Figureheads Update – November 2017

Message from Paul Santillo of the Research Team

The first two of our Figureheads King Billy and Topaz leave for Deptford for renovation and conservation. It took a day and a half to juggle them around and get King Billy out – he was, of course, right at the back!

Sadly we won’t see them at Devonport Naval Heritage centre again, as they are destined for Plymouth’s new History Centre but we hope to have more from National Museum Royal Navy to replace them.

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Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter January 2016

NAVAL DIARY – JANUARY

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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Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter December 2015

NAVAL DIARY – DECEMBER

1st 1940 – George Cross (GC) ex Albert Medal-Able Seaman A.MILES (SALTASH) – saving life at sea.

2nd 1825 – Defeat of the Burmese at Pagoda Point, above Prome. DIANA & boats of Irrawaddy Flotilla captured 300 warboats.

1949 – IMPLACABLE(ex French DUGUAY-TROUIN captured in 1805) scuttled off Selsey Bill.

1986-UPHOLDER, 1st of Type 2400 diesel-electric Submarines, launched at Vickers.

3rd 1794 – Mutiny in CULLODEN, over pay & living conditions, ended after involvement with senior officers ashore. A sign of things to come with the Nore mutinies 1797 perhaps?

1810 – Capture of Ile de France (Mauritius) by ships under Vice-Admiral A.BERTIE (AFRICAINE) & troops under Major-General the Hon. J. ABERCROMBY.

1945 – 1st deck landing of a jet aircraft (De Havilland Sea Vampire – Lt Cdr E.M. BROWN RN) onto OCEAN, off the Isle of Wight.

1963 – VALIANT,1st all-British designed nuclear Submarine launched.

4th 1916 – LLEWELLYN sank Sub UC.19 off Dover, 1st successful use of depth charges.

1939 – Battleship NELSON, entering Loch Ewe, severely damaged by mine.

1967 – Coastal minelayer PLOVER paid off, having been in commission since 1937 & having laid one of the 1st minefields at the start of WW2.

5th 1578 – Francis DRAKE sacked Valparaiso.

1830 – THETIS, carrying $810,000 worth of bullion, wrecked on Cape Frio, near Rio de Janeiro. $60,000 later recovered in a salvage epic, using a water tank as a diving bell.

1866 – Start of naval operations against the Fenians in S.Ireland & in Canadian waters by RN N.American Squadron.

1918 – CASSANDRA, in operations against the Bolsheviks, sunk by mine in the Baltic.

1950 – Evacuation of troops from Chinnampo, Korea.

6th 1857 – SHANNON’s Naval Brigade at the defeat of Indian mutineers, Cawnpore.

1917 – GC(exAM)-Ldg Seaman T.N. DAVIS, disposing burning ammunition in blazing & drifting tug, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1941 – PERSEUS sunk by mine, 7 mile north of Zante. Ldg Stoker CAPES, the only survivor, swam 7 miles to shore at Cephalonia.

7th 1878 – Completion of armoured cruiser with sails NORTHAMPTON, last RN ship to have main armament between decks & along sides of ship (broadside).

1939 – 1st German Type B magnetic mine rendered safe in Thames estuary, by Lts J.E.M. GLENNY & R.S. ARMITAGE RN (VERNON).

1942 – RM canoeist raiders (Cockleshell Heroes) launched from Sub TUNA, to canoe up the Gironde river & place limpet mines on ships in Bordeaux – Operation FRANKTON.

8th 1914 – 1st Battle of the Falkland Islands. Battleships INVINCIBLE & INFLEXIBLE, under Vice Admiral Sir D. STURDEE defeated ships under Vice Admiral GRAF VON SPEE, avenging his defeat of a British squadron in the battle of Coronel a month earlier.

1941 – 1st siege of Tobruk (242 days) ended, RN & merchant ships having kept the garrison supplied & reinforced with troops. RN ships 25 sunk, 9 seriously damaged, merchant ships 5 sunk, 4 seriously damaged.

9th 1819 – RN & Bombay Marine ships with troops destroyed Joasmi pirate stronghold, Ras al Khaimah.

1914 – RN ships with troops captured Qurra, Mesopotamia. ARK ROYAL commissioned, having been purchased as a merchant ship & converted to a seaplane carrier.

1942 – PORCUPINE torpedoed but reached Gibraltar, then towed to UK in 2 parts, nicknamed PORK & PINE, but a total loss, unable to be joined together, unlike ZUBIAN in 1916.

10th 1941 – Battleships PRINCE OF WALES & REPULSE sunk by Japanese aircraft off the east coast of Malaya. Royal Marine survivors from the 2 ships went on to join the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, to form the “Plymouth Argylls” in the defence of Singapore.

11th 1899 – Naval Brigade at the battle of Magersfontein, Boer War.

12th 1782 – Admiral Sir HYDE PARKER Bt sailed from Rio de Janeiro in CATO, to take up his appointment as CinC East Indies. Neither he nor CATO were ever seen again but some wreckage thought to be from CATO was seen at Jeddah 9 years later & there was a rumour that he had been killed & cannibalised on the Malabar coast.

1888 – Establishment of 2 Naval Signal Schools, one in RN Barracks Devonport, the other in Portsmouth.

1962 – Assault under heavy fire on Limbang, Brunei, by L Company 42 RM Cdo, in landing craft manned by seamen from coastal minesweepers CHAWTON & FISKERTON, to rescue hostages taken by rebels, who were put to flight & hunted down by RN helicopters & river patrols; 5 Royal Marines were killed & 5 wounded. This was the start of a rebellion, lasting 3½ years, during which Indonesian guerrillas attempted to infiltrate the rest of Borneo.

13th 1914 – VC-Lt N.D. HOLBROOK ( Sub B.11) for passing through the Dardanelles entrance minefield & sinking Turkish MESSOUDIEH. The 1st Naval VC of WW1.

1939 – Sub SALMON torpedoed & put out of action cruisers LEIPZIG & NURNBERG, in a North Sea patrol during which she had already sunk U.36, the 1st successful Sub versus enemy Sub attack in WW2. Her C.O. Lt Cdr BICKFORD was promoted & awarded the DSO. Force G under Commodore H.H. Harwood (AJAX), with cruisers EXETER & ACHILLES (RNZN) fought commerce raiding battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE off the River Plate, forcing her into Montevideo for repairs. EXETER was badly damaged, with only 1 gun turret left working by hand & with emergency steering. After 72 hours in a neutral port, the maximum allowed, GRAF SPEE put to sea but was then scuttled, having been deceived by false reports of reinforced stronger RN forces waiting to fight her. The 1st decisive naval battles of both World Wars took place in the South Atlantic & GRAF SPEE was named after the Admiral defeated in 1914.

14th 1840 – Admiralty Board approved the construction of the 1st RN wooden (hull) screw (propeller) sloop ARDENT, later renamed RATTLER, proving to be more powerful in a tug-of-war with paddlewheeler ALECTO.

15th 1778 – Ships under Rear-Admiral the Hon. S. BARRINGTON (PRINCE OF WALES) fought ships under Vice-Admiral Comte d’ESTAING at St.Lucia, thwarting French recapture of the island, which had been captured by troops under General GRANT, taking the French by surprise.

1942 – GC(exAM)-Petty Officer Cook C.H. WALKER for saving life in Malta harbour.

16th 1812 – MAGNIFICENT saved in a violent gale, Bay of Biscay, by superb seamanship, which earned her Captain the name of Magnificent HAYES.

1914 – Scarborough, Hartlepool & Whitby bombarded by German battlecruisers.

1916 – VC-Captain (temporary Lt Colonel) B.C. FREYBERG (RN Division & Royal West Surrey Regt.) (ex Lt Cdr RNVR). He went on to be a General in WW2.

1957 – THOROUGH returned to DOLPHIN after 1st RN Submarine circumnavigation of the world.

17th 1940 – ACHERON sunk by mine off the Isle of Wight, during speed trials after repairs, having had her stern blown off in a Portsmouth Dockyard air raid.

1941 – 1st Battle of Sirte. 3 cruisers & 14 destroyers under Rear-Admiral VIAN (NAIAD), covering the sailing of merchant ship BRECONSHIRE, from Alexandria to Malta with vital supplies, fought off repeated Italian naval attacks. She was sunk in Malta, after another convoy, the next year.

18th 1793 – Ships under Vice-Admiral Lord HOOD (VICTORY) evacuated Toulon, which they had occupied & held since 27th August, capturing or destroying 14 ships of the line, 19 frigates & corvettes.

1941 – VC-Lt Cdr M.D. WANKLYN RN (UPHOLDER) for gallantry, sinking a heavily defended defended transport ship. The 1st Submariner VC of WW2.

19th 1664 – Ships under Captain T.ALLEN (PLYMOUTH) attacked a Dutch convoy in Gibraltar Strait & took the best 3 ships, but war had not yet been declared & ALLEN was accused of ignoring a Dutch salute.

1914 – Protected cruiser DORIS harassed with gunfire Turkish forces on the coast near Alexandretta. The gun her sailors captured in the Boer War is now in Devonport Park.

1915 – Evacuation of Anzac & Suvla beacheads at Gallipoli, successfully completed by 21st December.

1941 – NEPTUNE & KANDAHAR mined off Tripoli, NEPTUNE sinking & KANDAHAR having to be sunk the next day by JAGUAR, cruisers AURORA & PENELOPE also mined; this was the end of Force K operations. In Alexandria harbour, Egypt, battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH & VALIANT were severly damaged by limpet mines attached by Italian 2-man torpedoes

20th 1940 – 10 Fleet Air Arm 830 Sqdn. Swordfish (Malta) bombed Tripoli & mined the harbour. -GC-Lt Cdr R.J.H. RYAN RN, Sub Lt P.V. DANCKWERTS RNVR & Chief Petty Officer R.V. ELLINGWORTH for bomb & mine disposal, the 1st & 3rd awards posthumous.

21st 1914 – 1st night bombing raid, on Ostend, by Cdr C.R. SAMSON RN in a Maurice Farman biplane.

1941 – U.751 sank AUDACIOUS (1st Escort Carrier, ex-German liner HANOVER) west of Finisterre escorting Convoy HG.76 of 17 ships from Gibraltar, the escort also including Captain F.J. WALKER’s 36th Escort Group. Despite the loss of AUDACIOUS, 2 merchant ships & an escort, this convoy was fairly successful, showing how a well-trained escort group, aided by air support, could counter Submarine attacks, 4 having been sunk, U.451 by Swordfish A/812 from ARK ROYAL flying off from Gibraltar, the 1st night sinking by aircraft, land-based & on its own.

22nd 1940 – 15 Swordfish aircraft of 815 & 819 Sdn. Fleet Air Arm (carrier ILLUSTRIOUS) bombed Tripoli.

23rd 1858 – PEARL’s Naval Brigade at Tulsipur, India.

1915 – Start of RN operations on Lake Tanganyika.

1919 – ENTERPRISE launched, 1st light cruiser armed with twin 6” gun turret.

1927 – GC(exEGM)- PO Stoker H.J. MAHONEY (TAURUS), gallantry in a boiler room explosion.

24th 1777 – Captain COOK discovered Christmas Island.

1789 – GUARDIAN (44 guns) en-route to Australia, struck an iceberg in South Atlantic, the Captain (RIOU) & a skeleton crew standing by her onboard; she drifted into Table Bay, S.Africa.

1914 – R.Australian Navy were asked to reinforce East African naval area. PIONEER sent, arriving 6th Feb.1915, released & returning to RAN Aug.1916, having fired more shells at the enemy than any other RAN ship in WW1.

1940 – BORDE detonated 1st electrically swept German mine.

25th 1914 – RN Air Service seaplane raid on Cuxhaven.

1923 – Light cruiser CAPETOWN sent up Coatzacoalcos River, Mexico, to protect British interests.

1940 – Cruisers BERWICK & BONAVENTURE, escorting Convoy WS.5A, drove off cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER in the South Atlantic.

1941 – HongKong surrendered to Japanese forces, ROBIN being scuttled to avoid capture.

26th 1857 – Naval Brigade of 21 gun screw/sail frigate PEARL at Sohanpur.

1915 – Gunboats MIMI & TOUTOU, having been transported to Lake Tanganyika by liner, train, steam tractor, oxen & raft, captured German KINGANI, which ran aground, was salvaged & taken into RN service as FIJI.

1927 – KEPPEL sailed from Shanghai to protect British interests in Chingwangtao.

1941 – 2nd Commando raid on Lofoten.

1943 – Ships under Admiral Sir Bruce FRASER (DUKE OF YORK) sank battlecruiser SCHARNHORST off the North Cape.

27th 1831 – 10 gun brig BEAGLE sailed on 5-year circumnavigation of the world, carrying Charles DARWIN.

1940 – GC- Lt R.S. ARMITAGE, Sub Lts (Sp) R.V. MOORE & J.H. BABINGTON, all RNVR, for bomb & mine disposal.

1941 – Commando raid on Vaagso, Norway – Operation Archery.

28th 1857 – Ships under Admiral Sir M. SEYMOUR bombarded Canton (2nd Chinese War). Captain W.T. BATES RN wrote home that night “I hold it as a general leading principle that there is nothing the Navy cannot do”. He was killed the next day, living up to what he had written, CANTON being captured.

1922 – Battleships RODNEY & NELSON laid down, nicknamed the Cherry Trees because they were cut down in size by the Washington (Naval) Treaty. The only RN ships to mount 16inch guns in triple gun turrets.

29th 1669 – MARY ROSE drove off 7 Algerine pirates, near Tangier, during Battle of Cadiz.

1860 – WARRIOR, 1st seagoing RN iron hull armour plated sail rigged warship launched at Blackwall in response to France’s 1st ironclad warship GLOIRE. PELORUS’ Naval Brigade at Kairau, New Zealand.

