destroyers

Nov

9

November 1941

Force K ambushes an Italian convoy

We opened fire thirty seconds later on the right-hand destroyer, and continued to shoot her up for four minutes. Aurora then led round and passed up the western side of the convoy, and the ‘party’ started, as the merchant ships were deliberately and in turn engaged by the whole force.

Oct

25

October 1941

Moonlight run to Tobruk ends in disaster

This was fine as long as it was dark, but then some crass idiot decided we should make the trip by moonlight. Crazy, we were spitting distance away from the German North African airbases. We were lucky they had not spotted us in the dark – it is never completely dark – but to try in moonlight… one wonders at the idiocy of man.

Oct

17

October 1941

The USS Kearney torpedoed in mid Atlantic

About 0010 torpedo struck the ship on starboard side at about the turn of the bilge between frames seventy and seventy four, in latitude 57-04 North, 23-00 West. At this time a second torpedo ran past the starboard side of ship on slightly converging coure and a third was noted crossing astern close abroad from starboard to port.

Sep

27

September 1941

Malta convoy under attack

On 27 September at 1340 we were very nearly hit – a torpedo from an aircraft missed us by only 20 yards. Attack by torpedo bombers was frightening. They would single you out and fly straight for you at masthead height before dropping their torpedo at very close range. They presented an impossibly small target and were below the depression of most of our guns.

Jul

23

July 1941

Torpedo attack on Malta convoy

One, just skimming the sea, burst out of the haze and flew between HMS Eridge and her neighbour. [Leading Seaman] Rayner managed a short burst with the pom-pom. He could clearly see the pale, strained face of her gunner, a man with only seconds to live, as he swung his weapon and peppered the upperworks with a few ineffectual rounds.

May

30

May 1941

Evacuation of Crete continues

Many casualties were received amoungst these men but we did not receive any damage, and soon became known throughout the East Mediterranean as a ‘lucky ship’. On this trip especially the medical and supply branches of the ship worked night and day to look after this huge number of men.

May

29

May 1941

The evacuation from Crete

We were not really in favourable condition to evacuate some twenty-two thousand soldiers, most of them from an open beach, in the face of the Luftwaffe. But there was no alternative. The Army could not be left to its fate. The Navy must carry on.

Nov

20

November 1940

German ‘E Boat’ sunk off Southwold

Prisoners stated that their vessel was hit on the port side seven or eight times. “S 38” attempted to escape, tried to lay a smoke screen but, owing to the damaged steering-gear, could only go round in a curve. One engine was put out of action and a fire started in the fuel tank. Some men jumped overboard immediately the fire broke out. A seaman ran aft with the intention of dropping depth charges in the course of the pursuing destroyer, but a burst of machine-gun fire from the British discouraged this attempt.

Aug

5

August 1940

Condor aircraft join the Battle of the Atlantic

The FW 200 Condor began patrols from Bordeaux-Merignac airfield in western France in August 1940. Flying in wide sweeps out over the Bay of Biscay and into the Atlantic west of Ireland it would continue round the north of Britain and land in Norway, a route that encompassed most of the possible convoy routes. It proved highly effective not only because of its bomb load, but also in its capacity as a reconnaissance aircraft capable of calling in U-Boat attacks.

Aug

4

August 1940

The Royal Navy remains on full alert

Although darkness was falling, the Captain decided to carry out a sweep to the northward in the hope of finding the second lifeboat; ships were spread five miles apart and speed increased to twenty-seven knots. A man was placed in the crow’s-nest, and the look-outs were instructed to sweep the horizon with their glasses.