOUF on 1st September and relieve them by a nucleus crew under the command of Capitaine de Frigate Orteli, leaving Lieutenant Commander Shelford as liaison officer for all French submarines at Devonport did not concur, stating that the ship may be required and that no undertaking to turn her over to the Free French Force should yet be given.
S.9 reported the loss of secret recognition extracts from O.21.

Admiralty promulgated new instructions governing the treatment of submarines in War Zones.  Efforts are being made to negotiate agreements whereby neutral submarines remain inside territorial waters unless notification is given otherwise, in which case they will be escorted on the surface.

Admiralty intelligence reported that a British submarine attacked an escorted convoy of 1 destroyer and 2 merchant ships off Cyrenaica, and probably sank both merchant vessels.

29th August

Arrivals:        Harwich   H.49

Departures:    Rosyth  TRUANT and TRIAD for Mediterranean; Lowestoft  H.49 for Harwich.

TRIAD and TRUANT were routed in company to a position off the Scillies and then independently (TRUANT well to the West and TRIAD directly across the Bay of Biscay so as to offer them a chance of intercepting enemy submarines based on Lorient or Bordeaux).  They were to rendezvous off Cape St. Vincent.

OBERON was taken in hand for docking and repairs at Troon for one month.

O.24 completed torpedo discharge trials.

TRITON docked at Rosyth.

C in C W.A. informed V.A.S. that 25 Free French ratings had arrived at Devonport to join SURCOUF.  V.A.S. replied that they had done so without his authority.

V.A.S. reported to Admiralty that, in view of increased commitments for submarines outside the North Sea, he intends FORTH to leave Rosyth on 5 September and proceed to Holy Loch, and that the Second Submarine Flotilla should comprise FORTH with available “T” class and PORPOISE and CACHALOT.  The decision as to the disposal of WILK and WHITE BEAR was postponed.

CACHALOT and TIGRIS off the French coast were informed that Italian U boats are reported to be using Bordeaux as a base.

AMAZON reported having challenged 2 submarines in company on the surface, resembling “T” class, at 0520, and that they gave the correct replies.  The position given was at least 110 miles to the S.E. of TRIDENT, and F.O.I.C. Greenock investigated the possibility of this being a report on enemy submarines.  It transpired that the ships sighted were probably SCIMITAR and SABRE.

Submarines were informed of an aircraft report of 12 merchant vessels and possibly 3 cruisers at the Helder.

Aircraft reported lights on the water in the vicinity of Brown Ridge at 2155.  C in C Nore sent destroyers to investigate and H.44 and H.50 in this vicinity were warned of their movements.

30th August

Arrivals:    Dundee  O.23; Stornoway  TAKU and PORPOISE

Departures:    Rosyth  TUNA for west of A.1; Harwich  H.49 for H.2; Stornoway  TAKU and PORPOISE for Rothesay
WILK docked at Rosyth.

TRITON undocked at Rosyth.

Admiralty informed F.O.I.C. Glasgow that one month is considered excessive for completion of OBERON’s refit.

V.A.S. directed Captains (S) that submarines returning from patrol may be at extended notice for 48 hours in harbour, and that otherwise available submarines in harbour at Harwich to be at 4 hours and at other bases 8 hours.  This restriction would only be likely to extend over the forthcoming dark night period.

V.A.S. requested S.5 to render a weekly report on general state of French personnel and progress of work on submarines under S.5’s administration.

S.2, in reply to V.A.S. reported that one of the new “UNITY” class submarines could be taken over on 1st October by a Polish crew provided that two junior executive officers and 6 communication ratings can be provided, and that key officers and ratings join the submarine now whilst the reminder of the crew are being trained.

H.44 reported enemy moor mines 10 miles north of Brown Ridge.

31st August

Arrivals:    Dundee  O.22; Harwich  H.44

Departures:    Harwich  H.34 for patrol in 52 degrees 08 minutes N, 3 degrees 05 minutes E;        Blyth  H.31 for Methil and Rothesay.

On the occasion of the Netherlands National Day, V.A.S. made a congratulatory signal to all Netherlands ships attached to the Submarine Command.  Captain Helligman replied with his thanks.  Expressions of confidence in final victory were mutually exchanged.

H.44 reported having sighted 6 trawlers in southern end of STURGEON channel at 0818 on 28th August.  H.44 closed and heard transmissions on detecting gear.  She was closed herself and had to take avoiding action.  Early on 30th August in position 52 degrees 54 minutes N, 3 degrees 19 minutes E (10 miles North of Brown Ridge) at high water H.44 became foul of German moored mines.  She surfaced and cleared the mine she was towing.  Whilst clearing the area on the surface, she passed between mines moored 4 feet below the surface 25 feet on either beam.  The mines were on a bearing 110 degrees – 290 degrees.  H.44 could not find Brown Ridge buoy in its charted position.

PARTHIAN reported having obtained  2 hits with torpedoes on a force of 4 cruisers and 5 destroyers in Straits of Otranto.

C in C H.F. informed V.A.S. that TITANIA would not be acceptable to him as a destroyer repair ship owing to her length being insufficient to accommodate the large destroyers.  C in C H.F. proposed to ask Admiralty to reallocate TITANIA to the Submarine Command so that MAIDSTONE could be made available for destroyers.