1917 – GC(exAM)- Deckhand J.G. STANNERS RNR (Motor Launch 289) fighting fire in a magazine.

1944 – 1st Biber German midget Sub to be recovered, by READY off Dover.

30th 1893 – HAVOCK, 1st RN torpedo boat destroyer, commissioned.

31st 1823 – Dock renamed Devonport.

1847 – Last Semaphore relay signal to Spithead from London, replaced by electric telegraph.

1861 – Boats of FALCON, with those of DOVER the 1st RN ironclad, destroyed 4 towns up Rokel River, Sierra Leone.

1942 – VC-Captain R.St.V. SHERBROOKE RN (ONSLOW) in defence of Convoy JW.51B, North of North Cape.

COCKLESHELL HEROES, OPERATION FRANKTON

In 1942, 13 members of the Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment, based in Southsea, were selected for an operation to paddle canoes up the river Gironde, to place limpet mines on the hulls of merchant ships in Bordeaux, under the command of Major “Blondie” HASLER. The canoes were 2-man canvas-sided collapsibles, each carrying 8 limpet (magnetized) mines.

On the night of 7th December, 5 canoes were launched from Sub TUNA, off the mouth of the GIRONDE, the 6th being damaged, so her crew & the 1 reserve member of the team remained in TUNA. As they paddled up into the river, in stormy conditions, 1 canoe capsized & was lost, 2 more disappearing & their crews being captured & executed . By the night of the 11th December, after paddling by night & laying up concealed by day, the last 2 canoes reached Bordeaux and their mines were placed on 6 ships hulls, all being damaged, but not long out of action.

These 2 crews then set off on foot, trying to escape to the border with Spain, but only 1 crew reached Spain & returned to England, Major HASLER & Marine Bill SPARKS, being awarded the DSO & DSM respectively. The other crew, Cpl A. LAVER & Mne W. MILLS, also heading for Spain, were caught 2 days later & executed, on German Higher Command orders, in contravention of Geneva rules, as they were wearing uniform & declared prisoners of war; as DSMs could not be awarded posthumously, they were mentioned in dispatches. The bodies of the capsized canoe crew were found ashore, having died of hypothermia.

A 2011 BBC documentary alleged that the Special Operations Executive had also planned to sabotage the Bordeaux ships & may have done so more effectively, neither SOE nor Combined Ops being aware of each others’ plans.

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Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter November 2015

NAVAL DIARY – NOVEMBER

1st 1944 – Successful assault on Walcheren by No.4 Army & 41,47 & 48 Royal Marine Cdos, with RN ships bombardment & landing craft. Operation INFATUATE.

1956-Operation MUSKETEER, the Anglo-French action against Egypt, continued with more air strikes, both Naval (from carriers) & Air Force. NEWFOUNDLAND (cruiser) & DIANA (destroyer), tasked to protect British & neutral shipping nearing the Suez Canal from the South, encountered & sank Egyptian frigate DOMIAT ex-HMS NITH.

2nd 1918 – MURCIA & SURADO the last 2 British merchant ships to be sunk in WW1, torpedoed by UC.24, off Port Said.

3rd 1914 – Bombardment by Anglo-French squadron of the outer forts at the Dardanelles; an unfortunate curtain-raiser to the Gallipoli campaign, as it gave Turkey warning of the Allied plans.

“I drink to the memory of a gallant & honourable foe” – Admiral Von Spee, in reply to a German civilian who, after the sinking of the British warships in the Battle of Coronel, had proposed a toast “Damnation to the British Navy”.

German battle-cruisers bombarded the British coast for the 1st time, at Gorleston, Norfolk.

1942 – George Cross (GC)-Lt J.S.MOULD George Medal (GM) RANVR, for mine recovery & disposal.

1956 – 1st RN loss of Suez campaign, a Fleet Air Arm Wyvern from EAGLE, shot down. CRANE attacked by Israeli aircraft, mistaking her to be Egyptian.

4th 1805 – Ships under Capt. Sir R.STRACHAN (CAESAR) took 4 French ships under Rear- Admiral D.LE PELLEY (FORMIDABLE) off Rochefort, the 1st survivors of the Battle of Trafalgar.

1840 – Capture of Acre. Ships under Admiral the Hon.Sir R.STOPFORD & Commodore C.NAPIER (PRINCESS CHARLOTTE).

1843 – Upper part of Trafalgar Square statue of NELSON affixed to the lower part. It is said he faces the way he does as it is the nearest way to the sea, but others say he is simply keeping an eye on the Admiralty.

5th 1650 – BLAKE, the General at Sea, destroyed the Royalist fleet under Prince RUPERT, off Cartagena.

1668 – WILLIAM III, of Orange, landed at Torbay, to take the throne of England.

1854 – VCs-Corporal J.PRETTYJOHN RM Light Infantry, cut off with his party, Battle of Inkerman, running out of ammunition, drove off the Russians by throwing stones at them. Seamen T.REEVES, J.GORMAN & M.SCHOLEFIELD (SHANNON Naval Brigade) repulsed a Russian attack, exposing themselves to heavy fire.

1940 – VC-Captain E.S.F.FEGEN RN (Armed Merchant Cruiser Jervis Bay) commanding & going down with his ship, defending Convoy HX84, when attacked by pocket-battleship ADMIRAL SCHEER in mid-Atlantic.

1946 – GC-Surgeon Lt.Cdr.P.A.O’LEARY DSO RN, for work in connection with the escape of Allied prisoners of war.

6th 1860 – Admiral Sir C.NAPIER died, who had said “It is seamen, not ships, that constitute a navy”.

1914 – Start of naval operations on River Tigris, by ships reinforced by Fly & Insect class Gunboats.

1956 – Anglo-French amphibious assault on North end of Suez Canal, British forces at Port Said, the 1st time a Royal Marine Cdo assault had landed from helicopters. A cease-fire was ordered for midnight that night.

7th 1918 – Last attack (unsuccessful) by a German submarine on a British merchant ship (SARPENDON) in WW1.

1976 – FEARLESS, whilst on charter for filming “The Spy Who Loved Me”, broke off to salvage SS NOSTOS VASSO ATHENE, on fire off Malta.

8th 1942 – Anglo-American assault landings in Oran, Algiers & Casablanca. One airfield at Algiers was captured by Fleet Air Arm Martlet fighters, under Lt.B.H.C.NATION (VICTORIOUS), probably the 1st time a shore airfield had been captured by Naval Aircraft. VC-Captain F.T.PETERS RN (ex US Coast Guard cutter WALNEY) for the assault on Oran harbour, being hit & blown up by Vichy French shore batteries. Operation Reservist.

9th 1914 – German light cruiser EMDEN, since 10 Sept. attacking Allied warships, shipping & ports in the Indian Ocean, was raiding a British wireless station on Cocos Island when surprised, attacked & forced aground by Australian light cruiser SYDNEY. However an EMDEN landing party had previously been put ashore on nearby Direction Island, seizing a schooner & sailing to Yemen, crossing the Red Sea & reaching safety in Constantinople in May 1915.

1918 – GC(ex Albert Medal)-Lt.H.M.A.MAY RM Light Infantry, saving life when BRITANNIA was sunk by UB.50, the last major RN ship sunk in WW1.

10th 1914 – Collier NEWBRIDGE sunk to block KONIGSBERG in Rufiji River, Africa, the 1st operation against the German ship.

1931 – SWORDFISH, the 1st of this class of submarine, launched at Chatham.

11th 1858 – Detachments of PEARL’s Naval Brigade joined Army forces in dispersing Indian Rebels at Phanpur.

1914 – Rear-Admiral E.C.T.TROUBRIDGE acquitted by Court Martial of failing to pursue (with the forces under his command) German battle-cruiser GOEBEN. This failure allowed GOEBEN to reach Turkey & helped bring them into the War.

1918 – Hostilities with Germany ceased, an Armistice having been signed.

1940 – 20 Fleet Air Arm Swordfish biplanes flying off ILLUSTRIOUS, including 5 planes from EAGLE, made a night attack on Taranto, with torpedoes & bombs, achieving complete surprise, damaging 3 Italian battleships & 1 destroyer, the battleships having to be put aground to avoid sinking.

1942 – Royal Indian Navy Fleet minesweeper BENGAL, with just one 12 pounder gun, escorting Dutch tanker ONDINA, with one 4 inch gun, encountered 2 Japanese Armed Merchant Cruisers (each 6×6 inch guns, torpedoes & aircraft). Having told ONDINA to act independently (escape) BENGAL & the Japanese each opened fire, HOKOKU MARU being set on fire & blowing up, but ONDINA was hit with shells & 2 torpedoes, so abandoned, her crew later re-embarking, putting out the fires & bringing her safely to Australia.

12th 1944 – In a final attempt to sink battleship TIRPITZ, at Tromso, Lancaster bombers from No.5 Group, Bomber Command RAF, succeeded.

13th 1941 – ARK ROYAL torpedoed by U.81 off Gibraltar, sinking next day, but might have been saved by better damage control, from which many lessons were learnt.

1973 – End of the 2nd Cod War, when Iceland had extended her territorial waters for her fishing fleets.

1978 – 1st deck landing by a Hawker Sea Harrier, on HERMES.

14th 1941 – Submarines TALISMAN & TORBAY landed a group of Commandos near Apollonia to raid ROMMEL’s HQ.

15th 1798 – Capture of Minorca by ships under Commodore J.DUCKWORTH (LEVIATHAN) & troops under General the Honourable C.STUART, Seamen & Marines being landed to support the Army.

1918 – VC-Temporary Cdr.D.M.W.BEAK DSO, MC, RNVR (DRAKE Battalion, Naval Division) for heroic leadership including single-handedly attacking a machine-gun nest in France. After WW1 he transferred to the British Army, ending in WW2 as a Major-General.

16th 1294 – King Edward I ordered construction of 20 galleys, each of 120 oars, for use against the French.

1857 – VC-Lts.N.SALMON, T.J.YOUNG, W.HALL & Able Sea.J.HARRISON (SHANNON Naval Brigade) for gallantry at Lucknow, Indian Mutiny.

1858 – Armstrong rifled breech-loading guns adopted for service.

1926 – BLUEBELL rescued SS SUNNING from pirates off Hong Kong.

17th 1857 – SHANNON’s Naval Brigade at the relief of Lucknow British Residency.

1869 – Opening of the newly built Suez Canal.

1871 – Completion of HOTSPUR, built at Devonport, the 1st RN warship built as a Ram & the 1st to have a fixed circular turret, inside which was one 12inch muzzle-loading gun, able to fire through several gun ports in the turret sides, but never ahead until later altered. She was never in action & rams became obsolete.

1917 – VC posthumous-Ord.Seaman J.H.CARLESS (CALEDON), in the Heligoland Bight battle between cruisers, when all of his gun crew had been killed or injured, although mortally wounded himself he carried on working his gun, until relieved, dying shortly afterwards.

18th 1983 – GLAMORGAN & BRAZEN sent to Lebanon for support of British troops in a multi-national force.

19th 1941 – R.Australian Navy light cruiser SYDNEY, on patrol off the Australian West Coast, was sunk in a battle with German raider KORMORAN, which then sank, all in mysterious circumstances.

20th 1759 – Battle of Quiberon Bay. Fleet under Admiral Sir E.HAWKE (ROYAL GEORGE) defeated the French Fleet under Admiral Le Comte de CONFLANS (SOLEIL ROYALE), which was chased in the teeth of a gale into the shoal waters of the Bay, onto a lee shore, 11 French ships out of 21 being wrecked or captured, others only escaping by throwing guns & stores overboard, in order to cross over the shoals.

1863 – Attack on the Maori position at Rangariri by forces including Naval landing parties during a war over land acquisition by British settlers. One of the ships involved was River Gunboat PIONEER, an iron flat-bottomed stern wheel paddle steamer, armour-plated with cupolas pierced for 12pounder guns.

1939 – STURGEON sank German trawler GAULEITER TELSCHOW, the 1stRN sub. success of WW2.

21st 1914 – 3 RN Air Service Avro504s attacked Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshavn.

1918 – German High Seas Fleet surrendered off May Island, arriving at Rosyth, for later interment at Scapa Flow.

22nd 1718 – Lt.R.MAYNARD (RANGER & JANE) killed the pirate Edward TEACH, known as Blackbeard, & captured all his crew in Ocracoke Inlet, Pamlico Sound.

1857 – VC-Midshipman A.MAYO Indian Navy (No.4 Detachment IN) defeated & dispersed a superior force of sepoy mutineers at Dacca. By the time he received the award he was an undergraduate at Oxford.

1915 – Battle of Ctesiphon, Mesopotamia, involving river gunboats & vessels.

1941 – DEVONSHIRE sighted what seemed to be a merchant ship but on checking details proved to be a German raider ATLANTIS, armed as a light cruiser, so she was sunk, survivors being picked up later by a U-boat, transferred to a supply ship, which was later sunk by DORSETSHIRE, German survivors again being picked up by another U-boat, finally being landed at her base.

1944 – 1st & unsuccessful raid by Welman mini-submersibles Nos.45,46,47 & 48 at Bergen, operated by 1 man inside a cupola, so no diving suit.

23rd 1896 – Lofts for training carrier pigeons established at Sheerness, Portsmouth & Devonport.

1914 – U.18 rammed by DOROTHY GRAY & GARRY whilst trying to enter Scapa Flow, then by KAPHIADA, ending up wrecked on the Skerries.

1939 – Battle-cruiser SCHARNHORST sank Armed Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDI (Captain E.C.KENNEDY RN) which had reported the sighting & managed a gunfire hit on the German, before being overwhelmed & sunk. Cruiser NEWCASTLE later picked up survivors & sighted lights of SCHARNHORST, which had been trying to break out into the Atlantic, but contact was lost at night & the German returned to base, surprise having been lost. 1st German magnetic mine, Type A, located at Sheerness, rendered safe by Lt.Cdr.J.G.D. OUVRY RN & Chief P.O. C.E. BALDWIN, assisted by Lt.Cdr.R.C. LEWIS RN & Able Seaman A.L. VEARNCOMBE, then next day dissected at VERNON, Portsmouth, by Dr.A.B. WOOD.

