TIME-LINE
Merchant and Navy Ship events
1939 - 1945 (WWII)

1939

Under construction

2/4 1939

Turkish submarine SALDIRAY started her sail under German flag but under the command of a Turkish officer to Turkey. On 5 June 1939 she was commissioned into Turkish Navy.

18/4 1939

Eileen. Inward bound from Koepang to Darwin was lost near Point Charles, NT. (Wooden ketch, 13 tons. Built Fremantle 1892.)[Some references date this wreck in 1937]

20/4 1939

French passengership PARIS capsized and sunk at berth in Le Havre where she lay throughout World War II. Hulk cleared 1947.

27/4 1939

Germany denounced the Anglo-German naval agreement of June 18, 1935

1/5 1939

A passengersloop with 14 passenger from the Swedish torpedo cruiser JACOB BAGGE capzised at Vålö off Oskarshamn and 10 men killed.

7/5 1939

Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis

19/5 1939

Turkish submarine ATILAY was launched in Istanbul, 21 months after her keel was laid. She was commissioned in 1940. On 14 July 1942 she was lost all hands off the mouth of Dardanelles after striking a moored mine. This was the first deadly accident of the Turkish submarines. 38 submariners died in TCG ATILAY.

23/5 1939

USS Squalus (SS-92) sinks off Portsmouth, NH, with loss of 26 lives

24/5 1939

Turkish government signed a contract with Vickers shipyard for 4 submarines and 4 destroyers. The first three submarines TCG ORUÇREIS, TCG MURATREIS and TCG BURAKREIS were laid down on 24 May 1939. The last one TCG ULUÇALIREIS was laid down on 30 September 1939.

First and only use of VAdm Allan McCann's Rescue Chamber to rescue 33 men from sunken USS Squalus (SS-192)

1/6 1939

The English submarine Thetis founders after flooding through the #5 forward tube, killing a total of 99 crewmembers, civillian technicians, and senior naval observers.  One observer, one officer, and two crewmembers escaped.  Thetis is salvaged and recommissioned as HMS Thunderbolt.

17/6 1939

The French submarine PHENIX sinks off Saigon. On board was a crew of 71.

28/6 1939

Minesweepers USS Raven & Osprey laid down.

29/6 1939

Submarine HMS Thunderbolt launched.

Light cruiser HMAS Perth commissioned.

Aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn laid down.

30/6 1939

Minesweeping trawler HMS Buttermere launched.

1/7 1939

U-116, U-117 laid down.

19/7 1939 British Steamer HELMSDALE, (Marjorie Mellonie-32), 717/21, wrecked near Seahouses while on passage from London to Inverkeithing.
3/8 1939

The German tanker ALTMARK sails from Wilhelmshaven and steams down the English Channel.

21/8 1939 The German armoured ship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE sails from Wilhelmshaven.
24/8 1939

ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE passes between Faeroes and Iceland.

The Panzerschiffe Deutschland and WESTERWALD sails from Wilhelmshaven in preparation for raider activities in the North Atlantic in the event of a declaration of war.

27/8 1939

German Torpedoboot TIGER sunk in colission with German destroyer MAX SCHULTZ off Bornholm.

28/8 1939

ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE fuels from ALTMARK N.W. of Azores, DEUTSCHLAND passes through Denmark Strait.

30/8 1939

RMS Queen Mary sets sail from Southampton for New York City on her last commercial voyage. The ship will remain berthed at New York until the end of the year while it was decided what role the ship would play in the war

Poland sends all 4 of their destroyers, and 1 submarine to the UK. Their other 4 submarines are sent to positions in the western Baltic.

DEUTSCHLAND and WESTERWALD reach waiting area south of Greenland.

?/9 1939

Gotaverken AB, Goteborg, Sweden deliver motor tanker BERA to Transmark, Goteborg.

1/9 1939

The bridge “Sandöbron”, under construction over Ångermanälven, Sweden, collapse and 20 workers is killed.

Old German battleship Schleswig-Holstein in a "friendly" visit at Danzig begins Second World War by opening fire on Polish coastal defences Westerplatte at Danzig.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee, which has left Wilhelmshaven on 21 August for the South Atlantic, makes rendezvous with tanker Altmark southwest of the Canary Islands. The fuel oil carried in Altmark's bunkers was obtained in August at Port Arthur, Texas. Admiral Graf Spee's sistership Deutschland, which had departed Wilhelmshaven on 24 August, is deployed to raid commerce in the North Atlantic.

German torpedoboat V105 bombed and sunk by German aircraft.

2/9 1939

The first British convoy of the war leaves Gibraltar for Cape Town.

Polish Submarine ORP Wilk damaged by German depth charges.

3/9 1939

The German ship POMONA built by Deutche Werft AG Betrieb Finenwarder 3457 tons owned F Laeisz. Seized in London UK and renamed EMPIRE MERCHANT, sunk 16/8/40 by the German Submarine U-100 7 dead 48 survivors.

Great Britain and France declare war on Germany in accordance with their prewar pledges to Poland. Australia and New Zealand follow. Irish Free State, however, a British dominion, declares its neutrality.

German submarines (previously deployed to operating areas in late August) begin attacks upon British shipping: during these early operations, U-30 torpedoes (without warning) British passenger liner Athenia south of Rockall Bank, 56°44'N, 14°05'W; 28 American citizens are among the dead. U.S. freighter City of Flint, Swedish yacht Southern Cross, Norwegian freighter Knute Nelson, and British destroyers HMS Electra and HMS Escort rescue survivors. Despite having been given strict orders that all merchant vessels are to be treated in accordance with naval prize law (giving a warning before attacking) Lemp's torpedoing Athenia in the belief that she is an armed merchant cruiser gives the British the erroneous impression that Germany has commenced unrestricted submarine warfare (see 16 and 22 September and 8 November).

ATHENIA, British passenger liner, 13,581 tons, belonging to the Anchor-Donaldson Line, sunk by German submarine U-30 south of Rockall Bank. 1,300 survived, 112 lives lost. No warning was given in spite of the fact that it was only a few hours after the outbreak of war, and contrary to Admiral Doenitz' orders. At the highest German level it was considered a blunder and they stuck throughout the war with the lie that it was nothing to do with them. She was not sunk immediately with torpedoes, but rather she was at first shelled, and most of the lifeboats were lowered. Whilst causing considerable outrage in Britain, the fact that the Germans had not observed the rules of engagement as they then existed, should not have come as a surprise, since they had, as a population and as individuals, been planning and preparing for war for many years. Their tactic of unrestrained aggression had already been seen to bear fruit elsewhere, and they were rejoicing in the benefits, so the immediate opportunity to attack British interests, after years of resentment and hatred was too difficult to resist. The British were almost entirely unprepared and had barely begun to grasp just how desperately serious matters were and the 'outrage' should be seen in this context. It was born out of complacency. Later in the war in the Battle of the Atlantic Captain Lemp surrendered his submarine to HMS Broadway and HMS Bulldog. It yielded information of vital importance to Britain resulting in German codes being broken.

Less than three hours after the British declaration of war on Germany, light cruiser HMS Ajax intercepts German freighter Olinda, outward bound from Montevideo, Uruguay, off the River Plate, 34°58'S, 53°32'W. Not having a prize crew available to seize the enemy merchantman, Ajax shells and sinks her (see 4 September).

U.S. freighter Saccarappa, with a cargo of phosphates and cotton, is seized by British authorities (see 8 September).

German Stuka divebombers sink Polish minelayer Gryf, destroyer Wicher and several other small craft at Hela.

Polish Submarine ORP Rys set a mine barrier (20 mines) 10 miles east from the tip of Hel Peninsula.

U-14 probably attacked the first warship in World War Two when she attacked the Polish submarine Sep (Cdr. Wladyslaw Salamon) at 2022hrs. The torpedo exploded prematurely about 200m from the Polish sub. The German commander (Kptlt. Horst Wellner) found wreckage (from the torpedo) and some oil from Sep's damaged oil tank. Believing he had sunk the boat, he radioed his claim in.

Newfoundland enters World War II by virtue of Britain's declaration of war. The Newfoundland Constabulary seizes the SS Christopher V. Doornum, a German freighter anchored at Botwood, as a prize of war.

4/9 1939

U.S. freighter Black Osprey, bound for Rotterdam, Holland, and Antwerp, Belgium, is stopped by British warship off Lizard Head and ordered into the port of Weymouth, one of the five "contraband control bases" (the others are Ramsgate, Kirkwall, Gibraltar and Haifa) established by the British government (see 13 September and 31 October). Freighter Lehigh, bound for Hamburg, Germany, is detained by the British (see 7 September).

Philippine motorship Don Isidro, on her maiden voyage en route from her builders' yard at Kiel, Germany, to Manila, P.I., clears the Suez Canal; U.S. government immediately protests British authorities having removed, at Port Said, two German engineers (on board "to guarantee construction and demonstrate proper manning" of the new vessel) from Don Isidro (which is under the American flag) as illegal and a violation of the neutral rights of the United States (see 29 April 1940).

U.S. steamship President Roosevelt off-loads British Scott-Paine-type motor torpedo boat PT 9 at New York; PT 9 will be the prototype for the motor torpedo boats constructed by the Electric Boat Company.

French authorities remove two seamen of German nationality from U.S. freighter Exochorda at Marseilles, France.

British Northern Patrol (7th and 12th Cruiser Squadrons) commences operation between Shetland and Faeroe Islands, and Iceland. Light cruisers HMS Caledon, HMS Calypso, HMS Diomede, HMS Dragon, HMS Effingham, HMS Emerald, HMS Cardiff and HMS Dunedin are the ships that undertake this work. The patrol stops 108 merchantmen over the next three weeks, ordering 28 into the port of Kirkwall to have their cargoes inspected.

British steamer Olivegrove is stopped, torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-33 200 miles northwest of Spain, 49°05'N, 15°58'W; upon receiving Olivegrove's distress signal, U.S. passenger liner Washington, en route to the British Isles to evacuate American citizens from the European war zone, alters course and increases speed to reach the scene. Meanwhile, U-33's commanding officer, treats the British survivors courteously, and aids in their rescue by having distress rockets fired to guide Washington to the two lifeboats containing the 33-man crew, which she picks up without loss.

German torpedoboat A-64 scuttled in Danzig Bay.

German torpedoboat A-68 scuttled off Danzig.

5/9 1939

President Roosevelt declares Pan-American Neutrality Zone.

U-47 sank British steamer Bosnia N.W. of Ferrol. (Cunnard S.S. Co., 1928; J. L. Thompson & Sons; 2.407 tons; 292.3 x 45 x 20.3 ft; 403 n.h.p.; Triple-expansion engines.)

U-48 sank SS Royal Sceptre

6/9 1939

The British steamship MANAAR, Capt. C. Shaw, D.S.C., was torpedoed by the German submarine U-38,  65 miles W.N.W. of Cape Roca, Portugal. The torpedo exploded amidships and the submarine then surfaced and commenced to shell the vessel. Three other submarines also surfaced and joined in the shelling. Mean-while the crew of the MANAAR were endeavouring to launch the four port lifeboats, the starboard side being under fire, but the vessel swung round exposing the men to the fire of the submarine. One European and six lascars were killed and four Europeans and three lascars wounded, Mr. T. G. M. Turner, wireless operator, exhibit­ing great bravery in the saving of a wounded lascar. The boats managed to get clear without further loss and the MANAAR was struck by another torpedo which broke her in two. One lifeboat with 23 occupants was picked up by the Italian steamship CASTELBIANCO and others by the Dutch steamship MARS and the Portuguese steamship CARVALHO ARAUJO. Altogether 85 survivors and the body of one of the lascar seamen were landed at Lisbon on the 8th. The MANAAR was not in convoy. (T. & J. Brocklebank; 1917; Chas. Connell & Co.& 7,242 tons;470 x58 x 32.1; 787 n.h.p. ; 12 knots; turbine engines.)

British steamer Rio Claro, on a voyage Sunderland to the River Plate, was torpedoed and sunk by U-47, NW of Cape Finisterre. (Thompson S.S. Co.; 1922; Blyth S.B. & D.D. Co.; 4.086 tons; 363.1 x 53.2 x 26.3 ft; 474 n.h.p.; triple-expansion engine.)

German liner Bremen breaches the British blockade and put into Murmansk after a dash from New York.

7/9 1939 The German steamship Vegesack stranded at Midtfjøra outside Tananger. Vegesack was a German blockade breaker which had sailed from Colombia and taken the route via Island and down the along the Norwegian coast with destination Bremerhaven to avoid British naval units. Vegesack was camouflaged as a Danish vessel with the name Birte. At Midtfjøra Vegesack stranded on the evening and shortly after they they started to load of the cargo and other inventory from the vessel, and the crew of 64 men under captain Polykas abandoned thereafter the heavy damaged ship. After the stranding the wreck was standing on the reef for several years before Stavanger Skipsopphuggning started to break up the vessel. The company managed to break up almost half the vessel from bow and towards midship before she suddenly sank on a depth of twenty meters.
8/9 1939 4-m barque OLIVEBANK Struck by a mine in the North Sea at pos. 55°53' N, 5°07' E on her outward voyage. Of the 21 men in the crew fourteen lost their lives, including Captain Carl Granith. The others were rescued two days later by the Danish fishing cutter Talona. (In August 1913 was Olivebank bought from England by E. Monsen & Co., Tvedestrand, Norway. 1916 sold to Johs. A. Henschien, Tvedestrand, Norway, which sold her 1917 to Christianssands Shipping Co., Kristiansand, Norway. 1920 sold tp Lars Jörgensen. 1922 sold to Joh. Lorentzon,  Oslo, and renamed CALEDONIA. Autumn 1924 bought by Gustaf Eriksson, Mariehamn, Åland and renamed Olivebank.)

Dutch minesweeper Willem van Ewijck sunk near Terchelling when she runs into her own mine barrage

U-48 sank SS Winkleigh.

U-34 sank SS Kennebec.

British Steam tanker Regent Tiger, on a voyage from Trinidad to Avonmouth with 14.000 tons of gasoline and diesel fuel, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-29, about 400 miles W. of the Bishop Rock.

US freighter SS Saccarappa, which had been detained by the British since 3 September, is released after her cargo of phosphates and cotton are deemed contraband and unloaded.

9/9 1939

British submarine HMS Ursula fired the first British submarine torpedoes of the war when attacking German U-35. The U-boat escaped.

US freighter SS Wacosta bound from Glasgow, Scotland to New York City is stopped by a German U-boat and detained while the Germans search the ship and examine her papers. She is allowed to proceed after 3 hours

US freighter SS President Harding is detained by French officials who confiscate 135 tons of copper and 34 tons of petroleum products. The ship is then released

10/9 1939

Submarine HMS Oxley sunk off Obrestad, Norwegian coast, south of Stavanger (58-30'N, 5-30'E) - torpedoed in error by HMS Triton. Submarines Oxley and Triton were patrolling off Norway and had been in regular contact when Triton spotted an unidentified submarine off the coast of Norway.

SS Magdapur (8,641t) cargo ship, South Shields to Southampton hit a mine and sank off Aldeburgh with the loss of six crew members.

U-15 sank SS Goodwood.

US freighter SS Hybert is stopped by a German U-boat in the Atlantic. After 2-hours, she is released but the captain is warned not to use his radio for 24 hours

11/9 1939

U.S. tanker R.G. Stewart is stopped by shot fired across her bow by German submarine U-38 about 253 miles west of Ushant, France, 48°17'N, 11°16'W. Soon thereafter, U-38 shells, torpedoes and sinks British motor tanker Inverliffey; R.G. Stewart rescues the tanker's crew and later transfers them to U.S. freighter City of Joliet for transportation to Antwerp, Belgium.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee provisions from tanker Altmark; security measure of launching the warship's AR 196 pays dividends, as British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland is spotted closing the area. Admiral Graf Spee and her consort alter course and are thus not sighted.

U.S. freighter Black Eagle is detained by British authorities at the Downs, the roadstead in the English channel off the coast of Kent (see 19 September).

British steamer Blairlogie was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-30, W. of Bishop Rock. (Clydesdale Nav. Co.; 1929; Craig, Taylor & Co.; 4.425 tons; 380.3 x 52 x 25.3 ft; 373 n.h.p.; triple-expansion engine.)

SS Firby (4,869t) steamer, Tyne to Fort Churchill was sunk by torpedo and gunfire from U-48, about 400 miles NW of Scotland.
The Firby, owned by the Ropner Shipping Company, Limited. The master, Captain Prince, has 15/9 informed the owners that he and the crew of 40 all got away and had landed safely. Shells, however, had injured four. The chief officer, Mr. James Woodruff, stated that the crew, after taking to the boats, pulled alongside the German submarine, the commander of which was most considerate. Members of his crew handed nine loaves of black bread to the sunken ships crew and three rolls of bandages for the injured men. Before they moved away the commander sent an SOS to Mr. Churchill at the Admiralty giving the position where the sinking had occurred. After 13 hours in a heavy sea a destroyer rescued the men.

Off the coast of France, US merchant steam tanker R.G. Stewart is stopped by shot fired across her bow by German submarine U-38 about 253 miles km) west of Ushant, France. Soon thereafter, U-38 shells, torpedoes and sinks British motor tanker Inverliffey; SS R.G. Stewart rescues the tanker's crew and later transfers them to US freighter SS City of Joliet for transportation to Antwerp, Belgium.

13/9 1939

US Submarine Squalus (SS-192), which had accidentally sunk off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 23 May during a scheduled test dive (of her 59-man crew, 26 men perish and 33 are rescued by McCann Rescue Chamber), arrives under tow at Portsmouth Navy Yard for extensive repairs. She is decommissioned on 15 November 1939, renamed Sailfish (SS-192) on 9 February 1940, and recommissioned on 15 May 1940.

U.S. freighter Sea Arrow is launched at Oakland, California, the first major ocean-going vessel of that type completed on the west coast since World War I. The ship is later acquired by the Navy on 8 July 1940 and converted to the seaplane tender Tangier (AV-8).

U.S. freighter Black Osprey, detained at Weymouth, England, by British authorities since 5 September 1939, is released.

Norwegian motor vessel Ronda strikes mine off Terschelling island, Netherlands, 54°10'N, 04°34'E; two U.S. citizens perish. Survivors (including four Americans) are subsequently rescued by Italian freighter Providencia.

German submarine U-27 sank SS Davara.

German submarine U-29 sank the British steamtug Neptunia. (1938 / 998 tons)

14/9 1939

U.S. freighter City of Joliet is detained by French authorities and her cargo examined.

U-30 shot down two FAA Blackburn Skua aircraft

U-39 was the first U-boat sunk in the war, after an unsuccessful attack against the British aircraft carrier HMS ARK ROYAL.

U-28 sank SS Vancouver City.

British steam tanker British Influence (8,431t), Hull to Abadan was sunk by torpedo and gunfire by U-29, in the SW Approaches.

U-30 sank SS Fanad Head.

U-39, was sunk northwest of Ireland, in position 58.32N, 11.49W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Faulknor, Foxhound and Firedrake. 44 survivors (No casualties)

British submarine Sturgeon attacks British submarine Swordfish, but her torpedoes miss.

15/9 1939

The Wilson Line freighter TRURO (974 grt). Torpedoed and sunk by U-36 at pos. 59-20N 02-00E nnw of Aberdeen.

The Belgian passenger ship Alex van Opstal struck a mine and sank five miles E. of the Shambles lightship. Capt. Delgoffe was the master and the ship was sailing from New York to Antwerp. (Another source says: Sunk by the German submarine U-26) (Cie. Maritime Belge (Lloyd Royal) Soc. Anon.; 1937; Nakskov Skibs. A/S; 5,965 tons; 420 x 57,1 x 26,4; 1,026 n.h.p.; oil engines.)

U-53 sank SS Cheyenne.

16/9 1939

German submarine U-31 inaugurates U-boat campaign against convoys when she attacks westbound convoy OB-4, torpedoing and sinking British merchant steamer Aviemore in the North Atlantic, 49°11'N, 13°38'W.

U.S. freighter Shickshinny is detained at Glasgow, Scotland, by British authorities (see 18 September).

SS Arkelside (1,567t) steamer, Tyne to Gibraltar with a cargo of coal was sunk by gunfire from U-33, W of Ushant.

SS Bramden (1,594t) cargo ship, Dunkirk to Blyth, hit a mine off Dunkirk. Two of her crew died.

17/9 1939

HMS COURAGEOUS. Aircraft Carrier, 22,500 tons. Sunk by German submarine U-29 150nm WSW of Mizen Head, Ireland. Two minutes before 8.00pm she was struck on the port side by two torpedoes. It was an opportunist attack as U-29 was principally lying in wait for merchant shipping in the area, but it was no less skillful for that. Courageous. The carrier went down in only twenty minutes and 518 of her 1,202 compliment went with her, including her commander Captain W T Makeig-Jones. Aircraft carriers were afterwards withdrawn from anti-submarine patrols.

U.S. freighter Black Condor is detained by British authorities.

U-41 captured Finnish freighters Suomen Poika & Vega.

The British steamship KAFIRISTAN, Capt. John Busby, was torpedoed and sunk about 300 miles off south-west Ireland of the German submarine U-53. The crew numbered 35 and of these six were drowned by the capsizing of the first lifeboat, launched while the vessel was still moving. The remaining boats got away without incident and the commander of the German submarine, which had surfaced, offered to tow them toward the land. He also offered to send out an S.O.S. call but these things were never carried out as a British bomber appeared and, after spraying the submarine with machine-gun bullets as she lay on the surface, dropped two bombs close along-side. The submarine dived and was not seen again. The survivors of the Kafiristan were picked up and landed at New York by the United States steamship American Farmer, Capt. Pederson, which witnessed the aeroplane attack. (Hindustan S.S. Co.; 1924; Short Bros.; 5,193 tons; 390 x 53.5 x 28.6; 363 n.h.p.; 10 knots; triple-expansion engines.)

Polish submarine Orzel escapes Tallinn, where it has been interned. The Soviet Union seizes this incident, as an excuse that proves Estonia is not able to uphold its neutrality.

18/9 1939

U.S. freighter Warrior, detained by British authorities since 7 September, is released after her cargo of phosphates is requisitioned. Freighter Shickshinny, detained since 16 September at Glasgow, Scotland, is permitted to sail without unloading cargo deemed by British authorities to be contraband. Shickshinny, however, is to unload those items at Mersey, England.

U.S. freighter Eglantine is stopped by German submarine, ordered not to use her radio, and to send her papers to the U-boat for examination. The Germans allow Eglantine to proceed, but advise her not to use her radio for three hours.

The British steamship KENSINGTON COURT, on a voyage from Rosario to Liverpool, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-32, about 100 miles S.W. of the Bishop Rock. (Court Line; 1927; Napier & Miller; 4,863 tons; 396.5 53.2 x 26.5; 416 n.h.p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

The british steamtrawler Arlita & steamtrawler LORD MINTO was shelled and sunk by the German Submarine U-35 off St. Kilda. (ARLITA; J. Marr & Son; 1916; Cochrane & Sons; 138.5 x 23,7 x 12,8 ft; 87 nhp; triple-expansion engine)

19/9 1939

U.S. freighter Black Hawk is detained by British authorities (see 4 October); freighter Black Eagle, detained by the British since 12 September at the Downs, is released.

20/9 1939

U.S. freighters Ethan Allen and Ipswich are detained by British authorities.

U-26 damaged HMS Kittiwake.

U-27 sunk west of Scotland, in position 58.35N, 09.02W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Fortune & Forester. 38 survivors (No casualties).

German armoured ship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE refuels from ALTMARK.

21/9 1939

Destroyer HMS Ardent took wounded from SS Teakwood after it was torpedoed by U-35 in Convoy OA-7. Accompanied damaged Teakwood back to Falmouth.

22/9 1939

German submarine U 30 arrives at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, where her commanding officer, Kapitanleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp, informs Commander U-boats, in private, that he [Lemp] believes himself responsible for sinking British passenger liner Athenia.

U.S. freighter Syros is detained by French authorities.

U-4 sank SS Martti Ragnar

SS Akenside (2,694t) steamer, on a voyage Blyth to Bergen with a cargo of coal was torpedoed by U-7. She sank SW of Bergen.

23/9 1939

Finnish steamer WALMA seized by German submarines 9 miles W Hållö lighthouse when on voyage Finland-England with a cargo of cellulos. at 23.20 the same day sinked by explosives placed on board by the crew from U-4. Crew saved.

24/9 1939

Swedish steamer Gertrud Bratt (1.519 grt) torpedoed by the German submarine U-4 off Jomfruland at the Norwegian South coast. The crew of 20 was saved by a Norwegian boat and landed at Langesund. She was on a voyage Norrsundet - Bristol with a cargo of pulp, paper and general cargo.

U.S. freighter Black Condor, detained by British authorities since 17 September, is released.

The French steamer Phryné struck a mine and sank off Aldeburgh, Suffolk, on a voyage from Immingham to Bayonne with coal. Two empty ship’s boats were later recovered. [Another report says she was sunk by the German submarine U-13] (Société Navale Caennaise; 1938; Chantiers & Ateliers de St. Nazaire; 2.660 tons; 306 x 43.5 x 21.2 ft; 225 nhp; triple-expansin engine.)

The British steamship Hazelside on a voyage from Tacoma to Liverpool, was torpedoed  and sunk by the German submarine U-31, 12 miles off the Fastnet. Eleven of her crew were killed. (Charlton S.S. Co.; 1928; Short Bros.; 4.646 tons; 395 x 52.7 x 25.9 ft; 388 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

U-33 sank SS Caldew.

U-34 captured SS Hanonia.

26/9 1939 German armored ships Admiral Graf Spee and Deutschland, poised in the South and North Atlantic, respectively, receive their orders to begin commerce raiding operations.
27/9 1939

U.S. freighter Executive is detained by French authorities at Casablanca, French Morocco (see 29 September).

28/9 1939

Swedish steamer NYLAND, torpedoed and sunk by a submarine 17 miles off Hvidingø near Stavanger when on voyage Narvik-Antwerp. (build 1909 at Sunderland, turret-ship, owned by Tirfingbolaget)

U-32 stopped the Norwegian merchant ship JERN at 15.00 hours and sank her by scuttling charges at 15.37 hours.

29/9 1939

U.S. freighter Executive, detained at Casablanca, French Morocco, since 27 September, is released by French authorities, provided that she proceed to Bizerte, Tunisia.

U-7 stopped the Norwegian merchant ship TAKSTAAS at 08.55 hours and sank her later by torpedo and gunfire.

U-10 attacked in the North Sea a group of four British destroyers, but the single torpedo fired missed its target.

RAF Heligoland Bight patrol attacks two German destroyers. Second formation of five shot down in battle with German fighters. Two German fighters destroyed. Five out of 11 Hampdens lost. No damage to the destroyers.

British warships continue to stop neutral shipping in the North Atlantic. During the next 2-weeks, 63 ships are stopped; 20 of them are detained in the U.K. for inspection of their cargo.

While berthed at San Pedro, California, the engineering plant of battleship USS Arizona is sabotaged. The FBI is called in and they determine that the act was an attempt to embarrass certain ship's officers rather than cause serious damage.

British boy’s training ship HMS CALEDONIA (ex: MAJESTIC) gutted by fire and sank at Rosyth, refloated and towed to Inverkeithing for demolition 1943.

British spritsail barge AZARIAH (53 grt) mined and sunk on a voyage Greenhithe – Ipswich, the mine was laid by German submarine U-13.

30/9 1939

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee stops and sinks British steamship Clement (5.051 grt/1934, Booth SS Co. Ltd.), 75 miles southeast of Pernambuco, Brazil, at pos. 09°05'S, 34°05'W.

U.S. freighters Ethan Allen and Ipswich, detained by British authorities since 20 September, are released. Cargo destined for Bremen and Hamburg, however, is seized and taken off Ipswich.

The Swedish steamer Gun torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-3, off Hanstholm, Denmark. (Rederi AB Vinga; 1891; J. Blumer & Co.; 1.222 tons; 237.2 x 34.2 x 16.2 ft; 142 nhp; triple-expansion engines)

U-3 sank SS Bendia.

At 2255hrs in the North Sea, U-3 sighted a British submarine and fired a torpedo at it, but missed.

The Dutch steamship Haulerwijk torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-32, on a voyage from Newport to Tampa. (N.V. Stoomvaart Maats. “Oisterwjik”; 1924; Clyde S.B. & E. Co.; 3.278 tons; 325 x 48.2 x 23.7 ft.; 307 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

1/10 1939

Belgian merchant ship SUZON (2.239 grt) was torpedoed and sunk on  by German submarine U-35, 42 miles west of Ouessant (France).

British Admiralty deduces that one raider is in the Atlantic.

German minesweeper M85 mined and sunk N. of Heisternest.

2/10 1939

The Swedish admiralty reports that 8 ship of Finnish, Estonian and Norwegian nationality have been seized by German naval ship today in the Baltic Sea.

USS River gunboat Tutuila (PR-4) is damaged when she is accidentally rammed by Chungking Ferry Boat Co. Ferry No. 2 at Chungking, China.

Norwegian motor vessel Hoegh Transporter is sunk by mine off St. John Island, entrance to Singapore harbor; the two Americans among the passengers survive, one is uninjured.

3/10 1939

Greek merchant ship DIAMANTIS (4.490 grt) was torpedoed and sunk by german submarine U-35, 40 miles West of Skellings.

4/10 1939

U.S. freighter Black Hawk, detained by British authorities since 19 September, is released.

U-23 sank SS Glen Farg.

5/10 1939

British Admiralty and French Ministry of Marine form eight "hunting groups" in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans to counter the threat posed by German armoured ship Admiral Graf Spee. That same day, the object of that attention, Admiral Graf Spee, captures British freighter Newton Beech (4.651 grt/1925, J. Ridley Son & Tulley) south of Freetown. in the South Atlantic at 09°35'S, 06°30'W. She was sunk at 9/10 1939.

U.S. freighter Exeter is detained by French authorities at Marseilles, France (see 6 October); freighter City of Joliet, detained by the French since 14 September, is released.

Secretary of State Cordell Hull requests Chargé d'Affaires ad interim in Germany Alexander C. Kirk, to ascertain why German authorities have detained Swedish motorship Korsholm (at Swinemünde), Estonian steamship Minna (at Kiel), and Norwegian steamship Brott (at Svinemünde). All of the neutral merchantmen carry cargoes of wood pulp or wood pulp products consigned to various American firms. These are the first instances of cargoes bound for the United States held up for investigation by German authorities. While no U.S. ships are detained, cargoes bound for American concerns in neutral (Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, and Norwegian) merchant ships come under scrutiny by the Germans (see 10 October and 8 and 27 December)

U-32 damaged SS Marwarri.

The British merchantsteamer STONEGATE on a voyage from Antofagaste to Alexandria with nitrate, was sunk the German armoured ship DEUTCHLAND 400 miles E.S.E of Bermuda. (Turnbull, Scott Shipping Co.; 1928; W. Doxford & Sons; 5.044 tons; 410 x 55.5 x 26 ft; 602 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

6/10 1939

U.S. freighters Black Gull and Black Falcon are detained by British authorities (see 10-11 and 17 October, respectively).

U.S. freighter Exeter, detained at Marseilles, France, the previous day, is released. She subsequently reports having been examined several times by French naval authorities.

U-32 damaged SS Lochgoi.

7/10 1939

German armoured ship Admiral Graf Spee stops and boards British freighter Ashlea (4.222 grt/1929, J. Morrison & Son) in the South Atlantic at 09°00'S, 03°00'W, and after transferring her crew to Newton Beech, sinks Ashlea with demolition charges.

U.S. freighter Black Heron is detained by British authorities at Weymouth, England (see 16 October).

8/10 1939

The Dutch steamship Binnendijk struck a mine and sank, three miles S.E. of the Shambles light. [Another report says that she was sunk by the German submarine U-26] (Holland-Amerika Lijn; 1921; N.V. Werf de Noord; 6.875 tons; 400.4 x 54.3 x 36.6 ft; 648 nhp; turbine engines.)

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee takes on board crews of British freighters Ashlea and Newton Beech in the South Atlantic and sinks the latter with demolition charges.

In the North Atlantic, the British Northern Patrol continues operations between the Shetlands, Faeroes, and Iceland. The light cruiser HMS Belfast successfully intercepts the German liner SS Cap Norte that is trying to return to Germany disguised as a neutral vessel. The liner is boarded and sent under armed guard to a British port. Cap Norte is the largest enemy merchant ship intercepted to date and under Admiralty law HMS Belfast's crew received "prize money" in the form of a cash gratuity for her capture. The ship is renamed Empire Trooper by the British.

US flagged SS City of Flint captured by the German pocket battleship Deutschland as part of efforts to damage British trade. The Germans searched the ship and seized her when found supplies for Britain which they said were "contraband" under the Prize Rules for war at sea. Now the City of Flint is headed for the Russian port of Murmansk with a German Prize crew, which is hoping eventually to bring her to a German port.

The British steamship NEWTON BEECH on a voyage from Table Bay to London with 7.080 tons of Maize, was sunk by the German raider GRAAF SPEE off the coast of Angola. (Tyneside Line; 1925; W. Pickersgill & Sons; 4.651 tons; 372.8 x 54.6 x 26.8 ft; 346 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

9/10 1939

Aircraft from HMS ARK ROYAL sights ALTMARK west of Cape Verde Islands, But belives her to be US tanker.

10/10 1939

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee stops and puts prize crew on board British freighter Huntsman  (8.196 grt/1921, Thomas & James Harrison) in the South Atlantic at 08°30'S, 05°15'W. She was sunk 17/10 1939.

U.S. freighter Patrick Henry is detained by British authorities (see 22 October). British authorities remove from freighter Black Gull (detained since 6 October) 293 sacks of American mail addressed to Rotterdam, Holland, and 10 to Antwerp, Belgium. This is among the first instances of the British removing mail addressed to neutral countries and opening and censoring sealed letter mail sent from the United States (see 11 October).

U.S. freighter Syros, detained by French authorities since 14 September, is released.

Norwegian freighter Brott, detained at Swinemünde, Germany, since early October with a cargo of wood pulp/wood pulp products, is released by German authorities to proceed on her voyage to the United States.

11/10 1939

USS Submarine rescue vessel Pigeon (ASR-6), driven aground at Tsingtao, China, by a severe hurricane on 31 August, is refloated.

