Two rare bee species discovered on Cornwall nature reserve
Two rare bee species discovered on Cornwall nature reserve
1681 Adventure captured the Algerine Two Lions off Larache, Morocco.
1719 Weymouth and Winchester destroyed two Spanish warships (one the ex-British Greyhound) and a battery at Ribadeo, and captured a merchantman.
1795 Capture of the Cape of Good Hope in the name of the Prince of Orange by Vice-Adm Sir George Elphinstone, later Lord Keith (Monarch) and Gen Alfred Clarke. A Naval Brigade was landed. Ships: America, Jupiter, Monarch, Ruby, Sceptre, Stately, Tremendous, Trident. Frigates, etc,: Crescent, Echo, Hope, Moselle, Rattlesnake, Sphinx. Troops: 78th Regiment and 350 Marines.
1801 Champion recaptured the ex-British Bulldon at Gallipoli, Gulf of Taranto.
1813 Boats of Swallow captured the French Guerriére near Porto d’Anzio.
1914 Dwarf rammed by, but sank, the German Nachtigal in Bimbia River, W. Africa.
1917 Submarine G 9 rammed and sunk by destroyer Pasley off Norway. One survivor.
1918 UB-103 sunk in Dover Barrage.
1918 GC (ex-AM): Sub-Lt D.H. Evans (Glatton) for saving life when ship caught fire and had to be sunk in Dover harbour (torpedoed by destroyer Myngs).
1919 Monitors M 25 and M 27 blown up in Dvina River, northern Russia, to prevent their capture as they could not cross the bar. End of second Archangel River Expiditionary Force.
1939 First part of Channel mine barrage completed, from Goodwin Sands to Dunkirk, in five days by Adventure, Plover and two ferries.
1940 First German parachute mines dropped on London. Seventeen out of at least twenty-five failed to explode or were fused to delay detonation.
1942 Talisman reported sunk, possibly by mine, between Gibraltar and Malta in Sicilian Channel.
1942 Impulsive sank U-457 N.E. of Murmansk. Convoy PQ 18.
Flight Deck Operations
To the naval flyer the perils are not over when he leaves the scene of action. He then has to find the aircraft carrier whence he came, ofen in poor weather conditions and, in wartime, generally without the aid of radion and navigation systems. Having found his ship he then has to land on her. The Salerno landing in the autumn of 1943 are a good example: during nearly 4 days of carrier based flying two enemy aircraft were shot down and four damaged. No Seafire ws lost through enemy action. However, forty-two were lost or were written off through deck-landing accidents, and many others were made unserviceable.
A Seafire missing the deck. The Seafire wsa a high-performance fighter, but not intended for carrier operation. (RNM)
1744 Navy Board proposed RN Hospitals at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham, Haslar established by Order in Council.
1782 Vestal and Bonetta captured the French Aigle off the Delaware. American Minister to Holland ditched his papers but a diving sailor caught them: found to contain draft treaty.
1797 Aurora captured the French privateer Espiegle 40 miles to the westward of Cape Roxent (da Roca).
1803 Rear-Adm Sir James Saumarez (Cerberus) with two bombs, bombarded Granville.
1871 Herbert William Richmond born.
1899 Alexandra, Europa and Juno fitted with first operational wireless.
1903 First Term entered RN College, Osborne.
1909 Volunteer Reserve Decoration instituted.
1915 Submarine E 16 sank U-6 4 miles S.W. of Karmo Island, off Stavangar.
1931 Afo promulgated pay cuts which led to mutiny in some ships of the Atlantic Fleet at Invergordon: a brief, sad chapter of misinformation, muddle and misunderstanding.
Extract from Petition of Invergordon Mutineers
‘We the loyal subjects of HM The King do hereby present my Lord’s Commissioners of the Admiralty our representation to implore them to amend the drastic cuts in pay that have been inflicted on the lowest paid men on the lower deck.
‘It is evidentto all concerned that this cut is the forerunner of tragedy, misery and immorality amongst the families of the lower deck and unless we can be guaranteed a written agreement from Admiralty confirmed by Parliament stating that our pay will be revised we are still to remain as one unit, refusing to serve under the new rates of pay.