1979 – LAYMOOR paid off, the last RN ship propelled by steam reciprocating engine.

24th 1875 – Suez Canal controlling interest, jointly with France, purchased,

1941 – DUNEDIN sunk in mid-Atlantic by U.124, which then approached Freetown but was fired upon at 6 miles off by a 5.5inch gun landed from FURIOUS.

25th 1899 – Battle of Graspan, South Africa. Naval Brigade from DORIS (whose men captured the gun now in Devonport Park), MONARCH & POWERFUL.

1940 – 3 German acoustic mines were exploded in the Thames, by the 1st use of a technique developed since such mines were found a month before.

1941 – U.331 torpedoed battleship BARHAM, which blew up & sank off Sidi Barrani in less than 5 minutes, with 862 men lost, but 450 survived.

1975 – 3rd Cod War, caused by Iceland’s unilateral extension of fishing limits to 200 miles.

26th 1703 – A great storm over S.W. England & the Channel destroyed 13 warships, among many other ships, with great loss of life, also the Eddystone light.

1899 – Boer War. Naval Brigade formed at Durban from FORTE, TERRIBLE, TARTAR & PHILOMEL.

1914 – BULWARK destroyed by internal explosion at Sheerness. Naval court of enquiry found that ammunition was stowed in corridors between the 11 magazines, so a fault in a shell or overheating cordite near a boiler room bulkhead could have started a chain reaction.

1916 – Second German ship bombardment raid on Lowestoft.

27th 1857 – SHANNON’s Naval Brigade at the defence of Cawnpore.

1916 – R.9 made 1st successful flight by an RN Air Service rigid airship.

1940 – Action off Cape Spartivento. Admiral SOMERVILLE with Force H covering a convoy from Gibraltar to Alexandria, found out that the Italian Navy, with a force including 2 battleships, was determined to attack the convoy. He decided that the best defence was to attack first, both forces being of equal strength. The Italians did not hesitate to join battle but it was inconclusive, with 1 Italian destroyer & 1 British cruiser damaged, however the convoy got through safely.

28th 1914 – VC-Cdr.H.P. RITCHIE RN (GOLIATH) at Dar-es-Salaam during a search & destroy operation, with 3 German ships disabled & harbour installations wrecked.

29th 1945 – 1st RN helicopter in service, for air sea rescue, Sikorski R.5

1950 – Battle of Chosin Reservoir, Korea, 41 Independent Cdo.RM, under command of US 1st Marine Division, later awarded the US Presidential citation.

1967 – Final withdrawal of 42 & 45 Cdo, RM from Aden.

30th 1652 – Ships under Admiral R.BLAKE (TRIUMPH) fought ships under Admiral M. TROMP (BREDERODE) off Dungeness, protecting a Dutch convoy. The English retreated & TROMP hoisted a broom at his masthead, signifying that he had swept the English from the sea.

1914 – “The Miraculous Draught of Fishes”. A British trawler found in her nets a box containing many papers of intelligence value, including the 3rd & last Imperial German Naval code.

1940 – GC-Lt.H.R. NEWGASS RNVR – mine disposal at Garston Gassworks Liverpool.

1944 – Launch of VANGUARD, the last RN battleship.

SINKING OF HMAS SYDNEY 19 NOVEMBER 1941

Cruiser SYDNEY was on patrol off the West coast of Australia, due in to Fremantle on Nov 20th & under orders not to break radio silence. When she had not arrived by the 23rd, signals were sent ordering her to break silence & report her position, but she did not reply. The next day survivors of a German surface raider, said to be KORMORAN, were picked up from the sea off the coast; they told, under interrogation, that SYDNEY had intercepted their ship & sought to check her identity. KORMORAN, tried to pass herself off as a known merchant ship, but eventually being unable to give a special password, she & SYDNEY began a battle, the only details of all this being what the Germans said. According to them SYDNEY was very badly damaged & on fire, thought to be out of control & eventually disappearing out of range. KORMORAN was also badly damaged & had to be scuttled the next day, leaving her survivors in the water. A search was made for SYDNEY, but the only signs of her were the finding of a carley float & a lifebelt, there being no signs of any survivors. Neither wreck could be found then & there were doubts about the truth of the Germans’ evidence, with queries why there were no SYDNEY survivors. Not until 2008 were both wrecks found.

MAKE A SIGNAL

At the outbreak of the Suez war, frigate CRANE, with a bow damaged from a collision, was ordered to join a small task force south of the Suez Canal, in order to protect British & neutral shipping approaching the canal & to destroy any Egyptian naval force interfering with this traffic. Whilst acting away from the main task force, CRANE was hit by rockets fired from French fighter aircraft, thought to have mistaken her for an Egyptian warship. When CRANE was finally released from the task force, she received this signal:

“Blunt in front

Holed behind

Pierced amidships

Never mind-

You start your journey home today

And hell to Nasser anyway.”

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Open Day September 2015

Open Day 27 September 2015 – Theme: Submarine Service

The penultimate open day of 2015 was themed around the Submarine service. This coincided with our decommissioned nuclear submarine visitor attraction, Courageous, being taken out of service for a long awaited facelift to freshen her up ahead of an anticipated very busy 2016. The event was kindly opened by Cdre Bob Fancy (Submariner), who opened the day with a welcoming speech to the gathered crowds. The day had two new supporters; Babcock International and HMS Raleigh’s submarine school. A beautiful late summer day greeted 1600 visitors to the centre from all age groups. There were activities for all age groups including; Science made simple, face painters, STEM Works and bouncy castles for our younger visitors and river boat trips talking about the evolution of the Naval Base including explanations of the roles of the current naval contingency operating from Devonport Naval base. The very popular tours of our Submarine Courageous worked at maximum load to get 240 visitors through an hour tour. The popularity of Courageous has never been more prevalent with all tours booking up within an hour of the gates opening. The Submarine school, Lead by WO1 Coxn Rob Sutton, provided an extensive display of contemporary submarine displays and delivered a number of talks throughout the day to explain both the role of the submarine service in today’s Royal Navy and what it is like to live and work onboard a hunter killer submarine.

The other significant sub theme of the open day was a temporary exhibition to commemorate the Submarine Thetis disaster, who was lost with all hands. The display explained her story and the lessons learnt from such a terrible accident. As well as the exhibition there was also an illustrated talk, given by Capt Keith Watterson (Retired Submarine Engineer), which was enjoyed by a large audience including three families who are relatives of the crew of Thetis.

A very successful day enjoyed by the young and more seasoned visitor to celebrate our silent service.

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Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter October 2015

NAVAL DIARY – OCTOBER

1st 1748 – Rear-Admiral C.KNOWLES’ (CORNWALL) Squadron fought Vice-Admiral Don Andres REGGIO’s (AFRICA) Spanish Squadron off Havana, but KNOWLES failed to benefit from intelligence brought to him & engaged with only 4 of his ships, which were severely damaged; although he took one ship & AFRICA was burnt by her own people, KNOWLES was court martialled & reprimanded.

1841 – Seamen & Marines from ships under Rear-Admiral Sir W.PARKER joined in the capture of Ting-Hai, Chusan, 1st Opium War.

1858 – Naval Brigade from PEARL with Indian Army in the 4th action against rebels in the Indian Mutiny, at Amorha.

1900 – Electrical Departments instituted in RN Dockyards.

1917 – 1st flight from a platform on a gun turret. Sqdn.Cdr.RUTLAND, Sopwith Pup, B turret, REPULSE.

1919 – WW1 Women’s Royal Naval Service disbanded

2nd 1836 – BEAGLE arrived Falmouth on return from a 5 year circumnavigation of the world, carrying DARWIN.

1866 – GRIFFON sunk in nocturnal collision with PANDORA, Bight of Benin; failure of night signalling system.

1900 – The Naval Brigade left Simonstown, at the end of their actions in the Boer War.

1901 – RN’s 1st submarine boat, designed by Irish-American J.P.HOLLAND, launched at Barrow-in-Furness, with neither name nor number, later becoming HM S/M No.1 & then HOLLAND 1.

1942 – CURACAO sunk in collision with RMS QUEEN MARY, N.W.Approaches, in a Convoy.

3rd 1857 – 1st party of SHANNON’s Naval Brigade arrived at Allahabad, Indian Mutiny.

1890 – TEMERAIRE (Captain Sir G.NOEL RN), 11,000 ton brig, the last RN rated ship to enter harbour under sail, took 3 hours & 14 tacks to sail up Souda Bay.

1914 – 1st units of RM Brigade, RN Division, arrived to defend Antwerp.

1952 – PLYM, one of several ships expended in atomic weapon tests, Monte Bello.

1943 – Battle of TERMOLI, Italian Adriatic Coast. 40 Cdo.RM, with 3 Cdo.(Army) & other elements of 2nd Special Service Bde, landed behind German lines, under cover of darkness, surprised German paratroopers in the town, then after reinforcement by Allied troops, held off repeated counter attacks until the Germans withdrew on 6th October.

4th 1744 – VICTORY, 1st of that name, wrecked on the Casquets. Admiral Sir J.BALCHEN & 1,100 men drowned. Inaccurate clocks prevented accurate determination of longitude, to give ship’s position.

1912 – Sub B.2 run down & sunk by SS AMERIKA off Dover.15 lost, only 1 saved. The 1st RN sub lost & never salvaged, leaving the bodies of her crew to remain undisturbed.

1941 – Trawler LADY SHIRLEY, on patrol off Canary Islands, having sighted on the surface an object, which disappeared, gained ASDIC contact & dropped depth charges. Sub U111 surfaced & tried to fire their gun at the trawler, but the tampion had not been removed from the barrel, the gun exploded & the trawler fired her 4” gun, hitting the Sub nine times & sinking her. The trawler’s crew of 30 took onboard 45 survivors as prisoners & took them to Gibraltar, 4 days steaming away.

5th 1944 – AURORA & CATTERICK bombarded Levitha Island, in the Dodacanese, then landed a party to whom the island surrendered.

6th 1719 – Capitulation of Vigo to a combined force under Vice Admiral J.MIGHELLS (IPSWICH) & Colonel Viscount COBHAM.

1762 – Capture of Manila by a combined force under Rear-Admiral S.CORNISH (NORFOLK) & Colonel W.DRAPER.

7th 1769 – Captain James COOK discovered New Zealand.

1775 – Captain SHULDAM urged the Admiralty Board to install “coppers” for the distillation of fresh water from salt water & a fresh water sweetener, based on aeration.

1980 – ARMILLA patrol instituted. When war broke out between Iran & Iraq in 1980, the RN started a patrol in the Persian Gulf, usually with a frigate or destroyer, to protect British shipping & interests in the area. COVENTRY was the 1st ship deployed.

8th 1806 – 1st RN rocket bombardment, on Boulogne.

1884 – RODNEY launched, the last RN battleship with a figurehead.

1914 – 1st destruction of a Zeppelin, in her shed at Dusseldorf, by an RN Air Service Sopwith Tabloid.

1990 – WRNS personnel joined RN ships as part of ships’ companies, for the 1st time.

9th 1799 – LUTINE wrecked off Holland; her bell was recovered & is now in use at Lloyd’s.

1805 – Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson wrote the Trafalgar memorandum, now in the British Museum – ‘no captain can do wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy’.

1852 – Capture of Prome, India, by an RN & Army combined force, including ships’ boats.

1862 – VC-Able Seaman G.HINCKLEY (SPHINX) whilst under fire rescuing wounded men from British & French ships’ landing parties, repulsing Taiping rebels & capturing the city of Fung Wha.

10th 1748 – A mutiny in CHESTERFIELD at Cape Coast, led by the 1st Lt. & the Lt. of Marines, whilst the Captain was ashore, was dealt with by the Gunner & Bosun.

1917 – George Cross(GC)(exAlbert Medal AM)-A.W.NEWMAN Mate, disposing burning ammunition.

11th 1766 – 1st Battle of Lake Champlain, the British Lake Flotilla fighting the American Lake Flotilla.

1780 – During a bad day, in a hurricane, one of a succession of West Indies storms, AMAZON was almost sunk, THUNDERER disappeared, STIRLING CASTLE ran aground & 8 other vessels were lost.

1782 – Relief of the siege of Gibraltar by Lord HOWE, using the signalling system transformed by Rear-Admiral KEMPENFELT, to great effect.

1797 – Battle of Camperdown. A British Fleet under Admiral A.DUNCAN (VENERABLE) defeated a Dutch Fleet under Vice-Admiral JAN DE WINTER (VRIJHEID). After the battle DUNCAN declined to receive a surrendered sword, saying he would rather shake a brave man’s hand.

1855 – VC-Cdr.J.E.COMMERELL RN & Quartermaster W.T.RICKARD (WESER) in a landing party destroying Russian stores up the Salgir River, Sea of Azov, Crimean War.

12th 1702 – English & Dutch Fleets, under Admiral Sir G.ROOKE (SOMERSET) & Vice-Admiral G.CALLENBURGH (HOLLANDIA) fought the French Fleet & treasure ships under Vice-Admiral CONTE DE CHATEAURENAULT in Vigo Bay. All 17 French warships & 17 Spanish treasure ships were taken or sunk.

1798 – RN ships under Commodore Sir J.B.WARREN (CANADA) defeated French ships under Commodore J.BOMPARD off Donegal Bay, thus reducing the threat of French aid to Irish rebellion, also taking 4 ships as prizes.