V.A.S. requested S.2 to arrange for T/P and Telephone communications for FORTH from a point on shore near Ardnadam pier.
At 2200 Admiralty ordered all ships to raise steam as the result of aircraft reports of large numbers of enemy vessels off Terschelling steering West.  V.A.S. ordered all available submarines to immediate notice.  At 2326 V.A.S. ordered H.34 to proceed to E F One with dispatch.

At 2359 INTREPID reported EXPRESS mined in position 53 degrees 25 minutes N, 3 degrees 48 minutes E (in the centre of the line joining areas A.5 and H.2).  Shortly afterwards ESK and IVANHOE were also mined in the same position.



From:    Vice Admiral (Submarines) Northways, London, N.W.3
Date:    17th October 1940   No. 1420/SM 1004
In continuation of my submission No.1183/SM.1004 of 10th September 1940 be pleased to lay before Their Lordships the Attached War Diary of Submarines covering the period 1st to 30th September.
                    (signed) Max Horton
                        Vice Admiral

1st September

Arrivals:    Rosyth  H.31; Harwich  H.34, Rothesay  PORPOISE, TAKU

Departures:    Harwich  H.34 for patrol EF.1

Dockings:    CLYDE docked at Dundee; SUNFISH undocked at Rosyth

H.34, ordered by V.A.S. at 2326/31 to sail for anti invasion patrol east of Gap E, left harbour at 0005.  At 0804, all ships reverted to normal notice and H.34 was ordered to return to Harwich.

TIGRIS was ordered to patrol off Ile de Groix to attack enemy submarines entering and leaving Lorient.

H,.50 and H.49 were ordered to return to base on account of further reports of enemy mines in Areas H.2 and H.1

TUNA, patrolling close to westward of A.1, reported that she had sunk a U boat at 0153/1.

H.49 and H.50, returning to base, were warned on a report that enemy surface forces maybe met proceeding from Emden to Dutch ports.

Admiralty informed C in C H.F. of his intention to transfer TITANIA’s A/S organization to shore establishments at Londonderry and for TITANIA to relieve MAIDSTONE in the Firth of Forth.

Admiralty warned all ships that U boats may be firing torpedoes from outside visibility range by a secret method, and advised ships to zigzag when circumstances permit.

SUNFISH reported having accidently sunk H.M.P.B. MESME in the Firth of Forth, three members of MESME’s crew being lost.  No damaged was sustained by SUNFISH.

V.A.S. in a letter to the First Sea Lord, gave his views on future construction concerning the following points raised by the Director of Plans:

a). Whether repeat CACHALOT class be included in view of recent losses and future deployment of such craft.
b). Whether to develop the laying of moored mines from “T” class saddle tank stowages.
c). The merits and demerits of producing unarmed submarines for the sole purpose of training.

Section III of 1940 Building Programme projected three more “T” class and eleven “S” class.

V.A.S. replied that (a) three more CACHALOT class were desired but not at the expense of three more “T” class proposed.  (b) Trials of external minelaying from “T” class had been most unsatisfactory, and that further development was not recommended owing to the permanent reduction in surface speed and submerged endurance entailed, to the undesirability of producing a special mine in small numbers, and to the delay which would be caused by trials in bringing more submarines in service.  V.A.S. preferred a standard type of mine, both moored and ground type, for discharge from torpedo tubes of all submarines later than OBERON class, and without modification to tubes. (c) V.A.S. absolutely opposed the production of any submarine which could not in a grave emergency be useful for war operations.

2nd September

Arrivals:    Falmouth  CACHALOT; Harwich  H.49, Tobermory H.33 and ALECTO

Departures:        Rosyth  H.31 for Rothesay, SUNFISH for west of A.1; Falmouth  CACHALOT for Rothesay; Rothesay  ALECTO and H.33 for Tobermory, PORPOISE and TAKU for Biscay patrol.

In view of TUNA’s report of U boats passing through area west of A.1, V.A.S. sailed SUNFISH for an  anti submarine patrol in that area to relieve TUNA, instead of proceeding to her anti invasion patrol off Fejeosen.  SUNFISH reported enemy aircraft apparently minelaying east of May Island.

V.A.S. warned submarines on patrol that enemy merchant ships are being used as minelayers.  This was the result of C in C H.F.’s investigation into the sighting of merchant ships by H.31 on 14th August.  V.A.S. agreed with C in C H.F. that the enemy may have laid of defensive mine barrier from the south west corner of the German declared area to north of Brown Ridge, and was further substantiated by the mines reported by H.44 and the mining of EXPRESS, ESK, and IVANHOE.

CACHALOT reported details of 4 craft resembling modern German T.B. class having sailed west from Lorient on 27th August, and the presence of all types of fishing craft at sea along the coast near Lorient.

C in C H.F. congratulated V.A.S. by signal on the disposition of submarines resulting in TUNA’s successful attack on a U boat.
V.A.S. presented decorations on behalf of His Majesty the King to the Commanding Officer, officers, and men of RUBIS at Dundee and visited the Ninth Submarine Flotilla.

C in C H.F.’s remarked on SEALION’s last patrol were received.  He stated that he considered no blame was attributable to the Commanding Officer of SEALION for being in collision with an enemy convoy and applauded the determination of SEALION’s patrols.

Air reconnaissance revealed the presence of five or six U boats in Lorient.

3rd September

Arrivals:    Harwich  H.50

Departures:    Harwich  H.34 in Convoy for the Clyde

UPRIGHT was accepted for service.

V.A.S. visited the Second and Third Flotillas at Rosyth.

V.A.S. concurred with S.9’s consideration that O.21 should have fired more than two torpedoes in her attack on a U boat on 1st August.