1940 Dundee sunk by U-48 in N. Atlantic 956-45N, 14-14W). Convoy SC 3.
1942 Whitley Q/58 sank U-261 S. of Faroes.
1943 Valiant and Warspite bombarded enemy positions near Salerno, restoring the Allied situation on shore.
Operation Avalanche – Salerno
The Naval Commander’s report on the landings at Salerno stated that ‘the margin of success in the landings was carried by the naval guns’, and the Germans attributed their failure to break through to the beaches to the devastating effect of the naval gunfire. The battleships Valiant and Warspite were involved in the bombardment. Of sixty-two rounds of 15in shells, thirty-five fell on target, and another eight were within 100yd. Warspite was hit by a radio-controlled bomb on 16th, which exploded in No. 4 Boiler Room and damaged her bottom. A second bomb landed close alongside and blew a hole in the waterline. The ship had lost all power in five minutes, and was flooding steadily. She was towed to Malta, and then went to Gibraltar where large cofferdams were built on her bottom. She was able to take part in the bombardment during the Normandy landings.
Invasion of Inchon, 1950
The US 10th Corps with over 70,000 men was landed at Inchon from 550 landing craft with the aim of recapturing Scoul and cutting the enemy forces’ supply routes. The landings were a totally American affair, but the British cruisers Jamaica and Kenya operated with the Gun Fire Support Group, carrying out offshore patrols and maintaining the blockade. During these operations Jamaica became the first United Nations ship to shoot down an enemy aircraft, on 17 September. During the operations she fired 1,290 rounds of 6in and 393 of 4in, while Kenya fired 1,242 rounds of 6in and 205 of 4in shells.
1966 Resolution launched, tenth of the name and the first RN Polaris ballistic missile submarine.
1983 Furze House, Queen’s Gate Terrace, London, bought in 1954 as WRNS accommodation, commissioned as St Vincent.
Paid off 31 March 1992. Name transferred to Communications Centre Whitehall (CCW) which commissioned as St Vincent 1 April 1992. DCI(RN)105/92.
1995 Thunderer, RN Engineering College, Manadon, paid off. Training transferred to Southampton University.
1998 Frigate Cumberland with RM FSRT and RM Boat Group stood by off Albania to evacuate British nationals. Relieved by London 22 Seotenber. Operation Swanston.
1650 Adm Robert Blake (George) captured seven ships of the Portuguese Brazil fleet, while blockading Prince Rupert in Lisbon.
1779 Pearl captured the Spanish Santa Monica 18 miles S. by E. of Corvo Island, Azores.
1801 Combined attack on the French siege batteries at Port Ferrajo, Elba. Ships: Renown, Vincejo.
1805 Vice-Adm Viscount Nelson sailed from Portsmouth for the last time, having by his own reckoning been absent from Victory for only twenty-five days ‘from dinner to dinner’ since 18 March 1803. ‘I had their cheers before: now I have their hearts.’
1807 Blonde captured the French privateer Hirondelle 400 miles to the eastward of Barbados.
1814 Unsuccessful bombardment of Fort McHenry by squadron under Rear-Adm Cochrane (Surprise) led to the composition of ‘The Star-spangled Banner’, the American national anthem, on the deck of a British warship (Minden). The tune is that of an old English drinking song. ‘Anocreon in Heaven’.
1909 Destroyer Viking launched at Palmers, Jarrow. The only six-funnelled ship the RN has had.
1914 AMC Carmania sank the German Cap Trafalgar off Trinidad Island. South Atlantic. War Medal: clasp ‘Cap Trafalgar, 14 Sep. 1914′ approved but not issued.
The armed merchant cruiser HMS Carmania in action with the German armed liner Cap Trafalgar of Trinidad Island in 1914. (RNM)
1914 Submarine AE 1, with mixed British and Australian crew, lost on patrol in St George’s Strait in Bismarck Archipelago N.E. of New Guinea. The first British or Dominion submarine loss in the First World War. Cause not known. AE 1 and AE 2 had left Portsmouth on 2 March 1914 and arrived at Sydney 24 May after voyage of 14,000 miles.
1917 GC (ex-AM): OS G.E.P. Abbott and R.J. Knowlton, RNR, for rescuing pilot in seaplane crashed up a 360ft mast on Hornsea Island. Third recipient. OS Gold, died before 1971.