1897 – CANOPUS launched, the1st battleship with water tube boilers & fitted with Krupp armour plating. Grounded as a coastal defence ship at Port Stanley, Falklands, by 1914, she had loaded a gun in secret preparation for a competitive gun drill, but was able to open fire as Admiral VON SPEE’s Squadron approached, scoring the 1st hit on them, with a ricochet from solid shot.

1940 – AJAX, the 1st radar-equipped cruiser in the Med. Fleet, sank Italian torpedo boats AIRONE & ARIEL in a night action, also damaging destroyer ARRIGLIERE, the Italian Navy not being trained for night fighting.

13th 1776 – British Lake Flotilla’s defeat of the American Lake Flotilla, Lake Champlain, the American possession of which had held up army operations, contributing to the defeat of British forces under General Burgoyne & the intervention of France on America’s side, American War of Independence.

1841 – Occupation of Ningpo by a combined Naval & Army force, led by Rear-Admiral Sir W.PARKER (MODESTE) & Lt.General Sir H.GOUGH, Seamen & Marines landing from ships.

1914 – Code books captured from German cruiser MAGDEBOURG by the Russians 20th August 1914, reached the Admiralty & are now considered to have been as valuable to Intelligence as was the capture of a German Enigma coding machine by Poland in 1939.

1939 – GC(exExceptional Gallantry Medal-EGM)-Radio Officer J.G.M.TURNER Merchant Navy(SS MINOTAUR).

14th 1747 – When ships under Rear-Admiral E.HAWKE (DEVONSHIRE) met French ships under Commodore the MARQUIS DE L’ETANDUERE (TONNANT) escorting a large convoy, HAWKE wasted no time forming a line of battle, as was the custom, but signalled for “General Chase”, allowing each of his ships independently to attack the enemy.

1939 – ROYAL OAK torpedoed & sunk in Scapa Flow, with the loss of 786 men, by U.47, which had found a way through inadequate defence barriers between the islands of the Flow. Tragically the long-awaited block ships arrived the next day.

15th 1918 – Sub J.6, the only one lost of 7 J class boats, was sunk off Blyth in error by Q-ship CYMRIC, J boats having unusual silhouettes, leading to confused identification. The resulting Board of Enquiry attributed the sinking to the Hazards of War, after which the survivors paid the CO of CYMRIC the compliment of rising & saluting his acquittal.

16th 1759 – Eddystone light 1st lit.

1815 – BONAPARTE landed in exile on St.Helena.

1939 – GC(exEGM) posthumous. Cdr.R.F.JOLLY (MOHAWK).

17th 1804 – CRUIZER captured French Privateer CONTRE-AMIRAL MAGON in a chase of 97 miles, starting with action off Ostend the previous day. Prize money awarded was £40,000 for the Captain, down to £182 for a Seaman.

1854 – 1st bombardment of Sevastopol by the Allied British & French Fleet, under Vice-Admiral DUNDAS, in which the 1st RN screw (engine & propeller) ship of the line, a 91-gun 3 decker, AGAMEMNON, proved her worth, being one of 2 ships there able to bombard effectively, because of their ability to manoeuvre regardless of the wind.

1940 – GC-Sub Lt.J.M.C.EASTON RNVR & Ord.Seaman B.SOUTHWELL, the latter posthumously, for bomb & mine disposal.

1948 – GC(exAM)-Boy A.R.LOWE, for saving the life of another liberty boat crew member, capsizing in a gale at Portland.

18th 1652 – 1st recorded Naval dockyard strike, when no pay was available.

1799 – Having helped bring a convoy from Lisbon & impatient to reach Spithead, the Master of the allegedly IMPREGNABLE, 98-guns, stranded her on the Chichester Shoals; during the night she moved 2 miles over them, being bilged & the wreck having to be sold, the Master being dismissed his ship.

1854 – VC-Captain W.PEEL & Midshipman E.St.J.DANIEL (DIAMOND) for action in storming the Batteries before Sevastopol. In 1861 DANIEL forfeited his award, having deserted, after being accused of a disgraceful offence.

19th 1781 – General Lord CORNWALLIS surrendered the British forces at Yorktown; having been cornered by General WASHINGTON & blockaded by Vice-Admiral COMTE DE GRASSE because Rear-Admiral GRAVES failed to defeat the French Fleet on 5th Sept., due to his adherence to forming line of battle, his rear division never coming into action.

1818 – An experiment to defeat the weevils eating ships’ biscuits, by adding caraway seeds to the biscuits, proved unsuccessful; the weevils simply ate everything except the seeds.

20th 1827 – Battle of Navarino Bay, the last sea fight of the Royal Navy under sail. The Fleet of Vice-Admiral Sir E.CODRINGTON (ASIA), a veteran of Trafalgar, destroyed The Turko-Egyptian Fleet & hence the Turkish leadership over Greece.

1914 – GLITRA torpedoed by U.17, the 1st British merchant ship sunk by a German sub.

1927 – Sub L.4 rescued SS IRENE from pirates off Hong Kong.

1939 – 1st German magnetic mine exploded by a magnetic mine sweep off Swansea.

1944 – Battle of Leyte Gulf, ending 27th October, in which US 3rd & 7th Fleets, with Australian ships, defeated a Japanese Battle Fleet.

1988 – FAWN, whilst surveying in Gulf of Honduras, fired on by Guatemalan gunboats.

21st 1805 – Battle of Trafalgar. Fleet under Vice-Admiral Viscount NELSON (VICTORY) defeated Franco-Spanish Fleet of 33 ships of the line under Vice-Admiral P. VILLENEUVE (BUCENTAURE) & Admiral DON FEDERICO GRAVINA (PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS), of which 15 escaped, 1 blew up, 2 were burnt, 2 were scuttled, 1 sank, 1 was wrecked ashore & 9 taken to Gibraltar as Prizes. NELSON was hit by a bullet fired from REDOUTABLE an hour after battle began & died about 3 hours later, having had victory reported to him.

1912 – QUEEN ELIZABETH keel laid down, 1st oil-fuelled capital RN ship, 1st armed with 15in. Guns & 1st to exceed 24 knots.

1918 – Last British merchant ship (ST BARCHAN) sunk in WW2, by a German sub.

1960 – DREADNOUGHT launched, RN’s 1st nuclear-powered submarine & 1st true Submarine as opposed to submersible.

22nd 1707 – ASSOCIATION wrecked on Scilly Isles, with great loss of life, including Admiral Sir CLOUDISLEY SHOVELL, reputedly killed by looters.

1821 – RISING STAR built for Chilean Navy, the 1st British built steam warship to cross the Atlantic.

1904 – On its way to fight the Japanese Navy at Tsushima, the Russian Baltic Fleet off the Dogger Bank, North Sea, fired on British fishing trawlers, said to have been mistaken for attacking small craft.

1946 – The Corfu Incident. Destroyers SAUMAREZ & VOLAGE struck mines in the Channel between Corfu & Albania. Full details below.

23rd 1753 – RN Hospital Haslar (Portsmouth), the oldest Naval hospital in the modern sense of the word, admitted its 1st patients, aiming to nurse sick sailors back to health, there being a desperate shortage of trained naval manpower & sickness causing more losses than action in battle.

1943 – In an action with German torpedo boats between the Channel Islands & France CHARYBDIS & LIMBOURNE were sunk, but TALYBONT & ROCKET sank 2 of the T-boats. Dead washed ashore on the Channel Islands, being buried by the islanders, despite the German occupation.

24th 1877 – LIGHTNING, the RN’s 1st Torpedo Boat commissioned, carrying a torpedo tube mounted on the bow.

25th 1979 – RECLAIM, Deep Diving & Minesweeper support ship, paid off after 30 years in commission, the only RN ship present at both the 1953 Coronation & 1977 Jubilee Fleet Reviews.

26th 1854 – VC-Acting Mate W.N.W.HEWLETT (BEAGLE) for heroic action manning a gun before Sevastopol.

1916 – German destroyer raid in night of 26/27th in Dover Strait, sinking 11 ships.

27th 1651 – Parliament ships under ‘General at Sea’ BLAKE defeated Royalist ships under Prince Rupert.

1890 – In a punitive expedition under Rear-Admiral FREMANTLE against the Sultan, a Naval Brigade captured Witu, East Africa.

1916 – FLIRT & NUBIAN torpedoed. Later salvaged halves of NUBIAN & a previously torpedoed ZULU were combined to make ZUBIAN.

1927 – WILD SWAN repulsed a Chinese attack on a Mission hospital at Swatow.

28th 1664 – The birth of the Royal Marine Corps. King Charles II sanctioned the formation of The Duke of York & Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, the 1st Regiment to be formed specially for service afloat, mainly recruited from the Trained Bands of the City of London.

1937 – SEAGULL launched at Devonport, the 1st RN all-welded ship, originally a mine-sweeper, becoming a surveying ship 1946-1954.

1940 – A German mine recovered in River Ogmore by Lt.S.BAKER & Sub Lt. P.A.CUMMINS RNVR, identified 3rd November as the 1st acoustic mine found.

1944 – 2 British “chariot” manned torpedoes, carried limpet mines, which were attached to the hulls of 2 merchant ships in Phuket harbour, sinking one & damaging the other.

29th 1813 – RN siege batteries were landed to help in making French forces at Trieste capitulate.

30th 1899 – POWERFUL’s Naval Brigade & guns fought in the siege of Ladysmith.

1940 – 1st Italian midget sub attack at Gibraltar.

1942 – GC-Lt.F.A.B.FASSON RN & Able Sea.C.GRAZIER (PETARD), both posthumous, for recovering code books from U.559, surfaced but sinking, but then losing their lives trying to recover the coding machines as the sub sank.

31st 1914 – HERMES, employed as a seaplane carrier, sunk by U.27 in Dover Strait.

THE CORFU INCIDENT

A year after WW2 in Europe ended, the RN Mediterranean Fleet were cruising, “showing the flag”, round the Greek islands, to include Corfu. Cruisers MAURITIUS & LEANDER, with destroyers SAUMAREZ & VOLAGE, were detached to go ahead of the Fleet, through the channel between Corfu & Albania, an area where 6 months before cruisers ORION & SUPERB had been fired on, from the Albanian shore. On passage through the channel SAUMAREZ struck a mine, which badly damaged her & killed 36 of her company. The 2 cruisers left the channel immediately, leaving VOLAGE to tow SAUMAREZ clear of the area to Corfu. One & a half hours later VOLAGE struck a mine, which killed 8 of her company, but

she was able to continue the tow, even though her bows had been blown off, by steaming astern. SAUMAREZ had to be scrapped because of her damage.

The International Court of Justice decided that the mines had been laid after WW2’s end in Europe, awarding Great Britain £1,000,000 in compensation, but this has never been paid by Albania.

BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR

Lt.F.Hoffman, 3rd Lt.in TONNANT, 80 gun 3rd rate 2 decker, which had been captured from the French in 1798, wrote about her battle with ALGECIRAS, a 3rd rate 2 decker:

“A French ship of 80 guns [actually 74] with an Admiral’s flag came up & poured a raking broadside into our stern, which killed or wounded 40 petty officers & men, nearly cutting the rudder in two, and shattered the stern, with the quarter galleries. She then, in a most gallant manner, locked her bowsprit in our starboard main shrouds and attempted to board us…she had riflemen in the tops who did great execution. Our poop was soon cleared [of men] and our gallant Captain shot through the left thigh, and obliged to be carried below…[We] turned the forecastle guns, loaded with grape [shot] on the gentlemen who wished to give us so fraternal a hug. The [our] marines kept up a warm destructive fire on the boarders. Only one man made good his footing on the [our] quarterdeck, when he was pinned through the calf of his right leg by one of the crew with his half-pike, whilst another was going to cut him down, which I prevented and desired him to be taken to the cockpit [where all the wounded were being treated]”.

There is a story that, shortly after the battle, a special Thanksgiving service was being celebrated in a church in Plymouth, attended by 2 former seamen from TEMERAIRE. The clergyman kept on mentioning ‘victory’; after the 3rd time one of the seamen said to the other one "Damn my eyes, Jack, if we stop here any longer–that fellow has mentioned VICTORY three times and never mentioned the TEMERAIRE, that was in the hottest part of the engagement and took three ships" -whereupon they left the church immediately.

MAKE A SIGNAL

During General Drill exercise, to a ship from Commander-in-Chief, who was Admiral Joe KELLY:

Send band to flagship to play popular tune. Has anyone seen Kelly is not repeat not considered a popular tune.

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Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter September 2015

NAVAL DIARY – SEPTEMBER

1st 1867 – Launch of CERBERUS, 1st RN ship to have fore & aft guns but no sails.

1875 – IRON DUKE rammed & sank VANGUARD in thick fog, the 1st RN battleship lost in collision & an example of the power of the ram bow.

1958 – 1st of 3 Cod Wars began with Iceland, when they extended their fishing zone by 12 miles. EASTBOURNE was the 1st RN ship involved, trying to protect British fishing vessels.

2nd 1917 – SS OLIVE BRANCH torpedoed by U28, gunfire from which exploded ammunition in OLIVE BRANCH, blowing her up as well as wrecking & sinking U28.

1918 – VC-CPO G.PROWSE DSM RNVR, DRAKE Battalion RN Detachment France, for gallantry in attacking the Hindenberg Line. In 1914 eight Naval Battalions had been formed, from Naval reservists not needed afloat, to fight in 2 Brigades as lightly equipped infantry alongside the Army, losses being replaced by recruits but retaining Naval ranks & way of life.

1942 – Arctic Convoy PQ18 sailed from Loch Ewe, with a large escort force, one of the more successful convoys to Russia.

1946 – CHILDERS & CHIVALROUS apprehended FEDE (4 FREEDOMS) off Tel Aviv, the 1st ship, with illegal Jewish immigrants from Europe to Palestine, resisting arrest.

3rd 1912 – Ldg.Sea. O’CONNOR became the 1st RN rating to qualify as an aircraft pilot.