C in C H.F. told V.A.S. that he would like a submarine patrol either off St Kilda or on Rosemary Bank during the month September.
H.49 and H.50 on return to harbour reported that Brown Ridge Buoy was not seen.  H.50 reported having seen and heard the explosions when IVANHOE, ESK, and EXPRESS were mined on 31st August.  He also reporting having been put down at 53 degrees 05 minutes N, 03 degrees 53 minutes E, by an E boat at night on 1st September and that a wire was heard to scrape the conning tower shortly afterwards.  This may have been a wire towed by the E boat, or it may have been the mooring of a mine.  The latter possibility was reported to the Admiralty.  Although he burnt the correct recognition flare, he was bombed by a friendly aircraft on 2nd September whilst bombing restrictions were in force.  (The Coastal Command expressed regret for this error and are investigating the matter.)

TIGRIS on patrol in vicinity of the Ile de Groix reported having probably compromised her patrol whilst sinking a large outbound U boat, and expressed his intention of proceeding to the Gironde.

TRUANT, on passage to the Mediterranean, reported having met with the Norwegian ship TROPIC SEA with a German prize crew on board in 46 degrees 27 minutes N, 10 degrees, 43 minutes W where upon the Germans scuttled the ship, and that she had taken on board the Captain and 23 crew of the British S.S. HAXBY and the Norwegian Captain and his wife from TROPIC SEA for passage to Gibraltar.  The Norwegian crew and German prize crew had been left in boats in calm weather.  (Sunderland aircraft later rescued some of the Norwegian crew.

P.O. Rimmington of SEALION broadcast a talk on “Submarine Life” in the B.B.C. forces programme.

4th September

Arrivals:    Rothesay  CACHALOT

Departures:    Rosyth  TETRARCH and TRITON north about for the Mediterranean.

V.A.S. assumed operational control of Second Submarine Flotilla from 1600 until FORTH becomes established on the Clyde.

V.A.S. visited Seventh Submarine Flotilla on the Clyde.

TIGRIS was ordered to patrol between Belle Ile and Ile d’Yeu whilst PORPOISE and TAKU were passing the vicinity.  PORPOISE was to lay mines south of the Gironde and TAKU to patrol off the entrance to the Gironde River.

C in C H.F. congratulated V.A.S. by signal on the successful attacks by our submarines on U boats, and stated his consideration that we should press home these attacks before the enemy realised how  their submarines were being sunk.

S.7 reported that he had recovered a German 21” electric torpedo from S.S.  VOLENDAM.

At 2205 TUNA reported that she was in firm contact with a U boat close eastward of Gap A.  At 2348, she reported having lost contact and was patrolling in the vicinity to keep the enemy down.

5th September

Arrivals:    Rosyth  H.34, TUNA

Departures:    Dundee  RUBIS for A.3; Barrow  UPRIGHT for the Clyde

TUNA reported having fired three torpedoes at 0250 at a U boat contact without result, and that she had simultaneously been attacked herself by two torpedoes, apparently showing the presence of two U boats in the vicinity.  TUNA withdrew to Rosyth.

V.A.S. informed C in C H.F. that minelaying submarines would in future carry out patrols on completion of laying, thereby making it possible to maintain two submarines on patrol in Bay of Biscay and one off the Hebrides during the month of September.

V.A.S. promulgated the following recomposition of Flotillas consequent upon withdrawal of MAIDSTONE and the increased A/S training commitments:

1).  Second Flotilla as from 8th September, based at Holy Loch, FORTH, WHITE BEAR, TRIDENT, TRIBUNE, TUNA, TIGRIS, TALISMAN, TAKU, PORPOISE, CACHALOT (TRIUMPH until about 1st October.
2). Seventh Flotilla, based at Rothesay, CYCLOPS, ALECTO, BREDA, OBERSON, OTWAY, H.28, H.31, H.32, H.33, H.34, H.44, H.49, H.50, O.9, O.10, and B.1
3). Third Flotilla, based at Rosyth, as from 8th September, TITANIA, WILK, SEALION, SUNFISH, SNAPPER, SEAWOLF.
4). New construction “U” boats to join the Sixth Flotilla.
5). Submarine base at Harwich will not be required from about mid September.
6). New construction submarines undergoing trials to be attached to the Second Flotilla.

In view of recent successful attacks by our submarines on U boats in the Bay of Biscay, TETRARCH and TRITON were ordered to delay their passage to Gibraltar and carry out patrols for 48 hours off the Bay to intercept U boat traffic between Lorient and the Atlantic trade routes.

Submarines on patrol were warned of movements of enemy Naval forces in the Skagerrak and off the Norwegian coast expected to take place in the near future.

6th September

Arrivals:    Gibraltar  TRIAD and TRUANT.  Rosyth  UPRIGHT and H.31

Departures:    Rosyth  H.34 for Greenock, FORTH and TUNA for Clyde; Rothesay  TALISMAN for patrol off St Kilda.

CLYDE undocked at Dundee

TRIBUNE reported having sunk a U boat near St Kilda.

Aircraft located large collections of self propelled barges moving westward along the Belgian coast and Admiralty warning of an attempt at invasion in the near future was issue.

TIGRIS resumed patrol off Ile de Groix.

7th September

Arrivals:    Rosyth  TRIDENT, TRIBUNE, H.31

Departures:    Rosyth  H.31 for Campbeltown.  Londonderry  TITANIA for Rosyth

WILK undocked at Rosyth.

