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OPERATION AERIAL - Evacuation from Western France, June 1940


Transcribed by Roy Martin

V&W-class destroyer HMS Wolverine, see 16 June
(Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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Transcribed by Roy Martin and made available by Don Kindell, the source of this "Admiralty Diary" is uncertain. Although a single document, it was not listed by the Public Records Office or the Naval Historical Branch (MOD). It was apparently found misfiled in an obscure Command Diary, possibly for the South Wales port of Barry.



(for more ship information,  go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)


Evacuation of France, including Dunkirk, May to June 1940



Area of Operations, only some locations in text are shown





  Enclosure No. 2 in Plymouth Letter No. 347 of 10 July 1940.  In ink M 580



Orders were given on 15 June 1940 for the withdrawal of the whole of the remaining British Expeditionary Force from France, approximately 140,000






 BATORY, DUCHESS OF YORK, GEORGIC, SOBIESKI in convoy FF1, Clyde to Brest with French and Polish troops from the Norwegian Campaign. FF2, Clyde to St Nazaire: Ulster Monarch, Royal Ulsterman, Royal Scotsman and Ulster Prince[1]


[1]     Items in italics are not part of the original document








CITY OF WINDSOR was diverted to Cherbourg from Convoy O.A.168 G.F.


LANCASTRIA was ordered to proceed to Quiberon Bay for onward passage to St. Nazaire, and FRANCONIA to Brest.


ARANDORA STAR, OTRANTO & STRATHAIRD were ordered to Brest with all despatch from Cardiff, and ORMONDE & ORONSAY[2] from Falmouth to Quiberon Bay. HAVELOCK was ordered to detail one destroyer to escort the first loaded convoy.




MACKAY & WINCHELSEA were ordered to sail to Brest at 0700/16 to escort loaded convoys to the United Kingdom.


D.S.T.O. Newhaven was ordered to sail FERMAIN, FIRECREST, NEPHRITE, OBSIDIAN & RAVONA to Brest with all despatch, and D.S.T.O. Shoreham was ordered to sail ARTHUR WRIGHT.


S.T.O. Avonmouth and S.T.O. Newport were ordered to sail CLAN FERGUSON, MARGOT, GOVERNOR & TEIRESIAS for St. Nazaire with all despatch.






Admiral Ouest was informed that EL KANTARA would sail for Brest pm.


WOLVERINE, VANOC, & WHIRLWIND were detailed to escort loaded ships to the United Kingdom.


FIRECREST, NEPHRITE, who had now arrived at Plymouth were ordered to remain there at short notice pending further orders, and S.T.O. Newhaven was ordered to sail FERMAIN for Plymouth forthwith.


MACKAY & WINCHESLEA sailed for Brest.


S.N.O. Brest reported that LADY OF MANN, MANXMAN & CANTERBURY were loaded with 6000 troops, but held up by mines. He intended to load VIENNA, who was in harbour under orders for Nantes.


B.N.L.O. Brest reported that more ships were urgently required at St. Nazaire. GEORGIC, DUCHESS OF YORK & SOBIESKI were to be loaded by dark and sailed, and  BATORY was to be sailed at daylight on the following day. 13000 troops would be embarked, leaving 35000 there.




S.N.O. St. Nazaire was informed that GEORGIC & DUCHESS OF YORK were to be sailed for Liverpool when loaded, and BATORY & SOBIESKI to Plymouth.


WESTCOTT was ordered to proceed to St. Nazaire to act under orders of Captain D.9.


Admiral Ouest was asked to sail ROYAL SCOTSMAN & ROYAL ULSTERMAN as soon as possible to Loire where they were urgently required to embark personnel.


ETTRICK, KONINGIN EMMA & LADY OF MANN were also to proceed to Quiberon Bay to embark troops from Loire. MACKAY was ordered to send destroyers not immediately required to join Captain D.9. at St. Nazaire.  WESTCOTT was to join them on the following morning.


SUFFOLK COAST & ST. ANDREW sailed from for Plymouth. HANTONIA & ST, BRIAC sailed 1815 from for Southampton.


VANOC was ordered to St. Nazaire with all despatch, and HIGHLANDER also sailed for St. Nazaire.


ROBERT PROCIS, STARLING & BARON OGILVY sailed from Nantes for Milford Haven.


The trawlers CAPE MARIATO, BLIGHTY, MURMANSK, LACERTA, LOMBARD, WELBECK, & FLORIO all sailed from Plymouth for Brest.


D.S.T.O. Avonmouth and Falmouth were ordered to sail TRELAWNY, BRITANNY, CITY OF EVANSVILLE and PORT MONTREAL for Loire via Quiberon Bay a.m. June 17th.


At the end of June 16th the position was that 11000 troops had been embarked at St Malo, leaving 5000 there. 10500 had embarked at Brest, leaving 16000 there. 17,000 had embarked at St, Nazaire, leaving 30000 there. The embarkation at Nantes was proceeding satisfactorily.







ARETHUSA reported (0017/17) that 14 ships were sailing from Le Verdon for Falmouth p.m. 17th with about 1200 British refugees and also Madure (MADURA) with 180 embassy Staff and 8000 refugees for the Bristol Channel.


S.N.O. St. Nazaire reported ((0119/17) that DUCHESS OF YORK with 4300 personnel, GEORGIC with 3982 were sailing for Plymouth, subsequently diverted to Liverpool,  BATORY 13,178 with 2000 for Plymouth & SOBEISKI with 2890 for Falmouth escorted by WHIRLWIND and BEAGLE.


LADY OF MANN arrived Plymouth from Brest 0450; CANTERBURY & MANXMAID AT 0521.


FRANCONIA was temporarily out of action due to near miss by bombs on the 16th, mainshaft and gearing out of line. At 0700/17th she proceeded independently from Quiberon Bay to Plymouth.


WESTCOTT arrived Brest 0540/17


BACTRIA arrived Plymouth 0715/1


VIENNA arrived Plymouth 0745/17


WOLVERINE having reported (0618/17) that a convoy of 19 loaded ships would be ready by noon, was instructed (0830/17) to escort them, taking with him trawlers AGATE & CAMBRIDGESHIRE.  C-in C W.A. ordered WESTCOTT (0834/17) to direct all ships, due for Brest into the harbour.


BRITANNY, TREWAL, TRELAWNY and CITY OF EVANSVILLE sailed Avonmouth (0900/17) for Loire via Quiberon Bay.


STRATHAIRD and ORMONDE arrived Brest 1035/17 and at 1100/17 Brest reported that sufficient ships had arrived. WREN was instructed (1129/17) to join D.9. at St. Nazaire. At 1145/17 B.N.L.O. asked for transport for 3000 troops and 250 rearguard at La Pallice by noon 18th


The French ship CHAMPLAIN (28000 tons gross) was reported mined off La Pallice a.m. 17th but it was not believed that the port was blocked.


WOLVERINE reported (1245/17) that the convoy of 19 ships previously reported had grown to 26 ships including an oiler and had sailed from Quiberon bay for Bristol Channel at 4 knots.


PORT MONTREAL sailed Falmouth 1145/17 for Loire.


N.O.I/C. Avonmouth reported (1330/17) that BRITANNY would be delayed until daylight 18/6 through engine defects.


S.N.O. St. Nazaire reported (1445/17) that HAVELOCK had one engine out of action and was returning with LANCASTRIA to U.K. He asked for more destroyers as embarkation was badly delayed by lack of shipping.


PRINSES JOSEPHINE CHARLOTTE sailed Falmouth 1628/17 for Brest. PRINCESS MAUDE 2600 sailed 1600/17 with 2600 troops.


HIGHLANDER signalled (1603/17) that LANCASTRIA was hit and sinking. At 1843/17 D.9. reported that LANCASTRIA had been sunk by a bomb after loading. It was impossible to assess casualties. Survivors has (sic) been sailed in ORONSAY. D.9. reported that he only had HIGHLANDER and one with him and that embarkation would be seriously delayed. WREN & ZAZA were ordered (1822/17) to join him.


S.N.O. Brest reported 1507/17 that WESTCOTT had been holed by collision and was returning Plymouth at 8 knots. He asked for more destroyers immediately if possible.


KONINGIN EMMA arrived Plymouth (1838/17).


At 1851/17, C. in C. W.A. informed S.N.O. Brest , S.N.O. St. Nazaire and all ships in W.A. of the decision to withdraw the whole of the B.E.F. immediately. and detailed the vessels that would be arriving at the various ports. MACKAY was informed that they were to be embarked on any ship for the U.K.


ORMONDE, OTRANTO and ARANDORA STAR sailed Quiberon Bay p.m./ 17 with orders to report to WOLVERINE.


S.N.O. Brest reported the situation at 1930/17 as total number embarked 30,000. All big ships sailing independently, MACKAY and trawler taking off small number remaining.


MACKAY was asked (2154/17) to confirm the authenticity of this message and did so (2307/17).


Senior British Army Officer, St. Nazaire was informed (1935/17) by War Office that certain troops would endeavour to destroy all British and French oil stocks in area St. Nazaire, Donges and Nantes before embarking.


STURDY was instructed (2011/17) to join MACKAY at Brest.


S.N.O. Brest reported (2027/17) that he had ordered WINCHESLEA to join D.9. at St. Nazaire and that no further destroyers were required at Brest.


MACKAY was ordered (2036/17) to send to La Pallice forthwith, ships with total capacity of 7000, including ETTRICK if possible. ARANDORA STAR was ordered (2137/17) to proceed forthwith to La Pallice, but reported (2217/17) that the signal had been received too late as all ships had sailed from Brest and ETTRICK had not been seen.


 BATORY & WHIRLWIND arrived Plymouth (2145/17)


S.N.O. Brest, in MACKAY, signalled (2223/17) reference C. in C., W. A. that he had no information about any Belgians before leaving Brest at 2130.


WREN (2340/17) & AMSTERDAM (2351/17) sailed from Plymouth.


At 2342/17, S.N.O. St. Nazaire was requested to confirm statement of the French that embarkation in Loire would be completed during the night of 17th, and also whether this would include personnel, stores and M.T.