1939 – War declared against Germany. Liner SS ATHENA sunk by U30 in Western Approaches. AJAX sank German OLINDA in the Plata Ares, South Atlantic. SOMALI captured German blockade runner HANNAH BOGE in North Atlantic, 1st capture of the war.

4th 1861 – VC awarded to Midshipman E.St.J. DANIEL 1854, forfeited due to disgraceful conduct & desertion.

1915 – E7 caught in nets & depth charged in the Dardanelles, scuttled by her crew.

5th 1914 – PATHFINDER sunk by U21, the 1st U-boat success against a warship in WW1 & probably the 1st warship sunk by torpedo.

1940 – USA transferred 50 destroyers & 10 escorts to RN, in return for lease of West Indian bases.

1941 – 1st German acoustic/magnetic mine recovered.

6th 1776 – TURTLE, 1st American submarine, attacked EAGLE, Admiral HOWE’s flagship in New York Harbour, perhaps the 1st submarine attack.

1864 – VC-Midshipman D.G.BOYES RN, T.PRIDE Captain of the Afterguard & Ord. Seaman W.H.H. SEELEY (all EURYALUS) for great intelligence & daring while leading the advance of a Naval Brigade & carrying its Colour under very heavy fire, in an attack on stockade Barracks, Shimonosecki.

1898 – VC-Surgeon W.J.MAILARD (HAZARD) for attempts to rescue wounded men under heavy Fire, during landing at Candia, Crete.

1945 – Japanese forces in New Guinea, New Britain & Solomons surrendered to GLORY.

7th – 1870 – CAPTAIN, 1st & last ship to have both turret guns & to use full sailing rig, capsized & sank when ordered to remain under sail as a gale approached.

8th 1943 – Italy surrendered, although German forces there continued fighting. Those ships of the Italian Fleet that could do so eventually steamed into Alexandria harbour, Egypt.

9th 1943 – Amphibious assault landings on Salerno, Sicily, started – Operation Avalanche. UNSHAKEN took Italian Sub. CIVO MENOTTI in Strait of Otranto & led her into Malta. Surrendering Italian battleship ROMA sunk by German aircraft with new guided armour-piercing bomb, off Sardinia.

10th 1759 – The Squadron of Vice Admiral G.POCOCK (YARMOUTH) fought the French Squadron of Commodore Comte d’ACHE off Porto Novo. The French withdrew but the British were unable to pursue, after heavy losses on both sides. It was, however, the end of French sea power in Indian waters.

1840 – Start of operations against MEHMET ALI. Bombardment of Beirut & landing of troops. A Force under Admiral the Hon.Sir R. STOPFORD (PRINCESS CHARLOTTE) drove Egyptian invaders from Syria, after taking Acre on behalf of the Turks.

1855 – In searching for Admiral Sir J.FRANKLIN’s expedition in search of the North West Passage, RESOLUTE was abandoned, being discovered in 1856, having drifted 1,000 miles, then being presented by the US Navy to Queen Victoria & laid up at Chatham.

11th 1886 – RATTLESNAKE, 1st RN Torpedo Gunboat launched.

1896 – ZAFIR, in the White Nile supporting General Kitchener’s forces, burst her boiler, much to KITCHENER’s chagrin, but in action again by 23rd, after repairs.

1939 – ADVENTURE & PLOVER, with requisitioned train ferries SHEPPERTON & HAMPTON, started laying over 6,000 mines in the Dover area of the Channel, preventing U-boats from passing through.

1943 – The surrendered Italian battle fleet arrived at Malta.

1944 – Midget sub X24 laid 2 charges under the floating dock at Bergen, Norway, breaking it in two.

12th 1846 – Work begun on building Keyham Steam Yard, Plymouth.

1861 – MINOTAUR launched, an armoured ironclad frigate & the largest single-screw warship, but with 5 masts, fully rigged for sail.

13th 1759 – Capture of Quebec by forces commanded by Major-General J.WOLFE & a Fleet commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir C.SAUNDERS (NEPTUNE). The French thought the tortuous channel leading to Quebec, far up the St.Lawrence river, was impassable to any ship bigger than a frigate & therefore safe from attack by river. Aided by the brilliant pilotage of James COOK, then Master in PEMBROKE, the Fleet dominated the river, preventing supplies reaching the defences, landing 17,000 assault troops, whilst seamen landed guns & hauled them up the Heights of Abraham, to fire on the enemy.

1782 – Repulse of the Spanish attack on Gibraltar, all ten Spanish battering ships being destroyed, seamen from BRILLIANT reinforcing the Garrison.

1882 – British forces tried to restore order after discontented Egyptian Army officers led their troops in revolt against the Khedive (ruler), whose Govt. had been content to let Britain & France control the Suez Canal. The British then fought the Egyptian Army, finally defeating them at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir, in which 2 battalions of Royal Marines from the Fleet took part.

14th 1917 – Albert Medal (AM) – Ord.Sea.G.F.P.ABBOTT, R.J.KNOWLTON & GOLD RNR, for rescuing pilot of a crashed seaplane at Hornsea Island, Hants. By the time the AM was exchanged for the George Cross (GC) in 1971, GOLD had died.

1918 – ARGUS commissioned, the 1st flush deck aircraft carrier.

1942 – Convoy ON127, of 32 merchant ships, attacked by a wolf pack of 13 U-boats, the 1st time each boat in a wolf pack was able to make an attack.12 merchant ships & 1 destroyer were sunk.

1942 – GC (exAM)-Chief Officer J.A.REEVES Merchant Navy, for saving life at sea.

15th 1744 – Navy Board proposed RN Hospitals at Portsmouth, Plymouth & Chatham.

1782 – Off the Delaware, N.America, VESTAL & BONETTA captured the French AIGLE, in which was the American Minister to Holland, who threw his papers overboard, but they were caught by a sailor diving into the sea & found to contain a draft treaty.

1899 – ALEXANDRA, EUROPA & JUNO fitted with the 1st operational wireless in the RN.

1931 – Pay cuts promulgated, which led to mutiny in some ships of the Atlantic Fleet at Invergordon.

1943-Battleships WARSPITE & VALIANT started bombarding enemy positions ashore, near Salerno, helping restore the Allied offensive. Of 62 rounds of 15in shells, 35 fell on target. On 16th WARSPITE was hit by a radio-controlled aerial bomb & damaged by another, having to be towed to Malta & then to Gibraltar for repairs.

1966 – RESOLUTION launched, the 1st RN Polaris ballistic missile submarine.

16th 1795 – The Cape of Good Hope captured by troops, including Marines & a Naval Brigade from a Fleet commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir G.ELPHINSTONE (MONARCH).

1918 – AM(later GC)-Sub Lt.D.H.EVANS RN (GLUTTON)-saving life when ship caught fire.

1940 – 1st German parachute mines dropped on London.

17th 1939 – Carrier COURAGEOUS sunk by U29 in Western Approaches whilst patrolling without good intelligence in waters of known U-boat activity.

18th 1855 – VC-Lt.G.F.DAY (RECRUIT) for a reconnaissance in the Sea of Azov.

1955 – 2 RM cliff climb leaders landed from VIDAL on Rockall & annexed it for Great Britain.

19th 1944 – TERPSICHORE, TROUBRIDGE & GARLAND sank U407 off Crete, the last enemy submarine to be sunk in the Mediterranean during WW2. GC-Temp.Lt.L.V.GOLSWORTHY DSC,GM,RANVR, for mine disposal.

20th 1941 – Gibraltar harbour attacked by Italian sub.SCIRE & chariots (men riding/driving torpedoes).

21st 1813 – The Duke of WELLINGTON remarked “If anyone wishes to know the history of this war, I will tell them that it is our maritime superiority that gives me the power of maintaining my army while the enemy are unable to do the same.

22nd 1796 – AMPHION, having just stored & munitioned at anchor off Devonport Ordnance Yard, now with families &friends onboard to say farewell before a voyage, blew up, only the Captain, Israel PELLEW & 10 men survived, out of 312 who had been onboard.

1914 – ABOUKIR, CRESSY & HOGUE sunk by U9 off the Maas, the last 2 having stopped to pick up survivors.

1943 – VC-Lt.B.C.G.PLACE RN (X7) & Lt.D.CAMERON RNR (X6), for attack by midget subs. on Battleship TIRPITZ in Altenfjord.

1989 – 10 members of the RM Staff Band killed by a terrorist bomb, RM School of Music, Deal.

23rd 1779 – SERAPIS (Captain R.PRESTON) & COUNTESS OF SCARBOROUGH, escorting a Baltic Convoy, taken by American BONHOMME RICHARD (Captain John Paul JONES) off Flamborough Head. The convoy escaped & the American ship was sunk 2 days later.

1846 – AJAX completed at Blackwall, having been converted during building & undocked as the RN’s 1st screw battleship.

1941 – GC-Gunner H.H.REED DEMS (SS CORMORANT)

24th 1850 – Rum ration halved by withdrawal of evening issue.

1911 – MAYFLY, unfortunately named British airship, wrecked outside her shed, never flying again, badly affecting British attempts to counter the Zeppelins.

1916 – In destruction of Zeppelin L32, the new German naval signal book was obtained.

1940 – Training Ship CORNWALL, ex WELLESLEY, sunk by bombing in the Thames, the last wooden battleship to be sunk by enemy action.

25th 1925 – X1 commissioned, the largest RN sub. before the 1st nuclear powered ones.

1939 – 1st wartime use of air warning radar, in RODNEY & SHEFFIELD, during air raid.

26th 1580 – Return of Francis DRAKE (GOLDEN HIND ex PELICAN) from circumnavigating the world. His 1st question “Is the Queen still alive?”

1827 – King George IV granted to the Royal Marines the globe for their cap badge & his cypher for their colours.

1939 – 1st German aircraft shot down in WW2, by Lt.B.S.McEWEN RN, in a Skua of 803 Sqdn. Fleet Air Arm.

1940- Rendering Mines Safe section established, the only operational unit based in the Admiralty.

27th 1858 – VC-Actg.2nd Master G.B.CHICKEN, whilst serving as a volunteer with Indian Cavalry against Indian mutineers at Suhejni.

1940 – AM(laterGC)-2nd Hand J.R.MITCHELL RNR, for saving life at sea.

28th1915 – VC-Lt.Cdr.E.C.COOKSON RN (COMET). In an attempt to relieve the siege of Kut-al’Amara, when the river was blocked by dhows, he took his ship to the centre one & chopped with an axe at her cables, until shot dead.

1941 – Operation Halberd. The 3rd convoy this year to Malta, of 9 merchant ships, carrying 81,000 tons of stores & 2,600 troops, reached there with only one ship sunk, from which all troops had been transferred to other ships.

29th 1941 – PQ1 sailed, the 1st convoy to Russia.

30th 1890 – Abolition of the blue shirt for ratings, with its attached collar, which had made the word “bluejacket” accepted as meaning an RN seaman.

1909 – Launch of NEPTUNE, the 1st RN ship to have superimposed gun turrets, i.e. one turret mounted to fire over the top of another turret. She was also the 1st Dreadnought ship to be able to fire all her armament in broadside.

1913 – AURORA, the 1st oil-fired light armoured cruiser, laid down at Devonport. In 1920 she was commissioned into the Canadian Navy.

MAKE A SIGNAL

In 1945 DUKE OF YORK was lying alongside Parlatorio Wharf, Grand Harbour, Malta, repairing damage from an electrical fire. The work took longer than expected, to the consternation of all onboard who wanted to press on to the Far East, to join in the last part of the war against Japan. When the ship finally left Malta, she signalled the Admiral Superintendent there:

IN ENTERPRISE OF MARTIAL KIND

WHEN THERE IS ANY FIGHTING

WE’D RATHER NOT BE LEFT BEHIND

IT ISN’T SO EXCITING.

BUT WHEN THE FLAMES BEGAN TO LICK

AROUND OUR MULTICORIO

WE VERY NEARLY ENDED UP

THE DUKE OF PARLATORIO

THE ROYAL NAVAL DIVISION 1914-1919

At the outbreak of World War One, CHURCHILL, then 1st Lord of the Admiralty, ordered the formation of a Naval Division, equipped as infantry, to help man & guard Belgian & French ports needed by the British Army for transportation of troops & stores to & from Britain. The Division was to be manned by RN & RM reservists & volunteers not needed for service at sea, in 3 Brigades. The 1st Brigade (4 Naval Battalions-DRAKE, HAWKE, BENBOW & COLLINGWOOD), the 2nd Brigade (4 Naval Battalions –NELSON, HOWE, HOOD & ANSON) & the 3rd Brigade (4 RM Battalions-Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham & Deal).

On 28 August 1914 the 3rd (RM) Brigade landed in OSTEND, when it was thought the Germans intended to attack the port, but the threat came to nothing, so the Brigade returned to England &Training in Kent. On 21 September 1914 the 3rd Brigade were again deployed, to defend Calais, this time with an Army Regt., Cdr.SAMSON’s Naval aircraft, some armoured cars & some Royal Engineers. On 4th October 1914 the 3rd Brigade were sent to defend Antwerp, where they were joined by the 1st & 2nd (RN) Brigades, but 4 days later all 3 Brigades were ordered to retire from the city & in the confusion of doing this most of HAWKE, BENBOW & COLLINGWOOD Battalions inadvertently crossed the Dutch frontier & had to be interned, the remainder of the Division returning to England & more training, with recruitment to replace the 3 RN Battalions interned.

In early 1915 the whole Division, except the newly recruited RN Battalions, was sent to the Mediterranean, to help prepare for the Gallipoli landings & to join in the landings, being joined by the 3 newly trained RN Battalions in time for the June battles, suffering heavy casualties & being some of the last troops to withdraw. After return to England, the RN Division was re-organised & put under Army control, as the 63rd (RN) Division, of 3 Brigades, one all Navy, another half Navy half RM, the third being all Army, by this time Army casualties being so numerous that there was a desperate need for as many infantry as possible in the front line, which is where the Division fought until the Armistice, not disbanding until a final assembly on Horse Guards parade in June 1919. A Battalion is normally of 300-800 soldiers, a Brigade 2,000-4,000 & a Division 10,000-15,000.