The concentration of enemy small craft on the Belgian coast continued, and there were indications of a possible enemy attack on Iceland.

At 1042, URSULA, SWORDFISH, STURGEON, and SNAPPER were ordered to leave patrols tonight to return to bases, and O.21 and SEAWOLF were to do so on 9th September.

At 1904, these orders were cancelled and submarines were ordered to remain on patrol with the object of anti invasion owing to the indications that an attack on the British Isles might take place in the next few days.

Submarines at Harwich were ordered to be at one hour’s notice, and those of the Ninth Flotilla at 2 hours’ notice during the night.
V.A.S. proposed to Admiralty that Haslar Floating Dock should be transferred to Rothesay or Holy Loch to compete with the dockings of the large number of submarines based on the Clyde.

Submarines were warned to surface as soon as safe to do so after firing yellow smoke candles to identify themselves to friendly surface craft.  This order was made owing to the probability of enemy knowledge of this signal consequent on the collapse of France.

TRIBUNE’s amplified report showed that she had without doubt sunk the U boat on 6th September in a skillfully carried out attack.

8th September

Departures:    Rosyth  WILK for patrol N.W. of A.1; Scapa  L.26 for Dundee; Dundee  O.22 for patrol W. of A.2,  O.23 for W. of A.1

Transfers:    TIGRIS, TALISMAN, TAKU, PORPOISE, and CACHALOT from Seventh to Second Flotilla

Submarines at Harwich were again brought to one hour’s notice for the night.

O.22 and O.23 were sailed with dispatch to zones West of A.2 and A.1 north, respectively, and RUBIS and SUNFISH had been moved south to zones A.3 and west of A.2, respectively – all with the object of anti invasion.  This made a total of 11 submarines disposed between Bergen and zone A.3 for anti invasion patrols.

N.A. Stockholm confirmed a report that some survivors from the O.R.P. ORZEL were prisoners and that some of the wound were at Gdynia Hospital.

A British aircraft sighted O.22 leaving Dundee for patrol reported that the submarine appeared to be extremely well camouflaged being only visible in outline from five miles, beyond which range, the wake only could be seen

9th September

Arrivals:    Greenock  FORTH and TUNA; Dundee  L.26; Rosyth  TITANIA

Departures:    Dundee  CLYDE for patrol off Skudesnes

Submarines at Harwich reverted to four hours notice by day and were ordered to continue to be at one hours notice every night until further notice.

V.A.S. informed C in C W.A. that the basing of CYCLOPS and submarines at Campbeltown could be deferred until winter weather at Rothesay had been experienced.

Submarines were informed that Scandinavian shipping was being routed by the Germans to pass along the Norwegian coasts of the Skagerrak and Kattegat.

The Free French Navy took over SURCOUF.

10th September

UTMOST and TRIDENT were taken in hand for docking at Ardrossan.

Captain S.2 resumed operational control of Second Flotilla on the arrival of FORTH at Holy Loch.

O.23 was ordered to search for British aircraft in the sea to the westward of her position.  Two airmen were later picked up by a launch and O.23 was ordered to resume patrol.

URSULA, SEAWOLF, SWORDFISH, STURGEON, and SNAPPER were ordered to leave their coast of Norway patrols and return to base.

URSULA reported enemy air and surface patrols outside Skudesnes Fjord and the probable presence of mines in the entrance to it.

Their Lordships informed V.A.S. that high percentage of successful submarine attacks, and the low number of material failures, constituted a remarkable achievement reflecting the greatest credit on all concerned.

11th September

Departures:  Rothesay  O.24 for Dundee; Harwich  H.49 for patrol in H.1

As a result of a meeting at the Admiralty, presided over by the Prime Minister and attended by V.A.S., it was decided that every effort must be made to interrupt enemy seaborne traffic between the Bight and the Free French ports.  Consequently, V.A.S. sailed H.49 for patrol in H.1, although it had previously been decided to evacuate this area owing to the uncertain presence of mines in that vicinity.

As no operational submarines are now attached to the Seventh Flotilla, Admiralty and C in C H.F. concurred in the proposal that it should no longer form part of the Home Fleet.

In view of the threat of invasion, the Admiralty gave orders for the hastening into service of certain ships refitting and docking.  These included SEVERN, OBERON, UTMOST, TRIDENT, H.28, and SEALION.

UTMOST completed her propeller noise trials.

Captain H.M.C. Ionides assumed command of TITANIA and Third Flotilla at Rosyth.

V.A.S. informed the Admiralty of the great value which had been derived from the Orfordness Radio Beacon, and asked that, in view of the approach of winter weather conditions, a beacon in the vicinity of Gap A off the Firth of Forth should be operating by October.

URSULA, returning from patrol, reported air and surface patrols off Skudesnes and the probability of mines having been laid by the enemy in the Fjord approaches.

PORPOISE, after patrolling south of the Gironde, reported no traffic observed along the coast, and in accordance with her instructions, proceeded to the alternative position off Pointe d’ Aiguille to lay her mines F.D. 26.

At 2000 h.49 was sailed from Harwich for H.1 to attack enemy transports and warships reported by aircraft to be proceeding from the German ports to Dutch ports.  A force of destroyers was also sent to sweep between Schouen Bank and the mouth of the Maas, with the object of attacking enemy shipping and capturing prisoners.

An intercepted German message appeared to show the imminence of an early invasion of this county.