U.S. passenger liner Iroquois arrives safely in New York harbor, having been accompanied for three days by Coast Guard cutter Campbell and destroyers Davis (DD-395) and Benham (DD-397). Iroquois will later be acquired by the Navy on 22 July 1940 and will be converted to a hospital ship. As Solace (AH-5) she will play an important role at Pearl Harbor (see 7 December 1941).

U.S. freighter Sundance is detained at London, England, by British authorities (see 25 October); freighter Black Tern is detained at Weymouth, England (see 12 and 28 October); freighter Black Gull, detained by the British since 6 October, is released.

12/10 1939

German submarines attack convoys of French and British shipping; U-48 shells and sinks French motor tanker Emile Miguet (from convoy KJ 2S) at 50°15'N, 14°50'W, and later torpedoes and sinks British freighter Heronspool (convoy OB 17S) at 50°13'N, 14°48'W. U.S. merchantmen rescue the survivors: freighter Black Hawk rescues Emile Miguet's crew, passenger liner President Harding rescues Heronspool's.

The Greek steamship Aris was shelled and sunk by the German submarine U-37 in the North Atlantic. (Michael M. Xylas; 1914; Richardson Duck & Co.; 4.810 tons; 380.2 x 50.9 x 28 ft; 385 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

13/10 1939

The French motor tanker Emile Miguet on a voyage from Corpus Christi to Le Havre in Convoy KJ-2, was torpedoed, set on fire and sunk by the German submarine U-48. Two lives were lost. (Cie. Navale des Pétroles; 1937; Atel. & Chant. De France; 14.115 tons; 546.1 x 73.8 x 40.1 ft; 982 nhp; Oil engines.)

13/10 1939

U.S. freighter Iberville is detained by British authorities, freighter Oakman is detained by the British.

German submarine U-42 sunk by HMS Imogen & Ilex at pos. 49 12 00 N, 16 00 00 W, southwest of Ireland. 26 dead and 20 survivors.

U-40 sunk in the English Channel, in position 50.41,6N, 00.15,1E, by mines. 45 dead and 3 survivors

German submarine U-42 damaged Steamship Stonepool in Convoy OB-17. (Pool Shipping Co.; 1928; Smith’s Dock Co.; 4.803 tons; 405 x 53.5 x 26.4 ft; 507 nhp; 11 knots; triple-expansion engines.) [see also 11/9 1941]

U-48 sank SS Heronspool & SS Louisiane in Convoy OB-17.

U-47 scores a major propaganda victory by penetrating the RN base at Scapa Flow, but as the most of the major ships were at sea, there were few targets. The surfaced U47 fired off a salvo of three torpedoes, only one of which exploded when it hit an anchor chain, and U47 remained undisturbed on the surface of the Fleet anchorage to reload torpedoes. The second salvo fired about an hour after the first, sank HMS Pegasus and the battleship Royal Oak with 833 crew lost. This penetration of the RN Home Fleet base gave Germany a major propaganda victory, and the Home Fleet was temporarily relocated to Loch Ewe on the west coast of Scotland until Scapa's defenses were improved. On his return to base, Cdr Prien and his entire crew were taken to Berlin, and fêted after Hitler personally presented Günther Prien with the award of the Knight's Cross. At Scapa Flow, HMS Royal Oak and her 833 dead remain a war grave and a memorial of this incident

14/10 1939

German submarine U-45 sunk by HMS Inglefield, Ivanhoe, Intrepid, Icarus at pos. 50 58 00 N, 12 67 00 W. 38 dead (all hands lost).

German armoured ship Deutschland sinks Norwegian freighter Lorentz W. Hansen 420 miles east of Newfoundland, 49°05'N, 43°44'W.

U.S. freighter Scanstates is detained at Kirkwall, Orkneys, by British authorities; freighter Exporter is detained at Gibraltar by the British (see 20 and 27 October, respectively).

U.S. freighter Nashaba is detained at Le Havre by French authorities (see 25 October).

German steamer MARION TRABER run aground on a ground off Nyköping, Sweden. She was wrecked.

U-23 was attacked in the North Sea by the British submarine HMS Sturgeon with three torpedoes, but all three missed.

The French liner Bretagne of the Cie. Transatlantique was formerly the Flandria of the Royal Holland Line. She was torpedoed by the German submarine U-45 some distance S.W. of Fastnet when on convoy KJF-3. The attack took place about dawn, the submarine sur­facing and firing two shells at the ship's wireless aerial which missed their mark and fell among the women and children getting into the boats. The falls of one boat parted and its occupants were flung into the sea. From all causes two passengers and five crew lost their lives. A wireless call was sent out, in response to which a British warship came on the scene and picked up 123 of the vessel's 125 passengers, as well as the crew. Many of the survivors were seriously injured. The warship then turned back to pick up the boats of the Royal Mail liner Lochavon which she had passed on her way to the Bretagne. (Compagnie Generale Transatlantique; 1922; Barclay Curle; 10,108 tons; 450.4x 59.2 x 41.7; 1,292 n.h.p.; 14.5 knots; turbine engines.)

The British motorship Lochavon was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-45, about 200 miles W. of the Bishop Rock on a voyage in convoy KJF-3 from Vancouver to Liverpool. (Royal Mail Lines; 1938; Harland & Wolff; 9,205 tons; 477.7x 66.3 x 30.2; 2,052 n.h.p. ; oil engines.)

U-48 sank SS Sneaton.

US freighter SS Nashaba is detained at Le Havre by French authorities.

In Gibraltar, the US freighter SS Exporter is detained by the British.

US freighter SS Scanstates is detained at Kirkwall, Orkneys, by British authorities.

15/10 1939

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee meets tanker Altmark and refuels (see 17 October).

16/10 1939

German tanker Emmy Friedrich, whose cargo includes refrigerants needed for the magazine cooling systems in armored ship Admiral Graf Spee, then on a raiding foray into the Atlantic, departs Tampico, Mexico. Neutrality Patrol assets, including carrier Ranger (CV-4) and heavy cruiser San Francisco (CA-38), are mobilized to locate and trail the ship if the need arises (see 24 October).

U.S. freighter Gateway City is detained by British authorities (see 31 October); freighter Black Heron, detained by the British at Weymouth, England, since 7 October, is released.

17/10 1939

U.S. freighter Cranford is detained by British authorities (see 21 October); freighter Black Falcon, detained by the British since 6 October, is released.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee transfers crew of British freighter Huntsman to tanker Altmark; Huntsman is then sunk with demolition charges at 16°00'S, 17°00'W.

The liner Yorkshire, Capt. V. C. P. Smalley, with 278 persons on board, of whom 160 were crew, was torpedoed by the German submarine U-37, 700 miles W. of Bordeaux when in Convoy HG-3. The ship sent out a wireless call for help and the steamship Independence Hall, 5,753 tons, came to the rescue, but too late to save many of those on board. Fifty-eight persons lost their lives, of whom 33 were passengers and 25 crew, including Capt. Smalley. The 220 survivors were landed at Bordeaux on the night of October 20th, together with those from the City of Mandalay (which see) whom the Independence Hall reseled at the same time, not far from the position of the Yorkshire. (Bibby Line; 1920; Harland & Wolff; 10,183 tons; 482.4 x 58.3 x 40.4; 946 n.h.p. ; 15 knots; turbine engines.)

The British steamship City of Mandalay was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-46, off the Bay of Biscay when in convoy HG-3. Seven of her crew were lost. (Ellerman Lines; 1925; Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson; 7,028 tons; 443.2x 57.9 x 31.9; 751 n.h.p.; triple-expansion engines & L.P. turbine.)

The steamship Clan Chisholm was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-48, off the Bay of Biscay on a voyage in convoy HG-3 from Calcutta to Liverpool. (Clan Line Steamers; 1937; Greenock Dockyard Co.; 7,256 tons; 463.7 x 63 x 29.9; 1,362 n.h.p.; triple-expansion engines & L.P. turbine.)

Shortly after midnight U-46 fired three torpedoes at a British cruiser, but all missed.

Ju-88s strike at Scapa Flow and the old gunnery training ship & ex-battleship HMS Iron Duke has to be beached. 25 naval casualties. Estimated 4 enemy a/c attacking, 1 destroyed

18/10 1939

USS Naval landing force from gunboats Asheville (PG-21) and Tulsa (PG-22) and destroyer Whipple (DD-217) is withdrawn from Kulangsu, China, where it had been protecting the American Consulate and the Hope Memorial Hospital since 17 May.

U.S. freighter West Hobomac is detained by British authorities.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee transfers crews of British freighters Newton Beech and Ashlea to tanker Altmark. The two German ships then part company for a time.

19/10 1939

U-48 attacked the British steamer Rockpool with gunfire at 1332hrs. The steamer fired back, forcing the U-boat to crash dive. When it surfaced and opened fire once more, a destroyer arrived, sending the U-boat into a second dive

Soviet submarine SC-424 rammed and sunk by Soviet fishing trawler RT-43 at the entrance of Kola Bay. 10 crewman (another source says 7) survived, including the commander. She sank in 3 minutes to a depth of 250 meters.

U.S. freighter Scanstates, detained at Kirkwall, Orkneys, by British authorities since 14 October, is released.

U-34 sank SS Gustaf Adolf. After sinking the steamer Gustaf Adolf, U-34 towed the ship's lifeboats for three hours until a Norwegian ship came in sight and could rescue the survivors.

SS Sea Venture (2,327t) cargo ship, Carrying coal from the Tyne to Tromso in Norway was sunk by torpedo and gunfire from U-34. E of the Shetlands.

21/10 1939

U.S. freighter City of Flint, under prize crew from German armored ship Deutschland, puts in to Tromsø, Norway, for water. Norwegian government, however, orders the ship to leave; she sails for Soviet waters.

U.S. freighter Meanticut is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities and ordered to proceed to Oran to discharge certain cargo earmarked for delivery to Italy.

SS Orsa (1,478t) struck a mine and sank about 20 miles off Flamborough Head, with the loss of sixteen of her crew. She was on a voyage from the Tyne to Bordeaux with a cargo of coal. [Also reported as sunk by German submarine U-15]

U-19 sank SS Capitaine Edmond Laborie & SS Deodata.

Ammunition lighter HMC NAD 01 ordered from Halifax Shipyards. Completed, 21 Mar 40 renamed HMC HC 82, lost 18 Jul 45 Bedford Basin explosion.

Crew of LORENZ W. HANSEN landed in Orkneys

22/10 1939

U.S. freighters Endicott and West Gambo are detained by French authorities and portions of their cargo ordered ashore as contraband; 750 bales of carbon black from West Gambo and 2,276 bars of copper and 1,796 bags of carbon black from Endicott.

U.S. steamship President Hayes is detained by British naval authorities at Alexandria, Egypt, and searched for contraband (see 23 October); freighter Patrick Henry, detained by the British since 10 October, is released.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee stops British freighter Trevanion (5.299 grt/1937, Hain SS Co.) on Cape – U.K. trade, embarks her crew, and sinks the ship at 19°40'S, 04°02'W.

The German merchant ship EMMY FRIEDERICH is intercepted by the British warship CARADOC and scuttled by own crew.

SS Whitemantle (1,692t) cargo ship, Carrying coal from the Tyne to London was sunk by a mine near the Withernsea Light. Fourteen of her crew lost their lives.

23/10 1939

Swedish steamer ALBANIA mined or torpedoed and sunk off the eastcoast of England on voyage Northfleet – Tyne. (Rederiaktieb. Svenska Lloyd; 1903; Schömer & Jensen; 1,241 tons; 237,7 x 35,2 x 15,4; 186 n.h. p. ; triple-expansion engines).

Swedish steamer JUPITER (2 191 ton). departured Karlsborg 14th Oct., destinated to England, captured in East North Sea by the German Navy and confiscated as a German prize.

U.S. freighter City of Flint arrives at Murmansk (see 24, 27 and 28 October and 3 November).

U.S. freighter Tulsa is detained at London by British authorities (see 9 November).

U.S. steamship President Hayes, detained by British naval authorities at Alexandria, Egypt, the previous day, is released, but not before a consignment of rubber earmarked for delivery to Genoa, Italy, is unloaded. The cargo is held at Alexandria for about two weeks, and then reloaded on board steamship President Polk. The President of the shipping concern involved (American President Lines) subsequently requests the Department of State to protest methods employed by the British naval authorities at Port Said and Alexandria in searching that company's vessels. "The fact that [the] British...allowed this eventual delivery," the shipping company executive complains, "indicates that [the] shipment ought never have been interfered with in [the] first place."

British light cruiser HMS Orion and Canadian destroyer HMCS Saguenay locate German tanker Emmy Friedrich in the Yucatan Channel; British light cruiser HMS Caradoc subsequently intercepts Emmy Friedrich whose crew scuttles her to avoid capture.

24/10 1939

German submarine U-16 sunk by HMS Puffin & Cayton Wyke at pos. 51 09 00 N, 01 28 00 E.

British steamships Ledbury were attacked and sunk by German submarine U 37 at 36°01'N, 07°22'W.

The British steamship Menin Ridge, on a voyage from Djidjelli to Port Talbot with iron ore, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 37, 80 miles W. of Gibraltar. Twenty of her crew were lost. (Ridge S.S. Co.; 1924; Burntisland S.B. Co.; 2,474 tons; 298.5 x 44 x 21.2; 251 n.h.p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

U.S. freighter Crown City rescues the only five survivors from the 27- man crew of Menin Ridge and Ledbury's entire 33-man crew.

Soviet authorities intern U.S. freighter City of Flint's German prize crew from armored ship Deutschland at Murmansk (see 27-28 October and 3 November).

U.S. freighter Wacosta is detained by British authorities (see 8 November); freighter Iberville, detained by the British since 13 October, is released after cargo due to be discharged at Antwerp and Rotterdam, Holland, is seized as contraband. British authorities at Kirkwall remove 468 bags of U.S. mail destined for Gothenborg, Sweden and 18 for Helsinki, Finland, from Finnish freighter Astrid Thorden.

The Greek steamship Konstantinos Hadjipateras struck a mine and sank, about three miles S. of the Inner Dowsing Light. [Also reported as sunk by German submarine U-19] (J. C. & A. Hadjipateras; 1913; J. L. Thompson & Sons; 5,962 tons; 388.5 x 54.1 x 26; 455 n.h.p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

U-37 sank SS Tafna.

The anti-U-boat mine barrage in the Straits of Dover claims U-16. No more U-boats attempt the passage of the English Channel, and have to sail around the North of Scotland to reach the Atlantic.

25/10 1939

U.S. freighter Sundance, detained at London, England, by British authorities since 11 October, is released; freighter West Hobomac, detained by the British since 18 October, is released.

U.S. freighter Nashaba, detained at Le Havre by French authorities since 14 October, is released.

U-16 sunk in the English Channel near Dover, in position 51.09N, 01.28E, by depth charges from the British submarine chasers HMS Cayton Wyke & Puffin. 28 dead (all hands lost).

British corvette HMS Bluebell laid down.

Three days after leaving Kiel, U-60 had to return to the base due to serious engine trouble.

26/10 1939

U.S. freighter Black Eagle is detained by British authorities (see 5 November).

U-24 laid a field of 9 mines in Hartlepool Bay, resulting in one ship sunk on 9 November.

British destroyer HMS Kashmir commissioned.

British corvettes HMS Anemone, Campanula, Crocus & Honeysuckle laid down.

German submarines U-355, U-356, U-357, U-358 ordered.

27/10 1939

U.S. freighter City of Flint is again placed under German naval prize crew from armored ship Deutschland (see 28 October and 3 November).

U.S. Consul at Gibraltar William E. Chapman meets informally with British Colonial Secretary there, and objects to protracted delay in detention of U.S. merchantmen, especially freighter Exporter, which has on board diplomatic pouches bound for Athens, Greece. Consul Chapman's low-key approach bears fruit. Exporter, detained since 14 October, is released later that day, as are freighters Oakman (detained since 13 October) and Meanticut (detained since 21 October).

U-31 laid a very successful field of 18 mines in Loch Ewe. This minefield later accounted for two ships sunk and one damaged.

U-34 sinks SS Bronte in Convoy OB-25.

British corvette HMS Aubretia laid down.

British AMC HMS Arawa commissioned.

28/10 1939

U.S. freighter City of Flint, again under German control, sails from Murmansk for Norwegian waters. At no time during City of Flint's enforced stay at Murmansk has the ship's master, Captain Joseph A. Gainard (an inactive USNR officer) been allowed to communicate with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow (see 3 November).

U.S. freighter Black Tern, detained at Weymouth, England, by British authorities since 11 October, is released.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee makes rendezvous with tanker Altmark near Tristan de Cunha. The warship refuels from the auxiliary, and transfers British freighter Trevanion's crew to her.

British patrol vessel HMS Guillemont commissioned.

British AMC HMS Queen of Bermuda commissioned.

U-59 sank steamer Lynx II & steamer St Nidan.

29/10 1939

The British steamship Malabar, Capt. H. H. Armstrong, O.B.E., was bound for London in convoy HX-5A with a general cargo when she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-34, 60 miles W.N.W. of the Bishop Rock, Scilly Isles. The attack took place at 3 a.m. without warning, the torpedo striking the ship on the starboard side and exploding in the engine room. The crew numbered 75, of whom five were killed and two wounded. The survivors, including Capt. Armstrong, took to the boats and were picked up without further loss. (T. & J. Brocklebank; 1938; W. Hamilton & Co.; 7,976 tons; 475.8 x 62.7x 32.3; 1,035 n.h.p.; 12 knots; turbine engines.)

A new type of German mine, set off by the noise of a ship is discovered near Porthcawl, Wales.

30/10 1939

U.S. freighter Scanpenn is detained by British authorities at Kirkwall, Orkneys; freighter Hybert is detained by British authorities at the Downs the same day (see 11 and 5 November, respectively).

British steamer Cairnmona was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 13, off Rattray Head, E of Stonehaven. She was on a voyage from Montreal to the Tyne in convoy HX-5. (Cairn Line of Steamships; 1918; Sunderland S.B. Co.; 4.666 tons; 390.2 x 53.1 x 33.7 ft; 550 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

British corvettes HMS Calendula & Clarkia and submarines HMS Upholder, Urge & Unique  laid down.

USN Corvette USS Ready laid down.

U-34 aborted patrol and returned to base due to serious engine trouble.

British AMC HMS Cheshire commissioned.

Submarine S-4 commissioned.

U-56 attacked the Home Fleet and hit battleship HMS Nelson with torpedoes that failed to explode.

German submarines U-409, U-410, U-411, U-412, U-451, U-452, U-453, U-454 ordered.

Greek steamer Thrasyvoulos was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-37, 160 miles W. of Ireland, with the loss of 23 lives. (T. L. Boyazides & Co.; 1912; Tyne Iron S.B. Co.; 3.693 tons; 348.5 x 50.1 x 23.5 ft; 307 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

U-59 sank British HMS Northern Rover.

31/10 1939

U.S. freighter Black Osprey is detained at the Downs by British authorities; freighter Gateway City, detained by the British since 16 October, is released after cargo billed for delivery at Antwerp and Rotterdam, Holland, is seized as contraband.

French steamer Baoulé was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 25, about 45 miles W.N.W of Corunna. Thirteen of her crew were killed. (Chargeurs Réunis; 1921; Atel. & Ch. de la Loire; 5.874 tons; 393.6 x 55.9 x 29 ft; 325 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

Colonel Gwido Langer, the leader of the brilliant Polish cryptologists who have been working with their French and British counterparts to solve the mysteries of the German Enigma enciphering machine, arrived in France this month with his team and two Enigma machines. The Poles have thus fulfilled the orders of their General Staff that "in the case of a threat of war the Enigma secret must be used as our Polish contribution to the common cause of defense and divulged to our future allies." It is hoped the Poles, helped on their journey by the British Secret Service, will carry on with their work to enable the Allies to read the German's secret codes.

British corvettes HMS Candytuft, Dianthus, Carnation & Delphinium laid down.

Corvette USS Tenacity laid down.

British submarine HMS Tigris launched.

British submarine HMS Truant commissioned.

1/11 1939

U.S. freighter Exminster is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 6 November).

German armoured ship DEUTSCHLAND recalled to Germany.

2/11 1939

U.S. freighters Endicott and West Gambo, detained by French authorities since 22 October and portions of their cargo ordered ashore as contraband, are released and clear LeHavre, France.

3/11 1939

U.S. freighter City of Flint is restored to U.S. control at Haugesund, Norway.

ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE enters Indian Ocean.

U-37 suffered slight damage after an air attack.

4/11 1939 U-21 laid nine mines in the Firth of Forth, which later resulted in the sinking of three ships.

U-23 laid nine mines off Cromarthy Firth, but without result.

The Norwegian Admiralty reports that it has interned the German crew of the captured US freighter City of Flint after she docked at Haugesund, en route from Murmansk to Germany.

5/11 1939

U.S. freighter Black Condor is detained by British authorities at Weymouth, England (see 17 November); freighter Scanmail is detained by the British at Kirkwall, Orkneys. Part of her cargo is seized; steamship President Polk is detained by the British at Port Said, Egypt, and certain items of her cargo confiscated for inquiry; freighter Black Eagle, detained by the British since 26 October, is released.

The German merchant ship UHENFELS is intercepted by the British warship ARK ROYAL and scuttled by own crew.

6/11 1939

U.S. freighter Exeter is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities. She is released the same day after 700 bags of U.S. mail are removed from the ship (see 8 and 10 November). Freighter Exminster, detained at Gibraltar by the British since 1 November, is released without any confiscation of cargo.

U-21 encountered the British submarine HMS Sealion in the North Sea. The Sealion fired six torpedoes at U-21, but all missed.

Captain Joseph H Gainard, in Norway, told today how his US cargo ship, City of Flint, was taken by the German armored ship Deutschland. A party from the Deutschland came aboard on 9 October and declared the ship a prize of war. The Germans painted out all US insignia and headed for Murmansk in Russia, and then for Germany. But the Norwegian Navy stopped them, and another German ship ordered them to Haugesund where the US ship was returned to her captain.

7/11 1939

Naval Attaché, Berlin, is informed by an official of the German Navy Ministry that it had been "definitely established that no German U-boat had torpedoed the Athenia." The German Navy considers the incident "closed as far as the Navy was concerned" and possesses only "an academic interest in how the ship was sunk."

8/11 1939

The anti-U-boat mine barrage in the Strait of Dover is completed and accounts for three U-boats, starting with "U-12".

U.S. freighter Exeter is detained by French authorities (see 8 and 10 November).

U.S. freighter Express is detained by British authorities at Gibraltar but is released the same day after her cargo is examined; freighter Tulsa, detained at London by the British since 23 October, is released; freighter Wacosta, detained by the British since 24 October, is released after cargo billed for delivery to Rotterdam, Holland, is seized as contraband.

German armoured ship DEUTSCHLAND returns through Denmark Straits.

British trawler Kingston Arogonite, Hull, lost.

9/11 1939

U-24 sank SS Carmarthen Coast (961t) on a voyage from Methil to London, [Another source said: was mined and sank three miles off Seaham Harbour]. Two of the crew were lost.

U-34 captured SS Snar.

10/11 1939

German steam tanker BISCAYA, captured as a "Prize" by H.M.S. Scotstoun , off the Faroe Islands  (build 1927 by Act Ges "Weser" Bremen. Owners : BremerOL- Transport GMBH(John T. Essberger managers). 1940 renamed. EMPIRE UNITY . M.O.W.T. 1947 renamed. STORDALE. Storships Transport Ltd. London. 1951 renamed MAGEOLIA. Mageolia Naviera, Panama ( T. Pappadrinitriou managers) 1963 became a static bulk oil storage vessel at Piraeus. 1966 scrapped at Burriana, Spain.

U.S. freighter Exeter, detained by French authorities since 8 November, is released after 1,400 bales of cottonseed hulk consigned to a Swiss buyer are removed as contraband.

11/11 1939

U.S. freighter Nishmaha is detained by British authorities at Gibraltar (see 17 November); freighter Yaka is detained by the British and her cargo examined (see 5 and 6 December).

12/11 1939

U.S. freighter Express, with cargo earmarked for Greece, Turkey, and Rumania, is detained by British authorities at Malta (see 23 November).

Norwegian motor tanker ARNE KJØDE badly damaged by a torpedo from the German submarine U 41on a voyage from Aruba to Nyborg. Five of her crew were lost. The tanker was later sunk by British naval ships. (A/S Inger; 1938; Deutsche Werft A.G.; 11.019 tons; 508.1 x 69.2 x 36.5 ft; 1.360 nhp; oil engines.)

German submarine U-41 sank Cresswell. After sinking the British steamer Cresswell, U-41 took seven survivors on board. Some hours later the U-boat stopped another ship and turned the survivors over to that vessel.

13/11 1939

British destroyer HMS BLANCHE. Sunk by a mine in the Thames Estuary whilst escorting HMS ADVENTURE which had earlier been damaged by a mine. She was the first Royal Navy destroyer to be sunk in the war. Had been turning at high speed when a the mine exploded well aft. The main dynamo was destroyed and the ship was plunged into darkness. She took a 20 degree list and sank two hours later. One rating was killed and 12 injured.

The British steamship Sirdhana, Capt. P. Fairbairn, was leaving Singapore harbour with a large number of passengers on board, of whom 137 were Chinese deportees and 10 U.S. citizens (a troupe of magicians), when she struck a mine some three miles off shore and sank in 20 minutes. Twenty Asiatic deck passengers were killed. (British India Steam Navigation Co.; 1925; Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson; 7,745 tons; 436.1 x 57.8 x 33.5; 801 n.h.p. ; 13 knots; triple-expansion engines.)

U.S. freighter Black Hawk is detained by British authorities at Ramsgate, England.

German destroyers Karl Galster, Wilhelm Heidkamp, Hermann Kunne and Hans Ludemann lay a minefield in the South and Edinburgh channels. Soon after the minefield had been laid, the Minelaying Cruiser HMS Adventure (Capt A. R. Halfhide) ran into a mine. Temporally disabled the injured were transferred to the destroyer HMS Basilisk while destroyer HMS Blanche stood by. As the force made its way towards safety HMS Blanche was mined and settled by the stern. The tug Fabia went to the destroyer’s assistance but as she was towed the destroyer capsized and sank. HMS Blanche lost two crew killed and twelve injured.

German submarine U-49 was attacked by a British aircraft. The boat dived to 160 meters and suffered some damage.

The French steamship Loire was on charter to the Cie. Generale d'Armement Maritime when she left Oran on November 12th, 1939, for Dunkirk carrying minerals. She did not arrive but wreck­age was found near Malaga and it was assumed that she had capsized. [Another report says that she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 26] (Cie. Generale Transatlantique; 1928; Lithgows; 4,285 tons; 370 x 51 x 25.4; 310 n.h.p.; triple-expansion engines.)

German minesweeper M132 stranded in the North Sea.

14/11 1939

Returning to Scapa Flow after guarding the Fair Isle passage during "Gneisenau's" recent sortie, anchored battleship "ROYAL OAK" is torpedoed and sunk by "U-47" (Lt-Cdr Prien) in the early hours of the 14th with the loss of 833 men. The Home Fleet moves to Loch Ewe on the W Scottish coast.

Canadian destroyer HMCS Fraser damaged in a collision with the armed trawler HMCS Bras D'Or. Fraser was under repairs until 04 Dec 39.

15/11 1939

Interior Department motorship North Star (U.S. Antarctic Service) departs Boston, Massachusetts for the south polar regions (see 12 January 1940).

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee stops and sinks British tanker Africa Shell (706 grt/1939, Shell Co. of East Africa) 160 miles northeast of Lourenco Marques in Mozambique Channel, 24°45'S, 35°00'E; Japanese freighter Tihuku Maru happens upon the scene of the action but is unmolested.

The French ship Alaska was in collision with the British Dotterel, and sank about 12 miles S.E. of Owers light­ship. A ship's boat was washed ashore. (ALASKA, Cie. Generale Transatlantique; 1922; SunderlandS.B. Co.; 5,399 tons; 425 x 55 x 26,6; 629 n.h.p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

German armoured ship DEUTSCHLAND arrives at Gotenhaven (Gdynia), Poland.

16/11 1939

U.S. freighter Lafcomo is detained by British authorities at Weymouth, England; freighter West Harshaw is detained by the British at Ramsgate.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee stops Dutch freighter Mapia in Indian Ocean but, since the latter is a neutral ship, permits her to proceed unharmed.

The British steamship Arlington Court, Capt. Hurst, was torpedoed by the German submarine U 43 in the Atlantic 320 miles S.W. of Start Point off the Irish coast when on a voyage in convoy SL-7A from Argentina to Hull. The vessel was struck by two torpedoes, the first of which wrecked the wireless. The second was not discharged until after the crew had taken to the boats. The vessel sank in 30 minutes. Of the 34 men who had formed the crew 22 were picked up by the Dutch steamship Alengib and landed at an Irish port. The chief engineer, Mr. H. Pearson, died from exposure during the time that the boats were adrift, and three others were lost from various causes. Another boat was piloted by an 18 year-old apprentice, Malcolm Morrison, for six days until close to land where she was picked up by a Norwegian vessel. Morrison worked out his course with a small compass and steered the boat himself, though suffering severely from frostbite. There were five men in the boat beside Morrison and all survived. (Court Line; 1924; Workman Clark & Co.; 4,915 tons; 396.6 x 53.1 x 26.5; 414 n.h.p. ; 11 knots; triple-expansion engines.)

17/11 1939

U.S. freighter Black Gull is detained by British authorities.

U.S. freighter Nishmaha, detained at Gibraltar since 11 November, is given option of submitting to further detention or proceeding to Barcelona and thence to Marseilles to unload items seized by British authorities. Nishmaha's master chooses the latter (see 23 November). On the same day the British allow Nishmaha to clear Gibraltar, however, they detain U.S. freighter Examiner and seize 11 bags of first-class mail (see 4 December). Freighter Black Condor, detained by the British at Weymouth, England, since 5 November, is released after part of her cargo and 126 bags of mail are seized.

The Dutch motor tanker Sliedrecht, with benzine and kerosene for Trondheim, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-28, about 200 miles S. of Rockall, with the loss of 26 lives. (Phs. Van Ommeren; 1924; Rotterdam Droogdok Maats.; 5,133 tons; 402.1 x 53.2 x 27-9; 489 n.h.p.; oil engines.)

The Lithuanian steamship Kaunas struck a mine and sank, about six and a half miles W.N.W. of the Noord Hinder Light. [Another report says that she was sunk by the German submarine U 57] (AB Lietnros Baltijas Lloydas; 1931; Porsgrund Mek. Verksted; 1,566 tons; 246.6 x 37.9x 18.2; 66 n.h.p. ; compound engines).

18/11 1939

The passenger liner Simon Bolivar, Capt. H. Voorspuiy, was on a voyage from Holland to Paramaribo when she struck a mine off Harwich. The liner carried 400 persons, passengers and crew. The explosion was of such violence that many persons on deck were killed, and Capt. Voorspuiy was mortally wounded and died very soon afterwards. The Simon Bolivar's masts were blown down and she began to settle by the stern, there being considerable difficulty in getting out the boats. The ship's radio was damaged by the explosion and the S.O.S. could not be sent out, nevertheless other vessels were quickly on the spot. About 15 minutes after the first explosion there came a second one which hastened the end of the ship, and badly damaged some of the remaining lifeboats. The evidence of the ship's officers was that the vessel struck two mines, one on the port side and one on the starboard, there being an interval of about a quarter-of-an-hour between the strikings. Survivors were taken either to Harwich or to London by passing ships. Throughout the night a search for survivors went on but no-one was found. The injured were taken to Shotley Naval Hospital and Essex County Hospital at Colchester. Later the Simon Bolivar sank by the stern with the loss of 84 lives. (Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomb. Maats.; 1927; Rotterdam Droogdok Maats.; 8,309 tons; 419.9 x 59.1 x 27.7; 856 n.h.p.; 14 knots; quadruple-expansion engines.)

The british steamer Blackhill (2,492t), on a voyage to Tees from Salta Caballo, was sunk by a mine in the Thames Estuary. One member of the crew died.

British steamship Stanbrook left Antwerp in ballast for the Tyne, 8 miles from her destination she was torpedoed by U 57. None of her crew of twenty survived. (Stanhope Steamship Co.; 1909; Tyne Iron Shipbuilding Co.; 1.383 tons; 230.1 x 34 x 21.8 ft; 163 nhp; p knots; triple-expansion engines.)

19/11 1939

Swedish steamer B. O. BORJESSON struck a mine and sank 4½ miles off Spurn Head near the Humber Lightvessel, English east coast, when on passage from Northfleet to Hull in ballast. Six of the 24 crew is lost. (Rederi AB Gefion; 1907; Akt. Ges. “Neptun”; 1.585 tons; 261.4 x 38.1 x 16.5 ft; 132 nhp; triple-expansion engines).

German submarine U-13 sank SS Bowling.

The British steamship Darino was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 41, off Cape Finisterre on a voyage from Oporto to Liverpool. Sixteen of her crew were killed. U 41 took on 11 survivors from the sunken Darino at 0200hrs. These survivors were transferred approximately ten hours later to an Italian steamer. (Ellerman Lines; 1917; Ramage & Ferguson; 1.351 tons; 236.3 x 36.5 x 17.1 ft; 203 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

British steamship PensiLva on a voyage from Durban to Dunkirk with 6.985 ton of maize, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 49 off the Bay of Biscay. (Chellew Navigation Co.; 1929; Burntisland S.B. Co.; 4.258 tons; 370.9 x 51.4 x 25.1 ft; 331 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

SS Torchbearer (1,267t) a collier bound for London from Seaham was sunk by a mine, off Harwich, with the loss of four of her crew.

20/11 1939

British Home Fleet submarines gain their first success in the Heligoland Bight when "Sturgeon" sinks German patrol ship "V-209".

U.S. freighter Excambion is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 27 November).

German submarine U 33 sank SS Delphine, Sea Sweeper & Thomas Hankins.

The first magnetic mines are parachuted into the Thames Estuary by the Luftwaffe. The minesweeper HMS Mastiff is blown up by a magnetic mine while attempting to recover it into a fishing net.

U-18 and U-57 both attacked a British destroyer in the North Sea, but without success.