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Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter August 2015

NAVAL DIARY – AUGUST

1st – 1739 – Admiral VERNON ordered his Squadron to “take, sink, burn or destroy” the enemy, a phrase used frequently thereafter.

1798 – Battle of the Nile. Fleet of Rear Admiral Sir H.NELSON (VANGUARD) defeated Fleet of Vice Admiral F.BRUEYS (L’ORIENT) in Aboukir Bay, Egypt, late in the day sailing some English ships into shallow water between the French line of battle & the shore. L’ORIENT blew up, killing many of the crew, including BRUEYS, Commodore CASABLANCA & his son (“the boy stood on the burning deck”).

1825 – FURY, on expedition seeking the North West Passage, North of Canada, to the Pacific Ocean, was beached & abandoned, her crew being saved by HECLA, accompanying her, but her stores being left behind saved the lives of VICTORY’s crew in the expedition of 1833.

1861 – ACHILLES laid down in a Chatham dry dock, the only 4-masted ship in the RN & the first iron ship built in a Naval Dockyard.

1914 – RN mobilisation ordered.

1943 – 42 Cdo RM formed from 1st RM Battalion.

1983 – RN Supply School moved from Chatham, mainly to RALEIGH at Torpoint, but partly to Aldershot.

2nd – 1882 – Occupation of Suez by a Naval Brigade.

1917 – First deck landing, on FURIOUS-Sqdn.Cdr.E.H.DUNNING in a Sopwith Pup.

1940 – George Cross(exExtreme Gallantry Medal) Sub Lt.A.M.HODGE RNVR (EAGLE) aiding casualties during bombing.

3rd – 1835 – Iron containers, previously replacing casks for stowage of water, now issued for stowage of biscuit & meat.

1941 – 1st success by Fighter Catapult Ship aircraft. 804 Sqdn.Hurricane (MAPLIN) shot down a Focke-Wulf in the Atlantic, Convoy SL81.

1943 – GC-Lt H.R.SYME GM & Bar RANVR, for bomb & mine disposal.

4th – 1943 – Supply submarine U489 sunk by Sunderland G/423 RCAF in Atlantic, which was brought down herself, crews of both sub. & aircraft being picked up by RN ships.

5th – 1781 – Fleet of Vice Admiral HYDE-PARKER (FORTITUDE) protecting a convoy of merchant ships, fought the Dutch Fleet of Rear Admiral J.ZOUTMAN (ADMIRAAL DE RUYTER) near the Dogger Bank, the 2 Fleets doggedly cannonading each other side to side, finally breaking off the action, by which time the convoy had escaped.

1858 – First telegraph cable laid across the North Atlantic (AGAMEMNON & USS NIAGARA).

1914 – Destroyers LANCE & LANDRAIL sank German minelayer KONIGIN LUISE in the North Sea, the 1st Naval action of WW1, the 1st casualty being an Accountant Officer. GLOUCESTER detected GOEBEN in Messina, the 1st RN use of wireless interception.

1919 – GC(exAlbert Medal)-Lt.E.G.ABBOTT RN, for saving life after explosion in ex-German BODEN at Invergordon.

1980 – GLASGOW began 3 days hurricane relief at St.Lucia-Hurricane ALLEN.

6th – 1497 – CABOT (MATTHEW) returned to Bristol after 1st discovery voyage, to Newfoundland.

1885 – First night gunnery practice using searchlights (ALEXANDRA).

1914 – Cruiser AMPHION sunk by mine laid by KONIGIN LUISE on 5th.

1915 – Landings began at Suvla, Dardanelles.

1940 – German Type C magnetic mine under examination in VERNON mining shed exploded killing 5.

7th – 1657 – Admiral R.BLAKE died at sea, one hour before return to Plymouth.

1815 – NAPOLEON sailed from Plymouth in NORTHUMBERLAND to exile in St.Helena.

1826 – 3rd Class Engineer T.BROWN became 1st RN Engineer Officer.

1943 – 45 Cdo.RM formed from 5th RM Battalion.

8th – 1758 – Commodore the Hon. R.HOWE (PALLAS) & Lt.General T.BLIGH’s Force destroyed the port of Cherbourg.

1892 – TBD (Torpedo Boat Destroyer) as a new type of vessel.

1914 – Sub.U13 made 1st submerged torpedo attack of WW1, missing MONARCH, off Fair Isle.

1915 – Lt.Cdr.D.NASMITH VC RN (Sub.E11) sank Turkish battleship BARBAROUSSE HAIREDENE near Gallipoli, in the 3rd of his patrols into the Dardanelles. As Admiral DUNBAR-NASMITH he commanded the Western Approaches of the UK & became 2nd Sea Lord.

1917 – VC-Lt.C.G.BONNER RNR & P.O. E.PITCHER (Q ship DUNRAVEN) in a fight with Sub.UC71 off Ushant.

1918 – 1st magnetic mines laid, off Dunkirk. Zeppelin L70 shot down by RAF over Immingham, her code books recovered by SCOMBER.

1944 – Battleship VALIANT damaged collapsing in Trincomalee floating dock.

1968 – Frigate SCYLLA launched at Devonport, the last ship to be built in an RN Dockyard.

9th – 1573 – DRAKE returned to Plymouth from Nombre Dios, on his first voyage, arriving “at about sermon time, when the news of his return so speedily passed over the Church that few or none remained with the preacher”.

1780 – 55 out of a convoy of 63 merchant ships, escorted by 3 British warships, were captured by a Franco-Spanish Fleet near Madeira.

1810 – CAROLINE, PIEDMONTAISE & BARRACOUTA captured Banda Neira Island, Moluccas, with only 180 of their landing party of 480 able to get ashore, routing 1,500 Dutch. Captain COLE received a gold medal & a knighthood.

1854 – VC-Cdr.J.BYTHESEA RN & Stoker W.JOHNSTONE (ARROGANT)-capturing & bringing back important despatches from 5 soldiers, ashore in the Baltic.

1856 – CAMBRIDGE commissioned as the Plymouth gunnery training ship, until 1907.

1926 – Sub.H29 foundered in 2 minutes alongside at Devonport, more Dockyard than Naval personnel being lost.

1942 – In a night action off Savo Island, Guadalcanal, Japanese forces surprised US & Australian Naval forces, CANBERRA (RAN) being badly damaged & later sunk, with 3 US cruisers. Later the USN named one of their new cruisers CANBERRA in commemoration.

1945 – British Pacific Fleet & US 3rd Fleet bombardment & air strikes on Japan. VC posthumous-Temp.Lt.(A) R.H.GRAY DSC RNVR (FORMIDABLE-1841 N.Air Sqdn.) sinking 2 Japanese frigates.

1952 – 1 MIG jet fighter shot down & 3 damaged over Korea when attacking a Flight of RN Sea Furies, 2 being damaged.

1956 – Wembury Plymouth gunnery range commissioned as CAMBRIDGE, an ex holiday camp.

1967 – First radar fitted ASW helicopter (Westland Wessex HAS3) entered RN service.

1990 – Operations consequent upon Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on 2nd August authorised in Indian Ocean & Persian Gulf.

10th – 1780 – FLORA (36 guns, including the new carronade (“the smasher”) captured the French NYMPHE (32).

1794 – Calvi, Corsica, captured by Forces under Lt.Gen.the Hon.C.STUART & Captain H.NELSON, guns having been landed from the Fleet.

11th – 1673 – In the last battle of the 3rd Dutch War, the Fleet of Prince Rupert (SOVEREIGN) fought the Fleet of Admiral DE RUYTER off the Texel.

1809 – Escort & support of a large British force attempting to seize control of the River Scheldt from the French.

1914 – Seizure off Melbourne of the German steamship HOBART, which was unaware of the War. Codebooks were found & used by the Allies until altered in 1916.

1943 – VC-Flying Offr.L.A.TRIGG RNZAF in Liberator D/200, shot down & killed in sinking Sub.U468.

12th – 1812 – First stone of Plymouth breakwater laid.

1915 – A ship already damaged by Sub.E14 was the 1st to be sunk by aerial torpedo dropped by a Short 184 seaplane off the Dardanelles.

1968 – 3Cdo.BrigadeRM Air Sqdn. Formed.

13th – 1704 – Battle of Velez Malaga, off Spain. The Anglo-Dutch Fleet of Admiral Sir G. ROOKE (ROYAL KATHERINE) fought the Franco-Spanish Fleet of Admiral COMTE DE TOULOUSE, over 7 hours, after which the French avoided all other engagements & made no further attempts to take Gibraltar.

1762 – The capture of Havana, in which the Fleet of Admiral Sir G.POCOCK (NAMUR) was a classic example of inter-Service co-operation, raising a 2 months siege, capturing 9 ships of the line and destroying 5.

1917 – Sub.U84 sank Q ship BERGAMOT in the Atlantic, survivors being careful not to disclose their true identity & reaching Ireland in their boats 2-3 days later (See August 2015 Navy News paper).

14th – 1782 – David TYRIT, a spy in the Navy Office, was executed on Southsea Common.

1900 – Relief of the Peking Legation by Allied Forces, including a British Naval Brigade.

1917 – VC-Skipper T.CRISP DSO RNR (HM Armed Fishing Smack NELSON). Having already been awarded the DSO, for defending his boat with a 3pdr. gun against a surfaced submarine, when doing this against another sub, he was mortally wounded, but sent a carrier pigeon message seeking rescue for his crew before going down with his boat, survivors eventually being rescued.

15th – 1863 – In a Squadron of RN ships bombarding the Kagoshima forts, Japan, 5 had between them 21 Armstrong breech-loading guns which, in firing 365 rounds, had 28 accidents. As a result, for a while, the RN returned to having muzzle-loading guns.

1915 – Armed Smack INVERLYON sank the surfaced Sub.UB4 in the North Sea with the 1st shot from their 3pdr gun.

1938 – Cruiser SHEFFIELD fitted with the 1st RN radar.

1942 – GC-D.W.MASON, Master, US tanker OHIO, one of only 5 merchant ships, out of 15, which reached Malta in a strongly defended convoy, enabling Malta to survive a siege, OHIO’s fuel keeping going the aircraft defending the Island.

1944 – US & French troops began landing in the South of France – Operation Dragoon.

1945 – Japan surrender ends World War 2, but the British Pacific Fleet approaching Tokyo had launched an air strike, in which Sub Lt F.C.HOCKLEY RNVR was shot down, baling out to be taken prisoner & executed, his captors being convicted of a war crime.

16th – 1652 – Captain Sir G.ANSON (RAINBOW) with 40 ships fought Rear Admiral DE RUYTER’s convoy off Plymouth.

1915 – Harrington, near Whitehaven, shelled by a German submarine.

1950-41 – Independent Company RM formed at Bickleigh, Devon, for service in Korea with the US Marine Corps.

17th – 1941 – Fast Minelayer MANXMAN departed England disguised as a French cruiser. After passing Gibraltar she hoisted a French flag, her crew being dressed as French sailors. Overnight 25th she returned to RN flag & uniform, laying mines off Leghorn, Italy, then resuming her disguise until back past Gibraltar, reaching England on 30th August.

18th – 1759 – The Fleet of Admiral the Hon.E.BOSCAWEN (NAMUR) defeated the Fleet of Commodore DE LA CLUE SABRAN, in a spirited action, typical of BOSCAWEN, who used his wig to plug the hole in his boat, when transferring to another ship.

1919 – VC-Cdr.C.C.DOBSON RN(Coastal Motor Boat 31) & Lt.G.C.STEELE (CMB 88) attacking Kronstadt & sinking 3 Russian warships.

19th – 1782 – The 7 ships of Vice Admiral J.BENBOW (BREDA) began a 5 day fight against the 4 ships of Captain Jean DUCASSE (HEUREUX) off Columbia, 3 of BENBOW’s ships breaking off the action on the 2nd day, for which 2 Captains were shot for cowardice, a 3rd dying in disgrace. The battle ended without a winner, but BENBOW had his leg shot off & died 4 months later.

1916 – Cruiser NOTTINGHAM sunk by Sub.U52 off the Faroes, when screening the Grand Fleet, as it went to intercept the German High Seas Fleet, on its main sortie after Jutland. The same day Sub.E23 torpedoed battleship WESTFALEN, which caused the Germans to withdraw.

1942 – The Raid on Dieppe, said to be planned to give Canadian troops, newly arrived in the UK, battle experience, also to gain experience of assault techniques & to try out new equipment, with Commandos & some US Rangers. There were many losses & casualties, but many lessons learnt, used in the D-Day Invasion.

20th – 1896 – First RN wireless transmission, by a device designed by Captain H.B.JACKSON RN, in DEFIANCE, an old wooden ship of the line, now used for torpedo, mining & basic electrical training.

1914 – In the Baltic the Russians captured German cruiser MAGDEBURG, with her code books, which were, like those of HOBART, used until the codes were changed.

21st – 1740 – Admiral VERNON, nicknamed “Old Grog” because of his grogram cloak, ordered the watering of the daily rum issue, 1 pint of water with a half pint of rum, called grog” and later further reduced by a half.

1915 – Crew of sunken RUEL, whilst in their boats, fired upon by sub.U38, the 1st authenticated case of such action.

1917 – First victory by an aircraft flown off a cruiser (YARMOUTH), Sopwith Pup N6430 destroying Zeppelin L23, off Denmark.

1990 – RN ships authorised to enforce UN embargo on shipping trading with Iraq.