STURGEON reported that she had attacked and sunk a 10,000 ton northbound transport off the Skaw on 2nd September, and also reported infrequent air and surface patrols in the Kattegat, and that she had apparently sunk a large northbound U boat on 10 September close north east of area J.  The sinking of this U boat could not subsequently be classified as more than possible.

12th September

Arrivals:    Dundee  O.21; Stornoway  O.24

Departures:    Plymouth  H.43 for Portsmouth

It was decided to lend TALISMAN, UTMOST, and UPRIGHT to Fifth Flotilla for the purpose of backing up the Channel patrol during the threatened invasion period, and that the use of Harwich as a Submarine Base should be continued with H.49 and H.44 based there for the time being.

Admiralty requested V.A.S. to direct CACHALOT to reinforce lay F.D. 24 off Penmarch.

C in C Portsmouth instituted two submarine patrols in the Channel:  D.4 between Dieppe and Cap D’Antifer and W.2 off Cherbourg.  H.43 was placed under the orders of C in C Portsmouth for patrol in W.2 and L.27 was allocated patrol in D.4.

PORPOISE was ordered to patrol off Ile de Groix on completion of laying F.D. 26, and was warned against attempting to keep a close patrol in view of full moon conditions.

C in C H.F. congratulated STURGEON on sinking a U boat and a transport.

SNAPPER reported infrequent surface patrol and air activity, but fishing vessels active in area C.3, and that she had sighted three SLEIPNER class destroyers steering towards Kristiansand on 9th September.

H.49, O.21, and URSULA were warned that they may have been reported by enemy aircraft.

TRIDENT reporting having seen a suspicious Belgian merchant ship north west of St Kilda on 4th September when weather was unsuitable for boarding her.

13th September

Arrivals:    Blyth  URSULA, STURGEON, SWORDFISH; Rothesay  TALISMAN; Methil  H.50, Portsmouth  H.43

Departures:    Stornoway  O.24 for Dundee; Portsmouth  L.27 for patrol in D.4 and H.43 for patrol in W.2.

It was decided that TRIDENT’s refit should be carried through normally and not be cut down by the existing emergency.

S.2 proposed to base his Flotilla temporarily at Milford Haven in order to meet the threatened invasion.  V.A.S. did not concur.

O.C.A.S. Glasgow reported that the mines for CACHALOT had been delayed on the railroad and that this might delay her proposed sailing on 14th September.

STURGEON reported that the transport attacked by her on 2nd September definitely sank after catching fire and that four or five small merchant vessels aster of her scattered giving no further chance of attack.  Survivors were seen being picked up during the night.  The transport had been screened by two “T” boats and was estimated at 10,000 tons.  STURGEON had patrolled from her position north of Area E on a line 70 degrees to the Swedish coast.  The presence of Danish fishing vessels and negative M.D.U reports indicated that no enemy mines had been laid on this route.  STURGEON also reported the position of attacking the U boat on 10th September was passed over three hours after the attack, but that no oil or wreckage was seen.  The wind of Force 6 may have drifted any evidence.

C in C W.A. gave his consideration to the Admiralty that a submarine should patrol off Brest.  Admiralty replied that no submarine was available.

C in C Mediterranean reported that OSWALD’s crew were interned at Poveglia.

Commander James Fife, U.S.N., joined staff of V.A.S. as submarine observer.

14th September

Arrivals:    Rosyth  SEAWOLF, SNAPPER; Dundee  O.24; Falmouth  TIGRIS; Gibraltar  TRITON, TETRARCH

Departures:    Rosyth  H.50 for Tobermory; Falmouth  TIGRIS for Holy Loch

L.26 docked at Dundee and STURGEON at Blyth.

V.A.S. informed all submarines that after any apparently successful attack on a U boat the position should be closed without delay if circumstances permit to endeavour to verify and success.

PORPOISE reported completion of lay F.D. 26 off Pointe d’Aiguille and then proceeded to patrol off Ile de Groix.

TIGRIS reported that the large number of fishing vessels encountered in the vicinity of Ile de Groix restricted her movements, that no air activity and no surface patrols had been observed.  There was no merchant traffic.  All navigational aids were extinguished and negligible tides experienced.  The U boat sank without doubt in a night attack at 350 yards.  On 12th September, he sighted 5 armed trawlers in company off Penmarch steering towards Brest.

15th September

L.26 with hydroplane defects cannot be made available for service until about 8th October.

TALISMAN reported having sighted a 700 ton merchant vessel flying Swedish colours on 9th September off St Kilda.

In reply to V.A.S., C in C Portsmouth, C in C Nore, and V.A. Dover agreed that in the event of submarines being sailed from East Coast ports for channel patrols, they could proceed east about, being escorted to Dungeness and thence proceeding submerged.

RUBIS in A.3, was warned that he may have been reported by enemy aircraft.

Captain S.2 proposed that TRIBUNE should be sailed for patrol off Bayonne.  V.A.S. replied to be insufficient coastal traffic there, and ordered TRIBUNE to relieve TRIBUNE off Isle d’Groix.

H.49 was warned of an aircraft report of two destroyers and many M/Vs steering west from Ameland.  (H.49 successfully attacked this convoy on 16th September.

16th September

Arrivals:    Rosyth  SUNFISH; Rothesay  TIGRIS

Departures:    Rothesay   CACHALOT for Penmarch (F.D. 27), TRIDENT for Ile d’Groix patrol, UTMOST for Portsmouth.