Commodore in JOHN HOLT reported 2343/17 that he was returning with 829 survivors from LANCASTRIA, many without clothing.


P.S.T.O. Southampton was instructed 2351/17 to sail ST. HELIER forthwith to La Pallice.









ETTRICK & ORMONDE ordered to St. Nazaire (0003/18)


CLAN FERGUSON to Bordeaux (0004)


S.N.O. Brest reported (0031) that after several reversals of policy during Monday forenoon G.H.Q. had given instructions for personnel only to be loaded, about 25 guns had been loaded.


SOBEISKI arrived Falmouth (0100). D.9.reported (0100) that French statement to the effect that embarkation would be completed that night were utterly wrong.


CUTTY SARK sailed from Plymouth (0115)


ARANDORA STAR ordered to Quiberon Bay (0213)


WREN escorting AMSTERDAM & LADY OF MANN sailed for Plymouth (0224)


ORMONDE diverted from St. Nazaire to La Pallice (0238)


WHIRLWIND sailed for Gironde (0300)


S.N.O. Brest reported (0317) that French troops landed Brest Monday (17th) ex ROYAL SCOTSMAN from Narvik did not wish to be evacuated to the United Kingdom, 400 Polish in ULSTER MONARCH were allowed to remain in ship.


Brest reported mined. M/S COURTIER & ERIMO ordered to return there (0511)


STRATHAIRD arrived Plymouth (0608) MACKAY & ROYAL SCOTSMAN arrived Plymouth (0635). MACKAY brought back 49 Naval and Military Officers and 39 ratings and other ranks.


Convoy OLIVE sailed Loire (0630) - ROYAL ULSTERMAN 2800, ULSTER PRINCE 2800, FLORISTAN 2000,

BAHARISTAN 2000, CLAN MACPHERSON (CLAN FERGUSON) 2000, DUNDRUM CASTLE 2000, DAVID LIVINGSTONE 2000, FABIAN 2000, CITY OF MOBILE 2000, GLEN AFFARIC (GLENAFFRIC)  4000.  Total of 23,600.   Escorted by VANOC & BEAGLE. Destination Plymouth & Falmouth.


D.9.ordered WINCHESLEA (0647) to send any small transports at Quiberon to St. Nazaire forthwith, and also ordered ROYAL ULSTERMAN back to St. Nazaire (0653).


Brest and La Pallice closed, mines probable (0714)


S.N.O. St. Nazaire reported (0730) embarkation of personnel would be completed pm. Tuesday 18th, but no stores or M.T. for which no shipping was available.


BELLEROPHON arrived Plymouth (0745)


D9 ordered WINCHESLEA to St. Nazaire with all despatch (0805)


BEAGLE reported (0830) sailed from St. Nazaire for Plymouth (0600) with ULSTER PRINCE, ?6800, CLAN FERGUSON, BAHARISTAN, each carrying approximately 3000 troops, DAVID 600, LIVINGSTONE with 800, BEAGLE 600, all short of provisions. (part OLIVE, contradicts above)


At 0800 BROKE from British Naval Liaison Officer situation at 0800 18th June.


  1. Detachment of stragglers being embarked in (Prinses) JOSEPHINE CHARLOTTE
  2. Channel being swept after previous night's minelaying to enable French Fleet to leave
  3. French Naval Authorities shewing no sign of individual initiative.
  4. Enemy mechanical forces 150 miles away
  5. All British motor transport abandoned.


CUTTY SARK stopped by mines off St. Mathieu (0845)


800 ACHERON reported (0845) meeting LYCAON with 800 troops on board and no rations in position 51. 00. N. 06. 00. W. proceeding Bristol Channel.


Trawler SUTHERNESS arrived Falmouth (0850)


ARETHUSA reported (0903) sailings from Le Verdun:  17 June 1940:




FOXGLOVE instructed by Commander-in Chief, Portsmouth to endeavour to evacuate 10 tons of Suez Canal archives from Granville (0932)


HAVELOCK reported starboard propeller and tail shaft damaged, port propeller probably damaged


WESTCOTT in collision with S.S. NYROCA, holed in No 3 fuel tank,


D.9.signalled WOLVERINE (1054), transports urgently needed at Gironde


D.9. reported (1039) that VANOC had been placed at the disposal of General Brooke and staff, but that he had embarked on trawler (CAMBRIDGESHIRE)


Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, ordered SABRE & FERNIE (1107) to close Cherbourg to evacuate 800 troops and 50 Naval demolition ports and to provide covering fire if required


Four aircraft bombing Brest (1153)


MACKAY ordered (1009) to proceed to Quiberon Bay by 0400/19, report and proceed thence to La Pallice under orders of D.9.


CUTTY SARK reported (1245) bombed, can only proceed slowly


COURTIER reported (1316) Brest and shipping being heavily bombed, shipping leaving


S.N.O. St Nazaire reported all personnel evacuated St. Nazaire (1315/18)


BROKE reported (1346) statement from Belgian General that 4000 Belgian troops were 25 miles north and 2000 south of St. Nazaire. He had told them to make for St. Nazaire and was sending there JOSEPHINE CHARLOTTE & FERMAIN.


LYCAON arrived Milford Haven with troops (1436).


S.N.O. St. Nazaire reported (1440) all M.T. and store ships crammed to capacity with personnel. All holds in use and men short of food and water.


ARETHUSA reported (1444) requisitioning Dutch ship BENNEKON (BENNEKOM) to carry 400 refugees. GUIDO arrived Plymouth 1452. BEAGLE directed to divert ULSTER PRINCE & DAVID LIVINGSTONE to Falmouth (1502)


D.9. reported that ARANDORA STAR was not required and was being sent to United Kingdom (1520)


S.N.O. St. Nazaire and D.9. informed (1526) that Commodore Hallett and party were arriving with special duties. Troops were being sent for his use but he might require others


ARETHUSA reported (1537) that no German prisoners were expected Bordeaux


ORONSAY with wounded and other survivors from 'LANCASTRIA' and troops arrived Plymouth 1547.


BROKE reported 1556 that French naval force was leaving Brest evening 18th, and that demolition was planned for midnight. This report crossed Commander-in Chief's 1602 stressing the importance of sailing or destruction of RICHELIEU & JEAN BART.


ST. HELIER was ordered to La Pallice and D.S.T.O. Plymouth was ordered to send MANXMAID & CANTERBURY to Brest, but ST HELIER arrived Plymouth 1700


At 1625 Commander-in Chief directed S.N.O. St. Nazaire to keep fighters as long as possible in view of 6000 Belgians and unknown number of refugees still awaiting evacuation


ARANDORA STAR chased by, but escaped from U-boat


Admiral Ouest reported that Training Battleship PARIS was damaged by bomb and proceeding Plymouth escorted by GROENLAND & HEUREUX, also OURAGAN escorted by POMEROL. Admiral Ouest was sailing in LE HARDI for Casablanca or Dakar.


D.9. reported (1752) St. Nazaire evacuated and presumed in enemy hands. s.s. ETTRICK told not to proceed there


VANOC reported (1746) 8000 troops, am proceeding Plymouth


BROKE signalled that RICHELIEU had sailed with Admiral Ouest.


ORCADES arrived Plymouth 1803.


S.N.O. St. Nazaire reported (1817) having evacuated port at port 1315 with Brigadier Gill and staff.


CITY OF EVANSVILLE sailed Penzance 1800 for St. Nazaire


D.9. reported :- (1828)


Also in company British Military Hospital Ship ROBERT E. HOLT, oiler CASPIA, Polish LEWANT, Trawlers ST. MELANTE & CLOUGHTON WYKE, OSAMA, ARMENA escorted HIGHLANDER & WREN.


Trawler LACERTO arrived Plymouth, 1910. ORONSAY 1547.


Commander-in Chief enquired (1943) whether ARETHUSA had sufficient tonnage for evacuation of GIRONDE. ARETHUSA informed that most important that special service agents at Arcachon, ordered by Admiralty to proceed to Bordeaux or Le Verdun, be got away. ARETHUSA told to try and contact General of fully equipped Czech division comprising 1200 men, including aircraft, and inform him transport to United Kingdom will be provided if he can get forces to Bordeaux before enemy interference with route.


D.9. was told (2006) to proceed to La Pallice, when satisfied nothing more could be done at Loire and to divert shipping to La Pallice trawlers and A/S Yachts would be at her disposal At 2054 MACKAY was too ordered to proceed to La Pallice.


Customs Jersey signalled that the Master of s.s. HODDER reported on arrival that he had sighted enemy seaplane dropping magnetic mines in harbour at 0230.


MAID MARION reported (2100) that French Authorities stated St. Nazaire in enemy hands. STURDY was ordered to proceed to Plymouth at 2041.


MACKAY reported (2215) French Battleship COURBET off Ushant steering North.


VANQUISHER reported (1600) having seen French Admiral who hoped to sail Battleship 0500/19 arrangements made to destroy if unable to sail. (JEAN BART)


Admiralty informed (1711) BERKELEY, General Julius Deutsch and wife onboard S.S.. Cuba at Bordeaux, permitted to proceed to United Kingdom in any merchant vessel.


CUTTY SARK reported starboard engine out of action, returning Plymouth at 8 knots.


BROKE reported 1815 that French A.M.C.s EXPLORATEUR & GRANDIDIER had been ordered to St. Ives Bay by Admiral Ouest.


During the day Trawlers MONTANO, OSWALDIAN, & LADY ESTELLE and tugs TANGA & PERSIA arrived Falmouth.


Commander-in-Chief ordered 1914 VIENNA, ST. JULIAN, ST. ANDREW, CYCLOPS & BELLEROPHON to Dartmouth, PRINCE ALBERT to Southampton and BACTRIA to Barry.


ARETHUSA ordered (1925) WHIRLWIND to intercept and escort MADURA out from Le Verdun to Falmouth and NARIVA to B.C. both carrying refugees.