22nd – 1918 – Battlecruiser HOOD launched by Lady HOOD, widow of Rear Admiral Sir H. HOOD, killed in Battle of Jutland, one of the 3 Flag Officers killed in action during WW1.

23rd– 1883 – Royal Corps of Naval Constructors established.

24th– 1217 – Battle of Sandwich. HUBERT DE BURGH, Governor of Dover Castle, with 16 Cinque Port ships & 20 others defeated 80 French ships, sent to relieve Louis of France, occupying London & under siege. DE BURGH was made Lord High Admiral.

1939 – Home Fleet & all ships in Home Ports proceed to War Stations.

1944 – RN aircraft from FORMIDABLE, FURIOUS & INDEFATIGABLE attacked TIRPITZ in Altenfjord, to synchronise with passage of Convoy JW59 to Russia. Hits were made, none serious.

1946 – GC(exAM)-Lt.E.W.K.WALTON, saving life during Antarctic survey.

25th– 1914 – RM units landed at Ostend, withdrawn 6 days later.

1942 – German minelayer ULM sunk by MARNE, MARTIN & ONSLAUGHT, near Bear Island, with 60 survivors rescued, one of very few occasions when Ultra code intercept intelligence was sent to RN ships not privy to Ultra decoded material.

26th– 1780 – Admiral Lord Hawke wrote to Admiral Sir F.GEARY, brought from retirement to command the Channel Fleet “if you should be so lucky as to get sight of the enemy, get as close to him as possible. Don’t let them shuffle with you by engaging at a distance but get within musket shot if you can….”; although ill GEARY (VICTORY) with his Fleet patrolled off Brest, the only action being the capture of a convoy, before he had to return to port & retire due to illness.

27th – 1816 – Bombardment of Algiers by the Fleet of Admiral Lord EXMOUTH (QUEEN CHARLOTTE} & the Dutch Sqdn.of Vice Admiral Baron T. VAN CAPELLEN (MELAMPUS), to enforce the abolition of the enslavement of Christians, when diplomacy had failed.

1919 – GC(exAM) Cdr.H.BUCKLE RN, saving life at Invergordon.

1941 – RAF Hudson S/269 caught & damaged Sub.U570 on the surface off Ireland, the crew abandoning boat, which was boarded & towed into port. The crew claimed to have destroyed all coding books & machines, but this might have been a cover story to allow the Allies continued decryption of German naval coded signals, using material recovered from the U-boat.

1943 – EGRET sunk & ATHABASKAN (RCN) damaged off Vigo by 1st deployment of glider bomb.

1944 – Minesweepers SALAMANDER wrecked, BRITOMART & HUSSAR sunk in mistaken “friendly fire” attack by RAF aircraft, off France.

28th – 1595 – DRAKE & HAWKINS left Plymouth on what turned out to be their last voyage, neither returning.

1914 – Battle of Heligoland Bight. Close blockade of Germany becoming obsolete, due to mines, submarines & torpedoes, a light cruiser force from Harwich made a sweep into the Bight, tempting German forces out, unaware of the oncoming Battle Cruisers of Admiral BEATTY (LION). 3 German cruisers & 1 destroyer were sunk.

1940 – 1st German acoustic mine believed dropped in Thames estuary.

29th – 1350 – Ships of King Edward III (THOMAS) defeated DON CARLOS DE LA CERDA’s Fleet off Winchelsea, the 1st use of cannon in a sea battle.

1782 – ROYAL GEORGE (100 guns) capsized & sank at Spithead, Admiral KEMPENFELT & most of her crew being drowned.

1939 – Mobilisation of the RN Fleet ordered.

31st – 1591 – REVENGE (Sir Richard GRENVILLE) having stayed in Flores to pick up sick men whilst other English ships left, to avoid a superior force of Spanish ships, then fought 53 of them, over 15 hours, repulsing boarders 15 times, sinking 4, until overcome, with GRENVILLE, mortally wounded, saying “sink me the ship Master Gunner, sink her, split her in two”.

1855 – VC-Boatswain J.KELLAWAY (WRANGLER) with several other sailors destroying Russian stores & fleeing an ambush, he returned to help a fallen comrade, both being taken prisoner.

MAKE A SIGNAL

In 1942 Force K (Cruisers AURORA & PENELOPE, with Destroyers LANCE & LIVELY were tasked to attack convoys taking supplies to ROMMEL’s Army in North Africa. In one attack AURORA engaged 17 targets in 45 minutes. After the operation PENELOPE signalled AURORA “Congratulations on your magnificent Borealis”.

The Italian air force attacked Force K during its return to Malta & reported significant damage to the Force. Vice Admiral signalled to Force K “It is with great regret that I learn from the Italian press that 1 of our cruisers received 2 hits & a destroyer 1 hit, during torpedo bombing. I can only think, in view of lack of damage I saw today, that the Dockyard is more efficient than I thought or your camouflage is excellent”.

THE HAMOAZE

This print of a map, found in the Heritage Centre archives, shows the land around the Hamoaze in the early 1800s, with the original Dockyard & the coastline between it & Keyham Lake, around which a dam was erected, in which to drain the water, excavate the mud & build the Keyham Steam Yard in the 1840s.

On the Cornwall shore, at Millbrook, south of Torpoint, there is the King’s Brewery which was built in 1733 to take over from other breweries in Plymouth Town , making beer for Naval ships. This brewery was only accessible by ships at high tide & was closed when the Royal William Victualling Yard, including a Brewhouse, was built in the 1830s.

IMG_0172b

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Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter July 2015

NAVAL DIARY

1st – 1712-RN Hospital, 1st designed as such, opened at Port Mahon, Minorca.

1880-RN Engineering College founded at Keyham, Plymouth.

1914-RN Air Service formed from Royal Flying Corps Naval Wing.

1926-1st aircraft night deck landing, FURIOUS.

1945-Allied naval & air bombardment of Balikpapan, Borneo, prior to landing by 7th Australian Division.

1946-1st nuclear air burst explosion over an unmanned fleet, Bikini Atoll, Pacific.

1961-Iraq threatened invasion of Kuwait. 42 Cdo RM landed by 845 Naval Air Sqdn. Whirlwind helicopters from BULWARK, 45 Cdo RM flown in from Aden by RAF. WRNS became part of Naval Discipline Act.

2nd – 1667-The Dutch landed at Felixstowe, being repulsed by The Duke of York & Albany’s Maritime Regt.of Foot (later the Marines) at Landguard Fort.

1917-1st regular convoy of merchant ships sailed from Hampton Roads, USA, to the UK

1950-The start of United Nations operations in the Korean War, including RN, RAN, RCN & RNZN ships & aircraft, with Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships.

1969-1st helicopter deck landing RFA ENGADINE.

3rd – 1885-VC-Ord. Seaman J.TREWAVAS (AGAMEMNON, lent BEAGLE) cutting hawsers of floating bridge under heavy fire, Crimea.

1940-French ships in British ports seized, to prevent them sailing & falling under German control. Force H, under Vice Admiral Sir J.SOMERVILLE (HOOD), attacked French warships at Mers-el-Kebir, Oran, after they had refused to co=operate.

1950-1st UN naval air attacks on N.Korea forces.

4th – 1915-VC-Lt.F.D.PARSLOW RNR, in command unarmed ANGLO-CALIFORNIAN, refused to abandon ship when ordered by U38, continuing to signal U-boat’s presence.

1940-VC-A/Ldg.Seaman J.F. MANTLE (FOYLEBANK) defending ship under air attack. Convoy PQ17, bound for Russia, ordered to scatter, after Naval escort withdrawn under threat of attack by TIRPITZ & large force of German ships. Only 11 out of 35 merchant ships reached Russia.

5th – 1807-Abortive attack on Buenos Aires by a British force, which had to surrender, including a landed Naval Brigade, ending in an armistice & withdrawal of all British forces.

6th – 1944-1st use of German one-man submarine.

7th – 1874-Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM) reintroduced.

1950-JAMAICA engaged 3 torpedo boats off the East coast of Korea, sinking one – the only ship against ship surface action of the Korean War.

1988-PHOEBE & BLACKWATER led a Search & Rescue operation at the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion disaster.

8th – 1870-J.REED, Chief Constructor of the Navy, resigned over the fitting of full sailing rig to ships with gun turrets – stability problems.

9th – 1902-A1 launched, the 1st of 13 new design A class RN submarines.

1917-VANGUARD destroyed by internal explosion at Scapa Flow.

10th – 1943-Landings for the invasion of Sicily. Operation Husky.

1987-NORFOLK, the 1st Type 23 class frigate launched.

11th – 1882-VC-Gunner I. HARDING (ALEXANDRIA) picking up a live shell & putting it in a bucket of water, during bombardment of Alexandria, to overthrow Turkish control of Egypt.

1980-INVINCIBLE commissioned, 1st of a class called “through deck cruisers” when no more aircraft carriers were to be built, but actually served as a carrier for the Sea Harrier short take off vertical landing aircraft.

12th – 1771-Lt. James COOK (ENDEAVOUR) returned to Dover, from his 1st voyage of exploration.

1776-Captain James COOK (RESOLUTION} with DISCOVERY, sailed for his 3rd voyage of exploration.

1881-DEVASTATION launched, the 1st RN capital ship without full sailing rig.

13th – 1772-Commander James COOK (RESOLUTION) with ADVENTURE, sailed from Deptford for his 2nd voyage of exploration.

1855-VC-Lt.G. DOWELL RM Artillery (MAGICIENNE), Captain of Mast G.H.INGONVILLE (ARROGANT) in action against a gun battery, Gulf of Finland.

1860-Private DILLINGER RM Light Infantry, hanged at LEVEN’s yardarm for attempted murder, the last hanging at the yardarm.

1900-VC-Midshipman B.J.D. GUY RN (BARFLEUR) rescuing a wounded man under fire at Tientsin, China.

14th – 1900-Capture of Tientsin native city by an RN Naval Brigade (AURORA, BARFLEUR, ORLANDO & TERRIBLE).

1974-Evacuation of British subjects from Kyrenia, Cyprus – Turkish invasion (HERMES, ANDROMEDA & RHYL).

15th – 1815-Napoleon surrendered to Captain MAITLAND (BELLEROPHON), Basque Roads, French West coast.

1855-VC-Boatswain J.SHEPPARD (ST.JEAN D’ACRE) twice attempting to blow up a Russian battleship, using a boat full of explosives.

1915-Destruction of cruiser KONIGSBERG by SEVERN, MERSEY & 7 Sqdn. RNAS, Rufiji River, East Africa. 1st use of Naval aircraft for spotting gunfire results.

16th – 1795-Shutter telegraph started to carry signals from Admiralty in London to Chatham in 15 minutes, given clear weather.

17th – 1944-Fleet Air Arm aircraft attacked TIRPITZ in Altafjord but thwarted by smoke screen.

18th – 1914-Fleet Review at Spithead, an impressive display of the size of the Fleet & showing the most modern ones.

1947-Cruiser AJAX & Destroyers CHIEFTAIN & CHILDERS engaged in trying to prevent ships with Jewish refugees from landing in Palestine, a task much disliked.

19th – 1588-Spanish Armada sighted off the Lizard Head, Cornwall.

1745-Lt.PHILLIPS (PRINCESS ROYAL) executed for surrendering his ship to the French, after his Captain, 1st Lt. & 60 crew had been killed.

1805-Admiral Lord Nelson, in VICTORY, reached Gibraltar, after pursuing the French Fleet to the West Indies & back, his 1st time ashore for nearly 2 years.

1918-7 Sopwith Camel aircraft from FURIOUS destroyed Zeppelins L54 & L60 in their shed at Tondern, Germany.

1938-1st RN all-welded ship SEAGULL built in Devonport Dockyard, commercial yards being unable to do the job.

20th – 1545-MARY ROSE, which had been in Naval service for 45 years, capsized & sank through failures in preparing for action against French ships (gun ports nearest the sea left open?).

1588-The Spanish Armada in the Channel, approached Plymouth, English ships having difficulty sailing out to attack them, due to adverse winds.

21st – 1588-English fleet attack the Armada south of the Eddystone Rocks, forcing them to sail East along the Channel.

1941-Start of a convoy from Gibraltar to Malta, reached successfully, under attack.

22nd – 1588-DRAKE in REVENGE, with ROEBUCK, captured Spanish DEL ROSARIO off Torbay, after she had been damaged in a collision.

1805-Vice Admiral Sir Robert CALDER (PRINCE OF WALES) led 15 other ships in fighting Vice Admiral VILLENEUVE (BUCENTAURE) with 19 French & Spanish ships, off Ferrol, Spain, being chased back from the West Indies by NELSON’s Fleet. Although CALDER’s ships captured 2 of the enemy, he was court martialled for not attempting to do more in this encounter, as he did not renew the attack next day, despite being near the enemy, with the wind in his favour, letting them reach safety in Cadiz.

23rd – 1588-2nd battle with the Armada, off Portland.

24th – 1704-Capture of the Rock of Gibraltar by English & Dutch forces, including a Brigade of Marines.

1797-NELSON (THESEUS), led a landing to capture Santa Cruz, which failed due to Insufficient troops, NELSON having his wounded right arm amputated.

1945-Fleet Air Arm aircraft attacked targets in the Inland Sea, Japan.

25th – 1588-3rd battle with the Armada, off the Isle of Wight, preventing them attacking Portsmouth.

1666-The Fleet of Prince Rupert & the Duke of Albermarle (ROYAL CHARLES), defeated Dutch Admiral De RUYTER (ZEVEN PROVINCIEN) & his Fleet of 118 ships off Orfordness.

1938-George Cross(GC,ex GCM)-Chief ERA F.C.ANDERSON for gallantry in support of the Excise Service, Shanghai.

1944-RN ships & aircraft attack Sabang, Sumatra.

26th – 1815-Napoleon arrived in Plymouth Sound, onboard BELLEROPHON.