Admiralty requested V.A.S. to establish a third patrol in the Channel when submarines become available.  V.A.S. therefore ordered S.6 to sail URSULA and SWORDFISH from Blyth for loan to the Fifth Flotilla at Portsmouth and to come under the orders of C in C Portsmouth.

V.A.S. suggested to the Admiralty that two submarine outfits of mines, one with flooders and one without, should be maintained at Bandeath.  This would obviate delays such as that experienced by CACHALOT, who was delayed to the late arrival of mines at Rothesay.  Admiralty approved of this suggestion.

V.A.S. informed C in C Mediterranean that in view of the heavy expenditure and limited reserves of Mark VIII torpedoes, submarines now carry 50% Mark IV torpedoes in reload salvoes.

Their Lordships congratulated TRIBUNE and TIGRIS on their successful attacks on U boats on 6th and 2nd September, respectively.

D.16 reported that Brown Ridge Buoy, which could not be found by H.49 and H.50, was showing correctly.

17th September

Arrivals:    Falmouth  TALISMAN

Departures:    Harwich  H.44 for H. 1 patrol to relieve H.49; Blyth  SWORDFISH and URSULA for Portsmouth command

SEAWOLF docked at Grangemouth.

Captain S.5 established Channel Patrol area S.3 between D.4 and W.2

Lieutenant J.F.B. Brown assumed duties of S.O. Submarines, Harwich, vice Commander Simpson.

Lieutenant Commander B.W. Taylor on the Staff of Captain S.6, was lent for duty with Captain S.5 owing to the increased number of submarines operating in the Channel.

The weather broke and gales commenced on all coasts, making the threat of immediate invasion unlikely.

TAKU reported little air activity, but many fishing vessels operating off the Gironde.

18th September

Departures:    Falmouth  TALISMAN for Portsmouth.

PORPOISE reported much fishing activity between Penmarch and Belle Ile, but no air not surface patrols by the enemy.  He also reported having unsuccessfully attacked a U boat south of Penmarch, in a position only 12 miles away from the scene of TIGRIS’s attack on 2nd September.

V.A.S. informed Hydrographer of a 5 fathom patch reported by H.50 on Brown Ridge.

Admiralty announced the loss of H.M.S. NARWHAL.

19th September

Arrivals:    Sheerness  URSULA and SWORDFISH; Rothesay  H.32;  Portsmouth  TALISMAN

H.49, after vacating area H.1, reported that URSULA spar buoy was in position, that constant enemy A/S trawler patrols were being maintained in STURGEON channel, and that he had successfully attacked a large convoy off Engelschmans Gat estimating 2 hits.

TRIBUNE, on her way to Bay of Biscay patrol, reported defective A/S set, and was ordered to return to Falmouth to make good the defect.

C in C H.F. informed Admiralty of his strong objection to the orders given to submarines engaged on anti submarine patrol to report first and attack afterwards.  C in C Portsmouth did not agree and informed Admiralty that in his command he laid the greatest reliance on submarines to report the departure of enemy ships bound for the invasion of England.  Admiralty directed that the C in C in each command must decide what are the most appropriate order.

C in C W.A. continued to press for a submarine patrol off Brest.

20th September

Arrivals:    Falmouth  TAKU, TRIBUNE, PORPOISE; Dundee  RUBIS; Portsmouth  UTMOST; Harwich  H.49

Departures:    Falmouth  TAKU and PORPOISE for the Clyde; Sheerness  URSULA for D.4, SWORDFISH for Portsmouth; Dundee  O.24 for west of A.1; TALISMAN for W.2

 V.A.S. informed Admiralty that no further delay in the completion of TRIUMPH, repairing at Chatham, could be accepted.
While on passage escorted from Devonport to Portsmouth, UTMOST was bombed without damage by German aircraft.  S.5 proposed that submarines on passage in the Channel should therefore proceed diving by day unless dispatch is necessary.  V.A.S. agreed to this, subject to approval of C in C Portsmouth and C in C W.A., which was given.

TAKU, on return from patrol, reported air patrols off the Gironde estuary and much fishing activity there.  PORPOISE reported no traffic south of the Gironde, her miles F.D. 26 laid off Ile d’Yeu, and an unsuccessful attack on an inbound U boat off Lorient.
Their Lordships congratulated TUNA on her successful attack on a U boat on 1st September.

H.49, on return from H.1, reported that she sighted a 5000 ton M/V proceeding north east up STURGEON’s swept channel on 12th September but was outside attacking range.  In her successful attack on the convoy on 16th September, H.49 fired from a conning tower awash position, with the van and the rear of the convoy out of sight on either side.  A central bunch of 8 ships were attacked.  On 17th September, another large ship passed outside attacking range.  URSULA’s buoy was sighted and A/S trawlers were seen sweeping the STURGEON channel.

Admiralty promulgated new “Free for all” areas in the North Sea, Channel and Eastern Atlantic.

Gales ceased on all coasts of the British Isles and the threat of invasion continued.

21st September

Arrivals:    Dundee  O.23;  Rosyth  WILK; Portsmouth  H.43

UTMOST at Portsmouth damaged her fore planes whilst bottomed during an air raid.

In accordance with a request from C in C H.F., V.A.S. ordered all submarines on patrol, with the exception of those in the Channel working under the orders of C in C Portsmouth, that all enemy forces were to be attacked first and, circumstances permit, report afterwards.

H.43 on return to harbour having sighted convoys outside attacking range off Cherbourg.  Strong tides were experienced making the maintenance of favourable attacking positions difficult.

