Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter January 2016


1st 1693 – Appointment of 1st Officers at Dock (later Devonport Dockyard).

1859 – BRITANNIA became officer cadet training ship at Portland, later moving to Dartmouth.

1892 – Gambia River expedition – SPARROW, THRUSH & WIDGEON.

1909 – Naval Nursing Sisters joined MINERVA from Malta, by order of C-in-C Mediterranean, to help survivors of Messina earthquake, Sicily, being awarded & allowed to wear the King of Italy’s Messina silver medal.

1913 – 1st RN Air Service station commissioned on Isle Grain in Medway.

1914 – All Army airships transferred to Naval Wing of Royal Flying Corps.

1943 – Cruiser SCYLLA homed by Coastal Command Sunderland onto German blockade runner RHAKOTIS, sinking it in Bay of Biscay. Onboard were 2 survivors from torpedoed merchantship CITY OF CAIRO – both survived again.

1976 – End of the 3rd Cod War with Iceland.

1984 – RFA RELIANT with Naval Party 2200 & 846 Naval Air Squadron relieved FEARLESS off Lebanon, assisting in the evacuation of over 5,000 civilians in 4 weeks.

2nd 1858 – SHANNON’s Naval Brigade in action at Kali Nadi bridge, Indian Mutiny.

1879 – Rifled muzzle-loading 38ton gun (THUNDERER) burst, having been double shotted (loaded twice by mistake), but causing return to breech loading

1933 – Carrier COURAGEOUS re-commissioned with 1st (hydraulically controlled) aircraft arrester gear.

1943 – ALARM severely damage by aircraft at Bone, N.Africa, written off, but her gun salvaged by Royal Engineers & used in anti-aircraft defence.

1944 – 1st RN use of helicopters in sea warfare –Motor Vessel DAGHESTAN with Sikorski R4 in convoy HX274.

3rd 1793 – CHILDERS fired upon by French shore batteries, the 1st shots from shore in that war with France.

1833 – Captain J.J. ONSLOW (CLIO) reclaimed the Falklands Islands from Argentinian SARANDI.

1943 – “Chariot” human torpedo sank Italian light cruiser ULPIO TRAIANO in Palermo harbour, 1st successful RN use of Chariots in WW2.

4th 1879 – 1st RN casualty in Zulu war, a rating eaten by a crocodile.

1940 – 1st successful detonation of a magnetic sea mine by a magnetic field projected ahead (BORDE).

5th 1951 – Evacuation of UN forces from Inchon completed, Cruisers KENYA & CEYLON, with US, RAN & RNZN ships giving covering fire.

6th 1900 – POWERFUL’s Naval Brigade at the repulse of the Boers, Ladysmith, South Africa.

7th 1778 – Battle of the Keys, Delaware River, American War of Independence, in which the British fleet was attacked with primitive mines, this being foiled by the ice.

1900 – Blockade of Lourenco Marques, Mozambique, by FORTE, THETIS & MAGICIENNE, with 1st use of wireless to co-ordinate action.

1917 – Sea lions in anti-submarine attack experiments at Gare Loch, Scotland.

1940 – UNDINE sunk by German minesweepers off Heligoland, the 1st RN Sub lost by enemy action in WW2.

8th 1916 – Evacuation of Gallipoli completed.

1940 – 1st aircraft detonation of a magnetic mine.

9th 1806 – Funeral of Vice Admiral Lord NELSON in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

10th 1761 – Funeral of Admiral BOSCAWEN, ‘Old Dreadnought’, who when asked by an officer of the watch what to do about French ships in sight, said “Dammit, fight ‘em”, then appeared on deck in his nightshirt.

1806 – Cape Town & its defences capitulated to forces under Major-General Sir D. BAIRD & Commodore Sir H.R. POPHAM (DIADEM), a Naval Brigade being landed.

1912 – 1st aircraft launch from an RN ship, AFRICA at anchor – Lt C.R. SANSON RN, Short S27 Box Kite.