1918 Argus commissioned: first flush-deck carrier.
1939 Submarine Sturgeon attacked and sister ship Swordfish, unsuccessfully.
1939 ‘So long as hostilities last, the use of the Blue Ensign, whether plain or defaced, and the defaced Red Ensign by erchant and other private vessels, is to be discontinued, … This prohibition does not apply to Dominion vessels, to vessels in the service of public departments and boards, or to stationary training ships holding an Admiralty warrant.’ AFO 2602/39.
1939 ‘The following Dresses are to be landed at the first opportunity by all fficers employed afloat: No. 1 Full Dress, No. 2 Ball Dress, No. 2a Ball Dress without Epaulettes, No. 3 Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress, No. 4 Frock Coats Dress, No. 6 Mess Dress, No. 8 White Full Dress, No. 9 White Dress, No. 11 White Mess Dress.’ AFO 2605/39.
1942 Sikh hit by sore battery off Tobruk and sank in tow of Zulu. Coventry damaged by German air attack east of Tobruk, set on fire and scuttled by Zulu hit by Italian air attack and sank in tow of Hursley 932-00N, 28-56E). Three MTBs also sunk by aircraft. Operation Agreement.
1942 Ottawa (RCN) (ex-Crusader) sunk by U-91 in Gulf of St Lawrence. Convoy ON 127.
Convoy ON 127, 10-14 September 1942
This convoy consisted of thirty-two merchant ships. It was attacked by a wolf pack of thirteen U0boats, each of which was able to make an attack - the first time in the battle of Atlantic that this had happened. Twelve freighters and one destrohed were sunk. Only one U-boat was damaged.
1942 Dido, Javelin, Jervis, Pakenham and Paladin bombarded the Daba area, Egypt.
1942 Onslow and a Swordfish from Avenger sank U-589 off Bear Island. Convoy PQ 18.
1942 Sunderland R/202 sank the Italian S/M Alabastro off Algiers.
1987 Abdiel with four minehunters arrived Oman to start a five-month clearance of mines laid in Iran-Iraq war.
1993 Vanguard, the first of the RN’s Trident submarines, accepted at sea from Vickers Shipbuilding.
1747 Dover captured the French Renommée off Ushant.
1759 Capture of Quebec by Maj-Gen James Wolfe and Vice-Adm Charles Saunders (Neptune).
Ships: Alcide, Bedford, Captain, Centurion, Devonshire, Diana, Dublin, Echo, Eurus, Fowey, Head, Hind, Hunter, Lizard, Lowestoffe, Medway, Neptune, Nightingale, Northumberland, Orford, Pembroke, Porcupine, Prince Frederick, Prince of Orange, Princess Amelia, Richmond, Royal William, Scarborough, Scorpion, Sea Horse, Shrewsbury, Somerset, Squirrel, Stirling Castle, Sutherland, Terrible, Trent, Trident, Vanguard, Zephyr. Bombs: Baltimore, Pelican, Racehorse. Fireships: Boscawen, Cormorant, Halifax, Strombolo, Vesuvius. Cutter: Rodney. Storeship: Crown.
The Seven Years War was started as a result of the French settlers in Canada fortifying a number of posts against the advance of English settlers. The French city of Quebec was the key to the conquest of Upper Canada. The city stood far up the St Lawrence River and the tortuous channel was believed to be impassable by anything larger than a frigate. The French therefore believed that Quebec was safe from attack by sea.
However, a British fleet under Vice-Adm Sir Charles Saunders, aided by the brilliant pilotage of James Cook, Master of Pembroke and later Captain, sailed up the St Lawrence River with an army embarked. During the attack on the city the fleet dominated the river, preventing supplies from reaching the defence, and landed the 17,000 men at the assault position below the plains of Abraham. Seamen of the fleet also landed guns and hauled them up the Heights of Abraham.
‘A Military, Naval, Littoral War, when wisely prepared and discreetly conducted, is a terrible Sort of War. Happy for that People who are Sovereigns enough of the Sea to put it in Execution! For it comes like Thunder and Lightning to some unprepared Part of the World’ – Molyneux, Conjunct Operations.
1782 Repulse of the Spanish attack on Gibraltar, all ten Spanish battering ships being destroyed. Seamen from Brilliant reinforced the garrison.
1786 Marine Society commissioned the first designed pre-sea-training ship.
1799 Arrow and Wolverine captured the Batavian Republic Draak and Gier in Vliestroom.
1800 Capitulation of Curacao.
1805 Nelson and Sir Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) met in the waiting room of Lord Castlereagh, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies: their only recorded meeting and a fascinating encounter.