Captain S.2 proposed a submarine patrol off Ile de Bas.  V.A.S. replied that no submarines was available.

Received TRUANT’s reports of her encounter with Norwegian TROPIC SEAS on 3rd September.  It appears that the ship was bound for Bordeaux after being captured in the vicinity of Norfolk Islands on 24th April by a German raider.  The British S.S. HAXBY was sunk by gunfire on 6th April by this raider and the survivors were transferred to the TROPIC SEAS.  TROPIC SEAS, laden with 8000 tons of wheat, was scuttled by explosive charges after being brought to by TRUANT, the charges exploding with great violence.  Useful intelligence concerning the raider was obtained from the survivors of the HAXBY and this was passed to S.O. (I.) on arrival of TRUANT at Gibraltar.

Consequent upon increased enemy activity between German ports and French West coast, V.A.S. informed Admiralty and C in C H.F. of his proposal to dispose submarines as follows:

a)  H.44 and H.49 to maintain patrol in H.1, turning over in harbour and operating from Harwich.
     H.28 when ready for service about 30th September, to replace H.44

     H.44 then to proceed to Rosyth for A/S training with destroyers and escort force, her refit being postponed.

b)   Submarines based at Harwich to be transferred from Third to Sixth Flotilla
c).   A submarine from the Seventh Flotilla to carry out the A/S training at Scapa when L.23 and L.26 are not available.
d)   No submarine to patrol off the Hebrides whilst TALISMAN is lent from the Second to Fifth Flotilla

22nd September

Arrivals:    Portsmouth  L.27 and SWORDFISH; Rothesay  TAKU and PORPOISE; Dundee  O.22

Departures:    Falmouth  TRIBUNE for patrol 15 miles northwest of Ushant.  Dundee  O.21 for patrol off Skudesnes.

RUBIS was taken in hand for defects at Dundee.

The President of the U.S.A. heard that invasion was timed for 1500 today.  It is not materialize.

L.27 on return to Portsmouth reporting having unsuccessfully attacked four small ships 20 miles north of Fecamp steering west on 19th September.

H.44 was warned of a large number of merchant vessels reported off Emden and might be expected to pass through zone H.1.
Admiralty directed that Lamlash would become a protected port and not Campbeltown.

23rd September

Owing to a sweep off Ushant by our own destroyers, TRIBUNE and CACHALOT were ordered to keep clear to the south; TRIDENT to patrol off Ile de Groix; CACHALOT, if not about to lay, was ordered to withdraw well to the southwest off Penmarch and report the situation.

S.O. Submarines Harwich was ordered to route submarines to the south east of Brown Ridge vicinity when proceeding to and from zone H.1, owing to the suspected presence of enemy mines.

URSULA in D.4 was ordered to withdraw to the northward whilst our own light forces carried out a sweep off the coast near Dieppe during the night.

TUNA reported having sunk a northbound 8000 ton M/V close south of the Gironde estuary on 22nd September, and that she was withdrawing to patrol off Ile d’Yeu.  No further shipping was sighted by her south of the Gironde.

C in C H.F. informed V.A.S. that our submarine successes in the past few weeks against U boats had been a very bright spot in an otherwise gloomy anti submarine picture.  He asked V.A.S. for his proposed future dispositions to enable this good work to continue.

Three houses immediately opposite the offices of V.A.S. were demolished by an enemy bomb during the night.

V.A.S. attended a conference at the Admiralty to consider the lack of progress of our Anti Submarine Warfare.

24th September

Departure:    Portsmouth  L.27 for patrol in D.4

V.A.S. was requested to send a representative to a weekly meeting at the Admiralty to consider anti submarine measures.

CACHALOT and TRIBUNE were warned of indications that two or even three U boats were approaching Lorient from the westward.  They had been warned on 23rd September of the expected return to Lorient of a U boat from the Atlantic and their patrol positions had been adjusted to intercept.

At 2011 CACHALOT reporting having sunk a U boat 80 miles south west of Penmarch, that she had laid mines, F.D. 27 off Penmarch, and had seen four enemy A/S vessels off Penmarch on 23rd September.

TUNA reported having sunk a large merchant vessel screened by two ex Norwegian SLIEPNER class destroyers 30 miles south west of Ile d’Yeu.  Subsequently she was hunted and depth charged, and then returned to patrol off the Gironde.

The Admiralty presumed the deaths of Officers and ratings of the following submarines to have occurred:

SALMON on 14th July 1940
PHOENIX on 21st July 1940
NARWHAL on 1st August 1940
THAMES on 3rd August 1940

25th September

Arrivals:    Dundee  CLYDE; Portsmouth  URSULA

Departures:    Portsmouth  UTMOST for patrol in S.3

Dundee Submarine Base was increased by the requisitioning of the Women’s Students Hostel, Maryfield.

TRIBUNE was ordered to patrol in the vicinity of Ile de Groix.

V.A.S. visited Rosyth and discussed with C in C H.F. the future dispositions for submarines on patrol, resulting in a decision to maintain patrols as follows:

a)  Off Lorient
b)  Off Muckle Flugga
c)  Two off S.W. coast of Norway
d)  Occasional patrol to westward of German declared minefield and to the westward of St Kilda.
e)  In addition to channel patrols and one submarine to be maintained in H.1, one off Bordeaux, and occasionally one in the Skagerrak.

26th September

Arrivals:    Falmouth  CACHALOT; Harwich  H.44

Departures:    Falmouth  CACHALOT for Holy Loch; Rothesay UPRIGHT for Portsmouth; Harwich for H.1; Portsmouth  SWORDFISH for patrol in W.2 to relieve TALISMAN.