C. in C ordered Falmouth to sail GUINNEAN (GUINEAN) to Barry


CAMBRIDGESHIRE reported E.T.A. Plymouth 1500/19 with British general Staff on board


S.S. JOHN HOLT arrived Plymouth 2025, CIMBULA (CYMBULA) 2100


At 2058 LORD GREY & BERVIE BRAES were ordered to La Pallice, ST.MALANTE, ASAMO, OVETAS to Gironde.


ARETHUSA signalled (2114) she had enough tonnage for known refugees. Belgian KASONGO had been requisitioned for evacuating special service agents.


VIVA II, referring to MAID MARION's 2100, reported St. Nazaire not in enemy hands, but no British troops there.


At 2309 H. Ship ST. JULIAN arrived Plymouth.   KONINGEN EMMA sailed 2244.






click to enlarge


KINDAT diverted to Barry (0011)


ORACLE signalled (0012/19) that the Germans were close to St. Nazaire at 2330/18. ORACLE returning with rescued merchant crews, a few soldiers and refugees, 250 in all. (see 1800/19 =114)


Rescue tugs SALVONIA,  ZWARTEZEE (ZWARTE ZEE) and MARAUDER ordered to return to Falmouth (0014).


French A.M.C. EXPLORATEUR GRANDIDIER (one ship, previous entry suggests two?) diverted from St. Ives to Milford (0016)


German aircraft reported ARETHUSA possibly laying magnetic mines Le Verdon (0028)


Admiralty informed ARETHUSA &BERKELEY (0035/19) that French Colonel Bonevita was proceeding by air to Bordeaux to arrange evacuation of individual French Officers and men, and skilled workmen who wished to leave France. C. in C. W.A. was asked to arrange transport, preferably in French ships, for 2000 to start with.


Trawler FLORA, motor barge CABBY arrived Plymouth (0045)


ARETHUSA reported two more bombing attacks Le Verdon between 0130 and 0150.


ORMONDE ordered to La Pallice, Gironde area (0216)


PORT MONTREAL to Barry (0219)


B.N.L.O. Bordeaux requested (0330/19) for shipping suitable for entry Bayonne harbour to collect about 1000 refugees.


Hospital ships, ST. ANDREW, ST. JULIEN left Plymouth (0450)




Trawler MURMANSK grounded at Brest and abandoned (0542) crew saved.


JOZO, BARON LOVAT, CAPULET, arrived Plymouth (0610)


ARETHUS reported (0548) sailing of refugee ships from Le Verdon, MADURA for Falmouth and NARIVA  for the Bristol Channel.


IMOGEN & GRIFFIN ordered (0551) to take over tow of French destroyer OURAGAN in position 57N. 05. 03 W.


Hospital Ship DORSETSHIRE arrived Plymouth (0652)


Tug QUEENSCROSS reported (0700) that she was off Brest but refused permission to enter.


S.S.. GLENAFFARIC arrived Plymouth (0751)


French tugs ATTENTIF, CHAMPION and Belgian Pilot Vessel BATEAU arrived Plymouth with refugees from St. Malo.


C. in C. W.A. (0825) instructed local establishments to prepare to receive French and Belgian Naval Officers and ratings.


BROKE reported (0834) that she had left Brest 0030. Demolition largely effective. All French warships out of harbour except two submarines scuttled. Evacuation of French troops still in progress. Now leaving BERTHEAUME for Plymouth with 20 British stragglers, 20 civilians (12 women), and 180 Polish troops.


LORD GREY reported (0845) that on arrival off St. Nazaire she intercepted a signal stating that it was in German hands. She was returning with trawler BERVIEBRAES.


L/L Trawlers LA ROCHELLE & INVERFORTH arrived La Verdon (0915)


VANQUISHER reported (0915) French Battleship JEAN BART and two French destroyers with Admiral Ouest in LE HARDI had sailed for Casablanca.


2500 WREN reported (0950) in company with THISTLEGLEN & PHILLIPPA (PHILLIP M) carrying 2500 troops for Falmouth.


French despatch vessel SUIPPE arrived Falmouth (0950)




3000 French S.S. MEKNES arrived from Brest with approximately 3000 French troops, 11 civilians, 1 French Admiral and 1 French General.


TRELAWNY reported St. Nazaire roads attacked (1007)


Liverpool ordered to sail (1129) M.T. GEORGIC forthwith to La Pallice.


Sea Transport staff from St. Nazaire and Quiberon Bay arrived Plymouth (1016)


Tug KROOMAN ordered by D.9. (1017)  to proceed to la Pallice.


BROKE (1025) intercepted French S/Ms MINERVE & JUNON in tow of QUEENS CROSS & WATERCOCK off Pierres Noires escorted by PESSAC and SAUTESNE and proposed escorting to Plymouth. Ordered tug STURDY to tow JUNON, tug being short of coal.


B.N.L.O. France reported (1026) unable to contact Czech General re-evacuating Czech troops.


1200 D.9 reported (1035) convoy Stable 2 with 1200 troops in position 47. 52. N. 06. 21. W. course 000 8 knots.


MACKAY (1041) stated La Pallice gate shut, ALDERPOOL & LADY OF MANN outside. Endeavouring to get it opened.


ULSTER MONARCH ordered from Falmouth to La Pallice (1136).


VISCOUNT, WITCH arrived Plymouth (1152).


TWICKENHAM FERRY arrived Plymouth (1251).


Admiralty (1271) advised C. in C. W.A. ARETHUISA & BERKELEY re Polish troops 25000 in Ports between Brest, Vannes & Rochelle. 5000 between Bordeaux & Bayonne.  30, 000 now fighting, but may reach Marseilles or Bordeaux and said every effort should be made to bring them to the U.K.


PUNJABI & HARVESTER joined convoy Stable 2 (1226).


CUTTY SARK arrived Plymouth (1236).


M.V. SWAY arrived Plymouth (1236).


French Transport PLM 17 arrived (1330).


MACKAY reported (1321) situation La Pallice. MAID MARION in company. British S.N.O. left with last British troops. None further expected. 10 refugees embarked MAID MARION. A few Polish soldiers sighted.


TRELAWNEY heavily bombed St. Nazaire Roads, damage slight (1325)


WREN ordered (1347) to take ships to Newport (THISTLEGLEN & PHILLIPPA  (PHILLIP M) routed for Falmouth)


VANOC (1412) reported loading of British ships:  CITY OF MOBLIE 3000 troops with 5 stretcher cases; FLORISTAN 3500;  ESSEX DRUID 1500 5 stretcher cases;  8500 DUNDRUM CASTLE 500


FLORISTAN damaged in engine room by bombing.


French battleship PARIS arrived Plymouth (1425)


ARETHUSA reported (1457) several magnetic mines laid during night. One French merchant vessel sunk a.m. 19th One mine believed exploded prematurely. 2, possibly 3 aircraft destroyed


Using L/L trawlers to sweep passenger for ARETHUSA & BERKELEY. Embassy ordered ARETHUSA to sail for U.K. as soon as British staff embarked p.m.


French S.S. POULMIC, Cable Vessel EMILE BAUNER, escort vessels CHALUPIER, HEUREUX, & ROLAND, British s.s. HYTHE arrived (1500) Plymouth.


D.9 .(1519) reported that he was rejoining convoy Stable 2. Troops without food and water.


French tug ABEILLE 8 arrived Plymouth




Refugee ships sailed Le Verdon for Falmouth (1546):-  STAD HARLEM & ALCOR with 150 each, BENNEKOM with 400, RONBUR III &  REGNSTROOM (REGGESTROOM) with unknown numbers


Tug MARAUDER arrived Falmouth (1550)


MANOR reported (1555) she had on board 67 Naval Ratings, 2 Army Officers and 25 O.R. and 1 civilian. CHILTERN had 114 evacuees.


STURDY arrived Plymouth (1548), transports PRINCESS MAUD and TYNEWALL (TYNWALD) (1600).


 French crane lighters GEORGES DE JOLLY & ANDRE BLONDEL arrived (1618)


TRELAWNEY ordered to Barry (1648)


B.N.L.O. Bordeaux informed (1649) ships to embark third Polish Division sent St. Nazaire, others to La Pallice.




Sailings GALATEA & BEAGLE (1710).


Trawler CAMBRIDGESHIRE with General Brooke and staff arrived (1720)


D.9. ordered (1731) to divert to St Nazaire OTRANTO, ORONTES, ARANDORA STAR, ST. HELIER, ETTRICK.


ARETHUSA reported (1735) wreck of French ship MEXIQUE dangerous to navigation off Le Verdon.


WINCHESLEA instructed by C- in-C. W.A. (1752) that two to three thousand from Stable 2 were to be landed at Falmouth Ships to be diverted accordingly.


ORMONDE attacked by aircraft (1754) and (1808)


ORACLE reported (1800) her passengers consisted of 44 soldiers, 25 white merchant seamen, 31 Chinese seamen, 12 European refugees, 1 Naval Officer, 1 military hospital case. Total 114 and not  250 as reported 0012/19.


BERKELEY instructed by Admy. (1823/19) that a most important and urgent message for Admiral Darlan would reach him shortly and he was to remain in Bordeaux until he had delivered the message and received a reply.


LL Trawler BERVIE BRAES reported (1830) 'I am leaking badly and have only one day's coal left'


M/S Trawlers STRATHRANNOCK, WILLIAM BELL & SEDDON sailed Plymouth (1835)


MACKAY (1901) stated that he expected to ship 3000 Polish troops in ALDERPOOL 19th


VISCOUNT & WITCH sailed Plymouth (1905)




Arrived at Plymouth 1800 French Tugs ABEILLE 4 and AD 100, Trawler N.U, motor yacht TORBAY BELLE, s.s. CHARMA


ORMONDE reported air attack ceased (1920)


ARETHUSA informed (1930) essential Gironde and La Pallice be kept clear of mines. LL vessels to be retained, orders being sent.


Admiralty advised (1943) that ALERT should be sailed as soon as escort was available to cut Brest- Fayal and Brest-Cape Cod cables.


Arrived Plymouth (1950) M/S Trawlers COUTIER & ERMO, French Trawler A.D.. 120 and INGINIER DE JOLY.


B.N.L.O. Bordeaux informed (1930) that evacuation of Polish government was of importance.