1807 Saumarez attacked landing craft at Granville, Normandy.
1810 Africaine taken by the French Iphigénie and Astrée off Réunion. Recaptured by Boadicea, Otter and Staunch. Troops: detachments of 86th Regiment in Africaine, 1/69th in Otter and Staunch, 89th in Boadicea.
1855 Institution of Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. Eleven awarded. Active service in Baltic and Crimea revealed that there was no naval equivalent to the Army’s Distinguished Conduct Medal, the first award to distinguish conduct from mere service. Hence the CGM was instituted by Order in Council. Eleven awards were made to ten individuals, including Trevawas. After the institution of the VC no more awards were made until 7 July 1874 and there were only 234 by the end of 1946.
1858 Pearl’s Naval Brigade at Domariaganj.
1882 Battle of Tel-el-Kebir, Sudan. Two battalions of Royal Marines were present.
Gattling-gun crew and shore party in HMS Superb at Tel-el-Kebir, 1882. The sailors are armed with Martini-Henry rifles and cutlass bayonets. (RNM)
1914 E 9, Lt-Cdr Max Horton, sank German cruiser Hela S.W. of Heligoland. DSO. First RN Submarine commander to sink an enemy warship. Returned to Harwich flying Jolly Roger and so established traditional signal for a successful patrol.
1942 11th RM battalion raided Tobruk.
1943 Lord Gort presented, on behalf of the King, the George Cross to Sir George Borg, Chief Justice of Malta, who received it on behalf of the Maltese people.
1947 Minesweeper HMAS Warrnambool mined and sunk off Cockburn Reef, Queensland.
1958 MVs Melika and Fernand Gilbert salvaged, after collision and fire in Gulf of Oman, by carrier Bulwark and frigates Puma, Loch Killisport, St Bride’s Bay and RFA Wave Knight.
1985 Orpheus made last submarine visit to Manchester. There was a firm liaison with Exide, which made submarine batteries.
1988 Active and RFA Oakleaf provided hurricane relief at Jamaica.
1747 Amazon (26) fought the French Renommée (32) 120 miles S.S.W. of Ushant.
1782 Warwick captured the French Sophie off the Delaware.
1808 Laurel taken by the French Canonniére off Port Louis, Mauritius.
1840 Abortive attack by Carysfort, Cyclops and Dido on Jebeil Castle, Syria.
1846 Work began on Keyham Steam yard.
1857 Naval Brigades of Pearl and Shannon landed at Calcutta. Second contingent left the ship 12 October 1857. During operations against mutineers by both contingents up to December 1858 only one man killed in action. Eighteen died of fever, drowning or sunstroke.
1914 Berwick captured the German fleet auxiliary Spreewald at a rendezvous with two neutrals. Taken into service as Lucia and as a useful depot ship.
1914 U-13 sunk in North Sea.
12 September 1916 – (Mis)information
The Naval Intelligence Department under Adm Hall was considered one of the most effective instruments in winning the First World War. Its activities extended well beyond the strict bounds of naval intelligence. As an example, the Daily Mail of 12 September 1916 reported large troop concentrations at Harwich and Dover in such a way that German agents in Holland were convinced that vital news had leaked to the Daily Mail before being cleared by the censor. As a result the Germans moved a large detachment of their forces to the Belgian coast, thereby relieving the main battlefield. The origin of the report was Room 40 at the Admiralty.
1917 Submarine D 7 torpedoed (stern tube) and sank U-45 in N.W. Approaches.
1941 Swordfish aircraft of 830 Sqn FAA (Malta) and Blenheims of 105 Sqn RAF attacked an escorted Tripoli convoy south of Lampione. Several ships sunk or damaged.
1942 Faulkner sank U-88 off Bear Island. Convoy PQ 18.
Convoy PQ 18 to Russia
This comprised forty merchant ships and six minesweepers and auxiliaries, together with a substantial escort comprising:
seventeen ships as close escort (including two submarines).
an escort carrier, cruiser and eighteen destroyers – with the convoy.
two battleships, four cruisers and five destroyers – in two covering forces.