Submarines of the Second, Third, and Sixth Flotillas, including those based at Harwich, were ordered to revert to normal notice.

CACHALOT amplified her report of sinking a U boat on 24th September.  Much evidence of oil on the surface in the vicinity confirmed her claim to have sunk this enemy.

URSULA on return from D.4 reported infrequent A/S trawler and seaplane patrols off Fecamp, with slight traffic close inshore.

H.44 on return from H.1 having carried out an unsuccessful attack on a 1500 ton M/V escorted by two motor A/S vessels of Engelschmans Gat on 22 September.  She also saw four class minesweepers and three trawlers sweeping to westward of STURGEON swept channel.  Brown Ridge Buoy was observed to be lit and in position.

V.A.S. gave his considered opinion to Admiralty and Commander in Chief Home Fleet and Western Approaches that it was not desirable for any more submarine minefields to be laid between Penmarch and the Gironde for the time being, so as not to restrict the activities in that fruitful area.  He suggested that submarine minelayers should be employed on ordinary patrol work, and with this C in C H.F. agreed.

V.A.S. informed the necessary authorities of his intention to establish an anti U boat patrol off Muckle Flugga in an area where neither A/S or aircraft should operate, so as to encourage U boats to use the area.

C in C W.A. informed Admiralty that he would like a submarine patrol off Brest in order to watch the activities of enemy destroyers based there who might attack the Sierra Leone and Gibraltar convoys.  V.A.S. informed Admiralty that no submarines were available for this purpose unless the Channel patrols were reduced and doubted the efficiency of a patrol in the strong tides off Brest.

Submarines on patrol in the North Sea were warned of the intention for raids by our own light forces to be carried out in the future against enemy shipping between Skudesnes and Lister.

H.43 was ordered to return to Plymouth to carry out A/S training instead of carrying out Channel Patrols.

The Wrens hostel near V.A.S. office was damaged by a bomb in the early morning.

27th September

Arrivals:        Portsmouth  TALISMAN

Departure:    Barrow  UNIQUE for trials and to Clyde.

TALISMAN, returning from patrol in W.2, reported that two MAAS destroyers left Cherbourg westbound through Alderney Race on 23rd September, that a 7000 ton escorted tanker rounded Barfleur westbound on 26th September, and that there appeared to be no A/S activity within 5 miles of the French coast in the area.

There were indications that the Germans intend to carry out an operation from a Norwegian port in the near future, with HIPPER taking part.

V.A.S. informed Admiralty and C in C H.F. that he was being repeatedly pressed to provide a submarine patrol off Brest.  He proposed therefore:

a)  To reduce the Channel patrols to two, to be maintained by SWORDFISH, URSULA, UTMOST, and UPRIGHT
b)  To return H.43 and L.27 to Devonport and Portsmouth, respectively for training purposes.
c)  To return TALISMAN to the Second Flotilla.

Such an arrangement would enable two Bay of Biscay patrols to be maintained by the Second Flotilla, with the two minelayers available for an additional patrol off Brest or in the Bay of Biscay.  Admiralty approved these proposals.

28th September

Arrivals:        Holy Loch  CACHALOT and UNIQUE

Departures:    Rosyth  SNAPPER for north of Muckle Flugga for anti U boat patrol.

As a result of the decision to maintain only two submarine patrols in the Channel, Area S.3 was ordered by C in C Portsmouth to be cancelled as from 1st October and Area D.4 was then to be extended to the westward.

Captain (S) 5 ordered submarines on patrol in the Channel to patrol closer inshore where possible and to lose no opportunity of attacking important enemy targets.

As a result of a German broadcast claiming to have sunk a British submarine in the Channel, L.27 was ordered to withdraw from zone D.4 and report.  L.27 reported and then returned to patrol.

V.A.S. agreed to C in C Portsmouth’s request that L. 27 should continue operating, as well as training, from Portsmouth.

A French broadcast admitted that the French steamers LE CASSIDAIGUE and LE GUINETTE DE BORGUE recently sank in a minefield, whilst LE COPORRANNE was seriously damaged.

First Lieutenants of submarines are now being appointed after an average of only 18 months service in submarines.

29th September

Arrivals:        Falmouth  UPRIGHT

Departures:    Blyth  STURGEON for anti U boat patrol south of C.1;  Holy Loch  TIGRIS and TRIDENT for anti U boat patrols off Gironde and Ile de Groix, respectively; Falmouth  UPRIGHT for passage to Portsmouth

N.A. Athens reported that German technicians installing hydrophones on Greek submarines had stated that two British submarines had been salved by the Germans.

N.A. Madrid reported that the Italian Assistant N.A. had stated that German Officers are serving in Italian submarines and that Italy is now supplying torpedoes to Germany.

30th September

Arrivals:        Portsmouth  UPRIGHT

Departures:    Rosyth  SUNFISH for patrol west of C.1; Portsmouth H.43 for Plymouth.

SEAWOLF undocked at Grangemouth.

TUNA and TRIBUNE, returning from Biscay patrols, were ordered not to make Falmouth owing to enemy mining of the approaches.

C in C Mediterranean, in reply to Admiralty, agreed that some small submarines could be based on Malta for operations between Italy and Libya.

O.21 was ordered to move from a position off Skudesnes to a position off Kors Fjord with the object of intercepting U boats based on Bergen.

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