AMSTERDAM & MANXMAN arrived and sailed Plymouth (2015)


WHIRLWIND reported (2025) MADURA e.t.a. Falmouth 1030/20 with 1370 refugees. NARIVA  265 for Bristol Channel.


Admiralty asked (2053) to give early consideration to laying of magnetic mines in French ports immediately they are evacuated.


GEORGIC sailed Liverpool for La Pallice (2030)


D.9. instructed (2103) that SOBEISKI and destroyers were to evacuate 8000 Polish troops from St. Nazaire.


MACKAY advised (2104) that as no air protection was available ships evacuating were to remain underway as much as possible.


N.O.I/C Dartmouth instructed (2121) to divert AMSTERDAM & MANXMAN due at 2245 to Milford Haven.


ARETHUSA reported (2153) British Ambassador and 30 staff leaving for Arcachon. Majority of


personnel sailing in ARETHUSA 19TH. KONINGIN EMMA ordered to be available for evacuating refugees from fortress as ordered by British Consul. LL Trawlers sent to Arcachon.


BERKELEY proceeding Arcachon


P.S.T.O. Southampton instructed (2158) to sail BLAIRNEVIS, BLEGRAVIAN (BELGRAVIAN)


DELIUS, for La Pallice Gironde area.


D.9. ordered (2239) to return to Plymouth in HIGHLANDER.


PUNJABI & ATHERSTONE ordered to Clyde on completion of present duties (2259)


C-in-C W.A. (2301) instructed GLEN HOLT camp, R.M.B., IMPREGNABLE, RALEIGH, GDYNIA, .R.N.B. that all French, Polish, Belgian and other Nationals, service or civilian, landed from France were to be identified as early as possible.


s.s. MURRAYFIELD arrived Cawsand Bay (2315)


French destroyer OURAGEN arrived (2320)


Lorient reported all clear by S.N.O. (2321)


IMOGEN instructed to act as S.N.O. Loire during absence of D.9. (2322)


MACKAY reported (2345) enemy bombing La Pallice.


HIGHLANDER arrived Plymouth with D.9. and Captain Hamilton (2350)


French Naval vessels, 1 sloop, 1 patrol vessel, 1 gunboat, 4 armed trawlers, 1 M.T.B. arrived Falmouth 2350.


Captain of CYMBULA reported (2355) that he had on board 250 army ranks - short of kit and two women survivors from LANCASTRIA.







HARVESTER, IMOGEN, PUNJABI ordered to return to Plymouth (0026)


Belgian PRINCE BAUDOUIN arrived (0030)


N.O.I/C Dartmouth ordered to sail VIENNA, CANTERBURY & MANXMAN to Plymouth


Tug KROOMAN ordered (0104) to proceed to La Pallice replied (0115) 'cannot ascertain position La Pallice have only general chart' ordered to return Falmouth (0336)


A/S Yacht ORACLE and French Tug IMOGEN arrived (0100)


STURDY ordered (0144) to proceed to Southampton with DUNDRUM CASTLE, MCKARES (MEKNES), CITY OF MOBILE.


French S/M SURCOUF arrived (0230)


C. in C. Portsmouth informed SABRE (0246) that 5000 Polish troops were reported fighting towards St. Malo SABRE to proceed St. Helier to standby to escort schoots to St. Malo.


STURDY sailed (0310) DUNDRUM CASTLE, MCKARES (MEKENES) & CITY OF MOBILE (0445) with 6500 troops


ARETHUSA reported (0501) that enemy laid parachute mines and it was believed No. of St. George's Bank and main Channel near Falaise Bank buoy were mined.


WINCHELSEA & ROYAL SCOTSMAN with 300 troops detached from convoy to Falmouth at 0500 by VANQUISHER.




MACKAY reported (0600) sailed ALDERPOOL with 4000 Polish troops and EMPIRE INDUSTRY with 40 British refugees for Falmouth.


ZAZA arrived Gironde (0610)


BATORY ordered to Bayonne (0616)


HARVESTER arrived Plymouth (0620)


Tug WATERCOCK arrived Falmouth (0640)


OAKBANK & SKJOLD arrived Plymouth (0650) BERVIE BRAES (0720)




BERKELEY reported (0735) that last information from Embassy at (1700/19)  indicated that situation should still be satisfactory at Biscarosse.


French Trawler P.46 and OPQA arrived Plymouth (0735)


French Yacht OTDB towing lifeboat and OPNE (0740) with four French tugs.


MACKAY reported (0814) SOBEISKE arrived Le Verdon and had been ordered to St. Helier


(presumably to embark Polish troops from St. Malo)


Five French armed trawlers and eight French motor craft arrived Plymouth (0815)


SABRE reported (0830) shadowed by enemy A/C south of Casquets.


WINCHELSEA reported (0848) she had on board Captain Allen R.N. and eight Naval Officers


one French lady secretary, Brigadier Gill and 7 army Officers: one merchant officer, one sick Polish W.O., 8 Naval Ratings, 10 military and one civil airman.


BERKLEY reported (0855) departure delayed owing to mining of channel E.T.A. Arcachon 1300 Tugs SALVONIA, QUEENSCROSS, WATERCOCK & ZWARTE ZEE (Dutch) arrived Falmouth (0910)


BROKE & WINCHELSEA arrived Plymouth (0927), CANTERBURY (0928), MANXMAN (0950) & VIENNA (1015).


WHIRLWIND reported (0935) am escorting NARIVA to Milford Haven


B.N.L.O. Bordeaux informed Admiralty (0943) that Polish Division was assembling Le Verdon and requested shipping be re-directed there to report to French Marine.


BERKLEY reported (1005) French cruiser PRIMAUGUET anchored in position 45. 40. N. 01. 13. W (North of Gironde)


SABRE reported to C. in C. Portsmouth (1035) that she was escorting three transports with evacuees from St. Helier.


B.N.L.O. Bordeaux reported (1032) some members of Polish Government evacuated in ARETHUSA. Trying to instruct remainder to embark with Polish troops. Urgent requirements


BAYONNE, transports for 1000 military personnel and refugees.


Garronne river handed over to French. Polish Authorities. B.N.L.O. leaving Bordeaux.


ULSTER MONARCH ordered to La Pallice Gironde area (1047) to return to U.K. if no British warships met in vicinity.


VANQUISHER reported (1050) having following on board:-  Cdr. Hallett, 3 officers and 40 ratings of demolition party. Capt. Schurr, D.S.T.O. Nantes,  LT Norton R.N.V.R., 3 Polish Officers,1 Polish Private, 5 Polish women with 4 children - families of Polish Officers.


IMOGEN reported PUNJABI sailed (1056) for Plymouth from St. Nazaire with 400 Polish troops (see also later signal (2157)) No more in St. Nazaire, or expected there.


IMOGEN, GRIFFIN, WITCH & VISCOUNT proceeded to RADE DE CROISIC where it was hoped to fill up all destroyers.


ETTRICK & SOBEISKI not arrived St. Nazaire


SABRE reported (1112) to Portsmouth still about 15000 people in Jersey, and asked for all available small craft.


C. in C. Portsmouth informed SABRE (1110) St. Malo apparently still in French hands air report - SABRE to ascertain if Polish troops still awaiting evacuation, if so embark them in 18 Dutch schoots then en route St. Helier.


French Tug AMOGAT towing two French S/M Chasers arrived Plymouth (1110), two French S/Ms (1120)


VANQUISHER arrived Plymouth (1140)


BEAGLE arrived Le Verdon (1000) and sailed for Bordeaux (1110)


ARETHUSA sailed Le Verdon (1120) for Plymouth bringing President of Poland and staff, British 250 Ambassador to Poland and staff, Staff of British Embassies Brussels and Paris 250 in all.


D.9. re-embarked in HAVELOCK (1210)


GEORGIC ordered back to Liverpool (1210)


Falmouth instructed (1240) to sail ULSTER MONARCH to Plymouth. Sailed (1830)


Polish General Sikorski arrived Bordeaux pm 19/6


BERKLEY instructed (1300/20) to give him all assistance


French S/M chaser No. 11 arrived Plymouth (1311)


BERKLEY ordered Admiralty (1312) to get in touch with Feller & Co., 1, Espirit de Lois, Bordeaux, and arrange shipment of vital goods ex. Goth Co., Switzerland.




C.S.2. informed (1351) by C-in-C W.A. Polish division assembling Le Verdon for evacuation. Also 3000 French air pilots and mechanics. Shipping at La Pallice, LADY OF MANN, ORMONDE, KONINGIN EMMA, on passage thither St. Helier ,PRINCESS BEATRIX, BLAIR NEVIS, DELIUS.


Trawler STRATHRANNOCK arrived Plymouth (1440)


Sailed from Le Verdon for Falmouth (1152):  KASANGO with 100 British passengers; NIGERSTROOM with 600 British passengers;   VILLE DE LEIGE with 200-300 Polish and Czech troops;  BROOM PARK with unknown number British and machine tools


Mr. Campbell at Bordeaux reported (1229) to Foreign Office and C-in-C W.A. that 5000 Polish army were assembling at Le Verey and 10000 at La Rochelle.


Belle Isle bombed (1401)


350 IMOGEN reported (1425), Have sailed GRIFFIN+ for Plymouth with 350 Polish troops, am embarking a further 900 approximately in WITCH, VISCOUNT & IMOGEN. (see Imogen 1730) Polish authorities state no further troops in vicinity capable of being evacuated.


GRIFFIN reported (1448) have met ETTRICK off Belle Isle and told her to remain in company.


ROYAL SCOTSMAN also present.


La Pallice roads bombed (MACKAY 1620)


Lifeboat with 23 French refugees arrived St. Mary's Scilly (1635)


MACKAY signalled (1647) Can do no more at La Pallice, empty transports are merely targets for

enemy aircraft and are short of water with no prospect of troops. French are proceeding with destruction of oil Storages. Am returning with ST. HELIER, LADY OF MANN in company. (sailed 1915).


CYCLOPS ordered (1711) to sail Dartmouth to La Pallice Gironde forthwith, returning U.K. if no British warship in vicinity.