The Danish Navy Supreme Command ("Søværnskommandoen") gives the orders to place mine fields in the Storebælt, between Langeland and Lolland, and in Lille Bælt between Als and Ærø.

German armoured ship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE returns to South Atlantic.

21/11 1939

British cruiser BELFAST is badly damaged in the Firth of Forth on a magnetic mine laid by "U-21". With her back broken and machinery mountings shattered she is out of action for three years.

U.S. freighter Express, detained by British authorities at Malta since 12 November, is released and allowed to proceed on her voyage after declaring the nature of her cargo.

U 33 sank SS Sulby & William Humphries.

U-41 sank SS Les Barges II.

U-20 laid 9 mines off Yarmouth, resulting in two ships sunk later that year.

Destroyer HMS Gipsy mined in the channel to Harwich. The Polish destroyer ORP Burzas took off the crew.

Japanese liner Terukuni Maru. Capt. Matsukura, with 28 passenger and crew of 177 struck a German mine one and a half miles off the Sunk Lightship. The explosion occurred in Nos. 2 and 3 holds and the vessel began to sink. Eight boats were lowered and 206 persons, including the pilot, were safely landed. The ship sank in 45 minutes. (Nippon Yusen K.K.; 1930; Mitsubishi Zosen Kaisha; 11.930 tons; 507 x 64 x 37 ft; 2.492 nhp; 16 knots; oil engines.)

German battleship GNEISENAU and SCHARNHORST leave Wilhelmshaven.

SS Geraldus (2,494t) steamer, on a voyage from Tyne to Bruges was sunk by a mine off the 'Sunk Lightvessel'.

22/11 1939

U.S. freighter Exmouth is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 5 December).

German merchant freighter ADOLPH WOERMANN (owned by German Africa lines, Hamburg, build 1922, 8577 ton). Sunk by the crew in the Atlantic Ocean, when the British destroyer Ajax requested them to stop. She was trying to return to Hamburg from Mombasa where she had taken on a number of passengers.

Minesweeping trawler HMS Aragonite mined in the English Channel off Deal.

The Greek steamship Elena R, struck a mine and sank off the Shambles, on a voyage from Rosario to Antwerp. [Also reported as sunk by the German submarine U 26]. (A. Roussos & Co.; 1917; Newport News S.B. & D.D. Co.; 4.576 tons; 370 x 53.2 x 27 ft; 471 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

The French steamship SS Arijon was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 43 in the Bay of Biscay. (Cie. De Navigation d’Orbigny; 1938; W. Gray & Co.; 4.374 tons; 410.8 x 55 x 22.7 ft; 553 nhp; triple-expansion engines. )

HMS NEPTUNE intercepts the German steamship ADOLPH WOERMANN.

23/11 1939

Armed merchant cruiser RAWALPINDI (Capt E. C Kennedy) on Northern Patrol is sunk by the  battlecruiser Scharnhorst as she and sister ship Gneisenau try to break out into the Atlantic. After the action to the southwest of Iceland, they turn back and return to Germany after avoiding searching ships of the British Home Fleet.

Soviet destroyer Groznyi stops Finnish ship Suursaari that is evacuating the outer islands. Suursaari is allowed to proceed after half an hour.

U.S. freighter Express, released from her detention at Malta on 21 November by British authorities, continues on her voyage to Greece, Turkey, and Rumania.

U.S. Consul at Gibraltar William E. Chapman declines to consent to execute agreement wherein the master of freighter Nishmaha (detained since 11 November) will agree to proceed via Barcelona, Spain, to Marseilles to unload cargo deemed contraband by the Gibraltar Contraband Control board (see 24 November). Secretary of State Hull subsequently (27 November) approves Consul Chapman's action with respect to U.S. merchantmen which left the U.S. with cargoes prior to the Neutrality Act of 4 November.

U-33 torpedoed SS Borkum. Total loss.

The magnetic mine dropped at Shoeburyness arrives at HMS Vernon. This marks a vital step in the battle against these particular mines, which are causing heavy losses and long delays. In November alone 27 ships of 121,000 tons are sunk and for a time the Thames is virtually closed to shipping.

24/11 1939

Swedish steamer IRIS (off.no: 768) stranded at Pater Noster,  Moonsund in the entrance to Tallinn when on a voyage Tallin - Riga. Crew saved. Later refloated and towed to Tallinn for temporary repair and then for own power to Varberg, Sweden where she was laid up.

German submarine U-16 sunk in the Strait of Dover. No more attempts are made to pass through the English Channel and U-boats are forced to sail around the north of Scotland to reach the Atlantic.

U.S. freighter Nishmaha, her master having signed agreement (see 23 November) under protest to proceed to Marseille, France, via Barcelona, Spain, clears Gibraltar.

SS Mangalore (8,886t) cargo ship, at anchor in the Hawke Roads, Spurn, was struck by a drifting mine and broke in two.

25/11 1939

American destroyer Yarnall (DD-143) drifts aground in Lynnhaven Roads; refloated that same day, she enters the Norfolk Navy Yard for repairs on 26 November. Yarnall had only been in commission since 4 October 1939.

The British steamship Royston Grange, on a voyage from Buenos Aires to Liverpool in Convoy SL-8B, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 28, about 50 miles S.W. of the Scilly Islands. (Houlder Line; 1918; Hawthorn, Leslie & Co.; 5.144 tons; 400.1 x 52.3 x 28.5 ft; 518 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

SS Uskmouth (2,483t) steamer, Sunderland to Southern France was sunk by torpedoes and gunfire from U-43 in the Bay of Biscay. Two of her crew died.

Ten die when the Polish liner SS Pilsudski (14,294t) a Polish liner under charter to the Royal Navy struck a mine and sank off the Humber.

26/11 1939

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee and tanker Altmark rendezvous in South Atlantic (see 27 and 29 November).

Belgian steamer QUENAST, at 04.15 foundered in heavy storm 3 m N of Noord Hinder lightvessel when on voyage Tees - Antwerp with salt. 3 casualties (5 crew members were salved by Belgian fishing boat B 24 ADELINE and Swedish steamer PARIS) (Armement L. Hermans S.A.; 1903; Bow, McLachlan & Co.; 509 tons; 165.5 x 28.2 x 12 ft; 78 nhp; Compound engines.)

27/11 1939

The Dutch liner Spaarndam, on a voyage from Tampico to Antwerp, struck a magnetic mine three miles east north-east of the Tongue light vessel. The vessel was ripped open as far as her upper deck and sank in shallow water, being only partly submerged. At just before midnight the wreck caught fire and continued to burn throughout the night. She burnt out, but later her cargo of cotton was salvaged. Seven lives were lost. (Nederlandsche-Amerikaansche Stoomv. Maats.; 1922; New Waterway S.B. Co.; 8,857 tons; 450.3 x 58.2 x 37.2; 880 n.h.p. ; 13 knots; turbine engines.)

On patrol off the Skaw, the British submarine HMS Triad became disabled due to fracture of her after hydroplane shaft. The British destroyers HMS Inglefield, and HMS Maori were sent to assist the sub.

U.S. freighter Effingham is detained at Ramsgate, England, by British authorities (see 7 December);

U.S. freighter Azalea City is detained at London (see 11 December). Freighter Excambion, detained at Gibraltar by the British since 20 November, is released.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee refuels from tanker Altmark in South Atlantic (see 29 November).

Swedish motor ship Gustaf E. Reuter struck a mine and sank 14 miles W.N.W of Fair Isle. [Also reported as sunk by the German submarine U 48, see below]. (Rederi AB Reut; 1928; Eriksbergs M.V.; 6.336 tons; 418.9 x 55.1 x 32.1 ft; 543 nhp; oil engines)
[At 00.30 hours, the unescorted and neutral Gustaf E. Reuter (Master O. Larsson) was hit in the foreship by one torpedo from U-48 14 miles west-northwest from Fair Isle. The U-boat had spotted the illuminated tanker and a destroyer four hours earlier and missed the ship with a first torpedo at 23.32 hours on 26 November. The drifting tanker was found off Sumburgh Head by HMS Kingston Beryl (4.03) that took off eight survivors and transferred them to the tug HMS St. Mellons (W 81) from Kirkwall, which then took the ship in tow by the stern. The next day a gale parted the tow and broke off the bow of Gustaf E. Reuter. The master and 18 crew members were landed at Lerwick by the tug and were joined by 14 survivors who were rescued by the Lerwick lifeboat Lady Jane and Martha Ryland. The stern section had to be scuttled by a British warship, probably HMS Kingston Beryl, on 28 November.]

German battleship GNEISENAU and SCHARNHORST return to Wilhelmshaven.

28/11 1939

U.S. freighter Winston Salem is detained at Ramsgate, England, by British authorities (see 7 December).

German submarine U-47 fired one torpedo at cruiser HMS Norfolk, but failed to hit it.

29/11 1939 U-35 sunk in North Sea, in position 60.53N, 02.47E, by depth charges from destroyers HMS Kingston, Icarus & Kashmir. 43 survivors (No casualties).

USS Submarine S 38 (SS-143) is damaged by explosion of after storage battery, Olongapo, P.I.; four sailors suffer injuries.

U.S. freighter Nishmaha is detained by French authorities at Marseilles; her cargo (cotton, paraffin and beef casings) is held pending the decision of the Contraband Committee in London (see 8 December).

U.S. freighter Extavia is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 14 December).

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee re-embarks from accompanying tanker Altmark all British merchant marine officers from the six ships that the "pocket battleship" has sunk up to that point. The officers are to be taken back to Germany; the crewmen remain imprisoned on board Altmark (see 16 February 1940).

U-20 sank SS Ionian (3,114t) in Convoy FN-43. India to London and Hull (Another source said: was sunk by a mine off the Newarp Lightvessel in the North Sea.

30/11 1939

USSR invades Finland, which will receive not only American aid but British and French as well; the Finnish struggle (albeit against an initially inept Soviet invasion force) arouses the admiration of many (see 14 December).

Soviet destroyer Steregushtshij captures Finnish steamer Auvo on way from Tallinn.

USS Destroyer Reuben James (DD-245) is damaged by grounding, Lobos Cay, Cuba.

U.S. freighter Extavia, with cargo destined for Istanbul, Turkey, and the Piraeus, Greece, is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.

SS Sheaf Crest (2,730t) steamer, Tyne to London, was sunk by a mine in the Thames Estuary.

1/12 1939

The Soviet cruiser Kirov together with destroyers Smetlinyi & Stremitelnyi bombard the coast artillery battery at Russarö on the southern Finnish coast. After a brief exchange of fire, Russarö's 234-mm guns score a hit on Kirov, and the Soviets withdraw. Kirov loses 17 KIA and some 30 WIA, while the Finns suffer no losses.

The Norwegian airforce at Sola outside Stavanger, got a message which said that a unknown warship towing a submarine had entered Skudesnesfjorden, just North of Stavanger. A MF 11 seaplane from "Marinens flyvevåpen" started searching for the "visitors"  The weather was really bad, but after a while, Leutnant Bjørn Fraser spotted 2 British destroyers and a submarine in Mastrafjorden.  Norwegian navy vessels were sent into the fjord shortly afterwards. One of the British officers claimed they had the right to enter Norwegian waters for protection, as they were rescuing another ship...... The Norwgian Navy decided to give them 48 hours to repair the submarine at Rosenberg Mek. verksted in Stavanger. The crew of HMS Triad soon realized that they couldn`t repair it completely in Norway, so again HMS Inglefield took the sub under tow. They arrived in Rosyth 4-12-39

USS Submarine Division 14 arrives on the Asiatic Station, the first modern reinforcements received by the Asiatic Fleet in many years. Submarines comprising the division are Pickerel (SS-177) (flag), Porpoise (SS-172), Perch (SS-176), Pike (SS-173), Tarpon (SS-175) and Permit (SS-178).

Norwegian steamer ARCTURUS  torpedoed by German U-boat U- 21 east of Peterhead, UK on voyage London-Stavanger with coal. 9 men died. 8 survived after british planes spotted their raft and called up a nearby Danish vessel, who rescued them and took them to Fredrikshavn, Denmark. (Bergens Mek. Verksted, Solheimsviken, Bergen (#166) as cargovessel ARCTURUS to Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Bergen (1277 grt).

U-31 sank SS Mercator.
2/12 1939

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee stops British freighter Doric Star (10.086 grt/1921, Blue Star Line) the warship then torpedoes, shells, and sinks the merchantman at 19°15'S, 05°05'E.

German liner Watussi is scuttled by her crew after she is spotted by a Junkers-86 of 15 Squadron of the SAAF which directs the cruiser HMS Sussex to intercept. Watussi had been acting as a supply ship for German surface raiders.

SS San Calisto (8,010t) tanker, Hull to Houston, Texas, was sunk by a mine off the Tongue Lightvessel.

3/12 1939

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee stops British freighter Tairoa (7.983 grt/1920, Shaw Savill & Albion Co.) the warship then sinks the merchantman at 21°30'S, 03°00'E. Ironically, the same day Commodore Commanding South Atlantic Station, Commodore Henry H. Harwood, orders his three cruisers to concentrate off the River Plate estuary on 12 December (see 13 December).

U-31 sank SS Ove Toft.

SS Moortoft (875t) steamer, lost by an unknown cause in the North Sea after leaving the Humber for Calais. All thirteen of her crew died.

4/12 1939

German submarine U-36 sunk by HMS Submarine SALMON at pos. 57 00 00 N, 05 20 00 E, off Heligoland.

Returning from the hunt for the German battle-cruisers after the sinking of RAWALPINDI on the 23rd November, battleship NELSON is damaged by a mine laid by U-31 off Loch Ewe, northwest Scotland.

U.S. freighter Examiner, detained at Gibraltar since 17 November by British authorities, is released.

Norwegian steamer PRIMULA (1.026 grt / 1918). Torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-31, about 120 miles East of Stonehaven in a pos. 57.15 N, 01.50 E. She vas on apassage from Oslo to England in ballast. Eight of her crew were killed.

Norwegian steamer GIMLE departed West Hartlepool at 08:00 in the morning of Dec. 3-1939 with a cargo of coke nuts for Gothenburg. Torpedoed (near No. 3 hatch) and sunk by U-31 (Habekost) on Dec. 4 (half an hour after midnight) in 57 15N 01 50E. She listed heavily to starboard, all the lights went out, starboard lifeboat was gone, but the crew was able to get away in the port boat. The captain jumped overboard and was fished up by the boat, which also found another 2 men in the water, and a little later the motorboat was found with 1 man on board, as well as the raft with yet another man. 3 were missing and could not be found in the dark. The motorboat was damaged so 13 gathered in the lifeboat, while taking the raft in tow, having placed 3 men on it after the lifeboat had been found to be too heavy with all 16 in it. Several of them had not had the time to get properly dressed, so they were practically naked in the boat and had to sit barefoot in the ice cold water which collected in the bottom. By the time they were rescued they had developed large sores, and were very swollen. Due to stormy weather with heavy seas the tow kept breaking so the 3 on the raft were moved to the lifeboat in the afternoon of the 5th, while the raft was let go and they dropped a sea anchor. The next morning the weather had improved and they set sail for the English coast. At least 14 vessels had passed them but to their despair they were never seen, in spite of their signalling, until on Dec. 7 they were rescued by Norwegian steamer Rudolf and taken to Arendal, Norway. (Another source says that steamer Janna picked up the survivors from Gimle).

SS Horsted (1,670t) on a voyage from London to Sunderland, struck a mine and sank SE of Flamborough Head.

5/12 1939

Estonian steamer AGU departured from Tyne on voyage to Gothenburg with cargo of coal. Not heard of after this date. Her crew was 19 men. (Ed. Lass; 1885; W. Gray & Co.; 1,575 tons; 261,5 x 36,8 x 18,2; 173 n.h.p.; compound engines.)

U.S. freighter Yaka is detained at the Downs by British authorities (see 6 December).

U.S. freighter Exochorda is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities, who maintain that the 45 tons of tin plate among the vessel's cargo is contraband. The latter maintain that the cargo must be taken to Marseilles and unloaded there; the manager of the shipping firm (Export Lines) maintains that the ship cannot proceed to a belligerent port without violating the Neutrality Act. Until the impasse is resolved, the merchantman remains at Gibraltar (see 13 December). Freighter Exmouth, detained at Gibraltar since 22 November, is released.

U-28 laid 12 mines in the Bristol Channel, later resulting in the sinking of one ship.

U-59 laid 9 mines off Cockle lightship off Lowestoft, which later resulted in the sinking of two ships.

U-47 sank SS Navasota in Convoy OB-46.

German freighter USSUKAMA intercepted by the British warship AJAX and CUMBERLAND and scuttled by her own crew.

6/12 1939

Finnish submarine Saukko and three MTB's move to Koivisto. Minsk and two destroyers Saarenpää island off Koivisto.

U.S. freighter Yaka, detained at the Downs by British authorities the previous day, is released.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee refuels from tanker Altmark in South Atlantic, roughly 1,700 miles from Montevideo, Uruguay.

U-31 sank SS Agu & Vinga.

U-47 sank SS Britta.

U-59 sank SS Washington.

7/12 1939

Finnish VETEHINEN tries to attack Soviet icebreaker JERMAK, but attack fails due to poor visibility. Soviet Union declares unlimited submarine warfare in Finnish territorial waters, except Ahvenanmaa area.

U.S. freighters Effingham and Winston Salem, detained at Ramsgate, England, by British authorities since 27 and 28 November, respectively, are released; the latter proceeds to Rotterdam where her cargo of 2,782 bales of cotton is seized by British authorities.

U.S. freighter Exmoor is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 15 December).

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee stops and sinks British freighter Streonshalh (3.895 grt/1928, Headlam & Son) at 25°01'S, 27°50'W.

British steamer WHINTOWN (733 grt / 1919). Sank after collision with the British steam trawler LEO (181 grt / 1905) about four miles south of Haisboro Lightvessel. She was on passage from London to the Tyne in ballast.

SS Eskdene a ship built in 1934 (3,829t), with a cargo of timber, was reported to have been damaged by a mine or torpedo but was still afloat, seventy miles NE of the Tyne entrance. The tugs Hendon and George V, escorted by the sloop HMS Stork set off in mid afternoon of the 6th, and having to steam around minefields, eventually spotted the Eskdene at 07.00 on the 7th. The damaged vessel was a sorry sight, her stern was under water, she had a list to starboard, it appeared that it was only her deck cargo that was keeping her afloat and she had been abandoned. Three of the eight crew members of the Hendon, using the tug's boat, managed to rig a tow up to the two tugs and the tow started at 09.30. The escort at this time was an RAF plane, HMS Stork had left shortly before. The voyage to the Tyne was hazardous to say the least, they survived rain, fog, a gale that made the tow roll so badly that the speed had to be reduced to 1½ knots, their escort leaving them through the bad weather that nearly drove the vessels ashore and finally an explosion aboard the Eskdene. This happened in the morning of the 8th as they were nearing the Tyne entrance, as the stricken ship settled further down in the water, it was decided to make a dash for it, ultimately passing between the piers at 11.30 and finishing the task of beaching her at Herd Sands, South Shields at 15.30. The cargo was eventually unloaded and the Eskdene refloated and repaired.

In the North Sea, the destroyers HMS Juno and HMS Jersey were attacked by the German destroyers Erich Giese and Hans Lody which had been laying mines off Cromer. HMS Jersey was damaged by a torpedo and was towed into the Humber by the HMS Juno.

8/12 1939

German merchant freighter ADOLF LEONHARD owned by Leonhardt & Blumberg, Hamburg, build 1921, 2990 ton. Sunk by the crew on the height of Angola in position 130 S, 110 30' E.

Finnish submarine Iku-Turso tries to ambush Soviet steamer Ivan Papanin, but is lured by use of neutral flag. Finnish submarine Vesihiisi runs aground and remains in dock till Christmas.

Secretary of State Hull urges U.S. Chargé d'Affaires in the United Kingdom Johnson to urge the Contraband Commission in London to release U.S. freighter Nishmaha (then at Marseilles, France), which has been held 25 days "a most unreasonable detention" (see 19 December).

U.S. Consul General in Hamburg Keblinger reports that German prize control authorities are detaining more than 125 neutral ships in German ports: at least 40 Swedish, 12 Danish, 5 Norwegian, 40 Finnish, 14 Estonian and 14 Latvian, comprising practically all neutral vessels clearing Baltic or Scandinavian ports with cargoes of goods that are on the German contraband list (see 27 December).

The Belgian ship Adour struck on some rocks and sank at Iles de Glenan near Brest. (Cie. Nationale Belge de Transports Maritime; 1898; Akt. Ges. "Neptun"; 1,105 tons; 233 - 6 x 35 - 1 x 14 - 2; 92 n.h.p.; triple­expansion engines.)

USA protests at the British blockade of Germany, saying it interferes with the right of neutral nations to trade freely.

SS Corea (751t) steamer, Humber from Boulogne hit a mine and sank off Cromer. Eight of her crew died.

9/12 1939

U.S. freighter Explorer is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 23 December)

German tanker Nordmeer sails from Curaçao, N.W.I. (see 5 January 1940).

U-20 sank SS Magnus.

U-48 sank SS San Alberto in Convoy OB-48.

U-47 attacked a British destroyer in the North Atlantic, but without success.

German freighter ADOLF LEONHARDT is intercepted by the British warship SHROPSHIRE and scuttled by her own crew.

10/12 1939

Saarenpää battery, Finland shelled by Soviet Oktjabrskaja Revolutsija. Finnish Saukko tries to attack, but freezing of air vent prevents. Estonian steamer Kassari sunk by gunfire of Soviet submarine  Shtsh 323 between Utö and Hiidenmaa. Shtsh 322 torpedoes a merchantmen off Helsinki, probably German Reinbeck. German s/s Bolheim sunk by sub. S 1 in Gulf of Bothnia.

U.S. freighter Steel Engineer is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 11 December).

U-20 sank SS Willowpool (4,815t) & Føina. Bona, Algeria to the Tees, (Another source said that WILLOWPOOL hit a mine and sank E of Newarp Lightvessel).

11/12 1939

U.S. freighter Azalea City, detained at London by British authorities since 27 November, is released to proceed to Antwerp, and Rotterdam, Holland, after certain cargo is detained for guaranties. Freighter Steel Engineer, detained at Gibraltar by the British the previous day, is released.

U-38 sank SS Garoufalia.

12/12 1939

HMS DUCHESS. Destroyer, sinks after a collision with battleship HMS BARHAM, 9 miles off the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland.

Finnish steamer Wilpas sunk in Gulf of Bothnia by gunfire of Soviet submarine Shtsh 311 after the ship had run aground. Finnish Vetehinen tries again attack Soviet icebreaker Jermak, but arrives too late.

U-59 sank SS Marwick Head.

Destroyer HMS Duchess collides with battleship HMS Barham & sinks nine miles off the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland.

U-13 laid a mine barrier off the Firth of Tay, which later claimed one ship sunk.

13/12 1939

Swedish motor tanker ALGOL mined and sunk off Falsterbo on a voyage Stockholm – Gothenburg in ballast, she was later refloated and repaired.

A violent explosion occur on board on the Swedish Coast Defence ship MANLIGHETEN off Gothenburg, and 6 men of her crew is killed and many injured.

U.S. freighter Exochorda, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 5 December, is released.

British submarine SALMON torpedoes and damages the German cruisers LEIPZIG and NURNBERG in the North Sea as they cover a destroyer mine laying operation off the Tyne Estuary, north east England.

British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter, light cruiser HMS Ajax, and New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Achilles (Commodore Henry H. Harwood, RN, flag in Ajax), which had rendezvoused the previous day, engage German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate. The "pocket battleship" knocks Exeter out of action and damages her consorts, but is compelled by the damage inflicted by her lesser-gunned adversaries (which are fought, as First Lord of the Admiralty Winston S. Churchill writes, "with the utmost resolution and skill") to retire toward Montevideo, Uruguay. Exeter, badly damaged, withdraws to the Falkland Islands (see 14 December.). The U.S. Navy studies the Battle of the River Plate from a perspective of drilling gunners to maintain fire by local (rather than a centralized director) control. To this end, a scenario similar to the River Plate engagement is included in an exercise in 1940. In addition, the Director of Fleet Training considers the "proper use of smoke either as a defense measure or as a means of covering movements of an attacking force" extremely important, and points out the demonstrable effectiveness of a smoke screen "as a means of protection for light forces" employed by Commodore Harwood in the battle with Admiral Graf Spee.

U-38 sank SS Deptford.

U-57 sank SS Mina.

Minesweeping trawler HMS William Hallett mined & sunk off the Tyne.

Swedish motortanker ALGOL mined and sunk at Falsterboleden, Sweden when on a voyage from Stockholm to Gothenburg in ballast. She was later refloated and repaired. (Trelleborgs Angfartygs Nya AB; 1937; Hamburg; 1.240 dwt.)

14/12 1939

Two Soviet 'G'-class destroyers, Gnevnyi and Grozjastshij, approach Utö fortress, Finland. Fortress opens fire at 11.40 hours, and one of them is damaged.

The SS INDIGIRKA ran aground off Sarufutsu Japan with the loss of 745 lives and the Battle of River Platte was fought. The Indigirka was a "Lake"-series cargo ship built in 1920 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin as the Ripon. It was acquired in 1938 by the Soviet NKVD and moved to the Far East. It departed Magadan on 8 December 1939 with 39 crew, 144 fishermen, 105 members of their families, 50 prisoners under guard, and 835 prisoners with deep technical skills freed by Stalin to work in the defense industry. (A.N. Tupolev, founder of the aircraft company, and S.P, Korolev, father of the Soviet rocket program were supposed to be on the ship but there wasn't sufficient room for them so they were left behind.)
The ship, under the command of Sea Captain Nikolai Lavrentevich Lapshinym, was traveling to Vladivostok when at 0220 it ran aground on Toda reef near the entrance to La Perouse strait, just off the town of Sarufutsu, Japan. The crew quickly abandoned ship. The prisoners in the holds attempted to escape but were forced back by a guard's rifle fire. Then the ship listed on its starboard side and the hatch covers went under water. Four members of the crew were killed when their lifeboat crashed against the ship and the other 35 were rescued by the Japanese ferry Karafutu Maru. Most of the fisherman and their families were rescued. But the Japanese were unaware that there were people in the hold until 16 December when they cut into the ship using acetylene torches. By that time, all but 28 people in the holds had tied, many but by cutting their own throats. In all, 741 passengers -- mostly the prisoners in the holds -- died in the incident. The captain and three other officers were convicted of negligence and sentenced to prison (and may have been executed.) BTW, the model of the Indigirka in the Vladivostok maritime museum is of the wrong ship and most western accounts of the incident also mention the wrong ship.

German escort ship F9 torpedoed by HM submarine Ursula off Heligoland during the sub's attack on the cruiser Leipzig, which was its intended target. Leipzig had the day before, along with Nurnberg, been damaged by HM submarine Salmon.

USS Heavy cruiser Vincennes (CA-44) and destroyers Evans (DD-78) and Twiggs (DD-127) (the latter destroyer having shadowed British destroyer HMS Hereward a short time before) trail Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth which is prowling the Gulf of Yucatan waiting for the emergence of German passenger liner Columbus. The Americans maintain such a close and persistent surveillance of the Australian warship that Perth's commanding officer, Captain Harold B. Farncomb, RAN, is said to have remarked in exasperation, "Queer idea of 'neutrality' these Americans have!"

Eriksbergs M.V. AB., Gotheburg launch tankmotorship VARDEFJELL 12.800 ton d.w. ordered by A/S Filefjell Oslo, Norway.

German freighter Arauca departs Vera Cruz, Mexico, followed subsequently by passenger liner Columbus, the third largest ship in Germany's merchant marine. Destroyer Benham (DD-397), soon joined by destroyer Lang (DD-399), trails Columbus. A succession of U.S. ships will, over ensuing days, send out plain-language position reports (see 15-20 December).

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee puts in to Montevideo, Uruguay, for repairs. British light cruiser HMS Ajax and New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Achilles maintain patrol off the 120-mile wide River Plate estuary. British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland reinforces Ajax and Achilles that night.

Interior Department motorship North Star (U.S. Antarctic Service), with the permission of the British government, visits Pitcairn Island to take on water and discovers the islanders in need of certain foodstuffs and medical supplies, which she provides. The provisions include flour, sugar, potatoes, matches, lard, gasoline and lubricating oil. The supplies will be replaced in New Zealand with funds turned over to Rear Admiral Byrd by the Chief Magistrate.

U.S. freighter Extavia, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 29 November, is released.

The trawler James Ludford on Admiralty service, was mined and sank off the Tyne at 55°02'30"N - 01°16'15"W in 44 metres of water on colliery spoil.

SS Inverlane a tanker (9,141t) built in 1938, on a voyage from Abadan to Invergordon, was under way in the North Sea, her reported position was 55°05'00"N - 01°07'00"W, when a huge explosion, thought to be caused by a German mine, ripped through her hull. Four of her crew were killed and many more injured, the ship was abandoned and left to sink, but she drifted through stormy seas for 36 hours, to eventually appear on the shore at Seaburn. The Inverlane burned for five days and was used as a marker by German bombers searching for the entrance to the Tyne. When a salvage team got aboard, as the stern had settled on a sandy bottom, it was decided that the fore section (over 300ft) could be refloated. This was done and it was first taken to South Shields and then to Blyth to be converted into a blockship. Over 3,000 tons of rubble and stone were put into the hull, which was then towed up to Scapa Flow to be sunk in Burra Sound, where she lies to this day. The stern section lies, off Seaburn in 10 metres of water, with parts of her awash at low spring tides.

In the afternoon of the 14th, the tanker SS Atheltemplar (8939 tons) and built in 1930, struck a mine and was lying helpless eleven miles off the Tyne. The tugs Joffre and Langton, lying at Blyth and the tug Great Emperor from the Tyne, set off to help the tanker, they were met by the destroyers HMS Kelly and HMS Mowhawk acting as the escorts. It was 16.30 and nearly dark when the Atheltemplar was reached, her stern was high out of the water, her forecastle was awash and she was rolling badly. A short distance away another tanker SS Inverlane (9141t) and built in 1938 had also struck a mine and was lying derelict. Whilst deciding what course of action to take, over the casualties, the Kelly then had the misfortune to hit a mine. Meanwhile the tugs Joffre and Langton were having difficulty in making fast the tow for Atheltemplar until some of the Mowhawk's crew boarded the tanker to lend a hand. This done, the tow commenced, they reached the Tyne entrance at 23.00, only to be told not to enter, so they towed the stricken ship another two miles to a location between the river entrance and Souter Point and stayed there throughout the night. The following morning brought dense fog and by mid-day it was thought to be too risky to bring the tanker into the Tyne so it was decided to beach her south of the river. With the assistance of two more tugs, the Great Emperor and the George V the task was completed by 19.15, the tugs standing by again throughout the night in case she refloated. The Joffre and Langton were not yet finished with the Atheltemplar for after some of her load was recovered and the ship lightened, she was able to be towed by them into the Tyne where the rest of the cargo was salvaged and the ship then towed to a repair yard. The Kelly was to be taken in tow by the Great Emperor, after the tow was made fast it was found possible to maintain a speed of about three knots. Reaching the Tyne just before mid-night, with the assistance of the tugs Robert Redhead and Washington, the Kelly was taken to her builders, Hawthorn-Leslie's shipyard, for repairs.

15/12 1939

Swedish steamer URSUS, on voyage from Uddevalla to Rochester torpedoed in south west North Sea. 9 men killed. 11 men rescued by Dutch steamer BRINDA and taken to Rotterdam. [Another source says she struck a mine about seven miles off the Thames Estuary] (Red. AB. Ursus, Gothenburg; 1902; A.G. Neptun; 1500 grt; 260.6 x 37.2 x 17.1 ft; 136 nhp; triple-expansion engine.)

USS Destroyer Jouett (DD-396) relieves Benham (DD-397) at sea; the latter attempts to locate German freighter Arauca, while Jouett joins Lang (DD-399) in shadowing passenger liner Columbus.

British RFA oiler Olynthus refuels light cruiser HMS Ajax at Samborombon Bay, off the coast of Argentina; heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland covers the evolution lest German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee should attempt to sortie.

U.S. freighter Exmoor, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 7 December, is released.

U-48 sank SS Germaine.

Norwegian steamer Strindheim (321 tons), struck a mine off the entrance to the Tyne and subsequently sank on a seabed of shale and colliery spoil, 155ft deep at 55°02'37"N - 01°17'35"W. .

Belgian steamer Rosa (1,146 tons), struck a mine and sank, 8.3 miles from St Mary's Island at 55°01'42"N - 01°13'00"W.

Norwegian Steamship Ragni struck a mine and sank off the mouth of the Tyne, with the loss of six lives. (D/S A/S Alf Lindøs Rederi; 1919; Campbeltown S.B. Co.; 1.264 tons; 229.4 x 35.8 x 15.5 ft; 142 nhp; triple-expansion engines).

Norwegian steamer H.C. Flood struck a mine and sank in the North Sea off the Tyne, at 55°02'00"N - 01°12'00"W. (D/S A/S Falkeid; 1917; Bergens Mek. Verksted; 1.907 tons; 266.9 x 42.1 x 18 ft; 162 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

16/12 1939

USS Destroyers Schenck (DD-159) and Philip (DD-76), soon joined by Lea (DD-118), relieve destroyers Jouett (DD-396) and Lang (DD-399) in trailing German passenger liner Columbus off Key West, Florida. Jouett and Lang steam to join destroyer Davis (DD-395) in attempting to locate freighter Arauca. Schenck soon proceeds on other assigned duties.

British light cruiser HMS Ajax, heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland and New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Achilles patrol off River Plate estuary; Ajax's Seafox reconnoiters the area.

The German pocket battleship Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew, ending the World War II Battle of the River Plate off Uruguay.

Swedish steamer LISTER Torpedoed and sunk by the german submarine u 59 in the Nort Sea about 130 miles off Newcastle, when on a voyage from Skutskar to Antwerp with a cargo of wood. Crew saved. (Rederi AB Falkvik, Sölvesborg; 1928; Solvesborgs Varf; 1 362 grt).

Norwegian steamer GLITREFJELL torpedoed and sunk by U-59 (Jürst), at 56 21N 00 38E (east of St. Abb's Head), when on a voyage from Oslo to the Tyne in ballast. 5 died. The 13 survivors were rescued by a Greek ship some hours later and taken to Leith. (A/S Rudolf; 1934; Porsgrund Mek. Verksted; 1.568 tons; 246.6 x 37.9 x 18.2 ft; 109 nhp; Compound engines & L.P. turbine.)