The operation was controlled by the Commander-in-Chief in the battleship King George V. The route chosen for the convoy was long, as the ice had moved north, and all warships other than the close escort were to escort the next return convoy from Russia (QP 14) before returning to harbour. The main body sailed from Loch Ewe on 2 September, with a Western Approaches escort which was relieved by the close escort on 7th in the Denmark Strait. On 9th, the cruiser Scylla and nine destroyers joined, and by 13th the escort was at full strength with all the ships having fuelled from oilers lying at Spitzbergen.
On 12th the destroyer Faulknor sank U-88, and on 13th there were other U-boat attacks. Two ships were lost to U-boats, and then eight more were lost during a massed air attack by forty torpedo bombers. Five aircraft were shot down that day and twenty-two the next day, when there was a series of attacks during which one merchant ship was lost. The destroyer Onslow and a Swordfish from the carrier Avenger sank U-589. On 15th the aircraft again attacked in large numbers and twelve U-boats were in contact with the convoy, but the escort held them off. On 16th the destroyer Impulsive sank U-457, and that afternoon all but the close escort left PQ 18 and joined QP 14. Eleven merchant ships had been lost, but the Germans had lost forty-nine aircraft and three U-boats. Thirty-six ships reached Russia safely.
The Germans attributed their failure to achieve better results to the steadfastness of the convoy in maintaining formation despite the intensity of the attacks.
Chipping ice from the forecastle of HMS Scylla (1940), on escort duty in northern waters. (RNM)
1942 Laconta, troop transport, carrying 2,732 souls, including 1,800 Italian POWs and many women and children, torpedoed and sunk by U-156 N.E. of Ascension.. Korvettenkapitan Hartenstein broadcast location of survivors but rescue operation finally aborted when US Liberator attacked. Donitz issued punitive Laconia Order forbidding future humanitarian attempts.
1943 Italian submarine Topazio sunk S.E. of Sardinia by RAF aircraft, having failed to identify herself.
1944 Furious and Trumpeter, escorted by Devonshire and six destroyers of 26th DF, laid mines in Aramsund Channel: one German escort vessel sunk. Operation Begonia. FAA Sqns: 801,808, 827, 830 (Furious – Seafire, Barracuda); 846, 852 (Trumpeter – Avenger). The last Home Fleet operation in which Furious took part before reducing to reserve.
1985 Cdr John Simon Kerans, DSO, late of the frigate Amethyst, died aged 70. Born 30 June 1915.
1781 Iris and Richmond taken by the French squadron under Cdre Comte Barras in Chesapeake Bay.
1793 Nelson (Agamemnon) first met Lady Hamilton, at Naples.
1795 Alexander Dalrymple appointed first (and only civilian) Hydrographer of the Navy – at a salary of £500.
1809 Diana captured the Dutch Zeffer off Menado, Celebes.
1814 Second battle of Lake Champlain. The British Lake Squadron in Plattsburg Bay, causing Prevost to desist from advancing on New York. Ships: Confiance, Linnet, Chub, Finch and ten gunboats. American: Saratoga, Eagle, Preble, Ticonderoga and ten gunboats.
1886 Rattlesnake, first Torpedo Gunboat, launched.
1896 Zafir burst her boiler on the White Nile much to the chagrin of Kitchener, before Dongola. Repaired and in action again on 23rd.
1919 Hermes, first ship to be designed, ordered and built as an aircraft carrier, launched at Armstrongs on the Tyne. Completed at Devonport. Sunk by Japanese naval aircraft off Ceylon 9 April 1942.
1921 Admiral of the Fleet the Marquess of Milford Haven, until 1917 entitled HSH Prince Louis of Battenberg, died.
Dover Barrage, 1939
The minelayers Adventure and Plover, augmented by requisitioned train ferries Shepperton and Hampton, laid over 6,000 mines in the Dover Area between 11 September and 23 October. This barrage prevented U-boats from passing through the straits. Only one succeeded, on the night 11/12 September before the barrage was really started. In October, two others blew up on mines and a third ran aground on the Goodwins.
HMS Adventurer, cruiser minelayer (1924). (RNM W&L SF1)
1941 Leamington and Veteran sank U-207 in N. Atlantic (63-59N, 34-48W). Convoy SC 42.
1942 Charlottetown (RCN) sunk by U-517 in the Gulf of St Lawrence (49-12N, 66-48W). Convoy QS 33.
1943 Haarlem. Hyacinth, Wollongong (RAN) and Wellingtons J/179 and P/179 damaged U-617 in the Straits of Gibraltar. U-boat beached next day in 35-38N, 03-29W in Spanish Morocco.