IMOGEN, reference his (1425), reported (1730) numbers evacuated WITCH 340, VISCOUNT 500, IMOGEN 466 including 3 British and 14 Belgian soldiers.


C.S.2 informed (1750) by C-in-C W.A. of report (1229) from Bordeaux also activities Col. Bonavita of French Army at Bordeaux.


BEAGLE instructed (1702) if demolitions completed he should proceed to La Pallice and carry out similar operation.


Admiralty signalled GALETEA (1755) to request French General Massenet Marancount to fly aircraft from CASAUX and MERIIGNAC aerodrome to Andover.


Arrivals Plymouth French s.s. MOUSSE-LE-MOY (1738); Tug FRENE (1725); Tug CHERBOURGEORN No 4(1730);

Trawler B 1031 (1728); Aux. M/Y NIVERNAIS (1757)


GRIFFIN instructed (1808) to send ETTRICK and ROYAL SCOTSMAN to La Pallice Gironde area to report to any British warship.


P.L.M. 16 reported (1813) attacked by aircraft (1835) 'All right'


BEAGLE instructed (1855) to endeavour to get in touch with B.N.L.O. Bordeaux and evacuate anyone he requires.


GRIFFIN reported (1902) VISCOUNT detailed to escort BRITANNY pas t Ushant. GRIFFIN and WITCH escorting KAIPAKI, ROYAL SCOTSMAN. French destroyer MISTRAL arrived Plymouth (1900), bringing Vice Admiral CAYOL.


GRIFFIN asked (1945) reference C-in-C W.A. 1808, if ships should be sent to La Pallice in view of MACKAY's 1647


ULSTER MONARCH arrived (1930) Plymouth


French trawler MONIQUE-ANDREE towing launch (1954)


WHIRLWIND escorting NARIVA arrived Milford (2002)


Admiralty informed C-in-C W.A. (2013) of personnel it was desired to withdraw from France.

(a) La Rochelle area Up to 10000 Poles (reported) and up to 5000 Belgians possibly.


(b) Bordeaux area . Polish Division assembling. 3000 French air pilots and mechanics.  Possibly 5000 Czechs


(c) Bayonne area Some of the above proceeded to Bayonne

2. In addition number of French troops expected to respond to General' De Gaulle's appeal


3 or 4 ships to proceed Bayonne to convey these to Nt. Africa.


3. Most valuable store and equipment at Bordeaux should be lifted.


(C-in-C's reply 2304)


Trawler ARSENAL reported (2055) having met Belgian s.s. PERSIER with 51 British Officers on board bound for Barry Roads.


PUNJABI reported (2157) have onboard 365 Poles, 30 British soldiers and 14 others, including 18 wounded, mostly stretcher cases.


MACKAY instructed (2211) to send St. Helier and Lady of Mann to Le Verdon for water and to embark any troops there.


ROYAL SCOTSMAN ordered to join MACKAY off Gironde entrance and ETTRICK to proceed Bayonne (2211)


C. in C. informed Admiralty (2304) with reference to Admiralty's 2031 that additional ships were being sent as follows:-   To Gironde ORMONDE Personnel 5000 due now and BATORY 3000 at present ordered Bayonne


Cargo ships BLAIRNEVIS, BELGRAVIAN, DELIUS, GLENAFFRIC, CYCLOPS, BECKENHAM, CLAN FERGUSON, LYCAON, MAPLEWOOD, CLAN ROSS, BALFE, CLAUMET (CALUMET), KELSO, KUFRA, BARON KENNARD (KINNARD), KERMA, BARON NAIRN, all suitable for stores and two to three thousand personnel each, all due evening 21st and after.


To Bayonne SOBEISKI Personnel 3000 there now,  ETTRICK ' 3000 due pm 21st , ARANDORA STAR ' 6000 due early 23rd


These ships will be in danger from air attack. Can French fighters assist.


S.S. BACPORT arrived Plymouth 2300 and H.M.S. STURDY 2320.


H.M. Trawler ONETOS with French Yacht in tow 2355








WREN arrived Milford Haven 0015


Reference C. in C. W.A's 2211/20 MACKAY reported (0029) that both ETTRICK & ROYAL SCOTSMAN stated that they had only sufficient fuel to reach U.K. MACKAY therefore escorting both to Plymouth.


GRIFFIN & WITCH arrived Plymouth 0817


D.S.T.O. Barry ordered (0336) to sail the following ships for Gironde:




D.S.T.O. Swansea ordered (0337) to sail KELSO, KUFRA, & LYCAON for Gironde.


D.S.T.O. Avonmouth ordered (0338) to sail CALUMET, for Gironde.


P.S.T.O. Southampton ordered (0339) to sail CLAN ROSS, MAPLEWOOD, BALFE & KYNO for Gironde.


D.S.T.O. Plymouth ordered (0341) to sail CLAN FERGUSON for Gironde


D.S.T.O. Falmouth ordered (0342) to sail BEKENHAM for Gironde


BERKLEY ordered by C.S.2. (0430) to proceed Le Verdon with all despatch and order any transports available to embark troops, sailing them as loaded for Plymouth.




Arrived Plymouth 0552 French destroyer CDT. DUBOC




Arrived Plymouth 0633 PUNJABI


Arrived Plymouth 0645 REVENGE, and at 0700 Tug KROOMAN


Arrived Plymouth 0801 ARETHUSA with Polish President M. Raczkiewicz and his wife with staff and other passengers (See also in message 1120/20)


WARLABY sailed Dartmouth (0730)


VIVA II reported (0930) ship with secret call sign 2 INV reports La Pallice in enemy hands.


BEAGLE informed by C. in C. W.A. (1014) that Commander Hallett was sailing VANQUISHER atT (1000) for La Pallice to assist in carrying out the duty.


ARANDORA STAR arrived Plymouth (1027), IMOGEN (1038)


BROOMPARK arrived Falmouth from Bordeaux (0600)


VISCOUNT reported (1045) many Polish soldiers were evacuated in civilian clothes preparatory to escaping to Spain. Rigorous scouting recommended.


VANQUISHER sailed Plymouth (1050) and H.M.T. LOMBARD arrived.


B.N.L.O. Bordeaux reported (1054) about 200 refugees being evacuated from Bayonne tonight. Shipping required for 3000 more.


VISCOUNT arrived Plymouth 1115


French Trawler 3402 arrived (1007)


PHILANTE informed C. in C. Portsmouth (1132) he had embarked GOVERNOR of Jersey with wife and A.D.C.


B.N.L.O. Bordeaux reported (1206) about 6000 Polish troops assembling at Le Verdon. No ship arrived yet.


C. in C. W.A. instructed C.S.2 (1218) to sail Falmouth in convoy or groups. XE "St Malo"


Belgian and Dutch troops to Avonmouth. Other nationalities Liverpool (except those for North  Africa). Civilians to Falmouth.


MAID MARION ordered (1228) to escort ALDERPOOL to Liverpool and send EMPIRE ABILITY to Falmouth.


CALUMET sailed Avonmouth 1304


C. in C. Portsmouth requested (1314) to sail CALCUTTA to join C.S.2 as soon as read.


M.V. P. RAPOULT arrived Plymouth (1151), PRINCESS BEATRIX (1344)


STRATHAIRD in Sound, instructed (1403) to prepare to receive one thousand additional French sailors from merchant ships PENCHATEAU & GRAVELINNES.


Party "Z" ordered to be on board FRASER by 1630/21


BERKLEY reported 1515 Captain of port not helpful. troops in wood behind Le Verdon.


B.N.L.O. (1521) stated he was arranging parties now at Arcachon, including ladies, to be embarked before nightfall.


French Trawler FARAULT arrived Plymouth from Brest (1530) with 3 children, 5 Naval Officer, 110 34 ratings, 4 Army Officers, 51 other ranks, 11 civilians all French 2 civilians - Spanish Naval Officers


French PENCHATEAU arrived Plymouth (1553)


French destroyer LE TRIOMPHANT (1643) arrived Plymouth.


MACKAY reported (1616) LADY OF MANN has one member of civilian crew seriously wounded, and has 11 refugees on board.


French GRAVELINNES arrived Plymouth (1663)


(17--) arrived Cawsand Bay ARZENITH, A.D. 376, BLACIDAI, FAROULT, POURQUOI PAS, the later with three British soldiers.


Trawler GEORGETTE reported (1700) returning to Plymouth as unable to contact BEAGLE.


MACKAY arrived Plymouth (1700)


Arrived (1705) French naval pinnace manned by eight ratings and French trawler RENE MARIE with seven crew, two French refugee seamen, six French army officers and two N.C.Os


LADY OF MANN & ST. HELIER arrived (1710) Plymouth. 9 passengers in LADY OF MANN, some wounded.


Arrived Plymouth (1752) French destroyer BOUCLIER and Tug MAMMOUT.


French S/M CHASER II sailed (1755)


BERKLEY stated Franco-Polish Liaison Officer reported 8000 Polish troops now here (Bordeaux) more arriving.


GEORGETTE & LORD GREY were ordered (1840) to proceed to St. Jean de Luz, if they had sufficient fuel and were able to Sweep, and to take their orders from GALETEA on arrival.


Orders were given (1858) for ARANDORA STAR to proceed to Bayonne under orders of an escort at 2150. Further orders would be signalled to her on arrival on arrival by a warship in the vicinity of the coast.


F.O.I/C Liverpool was informed (1859) that ALDERPOOL with 4000 Polish troops on board, escorted by MAID MARION, would arrive at 0130/23. MANX MAID, PRINCESS MAUD & AMSTERDAM arrived at Milford Haven 1900.


MAID MARION signalled that she proposed to proceed to Falmouth with ALDERPOOL as there was no food left for the 4000 Polish troops.


GALATEA was informed (1902) that Captain Allen in H.M.C.S FRASER with beach and communication parties would sail for St. Jean de Luz, which would be used for evacuation in preference to Bayonne.


VANQUISHER & BEAGLE were to be used as required by C.S.2


RESTIGOUCHE was ordered (1904) to escort ARANDORA STAR to Bayonne and place herself under the orders of C.S.2.