The trawler Sedgefly (520t) on HM service hit a mine and sank, 1 mile off the Tyne.

The armed trawler Evelina (202t) on Admiralty service was mined off the Tyne. She was built in 1919.

SS Amble (1,162t) hit a mine and sank off Sunderland.

17/12 1939

USS Destroyers Ellis (DD-154) and Cole (DD-155) relieve Lea (DD-118) and Philip (DD-76) of shadowing German passenger liner Columbus.

British RFA oiler Olynthus refuels New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Achilles off Rouen Bank, the southernmost channel of the River Plate estuary. Light cruiser HMS Ajax and heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland cover the evolution.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee, her allotted time in neutral Uruguayan waters for repair of damage received in the Battle of the River Plate having expired, and her crew transferred to freighter Tacoma, puts to sea from Montevideo, Uruguay, and is scuttled about five miles west-southwest of the entrance of Montevideo harbor, 35°11'S, 56°26'W. The destruction of Admiral Graf Spee comes, as First Lord of the Admiralty Winston S. Churchill later declares "like a flash of light and colour on the scene, carrying with it an encouragement to all who are fighting, to ourselves, and to our Allies" (see 30 December 1939 and 1 January 1940). Admiral Graf Spee had sunk nine British merchantmen during her cruise, totalling 50,089 tons of shipping. Not a single life had been lost in the process. In World War I, the famed German raider Emden had sunk 16 ships of 66,146 tons before her demise under the guns of Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney.

U.S. freighters Meanticut and Excalibur are detained by British authorities at Gibraltar (see 18 and 31 December, respectively).

Danish steamer Jaegersborg with a cargo of agricultural products left Copenhagen on 14/12 for Leith. Nothing more was seen of her. One body was washed ashore and another picked up on a raft. The reminder of her crew of 18 were never found. [Another report says that she was sunk of the German submarine U 59]. (A/S D/S Dannebrog; 1919: Stuhr’s Mask. & Skibs.; 1.254 tons; 238.7 x 36.2 x 13.4 ft; 83 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

Danish steamer BogØ struck a mine and sank 75 miles E. of May Island. Seventeen of her crew were lost. [Another report says that she was sunk of the German submarine U 59] (D/S Baltic A/S; 1920; Lloyd Royal Belge (Gt. Britain); 1.214 tons; 240.3 x 35.7 x 15.1 ft; triple-expansion engines)

SS Serenity (487t) a cargo ship on a journey from Methil to London, was bombed and sunk by German aircraft, E of Whitby.

18/12 1939

Götaverken AB, Gothenburg launch motortanker K. J. KNUDSEN, ordered by Knut Knutsen O.A.S., Haugesund, Norway.

USS Destroyers Greer (DD-145) and Upshur (DD-144) relieve destroyers Ellis (DD-154) and Cole (DD-155) of shadowing German passenger liner Columbus. Later that same day, heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa (CA-37) replaces the destroyers in trailing the passenger ship.

U.S. freighter Meanticut, detained by British authorities at Gibraltar the previous day, is released.

19/12 1939

British destroyer HMS Hyperion intercepts German passenger liner Columbus 450 miles east of Cape May, New Jersey; the latter is scuttled to prevent capture. Two crewmen perish in the abandonment. Heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa (CA-37) rescues Columbus's survivors (567 men and 9 women stewardesses) and sets course for New York City, the only U.S. port that can handle such a large and sudden influx of aliens.

British light cruiser HMS Orion intercepts German freighter Arauca off Miami, Florida; the latter puts in to Port Everglades to avoid capture. Destroyer Truxtun (DD-229) has trailed the merchantman at one point; destroyer Philip (DD-76) is present when Arauca reaches sanctuary. USAAC B-18 (21st Reconnaissance Squadron), however, witnesses the shot that Orion fires over Arauca's bow (in the attempt to force the latter to heave-to) splashing inside American territorial waters off Hialeah, Florida. Learning of this incident, Secretary of State Cordell Hull instructs U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James Joseph P. Kennedy to remind the British Foreign Office that, as neutrals, the American republics are entitled to have their waters "free from the commission of any hostile act by any non-American belligerent nation." The U.S. Navy eventually commissions Arauca as refrigerated storeship Saturn (AF-40).

U.S. freighter Nishmaha is free to sail from Marseilles to continue her voyage, but port conditions and weather prevent her from sailing as scheduled.

After the Soviet attack to Finland, Soviet battleship Marat tried to destroy Fort Saarenpää. However, the defenders claimed at least one artillery hit on Marat and the ship was forced to retreat with damages.

German passengership COLUMBUS was scuttled to avoid capture 420 miles S.E. of New York, having left Vera Cruz for Oslo. (Norddeutscher Lloyd; 1923; J. Schichau; 32.581 tons; 749.6 x 83.1 x 49.1; turbine engines.)

The British steamship City of Kobe struck a mine and sank near Cross Sands lightship off the River Humber. [Another report says that she was sunk by the german submarine U 60]. (Ellerman Lines; 1924; Ramage & Ferguson; 4.373 tons; 367.1 x 49.7 x 27.4 ft; 310 nhp; triple-expansion engines)

Danish steamship Jytte, en route for the Tyne, struck a mine and sank 18 miles off Souter Point, River Tyne. Eight survivors of the Jytte were landed at Tynemouth, two of them were taken to Preston Hospital, North Shields. (D/S Ove Skou A/S; 1884; J. Laing; 1.877 tons; 270 x 36.4 x 21 ft; 173 nhp; compound engines)

20/12 1939

Swedish steamer VEGA. On voyage to Antwerp with cargo of wood, Mined and sunk off Terscheiling. Crew saved by the Swedish steamer VENERN, and transported to Ymuiden. (Rederi AB. Falkvik, Sölvesborg; l 300 grt.)

USS Submarine tender Bushnell (AS-2), operating out of Tutuila, Samoa, as a survey ship under the auspices of the Hydrographic Office, completes Pacific Island surveys, having covered a total of 76,000 nautical square miles since commencing that work on 1 July.

Swedish steamer MARS, mined and sunk of the English east coast about 1 mile of Blyth at pos.55°03'48"N - 01°23'59"W in 90ft of water, on voyage Köpmanholmen – London .  7 men killed, 15 men saved. Nine survivors of the Mars were landed at North Shields. Four of the crew members were injured and were taken to the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Tynemouth. (Rederi AB. Iris, Stockholm; 1924; Bergens Mek. Verksted; 1 875 grt; 265.8 x 42.2 x 17.8 ft; 162 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

Swedish steamer ADOLF BRATT. Mined and sunk off Terschelling when on passage from Rotterdam to Gothenburg with a cargo of coke. The master, three crew members and the German pilot were killed. The remaining 17 crew were rescued by the Latvian steamer AUSEKLIS (1.309 / 1914) and landed at Hoek van Holland. (Angfartygs AB Adolf; 1924; Howaldtswerke; 1.579 grt; 263.1 x 37.1 x 14 ft; 128 nhp; triple-expansion engines)

USS Heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa (CA-37) disembarks scuttled German passenger liner Columbus's "distressed mariners" at Ellis Island, New York City.

USS Destroyer Twiggs (DD-127), on neutrality patrol in Yucatan Channel, relieves Evans (DD-78) of duty trailing British RFA tanker Patella.

German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee's former commanding officer, Kapitan zur See Hans Langsdorff, commits suicide at Montevideo, Uruguay.

U.S. freighter Exochorda arrives at Naples with the 45 tons of tin plate condemned by the British prize court at Gibraltar among her cargo, having been permitted to sail by her master's agreeing to ship the 45 tons of tin to Marseilles from Genoa. Another 100 tons of tin, however, consigned to a Swiss buyer, are put on the "detained list" and held in Genoa at the disposal of the British consul. That turn of affairs prompts U.S. Ambassador in Italy William Phillips, to take up the matter with the British Ambassador, who expresses his awareness of the "irritation and resentment...in American commercial and shipping circles" over the seemingly "arbitrary, careless, and casual" methods shown by the British contraband control people.

U.S. freighters Oakwood, bound for Genoa, Italy, and Executive, bound for Greece, Turkey, and Rumania, are detained by British authorities at Gibraltar (see 23 December 1939 and 3 January 1940, respectively).

21/12 1939

Swedish steamer CARL HENCKEL. Mined and sunk, on voyage Leith to Stockholm with cargo of coal, about 90 miles E Aberdeen. 10 men killed,  7 saved by the Norwegian steamer HOP. (Rederi AB  Henal, Helsingborg, 1882; Whitby; 1 380 grt)

Swedish steamer MERCIA, on a voyage from Sundsvall to England with a cargo of pulp, seized by the German Forces, taken to Stettin and confiscated. (Rederi AB Arild, Arild; 1897; West Hartlepool; 1 309 grt).

Swedish steamer BRITT, with cargo of pulp for England, Seized  in the North Sea, when on a voyage from Swedish port to Aberdeen, and taken to a German harbour, later confiscated by the Germans and renamed LEBA under German flag. (Kalmar Rederi AB, Stockholm, (1 688 grt).

USS Destroyer Twiggs (DD-127), on neutrality patrol in Yucatan Channel, continues trailing British RFA tanker Patella.

U-21 sank HMS Bayonet.

U-46 sank SS Rudolf.

Minesweeping trawler Dromio was lost in a collision with an unnamed vessel north of Whitby.

22/12 1939

British steamer LONGSHIPS. Stranded and broken in two at the Seven Stones.

USS Destroyer Philip (DD-76) relieves Twiggs (DD-127) of neutrality patrol duty trailing British RFA tanker Patella off east coast of Florida; while en route to Fort Lauderdale, Twiggs observes British light cruiser HMS Orion off Port Everglades and anchors to keep an eye on the British warship as the latter prowls the coast.

U-61 damaged SS Gryfevale.

Minesweeping trawler HMS Dromio sunk in collision off Whitby.

23/12 1939

U.S. freighters Explorer (detained at Gibraltar since 9 December) and Oakwood (detained there since 20 December) are released by British authorities.

U-31 sank HMS Glenabyn & SS Promotive.

SS Pandora renamed Dolphin (4,580t) was heading for Blyth under tow to start her new career as a submarine accommodation ship for the submarine base at Blyth, when she struck a mine at 55°06'05"N - 01°27'09"W. Much of the wreck still remains and lies 19 metres of water.

25/12 1939

The British steamship Stanholme, struck a mine and sank in the Bristol Channel. Thirteen men were killed, Capt. Hook and 12 others were rescued. [Another report says that she was sunk by U-33 at 51.20N, 03.39W.] (Stanhope Steamship Co; 1927; Burntisland Shipbuilding Co.; 2.473 tons; 298.5 x 43.9 x 21.2 ft; 259 nhp; triple-expansion engines.)

ASW trawler HMS Loch Doon hit a mine and sank, off Blyth, with the loss of fifteen of her crew.

26/12 1939

The Royal Navy starts laying a mine barrier from the Moray Firth to the Thames Estuary.

27/12 1939

Finnish submarine Vesihiisi lays 19 mines off Paldiski

U.S. freighter Oakwood, en route from Gibraltar to Genoa, is intercepted by French naval vessel and diverted to Villefranche after boarding officer mistakes notation in log as an order to proceed to Marseilles. Once the mistake is realized, the ship is released to proceed on her way within a few hours.

The Allies lobby Sweden and Norway for permission to ship unofficial aid to Finland through Sweden.

The German merchantman Glücksburg (2680 GRT) was intercepted by destroyer HMS Wishart & was run aground by her crew near the Chipiona Lightship, Spain.

28/12 1939

Götaverken AB, Gothenburg deliver motortanker ARISTOPHANES, ordered by A. S Onassis, Buenos Aires, for norwegian ownership.

At 1545, battleship HMS Barham was hit by a torpedo from U-30 off the Hebrides in 58°47N/08°05W & damaged.

Finnish motor tanker SIGRID was  heavely shelled by Russian submarine SC-311.

U.S. freighter Exilona is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.

Soviet submarine SC-311 sank Finnish steamer Wilpa by gunfire.

At 0400, ASW trawler HMS Barbara Robertson was shelled & sunk by U-30 about 35 miles northwest of Butt of Lewis.

British Grimsby Steam trawler ReserchE sunk six miles off Flamborough Head by U-15. Her crew of nine was landed in Grimsby the next day.

Danish steamer Hanne, struck a mine, laid on 20 December by U-22, about 1 mile E of Blyth Pier at 55°06'25"N - 01°29'14"W and sank in shallow water with the loss of fifteen lives. (D/S af 1937 A/S; 1905; Fredrikstad Mek. Verksted; 1.080 tons; 230.1 x 35.1 x 14.5 ft; 104 nhp; triple-expansion engines).

29/12 1939

U.S. steamship President Adams is detained at Port Said, Egypt, by British authorities. Cargo suspected of being contraband is discharged at Alexandria, Egypt.

30/12 1939

Uruguayan government gives German freighter Tacoma 24 hours to leave the port of Montevideo, deeming the ship an auxiliary war vessel since she had assisted various maneuvers of armored ship Admiral Graf Spee and embarked her crew when that warship was scuttled (see 1 January 1940).

HM Submarine Seahorse which had sailed from Blyth on the 26th December for a patrol in the Heligoland Bight, was sunk, presumably by German minesweepers.

31/12 1939

U.S. freighter Excalibur, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 17 December, is released.

At 19:47, SS Luna was torpedoed by U-32 & sank slowly by the stern.

British steamer Box Hill , St John, on a voyage New Brunswick to Hull, was sunk by a mine in the North Sea, off the Humber Lightship. All crew, 22, killed. (Surrey S.S. Co.; 1920; Hawthorn, Leslie & Co.; 5.677 tons; 450 x 55 x 26.4 ft; 548 nhp; triple-expansion engines)

?/12 1939

AB Fredrikstads Mekaniska Verksted launch a newbuilding for Rederi AB Kare, Stockholm. She is named Lena,

   
1940  
1/1 1940

AA cruiser COVENTRY is damaged in an air raid on the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland.

Finnish steamer Leo (1.243 grt) sinks in Turku harbour after bombing. Swedish steamer Fenris sunk in Swedish territorial waters in Gulf of Bothnia by gunfire of Soviet submarine Shtsh 311. Finnish submarine Vetehinen lays 20 mines off Juminda.

U.S. freighter City of Flint, her odyssey almost at an end, is damaged in collision with British steamship Baron Blytheswood. Repairs to City of Flint will keep her at Narvik, Norway, for another six days.

U.S. freighter Exeter is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.

Uruguayan government interns German freighter Tacoma at Montevideo as an auxiliary war vessel.

At 10:58, s/s Lars Magnus Trozelli was torpedoed and sunk by U-58 in the North Sea. The Norwegian s/s Ask picked the survivors up the same day.

German steamer JOHANN SCHULTE (5254grt) lost her propeller, went aground near Trondheim and her crew were rescued by a Norwegian steamer.

Sloop HMS HASTINGS collided with anti-submarine trawler BRADMAN (452grt) off Lowestoft at 2125, both reaching Sheerness at 1200/2nd with BRADMAN escorting HASTINGS.

Convoy HN.6 of four British, 17 Norwegian, eight Swedish, six Finnish and one Panamanian ship departed Bergen escorted by destroyers EXMOUTH, ECLIPSE, ENCOUNTER, ESCAPADE. On the 3rd, U.58 sank Swedish steamer SVARTON. Seven ships in the convoy detached to the west coast of Britain and the rest reached Methil without further incident on the 4th.

Convoy OG.13F of 25 ships was formed from OB.63GF out of Milford Haven escorted by destroyers WANDERER and WITHERINGTON, and OA.63GF out of Southend escorted by sister ships WOLVERINE and WHITSHED. WANDERER and WITHERINGTON were with OG.13F from the 1st to 3rd, when WANDERER joined HG.13F. Sloop ABERDEEN and destroyer WATCHMAN escorted the convoy from 30 December to 7 January. En route, 11 steamers from OG.13 joined OG.13F, which arrived at Gibraltar on the 7th.

German steamer TACOMA (8268grt) was interned at Montevideo by the Uruguayan authorities.

Convoy OA.64 departed Southend escorted by destroyers WITCH and WREN from the 1st to 3rd. Destroyers AMBUSCADE and VANESSA joined from the 3rd to 4th when the convoy dispersed.

Convoy OB.64 departed Liverpool escorted by destroyer VERSATILE and sloop DEPTFORD until the 4th.

2/1 1940 AA cruiser HMS Coventry damaged in a German air attack on the Shetland Islands.

Soviet submarine S.2 was lost on a mine laid by Finnish minelayer LOUHI off Market Island in the Sodra-Kvarken Passage into the Gulf of Bothnia.

3/1 1940

SS SVARTÖN, (Grängesbergsbolaget, Stockholm, 2 469 grt). Whith a cargo of iron ore for England. Torpedoed by the German submarine U-58, 12 miles NE of Kinnaird Head at pos. 57.48N, 01.47W off the Scottish northern coast. 19 men died, 11 saved.

Soviet submarine S 2 hits a mine and sinks at Märket. (S2 was sunk at Märket lighthouse while trying to cross into Gulf of Bothnia. Märket is located in the western part of the Åland islands between Finland and Sweden. The position of the lighthouse is 60.18,2N 19.08,2E.)

Paddle minesweeper BRIGHTON QUEEN was in collision with tug GANNET in the Imperial Dock at Rosyth at 0855/3rd.

Swedish steamer KIRUNA (5484grt) was lost to unknown cause in 45‑20N, 25‑10W.

Latvian steamer IRIS FAULBAUMS (1675grt) was seized in a German port, and renamed WALLY FAULBAUM in German service.

U.S. freighter Mormacsun is intercepted by British naval vessel and diverted to Kirkwall, Scotland, into the zone designated as a combat area. Freighter Nashaba is detained by British authorities at Gibraltar; freighter Executive, detained at Gibraltar since 20 December 1939, is released to proceed on her voyage to Greece, Turkey, and Rumania.

4/1 1940

U.S. freighter Exiria is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.

The German special ship 20 / Nerissa sink a Estonian steamer with torpedo and artillery in the North Sea.

German steamer QUITO (1230grt) departed Guayaquil, Ecuador, and arrived at Coquimbo, Chile on the 12th. The only German ship remaining at Guayaquil was steamer CERIGO (1120grt) which was later scuttled on 1 April 1941 and salved as 29 DE MAYO for Ecuadorian use.

5/1 1940

Swedish steamer FENRIS, (Sveabolaget, Stockholm, 484 grt). Sunk by gunfire from the Russian submarine SC-311, at international waters in north Kvarken. All crew saved.

The German tanker SS Nordmeer, which sailed from Curacao, Netherlands West Indies, on 9 December 1939, reaches Vigo, Spain.

Steamer ROTHESAY CASTLE (7016grt) went ashore off Sanaig Point, Islay; the crew were taken off by tug ENGLISHMAN.

ASW trawler HMS Kingston Cornelian sunk in collision with French SS Chella East of Gibraltar.

Anti-submarine trawler KINGSTON CORNELIAN (449grt, Skipper W Green RNR) was sunk in accidental collision with French liner CHELLA (8920grt) east of Gibraltar. One or more depth charges exploded in the water and all hands - one officer and seventeen ratings, were lost. CHELLA had to go into Gibraltar for repairs.

6/1 1940

S/S Frankenwald ended her days in the waters outside Ytre Sula in the Sognefjorden. The German vessel looses her control and drives straight in to Brattholmen, where the vessel quickly starts to take in water. Emergency signals are thereafter sent which are heard by Bergen Radio, and shortly after all electricity is gone. The crew are ordered  into the lifeboats and thereafter taken onboard by the fishing vessels who comes to assist and thereafter they are brought in to Bergen. First after the war has ended, Frankenwald gets visitors. Then by the Anda Brothers whom cuts of the propeller.

U.S. passenger liner Manhattan is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 7 January).

Armed merchant cruiser LAURENTIC, returning to the Clyde, went ashore southwest of Islay. Tug ENGLISHMAN was carrying some of the survivors of steamer ROTHESAY CASTLE (7016grt) and had to transfer them to a destroyer before she could assist.  However, LAURENTIC got off without assistance and proceeded to Belfast arriving on the 7th. She was under repair until 25 May.

HM submarine UNDINE built by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow. Sixth Submarine squadron, Blyth. Depth-charged by German minesweepers M1201, M1204 and M1207 in the Heligoland Bight.

British Tanker British Liberty, (8485 grt) – (British Tanker Co.) sank after hitting a British laid mine two miles off the Dyck Lightvessel, killing 21 of her crew.

SS City of Marseilles was damaged by a mine laid 12 Dec 1939 by U-13, 1.5 miles southeast of Tay Fairway Buoy, River Tay.
7/1 1940

U.S. freighter City of Flint departs Narvik for Baltimore, Maryland. For his "skill, fine judgement [sic], and devotion to duty" during City of Flint's ordeal, Captain Joseph A. Gainard, the freighter's master, will receive the Navy Cross.

U.S. passenger liner Manhattan, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities the previous day, is released

German freighter Konsul Horn escapes from Aruba and, disguised as a Soviet merchantman, manages to deceive U.S. Navy patrol planes from the Neutrality Patrol and British light cruiser HMS Enterprise (see 6 February).

British steamer TOWNELEY (2,888 grt) on voyage Tyne to Rouen was sunk by a mine near Margate.

British steamer CEDRINGTON COURT (5,160 grt) on voyage Buenos Aries to Hull with a cargo of wheat, hit a mine and sank NE of the North Goodwin Lightship.

Submarine HMS Seahorse sunk by German First Minesweeper Flotilla in a sustained depth charge attack at 54.19N, 7.30E, 39 crew lost.

French auxiliary sloop BARSAC (1145grt) was lost when she ran aground on the Isle of Onza near Vigo.

Submarine HMS Undine sunk in North Sea 20 miles SW of Heligoland Island by depth charges of German minesweepers M-1201, 1204 & 1207.

U-32 laid 8 mines off the Firth of Clyde without result.
8/1 1940 The British submarine HMS REGULUS presumed lost.

Steamers GITANO (3956grt) and TYNEHOME (628grt) collided in fog with the loss of TYNEHOME. Ten survivors were picked up by GITANO.

German submarine U.19 sank Norwegian steamer MANX (1343grt) in 58‑30N, 01‑33W. Thirteen crew were lost and six crew rescued. (See 9/1 1940)

German steamer SAO PAULO (4977grt) had departed Pernambuco on 16 November 1939 and arrived at Cabedelo the next day. Leaving there on 8 January, she safely arrived at Cuxhaven on 3 March.

9/1 1940

HM submarine STARFISH (S-class). Built by H.M. Dockyard, Chatham. Depth charged and sunk by German minesweeper M 7 in the Helgoland Bight, The crew survived to be taken prisoners-of-war.

U.S. freighter Western Queen is detained at Gibraltar for several hours by British authorities.

British steamer GOWRIE (689 grt) on voyage Hull to Aberdeen was attacked and sunk by german aircraft E of Stonehaven.

British steamer  MONTAUBAN (4,191 grt) was on a voyage from the Tyne to Marseilles with a cargo of coal, when she came ashore on the Saltscars near Redcar, there she was battered by heavy seas and broke up.

HM submarine SEA HORSE. Built by H.M. Dockyard, Chatham. rammed and had periscope standards knocked over by the British destroyer FOXHOUND. Sunk by German 1.Minensuchflottille in the Helgoland Bight.

The British ocean liner SS Dunbar Castle is mined and sunk off the southeast coast of England. It is feared that 152 people have lost their lives.

Steamer UPMINSTER (1013grt) was badly damaged by German bombing nine miles east of Hammond Knoll Light Vessel in 53‑03N, 01‑29E, and sank on the 10th with the loss of three of her crew . Attacks also damaged steamer NORTHWOOD (1146grt) off Whitby, steamer RECULVER (683grt) off Great Yarmouth,  and trawler CHRYSOLITE (251grt) eight miles NW by N of Smith Knoll Light Vessel. RECULVER was taken in tow by  trawler TAMORA (275grt).

At 0221, SS Manx was hit by one torpedo from U-19 off Kinnaird Head and sank within two minutes. Eight survivors managed to grab hold of an upturned lifeboat, but were scantily clad and in the stormy weather four of them gave up. After 8 hours the remaining four survivors were picked up by the Norwegian steam merchant Leka along with two men rescued from a raft.

Greek steamer TONIA CHANDRIS (3161grt) was lost when she ran aground off Unst. Tug ST MELLONS was sent to assist her and the crew was rescued by the Lerwick lifeboat.

German bombers of the FliegerKorps X attacked British shipping off Stonehaven, and sank steamers GOWRIE (689grt) four miles east of Stonehaven and OAKGROVE (1985grt) seven miles NW by W of North Leman Buoy. The entire crew of GOWRIE was rescued, but one man on OAKGROVE was lost. They also damaged Danish steamers IVAN KONDRUP (2369grt) east of Stonehaven and FEDDY (955grt) two and a quarter miles ESE of Aberdeen. Trawler THRIFTY (139grt) rescued the survivors from  IVAN KONDRUP.

10/1 1940

U.S. steamship President Van Buren, bound for Genoa, Italy, and New York, is detained at Port Said, Egypt, and subsequently discharges items of cargo, deemed as contraband, at Alexandria, Egypt, before being allowed to proceed.

The German destroyers Schmitt, Galster, Beitzen and Ihn between them laid another 240 mines in the Tyne approaches. The operation went off smoothly, but once again the now familiar engine problems affected the Ihn this time, she was escorted by the Beitzen, they made their own way home.
11/10 1940

Kockums Mek. Verkstad deliver motortanker BRACONDA to Ludvig G. Braathen, Oslo, she is the biggest ship untill now build by the yard..

USS Gunboat Charleston (PG-51) suffers damage when she runs aground at Colon, C.Z.

U.S. freighter Tripp is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.

British steamer KEYNES (1,705 grt), on voyage Southampton to Sunderland was sunk by German aircraft, N of Spurn Point. She had also been attacked earlier in the day by german aircraft.

Three German destroyers are bombed off Horn's Reef by RAF Coastal Command.

At 1632, SS Fredville (enroute to obtain a cargo of coal for Oslo) was torpedoed by U-23 about 100 miles east of the Orkney Islands and broke in two. The forepart remained afloat and five survivors left their lifeboats several times to go back on board and look for more survivors. The survivors were picked up by a Swedish ship and taken to Kopervik.

At 1100, tanker El Oso in Convoy HX-14B, struck a mine laid on 6 January by U-30 and sank six miles 280° from the Bar Lightship, Liverpool. Three crewmembers were lost. The master and 31 crewmembers were picked up by HMS Walker & landed at Liverpool.

12/1 1940

Swedish steamer Dalarö (Rederi AB Rex, Stockholm) sunk after a explosion in the Atlantic Ocean W of Ireland. The ships captain Nils Werner Nilsson was killed by the explosion. The crew was saved by a belgian trawler, and landed at Ireland.

Swedish steamer SYLVIA, (Rederi AB Sylvia) lost in the North Sea. She departured 9 januari 1940 from Hull with a cargo of coal and general cargo for Gothenburg.

Interior Department motorship North Star (U.S. Antarctic Service) reaches Bay of Whales, Antarctica, and immediately begins discharging cargo to establish West Base. Ice conditions prohibit unloading at the original chosen site, King Edward VII Land.

British steamer GRANTA (2,719 grt) on voyage London to Blyth was sunk by a mine off the Wash. Ten of her crew were lost.

At 0650, SS Denmark was hit by one torpedo from U-23 when she was anchored in a Bay in the Shetlands. She exploded, broke in two and drifted ashore. On 21 January, the afterpart sank and the forepart was refloated, taken to Inverkeithing and used as storage hulk.
13/1 1940

Kockums Mek. Verkstad launch a 16.000 tons ­motortanker, B. P. NEWTON for Skibs A/S Navalis (Tschudi & Eitzen), Oslo.

Finnish Escort vessel Aura II is lost when own depth charge explodes in launcher while attacking Soviet submarine Shtsh 324.

U.S. freighter Narbo, bound for Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece, is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities. Freighter Tripp, detained at Gibraltar by the British since 11 January, is released, but not before some items of her cargo are seized as contraband.

The German steamer Albert Janus (1598 grt) leaves Vigo (Spain), but 80 miles W of  Vigo stopped of the French auxiliary cruiser Victor Schoelcher and sinks of the crew itself.

SS Sylvia sunk by U-20 NE of Aberdeen. All 20 crewmembers lost.

German submarine U-101 launched.

The icebreaker Georgy Sedov completes an 812-day expedition.
14/1 1940

Auxiliary Bear (AG-29) reaches Bay of Whales, Antarctica. Along with Interior Department motorship North Star, Bear will establish the two bases to be used in the U.S. Antarctic Service's 1939-1941 expedition under Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN (Ret.)

U.S. freighter Narbo detained at Gibraltar by British authorities the previous day, is released to continue her voyage to Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece, but not before some items from her cargo are removed as contraband.

The British  Destroyer Greyhound brings in the German freighter Phaedra (619 grt) as a prize.  She becomes registered in the "Ministry of War Transport" (MoWT) as Empire Sentinel.

15/1 1940

Eriksberg AB, Gothenburg deliver motortanker KOLLSKEGG, 15.500 dwt, ordered by Odd Bergs Tankrederi A/S., Oslo. The ship has been built in one of Eriksbergs floating dock.

Öresundsvarvet AB, Landskrona launch motortanker GLOMDAL, ordered by T. Lorentzen & R. Moltzau, Oslo. During fitting out it is sold to Rederi AB Dalen, Gothenburg

Japanese fishing schooner No. 1 Seiho Maru is stranded on reef off southeast coast of Guam, M.I. A detail of Guam Militia (12th Company) renders necessary assistance during salvage operations. USS Minesweeper Penguin (AM-33) rescues the 24-man crew. (see 21 January).

SS Gracia in Convoy OB-71 was damaged by a mine laid on 6 January by U-30 about 5 miles WSW of the Bar Lightvessel, Liverpool.

At 0013, SS Fagerheim was hit by one torpedo from U-44 about 80 miles SW of Quessant, broke in two & sank. The survivors were rescued and taken to Vigo, Spain.

At 0705 hours, the neutral Arendskerk was spotted by U-44 about 100 miles SW of Ouessant and tried to escape when the U-boat was sighted. It needed seven shots across her bow to stop the vessel. When the papers were checked it became clear that she carried contraband and the crew was ordered to abandon ship. At 1010, one torpedo struck in the engine room, breaking the ship in two. The afterpart sank, but the forepart remained afloat and had to be sunk 30 minutes later by 18 shells from the deck gun. The survivors were picked up by the Italian merchant Fedora,  transferred to the Dutch merchant Poelau Bras and landed at Lisbon.
16/1 1940

The British cruiser Kelvin and Kimberley are damaged in a collision in the North Sea.

At 1619, the unescorted SS Inverdargle struck a mine laid on 9 Nov, 1939 by U-33, broke in two &sank in the Bristol Channel SW of Nash Point. The master and 48 crewmembers were lost. The stern section lies in 51°16´31N/03°47´15W and the bow lies 1300 meters NE.

At 0611, the unescorted SS Panachrandos was hit by one torpedo from U-44 west of Brest, broke in two & sank within three minutes.
17/1 1940

U.S. passenger liner Manhattan and freighter Excambion are detained at Gibraltar by British authorities; the former is kept there for only a few hours before being allowed to proceed.

The Swedish ship Andalusia with a crew of 21 left Verdon for Gothenburg. She reported by wireless on January 21st, but was never heard of again. (Rederiakt. Svenska Lloyd; 1916; Oskarsharnns M.V. Aktieb.; 1,284 tons; 236,1 x 45,2 x 24,2; 204 n.h. p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

At 1700, SS Cairnross (Master Laurence Halcrow) in Convoy OB-74 struck a mine, laid on 6 January by U-30 and sank seven miles 276° from the Bar Lightvessel, Liverpool. The master and 47 crewmembers were picked up by HMS Mackay & landed at Liverpool.

At 1156, U-25 spotted two steamers 6-7 miles north of Muckle Flugga, Shetland Isles and fired one torpedo at 1235 hours that missed the first ship, the Enid. Ten minutes later, another torpedo was fired at the second ship, the Polzella, which was hit near the bridge and sank in 12 seconds with the loss of all men. The Norwegian ship went to her assistance and the order was given to lower the boats, but the U-boat surfaced and fired a shot across the bow to stop her. When the ship turned away they opened fire and after three shots the crew abandoned ship. Then the U-boat fired 21 rounds from the deck gun and hit seven times. At 1410 a coup de grâce was fired that broke off the forepart and caused the ship to sink. One part of the Norwegian crew reached land in their lifeboats, while the rest were rescued by a Danish ship of A. P. Møller & Co and taken to Las Palmas.

US passenger liner SS Manhattan & freighter SS Excambion are detained at Gibraltar by British authorities; the former is kept there for only a few hours before being allowed to proceed.

18/1 1940

Swedish steamer FLANDRIA mined and sunk on the night between 18 och 19 january about 100 miles off Ymuiden. All officers on board was killed. Of a crew of 21 only 4 is saved, (3 swedish and 1 russin stokker). The survivors was taken on board at the Norwegan steamer "BALZAC" after 48 hours on a raft.

German merchant freighter ALBERT JANUS owned by Seereederei Frigga, Hamburg, build 1928, 1598 ton. Sunk by her own crew 80 nm west Vigo, in order to escape British warships.

Two bombs from a Soviet plane hit Finnish icebreaker Tarmo in Kotka harbour. 39 men lost and 11 wounded.

German steamer August Thyrssen (2.373 reg.ton). mined and sunk at 1 miles NNO Understens Light house on the Sweedish East coast.

At 1625, SS Pajala was hit in the bow by one torpedo from U-25, after the ship had been spotted 20 minutes earlier together with an escort. A first coup de grâce at 1650 missed due to bad visibility, but the second at 1703 hours hit in the stern and caused the ship to sink 10 miles 072° from North Rona, Hebrides.

At 1126, MS Canadian Reefer was torpedoed & sunk by U-44 25 nautical miles east of Cape Villano.