1943 X 24 laid two charges under the floating dock at Laksvaag, Bergen. Dock broken in two. Operation Heckle.
Midget Submarine Attack – Bergen
X 24 had been towed by the submarine Sceptre to Bergen and carried out an attack on shipping there on 14 April. She had planned to damage the 8,000-ton floating dock, but had been deflected on her approach. She managed to blow up the 7,800-ton ship Bahrenfels and put the coaling wharf out of action for the remainder of the war. In addition to one of two ships moored alongside. The other was sunk.
On 11 September, she again entered Bergen harbour. She used the mast of the Bahrenfels as a marker, the only part of the ship still showing above water, and placed charges under the floating dock. She then made her way down the fjord and made contact with Sceptre that evening. Four of the six sections of the floating dock were damaged beyond repair, the other two sections were damaged, and so were two ships secured alongside the dock at the time of the attack.
These attacks were carried out very skilfully and caused considerable damage. They brought about delays in the harbour’s routine and immobilised troops in security operations.
1994 Brazen, Type 22 frigate, grounded on Chilean coast for four days. CO, NO and OOW court-martialled 17 February 1995. First court martial of a female OOW. Her plea of Guilty to a charge of negligence was not accepted by the Court; no further evidence was offered by the Crown and she was acquitted.
1998 Rear-Adm Nigel Essenhigh, ACDS(Programmes), promoted admiral and appointed CINCFLEET/CINCEASTLANT/COMNAVNORWEST in succession to Adm Sir Michael Boyce.
1677 Sapphire fought the Algerine Golden Horse in the Mediterranean.
1759 Vice-Adm George Pocock (Yarmouth) fought Cdre Comte d’Ache (Zodiaque), with eleven ships, 25 miles S.E. of Porto Novo. Ships: Cumberland, Elizabeth, Grafton, Newcastle, Salisbury, Sunderland, Tiger, Weymouth, Yarmouth. Frigate: Queenborough.
This third action was a furious one with heavy losses on both sides. The French withdrew; the British were unable to pursue. But it was the end of French sea power in Indian waters.
1778 Fox taken by the French Junon 120 miles S.S.W. of Ushant.
1813 Defeat of the British Lake Squadron by the American Lake Squadron on Lake Erie. Ships: Chippeway, Detroit, Hunter, Lady Prevost, Little Belt, Queen Charlotte. Troops: 41st Regiment, Royal Newfoundland Fencible Infantry. American: Ariel, Caledonia, Lawrence, Niagara, Porcupine, Scorpion, Summers, Tigress, Trip. (Second Little Belt taken by US).
1840 Start of operations which continued until 9 December against Mehemet Ali. Bombardment of Beirut and landing of troops in d’Jounie (Juniye) Bay.
Ships: Bellerophon, Benbow, Edinburgh, Ganges, Hastings, Princess Charlotte (Adm the Hon. Sir Robert Stopford), Powerful, Revenge, Rodney, Thunderer, Vanguard, Others: Asia, Cambridge, Implacable. Frigates: Carysfort, Castor, Dido, Hazard, Pique, Sabrina, Talbot, Wasp. Others: Daphne, Magicienne. Steamers: Cyclops, Gorgon, Hydra, Medea, Phoenix, Stromboli, Vesuvius. Others: Hecate. Austrian: Guerriera, Lipsia, Medea (Rear-Adm Franz, Baron Bandiera). Turkish: Mookuddimay-I_Hive (Rear-Adm Baldwin Walker Bey). Troops: Royal Artillery, Royal Sappers and Miners.
A force under Sir Robert Stopford drove Egyptian invaders from Syria after taking Acre on behalf of the Turks.
1855 Resolute abandoned in search for Franklin. (Discovered, having drifted 1,000 miles, in 1856 and her colours presented by the USN to Queen Victoria before being laid up at Chatha.
1862 Britain’s first timber-hulled ironclad, Royal Oak, launched at Chatham. She carried 25,000 sq ft of canvas, and her reciprocating engines, powered by 20-psi steam, drove a 19ft-diameter hoisting propeller.