BERKLEY reported (1910) that no transport had arrived at Bordeaux. The entrance to the port was closed at night, and a small French merchant ship had exploded a magnetic mine 105 Pointe de Grave 1.3 at 1632. Little damage had been done.


BERKLEY was still not in touch with the Embassy.


Orders were given (1958) for VIENNA to sail to Southampton, TYNWALD& MANXMAN to Liverpool.


C.S.2 was ordered (2002) to endeavour to arrange with the Feller Company to ship all Oerlikon guns and other important material in Bordeaux.


MAID MARION was ordered (2029) to bring ALDERPOOL to Plymouth.


LORD GREY requested (2040) that instructions should be sent to ROYAL SCOTSMAN; who was awaiting MACKAY at Gironde, and enquired the position of GLENAFFRIC.


SABRE reported (2046) that only about 8000 people wished to be evacuated from Jersey. These had been embarked. Half the population of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, were willing to be evacuated and were being embarked. A French fishing vessel bringing 25 French subjects including 3 women and 3 children from Brittany to St. Helier had been intercepted, and the passengers transferred to the schoot DESPATCH.


BEAGLE reported (2121) 12 magnetic mines had been dropped between Le Verdon and PAULLAC, and asked for sweepers to cover this area on the morning flood tide.


The Captain of the French ship GRAVELINNES asked for food for 500 people on board. (2130)


MAID MARION reported (2145) that she expected to arrive at Plymouth 0330/22 and asked that provisions and water be supplied for ALDERPOOL as soon as possible.


GALATEA signalled (2152) that she was making every effort to get the stores away from Bordeaux and she was asked (2155) to ascertain whether any Polish or Belgian troops required to be embarked in the vicinity of La Pallice. If so she was to have them embarked in any ships available and escort them in convoy to Plymouth, with any other Allied ships she could take, keeping well clear of the French coast.


C. in C. W.A. reported (2223) that demands for fuel and other stores were being received from French ships at Plymouth, and asked whether these demands should be met.


MACKAY was asked (2229) what her last instructions to ORMONDE were, and she replied (2254) that she had ordered ORMONDE at 0800/22 to remain at sea in the vicinity of La Pallice until she received further instructions.


C.S.2 was informed (2258) that the following ships had been ordered to Gironde and to report on arrival to any British warship, DELIUS, GLENAFFRIC, CLAN FERGUSON, BLAIRNEVIS, CYCLOPS, BECKENHAM, CLAN ROSS, BALFE, KYNO, KUFFRA, KELSO, MAPLEWOOD,


CALUMET, BARON NAIRN. She was informed that ROYAL SCOTSMAN should have already arrived at Gironde.


BEAGLE reported (2320) that Gironde was closed owing to Magnetic mines. It was imperative to release French and neutral shipping with troops and important stores. The L/L trawlers sent to Gironde could not be found, and BEAGLE requested immediate replacements.


BERKLEY reported (2330) that, assuming the transports arrived in daylight, embarkation at Pointe de Grave had been arranged with the Polish Liaison Officer to commence at 0700/22, and embarkation from the pier at 1230. The Captain of the port had no knowledge of any French troops for embarkation. There were 40 English nurses for embarkation at Bordeaux. The French had reported that 6 parachutists had dropped in the river above Le Verdon at 1800 and were suspected of laying mines.


ORMONDE was ordered (2346) to proceed to Le Verdon.


The French ship PARIS reported that the tugs ABEILLE 8 and ABEILLE 22 and the armed patrol vessel HEUREUX were being sailed at 0800/22. These were to attempt the recovering of a 15000 ton uncompletes (as typed) French tanker at La Falaise.







ARANDORA STAR, escorted by RESTIGOUCHE sailed Plymouth (0050).


LORD GREY ordered to return to Plymouth (0023). C.S.2. informed by C. in C. W. A. that  LORD GREY reported ROYAL SCOTSMAN off Gironde awaiting orders.


VANQUISHER (0131) reported, reference to C. in C.'s 2155/21, if no troops at La Pallice, intend proceeding direct to le Verdon and escorting loaded ships to Plymouth. E.T.A. La Pallice 1800.


GEORGETTE instructed (0135) that INVERFORTH (both L/L Trawlers) was to proceed with her.


LURIGTHAN, CITY OF EVANSVILLE & GLOUCESTER CITY to be sailed from the Bristol Channel to Falmouth for orders (0223)


ORMONDE (0225) acknowledged receipt of C. in C.'s 2346/21 off Lizard and requested earliest T.O.A. Le Verdon dawn Sunday.  Asked for confirmation.  Confirmation and route sent (0519)


Yacht MAID MARION (0330)  have 28 refugees on board, arrived Plymouth (0333), with ALDERPOOL carrying approximately 2800 Polish troops and 70 refugees. No food and water on board.


BERKLEY (0415) notified C.S.2. she was proceeding out of harbour to lead transports.


ETTRICK reported (0630) that she was off the entrance to Bayonne and had been informed by the signal station that she was too large to enter. Requested instructions. She was told to remain under way in vicinity and await orders (0831).


S.S. SAXON QUEEN arrived Plymouth (1701) from Guernsey with 76 Coast Lines Staff.


BERKLEY reported (0720) DELIUS, ROYAL SCOTSMAN & CLAN FERGUSON expected to begin embarkation (0815)


French Aux. Fishing vessel DOM MICHEL NOBLETZ arrived (0825) from Ushant carrying 1 British and 7 French refugees, 33 sailors, 7 soldiers. No food. No water on board.


BELGRAVIAN sailed Southampton for Plymouth (0849)


BERKLEY reported (1006) that Port Dunedin, DELIUS & ROYALSCOTSMAN were sufficient for embarking all Polish troops.


BEAGLE's 2320/21 C.S.2. informed re L/L/ Trawlers.


INVERFORTH, GEORGETTE & LORD GREY ordered Gironde if fuel permits should be in Bay of Biscay.


BERVIE BRAES & ST. MELANTE en route Plymouth for Bayonne.


C.S.2. ordered VANQUISHER (1106) to sail any ships at La Pallice unescorted when satisfied no longer required there.


VANQUISHER to act as A/S cover for ships entering Gironde.




VANQUISHER reported (1124) 250 Poles embarked BLAIRNEVIS, no troops remaining. All oil destroyed. French asked to carry out more demolitions.


VANQUISHER & BLAIRNEVIS proceeding Le Verdon.


BERKLEY asked (1126) by C.S.2. to report number of other troops and personnel requiring embarkation. Answerer (sic) (1327) 40.


ORANSAY reported (1215) unable to sail owing bomb damage.


Communication re-established with portable W/T set at Bordeaux (1215)


GEORGETTE, INVERFORTH returned Plymouth (1235)


C.S.2. informed Admiralty (1305) of statement by General Sikorski that 4000 Poles were marching from La Rochelle to Le Verdon and should arrive by 0100/23. 10,000 were still at Bayonne or in vicinity and should arrive during the next few days.


R.A. in GALATEA informed British Ambassador in Bordeaux (1515) that if he was unable to embark pm 22nd GALATEA would leave to go elsewhere, and suggested the Bay of St. Jean de Luz


VANQUISHER reported (1401) that she was taking BLAIRNEVIS to investigate report that there were 400 Polish troops at Ile de Yeu.


ETTRICK reported (1430) that there were 2000 British subjects in her vicinity awaiting embarkation, requested instructions.


Trawler STRATHRANNOCK arrived Plymouth (1435)


French S/M CHASER II arrived Plymouth (1545)


VIVA II ordered 1535 to join C.S.2 off Gironde


French destroyer CDT. DUBOC arrived (1800)


Trawlers ERIMO & GEORGETTE sailed for Le Verdon (1805)


CALCUTTA sailed from Portsmouth (1823) to join C.S.2.


VANQUISHER reported (1900) Poles left 21st for South. BLAIRNEVIS and FORGE sailed for Liverpool unescorted. VANQUISHER in position 46. 37. N. 02. 22. W. course 148 20 knots.


VANQUISHER ordered by C.S.2. (1917) to rendezvous at 0445/23 with convoy of three ships leaving Gironde.


BROOMPARK instructed to proceed Swansea (1921)


BERKLEY informed VANQUISHER (1930) CLAN FERGUSON & ROYAL SCOTSMAN with 6000 4000 Polish troops leaving Le Verdon 2115 for Liverpool. DELIUS following 23rd with 2000.


B.N.L.O. Bordeaux informed by Admiralty (1937) that s.s. FORMEDINE (??) with valuable cargo of copper and machine tools should be sailed without delay.


C.S.2. and British Ambassador instructed by Admiralty (1953) most undesirable for GALATEA to remain in same locality any longer owing to S/M and air risks. C.S.2. to leave Arcachon immediately.


KONINGIN EMMA arrived Plymouth (2010)


BERKLEY reported to Admiralty (2045) that she was no longer in touch with British Ambassador


R.A. in BEAGLE reported (2210) leaving Bordeaux when Ambassador departs night of 22nd


Will proceed alongside pier DEC-DAMBES to carry out demolition without French permission, moving on to Pauillac when demolition complete.


CALCUTTA ordered by C.S.2. to proceed at 22 knots to 48. 58. N. 02.58. W.


C. in C. W.A. informed Admiralty (2213) that owing to congestion of refugees he intended to instruct C.S.2. that no persons except troops, British Nationals and certain skilled foreign workmen were to be embarked for the U.K. This was believed to be in accordance with French Official policy


C.S.2. informed Admiralty (2248) that 100 British A/C engines in French Air Ministry depot at Bordeaux should be evacuated. Instructions sent to C.S.2. (2356)


S.S. DEAL arrived Plymouth (2300)


B.N.L.O. reported to C.S.2. (2301) that as French had signed armistice he was evacuating France with British Ambassador immediately.


VIVA II ordered by C.S.2. (2316) to proceed to Le Verdon where she would be used as required for escort duties.


S.S. MACLAREN arrived Plymouth (2359)






click to enlarge


C.S.2. enquired from Admiralty (0005) whether British Ambassador were to travel in GALATEA or CALCUTTA. If in GALATEA he intended transferring flag to CALCUTTA during absence of GALATEA, Admiralty told him (0217) to act as he thought fit.