At about 1745, SS Foxen was sunk by an explosion about 85 miles from Pentland Sound. The ship broke in two and sank within 90 seconds. On 24 January, the Norwegian steam merchant Leka picked up one survivor, another survivor was rescued earlier by another Norwegian ship, which took him to Bergen. There is no corresponding U-boat report since U-55 did not return from her patrol, but the likelihood is that she sank the Foxen.

At 2030, SS Patria was spotted on a southerly course by U-9 and was suspicious because no national markings could be seen from the distance of 500 meters. At 2223 & 2240, the U-boat fired one torpedo each, but missed with both. 30 minutes later, the Flandria was spotted & sunk with one torpedo at 2.53 about 95 miles north of Ymuiden before the Patria was hit underneath the bridge by one torpedo at 0145 hours on 19 January, which caused the ship to sink rapidly north of Ymuiden.

Belgian steamer MEUSE (Cie Nationale Belge de Transports Maritimes (Armement Deppe mgr), Antwerp, Belgium) at 6 a.m. lost in North Sea near Hairborough Sands when o/v Newcastle-Bruges with coal. Cause unknown - probably mined - no survivors - 12 crew lost. On 23/1 1940 a raft with four dead bodies was found by British ss LESTRIX. The bodies were buried at Gravexsend.
19/1 1940

Seven ships of the First Destroyer Flotilla was operating out of Harwich with six other ships of the Flotilla were returning from an operation off the Dutch coast when in calm weather a mine exploded, HMS Grenville quickly capsized. Her bow was the last part of the ship to disappear. Two ships from the Flotilla disregarded their safety and lowered boats to pluck 118 men from the water. Seventy-seven officers and crew lost their life in the sinking.

Swedish steamer Patria mined and sunk. 5 of the crew was saved by a Finnish steamer and landed at Helsingborg, Sweden. The was saved after 36 hours on a raft. Patria was mined 20 after she had left Rotterdam.

Finnish steamer Kaija (398 grt) sinks at Koivisto after air attack. Last Soviet submarines Shtsh 324 and S 1 leave Gulf of Bothnia waters.

USS Auxiliary Bear (AG-29) steams eastward to begin flight operations in the vicinity of Biscoe Bay; the ship's embarked Barkley-Grow floatplane (Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, navigator) reconnoiters Sulzberger Bay to determine leads in the ice to permit Bear's movement further to the east.

The British collier MILE END (859 grt) was on a voyage from London to Sunderland in ballast when she was in collision with the armed trawler FARADAY off the Tees at 54 43'18"N - 01 05'12"W. Five of her crew were killed.

SS Telnes sunk by U-55 NW of Orkneys.

At 2109, the unescorted SS Quiberon was hit in the stern by one torpedo from U-59 & sank within four minutes off Great Yarmouth.

20/1 1940

U.S. freighter Examelia is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 31 January); passenger liner Washington, bound for Genoa, is detained only a few hours before being allowed to proceed.

Tanker Caroni River struck a mine laid the day before by U-34 & sank in Falmouth Bay, while carrying out paravane trials and defensive armament tests. The master, 42 crewmembers, Cdr J.G. Bradshaw RN and eleven naval personnel were picked up by the Falmouth lifeboat and a naval cutter and landed at Falmouth.

SS Ekatontarchos Dracoulis sunk by U-44 at 40.20N, 10.07W.

At 2026, SS Miranda was hit by one torpedo from U-57 & sank within five minutes about 30 miles NW of Peterhead. The three survivors were picked up by a unknown vessel and taken to Kirkwall.

21/1 1940

Rederi AB Svenska Lloyd, Gothenburg report that there steamer ANDALUSIA probably have sunk. The steamer left 17 januari Bordeaux for a voyage to Gothenburg. She had a crew of 21.

German submarineU-22 sinks the Danish ship steamer TEKLA at 58.18N, 02.25W..

Searching for a reported U-boat off the Moray Firth, British destroyer EXMOUTH is torpedoed by U-22, with the loss of 189 men.

British destroyer GRENVILLE sunk in the North Sea.

USS Auxiliary Bear (AG-29) follows leads in the ice spotted on the 19th; the ship's Barkley-Grow floatplane flies over the northern limits of the Edsel Ford Mountains.

USS Minesweeper Penguin (AM-33) transfers 24 survivors of Japanese fishing schooner No. 1 Seiho Maru, stranded off the southeast coast of Guam, M.I., on 15 January, to Japanese freighter Saipan Maru.

British light cruiser HMS Liverpool stops Japanese passenger liner Asama Maru, 35 miles off Nozaki, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, and removes 21 Germans from the ship. All but nine are naval reservists, survivors of the scuttled passenger liner Columbus; the nine civilians are released. The incident further strains relations between Great Britain and Japan.

U.S. freighter Nishmaha is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 22 January).

Latvian steamer EVERENE (4,434 grt) was torpedoed and sunk by a U Boat in the North Sea, off Longstone Island, Farnes, at 55 42'21.5"N - 01 30'30"W.

The Yugoslavian destroyer Ljubljana runs in the harbor entrance of Sibenik on a rock and sinks.  It is lifted later and is repaired.

On 16 Jan, 1940, SS Andalusia departed from Bordeaux and sent out a last radio signal in the North Sea on 21 January early in the morning and went missing thereafter. It is believed that she was sunk by U-55, which did not return from her patrol

At 0936, SS Protesilaus struck a mine laid on 5 Dec, 1939 by U-28 in the Bristol Channel southwest of Swansea. The badly damaged vessel was beached in the Swansea Bay. The crew was rescued by the minesweeping trawler HMS Paramount & landed at Swansea. The Protesilaus was later refloated and towed to Greenock but declared a total loss. In September 1940, she was taken in tow by the British tug Empire Henchman and French tug Abeille 22 to Scapa Flow for use as a blockship, but on 13 September the ship sprung a leak and had to be sunk by gunfire about 5 miles northwest of the Skerryvore Lighthouse, Argyllshire.

At 2130, the unescorted SS Ferryhill struck a mine laid on 20 Dec, 1939 by U-22 & sank 1.5 miles north from St Mary's Lighthouse near Blyth. The master and eight crewmembers were lost. Two crewmembers were picked up by the minesweeping trawler HMS Young Jacob & landed at North Shields.

US freighter SS Nishmaha is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.

Italian liner SS Orazio catches fire off Barcelona. 104 aboard the ship die. French destroyers rescue survivors.
22/1 1940

Rederi AB Svenska Lloyd’s motorship GOTHIA torpedoed by the German submarine U-51, 30 miles SW of St. Kilda. Three men killed by the explosion. The rest of the crew was going into two lifeboats, one of the boats with 11 men landed at the Scottish NE coast, but the other boat with 9 men is missing.

Light cruiser Helena (CL-50) arrives at Buenos Aires, Argentina, on her shakedown cruise (see 29 January).

U.S. freighter Excellency is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 23 January); freighter Nishmaha, detained there the previous day, is released.

SS Songa sunk by U-25.

U-55 sank SS Segovia.

SS Sydvold sunk by U-61.

US freighter SS Excambion, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 17 January, is released to proceed on her voyage to Genoa, Italy, but not before 470 sacks of mail (bound for Germany and Italy) are seized; freighter SS Excellency, detained at Gibraltar yesterday, is also released.

SS Varild sunk by U-18.

At 2213, SS Onto struck a mine laid on 8 January by U-56 & sank within minutes 2.7 miles 251° from Smith’s Lightvessel, Cross Sand. A British destroyer and a Greek steamer rescued all hands.

At 0843, the unescorted SS Baltanglia was torpedoed & sunk by U-19 SE of the Farne Islands. The master and 27 crewmembers landed at Seahouses, Northumberland

At 0855, SS Pluto was hit amidships by one torpedo from U-19 & sank by the bow after 14 minutes east of Longstone Island. The survivors were picked up by a Finnish vessel and taken to Seahouses.

23/1 1940

USS Destroyer J. Fred Talbott (DD-247) arrives at Wreck Bay, Galapagos Islands, to assist U.S. tuna boat City of San Diego (see 24 January).

U.S. freighter Excambion, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 17 January, is released to proceed on her voyage to Genoa, Italy, but not before 470 sacks of mail (bound for Germany and Italy) are seized; freighter Excellency, detained at Gibraltar the previous day, is released.

Norwegian steamer PLUTO (1,598 grt) was sailing E of Longstone Island, Farnes when she was torpedoed by German submarine U-23 and sank at 55 33'24"N - 01 28'30"W.

Mines, laid by the German submarine U-56 8/1-40 near Cross Sand, sink the Finnish steamer ONTO (1.333 grt).

24/1 1940

Finnish steamer NOTUNG (Rederi AB Notung (Ernst Sohn), Helsinki, Finland. 1.278 grt / 1882) bombed and sunk by Russian aircraft East of Sottunga in the Aland archipelago.

Interior Department motorship NORTH STAR (U.S. Antarctic Service) departs Bay of Whales, Antarctica for Valparaiso, Chile, for additional supplies and equipment to establish East Base. Construction of West Base commences immediately at the site chosen that lies at 78°29'06"S, 163°50'10"W, two miles from the edge of the ice barrier and five miles northeast of the site of Little America I and Little America II, the previous Byrd expedition bases. Until the main building is completed for habitation, the men live in regulation army tents (see 11 February).

USS Gunboat Erie (PG-50) joins destroyer J. Fred Talbott (DD-247) at Wreck Bay, Galapagos Islands, to assist U.S. tuna boat City of San Diego. The gunboat takes on board the craft's chief engineer (pneumonia) and sails the following day for Balboa, where the man will be transferred ashore for medical attention.

The French cargo ship Alsacien was sunk by the German submarine U-44 on a voyage from Tunis to Rouen at 39.01N, 09.54W. (Cie. des Bateaux àVapeur du Nord; 1923; Furness S.B. Co.; 3,819 tons; 363,3 x 52 x 23,4; 538 n.h.p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

SS Bisp sunk by U-23 at 60.47N, 04.34W.

25/1 1940

USS Auxiliary Bear (AG-29) (U.S. Antarctic Service) reaches 77°43'S, 143°52'W; it marks the deepest penetration by any ship into the Antarctic region.

British steamer BALTANGLIA (1,525 grt) was sailing north, E of Longstone Island, Farnes when she was torpedoed by a German U Boat and sank at 55 33'24"N - 01 28'30"W.

At 0230, SS Biarritz was torpedoed by U-14 36 nautical miles NW of Ymuiden. She sank quickly and only one lifeboat with 19 people set off. 26 crewmen and 11 passengers (among them several women) died. 21 survivors and three bodies were picked up by the Norwegian SS Borgholm, which sailed nearby and were taken to Ymuiden. Several passengers were sailors who had paid off their ships and were on their way home.

U-19 sank SS Everene five miles off Longstone Lighthouse, Farne Islands.

At 2130, Norwegian SS Gudveig (1.300 grt) was torpedoed & sunk by U-19 4.5 miles east of Longstone Lightvessel, north of Newcastle at 55 42'15"N - 01 30'30"W. Eight survivors were rescued and taken to Methil. Four of them probably by the Norwegian SS Vim.

SS Tourny sunk by U-44.

26/1 1940

USS Minesweeper Quail (AM-15) arrives at Palmyra Island with first construction party to begin building a naval air station there.

SS Durham Castle struck a mine laid by U-57 on 22 January off Cromarty & sank. The ship was in tow for Scapa Flow for use as an accommodation ship.

27/1 1940

U.S. freighter Cold Harbor, bound for Odessa, is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 30 January).

The Greek steamship Adamantios J. Pithis, Capt. Glykas, was wrecked near St. Ann's Head, Milford Haven. She was on a voyage from Rosario to Sharpness with grain. (Pithis Bros. & Co.; 1908; Napier & Miller, Ltd.; 4,537 tons; 385.2 x 51.2 x 26.4; 320 n.h.p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

At 2052, SS Fredensborg was torpedoed & sunk by U-20. The ship was sailing together with SS England, which was also torpedoed & sunk by the same U-boat at 2124.

At 2003, SS Faro was torpedoed by U-20 about 15 miles SE of Copinsay, Orkneys. She was taken in tow, later abandoned and was wrecked when drifted ashore in the Taracliff Bay near Copinsay the next day.

At 2313, SS Hosanger was torpedoed & sunk by U-20 15 miles SE of Copinsay Light. The ship was hit by one torpedo, lost the stern and sank within two minutes. The only survivor, Magnus Sandvik, managed to reach a raft with four others, but his shipmates froze to death while a British destroyer picked him up after about 15 hours. A line was thrown down on him, but he was not able to fasten it around himself, so a man from the destroyer jumped overboard to assist. He was then brought to a hospital in Kirkwall.

SS City of Flint arrives back at her homeport of Baltimore following her adventures in the Baltic.

28/1 1940

U.S. freighter Sarcoxic is detained temporarily at Gibraltar for several hours by British authorities; freighter Waban, bound for Italy and Greece, is also held there briefly but is allowed to proceed after one item of cargo is seized as contraband and 34 detained for investigation.

British steamer ESTON from Hull to to Blyth hits a mine layed by the German submarine U-22 2,000 metres E of Whitley Bay at 55 03'24"N - 01 24'56"W.

29/1 1940

Light cruiser Helena (CL-50) steams from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Montevideo, Uruguay, on her shakedown cruise (see 2 February).

U.S. freighter Exochorda is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 1 February).

British steamer STANBURN is hit by a Stuka bomber and sinks SE of Flamborough Head. Only three survivors.

At 1530, SS Eika was hit by one torpedo from U-51, broke in two & sank. Only two men survived Harald Støle (age 16) and stoker Alfred Johansen. Both were later picked up by the U-boat and were taken to Germany. Harald Støle was together with his brother Arne on board, who died in the sinking. On 4 February, Harald had his 17th Birthday and on this occasion U-51 CO Knorr gave him a drink & some chocolate. The two survivors were sent home to Norway one week after arriving in Germany. U-51 had to abort patrol due to technical difficulties.

British Admiralty orders that no American ships should, under any circumstances, be diverted into the war zone delineated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the provisions of the Neutrality Act.

30/1 1940

U.S. freighters Examelia (detained at Gibraltar since 20 January) and Cold Harbor (detained there since 27 January) are released by British authorities.

German submarine U-55 is sunk south-west of the Isles of Scilly, in position 48.37N, 07.48W, by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Whitshed, the sloop HMS Fowey, the French destroyer Valmy and Guépard, and by depth charges from a British Sunderland aircraft (228.Squ..).1 dead and 41 survivors.

British steamer HIGHWAVE (1178 grt) on a voyage Hull to Lorient was sunk by German aircraft, NE of Kentish Knock.

German submarine U-15 sinks in the North Sea at Hoofden, after being rammed in error by the German torpedo boat Iltis. 25 dead (all hands lost).

British Tanker Voreda, 7216 grt – (Gow Harrison & Co.) had been sailing from Constantza to the UK when she was attacked and sunk by German aircraft North-East of Great Yarmouth. There were no casualties.

31/1 1940

U.S. passenger liner Washington is detained for several hours at Gibraltar by British authorities, but is allowed to proceed the same day; freighter Jomar is also detained there..

SS Start sunk by U-13.

SS Vidar sunk by U-21 at 58.39N, 02.00E.
1/2 1940

Swedish steamer Fram sunk by U-13 at 57.43N, 02.06W when on anchor. 14 of her crew saved but 9 men lost.

At 2044, the unescorted MS Ellen M was torpedoed &sunk by U-59 NE of Lowestoft. The master & six crewmembers were lost.

U.S. freighter Exminster is detained by British authorities at Gibraltar (see 9 February); freighters Exochorda (detained since 30 January) and Jomar (detained since 31 January) are released.

British steam tanker CREOFIELD (638 grt) on voyage Southend to Middlesbrough was sunk, believed torpedoed by U-59 off Great Yarmouth. All sixteen of her crew were lost.

2/2 1940

USS Light cruiser Helena (CL-50), at Montevideo, Uruguay, on her shakedown cruise, sends party to inspect wreck of German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee.

U.S. passenger liner Manhattan is stopped by French auxiliary patrol vessel Vaillant about 25 miles southeast of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, and ordered to proceed to Gibraltar for examination (see 3-4 February).

British steam tanker BRITISH COUNCILLOR (7,048 grt) lost off Withernsea, maybe by mine.

At 0624, the unescorted tanker Creofield was torpedoed & sunk by U-59 east of Lowestoft. The master and 15 crewmembers were lost.

At 2040, the unescorted British steamer Portelet (1.064 grt) was hit in the stern by one torpedo from U-59 and sank less than one mile WSW of Smith’s Knoll Lightship. Two crewmembers were lost. The master & eight crewmembers were picked up by the Finnish SS Oscar Midling and landed at Immingham on 4 February.

Belgian steamer CHARLES (Armement L. Hermans, Bruges, Belgium) left Newcastle o/T for Bruges with coal. At 21.30 struck a rock near Whitby (Cape Whitby) in heavy weather total loss. 6 casualties.

3/2 1940

USS Light cruiser Helena (CL-50) departs Montevideo, Uruguay, for Brazilian waters as her shakedown cruise continues (see 5 February).

U.S. passenger liner Manhattan is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 4 February).

British steamer ALEXANDRIA was sunk by German aircraft, E of Longstone Island, Farnes. Her exact position has not been determined.

Norwegian steamer JERNFJELD (1,370 grt) ran aground 800 yds S of St Mary's lighthouse at Briardene, due to heavy seas. The crew of eighteen escaped in their own lifeboat.

Norwegian steamer TEMPO (629 grt) was sunk by German aircraft off St Abbs Head at 55 59'00"N - 01 35'00"W.

German air attacks on the shipping lanes at the Scotish  East coast.  The British  mine searcher Sphinx  is heavily damaged and later abandoned.

At 1432, SS Armanistan in Convoy OG-16 was torpedoed & sunk by U-25 west of the River Tagus, Portugal. The crew was rescued by the Spanish SS Monte Abril & landed at Tenerife.

At 0936, SS Reet was hit by one torpedo from U-58 & sank within four minutes. She was reported missing after leaving Methil on 31 January. The ship had been first spotted at 2035 hours the day before & was chased by the U-boat, which had missed with the first two torpedoes at 0215 & 0452 hours.

Minesweeper HMS Sphinx under the command of Cdr. John Robert Newton Taylor, was sweeping an area 15 miles north of Kinnairds Head when attacked by enemy aircraft. A bomb pierced the foc'sle deck and exploding; destroying the fore part of the ship. She remained afloat and was taken in tow by HMS Halcyon but steadily flooded and capsized & sank. The wreck was later washed ashore north of Lybster and was sold for scrap. The commanding officer & forty of the men were killed in the explosion.

4/2 1940 U.S. passenger liner Manhattan, detained at Gibraltar the previous day, is released, but not before British authorities seize 390 sacks of German mail. American diplomatic mail pouches, however, are not disturbed.
5/2 1940

German submarine U-41 sink one ship from Liverpool-out convoy OB84 south of Ireland.

German submarine U-41 sunk by HMS Antelope at pos. 49 21 00 N, 10 04 00 W.

USS Light cruiser Helena (CL-50) arrives at Santos, Brazil, on her shakedown cruise (see 10 February).

U.S. freighter Exford is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 13 February).

US Maritime Commission announces that Britain & France are buying 113,000 tonnes of old American cargo ships.

At 0332, the unescorted & unarmed Dutch tanker Ceronia was hit by a torpedo, but made it to Rotterdam under her own power. The attacker must have been U-41, which was herself lost during a second attack on Convoy OA-84 the same day.

British mechant steamer Beaverburn (9,874 GRT) Canadian Pacific Steamships Line, was sunk in the Western Approaches, in position 49.20N, 010.07W, by torpedoes from U-41. She was proceeding outbound from Southampton in the 11-ship Convoy OA-84. Despite being in an outbound convoy she was fully loaded with general cargo. One other ship from this convoy was damaged before it was dispersed to proceed to its various ports, the normal procedure in the early days of the war. Only one crewmember was lost in this incident. The American tanker Narragansett picked up the remaining 76 survivors. Beaverburn was one of five state-of-the-art Beaver-class cargo-liners operated by the CPR.
6/2 1940

Swedish steamer Wirgo sinks north from Ahvenanmaa due to damages of previous days Soviet air attack.

German freighter Konsul Horn, which had departed Aruba on 7 January, reaches Norwegian waters having eluded or deceived the U.S. Neutrality Patrol as well as British and French warships.

SS Anu struck a mine laid on 12 Dec 1939 by U-13 in the entrance to River Tay & sank.
7/2 1940 British steamer MUNSTER (4305 grt). Sunk by a mine in Liverpool Bay while en-route Belfast Liverpool with a cargo of thread, eggs, animal gut, textiles and poultry, and some passengers, in pos. 53'36N-3'24W. No loss of life. The master, 44 crewmembers & 190 passengers were picked up by the British coaster Ringwall and landed at Liverpool.
8/2 1940 U.S. freighter Scottsburg is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 9 February).
9/2 1940

U.S. freighter Scottsburg, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities the previous day, is released.

The British coaster Agnes Ellen, Capt. G, Robertson, left Holyhead on February 9th, 1940, for Workington. She was not seen again. The Agnes Ellen had a crew of seven. (John S. Monks Ltd.; 1908; Scott & Sons; 293 tons; 130,4 x 23,1 x  10,1 ; 77 r.h.p. ; compound engines.)

Norvegian ship Gallia was moored in The Downs on Febr. 9-1940 for a British contraband check when a drifting mine blew a large hole in her bow on the port side. She stayed afloat and continued to Amsterdam with petrol, paraffin and diesel oil and was repaired there after unloading. She departed Amsterdam on March 12, and on Apr. 22 she sailed from Halifax to a British port (this is the date the Norwegian government requistioned the Merchant Fleet
10/2 1940

Öresundsvarvet AB, Landskrona deliver motorship PANAMA EXPRESS to Rederi A/S Sigurd Herlofson & Co., Oslo.

USS Light cruiser Helena (CL-50) departs Santos, Brazil, winding up her shakedown cruise.

U.S. freighter West Chatala is detained for several hours at Gibraltar by British authorities but is released to continue her voyage.
11/2 1940  
12/2 1940

German submarine U-33 sinks in the Firth of Clyde, in position 55.25N, 05.07W, by depth charges from the British minesweeper HMS Gleaner. 25 dead and 17 survivors.

War again comes to the Americas: British heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire stops German freighter Wakama 12 miles off Cabo Frio, Brazil; Wakama's crew scuttles her so that their ship will not fall into British hands (see 16 March).

U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Jefferson Caffery reports to Secretary of State Hull on 20 March 1940 that the Brazilian government's protesting Dorsetshire's stopping Wakama had not pleased the British. The British maintained that they were protecting Brazilian commerce. "Indeed you are not," the Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs Oswaldo Aranha retorts, "you are definitely not protecting our commerce by maintaining your warships off our coast. It is apparent to me that your blockade of Germany is plainly ineffective. If it were effective, you could stop the German boats [sic] on the other side before they entered German ports."

13/2 1940 U.S. freighter Exford, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 5 February, is released.
14/2 1940

German submarine U-54 sunk after mining at North Sea (Wrekage found).

U.S. passenger liner Manhattan is detained at Gibraltar for several hours by British authorities but allowed to proceed; not as fortunate is freighter Exermont, which is also detained there (see 16 February).

British steamer LANGLEEFORD (4,622 grt) on voyage Boston to the Tyne was torpedoed by U-26 about 70 miles from Fastnet. Four of her crew died.

British steamer TIBERTON (5,225 grt) on voyage Narvik to Middlesbrough with iron ore, possibly sunk by U-23.
15/2 1940

HMS Cossack rescues more than 300 British prisoners from the German naval auxiliary ship Altmark in Norwegian waters.

President Roosevelt embarks in heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa (CA-37) at Pensacola, Florida, for a cruise to Panama and the west coast of Central America to discuss Pan-American defense and to inspect the Panama Canal.

USS Destroyer Goff (DD-247) collides with and sinks harbor tug Wicomico (YT-26) in Hampton Roads, off Naval Operating Base, Norfolk. Goff, her bow damaged in the mishap, rescues Wicomico's 11-man crew.
16/2 1940

German steamer BALDUR from the Hamburg-company "Frigga" was on it`s way to Narvik for a load of ore.
They were about 5 Km`s west of the "Jössingfjord" when their propeller was jammed by a large net ( Placed by HMS Seal the day before to stop Altmark) At 13:30 a plane from Coastal command (C.W.Mc Neill) spotted the stuck Baldur and radioed a message to the surface vessels that they had found the Altmark (Baldur looked allmost the same). The cruiser Arethusa which was nearby went to check the message. When the captain of Baldur saw the approaching cruiser, he decided to scuttle his ship! The entire crew was taken as prisoners by the HMS Arethusa.

German steamer ALTMARK is located off Norway and takes refuge in Jossingfiord, within territorial waters. That evening destroyer COSSACK (Capt Vian) goes alongside with a boarding party and after a short struggle releases the prisoners.

The Greek Ferry AGHIA ZONI II was sunk in Kiparissia, Peloponnese because of bad weather while loading cargo.The ship was sunk in  swallow waters, (not covered by the sea) and was left there.

British steamer EMPIRE OTTER (MOWT). Mined and sunk 25 miles SW of Hartland Point.

U.S. freighter Excalibur is detained for several hours by British authorities at Gibraltar but is released; freighter Exermont, detained since 14 February, is allowed to proceed as well.

British destroyer HMS Cossack violates Norwegian territorial waters, boards German tanker Altmark in Jøssingfjord, and recovers 303 merchant seamen from ships destroyed by German armored ship Admiral Graf Spee during her commerce-raiding activities.

At 2125, U-14 attacked two ships north of Kinnaird Head and torpedoed first SS Osmed & ten minutes later SS Liana. Liana sank 24 miles north of Kinnaird Head, taking ten crewmen with her. SS Santos picked up the survivors, which was herself sunk by U-63 on 24 February with the loss of six men from the Liana. Osmed sank after one torpedo hit 20 miles north of Kinnaird Head, taking 13 crewmen with her.

17/2 1940

The Danish steamship AASE was torpedoed and sunk by a sub­marine off the N.W. coast of France. All of the crew were killed. (D/S Torm A/S; 1924; Kjobnhavns Flydk. & Skibs.; 1,206 tons; 235.4 x 36.2 x 13.7; 83 n.h.p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

At 0205, the unescorted SS Kvernaas (Master Ivar Sørensen) was hit by one torpedo from U-10 & sank within five minutes four miles NW of Schouwen Bank, Netherlands. The crew abandoned ship in two lifeboats and was picked up after 4 hours by the Dutch Oranjepolden. The vessel was enroute to London, but turned back & landed the men at the pilot station in Hoek van Holland the next day. The maritime hearings were held in Rotterdam (it was thought that the ship struck a mine) & a couple of weeks later the crew traveled to Amsterdam. From there they were flown to Sweden, then traveled on to Norway by train.

U.S. freighter Exhibitor is detained by British authorities at Gibraltar (see 21 February).

At 1553, SS Pyrrhus in Convoy OG-18 was hit by one torpedo from U-37 NW of Cape Finisterre and broke in two. The afterpart sank immediately and the forepart two days later. Eight crewmembers were lost. She was the ship of the vice-commodore Rear-Admiral R.A. Hamilton RN. The master, the vice-commodore, five naval staff members and 70 crewmembers were picked up by the British SS Uskside & Sinnington Court & landed at Gibraltar.

SS Wilja sunk by U-48 at 49.00N, 06.33W.
18/2 1940

U-23 torpedoed & sank destroyer HMS Daring which was escorting a Bergen to Methil convoy in position 58.40N 01.40E. There were only 15 survivors, 157 men lost.

Finnish merchant steamer Rigel sinks in Mäntyluoto harbour after Soviet air attack.

The steamship AMELAND (4537 tons) of the Nederlandse Stoomvaart Mij Rotterdam, was on its way from Rotterdam to India. Around 18.40 h. the Ameland passed the Maasbank-buoy and suffered an heavy explosion in the sternsection. During this event, 3 crewmembers got injured. The ship was stopped and because the sternsection started to sink immediately, the "abandon ship" order was given by Captain A. Kokké, and the 48 crewmembers went aboard the sloops. Since the ship stayed afloat for a while, the captain returned to his ship for a short period to rescue the shipsdocuments. Around midnight, the ship sank into the depth. The crew didn’t have to wait long for rescue, a little while later the Montferland (Koninklijke Hollandse Lloyd), under command of Captain K.C. Decker, on its way to South America, picked them up. A Belgian pilot took the Ameland crew aboard and passed them to the tugboat Zwarte Zee. Except for the wounded, who went to Vlissingen, the unfortunate crew could go ashore in Maassluis. At first it was assumed the Ameland was hit by a magnetic mine. After the war, the truth came out. The ship was torpedoed by a German Uboat, the U-10 under the command of Ober lt Joachim Preuss.

SS El Sonador sunk by U-61 east of the Shetlands.

SS Sangstad sunk by U-61 at 59.00N, 00.25E.

At 0420, SS Banderas was torpedoed & sunk by U-53 eight miles NW of Cabo Villano.

French steamer PLM 15 in Convoy 10-RS was hit amidships by one torpedo from U-37 & sank immediately. Norwegian Rutenfjell was sailing in position 34 with the convoy 65K (16 ships from Casablanca and 8 from Meditteranean sailing to French ports under escort by 5 French escorts) that was changing course and so was disorganized when the French cargo PLM 15 was torpedoed by the U-37 and sank in 15 secondes, leaving wreckage on a wide area.
While the other ships of the convoy flee, the Rutenfjell sail to the sinking position and stopped, sending boats to search for survivors and arriving before the escorts. They found none (all crew was lost) and sailed again to join the convoy at 9h20. The French escort commander praises the Norwegian crew for its courageous act.

At 0045, SS Ellin was torpedoed by U-37 & sunk 25 miles NW of Cape Finisterre.

19/2 1940 Swedish steamer Start, (built 1922, 1761 grt) was captured by a German destroyer off Hållö. Renamed Tristan after being captured by the Germans. She went missing after sailing from Danzig on 5th February 1943 bound for Memel.
20/2 1940

SS Tiberton sunk by U-23.

ASW trawler HMS Fifeshire bombed & sunk by German aircraft east of Copinsay, Scotland.

U-54 believed sunk by mine in North Sea. No survivors.

21/2 1940

Soviet planes attack troop convoy off Turku harbour. One man lost and two wounded in icebreaker VoimaVoima.

U.S. freighter Sahale is detained by British authorities at Gibraltar (see 22 February); freighter Exhibitor, detained since 17 February, is allowed to proceed.

Light cruiser HMS Manchester & destroyer HMS Kimberley capture another of the six German merchant vessels which the Royal Navy is hunting.

At 1809, SS Loch Maddy, a straggler from Convoy HX-19, was hit by one torpedo from U-57 amidships and was abandoned 92 miles SSW of Rockall. Four crewmembers were lost. The master and 34 crewmembers were picked up by destroyer HMS Diana & landed at Scapa Flow.

SS Tara sunk by U-50 at 42.45N, 10.25W.

An escort attacked U-19 with depth charges in the North Sea. The boat was damaged slightly.
22/2 1940

North Sea trawlers are attacked by Luftwaffe aircraft. Little damage is done to the trawlers, the bombers are driven off by the trawlers' machine guns, and two are shot down by fighters.

Six type 34 destroyers Friedrich Eckholdt (Z16) flying the flag of Fregattenkapitan Berger, commander of Destroyer Flotilla 1, Richard Beitzen (Z4), Theodor Riedel (Z6), Leberecht Maass (Z1), Max Schultz (Z3) & Erich Koellner (Z13) sailed from Schilling Roads with the intent of raiding the British North Sea fishing fleet. While transiting a German minefield, the force sighted, and was sighted by a German aircraft. About a half-hour later the aircraft (an He-111 from 4/KG26) returned & dropped two 100 KG bombs, one of which struck LEBERECHT Maass amidships, apparently knocking out her boilers. FRIEDRICH Eckholdt went to give her assistance. Then, while standing by, the ships came under attack again, with two more bombs being dropped. Either one hit or the ship simultaneously drifted on a mine, but regardless, LEBERECHT Maass exploded, broke in half, and sank. There were 60 survivors rescued from the cold water. Some minutes later, the furthest destroyer away from the scene of the LEBERECHT Maass demise, MAX Schultz exploded and sank. There was a submarine alarm, an aerial alarm, and she was in the minefield. There were no survivors, and no one apparently saw exactly what happened to her. However, at a subsequent inquiry, it was determined that the Luftwaffe aircraft had claimed hits on both destroyers. There was no British submarine in the area, but it had been mined by British destroyers two weeks before. However, regardless of what actually sank them, the Luftwaffe got the credit.

U.S. freighter Sahale, detained by British authorities at Gibraltar the previous day, is released.

At 0107, the drifting Loch Maddy was hit by a coup de grâce from U-23 and broke in two 20 miles 70° from Copinsay, Orkneys. The bow section sank, but the stern section was taken in tow by rescue tug HMS St. Mellons & beached in the Inganess Bay, Orkneys. The cargo was salved and the vessel declared a total loss.

At 0020, steam tanker British Endeavour in Convoy OGF-19 was torpedoed & sunk by U-50 about 100 miles west of Vigo. Five crewmembers were lost. The master and 32 crewmembers were picked up by the British SS Bodnant & landed at Funchal, Maderia on 26 February.

23/2 1940

German submarine U-53 sunk by HMS Gurkha, in North Channel at pos. 60 32 00 N, 06 10 00 W.  42 dead (all hands lost)

U.S. freighter Lehigh is detained for several hours at Gibraltar by British authorities, but is allowed to proceed the same day.

The British minesweeping trawler BENVOLIO hit a mine and sank off the Humber.

U-53 sunk in the North Sea in the mid Orkneys, in position 60.32N, 06.14W, by depth charges from destroyer HMS Gurkha. 42 dead (all hands lost).

24/2 1940

U.S. freighter Scottsburg is detained for several hours at Malta by British authorities, but is allowed to proceed the same day.

British steamer JEVINGTON COURT (4,544 grt) on voyage Tyne to London with a cargo of coal, was sunk by a mine off Cromer.

British steamer CLAN MORRISON (5,936 grt) on voyage Tyne to London on Admiralty service was sunk by a mine off Cromer.