1941 – RN ships escorting a convoy from Alexandria to Malta were heavily attacked by German aircraft, Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS being badly damaged; she limped into Malta & despite further a/c attacks, having lost 30% of her aircrew, was repaired enough to sail for full repair in USA, leaving the Luftwaffe in control of central Mediterranean air space.

1943 – GC(ex AM)-AB E. HAWKINS for saving life on a sinking & burning ship in the N.Atlantic.

11th 1846 – Capture of Kawiti’s Pa, Ruapekapeka, New Zealand by troops & a Naval Brigade from RN & Indian Navy ships.

1941 – 1st operational aircraft launch from PEGASUS, Fighter Catapult ship, but without any attacks on enemy. These ships carried expendable aircraft, the pilots of which had to be prepared to ditch or parachute into the sea near a friendly ship for recovery, unless near friendly land.

1972 – Formation of Commando Logistics Regt. RM.

12th 1945 – In driving the Japanese forces from Burma, 3rd Commando Bde. RM were landed & secured Myebon against opposition, then attacking by landing craft along 27 miles of the river to Kangaw, cutting off the Japanese army.& holding a strategic hill against waves of Banzai charges.

1950 – AM posthumous – Lt F. HINDES & Chief ERA HINES (TRUCULENT) 1st sub lost after WW2, sunk in Thames collision with SS DIVINA.

13th 1901 – Operations in Gambia River, with FORTE, DWARF & THRUSH landing Naval parties.

1968 – NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic formed (STANAVFORLANT) with common tactical doctrine in a unified Naval command, exercising & testing procedures in defence of Western democracies.

14th 1846 – AMPHION launched, the 1st screw (propeller) frigate, having been converted to steam engine & propulsion during building.

1918 – German destroyer raid on Yarmouth.

1941 – GC-Probationary Temp. Sub Lts J.B.P. MILES & W.H. TAYLOR RNVR, AB S.J. TUCKWELL, bomb & mine disposal.

1991 – Frigate BRILLIANT, with WRNS ratings as part of a ship’s complement for the 1st time, sailed to take part in the 1st Gulf War.

15th 1941 – 880 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm became 1st users of Sea Hurricane aircraft.

1942 – GC-Lt G.H. GOODMAN MBE RNVR detonating an Italian self-destroying torpedo (which had not…).

1986 – Royal Yacht BRITANNIA, with other RN , French & Soviet ships, evacuated refugees from South Yemen.

16th 1780 – The RN having begun a more offensive phase of warfare in the War of American Independence, a fleet of 23 ships, under Admiral G.B. RODNEY (SANDWICH), defeated 11 Spanish ships of the line, under Admiral DON JUAN de LANGARA off Cape St. Vincent , the 1st Fleet action fought at night, in moonlight.

1809 – Death of Sir John MOORE at Corunna, covering the evacuation of the Army by sea. Ships arrived in Plymouth Sound on ,a sight to behold.

1894 – HAVOCK, 1st RN torpedo boat destroyer commissioned.

1914 – Sub A7 lost when diving on exercise in Whitsand Bay.

1945 – PORPOISE sunk in Malacca Strait, possibly by air attack, the last RN sub, sunk in WW2.

17th 1773 – Captain COOK made a 1st crossing of the Antarctic Circle.

1885 – Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan. Naval Brigade (IRIS, HELICON & MONARCH) under Lord Charles BERESFORD, joined in an attempt to relieve General GORDON at Khartoum

1912 – Captain SCOTT reached the South Pole.

18th 1806 – The Dutch Settlement at Cape of Good Hope, with all its Dependencies, surrendered (see 10th January).

1942 – HM Trawlers ERIN & HONJO sunk & IMPERIALIST badly damaged, Gibraltar, not by Frogmen as first thought, but by a bomb, placed in a depth charge in ERIN by a dockyard worker, later executed.

1972 – WILTON, 1st plastic RN warship launched.

19th 1839 – RN & Indian Navy ships, with troops, captured Aden.