C.S.2. approved ETTRICKS (1430/22) and asked ship not to sail without escort.


WREN ordered (0027) by C-in-C to proceed with despatch and escort CLAN FERGUSON and ROYAL SCOTSMAN as far as Smalls.


Admiralty requested that all spare ships should be released for other duties (0035).


R.A. in BEAGLE ordered by Admiralty (0039) not to carry out demolitions without French permission, and at (0045) to remain at Bordeaux to deliver two important messages to follow.


FRASER ordered (0115) by C.S.2. to join him immediately.


BERKLEY reported (0155) embarkation of 6000 Poles completed. DELIUS sailing 0800/23. Essential for BEAGLE to return fuel short. French refusing to permit embarkation without  British assistance. Polish officers remaining assisting divert Poles to Bayonne. Suggest s.s.  BECKENHAM be diverted thither.


S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz reported (0158) 9000 Poles sailed early 21st in SOBEISKI & BATORY.


British refugees embarking in ETTRICK will require close examination as doubtful cases among them. More Poles arriving will be embarked in ARANDORA STAR. At (0650) S.N.O. enquired when ARANDORA STAR might be expected and stated that FRASER had been withdrawn, believed by C.S.2.


ANTRIM COAST arrived Plymouth (0540)


EMPIRE CRUSADER arrived (0610). CROMARTY arrived (0645)


BROKE reported (0707) s.s. CYCLOPS now with him stated no British warship found Gironde.  Requires instructions.


FRASER ordered by C.S.2. to proceed to ARCACHON with all despatch.


BERKLEY informed C.S.2. that he was remaining at Le Verdon and had ordered DELIUS & BECKENHAM to await further instructions. s.s. KUFRA had arrived.


WREN diverted bt C-in C W.A. to Le Verdon or as required by C.S.2.


R.A. BEAGLE reported (0830) Germans not yet at Royan.


BERKELEY (0845) to C.S.2. am sailing DELIUS unescorted at (0915/23)


BERKELEY signalled to C.S.2. (0915) French authorities report Germans close to Fort at Royan sailing with transport at once.


MACKAY ordered (0920) to proceed with despatch Le Verdon or as ordered by C.S.2.


Reference BROKE'S (0707) C.S.2. ordered him to instruct CYCLOPS to proceed St, Jean de Luz.


VANQUISHER reported + (1001) hardly sufficient fuel to reach Liverpool. Demolition party on board. Convoy speed 15 knots.


C.S.2. ordered CALCUTTA (1009) to proceed direct to St. Jean de Luz at 25 knots.


C-in-C informed C.S.2. (1012) BELGRAVIAN due Gironde area (2030/23) LYCAON (1100/24)


R.A. in BEAGLE reported (1030) to Admiralty that their (0230/23) and second copy of their 0124/23 were placed in Adl. Darlan's hands by him at 0935/23. Darlan now at cabinet meeting. He had placed himself at Darlan's disposal for communications with Admiralty.


R.A.BEAGLE at 1033 reported Admiralty (Admiral?) of the port stated that there were 7 U boats believed close to Gironde intercepting traffic to North Africa. Big ships with troops and materials  were at quay.


SOBEISKI arrived Plymouth 1045


C.S.2. instructed BERKELEY to send all empty ships to Bayonne. VIVA II to escort if present.


ORMONDE instructed to proceed to Liverpool (1151)


BERKELEY reported (1145) to C.S.2. have ordered BECKENHAM, KUFRA, KELSO, ORMONDE (see 1151)  to Bayonne. Proceeding with DELIUS as instructed, no sign of VIVA II


At 1420 reported met VIVA II and passed instructions. Brought down one enemy bomber at Point(e) de Grave a.m./22 believed to be a J U 88.


C.S.2. reported (1151) Ambassador and party embarked on H.M.C.S. FRASER (1100) now proceeding to rendezvous at St. Jean de Luz.


C.S.2. informed by C-in-C W.A. (1152) ORMONDE, LYCAON ordered U.K. remainder to proceed Bayonne. C.S.2. to sail for U.K. any ships considered to be in excess of requirements.


S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz reported (1045) situation at 1000/23 ETTRICK loaded with 1000 refugees - only ship present. Approximately 3000 collecting. No A/S protection, considered presence of a destroyer as essential. At (1200) he added "am now filling ETTRICK to capacity by embarking 300 Poles. When may we expect another ship"


C-in-C W.A. (1207) instructed BELGRAVIAN, BARON NAIRN, BARON KINNARD, KERMA to proceed Bayonne.


NOIC Falmouth reported (1318) refugees landed to date

20th June 2495


21st June 899


22nd June 1538 Total 4932


expected to land 600 more 23rd.

Admiralty instructed S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz (1327) to contact.


Capitaine Bicheloune re important evacuation of 30 French Officers and officials.


French S/M LA CREOLE in tow of French tug ABEILLE 21 reported off Minches (1350)


R.A. BEAGLE instructed (1406) endeavour obtain copy armistice terms, particularly Naval.


CALCUTTA ordered by C.S.2. to Proceed at 20 knots (1434)


C.S.2. instructed BEAGLE (1515) to proceed to St. Jean de Luz when present operations completed.


C-in-C W.A. informed Admiralty (1523) that it was understood that 49000 (!!) troops still required evacuation.


BROKE (1601) reported having ordered CYCLOPS to Bayonne proceeding with HARVESTER to Gironde.


BEAGLE reported (1714) no satisfactory answer from Admiral Darlan obtainable. French authorities promise Le TRAIT will be sailed 23rd. FORMEDIDE reported in le Verdon, will try to sail her for England. The special cases mentioned in Admy's 1416/21 (?) all on board BEAGLE and sailed in s.s. SWIFT 15th June. (?)


17 evacuees on board C.S.2. to R.A. in BEAGLE (1841). If LE TRAIT & FORMEDINE can be sailed, BEAGLE to escort, if not required remain Bordeaux. If so required WREN to be detailed.


VIVA II ordered by C.S.2. (1843) on arrival Bayonne proceed St. Jean de Luz with any present.


MACKAY ordered by C.S.2. (1846) to St. Jean de Luz.


Admiralty asked R.A in BEAGLE whether demolitions were carried out. (1852)


VANQUISHER reported (1910) weather prevents he doing more than 9 knots. Convoy sent on to Liverpool. VANQUISHER returning Plymouth.


S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz (1940) reported positions at 1900.


Remain to be embarked. Poles 1000 plus about 2000 airman. (total 5000 per 0820/24); French possible 2500 airmen and 750 experts;  Czechs about 3000 (later amended to 20).


ETTRICK full to capacity. No further shipping arrived.


HARVESTER ordered (1944) to proceed towards Bayonne and act under orders of C.S.2.


VANQUISHER instructed to continue escort as far as Smalls. Fuel at Milford Haven, then return Plymouth.


WREN to act as A/S patrol on a line 250 from Gironde Whistle Buoy


C. in C, W.A. informed C.S.2. (2029) of report that there was a number of foreign merchant ships


Off the coast in his area. He was to be prepared to send them into British ports when ordered and to report if he required any additional personnel for armed guards.


BATORY arrived Plymouth (2045)


BEAGLE requested (2034) confirmation of C.S.2's order to proceed to St. Jean de Luz, observing that he was overcrowded with refugees and military parties.


BROKE informed C.S.2. (2058) that HARVESTER was proceeding St. Jean de Luz, but BROKE t to Plymouth owing to fuel shortage.


Reference Admiralty's (1852) R.A. BEAGLE reported 2117 that charges were about to be laid when Admiralty's 0039/23 was received. Guard and Oil Staff were told, and believed, that British were after enemy parachute troops.


C.S.2. reported (2223) flag transferred temporarily to CALCUTTA at 2300/23.



WEDNESDAY 24 June 1940


C. in C. W.A. asked C.S.2. (0028) to reply to BEAGLE's 2034/23 re calling at St. Jean de Luz and at (0034) C.S.2. ordered BEAGLE to return to U.K.


C.S.2. ordered VANQUISHER (0125) to proceed with all despatch to 44. 36. N. 01. 19. W. to carry out A/S sweep.


H.M.S. GALATEA with H.M. Ambassador and Canadian and South African Ministers and Staff left St. Jean de Luz for Plymouth.


Admiralty instructed S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz to afford facilities for passage to the U.K. of a number of distinguished Spanish personages and any important nationals of other states if they so desired.


VANQUISHER reported (0347) estimated position of convoy (CLAN FERGUSON & ROYAL SCOTSMAN) at 0400 as 49. 43. N. 05. 55. W.


VANQUISHER (0432) replied to C.S.2.'s (0125) that as he had insufficient fuel to carry out patrol he was remaining with the convoy.


S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz reported (0820) position at Port (0800/24). All embarkation ceased 2100/23, owing to swell. Restarted 0700/24 with ARANDORA STAR inside breakwater. Latest figures appear to be 5000 Poles including airmen, remainder as in 1940/23. At (0925) he added ARANDORA STAR was being filled with Polish Army & Air Force and a few British refugees still arriving. Polish forces will require close scrutiny.


VANQUISHER reported (0835) he had on board V.A. Hallett, Cdr. Sharbrook, 4 R.N.V.R. Sub/Lts.  and 60 Naval Ratings demolition party. 2 French Naval Officers and 5 tons demolition stores.


ORMONDE reported (0951) that she was being attacked by A/C and at (0954) that attack has ceased. C.S.2. instructed BROKE to proceed to St. Jean de Luz and asked what were his orders.


VANQUISHER arrived Plymouth (1000)


BERKELEY reported (1020) that he had insufficient fuel to continue escort of DELIUS beyond 48. 26. N. 06.05. W. where he expected to arrive (2130). Intended to return Plymouth and requested  relief escort.


S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz (1035) reference C, in C, W.A.'s 1213/23 stated it was proving quite impossible to differentiate persons embarked.


C.S.2. asked (1007) that BERKELEY, VANQUISHER & BROKE or BEAGLE should proceed St. Jean de Luz. after oiling. Two destroyers needed as A/S patrol.