The Officers and Men of HMS Royal Oak, 1869. (RNM)
1874 Neptune, 9,300 tons, Britain’s last rigged turret-ship, launched at Dudgeons, Millwall, fifty-six days after the first attempt to send her afloat on 16 July 1874.
HMS Neptune (1874), masted turret ship with four 12in muzzle-loading rifled guns in two turrets. (RNM)
After a second attempt on 30 July to launch the ship, a third of her hull was suspended unsupported over the end of the slip, causing extensive damage. The firm may have overextended itself with this large ship and the yard closed in 1875. Built as the Independencia for Brazil but purchased by HMG in March 1878 during the Russian War scare.
1917 Geddes memorandum on reorganisation of Admiralty.
1918 Ophelia sank UB-83 off Pentland Firth.
1934 Professor Geoffrey Callender appointed first Director of the National Maritime Museum.
1939 Oxley sunk in friendly-fire attack by Triton of Obrestad (Montrose-Montrestad patrol). First British warship and first of seventy-six RN Submarines lost in the Second World War.
On 14 September 1939 Sturgeon attacked and narrowly missed her sister ship Swordfish.
1941 Chambly and Moosejaw (both RCN) sank U-501 off Greenland. Convoy SC 42. First Canadian sinking of U-boat.
1943 Abdiel sunk by mine in Taranto harbour while landing troops (40-29N, 17-15E). Very heavy losses. Operation Slapstick.
1944 Erebus and Warspite bombarded Le Havre.
1971 Ariadne, last of twenty-three Leander-class frigates and the Royal Navy’s last surface steam-powered ship to be built, launched at Yarrow, Scotstoun, and commissioned 10 February 1973. Last ship to fire Limbo A/S weapon and the last RN ship to fire a broadside before paying off in May 1992.
1990 Revd Caroline Eglin (née Pullman) commissioned. The first female Chaplain to enter the RN.
1583 Squirrel lost with all hands returning from Newfoundland. Death of Sir Humphrey Gilbert.
1681 James Galley and Sapphire captured the Algerine Half-Moon 135 miles S.W. by W. of Cape Spartel.
1754 William Bligh, future Captain of HM Armed Transport Bounty, Director (64) at the battle of Camperdown and Glatton (56) at Copenhagen, Vice-Admiral of the Blue, born at Plymouth.
1803 Boats of Sheerness captured two French chasse-marées near Audierne, Brittany.
1935 First landing of a Service rotary-wing aircraft on one of HM Ships; a Ciera C30A autogyro, K4230, on Furious by Wg Cdr Brie.
1943 Salerno landing. Operation Avalanche.
Ships: Abercrombie, Acute, Albacore, Alynbank, Antwerp, Atherstone, Attacker, Aurora, Battler, Beaufort, Belvoir, Blackmore, Blankney, Blencathra, Boxer, Brecon, Brittany, Brixham, Brocklesby, Bruiser, Bude, Cadmus, Calpe, Catterick, Charybdis, Circe, Clacton, Cleveland, Coverley, Delhi, Derwentdale, Dido, Dingledale, Dulverton, Echo, Eclipse, Eggesford, Ensay, Espiegle, Euryalus, Exmoor, Farndale, Faulknor, Felixstowe, Fly, Formidable, Fury, Gavotte, Glengyle, Hambledon, Haydon, Hengist, Hilary, Holcombe, Hunter, Ilex, Illustrious, Inglefield, Intrepid, Jervis, Laforey, Lamerton, Ledbury, Liddesdale, Lookout, Loyal, Mauritius, Mendip, Minuet, Mousa, Mutine, Nelson, Nubian, Offa, Orion, Palomares, Panther, Pathfinder, Penelope, Penn, Petard, Pirouette, Polruan, Prince Charles, Prince Leopold, Prins Albert, Prinses Astrid, Prinses Beatrix, Prinses Josephine Charlotte, Quail, Quantock, Queensborough, Quilliam, Raider, Reighton, Wyke, Rhyl, Roberts, Rodney, Rothesay, Royal Scotsman, Royal Ulsterman, St Kilda, Scylla, Shakespeare, Sheffield, Sheppey, Sirius, Stalker, Stella Carina, Stornoway, Tango, Tartar, Tetcott, Thruster, Troubridge, Tumult, Tyrian, Uganda, Ulster Monarch, Ulster Queen, Unicorn, Valiant, Visenda, Warspite, Whaddon, Wheatland. BYMS: 11, 14, 24, 209, HDML: 1242, 1246, 1247, 1253, 1254, 1258, 1270, 1271, 1297, 1301. ML: 238, 273, 280, 283, 336, 554, 555, 556, 557, 559, 560, 561, 562, 564, 566. MMS: 5, 133, 134. MSML: 121, 126, 134, 135. FAA Sqns: 820, 888, 893 (Formidable – Albacore, Fulmar/Martlet): 810, 878, 890, 894 (Illustrious – Barracuda, Wildcat): 809, 887, 897, (Unicorn – Seafire): 879, 886 (Attacker – Seafire): 807, 808 (Battler – Seafire): 834, 899 (Hunter – Seafire): 880 (Stalker – Seafire).