1960 – BULWARK commissioned as the 1st Commando carrier.

20th 1921 – Sub K5 lost on exercise 125 miles off Scillies.

21st 1887 – Naval Intelligence Dept. started.

1920 – RN ships in start of 3 week classic combined op. of all 3 Services against the ‘Mad Mullah” of Somaliland.

22nd 1849 – Indian Navy Indus flotilla at the siege & capture of Multan, a Naval Brigade serving in siege batteries as a complete unit.

1879 – Zulu Wars RN Brigade 1st use of Gatling gun.

1913 – Battleship launched at Vickers for Brazil, promptly sold incomplete to Turkey, confiscated by Admiralty, named AGINCOURT, carrying largest no. of heavy guns in any warship afloat, the last in RN to carry 12in. guns; 7 twin turrets named after days of the week.

1943 – GC(exAM – Ldg Seaman W. GOAD (ASHANTI) saving life at sea in Arctic convoy.

1944 – Anzio Landings, Italy.

1945 – Assault on Kangaw, Burma, including ships, 42 & 44 RM Cdos.

23rd 1861 – PELORUS guns’ crews in the defence of No.3 redoubt in front of Huirangi, NZ.

1917 – Harwich Naval Force fought German 6th Destroyer Flotilla off Schouwen.

1945 – In the Allied Forces advance N.East against Germans in Holland, 1 Cdo. Brigade was given the task of clearing the left flank of 7th Armoured Division, during which 45 RM Cdo. fought a fine action at Montforterbeek

24th 1915 – Action off the Dogger Bank. German squadron of ships attempting another raid on English East coast were engaged & repulsed by a British Sqdn.

1940 – GLADIOLUS, 1st WW2 Flower Class corvette launched, an economic design but said to “roll on wet grass”.

1991 – 1st Iraq war. Iraqi aircraft missile attacks on Allied forward ships defeated by Saudi aircraft. No further attacks on RN ships except by missiles.

25th 1788 – Founding of Australia, Royal Marines raising flag at Sydney Cove, New South Wales.

1917 – German destroyer raid on Southwold & Wangford Suffolk.

1964 – 45 Cdo.RM landed at Dar-es-Salaam to suppress mutiny in Tanganyika Rifle Regt., later being relieved by 41 Cdo.RM

26th 1841 – Commodore Sir J. BREMER (WELLESLEY) formally occupied Hongkong.

27th 1918 – Arab cavalry seized the Turkish Dead Sea Flotilla at El Mazraa.

28th 1596 – Death of Sir Francis DRAKE off Porto Bello, W. Indies.

1796 – Admiralty telegraph (messages) system began working, to Portsmouth & Chatham.

1918 – VC-Lt Cdr G.S. WHITE RN (Sub E14) posthumous, whilst in pursuit of SULTAN SELIM (ex-German GOEBEN) sunk by depth charges & gunfire, Dardanelles.

29th 1915 – Walney Island airship shed, Barrow-in-Furness shelled by Sub U.21, the 1st WW1 operation by a U-boat in the Irish Sea

1941 – GC(exAM) D.G.M. HAY Cadet RNR, SS EURYLOCHAS, for saving life in shark-infested sea after ship sank.

1991 – RN ships’ Lynx helicopters firing Sea Skua missiles, start to help neutralize the Iraqi Navy, sinking 10 vessels over the next 17 days.

30th 1855 – Royal Marines designated a Light Corps & became RM Light Infantry until 1923.

31st 1918 – Whilst on exercises off May Island, Sub K.17 was rammed & sunk by FEARLESS with K.4 rammed and sunk by K.6. K.14 was rammed by K.22 and the latter by INFLEXIBLE with both severely damaged. It was said that K boats came to grief because “they had the speed of a destroyer, the turning circle of a battleship & the bridge facilities of a motorboat”.

1943 – GC(exAM) Lt Cdr W.H.D. McCARTHY RN for trying to save life off Benghazi.

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