Admiralty informed by HAREBELL (1054) that BEAGLE considered important the destruction of oil installation at Pauillac.


BROKE instructed (1117) to close ORMONDE; BELGRAVIAN, bound for St. Jean de Luz reported (1245) that she had been attacked by U boat, but at (1311) that attack had failed and ceased.


WREN ordered by C.S.2. (1220)  to join him at St. Jean de Luz.


D.S.T.O. Falmouth ordered (1221) to sail CITY OF EVANSVILLE, LUN(R?)IGETHAN, & GLOUCESTER CITY for Bayonne.


D.S.T.O. Plymouth ordered (1247) to sail BAHARISTAN, & JOHN L HOLT TO Bayonne.


S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz reported (1315) situation at 1330, approximately 3000 Poles and a number of British refugees embarked on ARANDORA STAR. Number to be yet embarked appears considerable. French airmen not arrived yet. Weather renders impossible embarkation outside the breakwater.


BEAGLE instructed (1324) to close BELGRAVIAN, but reported (1901) no sign of her. (BELGRAVIAN arrived St. Jean de Luz later)


Ten armed guards ordered (1326) to be in HIGHLANDER by (1600/24)


S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz reported (1430). Poles embarked 2600 remaining. CLAN ROSS attacked


by A/C (1344) 30 miles N.N.W. of St. Jean de Luz.


Signal (1247) to D.S.T.O. Plymouth resailing BAHIRISTAN, JOHN L. HOLT, and (1221) to


D.S.T.O. Falmouth resailing EVANSVILLE, GLOUCESTER CITY & LUNIGETHAN to Bayonne cancelled.


HIGHLANDER sailed with armed guards (1815)


BEAGLE reported (1905) E.T.A. Plymouth 0650/25


Carrying 44 military personnel and gear, 38 Naval personnel, demolition stores, 15 tons valuable Government stores. One stretcher case, one wounded Officer, one doubtful escaped British prisoner, two German labour corps and three ladies, - require identification.


ETTRICK carrying about 1100 British refugees. ARANDORA STAR as previously reported. Escorted by HARVESTER. ETTRICK ordered to Falmouth. ARANDORA STAR to Liverpool.


GALATEA reported (1948) carrying in addition to Embassy Staff, 1 Flight Lt. R.A.F., 1 Lt, ex French Air Force, 1 Lt. R.N.V.R., 1 Air Ministry Official, 5 R.A.F. ranks, 4 army ranks.   Wounded:  1 army Officer, 3 ranks, 1 R.A.F. rank, 14 bags valuables for Polish Finance Minister.


GALATEA arrived Plymouth (2056)


C.S.2. reported (2144) re C. in C.'s 2356/22., refusing permission to embark wives and families, causing difficulties and heartrending scenes. S.N.O. asking if he can promise embarkation after priority commitments fulfilled. Impossible to be sure of identity. Understood approximately  2000 womenfolk embarked in BATORY & SOBIESKI.







S.N.O. St. Jean de Luz asked by C. in C. (0036) whether following had been embarked:-

(a) Colonel Bonavita, 2000 French troops and skilled workmen.


(b) Mr. Delaraine and 20 R.D.F. technicians.


(c) Captain Bichilone and 30 French Officers and officials.


(d) 750 French experts, 2000 Polish airmen and 20 Czechs.


(e) Number of Spanish personages.


(f) Colonel de Gaulles' party.


replied (0858) none arrived. All French parties refused permission owing to armistice.

Sailed from Plymouth for Dartmouth 0330 ST. BAHARISTAN, CITY OF LANCASTER, ROBERT L. HOLT, JOHN HOLT.


BROKE arrived Plymouth (0630), BEAGLE (0725), s.s. BALFE (0833).


C.S.2. instructed by C. in C. (0731) that wives and families of Polish soldiers could be embarked if accommodation available.


BERKELEY arrived 0942 bringing 2 British, 4 French soldiers and 3 Australian Labour Corps.


BEAGLE asked (0938) for a list of French ships seen going up Gironde. Reported (1030), 16 French, 2 Dutch and 1 Greek.


French ship DE LA SALLE reported (1130) to Admiral Plymouth that she was making slowly for the mouth of the Gironde under escort. Situation serious. This was passed to C.S.2.


IMOGEN sailed (1220) escorting KONINGIN EMMA & PRINCESS BEATRIX to Milford and STRATHAIRD to Liverpool.


Admiralty informed by C. in C. (1309) that force (of destroyers) was to be prepared to destroy oil stores in Gironde river, and at (1401) that the operation would proceed but that French shipping was not to be interfered with inside territorial waters.


Sailed from St. Jean de Luz (1430) KELSO, BARON KINNARD with 2000 troops for Liverpool.


BARON NAIRN with British refugees and 1200 Polish troops for Falmouth escorted by WREN at 8 knots.


L/L Trawlers BERVIE BRAES and ST. MELANTE sailed for Plymouth (1510).


C.S.2. reported (1525) sailed for Falmouth (1345) empty transports CYCLOPS, KERMA, CLAN ROSS, GLENAFFRIC, BELGRAVIAN, BECKENHAM, escorted by MACKAY and VIVA II at 8 knots.


C-in-C informed Admiralty (1721) that it was intended to release merchant ships reserved for "Aerial" as no further requirement could be foreseen.


HARVESTER instructed (1926) to divert ETTRICK to Plymouth. With reference to S.S. DE LA SALLE (see 1130/25). C.S.2. reported his position, course and speed at (1750) and stated that he could not hope to intercept her unless she broke down. He enquired if Admiralty instruction (1401) re territorial waters applied and was informed (2006) that it did.


Admiralty instructed C-in-C to sail ULSTER PRINCE to embark 1600 British evacuees from Lisbon if she could maintain 18 knots out and home.


C.S.2. ordered RESTIGOUCHE (2325) to sink after part of FRASER as soon as all survivors had been recovered.



from Naval Staff History Second World War:  Home Waters and Atlantic, Volume 2, 9th April 1940 - 6th December 1941.  BR 1736 (48) 2. 1961. (with thanks to Don Kindell)

"At 0930 on the 23rd, the Canadian destroyer FRASER arrived at Archadon to take off the Ambassador and his staff.  This was done, and the FRASER then returned to St Jean de Luz where her passengers were transferred to the GALATEA, which shifted the other evacuees to the m.v. ETTRICK.  At 2100, the CALCUTTA joined Admiral Curteis's flag.  Empty transports - more, in fact, than were actually needed - were then on the way to take off the large number of evacuees expected, so Admiral Curteis shifted his flag to the CALCUTTA and the GALATEA sailed for England shortly after midnight.

Embarkation continued throughout the 24th, although it was greatly hindered owing to the heavy swell in the bay; and just after midnight a message was received from the S.N.O. ashore (Captain Allen) to the effect that the terms of the armistice required all evacuation of troops to cease after 1200 on June 25th.  A convoy of six empty ships was sailed for England at 1345 on the 25th, followed within the hour by the last three loaded ships, all being escorted.  Captain Allen and the beach parties embarked in the FRASER and all the remaining ships sailed at 1530.  But before the day was out a distressing disaster occurred.

At 2215, when the CALCUTTA, in company with the FRASER and RESTIGOUCHE, had shortly before shaped course to the south westward from the mouth of the Gironde, the FRASER, whose commanding officer was labouring under intense fatigue, was rammed by the CALCUTTA and cut in half.  The RESTIGOUCHE, after sinking the after part of the FRASER, proceeded independently to Plymouth with most of the survivors (14 officers and 103 men); the CALCUTTA, which rescued 3 more officers and 30 men, was rejoined by HIGHLANDER, which had previously been detached, and both ships reached Plymouth at 0945 on 27th June.






IMOGEN with STRATHAIRD arrived Liverpool (1014).


RESTIGOUCHE reported (1645) that she had on board Captain Allen R.N., 13 Officers and 104 ratings from H.M.C.S. FRASER, 6 ratings from CALCUTTA, 2 R.E. Officers and 24 O.R. R.E. 2 Polish Generals, 12 Officers and men. Refugees:- 6 British, 1 French, 1 Spanish, 3 Polish from St. Jean de Luz.


N.O.I/C Falmouth reported (1719) that ships were overcrowded there with French ratings and small parties were still arriving.


ETTRICK arrived Plymouth (1716)


RESTIGOUCHE arrived Plymouth (1715)


C.S.2. reported (2105) CALCUTTA E.T.A. 0845/27., with 3 Officers and 30 ratings (8 injured), survivors from H.M.C.S. Fraser. Wreckage to be lifted from forecastle and only one bower anchor left, which may be fractured.







ARANDORA STAR & HARVESTER arrived Liverpool 0735.


HIGHLANDER arrived 0930 and CALCUTTA 0932.


WREN instructed (1012) to detach BARON NAIRN to Plymouth and escort KELSO & BARON KINNARD to Liverpool. Reported (2200) detaching BARON NAIRN now, E.T.A. 1000/28.







L/L Trawlers ST.MALANTE, BERVIE BRAES, arrived Plymouth (0724)


BARON NAIRN arrived 0735 with refugees from St. Jean de Luz and anchored Cawsand Bay.


Small French fishing boat with 12 male refugees also arrived Cawsand 0750.


CANTERBURY, ROYAL SOVEREIGN & PRINCE BAUDOUIN (latter with Armed Guard) sailed Dartmouth for Southampton.



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Abbreviations etc:-


All shore bases except for Gdynia which was a depot ship.

C-in-C W.A. - Commander in Chief Western Approaches.

Glen Holt Camp - in peacetime was a holiday camp but during WWII appears to have been an overflow camp for the RN. Later in the war I think it was a signal school.

RMB - Royal Marine Barracks

HMS IMPREGNABLE - a training establishment for 'hostilities only' communications ratings at Plymouth

HMS RALEIGH - a training establishment for ordinary seamen.

Gdynia - Polish depot ship based at Devonport for training of Polish officers and ratings.

RNB - Royal Navy Barracks.


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revised 14/7/11