During the operations against the Germans in Sicily in 1943, it was decided to carry out an amphibious assault in the area of Salerno on the west coast as the first step towards the capture of Naples. Early on 9 September, 41 Commando landed and surprised the town of Vietri. For four days the unit was involved in heavy fighting against elements of five crack German divisions.
1943 Submarine Unshaken took the Italian S/M Ciro Menotti in the Strait of Otranto and led her into Malta two days later to add to the bag.
After a period operating off the coast of Norway, Unshaken spent most of her wartime career in the Mediterranean. Whilst in northern waters, on 5 July 1942, Unshaken radioed in a sighting and an exact description of a heavy German force – including the Tirpitz, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper – at sea in pursuit of the ill-fated convoy PQ17 off north Norway. Hearing of these allied sighting reports (also made by the Russian submarine K-21 and a Catalina patrol aircraft) through intelligence, Admiral Raeder cancelled the sortie, ordering the surface fleet to return to port and left the Luftwaffe and U-boats to attack the convoy. The convoy lost 24 ships out of 40, but it could have been even worse for the convoy if the heavy force had remained at sea.
Unshaken also sank the German merchant Georg L.M. Russ off southern Norway, before being reassigned to the Mediterranean in late 1942.
Serving in the Mediterranean, she sank the Italian merchant ships Foggia and Pomo (the former Yugoslavian Nico Matkovic), the Italian torpedo boat Climene, the Italian sailing vessel Giovanni G., the Italian auxiliary patrol vessel No 265 / Cesena, and the Italian troop transport Asmara. She also damaged the Italian tanker Dora C.. She launched unsuccessful attacks against the French merchantman Oasis, the Italian merchant vessels Pomo, Nina and Campania, and the French passenger/cargo ship Cap Corse. Unshaken had a narrow escape after she was attacked by four torpedoes launched by the Polish submarine ORP Dzik. The Poles thought they were attacking an enemy submarine, but luckily the torpedoes missed their target.
Unshaken captured the Italian submarine Menolti on the night that Italy ceased hostilities and escorted her to Malta. Lieutenant Commander Jack Whitton, Unshaken’s commander, ordered the boat to surface after her hydrophone operator reported ‘high speed revs’. He then decided to board the Italian vessel as her bridge was crowded with people and could not dive quickly. A shot from the deck gun across the bows of the Italian submarine was followed by a return burst from an automatic weapon which was suppressed by machine gun fire from the British boat. Unshaken then came alongside the Mentoli and a boarding party secured the conning tower hatch to prevent her from diving. There followed a robust verbal exchange in which the Italian skipper wanted to go to Brindisi, whereas Whitton insisted on Malta. The situation looked as if it might turn ugly until the loaded deckgun was pointed at the Italian commander from a distance of about 13 ft (4m).
After returning to home waters in mid-1944, Unshaken sank the German merchant Asien off Lista in Norway.
Unshaken survived the war and was scrapped at Troon in March 1946.
1943 Roma, a surrendering Italian Battleship, sunk by German aircraft with new FX1200 guided armour-piercing bomb off Sardinia (41-10N, 08-40E).
1943 Welman 10 sank alongside her depot ship in Loch Cairnbawn.
1944 Helmsdale and Portchester Castle sank U-743 in N.W. Approaches (55-46N, 11-41W).
1944 Hespeler and Dunver (both RCN) sank U-484 off the Hebrides (36-30N, 07-40W).
1997 Mne E. Ette of RMR Bristol became first Royal Marine to swim the English Channel.