SS Royal Archer struck a mine 6.7 miles off Inchkeith Island, Firth of Forth laid by U-21 on 4 Nov, 1939 and sank at 56.06N, 02.55W. She had loaded a general cargo in London for Leith. The wreck was later dispersed. All 27 crew were saved. (2,266grt, London & Edinburgh Shipping Co. built 1928 at Greenock by Scotts S/B. yard.no: 535)

Swedish motorship Santos was sunk off Kirkwall by U-63. Among the 31 dead were 3 passengers and 6 men from the Swedish merchant Liana, which was sunk by U-14 on 16 Feb.
25/2 1940

German submarine U63 sunk in the North Sea south of the Shetland Islands, in position 58.40N, 00.10W, by depth charges and torpedoes from the British destroyers, HMS Escort, Inglefield and Imogen and the British submarine HMS Narwhal. 1 dead and 24 survivors.

U.S. freighter West Camargo is stopped by unidentified French cruiser off north coast of Venezuela, 11°30'N, 66°20'W; French make no attempt to board but only request information "where from, where bound, and what cargo" before allowing the merchantman to proceed after a 20 minute delay.

U.S. freighter Exochorda is detained for several hours at Gibraltar by British authorities, but is allowed to proceed.

26/2 1940 U.S. passenger liner Washington is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.
27/2 1940 U.S. freighter Sundance is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.
28/2 1940

Swedish steamer STORFORS (1,508 grt) sank in 40 metres of water, due to a collision 10 miles E of Beadnell at 55 32'00"N - 01 20'00"W.

Divers have recovered three rotors from the top-secret Enigma enciphering machine on board U-33. The U-boat, caught minelaying off Scotland, scuttled herself after being forced to the surface by depth charges from the sloop HMS Gleaner, which marked the spot and sent for the divers. The rotors have been rushed to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire where code-breaking scientists are working furiously to solve the secrets of Enigma. The rotors could help break the vital U-boat code.

Destroyer HMS Despatch intercepts the German merchant ship Troja off Aruba. Her crew scuttles the ship.

Britain returns nine of the 21 Germans removed from the SS Asama Maru on 21 January after the Japanese government agrees not to transport German military reservists attempting to return home.

At 2232, SS Maria Rosa was hit by one torpedo from U-20 & sank by the bow.
29/2 1940

U.S. freighter Cold Harbor is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.

The wreck of the Admiral Graf Spee is sold to a local company for scrap. What only becomes known later is that the local company is a front for the British Embassy, which uses these rights to get personnel aboard the wreck for intelligence purposes, especially an evaluation of the German radar. An expert was later flown in from Britain specifically to examine the radar.

Destroyer HMS Despatch intercepts the German merchant ship Troja off Aruba. Her crew scuttles the ship.

Britain returns nine of the 21 Germans removed from the SS Asama Maru on 21 January after the Japanese government agrees not to transport German military reservists attempting to return home.

At 2232, SS Maria Rosa was hit by one torpedo from U-20 & sank by the bow.
1/3 1940

U.S. freighter Exeter is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 4 March).

At 0315, SS Mirella was hit in the bow by one torpedo from U-20, but did not sink. The U-boat waited submerged during the daytime, returned to the abandoned ship in the evening and sank her at 2114 hours by a coup de grâce. The wreck in position 52°26´09N/02°05´02E was later dispersed.

2/3 1940

The Wilson Line freighter ALBANO (1.176 grt) Mined and sunk 4 miles east of Hartlepool at 55 15'17"N - 01 22'21"W., 9 deads. (Ellerman's Wilson Line; 1912; Earle's Co.; 1,176 tons; 250,2 x 37,2 x 14,7; 168 n.h. p. ; triple-expansion engines).

U.S. passenger liner Manhattan is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities, but is released the same day. Some 80 of 200 items of cargo, however, are detained subject to guarantees as to their destinations.

German bombers sink the SS Elziena (200BRT) about 5 miles E of Coquet Island at 55 21'00"N - 01 24'00"W.

Royal Navy (ex: German) salvage tug Fairplay-II was wrecked, when she ran aground in thick fog on the south side of Salt Scar, Redcar. The remains of the wreck - her bow section and boilers - are still visible at low water in position 54.37.37N 01.03W.

At 2159, U-17 fired a torpedo at a ship reported as a fully loaded tanker of estimated 9000 tons from a distance of 1200 meters. The ship was hit in the bow and sank within five minutes. This must have been MS Rijnstroom, which had been reported missing. Only a capsized lifeboat, some lifebuoys, deckplanks and part of the cargo were later found adrift. A Dutch ship also picked up an empty raft.

Heavy cruiser HMS Berwick intercepts German SS Wolfsburg in the Denmark Strait & light cruiser HMS Dunedin intercepts the SS Heidelberg in the Caribbean. Both German ships are scuttled.

British India liner SS Domala is bombed by Luftwaffe aircraft off the Isle of Wight; 100 are killed on the ship.

At 0810, The swedish steamer Lagaholm was ordered to stop by U-32 and was shelled with 40 rounds, after the crew had abandoned ship in the lifeboats. The ship caught fire and sank later in 59°42N/05°35W.
3/3 1940

CATO. (710 tons.) Sunk by one of eight mines off Bull Point in the Bristol Channel, laid by U29.

F/L John Noel Dowland (1914-42) & Leonard Henry Harrison (1906-89) defused a bomb aboard the grain ship SS Kildare in Immingham, Lincolnshire. For that they will both receive the George Cross in 1941.

SS Cato struck one of eight mines laid on the same day by U-29 & sank 2.5 miles SE of Nash Point in the Bristol Channel. The master, ten crewmembers & two gunners were lost. Minesweeping trawler HMS Akita picked up two crewmembers.

The 3359-ton German ship Araucas was trying to come back to Germany when she was intercepted E of Iceland by the cruiser HMS York and was then scuttled by her crew to escape capture.
4/3 1940

U.S. freighter Exeter, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 1 March, is released, but not before 155 sacks of mail for Germany are removed, as are 95 sacks for Italy and 59 for Switzerland. Some 140 sacks previously removed from other neutral ships, however, are brought on board and the ship is permitted to sail.

German submarine U-29 sinks British steamer THURSTON, Murrell SS Co., 3072BRT, 32 miles west of Trevose Head, Cornwall. En-route Takoradi to Workington, Cumberland with a cargo of manganese ore.

At 1208 & 1209, U-29 fired one torpedo each at two ships in a group of three dispersed from Convoy HX-19 and observed a hit on the Pacific Reliance and a small detonation near the second (the xB-Dienst reported the sinking of the San Florentino, but the vessel was in fact not hit). The torpedoed vessel first stopped and the crew prepared to launch the lifeboats, but then returned to the ship and proceeded. The U-boat hit her with a stern torpedo at 1239, which was a dud. However the ship broke in two amidships & sank slowly north of Lands End. The Pacific Reliance had been the ship of the convoy commodore R.P. Galer CBE RNR RD. The master, the commodore, four naval staff members and 47 crewmembers were picked up by the British SS Macville and landed at Newlyn, Cornwall. The second ship sunk was the SS Thurston.

Minesweeper HMS Sphinx sinks a day after being bombed by German aircraft.
5/3 1940 At 2015, SS Grutto was spotted by U-17, heading ENE with all navigation lights burning. At 2040, a torpedo was fired, which missed. 18 minutes later, a second torpedo was fired and struck the ship amidships, breaking her in two. The stern section sank within one minute and the bow followed six minutes later. In the early morning of 6 March, a ship of the Dutch Batavier-line spotted wreckage and a raft marked Grutto 7.5 miles SW of Thornbank. The Belgian pilot-boat #8 also reported this raft and later picked up debris two miles west of the Belgian lightship Wandelaar. This wreckage was later identified as belonging to Grutto. The Belgian Pilot boat #5 salvaged the raft and delivered it to Oostende. On 29 March, the bodies of two crewmen washed ashore on the Dutch coast, the body of sailor B van der Spek near Callantsoog and the one of first steerman R. Teensma on Texel. Their families identified both.
6/3 1940 At approximately 10 hrs the the Dutch submarine O 11 collides with the tugboat Hr.Ms. BV 3 (ex Amsterdam). She is rammed just forward of her conning tower. There are 3 Officers and 27 crew members on board the submarine. Three men die (Sergeant torpedomaker G.J. Logmans, Koksmaat O. Postma and Sergeant telegraphist F.W.J. Steenvoort) and the submarine sinks in the harbour entrance of Willemsoord (Den Helder). About 14 men are on the deck and jump into the sea. The emergency telephone buoy does arrive on the surface but unfortunately no telephone connection can be established with the crew members inside.
7/3 1940

The 1965 tons steamship VECHT from the "Maatschappij Houtvaart" at Rotterdam set course to Lobito for a load of government wheat. The ship was build by A. Vuyck en Zonen at Capelle aan de IJsel and delivered in 1917 named Graakallen to the Norwegian shipping company A/S Orkla at Trondheim. The ship, equipped with a triple expansion engine of 225 n.h.p., build by the "Arnhemse Stoomsleephelling Maatschappij" at Arnhem, measured over 85 meters long and 12 meters wide.  The German submarine U-14 hited the Vecht, who was cruising at 8.5 knots and heading towards the Thorntonbank, on March 7th 1940 at 00.34 hours (German time) with a torpedo. The torpedo was launched from a distance of 800 meters. The coordinates as in the logbook were: 51.45 north and 3.05 east. For a long time existed a discord about place and time because of the fact, submarine commanders twisted the facts sometimes. The size of the ship was one of the facts that very often been exaggerated . This was done in the hope to get a faster recommendation for an Iron Cross. This time however, the commander reported the actual size of the ship about 2000 Brt. The Vecht was hit by the torpedo about 30 meters past midship and it took approx. 20 minutes before the ship sank. Nobody survived the disaster and all 22 crewmembers died that night.

The French Aux m/s Marie Yette (286 brt) (boarding ship and aux minesweeper AD157, trawler launch 1939 req la Rochelle sept 2 1939) is sunk in a collision with mercant ship Spramex in the Gironde estuary, western France.

British warships detain six Italian coal ships with cargoes of German coal. This action follows a warning that Britain will seize all German coal found at sea. The ships are brought to Kent where they are anchored off the coast while the government decides whether to unload the cargoes. Four more Italian colliers have set sail from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and a further six are loading with Rhineland coal destined for Italy where coal rationing is in force. Many Italians believe that the seizure of their ships is a deliberate attempt to force them to buy British coal on British terms. This becomes known as the "Coal Ships Affair" .

German a/c attack shipping in the North Sea. One enemy a/c is destroyed. There are casualties in the trawlers; an Italian vessel is fired and a Dutch vessel damaged.

The unescorted, unarmed & neutrally marked SS Vecht was hit by a torpedo from U-14 at 0430, which sank her in 20 minutes at 51.45N, 03.05E.
8/3 1940

War again comes to the Americas: Canadian destroyer HMCS Assiniboine stops German freighter Hannover in Mona Passage, off the coast of the Dominican Republic, at which point the merchantman's crew sets fire to the ship and abandons her. Boarding party from British light cruiser HMS Dunedin, however, saves Hannover from destruction. Conflicting representations by British and German diplomats as to Hannover's exact position prompt the Dominican government to drop the question of violation of territorial waters (see 24 May). Hannover will ultimately be converted into the escort carrier HMS Audacity. The effort expended to capture Hannover, however, allows German freighters Mimi Horn and Seattle to escape the Caribbean and make a break for Germany. German freighter Mimi Horn is scuttled to avoid capture in Denmark Strait on 28 March; Seattle is lost during the early phases of the invasion of Norway on 8-9 April.

SS Counsellor, flagship of the convoy commodore in Convoy HX-22, struck a mine laid on 6 January by U-30 six miles 280° from Liverpool Bar Lightship & sank the next day. The master, the commodore (Rear Admiral H.G.C. Franklin RN), seven naval staff members and 69 crewmembers were picked up by HMS Walpole & landed at Liverpool.
9/3 1940

British freighter Abbotsford ex-Cyrille Daneels. Owners George Gibson & Co. Leith. Torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-14 (Wohlfarth) in the North Sea N. of Zeebruge, while sailing independently on a voyage from Ghent to Grangemouth, with a cargo of steel and flax. The Master Alexander John Watson, and crew of 17 were lost. Pos. 51,44 N, 03,22 E.

U.S. freighter Exmoor is detained at Gibraltar by British authorities (see 11 March)

The British collier MAINDY HILL (1,918 grt) while on Admiralty service, was sunk in a collision with an unknown ship off Hartlepool. Twenty-three crew members were landed at Hartlepool Dock Head the following day. The one man injured was taken to hospital.

Freighter Chevychase (2,719 grt) steamer, Blyth to London with a cargo of coal, hit a mine off Great Yarmouth.

The British AK Ashley went aground in heavy weather on the Goodwin Sands, 1.5 miles off East Goodwin Lightship at pos. 51.14.25N 01.34.29E when on a voyage Sunderland to Southampton, and is lost.

The British steamship Akeld left Rotterdam on March 9th, 1940, for the Tyne. She is believed to have been sunk by an explosion and wreckage was found. There was no other trace. (Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping Co.; 1922; Yarrow & Co.; 643 tons; 175,1 x 28,1 x 11,2; 120 n.h. p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

At 2330, SS Abbotsford was torpedoed by U-14 north of Zeebrugge. 15 minutes later, the U-boat torpedoed & sank SS Akeld NE of Zeebrugge, which was following the other ship. At 2355, Abbotsford was torpedoed again by U-14 7 sank immediately. The master and 17 crewmembers from the Abbotsford were lost. The master and eleven crewmembers from Akeld were lost.

At 0542, the unescorted SS Borthwick was torpedoed & sunk by U-14 north of Zeebrugge. The master and 20 crewmembers were picked up by the Flushing Pilot Boat #9 and landed at Flushing on 10 March.

At 2113, steam trawler Leukos was attacked without warning by U-38 about 12 miles NW of Tory Island. At 2000, the U-boat had spotted six trawlers all with their light set near Tory Island and thought that they were forming a patrol line. He decided to give one of them a warning & fired one shot from its deckgun at the Leukos from a distance of 200 meters. The shot hit the trawler in the engine room and she disappeared in a cloud of steam and smoke. The U-boat waited until the trawler sank after one hour and then continued the patrol. Leukos was reported missing on 12 March, when she failed to arrive in Dublin. On 21 March, a lifeboat bearing the logo of the ship was washed ashore on Scarinish Tiree off the West Coast of Scotland.

10/3 1940

Svenska Amerikalinjens passengership STOCKHOLM launched.

U.S. freighters Explorer, Exchester, and West Cohas are detained at Gibraltar by British authorities; all are released, however, after only several hours.

11/3 1940

German submarine U-31 is bombed and sunk by a RAF Blenheim of Bomber Command in the Heligoland Bight . She is salvaged and recommissioned, but finally lost eight months later.

British ship CLAN STUART (II) sank following a collision with the British SS ORLOCK HEAD, 18-miles SE of Start Point.

U.S. freighter Exmoor, detained at Gibraltar by British authorities since 9 March, is released.

French battleship Bretagne & cruiser Algerie sail for Canada, from Toulon, France, with 2,379 gold bullion bars part of the national reserve.

At 0317, motor tanker Eulota was hit by a torpedo from U-28 about 120 miles west of Ouessant. The torpedo, fired from about 1000 meters, struck amidships, broke her in two and set her on fire. The crew abandoned ship, but returned later that morning. An Allied aircraft sighted the burning tanker in the afternoon and directed HMS Broke & Wild Swan to the ship. They picked up the survivors and scuttled the still floating bow section.

12/3 1940

Russo-Finnish War ends. Finnish desire to win back territory lost to Soviet encroachment (city of Viborg and areas along Finland's eastern borders) will push them closer toward the Axis.

Freighter Gardenia (3,745 grt) steamer, Casablanca to Middlesbrough was sunk by a mine off Cromer.

A British warship today landed in Capetown, South Africa, with 46 German prisoners - the crew of the scuttled steamer Wakama, which was scuttled off the Brazilian coast on February 12th. She also landed 16 British sailors from the Ajax, the Achilles, and the Exeter, who had been wounded in the battle of the River Plate. They were brought here for convalescence from Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, as there are better facilities for treatment here. The German prisoners were cheerful and obviously pleased with their treatment on board the warship. They had been given the greatest freedom, and even allowed to help the warship's crew at their work. They were freely supplied with cigarettes and received the same rations as the warship's crew. It was their captain, Captain Eschact, who, when he learnt that the German reports alleged his crew had been fired on in their lifeboats, sent a special message to the Woermann Line, denying the reports and saying that the whole crew had been rescued by a British warship.

13/3 1940

USS Fleet Landing Exercise (FLEX) No. 6 concludes at Culebra, Puerto Rico. The Fleet Marine Force makes progress in developing techniques for rubber boat landings, getting heavy combat materiel ashore, and improving ship-to-shore supply.

German submarine U-44 is hit by a mine, laid by the destroyers HMS Express, Esk, Icarus and Impulsive, 47 dead (all hands lost).

14/3 1940  
15/3 1940

French fishing vessel Effeuillee (35 brt) was sunk on a mine.

ASW trawler HMS Peridot mined & sunk in English Channel off Dover.
16/3 1940

15 Ju-88 of I./K.G.30 attack the british fleet in Scapa Flow.Hits on the heavy cruiser Norfolk.

KAHIKA, On voyage Strahan to Melbourne, struck rocks and was wrecked near West Point, Tasmania.

President of Panama transmits protest to King of England over British violation of Pan-American Neutrality Zone in the Wakama Incident that took place off the coast of Brazil on 12 February.

Dutch freighter Saba was sunk after a stricking a mine on her way from Caen to Ijmuiden with a cargo of iron ore. The mine was laid by the German auxiliary minelayer Hanonia = ship 11.

The British Home Fleet is bombed in its Scapa Flow base and cruiser HMS Norfolk damaged. 15 Ju-88's of 1st Group, 30th Bomber Wing (1st Gruppe of Kampfgeschwader 30]. The first civilian to be killed in an air raid during the present war died today during a German raid on the naval base at Scapa Flow. James Isbister, aged 27, who lived in the village of Bridge of Waithe on Loch Stenness, was standing in the doorway of his home. An enemy aircraft that had fled dropped 19 bombs wounding seven civilians and killing Mr. Isbister. Apparently he had been about to run across the road to help a neighbor whose cottage had been hit. He leaves a widow and an infant son. According to an Admiralty communiqué, the raid on Scapa Flow began at 7.50 PM. "About 14 enemy aircraft reached the objective. A considerable number of bombs was dropped, one hitting a warship [HMS Norfolk] which sustained only minor damage." Six crewmembers were killed in the raid and seven injured. The raid was the first on Scapa Flow since 17 October when the old battleship Iron Duke was hit. None of the enemy aircraft was shot down, although several of them were claimed as damaged in fights with RAF machines. It was reported, but not confirmed, that the raiders also tried to reach the Forth Bridge, but failed.

The Government of Argentina deports the German crew of Admiral Graf Spee into the interior and forbids them to wear their uniform.

17/3 1940

The Dutch freighter Sint-Annaland (built in 1916 - 2248 grt) hit a mine and sunk in the North Sea in pos. 51.23N 02.1 E when on a voyage Tyne for Sluiskill with a cargo of coal. Crew saved. The mine was laid by the German Schiff 11.

On 13 Mar 1940, MS Argentina left Copenhagen & radioed for the last time on 17 March. She was reported missing thereafter west of Scotland. At 2325 hours on 17 Mar 1940, U-38 torpedoed & sunk an unknown steamer of 5000 grt west of Scotland. This must have been the Argentina.

Collier & 3 trawlers attacked off Scottish coast. Enemy a/c driven off.
18/3 1940  
19/3 1940 Following a German air raid on Scapa Flow on 17 March, which had killed a civilian and wounded seven others, Bomber Command was authorized for the first time to conduct a bombing raid against a German land target, having previously been restricted to anti-shipping missions, and reconnaissance and leaflet drops. The selected target was the important German seaplane base at Hornum at the southern end of the island of Sylt. Thirty Whitley and twenty Hampden bombers took part in the operation, bombing over a six-hour period during the night. The crews believed they had bombed accurately, but it is unlikely that significant damage was caused, given the difficulties of precise navigation at night, the full extent of which had yet to be realized by Bomber Command. One Whitley failed to return.
20/3 1940

British Home Fleet battlecruisers to the north of the Shetlands cover a cruiser sweep into the Skagerrak. As they do, screening destroyer HMS Fortune sinks U-44 at pos. 63 27 00 N, 00 30 00 E.

British freighter BARN HILL,  (5439 tons), carrying a general cargo including canned goods, copper and aluminium. Attacked by aircraft 3 miles ssw of Beachy Head in pos. 50'34N-0'2W. She was towed to shore and beached 300 yards of Langney Point on March 21st. Her back broke on March 26th and she became a total loss. The Eastbourne Lifeboat took off several of the crew of 34 but 5 were lost. Her cargo was largely salved.

The Danish motorship Algier was sunk by a German submarine. A lifeboat containing 20 of the crew was picked up 15 miles N.N.W. of Foula, Shetlands, on March 21st. Five lives were lost. (Det Forenede Dampskibs Selskab.; 1938; Helsingörs Jernsk. & Msk.; 1,654 tons; 217,7 x 40,4 x 16,6; 338 n.h.p.; oil engines.)
21/3 1940

The 4,947 ton German steamer Heddernheim was torpedoed off the Danish coast by the British submarine HMS Ursula. Though the steamer is not large, her sinking represents the first coup in a major step-up in British efforts to cripple Germany's vital iron-ore supplies. Germany's armaments depend on imported iron ore. No less than nine million tons come from Sweden, much of it brought through Narvik, a Norwegian port that is ice-free all year round. The Royal Navy is now moving in destroyers and submarines to make the route dangerous if not impossible. Germany's armaments depend on imported iron ore. No less than nine million tons come from Sweden, much of it brought through Narvik, a Norwegian port that is ice-free all year round. The Royal Navy is now moving in destroyers and submarines to make the route dangerous if not impossible

USS Auxiliary Bear (AG-29) and Interior Department motorship North Star (U.S. Antarctic Service) depart Bay of Whales for the United States. Staying behind are the men who will spend the long winter night at East and West Bases.

22/3 1940 In Oslofjord collided the Swedish steamer SANDÖ with the Swedish motorship NUOLJA and sank.
23/3 1940 German submarine U-22 is missing in the Skagerak.
24/3 1940 A British submarine sinks the German cargo ship Hugo Stinnes IV off the Danish Coast in the North Sea.
25/3 1940 USS Heavy cruiser Augusta (CA-31) is damaged when she strikes an uncharted pinnacle in Coron Bay, P.I.
26/3 1940  
27/3 1940 RAF Coastal Command: A German patrol vessel bombed and sunk in North Sea
28/3 1940 Swedish steamer JOSEF BERGENDORFF collided with a wreck in North Sea and was forced to ground at the Danish coast. She was later towed in to Hirtshals for inspection.
29/3 1940  
30/3 1940  
31/3 1940 Schiff 16 Atlantis under the command of Kpt.z.S.Rogge is the first german auxiliary cruiser that goes into action.
1/4 1940 SS Beaverdale (9,957 grt) Canadian Pacific Steamship Line merchantman was sunk by torpedoes and gunfire from U-48, in the North Atlantic, in position 60.50N, 029.19W. Twenty-one crew was lost in this incident.
2/4 1940

Swedish government receives vague reports of troops and ships being concentrated in north German ports.

Luftwaffe aircraft attack the British naval base at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. On the return flight, the planes attack Duncansby Head and Stroma lighthouses with machine-gun bullets.

SS Signe sunk by U-38.
3/4 1940

USS Destroyer Crosby (DD-164) accidentally sinks U.S. fishing boat Lone Eagle in collision in heavy seas off Point Arguello, California; Crosby rescues the seven-man crew.

Norwegian steamer PRODUCE (1905 / brt:1171) Sank en route Hong Kong-Bangkok.

The first German troops leave for Norway. The supply ships bound for Narvik are disguised as cargo ships. Over the next few days 26 merchantmen carrying 8,105 tons of Army stores, 2,660 vehicles and 1,641 horses set out, plus four tankers with fuel for the warships that would be carrying the invasion force.
4/4 1940 Motortankship VARDEFJELL delivered from Eriksbergs M.V. AB, Gothenburg
5/4 1940

British minelaying ships leave Scapa Flow for Norway commanded by Vice-Admiral Whitworth on the battle cruiser Renown, with eight destroyers as escorts and four destroyers to lay mines across the Leads outside Narvik Fjord

Operation Wilfred: British mining of Norwegian waters begins.

Destroyer HMCS Assiniboine damaged in collision with MS Lairdswood in the Irish Sea.

6/4 1940

RAF photoreconnaissance reveals heavy naval activity at German Ports; believed to be in preparation for invasions of Norway. This is the German invasion fleet that sails for Narvik, Norway.

Operation Wilfred, the British mining of Norwegian waters, begins.

At 0316, the Navarra was hit on the starboard side abreast of #3 hatch by one torpedo from U-59 and sank within seven minutes. Six men were probably killed in the explosion. The ship was immediately abandoned in two lifeboats, but one capsized in the high seas, resulting in the death of the master, three officers and two passengers. The 14 survivors in the other lifeboat were spotted by a British aircraft, which notified the Finnish steam merchantman Atlas. They were picked up about nine hours after the sinking and landed at Kirkwall.

U-1 mined & sunk in North Sea. 24 dead (all hands lost).
7/4 1940

USS J. Fred Talbott (DD-247) departs the Canal Zone to rendezvous at sea with Japanese steamship SS Arimasan Maru to provide medical assistance to a passenger on board the Japanese steamship.

The first German warships leave for Norway. Heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and 14 destroyers leave Bremen at 5:10 am bound for Trondheim and Narvik, escorted by battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. In the evening cruisers Blucher, Lutzow and Emden with eight minesweepers, two armed whaling ships and three torpedo boats sail with their troops for Oslo. Around midnight cruisers Koln and Konigsberg, a gunnery training ship, a storeship and eight torpedo boats leave Wilhelmshaven bound for Bergen. In response to reported German movements,
units of the Home Fleet including HMS Rodney, HMS Valiant and HMS Repulse, four cruisers and 14 destroyers sail from Scapa Flow and Rosyth. Accompanying them is a French cruiser and two destroyers. Two more British cruisers and nine destroyers leave other duties and sail for Norwegian waters.

Norwegian government protests British minelaying operations off the Norwegian coast.

German steamer  CURITYBA, (3081 grt / 2362 nrt, Build year 1905) on voyage from Stettin to Oslo. Stranded at Hittarp Rev North of Helsingborg at the Swedish Coast. Salvaged by S/S Garm, S/S Sigyn and S/S Bien Captain: J.C Voxen S/S Bien arrived was Ordered to the place at 08,00 on the 7 April. from her station in Helsingør(Elsinore). Besides the 3 Danish salvage vessels, ther were also the German M/S Wotan taking part of the Salvage. On the 8 April at 16,21 o'clock, the Ice breaker Preussen arrived at the place also.  At 22,45 the ship was towed from her grounding place. and continued her voyage.

USS Destroyer Twiggs (DD-127), on neutrality patrol off the coast of Cuba, attempts to tow Norwegian freighter Spind off rocks six miles off Cape San Antonio, but is unsuccessful in two tries. Salvage tug Warbler, however, frees the merchantman from her predicament. Twiggs resumes her patrol. 8, Mon.

Norway protests British minelaying operations off the Norwegian coast. Amidst growing tensions in this region, U.S. freighter Charles R. McCormick arrives at Bergen, Norway, en route to her ultimate destination of Narvik. Freighter Flying Fish is also in Norwegian waters.
8/4 1940

RN destroyers lay minefield, simulated and real, at three points off the Norwegian coast between Stadtlandet and Bodø, just north of the Arctic Circle. Battlecruiser HMS Renown and destroyers cover them. One of the screen, HMS Glowworm (Lt-Cdr Roope), is detached to search for a man overboard, just as the 8in cruiser Admiral Hipper heads into Trondheim. They meet to the northwest of the port and the destroyer is sunk at around 09.00 at 64' 27''N, 06'28''E, but not before she rams and damages the ADMIRAL HIPPER. The Admiral Hipper picks up the survivors

Polish submarine Orzel stops and then sinks the German transport ship Rio de Janeiro in the Skagerrak

Karlsruhe, the auxiliary Tsingtau and 10 Torpedo boats leave Germany for Kristiansund, and four mine sweepers head for Egersund, a terminal of the telephone and telegraph cable from England. 28 submarines of the Kriegsmarine form a protective screen across the western approaches to Norway

Steamtanker Stedingen with a cargo of 8000 tons of petroleum was torpedoed by the British submarine Trident southeast of Svenner lighthouse. Stedingen was used in her short career as a  Stützpunkttanker (base tanker ) in the German Kriegsmarine from January 1940, but it is not clear if the the vessel belonged to one of the German Transportstaffel whom were a part of the German invasion of Norway, operation Weserübung in 1940. There are also rumors that Stedingen had close contact through their radio with Germany, but still the history behind Stedingen is a little mystery. The vessel had Trondheim as the final destination, and onboard there were a crew of sixty-one men. The wreck of Stedingen was located in September 1991. 
9/4 1940

Germany invades Norway and Denmark. At Narvik, the 40-year old ironclads Eidsvold and Norge are ordered to resist any attack by force, but torpedoes sink both from destroyer Wilhelm Heidekamp outside Narvik early in the morning.  Ægir and Tor are sunk at Frederikstad. German Cruiser Königsburg is damaged near Bergen by coastal batteries. German Navy forces, committed to the Norwegian Campaign, include a pocket battleship, six cruisers and 14 destroyers for the landings at the five Norwegian ports, with battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau covering the two most northerly ones. Thirty U-boats patrol off Norway and British bases, but throughout the campaign they suffer from major torpedo defects. Early in the morning HMS Renown is in action with the two battlecruisers to the west of Vestfjord. Gneisenau is damaged and HMS Renown slightly. The Germans withdraw. Trawlers escorted by E-boats then brought troops into all Denmark's ports and major islands, giving them control of the vital sea passages, the Skagerrak and the Kattegat, between Denmark and Norway. Airborne troops land at Aalborg airfield and motorized troops cross Denmark's land frontier at Flensburg and Tondern. At Gjedser a ferry came in ferrying troops and an armored train.

Norwegian whaler POL III was among the norwegian guardvessels in the Oslofjord when the german occupation-fleet arrived the night between 8. and 9. april 1940. She was shelled by german ALBATROS and caught fire. She was kept afloat during the fire, which was put out the next morning and POL III was towed to Tønsberg. She was then repaired by Kriegsmarine and used for the rest of the war.

Eriksbergs M.V. AB, Gothenburg launch motortanker  SOYA VI for Rederi AB Soya, Stockholm.

German merchant freighter AMASIS owned by  Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt AG, Hamburg, build 1923, 7129 tons. Torpedoed and sunk in the Kattegatt off Gothenburg in position 58,14 N and 11,14 E .

German troptransportship ANTARES sunk by English off Tovas ungar near Lysekil. Lysekilspilots saved about 30 of the crew.

British destroyer ZULU sank a U-boat off the Shetlands.

Norwegian M/V Sørland were the first civilian vessel that were sunk by the Germans under the invasion of Norway, operation Weserübung. Sørland was in the same waters as the German Kampfgruppe V which were heading for Oslo, and was shot upon by R18 and R19 early in the morning, and the vessel soon caught fire. The captain on Sørland, Asbjørn Martinsen, set the course for land and the vessel stranded close to Elle Lighthouse near Skiphelle in Akershus county. Out of a crew of six men two men lost their lives. The vessel was loaded with paper and food.

M/V SEATTLE went down in the Korsvikfjorden under the German invasion Weserubung. The vessel was on its way in to Kristiansand when she came under crossfire between the German cruiser Karlsruhe and the norwegian coastal fortress Odderøya, and the Norwegian forces thought this was a vessel that supported the German forces and started to shoot on the vessel with their 150 mm cannons. Seattle caught within a few minutes fire after several hits from the norwegian fort, and the crew abandoned the ship and were captured by the norwegian forces, were they were kept captive until the 10th of April. In the meantime the vessel continued to burn in several days before she drifted over the fjord ans sank in the the deep at Dvergsnestangen. around April 13.

Swedish steamer BRITA (Red. AB Vasby, Sweden). Seized by Germany at Bergen and renamed DESIDERIUS SIEDLER (F.G.Rheingold, Danzig).

The Norwegian panzer ship Eidsvold was one of totally two panzer ships Norway had when the German military operation Weserübung rolled over the country in April 1940. PS Eidsvold and PS Norge was stationed in Narvik when the German destroyer group Kriegsschiffgruppe 1 streamed in the Ofotfjorden on the morning April 9th. On board Eidsvold is captain Willoch with a crew of 190 men. After having made contact with the German destroyers a parliamentary is sent over to Eidsvold, but the Norwegian commandant refuses to surrender the vessel to the Germans. Shortly after the German commandant Bonte after council with General Dietl orders to launch torpedoes, and Eidsvold is hit by three torpedoes from the German destroyer and breaks immediately in two pieces and disappears in the deep. PS Eidsvold was sunk by the German destroyer Wilhelm Heidkamp outside the harbor entrance at Narvik on the morning of April 9th, and only eight men are rescued form the cold water.

USS Submarine tender Bushnell (AS-2), operating as a survey ship under the auspices of the Hydrographic Office, arrives in Venezuelan waters to commence hydrographic surveys of the Cape San Roman-to-Bahia Vela de Coro region (see 15 June).

USS Destroyer Williams (DD-108) transports hydrographic survey party to Palmetto Island, British West Indies.

The small Norwegian destroyer Aeger was the sole unit of her country's navy available for the defence of Stavanger when the German invasion forces attacked the port. The little vessel put up a strenuous resistance and sank one large German supply ship loaded with anti-aircraft guns. She then engaged a force of enemy bombers but was unable to beat them off and they ultimately sank her. The Aeger's normal complement was 72. (Norwegian Navy, destroyer; 1936; Horten Dockyard; 550 tons; 243.7 x 25 - 5 x 9; 12,500 i.h.p. ; 30 knots; turbine engines; three 4 in. guns, one 40 mm., 2 m.g., 4 D.C.T., 4 T. T.)