1914-British Fleet, assembling for a Royal Review, ordered to disperse, the 1st step towards mobilisation for war,the order soon being countermanded.

1929-GC ex EGM- Midshipman A.J.COBHAM RN & AB G.P. NIVEN, GC ex Albert Medal-Lt.Cdr. A.H.MAXWELL-HYSLOP RN & Marine A.STREAMS, for gallantry in DEVONSHIRE’s turret explosion, 18 being killed.

27th – 1778-Fleet of Admiral the Hon.A.KEPPEL (VICTORY) fought the Fleet of Vice Admiral COMTE D’ORVILLIERS (BRETAGNE) near Ushant, the only significant battle between British & French Fleets in the Americvan War.

1914-German High Seas Fleet recalled to war bases, from a visit to Norway.

1953-Conclusion of UN operations in Korea. Armistice signed.

28th – 1588-Successful fireships attack on the Armada in Calais Roads,

1914-British Fleet ordered to their war bases. 1st successful aerial torpedo drop by an RN aircraft.

1945-Fleet Air Arm aircraft attacked targets in Japan’s Inland Sea.

29th – 1588-The final battle with the Armada, off Gravelines, led by DRAKE in REVENGE.

1945-Battleship KING GEORGE V bombarded Honshu, Japan, the last time a British battleship fired her guns against enemy targets.

30th – 1588-The Armada retreated into the North Sea, surviving ships returning to Spain North & West of the British Isles.

1768-Lt J.COOK (ENDEAVOUR) sailed from Deptford on his 1st voyage of exploration.

1775-Cdr J.COOK (RESOLUTION) returned to Spithead from his 2nd voyage of exploration in the Pacific.

1918-VC-Lt H.AUTEN RNR (STOCK FORCE) for action with UB.80 off Bolt Head.

1937-Approval for the Fleet Air Arm to come under Admiralty control.

1949-AMETHYST having been damaged & driven aground in the River Yangtse in April, started to escape 150 miles down the river, at times under fire from Communist Chinese shore batteries, rejoining the Fleet off the Chinese Coast 31st July.

1970-The last issue of the Tot (of Rum) to the Navy.

31st – 1653-The Fleet of Admiral G.MONCK (RESOLUTION) defeated the Fleet of Admiral G.TROMP, who was killed, in the last battle of the 1st Dutch war.

1943-The 1st month in WW2 when Allied ship construction exceeded losses.

1945-VC-Lt I.E.FRASER RNR & LdgSeaman J.J.MAGENNIS (Mini-sub XE3) attacking & damaging Japanese cruiser TAKAO in Johore Strait, Singapore. XE1 also attacked TAKAO whilst 2 other X craft cut seabed cables between Hong Kong, Saigon & Singapore.

SEND A SIGNAL-THE SHUTTER TELEGRAPH

By this apparatus, a message could be sent between the Admiralty in London & Chatham Dockyard in 1795, being relayed from each hilltop in between, taking only 15 minutes in clear weather. Black squares (lanterns at night) were placed in a sequence of different positions on a wooden frame; as soon as the next signal station along saw this, they would start repeating the message on their frame. The chain of signal stations was extended to Plymouth in 1806, a mast commemorating the station’s site now standing at Mount Wise. In 1812, a message was being sent from Plymouth, when the fog came down, before the signal could be completed; all the Admiralty could receive was “Wellington defeated”, causing great alarm, until the fog cleared & “ Napoleon“ was received.

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Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter June 2015

NAVAL DIARY

1st 1666-1st day of “4 Days Battle” between Admiral (ex Civil War General)G. MONCK’s English fleet & Admiral de RUYTER’s Dutch fleet, off North Foreland, the English coming off worst.

1794-“The Glorious 1st of June” when Admiral HOWE’s British fleet defeated Admiral VILLENEUVE’s French fleet, west of Ushant, by breaking through the French line – NELSON was not the 1st to use this tactic.

1813- SHANNON, under Captain P. BROKE, who had intensely trained his guns’ crews & fitted gun sights, defeated the US Navy’s CHESAPEAKE in just 11 minutes.

1939-Submarine THETIS sank in Liverpool Bay, with the loss of all her crew, after errors made during submerged acceptance trials.

1941-Naval evacuation of British forces from Crete, during which one of many ships sunk by air attack was Devonport built cruiser GLOUCESTER.

2nd 1663-English fleet under Admirals MONCK & R. DEANE started fighting a Dutch fleet under Admiral M.TROMP, off the Gabbard, defeating the Dutch a day later, one of the 1st Naval battles of the Anglo-Dutch War, challenging the Dutch for control of the oceans & trade.

3rd:1665-The Duke of York & Prince Rupert of the Rhine’s fleet defeated Dutch Admiral J. van WASSENA off Lowestoft.

1855-VC-Boatswain H. COOPER (MIRANDA) in action by an Allied squadron of ships destroying Russian Stores at TAGANMOGI, Crimean War.

4th 1666-Last day of the “4 Days Battle” (see 1st June), ending in a melee, both Fleets being exhausted, but overall the English came off worst, 2 flagships being sunk & Vice Admiral Sir C. MYNGS amongst those killed.

1673-Anglo-French Fleet, under Prince RUPERT & Vice Admiral Comte d’Estrees fought a Dutch Fleet under Admiral de Ruyter, following on from the battle off SCHOONEVELD on 28 May, the Dutch coming off best

5th 1916-HAMPSHIRE sunk by mines off the Orkneys, among those drowned being General Lord Kitchener & his Staff, who were embarked.

6th 1944-D-Day, Allied Forces landings in Normandy, Invasion of Europe.

7th 1761-Capture of BELLE ISLE, Carribbean, from the FRENCH, by Forces including 2 battalions of MARINES, their actions being commended to the King, gaining them the laurel wreath on their cap badge in commemoration.

1855-VC-Bombardier T.WILKINSON, Royal Marine Artillery, at Siege of Sevastopol.

1915-VC- Flt.SubLt. R.A.J.WARNEFORD RN Air Service, shot down Zeppelin LZ37, near GHENT, 1st RNAS VC.

1917-VC-Lt R.N.STUART RNR & Ord.Seaman W.WILLIAMS RNR (Q Ship PARGUST) in sinking Sub.UC29 near Valentia Island.

1944-Capture of PORT-en-BESSIN, France, by 47 Cdo. RM.

8th 1940=Carrier GLORIOOUS & escorting destroyers ARDENT & ACASTA, returning from Norway, sunk when caught unawares by German battle cruisers SCHARNHORST & GNEISENAU, which was hit by one of ACASTA’s torpedoes.

1982-Landing Ships SIR GALAHAD & SIR TRISTRAM abandoned after being heavily damaged by Argentine aircraft, Fitzroy Cove, Falklands.

9th 1931-Sub POSEIDON sunk in collision with SS YATA off WIE HAI WEI, China. 1st use of Davis Submarine Escape Apparatus.

1944-8 Allied destroyers, including Polish BLYSKAWICA, fought 4 German destroyers in the Channel, sinking 2 & badly damaging one.

11th 1942-Ending on 15th, a convoy to re-supply Malta was heavily attacked, only 2 out of 17 merchant ships reaching the Island, British losses being 1 carrier & 5 destroyers.

1944-CdoRM attack LE HAMEL & ROTS, France.

12th 1667-Dutch ships under Admiral van GHENT entered the Medway, over 3 days burning 5 English warships & capturing 2.

1869- Completion of MONARCH, 1st RN sea-going turret ship & 1st to have 12inch guns.

1982-42 & 45 Cdos RM, with 3 Para took MOUNT HARRIET, 2 SISTERS & MT.LONGDON, with Naval Gunfire Support.

13th 1797-End of the Nore Mutiny.

1940-15 Skua aircraft from ARK ROYAL attacked battle cruiser SCHARNHORST at TRONDHEIM, only 1 bomb hitting & 8 Skuas being shot down.

14th 1744-Commodorre G.ANSON (CENTURION) arrived at Spithead after circumnavigating the world, in 1 week more than 4 years.

1789-After the mutiny in BOUNTY, Captain W.BLIGH and those set adrift with him in an open boat, arrived at KUPPING, TIMOR, after a 3,618 mile voyage.

1982-Final assault on PORT STANLEY by 3 Cdo RM & 5 Infantry Brigades, with naval gunfire support from ACTIVE, Major General J.J.MOORE RM.

16th 1955-Sub SIDON sank in PORTLAND Harbour, after an experimental torpedo explosion. Albert Medal (posthumous)-Surgeon Lt.C.E.RHODES RN.

17th 1775-Battle of BUNKER HILL, N.America. 2 Battalions of Marines took part, adding to their noble reputation.

1919-VC-Lt A.W.S.AGAR RN (Coastal Motor Boat 4) torpedoed & sank Russian cruiser OLEG in KRONSTADT.

1940-Evacuation of British Expeditionary Force from N.W.France.

18th 1850-Naval Brigade in British attack on the Great Redan, Crimean War, Siege of SEVASTOPOL VCs-Captain W.PEEL RN , threw away a live shell & was wounded in placing the 1st assault ladder. Midshipman E.St.J. DANIEL RN , for gallantry in action, the award being rescinded several years later, due to his misconduct. Lt H.RABY RN, Able Seaman J.TAYLOR & Boatswain’s Mate H.CURTIS, for gallantry in rescuing, under fire, a wounded soldier.

1982-M Company 42 CdoRM recaptured SOUTH THULE.

20th 1944-George Cross-Temp.Lt. J.BRIDGE George Medal & bar RNVR, for bomb & mine disposal, later receiving a 2nd ba to his G.M.

1947-George Cross(ex Albert Medal)-Ldg.Seaman P.R.S. May(ST.MARGARETS), rescuing 7 men from a fume filled tank, MALTA.

21st 1594-Capture of CADIZ by an Anglo-Dutch Fleet, under the Earl of Essex & Lord Howard of Effingham, with the Admiral of Holland Jonkheer van DUYVENVOORDE.

1854-VC-Actg Mate C.D. LUCAS(HECLA)throwing overboard a live shell, during the bombardment of BOMARSUND.

1919-German High Seas Fleet scuttled at anchor, SCAPA FLOW.

22nd 1843-Purchase of DIANA,1st RN screw ship (propellor driven).

1893-Battleships VICTORIA rammed & sunk by CAMPERDOWN, during Mediterranean manoeuvres.

1923-Amalgamation of RM Artillery & RM Light Infantry to reform as the Royal Marines.

23rd 1925-George Cross (ex Extreme Gallantry Medal) Petty Officer R.CHAMBERS (TARANTULA) for bravery in support of the civil power, China.

24th 1340-Battle of SLUYS. An English Fleet under King Edward 3rd captured or destroyed the whole French Fleet, thus preventing an invasion of England, the King’s letter about this being the 1st Naval report of a battle.

1900-VC-Captain L.S.T.HOLLIDAY RM Light Infantry (ORLANDO) led a sortie from the beseiged PEKING British Legation.

25th 1908-INDOMITABLE, the RNs 1st Battle Cruiser, commissioned.

1909-British Royal Red Cross & King of Italy’s Silver Messina Medal-Sister F.PORTER, RN Nursing Service (MINERVA) for helping survivors of the MESSINA earthquake.

1950-Communist NORTH KOREA forces attacked SOUTH KOREA, crossing the 38th parallel border. Within 1 week, as part of United Nations forces, RN ships joined the war, attacking shipping and communications.

26th 1911-King George V recognised as Royal the Fleet Auxiliary Service.

27th 1941-George Cross-Lt G.G.TURNER & SubLt.F.H. BROOKE-SMITH, both RNVR, for bomb & mine disposal.

28th 1888-RN Engineers College KEYHAM opened, to train the 1st Engineer Cadets.

30th 1797-Nore Mutiny leader PARKER hanged onboard SANDWICH.

MAKE A SIGNAL

On 22nd June 1893, HMS VICTORIA, Vice Admiral Sir George TRYON’s Mediterranean Fleet flagship, led one column of 4 battleships in line ahead, with Rear Admiral MARKHAM, his 2nd in Command in HMS CAMPERDOWN, leading a column of another 4 battleships, on manoeuvres off the Lebanon.

TRYON wished to signal VICTORIA & CAMPERDOWN to turn 90 degrees towards each other, being followed in succession by the other ships in each column, 1,200 yards apart. TRYON’s plan was then, when the 2 columns were 400 yards apart, to signal all ships to turn together 90 degrees and to drop anchor simultaneously.

Although TRYON’s Staff suggested to him that columns 400 yards apart were too close for safety, they were not prepared to question his orders any further, so the signal was made. MARKHAM & his Staff were the only ones not to acknowledge receipt of the signal, indicating they did not understand it, as they realised the danger, so delaying execution of the order. TRYON then signalled CAMPERDOWN asking “What are you waiting for?” so MARKHAM at last acknowledged readiness to execute the turn, later saying he thought TRYON had some additional manoeuvre intended to avoid collision.

Halfway through the turn, although the 2 leading ships started emergency actions for collision, CAMPERDOWN’s ram bow punched a hole in VICTORIA, which sank, TRYON going down with his ship & 358 of his crew, 352 being rescued, including the ship’s Executive Officer, Cdr John JELLICOE, later WWI Grand Fleet C-in-C. TRYON’s last reported words were “It’s all my fault”.

RECENT RESEARCH

A French TV company has recently requested for any information about Captain Samuel WALLIS, who commanded HMS DOLPHIN during a circumnavigation of the world, during which he discovered TAHITI. Although the Heritage Centre has no details of Captain WALLIS, it is noted online that he did, in 1767, drop anchor at TAHITI, then claiming possession of the islands for the King, naming them “King George III Islands”.

About a year later a French navigator landed on the opposite side of the islands, claiming them for the French King, being unaware that WALLIS had already claimed them for England.

VOLUNTEERS AT WORK

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