H.M.S. Renown encounters German Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and scores hits. German navy lands troops in Norway, losing cruiser Blucher to Norwegian coastal defences.

The German destroyers Albatros and Kondor in company with the cruisers Blucher and Emden and the gunnery training ship Brummer accompanied by transports steamed into Oslo Fjord in the early hours to carry out the invasion of Norway. The force met with a stubborn resistance from the few Norwegian ships on guard and from the forts ashore. The Blucher was sunk early in the action and the Albatros and Kondor attempting to run down the fjord and through the narrows were driven back by the minelayer Olav Tryggvason which succeeded in sinking the Albatros. The vessel's normal complement was 121. (German Navy, destroyer; 1926; Wilhelmshaven Dockyard; 800 tons; 277,7 x 27,5 x 9,2; 24,000 s.h.p.; 33 knots; turbine engines; Schulz-Thornycroft boilers; three 4-1 in. guns, two 1 pdr., 6 T. T.)

Destroyer HMS Gurkha participated in the very first moves of the Norwegian Campaign sailing with Afridi and a force of cruisers and destroyers from Rosyth, England on 7/8th April 1940. On the 9th April at 1400, the force was attacked by Ju88 and He111 bombers. One bomb hit her aft end and blew a 40-foot hole in the starboard side. The stern caught fire and the after magazine had to be flooded. Soon the stern was awash and Gurkha had a 45-degree list to starboard. All the lights were out but the wounded were brought up and laid on the foc'sle. Many were blinded by fuel oil and everyone had to cling to the guardrails or anchor chains to keep from falling overboard. Some made it to the boats and Carley floats. It was now getting dark and cold. Useable guns fired air bursts to attract anyone's attention. Aurora arrived on the scene. She stopped 200 yards away and lowered her boats. Gurkha heeled over onto her side. Those men who had not lost their hold on the foc'sle clambered through the guardrails and sat on the port side. At 1900, she rolled right over and sank. Aurora managed to pick up 190 survivors. They were treated and eventually ended up in Devonport, England and given survivors leave. Gurkha was the first Tribal and first British destroyer to be sunk by air attack.

Finnish steamer EMMI was seized by the cruiser Admiral Hipper in Drontheim, afterwards german "Schirmeck" / Sperrbrecher 166. 15.11.1944 destroyed by sabotage in Kopenhagen (danish resistance) (1905 by Short Brothers Co., Sunderland - No. 325; 1592 grt; owner: OY Wildffahrt Ltd., Munksnäs (Holger Liljestrand, managers).
10/4 1940

The German steamship Martha Hendrik Fisser laid at anchor in Narvik harbor just like so many other vessels to load iron ore. But before her return back to Germany when the vessel is ordered to stay inside the harbor area by the newly arrived German forces. On April 10th the vessel lay at anchor in Narvik harbor when the British forces with the destroyers HMS Hotspur, Hostile, Havock, Hunter og Hardy attacks the German forces in Narvik. In this battle Martha Hendrik Fisser is hit and quickly sinks down in the deep outside Ankenes

German ship CURITYBA, shelled by coastal battery, sunk, Oslo Fjord.

At the German invasion of Norway the Estonian steamer ARCTURUS was captured in Bergen and put under German flag.

April 6th 1940 the Swedish ore carrier Stråssa left Narvik harbor and set course towards Baltimore in USA with a cargo of iron ore and a crew of thirty four men. At Lofoten the vessel got problems with their cooling systems and since this damage was not possible to repair at sea they decided to return back to Narvik. Here Stråssa laid at anchor at Tjeldsundet when she on April 9th is given orders by the German destroyer Dieter Von Roeder to head in to Narvik harbor and await new orders there. And then the vessel is awaiting in the harbor until April 10th when the British forces attacks Narvik and the German forces there. In the heat of the battle the crew decides to get themselves to some safety and abandons the big vessel.

German submarine U-50 sunk by HMS Hero at pos. 62 54 00 N, 01 56 00 W.

The 2nd Destroyer Flotilla (Capt. Warburton-Lee) with Hardy, Havock, Hostile, Hotspur and Hunter, enters Ofotfjord to attack the German ships assigned to the occupation of Narvik. These include 10 large destroyers. Several transports are sunk together with destroyers ANTON SCHMITT (AS) and WILHELM HEIDKAMP (WM) in Narvik Bay. Other German destroyers are damaged, but as the British 2nd Flotilla retires, HARDY is beached and HUNTER sunk by the remaining German ships and HOTSPUR badly damaged.

British submarine THISTLE on patrol off Utsira fails in an attack on German submarine U-4. Shortly after she is sunk by the same U-boat.

Fleet Air Arm Skua dive-bomber’s of 800 and 803 Squadrons flying from the Orkney Islands sink German cruiser KOENIGSBERG at her moorings in Bergen. She was damaged earlier by shore batteries in the landings. This is the first major warship sunk by air attack.

The German destroyer ALBATROS sunk after she stranded on Gjyren. Albatros had taken combat action under the invasion on Norway, and earlier under the 5th. Torpedobootflotilla mine laying, and Albatros was now assigned to the German Kampfgruppe V, whom together with several support ships and cruisers, including the cruiser Blücher, who were supposed to occupy Oslo and to capture the Norwegian king Haakon. After several battles with Norwegian armed forces 9 and 10 of April, where also the Norwegian ship M/V Sørland was shot in pieces, Albatros was damaged and also almost out of ammunition. There are several theories concerning how Albatros sunk, but the most common theory is that the commander, Kapitänleutnant Strelow, thought he saw a U-boat and issued orders to ram the sub. Unfortunately this wasn't a sub but the reef Gjyren, and the brave history of the destroyer was put to an end! Albatros did not came back to the great Vaterland!

German merchant freighter ALSTER owned by North German Lloyd, Bremen, build 1928, 8514 tons. Seized by British destroyer HMS ICARUS in the Vestfjord north of Bodoe, Norway and was escorted to Britain by trawler HMS Ullswater. Renamed Empire Endurance by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). Sunk 20.4.41 by German submarine in the Atlantic. (Built as German Alster for Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen. On 18 March 1940 taken over by Kriegsmarine and used as troop transport in operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway)

German merchant freighter ALTONA torpedoed and sunk by British destroyer HMS Havock, HMS Hunter and HMS Hardy in Westfjord, Narvik. (Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt AG, Hamburg, build 1921, 5891 tons. 1955 refloated, 30.06.1956 arrived at tow in Stavanger, towed to Hamburg and broken up.)

The German destroyer Wilhelm Heidkamp was one of a total of ten German destroyers that ended their history in the waters around Narvik city in April 1940. Wilhelm Heidkamp and the nine other destroyers were put together as the Kriegsschiffgruppe 1, and their mission was to secure the city of Narvik. W.Heidkamp was also the destroyer who sunk the Norwegian pansership Eidsvold in the morning of April 9th. In the time that followed there were heavy fighting between the Germans and the allied forces, and the Wilhelm Heidkamp was hit by a torpedo from the British destroyer Hardy. The torpedo blew away all the stern part of Wilhelm Heidkamp, and of the crew 81 German men lost their lives. But the ship did not sink after this torpedo attack and the commander Hans Erdmenger got the destroyer towed in to the harbor where she on the 11th of April had an explosion that shocked the vessel and she quickly sank.

The English steamship Romanby laid at anchor in Narvik harbor when she under the second sea battle between the German destroyers and the Allied forces was hit by a torpedo from a British destroyer. The wreck of Romanby lies in Narvik harbor

The German destroyer Anton Schmitt was like nine other destroyers put out of action or sunk i the April days 1940 under the German invasion of Norway, operation Weserübung. Anton Schmitt and the other nine destroyers were put together as Kriegsschiffgruppe 1 under operation Weserübung, and the target was to secure the city Narvik and the iron ore traffic from Sweden. In the German 3. Zerstörer flottille belonged the destroyers Z 17 Diether von Roeder as Fuhrer zerstörer ( flag ship ),  Z 18 Hans Lüdemann, Z 20 Karl Galster and Z 22 Anton Schmitt. This flotilla was disbanded on the 13th of April 1940! In the days that followed from the 9th of April, harsh battles raged between the German and allied forces in Norway, and Narvik was no exception. Both British, Norwegian, Swedish and German vessels ended their history in the waters around Narvik or in the harbor pool in these April days. On the 10th of April Anton Schmitt was at anchor in Narvik harbor when British destroyers streamed in from the fjord and attacked the vessels that laid there. In short time Anton Schmitt is hit by two torpedoes and goes down in the harbor pool in Narvik.

German cruiser Karlsruhe irreparably damaged by sub­marine H.M.S. Truant off Norway.

The German steamship FRIELINGHAUS was torpedoed and sunk by the British destroyer HMS HARDY at Narvik during the invasion of Norway. She was subsequently raised and repaired but on June 28th 1942 she struck a mine and sank off the Frisian Islands.

Swedish motor tanker Sveaborg & motor vessel Tosca sunk by U-37 at 62.52N, 07.34W.

After an unsuccessful attack on U-4 near Skudenes, Norway on 9 April, submarine HMS Thistle was surprised by U-4 on the surface and was sunk at 0213.

During the Norwegian campaign, Fleet Air Arm Skua dive-bombers of 800 and 803 Naval Air Squadrons attacked the German cruiser Konigsberg, alongside at Bergen, sinking her at her moorings; the first major warship sunk by air attack. Meanwhile, at Narvik, Captain Warburton-Lee aboard the destroyer HMS Hardy led four of her sisters of the H Class through a snowstorm to surprise a superior German flotilla in a fjord. Two German destroyers were sunk and two crippled during a fierce action in the narrow waters; six German supply ships were also destroyed. Warburton-Lee was killed and awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his gallant leadership. Hardy and Hunter, damaged during the action, collided; Hunter was sunk, whilst Hardy was successfully beached by Pay-Lieutenant Stanning, Warburton-Lee's Captain's Secretary. Hotspur was severely damaged.

U-50 on patrol off the Shetlands in support of the Norwegian invasion, sunk by destroyer HMS Hero.

The French battleship Bretagne and cruiser Algerie return to France. They sailed in March for Canada, with 2,379 gold bullion bars part of the national reserve. Algerie later served in the Vichy Fleet and was sabotaged and burned by her crew on 27 November 1942 to prevent her falling into German hands.

11/4 1940

Returning from the Oslo landings, German pocket battleship Lutzow is torpedoed and badly damaged by British submarine Spearfish in the Skagerrak.

Cruiser PENELOPE on her way into Narvik is damaged running aground in Vestfjord. She was towed clear by the HMS Eskimo.

The steamship JONIA belonged to the German 1. Seetranportstaffel and was charted to supply the Wehrmacht`s invasion of Norway in April 1940. The transport division consisted of the vessels Jonia, Antares, Itauri, Muansa og Neidenfels. Jonia`s destination was Oslo with war material to the German infantry division 307 and artillery division 234. Onboard there were almost one hundred men from the artillery division. Onboard Jonia had a cargo consisting of horses, saddles, wagons, field cannons, ammunition, motorbikes and other equipment that the German army forces needed. When the ship was on her way towards Svenner lighthouse the ship was hit by a torpedo from the British uboat Triad and takes quickly in water. Some hours later Jonia sinks in the deep with the exclusive cargo, and the ship is soon forgotten. Until 1987 the wreck lies on the site untouched until Gudmund Olsen finds the wreck.

U-5 encountered a British submarine & fired one torpedo without success.

British submarine SPEARFISH torpedoed German ADMIRAL SCHEER.

12/4 1940

USS Submarine rescue vessel Falcon (ASR-2) and U.S. freighter El Oceano are damaged when they collide in heavy fog in Buzzards Bay, near Hen and Chickens Lightship.

SS Stancliffe sunk by U-37.
13/4 1940

British Battleship Warspite and nine destroyers are sent into the Narvik fjords to finish off the remaining German ships. German submarine U-64 is surprised and sunk by Warspite's Swordfish catapult aircraft as it scouts ahead at pos. 68 29 00 N, 17 30 00 E. The eight surviving German destroyers – BERND VON ARNIM (Z11), DIETHER VON ROEDER (Z17), ERICH GIESE (Z12), ERICH KOELNNER (Z13), GEORG THIELE (Z2), HANS LUDEMANN (Z18), HERMANN KUNNE (Z19) and WOLFGANG ZENKER (Z9) are all destroyed or scuttled. The British Eskimo and Cossack are damaged.

The German destroyer Wolfgang Zenker (Z9) ended her days in Rombakfjorden outside Narvik after she had run out of ammunition and petrol. Hans Ludemann (Z18) belonged to the German Kriegsschiffgruppe 1 which had the securing of Narvik as their target during the German operation Weserübung in 1940. Under this second naval engagement, Wolfgang Zenker (Z9) tries to attack the British battleship Warspite with torpedoes together with the two German destroyers Hans Ludemann (Z18) and Bernd Von Arnim (Z11), but is forced back by heavy gunfire, but they manage to damage the British destroyer HMS Punjabi during the battle. After this Wolfgang Zenker (Z9) set her course in to the Rombakfjorden and the crew themselves sinks the destroyer shortly afterwards.

The German destroyer Hermann Kunne ended her days in Herjangfjorden outside Narvik city after she had run out of ammunition and petrol. Hermann Kunne belonged to the German  Kriegsschiffgruppe 1 which had the securing of Narvik as their target during the German operation Weserübung in 1940. After this battle outside Narvik, Hermann Kunne set her course in to Herjangen and the crew themselves sinks the destroyer shortly afterwards there.

The German destroyer Hans Ludemann ended her days in Rombakfjorden outside Narvik after she had run out of ammunition and petrol. Hans Ludemann belonged to the German Kriegsschiffgruppe 1 which had the securing of Narvik as their target during the German operation Weserübung in 1940, and the commander onboard was Korvettenkapitän Herbert Friedrichs. Under this second naval engagement on the 13th of April, Hans Lüdemann tries to attack the British battleship Warspite with torpedoes together with the two German destroyers Wolfgang Zenker and Bernd Von Arnim, but is forced back by heavy gunfire from the British vessels, but they manage to damage the British destroyer HMS Punjabi. After this Hans Lüdemann sets course in the Rombakfjorden and the crew themselves sinks the destroyer shortly after.

The German destroyer George Thiele was one of ten German destroyers that ended their days outside Narvik in 1940. George Thiele was commanded by Korvettenkapitän Max Ecart Wolff, and onboard the ship there were a crew of 323 men. George Thiele and the nine other destroyers were put together as the Kriegsschiffgruppe 1, and their mission was to secure the city of Narvik. In the days of April heavy fighting raged between the German and Allied forces, and George Thiele was eventually driven ashore and sunk by her own crew in Sildvik on the 13th of April after they had run out of ammunition.

The German steamship Neuenfels laid in the Narvik harbor loaded with iron ore and was ready for sailing, when she among other ships were surprised by the Allied attack on Narvik harbor in the morning of the 10 April. Neuenfels was hit by a torpedo from the British destroyer Havock in the bow on port side. Until 13 april Neuenfels laid at anchor heavily damaged, and when the second Allied attack came on April 13th the crew themselves sunk the vessel.

The German destroyer Erich Giese was just like many other vessels sunk in the naval battles around Narvik in 1940. During the second naval battle for Narvik, British destroyers attacked the vessels which laid at anchor in Narvik harbor, but were themselves attacked by several German destroyers during the attack. Erich Giese tried to slip put from the harbor, but was spotted and quickly put under a ferocious fire from the British warships, which consisted of the destroyers Bedouin, Hardy, Punjabi, Cossack and the battleship Warspite. Erich Giese managed to put a torpedo hit on one of the British destroyers, but was herself heavily hit by grenades from Bedouin and Warspite during the attack and caught fire after 21 hits. At 1330 the commandant Gerhard Schaar ordered the crew to abandon the sinking destroyer. Of the crew on 315 men, 83 crew members followed the destroyer down in the deep.

The German destroyer Dieter Von Roeder belonged to the German Kriegsschiffgruppe 1 under operasjon Weserübung, and the target was to secure the city of Narvik and the iron ore traffic from Sweden. Commander on Dieter Von Roeder was Korvettenkapitän Erich Holtorf who had been given this position since the destroyer was commisioned in 1938. The destrpyer patrolled the harbor on April 9th, and managed among other things to get the Swedish vessel Stråssa to lay anchor inside Narvik harbor. Stråssa still rest inside Narvik harbor today. On April 10th Dieter Von Roeder has gone in to Narvik harbor because of a misunderstanding when the British battle group with the destroyers HMS Hotspur, Hostile, Havock, Hunter and Hardy attacks the vessels in the harbor. Thanks to the bad weather this day the British warships are not spotted before they are almost inside the harbor, and several of the German destroyers are knocked out. Dieter Von Roeder reads the situation and tries to hold of the superiour British destroyers and shoots with all the firepower she got, but is heavily hit by the enemy fire from HMS Havock. The British destroyers withdraws form the engagement soon after, and Dieter Von Roeder barely manage to get into Narvik harbor with thirteen men perished of the crew. The destroyer is now so heavily damaged and almost also out of ammunition. Dieter Von Roeder is till afloat, but when the Allied forces again attacks the German forces on April 13th the crew themselves sink her with help from depth charges.

The German destroyer Bernd Von Arnim was assigned to the German battle group Kriegsschiffgruppe 1 which had the target to take Narvik city to secure the iron ore transport from Kiruna in Sweden. Commander on board Bernd Von Arnim is Korvettenkapitän Curt Rechel which had taken his final exam on the German torpedoboat T-7 earlier. Under the second naval battle at Narvik on April 13th Arnim runs out like several of the other German destroyers of ammunition and set her course in towards Rombaksfjorden and is sunk by her own crew shortly after. Bernd Von Arnim was also the German destroyer who torpedoed the panzership Norge in Narvik harbor on the morning of April 9th. After the battle the destroyer rescued the commandant on Norge and nine men from his crew from the cold water.

USS Destroyer J. Fred Talbott (DD-247) returns to Canal Zone after providing medical assistance to passenger on board Japanese steamship Arimasan Maru. The warship's medical officer remains with his patient until the Japanese vessel reaches Balboa.

When the German attack on Norway began on 8 Apr, KNM Frøya was enroute from Finnmark to Oslofjord and anchored near the mouth of the Trondheimsfjord, then moved to protect the fortress of Agdenes. On 13 April, after some battles with German warships, the damaged minelayer was beached near Søtvika and demolished by the crew, when the fortress surrendered and the ship was trapped in the Fjord. At 1858, U-34 destroyed the vessel with a coup de grâce to prevent salvage operations.

U-64 sunk in the Herjangsfjord near Narvik in approximate position 68.29N, 17.30E, by a bomb from aircraft L 9767 from battleship HMS Warspite. 8 dead and 38 survivors.

HMS Ark Royal & Glorious, in company with the destroyers HMAS Stuart, HMS Bulldog, Westcott & Wishard, arrive at Gibraltar.

14/4 1940

Submarine HMS Tarpon left Portsmouth for Rosyth on 5 April 1940. She was diverted to patrol around Norway on 6th. Most likely sunk on 14 April by the German minesweeper M-6. Reported overdue on 22 April 1940.

German gunnery training ship BRUMMER is torpedoed and sunk by British submarine Sterlet .

German minesweeper M-1101Hellene stranded south of Tjøme in Vestfold county. M1101 was an escort for the German 3. Seetransportstaffel which included thirteen ships when she was sunk. The convoy lost several ships during this transportation of war supplies to Oslo, including M 1701, M 1772, M 1101 and several other vessels. M1101 was a former whaleboat which were rebuilt for war duty.

Fleet Air Arm Squadrons at Hatston RNAS again strike at naval targets in Bergen, sent by Acting Captain C. L. Howe. This time a total of 15 Skuas were dispatched in two waves. The first consisting of six 800 Squadron aircraft led by Capt. R. T. Partridge, RM departed at 0500. The second consisting of nine 803 Squadron aircraft led by Lt. Lucy, departed at 0550. Each aircraft was armed with a single 500 pound SAP bomb. 800 Squadron crossed the Norwegian Coast at 0700, and attacked at 0712, dive bombing two vessels tied up at the jetty, and strafing two U-boats, U-60 and U-7, and two schnellbootes, S-23 and S-25 in the harbor. After the first wave departed, the weather over Bergen deteriorated significantly. Of 803 Squadron, only Lt. Lucy's sub-flight was able to locate the target and make a low altitude glide-bombing attack. Lucy's bomb exploded alongside SS Barenfels (7,569 grt) between her and the jetty, causing severe damage that ultimately caused the ship to sink stern first to the harbor bottom, carrying her valuable cargo of anti-aircraft guns to the bottom with her. One aircraft, Skua A8G, (serial unknown) was shot down in flames over the harbor. The crew, Capt. Eric Donald McIver, RM (p) (Mentioned in Dispatches), and LA Albert Alexander Barnard, RN being killed. The others strafed a German flying Boat on the water on their way home.

During the night 28 British aircraft are sent to lay mines in the Great and Little Belts, only 9 succeed due to bad weather.
15/4 1940

RAF Coastal Command: No. 22 Squadron's Bristol Beauforts make their first mine-laying sortie in the mouth of the River Jade.

British Intelligence deciphers the German Enigma code used in Norway.

As the Harstad troopships approach the port, escorting destroyers HMS Brazen and HMS Fearless find U-49 and sink her in position 68.53N, 16.59E. 1 dead and 41 survivors.

RAF Bomber Command lays its first mines off the German and Danish coasts.

British troops landed in Norway.

16/4 1940

German submarine U-1 sunk by HMS Porpoise at pos. 58 18 00 N, 05 47 00 E.

The submarine HMS Porpoise makes a torpedo attack on U-3 southwest of Stavanger in position 58.18N, 05.47E, U-3 is unharmed

HMS Furious, now seriously short of fuel, was ordered to Tromsø to refuel, anchoring there at 0630. She was thereafter to report to Flag Officer Narvik

At RNAS Hatston, Acting Captain C. L. Howe, RN decides that the Squadrons would fly small armed reconnaissance missions to Bergen. 803 Squadrons was selected, and dispatched two Skuas armed with a single 250 pound SAP bomb and 8 x 20 pound Cooper bombs with orders to proceed to Bergen and then separate and approach the fjords from the North and South. The aircraft took off at 0500, separated at 0650, and crossed the coastline at 0705 at 4,000 feet. Each aircraft made a high-speed run, descending to below 1,000 feet as they reconnoitered the surrounding fjords. On the way in, one aircraft sighted, attacked, and badly damaged a small auxiliary vessel flying the German flag, the patrol vessel Tarantel N. B. 18. On the way out, the other sighted and attacked U-58 that was proceeding up the fjord on the surface. It was believed that the bombing damaged the submarine, as it did not attempt to dive thereafter. Both aircraft returned safely at 0925

As HMS Ark Royal departs Gibraltar at 1700 in company with the destroyers HMS Vortigern (local escort), HMS Westcott, and HMS Bulldog bound for the Clyde. HMS Glorious, in company with the destroyers HMS Velox and HMS Watchman continue towards the Clyde
17/4 1940

Heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk bombarded a German station for sea planes at Stavanger, destroying four aircraft and badly damaging the installations, but was in return badly damaged by bombs from German Ju88 aircraft of II. /KG 30. X-turret's magazine had been destroyed. The ship was very lucky to survive this ordeal and she barely reached Scapa Flow with her stern awash the next morning. She was beached at Scapa Flow to prevent her sinking. Suffolk was out of action until February 1941.

The ocean liner QUEEN MARY arrives after her secret voyage from New York to Australia.

British steam freighter SWAINBY sunk by U-13, 25nm N off Muckle Flugga.

German merchant freighter Afrika was a German cargo freighter who was on her way from Narvik to Germany when the war broke out in Scandinavia in April 1940. The crew onboard took the vessel to Bergen where the Germans had taken the control, and stayed there to late April before the German admiral thought they could take the chance to send the vessel further towards Germany. The ship sailed under false Dutch  flag and was camouflaged with the name FRIK by taking away the two a`s in her original name. The same night the vessel was boarded by the Norwegian torpedo boat STEGG in the Korsfjorden, which lead Afrika in to Ulvik where the vessel was taken in custody and the crew interned. The Norwegian soldiers suspected that it wouldn't take long before the Germans came to Ulvik, and therefore they escorted the vessel out in the fjord and sank her.

British submarine THISTLE presumed lost.
18/4 1940

S class submarine HMS Sterlet lost in the Skagerrak with all crew of 30. It is thought that she may have been sunk by minesweeper M 75 on 17 April or mined as she made her way home on 22 April. (Another source say: sunk in the Skaggerak in approximate position 58.00N, 10.00E by German ASW trawlers UJ-125, UJ-126 & UJ-128)

77 Sqn (RAF) - Three aircraft attack shipping in Trondheim Fjord

HMS Furious, after refueling at Tromsø, is transiting the most narrow party of Grotsund fjord when she is surprised by a single Fw-200 of I/KG 40 which drops two 250 kg bombs. One lands very close, badly whipping the hull, and stripping some turbine blades. Although the ship continues operations, this damage will eventually force her home for repairs.

Submarine HMS Seawolf sank the German merchant Hamm (5874 grt) in the Skagerrak.

U-34 fired two torpedoes on the British cruiser HMS Southampton, but both missed.

19/4 1940  
20/4 1940

Helsingborgs Varf, Helsingborg launch buildingnumber ”59” , the ship is later purchased by AB Transmarin, Helsingborg.

German merchant steamer AACHEN owned by North German Lloyd, Bremen and build 1923 (6274 tons) Sunk by British destroyers in Narvik. 1951 refloated, during towing she sunk again, refloated and towed to England. Repaired and renamed Oakhill.

U.S. freighters Flying Fish and Charles McCormick are reported safe at Norwegian ports; concern had been expressed over their safety in view of the German invasion of Norway. They had been shifted from Bergen to neighboring, safer places.

ASW trawler HMS Rutlandshire sunk by German aircraft off Namsos, Norway.
21/4 1940

German steamer JÜRGEN FRITZEN grounded off Landsort and sank.The crew was saved and taken to Nynäshamn. JÜRGEN FRITZEN had her homeport in Stettin and had a cargo of 9.000 ton coal.

U-51 was attacked by submarine FS Orphée with two torpedoes, but both missed.

At 0749, the unescorted British Cedarbank was torpedoed and sunk by U-26 NW of Bergen. 14 crewmembers & one gunner were lost. The master and 29 crewmembers were picked up by HMS Javelin & landed at Aalesund.

22/4 1940 Latvian steamer Jaunelgava kollided with the  German steamer Thor in position 54°27'6N/12°23'9E, on voyage Bremen – Riga with cargo of coal. Jaunelgava sunk.
23/4 1940

Short Bros. Ltd., Sunderland sjösätter bn:460 HINDUSTAN för Hindustan SS Co. (Common Bros. Ltd.), Newcastle, U.K.

The steamship Ørland was among many other ships during the second world war a victim for airplane attacks. On the 23rd of April 1940 the vessel had taken shelter in the Bløbukta in Midsund after airplane attacks the day before, but the Germans had so far not managed to sink Ørland. The crew abandoned the vessel, and on the morning on the 23rd of April German planes appeared again. Despite several attacks on the vessel, the Germans could`nt sink the vessel before late on the afternoon. Ørland then received a major hit from the German planes and sank quickly.

24/4 1940

British steamer RYDAL FORCE (1.101 grt / 1924). Mined and sunk in the Thames Estuary, 400 yards south of the Gull Lightvessel.

After four days of continuous AA duty off Andalsnes, cruiser HMS Curacoa is badly damaged by bombs.
25/4 1940

Götaverken AB, Gothenburg launch motorvessel TONGHAI ordered by AB Svenska Ostasiatiska Kompaniet, Gothenburg.

German submarine U-22 sunk by a mine at pos. 57 00 00 N, 09 00 00 E.

The Estonian steamship BEGONIA (1.806 grt / 1890) went down in the deep. Begonia was on a journey northwards from Rotterdam to Murmansk in a convoy with several other foreign vessels on the 19th of April, but after several attacks on the convoy captain Mihkel Kägi sets course towards the Norwegian coast, and arrives in Aurlandsfjorden where he anchored the vessel right by a steep mountain wall to protect themselves against attacks from airplanes. On the afternoon on April 25th Begonia is spotted by a German reconnaissance plane, and later a group of German airplanes comes in the the fjord and attack the vessel with machine cannons. Under this assault captain Kägi perish. The German planes now abort the ship and instead attack the city of Flåm. The Norwegian forces in the area therefore heads out for Begonia and sink the vessel with explosives after they have got the crew away from the vessel. Mihkel Kägi was later buried in Flåm, and the rest of the crew joined up with the Norwegian forces and went northwards and away from the battles against the German forces.

HMS Ark Royal launches several air strikes on German positions in Norway.

ASW trawlers HMS Bradman, Hammond & Larwood sunk by German aircraft off Norway.
26/4 1940

RAF Wellingtons bomb Stavanger aerodrome and fjord, while six Whitleys search Oslo Fjord attacking oil tanks and a refinery at Vallo and Grisebu. A ship of 5,000 tons is hit.

At 0028, the Lily was hit by one torpedo from U-13, but it did not detonate. At 0117, another torpedo was fired which struck at the bow and broke off the forecastle, causing the ship to sink within 45 seconds. The Lily was reported missing after leaving Kirkwall.
27/4 1940  
28/4 1940

Off Greenock, Scotland, the 2,400 ton French destroyer Maillé Brézé, is a victim of its own weaponry when one of its own torpedoes accidentally fired and slithered along the main deck exploding under the bridge structure and
completely wrecking the forepart of the ship. The British destroyer HMS Firedrake rushed to the scene and rescued fifteen men who had slid down the hawse pipe. Other mangled bodies were recovered but those on the mess deckwere doomed as the ship slowly sank taking with her 38 of her crew still trapped below.

Motorship SATURNUS was attacked and sunk by German planes. But was later raised, repaired and entered service in BDS' coastal cargolines again the fall of 1942.

At 0129, the tanker Scottish American was hit by one torpedo from U-13 and caught fire. The U-boat had fired the last torpedo and left the tanker down by the bows, but the ship was salvaged and returned to service after being repaired.
29/4 1940

At 1730 HMS Unity sailed from Blyth to patrol off Norway. The visibility was down to 300 yards as Unity moved out in the main channel, where the Norwegian ship Atle Jarl was proceeding on her way from Scotland to the Tyne. A short while later visibility was down to 100 yards and neither vessel was aware of the other until the submarine spotted the ship at 50 yards and on a collision course. There was just time to shut the bulkhead doors and order the engines astern before the Atle Jarl smashed into the submarine. The order to abandon the submarine was given and Unity sank only five minutes after the collision.

Although the British explanation concerning the removal of German engineers from Philippine motorship Don Isidro at Port Said on 5 September 1939 fails to satisfy the Department of State, the U.S. government nevertheless considers the incident closed "on the assumption that similar instances will not be permitted to occur in the future."

ASW trawlers HMS Cape Chelyuskin & Cape Siretoko bombed & sunk by German aircraft off Norway.

30/4 1940

British Sloop BITTERN is sunk by Ju-87 dive-bombers off Namsos.

British HMS Glasgow evacuates Norwegian King Haakon and his government from Molde to Tromso, as German forces from Oslo and Trondheim link up

British HMS Furious is turned over to dockyard hands at Greenock

At 0630, HMS Glorious, accompanied by the destroyers HMS Acheron, HMS Antelope, HMS Beagle, and HMS Volunteer depart Scapa Flow, flies on her remaining detachment of 803 Squadron and the Swordfish of 823 Squadron, and then steams to rejoin HMS Ark Royal and the Home Fleet off Norway

RFA Boardale was laid down in England in 1937 at Harland & Wolf, but was already under construction requisitioned by the British navy and put in service in British Tanker Company. It were built five almost identical vessels in this so called Dale class, and Boardale was finished on 7t of July 1937. The only difference between the five vessels was the engine they were equipped with, and a small difference in size. At the German invasion on Norway, operation Weserübung in April 1940, the British sent an expedition towards Narvik to prevent further advances by the German operation. Among all these vessels also the tanker Boardale took part, which sailed towards Narvik as a support vessel for Royal Navy. On 30th of April 1940 Boardale stranded in Åsanfjorden at Bø and was stuck on the reef. The next days the weather worsened, and after a couple of days Boardale was practically blown of the reef and sunk in the deep at Hausan in Vesterålen. The whole crew onboard got away wihhout injuries.

British ST. GORAN (H 356) was bombed off Namsos by German aircraft (probably 3 Ju-87 Stuka) and damaged. Unfit for return to the UK, and scuttled by her own crew (opening the scuttling valves) 1.5.40. In addition the trawler Cape Passaro shelled her to fasten the sinking. 4 of her crew were killed, and they were burried in the ocean from Cape Passaro later. She served as "UJäger" with 15. anti-submarine Striking Force.

French Destroyer FS Maille Breeze (2.441 t) sunk by a two of her own torpedoes at Greenock, Scotland. Two live torpedoes were accidentally discharged into her own forward section causing a terrific explosion with flames shooting 50 feet high into the air. Some of her crewmembers tried to squeeze themelves through the portholes to safety. There were 25 dead and 48 wounded among her crew

Minesweeper HMS Dundoon mined & sunk off Yarmouth.

ASW trawler HMS Jardine scuttled after being damaged by German aircraft off Norway the previous day.

ASW trawler HMS Warwickshire sunk by German aircraft off Trondheim, Norway. Raised by the Germans on 1 June 1940 and commissioned by them as NKi09/Alane. She was sunk on 19 July 1943 near Namvik, northern Norway by the Soviet submarine S-56.

British submarines TARPON and STERLET reported as lost.

1/5 1940

Swedish steamer HAGA (Erik Bancks Rederi, Helsingborg) hit a mine in Skagerack and sank after 5 minutes. 4 of her crew lost, 13 saved by a German navalship and landed at Bremerhaven. (HAGA was build 1918, 1.300 grt).

German raider Widder heads for central Atlantic operations before her return to France in six months time

On her way into the Indian Ocean, raider Atlantis lays mines off South Africa

The Norwegian steamship Dronning Maud was on a northbound journey when the Germans invaded Norway in April 1940. In Kirkenes city she was asked to transport a military medic company from Alta to Foldvik. The need for hospital ships were big, and the ship became thereafter equipped with big flags and other marks which all were marked with the red cross insignia so there should be no doubt about the intention for the vessel. The journey to Foldvik went without any problems, but when they was about to dock in the harbor on the 1st of May 1940 there appear two German airplanes who attacks Dronning Maud. The ship got hit and an intensive fire occurs onboard. To protect the harbor and the area around, Dronning Maud is towed out to a reef where she stands burning, but still in floating condition. The day after there again appear German airplanes who again attack the hospital ship Dronning Maud, and this time they have more success, the ship disappears in the deep water. In total 119 human lives were lost in this sinking of Dronning Maud.

The destroyer Afridi, Capt. P. L. Vian, D.S.O., together with many other Allied cruisers and destroyers was engaged in escorting convoys of troops withdrawn from Norway. The Germans made the most persistent attacks on the ships with dive­bombers, the escort suffering severely. The Afridi sank on the 3rd as a result of bomb hits. (British Navy, destroyer; 1937; Vickers-Armstrong; 1,870 tons; 355 . 5 x 36 . 5 x 9; 44,000 s.h.p.; 36-5 knots; turbine engines; 3-drum boilers; eight 4 - 7 in. guns, 8 smaller, 4 T. T.)

British sloop BITTERN set on fire and sunk by German aircraft.

2/5 1940  
3/5 1940

Retiring northwest from Namsos, British destroyers AFRIDI and the French BISON are sunk by Ju-87 Stuka dive-bombers. The destroyers were protecting a convoy transporting troops withdrawing from Namsos. None of the troop transports are hit and two German planes are shot down. A large number of both crews are rescued, including Captain P L Vian of the Afridi. Previously he was captain of her sister ship, HMS Cossack, of Altmark rescue fame.

ASW trawlers HMS Aston Villa, Gaul & St Goran bombed & sunk off Norway.
4/5 1940

Swedish steamer MONARK of Stockholm torpedoed and sunk by a British submarine on voyage from Stavanger to German harbour with German prizecrew onboard. MONARK belonged to Rederi AB Monark, Stockholm and was build 1938 at Lindholmens varv, Gothenburg.

After the German invasion of Poland in 1939 the destroyer ( Orp ) Grom was one vessels from the Polish navy that got away to England. Together with several other units Grom arrived at Leith on September 1st 1939, and in the time that followed the destroyer received several different modernization's in England. Thereafter followed patrol missions in the English channel and in the North Sea, and Grom got at several occasions experience the war at close range. On April 22nd Grom sailed up against the Norwegian coast line and participated in the operation around Narvik. Among other things Grom was given credits for having destroyed three German canon positions and the destroyer also put German soldiers under fire at several occasions. On May 4th Grom laid outside Narvik when three German Heinkel 111 from 2/KG 100 in the morning attacks the destroyer. Six bombs are released over Grom from an altitude of over five thousand meters, and by a miracle two of them hits Grom. Grom disappears quickly in the cold waters at Orneset outside Narvik. On board Grom is commandant captain Aleksander Hulewicz and a crew of 180 men, and out of these 59 men perish in the attack or the cold water, while the rest of the crew are picked up by two British destroyers who comes to Groom's assistance..

A group of German Heinkel 115 bombers attacks the three ships the Norwegian Blaafjeld, Sekstant and Pan while they are waiting in  Urdshalsvågen for a convoy to England. In the attack that follows Sekstant receives hits from the bombers and soon sinks. The history also says that Blaafjeld were hit under the attack,  and the crew tries halfhearted to rescue her, but the day after Blaafjeld disappear down in the deep.

San Tiburcio struck a mine laid on 9 February by U-9. She broke in two after 40 minutes and sank 4 miles SE of Tarbett Ness, Moray Firth. The master & 39 crewmembers were picked up by HMS Leicester City and landed at Invergordon. The master Walter Frederick Fynn died when his next ship, the San Arcadio was sunk by U-107 (Gelhaus) on 31 Jan 1942.

During the Norwegian campaign, Polish submarine Grom was sunk in the Rombaken Fjord near Narvik by a German He111 (Lt Korthals) aircraft of the KG 100. There were 59 causalities and 154 survivors. Before being lost she bombarded the German troops in the Narvik area.

5/5 1940 Submarine HMS Seal successfully lays mines in the southern Kattegat on the 4th before being damaged by a German mine herself. Trying to make for neutral Sweden on the surface, she is attacked and captured off the Skaw by
German air and sea patrols. Lt Gunther Mehrens, piloting an Ar 196A-3 from Ku.Fl.Gr.706, spotted HMS Seal. Mehrens attacked with his cannon and bombs, forcing the submarine's surrender. Mehrens then alighted, picked up the commander LCdr R. Lonsdale and flew him to Aalborg, the Seal being towed into Frederikshavn
6/5 1940 Minesweeping trawler HMS Loch Naver sank after collision off Hartlepool.
7/5 1940 British HMS Effingham was a heavy cruiser of the Hawkins class, and was the last in a line of few similar vessels. Launched in 1921, and modernized at several occasions until the outbreak of the second world war. In her service from the middle of the twenties, Effingham had a period in India before she returned back to England, and service in the reserve fleet and thereafter in Home Fleet. In April 1940 Effingham is ordered up against the Norwegian coastline to participate in operations there. After several missions along the coast, the cruiser finally arrive at Narvik where she among other things supports 13 DBLE ( half brigade ) from the French Foreign Legion to make it ashore at Bjerkvik outside Narvik. Therafter the cruiser is put into service to transport troops, and such a service she also has under her last journey from Harstad to Bodø with a cargo of soldiers and Bren Gun carriers. On the evening on May 7th is Effingham arrived at Faksen, where suddenly Effingham rips up the keel and start quickly to sink in the water. It is given order to abandon ship, and the crew and the troops is taken over to the following warships, while Effingham is laying as a wreck in shallow water. Later several of the British warships return and saves the cargo and other military equipment. They also destroys the cannons on board Effingham, and before they depart they fire a torpedo in the cruiser. On May 21st the wreck is fired upon by heavy naval units to disable the cruiser.
8/5 1940

HMS Ark Royal is operating off Narvik, in position 70.30 N, 17.00 E, covering the Allied forces at Harstad and the surrounding areas. The intent is to maintain a standing fighter patrol throughout the day.

USS River gunboat Tutuila (PR-4) is damaged when she runs aground on a reef and becomes stranded as she shifts her anchorage at Chungking, China (see 13 May).
9/5 1940

British troops occupied Iceland.

At 0014, the French submarine Doris was torpedoed and sunk NW of the Dutch Coast by the German submarine U-9.

Destroyer HMS Bulldog during the night of 9/10 May, the destroyer was searching in the Skagerrak for German minelayers with other destroyers from Scapa Flow. During an attack by German MTBs at another task force with the same task, the HMS Kelly was badly damaged by a torpedo and towed to Newcastle by HMS Bulldog.

The minelaying destroyers HMS Express, Esk & Intrepid lay 180 mines in known German swept channels in operation XMG.

Thirteen German transport and supply ships announced as having been sunk off Norway.
10/5 1940

German merchant freighter ALEMANIA owned by Hamburg-Amerikanische-Packetfarth AG, Hamburg, build 1921, 1383 ton. Seized in Curacao and renamed St. Maarten. In August 1950 sold to Italy, and renamed Rosalia.

Royal Marines are landed at Reykjavik, Iceland from two cruisers. The landing is unopposed. Iceland declared itself independent of Denmark last month. The occupation of this strategically important island, which has no defence force, pre-empts German hopes of using it as an airbase from which to attack Allied convoys.

Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The Netherlands and Belgium declare war on Germany.

Destroyer HNLMS Van Galen served along her sister ships in the Netherlands East Indies until 1939, when she was ordered back to Holland. She arrived in Den Helder on May 8, only two days before the Germans attack. Two days later she was ordered to shell the German forces at the captured airfield Waalhaven near Rotterdam under fire. Before she could do so she was attacked by German aircraft and badly damaged. Nevertheless she made it to the Merwedehaven, where she finally sank. The ship was raised by the Germans on 23 October 1941, and being not worth repairing she was scrapped in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht.
11/5 1940

Oskarshamns varv launch motor aux GUNILLA ordered by Rederi AB Tellus, Oskarshamn.

Allied troops landed at Curaçao and Aruba to prevent possible German attempts at sabotage in the important oil refineries of these islands.

Belgian merchant ship BAUDOUINVILLE  left Antwerp. (13761 grt/1939, built by J. Cockerill, Hoboken (#675) launch 18/5 1939, delivered 20/6 1939, owned by CMB, S.A., Antwerp, Belgium)
12/5 1940

Swedish steamer BOTHNIA was shelled by German aircrafts in North Sea.

British submarine SEAL presumed lost.
13/5 1940

Outside the Swedish coast ANHALT struck a mine that was placed by the British submarine Seal, but was salvaged and put in service again after having been repaired. The year after Anhalt was attacked by British airplanes at Niuwe Waterweg on 23 April 1941, where three bombs hit the ship and killed four men on board, while another six were injured. Thereafter Anhalt got a more quiet time until she sailed up towards Vågsøy in December 1941. On 27 December 1942 the British launched a raid against Vågsøy, and Anhalt was then in the middle of the attack. Under the attack Anhalt was seriously damaged, but was still afloat after the attack. And here Anhalt was left in peace until the year after when finally the ship was sunk after an Allied air assault on 13 May 1942. The German steamer Anhalt was built in 1921 in Germany, and was before the outbreak of the German invasion in Polen in 1939 put in service with troop transports to Eastern Prussia between Lübeck and Königsberg.

USS River gunboat Tutuila (PR-4), stranded on a reef in the Yangtze River off Chungking, China, since 8 May, is refloated.

AMC HMS Salopian sunk by U-98, which was damaged by the explosion.

A Dutch destroyer that sailed right up to Rozenburg Island despite a mine barrier, and opened fire on the German aircraft and crews who had landed there. The paratroops were completely wiped out in an hour and a half of artillery fire. All the aircraft were badly damaged by the gunfire and many were aflame.
14/5 1940 Belgian passenger steamer VILLE DE BRUGES bombed and sunk in River Scheldt.
15/5 1940

British destroyers continue to support Allied land forces off the Dutch and Belgian coasts. Under heavy air attack, British destroyer VALENTINE are bombed and beached in the Scheldt Estuary.

German aircraft sink the Dutch warships Van Galen at Rotterdam, Frisa and Brinio at Ijsselmeer, Gunboat Johan Maurits van Nassau at Callantsoog, Tjerk Hiddes, Gerward Callenburgh at Rotterdam and HMS Valentine at Terneuzen.

Latvian steamer TAUTMILA captured by German forces in Rotterdam and renamed BALTENLAND.

Latvian steamer VALDONA (built 1904) captured in Rotterdam by German forces, renamed first Memelland, later Sudetenland and finally Baltenland. 26.06.1941: owner becomes Reederei Georg Freymann, Danzig. 26.12.1944: torpedoed by K-56 (55°15'N, 17°05'E), but only damaged.

HMCS Prince Henry (ex-North Star, ex-Prince Henry) purchased from Clarke Steamship Company for $606,740, and preparations were begun to convert her to an Armed Merchant Cruiser (AMC). The Washington and London Naval Treaties placed limits on the number of cruisers that could be built by the participating nations. Canada was governed by the limits placed on the Royal Navy. An important role of heavy cruisers was service on distant stations and as the 'patrolman on the beat,' keeping watch over the trade routes of the world. Smaller, more maneuverable light cruisers served as scouts for the battle fleet and as leaders for destroyer flotillas since they did not have the endurance for the trade protection role, except in home waters where short-range corvettes and armed trawlers sufficed. To meet the requirement for greater numbers of cruisers for mercantile protection, a survey of all small to medium sized passenger ships was undertaken to determine which were suitable for service as auxiliary cruisers. During the Second World War, a large amount of effort, time, and expense was dedicated to converting commercial ships to AMC's to defend against a threat that did not really exist any longer. Although both the German and Japanese navies did employ disguised merchant raiders, they were targeted against independently routed ships, as they did not have the capacity to withstand even a small conventional warship serving as a convoy escort. The use of heavy warships and submarines against convoys exposed the weakness of the AMC's. Their large size, low maneuverability, rudimentary armament, and lack of armor made them particularly vulnerable. Their large crews also made their manning and loss difficult to bear. By late '42 to early '43, the AMC's were being withdrawn from escort service and converted to troopships, a vastly less costly and complicated process as well as a more important role

Destroyer HMS Winchester was badly damaged during German air attacks while supporting Allied land forces off Holland.

Destroyer HMS Valentine was beached and abandoned off Terneuzen, the Netherlands after being bombed.

16/5 1940 Responding to the telegram received from Winston Churchill yesterday, President Roosevelt addresses the request for "40 to 50 destroyers" stating that this loan cannot be done without "specific authorization of the Congress" and U.S. defense requirements must be considered first. He also states that the U.S. Fleet would remain in Hawaiian waters "at least for the time being."
17/5 1940

HMT Lancastria is sunk at St Nazaire. She had been evacuating troops, and some civilians, from France. Almost 9,000 are said to have been on board when she was hit 4 times by German bombs

Cruiser HMS Effingham runs aground on a (an uncharted rock) rock obscured on the chart by a pencil line drawn by the navigator in Vestfjord as she carries troops to Bodo to help block the German advance on Narvik. She is later torpedoed and abandoned

USN announces that they will recommission 35 more "four-stacker" destroyers for use on the Neutrality Patrol and to meet fleet requirements
18/5 1940

Sirius was owned by Bergenske Dampskipselskap and was in the time from July 1894 to July 1895 chartred by the Coastal express together with Olaf Kyrre. She had cabins for seventy passengers, and in the following years she sailed several routes along the Norwegian coast. In 1927  the company had got themselves several better ships with more comfort for the passengers so they decided to remove the cabins, and for the rest of her career Sirius sailed between Oslo and Finnmark as a cargo freighter. On May 18th 1940 Sirius is on a journey from Røsneshavn to Risøyhavn with a crew of eighteen men. They have earlier delivered a cargo of hay at Risøyhavn, when they in Solbergfjorden is spotted by a German airplane which attacks her. With machine-guns the airplane dives towards Sirius and opens fire, and the crew on board suffers several  injuries already in the first assault. Again the German airplane attacks, and this time Sirius receives seven bombs, and soon after she breaks in two pieces and sink within a few minutes. Only eleven men of the crew survived this attack.

Battleship HMS Resolution was badly damaged by one 1000-kg bomb during an attack by German Ju88 aircraft of II/KG 30 off Narvik. The bomb penetrated three decks before detonating.
19/5 1940

The british destroyer supporting Allied land forces, WHITLEY is beached near Nieuport on the Belgian coast with bomb damage.

Swedish motor ship Erik Frisell sunk by U-37 at 57.25N, 09.15W.

Destroyer HMS Whitley was badly damaged by German aircraft and beached between Nieuport and Ostend. HMS Keith later sank her.
20/5 1940

Minesweeping trawler HMS Rifnes bombed & sunk off Ostend.

HMS WHITLEY bombed and beached.
21/5 1940

French destroyer L’ADROIT is bombed and sunk off Dunkirk.

British steamer SPINEL (Wm.Robertson, Glasgow). Bombed and sunk at Dunkirk, salvaged by Germany.

The British steamship MAID OF KENT, Captain Addenbrooke, was serving as a hospital ship during the evacuation of the British army from France, when in Dieppe harbour the vessel was bombed and sunk by German dive bombers. Forty three lives were lost. Captain Addenbrooke was among the survivors.

British Tanker Clairy, 5838 grt – lost

Belgian merchant ship TURQUOISE damaged by German Aircraft bombs at Dieppe. (810 grt/1933, built by J. Cockerill, Hoboken (#647), owned by S.A. John Cockerill, Antwerp, Belgium)

HMS EFFINGHAM wrecked in Norwegian waters.

22/5 1940

ASW trawler HMS Melbourne bombed & sunk off Narvik.

The Dunster Grange was damaged by gunfire from U-37 and escaped
23/5 1940

French destroyer ORAGE is bombed off Boulogne and JAGUAR torpedoed and sunk by German E-boats S-21 and S-23 off Dunkirk.

The Allies start to evacuate Boulogne as the Germans press on to the Channel ports.

At 1254, the Sigurd Faulbaums was hit by two torpedoes from U-9 and sank by the stern in a few minutes. The ship was in tow of two tugs when torpedoed. The crew abandoned ship in seven lifeboats and was picked up by the tugs shortly thereafter.

French destroyer FS Jaguar sunk off Dunkirk by German MTBs S-21 & S-23
24/5 1940

During operations to support the BEF and French falling back on Dunkirk, French destroyers L'Adroit, Orage, Jaguar and Chacal are lost off the channel ports. HMS Wessex is bombed and sunk off Calais as she supports the defenders.

Four Canadian destroyers sent to Britain

Royal Navy begins small evacuations today and will continue for two more days from Boulogne, France. This evacuation will lift 5,000 men to Britain

On the 20 th of May 1940 the Norwegian vessel Skjerstad arrives the city of Bodø to receive new orders. The new orders consists of sailing British soldiers to Rognan and put them ashore there. Already the same night the course are set to Rognan and the vessel gets rid of her new cargo of soldiers. On the afternoon on the 22nd of May the vessel are laid up to land, but in the same time that the crew goes to their supper, three German Ju 87 from I/ StG 1 arrives. The crew on Skjerstad has already seen the planes and gets therefore time enough to run ashore before the attack start. Curiously enough the escapes the vessel all the bombs and the German planes have to return home without doing any damage. Same evening six new Ju 87 appears in the sky to deliver the last stroke to Skjerstad, but also this time the bombs misses their target! Shortly after midnight on the 24th of May there appear several planes on the sky. This last attack is pulled out by German He 111 planes from II/ KG 26, and this time they finish their mission. Three ours after this attack Skjerstad leaves the surface and lay herself on the bottom. S/S Skjerstad went down on the 24 th of May 1940 in Rognan harbor in Nordland county.
25/5 1940

British destroyer HMS Wessex sunk off Calais by German bombers.

Swedish Steamer TILIA GORTHON (1.776 grt / 1930). When on a voyage from Bahia Blanca, Argentina to Gothenburg, Sweden with a cargo of wheat, was she captured by British Naval Forces south west of Ireland. She was taken to Liverpool and requisitioned for a voyage to France with coal. Having sailed from Garston on 14/6 1940, she was intercepted off Nantes, France, by a French patrol and ordered into Quiberon Bay. She was the ordered to return to Liverpool as a result of the German advance.

British Tanker Telena, (7406 grt) – lost. Telena was a Shell tanker (Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co) Completed by New Waterway Shipbuilding Co at Schiedam in March 1927 440 ft o/a length 59 ft beam. Powered by 6 cyl Werkspoor diesel engine. 25/5/1940 attacked and shelled by German U-boat U-37 off Muros, Cape Finisterre when on passage Tripoli for Pauillac with crude oil. Set on fire and abandoned, aground in shallow water. 18 killed including the master, 18 survivors. Salvaged by Spanish and on 17/8/40 arrived at Seatoa Naval Yard, Bilbao for repair.  1942 renamed GERONIA by Spanish Government. May 1975 broken up by Desguaces Cataluna S A. Barcelona.

Destroyer FS L'Adroit bombed & sunk in shallow water off Dunkirk at 1200 by German Heinkel-111s. The ship didn't explode & lay on the beach of Malo-les-Bains. Only one man was injured, the rest of the crew was safe and served on shore batteries until the French capitulation.

Minesweeping trawler HMS Charles Boyes mined & sunk in the North Sea.
26/5 1950

HMS Curlew was a British light cruiser of the class Ceres that was laid down by the British company Vickers on the 14th of December 1917. The cruiser participated i several minor missions at the end of first world war under 5th LCS in Harwich and was in 1919 transferred to 1st LCS in the Atlantic fleet. Until 1935 Curlew did service i several different squadrons and had many missions in Asia and South America until she was put in the reserve in 1927. In the mid thirties the British Admirality produced several different proto types of new warships, and HMS Curlew was pointed out as a prototype for a new class of Antiaircraft cruisers, and was rebuilt and and armed from 1935. Curlew was still at the shipyard at the outbreak of second world war in 1939, but was quickly put in Home Fleet. At the German invasion of Norway in April 1940, the British launched an expedition to help the Norwegian forces, and HMS Curlew was one of the naval units assigned to participate. Curlew did service as an escort along the Norwegian coastline, and on the 26th of May 1940 she laid outside Skånland when she was attacked by German airplanes. The cruiser was heavly damaged under the assault, and was put ashore and abandoned by the crew whom salvaged different inventory and weapons. The British expeditionary force started now to pull out from the battles in Norway, and HMS Curlew was abandoned where she laid in the shallow waters at Skånland, and were mainly salvaged by Høvding Skipsopphugging in the sixties.

Operation dynamo: evacuation of British, French, and Belgian troops from Dunkirk, France, begins, aided by poor flying weather that limits German aerial operations (see 4 June).
27/5 1940

British Tanker Cleander, (7048 grt) – lost.

The French steamship Aden was bombed and sunk by German air­craft, during the operations at Dunkirk. (Chargeurs Reunis; 1918; Asano S.B. Co.; 8,033 tons; 445 x 58 x 40;703 n.h.p. ; triple-expansion engines.)

British landingcraft LCM 18 and 19 were sunk by German artillerie at Narvik.

HMS Grafton ferried 860 men to Dover and returned the following day to pick up another 800. On passage back to England, Grafton stopped to assist with the rescue of survivors from another destroyer that had been sunk, but whilst doing so was herself torpedoed by a U-Boat. Despite being packed with troops, Only 4 people were killed and other vessels took on the remaining troops and ship's company. Grafton was scuttled by gunfire.

At 1551, the unescorted Sheaf Mead was hit in the stern by one torpedo from U-37 and sank capsizing after a boiler explosion at 1554 about 180 miles from Cape Finisterre. The Germans tried questioning the survivors on a raft, but they did not answer the questions. The master, 30 crewmembers and one gunner were lost. Five crewmembers were picked up by Frangoula B. Goulandris and landed at Queenstown, Cork on 31 May.

SS Uruguay sunk by U-37.
28/5 1940

British AA cruiser CAIRO is badly damaged off the town of Narvik just as French and Polish troops complete its capture. The Norwegian Campaign shortly draws to a close.

The Egyptian ship Abukir came under the British flag early in the Second World War and was managed for the Ministry of Shipping by the General Steam Navigation Co. She was torpedoed and sunk by a German motor torpedo boat, in the North Sea. (Ministry of Shipping (General Stm. Nav. Co.); 1920; Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson; 694 tons; 173 - 5 x 28 - 1 x 12 - 9; 97 n.h.p.; triple-expansion engines).

MS Brazza sunk by U-37 at 42.43N 11.00W.

At 1630, the Julien was shelled and sunk by U-37.

Minesweeping trawler HMS Thomas Bartlett mined & sunk off Calais.

ASW trawler HMS Thuringia mined & sunk in North Sea.
29/5 1940

British HMS Grenade, 'G' Class Destroyer. 1,350 tons. Complement 145. Had been sent to test the strength of the shore batteries at Calais with Jaguar and Gallant. While later embarking troops alongside at the East Mole, Dunkirk she was bombed. At 16.00 hours she was hit again, this time seriously, one of which went straight down a funnel and she caught fire and swung out of control into the fairway. She was towed out of the harbour where she exploded and sank some hours later.

Three Royal Navy destroyers are sunk in the English Channel off the Dunkirk beaches this day - GRAFTON torpedoed by submarine U-62, GRENADE by bombing, and WAKEFUL by a torpedo from E-boat S-30.

The Polly Johnson was a steel trawler build in England in 1919. The ship was used by the evacuation of British troops out of Dunquerque On May 29th 1940, at 15.30 hours, 12 German bombers attacked the harbour of Dunquerque. The Polly Johnson suffered substantial damage, caused by a "near-miss" but kept afloat. The ship managed to leave Dunquerque and set course for Nieuwpoort. Near the Nieuwpoortbank, the ship started to sink because of several cracks in the hull. Soldiers and crew were rescued by the Arley. The Polly Johnson was put out of her misery by gunfire. The ship sank to the bottom 12 meters below surface.

Minesweeping trawlers HMS Calvi bombed & sunk off Dunkirk.

The German Aux PB V1109 (ex Antares) 291grt is sunk on a mine laid by the RN SS Narwhal off Molde, Norway 62.58N 6.48E

French auxiliary cruiser Ville d'Oran loads 200 tons of gold (French reserve) for shipment to Casablanca (see 9-10 June).

British merchant steamer Lorina (1,578grt, (London & South Western Railway Co.) build 1918). Requisitioned on 11th September 1939. On 29 May 1940 she was being used in the Dunkirk evacuations when she was hit by a salvo of bombs sinking off Dunkirk, killing 8 of the crew. Seven of the men are commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London on Panel 65. One body was recovered and in buried ashore.

47,310 men are evacuated today in Operation Dynamo. The French allow evacuation of their troops. Three RN destroyers are sunk off the beaches – HMS Grafton torpedoed by U-62, HMS Grenade by bombs, and HMS Wakeful by a torpedo from E-boat S30. The arrival of French warships improves the take off rate. V & W class destroyer HMS Wakeful is attacked and sunk by German Schnelboot S30. She was taking part in the Dunkirk evacuation at the time and carrying 600 troops who were below decks and of whom only 1 survived. Casualties numbered about 650 crew and soldiers, and only 25 plus an embarked soldier survived the sinking. Destroyer HMS Grafton is torpedoed by U-62 in the English Channel, 13 miles north of Nieuport, but does not sink. Alongside at the time was Trawler HMS Comfort. Grafton is scuttled by HMS Ivanhoe later the same day after crew and troops had been taken off. Destroyer HMS Grenade whilst alongside the east mole at Dunkirk is damaged and disabled by aircraft attacks. The destroyer is abandoned and her burning hull towed clear of the main channel. After burning for some hours, she then blows up. In connection with these same evacuation operations, Trawler HMS Comfort is attacked by own side forces and then rammed in the English Channel 13 miles north of Nieuport. After suffering some flooding and damage whilst alongside Grafton, Comfort pulls away only to be mistaken for a German S boat by HMS Lydd who opens fire with 4-inch and Lewis guns. Lydd then rams the trawler and cuts her in half. Some of the crew of Comfort attempt to jump on to Lydd, but are mistaken for Germans and repelled with gunfire. Minesweeper HMS Waverley, a paddle steamer, is bombed in the English Channel near Kwint Bank Buoy by German aircraft. Four of the 600 embarked troops are killed outright and another 150 drown as Waverley sinks.

At 0615, U-37 tried to stop the unescorted Marie José by a shot across her bow about 40 miles NW of Vigo, but the ship turned away and sent radio messages. The U-boat opened fire, hitting several times and soon the crew abandoned ship. The burning ship was hit by a coup de grâce at 0657 and sank within 15 minutes.

Motor tanker Telena sunk by U-37 at 42.25N, 09.08W.
30/5 1940

Operation Dynamo evacuates 52,823 men from Dunkirk.

SS Stanhall sunk by U-101 at 48.59N, 05.17W.

French destroyer Bourrasque sunk near Nieuport after being mined and finished off by German artillery fire. The ship was participating in the evacuation off Allied soldiers from Dunkirk.

ASW trawler HMS St Ahilleus mined & sunk off Dunkirk.

British destroyer WAKEFUL lost at Dunkirk.
31/5 1940

French Destroyer SIROCCO is torpedoed and sunk by German E-boats S-23 and S-26.

German submarine U-13 sunk by HMS WESTON at pos. 52 27 00 N, 02 02 00 E off Lowestoft.

Yachts Cleopatra and Conseco purchased by RCN and were converted to patrol craft HMCS Moose and Otter respectively in Quebec City.

The French ship Ain-el-Turk was bombed and sunk by German air­craft during the evacuation of Dunkirk. (Cie. France-Navigation S.A.; 1925; Swan, Hunter & Wigham Rżchardson; 2,508 tons; 315,8 x 45,1 x 20,6; 283n.h.p.; triple­expansion engines.)
   
1941  
   
   
1942  
19/2 1942 BRITISH MOTORIST, 6,891/24-motor tanker, owned by the British Tanker Co., Ltd, was sunk by Japanese air attack at Darwin, was refloated 18/9/59 by a Japanese salvage team and is to be towed to Japan for scrapping.
21/2 1942 American steamtanker J. N. PEW torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-502 at 12.40 N / 74.00 W when on voyage Aruba to Panama Canal.
23/2 1942 At 16.43 hours, the unescorted and unarmed American tanker Sun (Master Cornelius Van Gemert) was hit aft of midships on the port side by one torpedo from the German submarine U-502 about 54 miles north of Aruba in 13°02N/70°41W. The tanker was en route from Chester to Aruba in water ballast. The explosion ripped the side and bottom almost completely out and tore out most of the inner structure and framework. The crew of eight officers and 28 crewmen initially abandoned ship in two lifeboats but reboarded the vessel after an aircraft was sighted. The tanker anchored near the Venezuelan coast until the following morning and then sailed to Aruba with air escort. She returned to Chester after temporary repairs were made at Aruba.
16/3 1942 The American steamtanker Atlantic Sun departed Beaumont, Texas, en route to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania with a load of 156.840 barrels of crude oil. On 21 March, the unescorted tanker was spotted by U-124 (Mohr) off the Beaufort Sea Buoy in 33°34N/77°25W but could not get into a favorable firing position because of the tanker´s speed of 15 knots. As a last resort, Mohr fired a torpedo at about 4000 yards at 10.05 hours. This torpedo struck on the starboard side in the forward tank but did not severely damage the ship. The Atlantic Sun reached Beaufort, North Carolina under own power to recieve temporary repairs. None of the crew of eight officers, 32 men and five armed guards (she was armed with one 5in and four .30cal guns) reported any injuries.
6/4 1942 Unarmed U.S. tanker Bidwell, bound from Corpus Christi, Texas, to New York City, torpedoed by German submarine U-160 about 30 miles east of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, 34°25'N, 75°57'W, but manages to reach Hampton Roads under her own power. One man of her 33-man crew was lost in the torpedoing.
9/4 1942 American steamtanker SUNOIL Torpedoed by submarine: 34.27N/76.16W.
16/5 1942 At 11.01 hours, the unescorted American tanker Sun (Master John Peter Bakke) was hit at the port bow by a torpedo from German submarine U-506 near Southwest Pass, Louisiana. The explosion opened a hole of approximately 30 by 20 feet, bulged out some plates on the opposite side and ruptured the lower deck in several places. The tanker first stopped but soon turned away at full speed and the armed guards manning the guns, reaching New Orleans for repairs about 14 hours later. All eight officers, 29 crewmen and five armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and four .30cal guns) survived. The U-boat did not chase the Sun because it attacked the William C. McTarnahan only a few minutes later.
18/5 1942 At 06.06 hours, the unescorted and unarmed American tanker Mercury Sun (Master Willard Davis Jr.) was hit by two torpedoes from German submarine U-125 about 125 miles south of Cape Corrientes, Cuba, while steaming a zigzag course at 8.5 knots. The torpedoes struck on the port side at the #4 and #5 tanks and broke the back of the ship. The carbon dioxide smothering system on the tanker successfully kept the cargo from igniting after the first torpedo hit, but when the second hit the ship burst into flames. 29 of the nine officers and 26 crewmen managed to abandon ship in two lifeboats. At 06.35 hours, a coup de grâce struck the vessel on the starboard side at #8 tank, but the ship remained afloat and sank about three hours after the first attack, sagging in the middle. The master, chief mate, second mate and three crew members were lost.
The lifeboats stayed near the burning ship until daybreak and then sailed towards the coast. 28 survivors were picked up nearly 40 hours after the attack by the American steam merchant Howard and landed on 19 May at Mobile, Alabama. One seriously injured crewman was transferred to a US Coast Guard boat at the Tampa Sea Buoy.
15/7 1942 American Pennsylvania Sun torpedoed by the German Submarine U-571 about 125 miles west of Key West, Florida. Pennsylvania Sun was saved and returned to service, but not without the loss of life.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
1943  
15/2 1943 The American steamtanker Atlantic Sun had developed engine trouble and straggled from the convoy ON-165. At 10.00 hours the tanker tried to catch up with the convoy when struck by two torpedoes from the German submarine U-607 on the port side 150 miles off Cape Race. The first torpedo split the ship in half abaft the midships house and the other blew a large hole in the bow. The forward section sank in 20 minutes. The after section appeared sound enough to be taken into port under power. After the ship broke in two, 22 men led by the chief officer abandoned the after section. They returned two hours later and reboarded the after part of the ship, going below to change clothing. 30 minutes later, with the men still below, a third torpedo from U-607 struck near the stern post, causing the stern to sink 30 minutes later. After the hit a lifeboat with eight men cleared the ship half-swamped and without oars. Others went over the side into the sea just before the ship turned over keel up and sank. The ordinary seaman William Golobich was picked up by the U-boat from the water and took him to St.Nazaire. He eventually went to Milag POW camp. Those who remained behind faced moderate seas and 25° weather. None of the ten officers, 36 men, 19 armed guards (the tanker was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and one passenger on board survived except the man that was taken prisoner.
21/3 1943 American tanker SUN torpedoed by a submarine while in tow, 8 miles from Cape Cefalu.
5/4 1943
At 11.45 hours, U-563 fired three torpedoes at the zigzagging American tanker Sunoil (Master Sedolf Berg Heggelund), a straggler from position #45 in convoy HX-231 due to engine troubles. One torpedo hit, but the armed guards forced the U-boat to submerge and her distress signal brought HMS Vidette (D 48) (Lt R. Hart, DSC, RN) to the scene which prevented another attack. About 15.00 hours, U-530 spotted the tanker and later also a destroyer and fired at 22.11 hours a spread of three torpedoes at the Sunoil, which was hit by one torpedo and stopped. The tanker sank quickly after being hit by two coups de grâce. The destroyer found no trace of her until dusk, abandoned the search and returned to the convoy. All ten officers, 33 crewmen and 26 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) were lost.
   
1944  
27/2 1944 American steamtanker SUNBEAM torpedoed by a German submarine off Cape Camarat, She managed for own power to go to nearest harbour for repair.
30/8 1944 American steamtanker SUNBEAM bombed by aircraft in Toulon.
   
   
   
   
   
1945  
10/2 1945 German passengership STEUBEN sunk by the Russian submarine S13 when on a voyage Pillau to Kiel with wonded soldiers and war refuge.