1710 Breda captured the French Maure 100 miles W. of Lisbon.
1711 The wall around Portsmouth Dockyard completed.
‘This WALL was Begun the 4th June and finish’d ye 13th December 1711.’
‘In order to meet the needs of modern road traffic and with the approval of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty this gate built in 1711 was increased in width from 12ft to 22ft. November 1944′ – plaques at Victory Gate.
1796 Terpsichore captured the French Vestale 60 miles W. of Cadiz. Retaken by the prisoners next day and sailed into Cadiz, but retaken by Clyde in 1799.
1806 Halycon captured the Spanish Neptune Dios de Los Mares off Cape San Martin.
1808 Destruction of the French Cygne and two schooners off St Pierre, Martinique. Ships: Circe, Amaranthe, Stork, Epervier, Express, Morne Fortunée. Troops: Royal York Rangers.
1809 Junon taken by the French Renommée and Clorinde 270 miles E. by N. of Guadeloupe, and burned.
1810 Boats of Kent, Ajax, Cambrian, Minstrel and Sparrowhawk destroyed a French convoy at Palamos, Catalonia.
1914 VC: Lt Norman Douglas Holbrook (B 11) for passing through the Turkish minefield at the entrance to the Dardanelles and sinking the Turkish Messoudich off Cannakkale. Holbrook’s was the first VC won by a submariner. It was not first naval VC won in the First World War (Ritchie, Goliath, 28 or 29 November 1914) but the first to be gazetted.
13 December 1914 - Lieutenant Norman HOLBROOK RN, commanding officer, HM submarine B.11, Dardanelles (above – Lt Holbrook, probably with B.11 behind him, also B.11 at sea (both MQ))
The London Gazette 22 December 1914 (from the Admiralty)
For most conspicuous bravery on the 13th December, when in command of the Submarine B.11, he entered the Dardanelles, and, notwithstanding the very difficult current, dived his vessel under five rows of mines and torpedoed the Turkish battleship Messudiyeh, which was guarding the mine-field.
1915 First periscope photograph of Constantinople from E 11.
1916 Ariel and Landrail sank UB-29 in western Channel.
1917 U-75 mined and sunk of Borkum.
1937 Blood being thicker than water, Scarab returned the compliment and opened fire on Japanese A/C which sank USS Panay in the Yangtze River.
1939 Salmon torpedoed the German cruisers Leipzig and Nurnberg 130 miles W. of Jutland.
The Salmon, on patrol in the North Sea, sighted three enemy cruisers and hit both the Leipzig and Nurnberg. The Leipzig remained under repair for a year, and then was employed on training duties: the Nurnberg took six months to repair. Nine days before, the Salmon had sunk U-36 in the same area, the first successful submarine versus enemy submarine attack in the war. For this patrol her CO Lt-Cdr Bickford was promoted and awarded the DSO.
1939 Cdre H.H. Harwood (Ajax) engaged the Admiral Graf Spee off the River Plate (34-28S, 49-05W) and drove her into Montevideo, where she was scuttled on the 17th. Ships: Ajax, Achilles (NZ), Exeter. FAA: Seafox: 700 (Ajax).
The German pocket battleship Graf Spee had been commerce raiding in the South Atlantic. Various naval units were searching for her. Force G, under Cdre Harwood, was off the River Plate. On 13 December the squadron sighted smoke, and action with the Graf Spee opened at 0614 at 9.5 miles. The Exeter was hit heavily, but continued to fight, with only one turret working by hand, on emergency steering and using the after conning position, passing orders to the steering position by a line of sailors. Graf Spee also hit Ajax and Achilles, but finally turned for Montevideo to make repairs. After the permitted 72 hours in a neutral port Graf Spee sailed and then scuttled herself, having been given the impression that superior forces were outside the harbour, when in fact they were forty-eight hours’ steaming away. A coincidence that the first decisive naval engagements of both world wars took place in the South Atlantic and that the raider sunk in 1939 was named after the German admiral defeated in 1914.
The German pocket battleship Graf Spee, burning after being scuttled in the River Plate estuary, 1939. (RNM)
1941 Legion, Sikh, Maori and Isaac Sweers (Dutch) sank the Italian cruisers Alberico da Barbiano and Alberto di Giussano off Cape Bon (37-04N, 11-47E). A classic victory which earned Cdr Stokes the unusual honour of a CB.
1942 Enchantress sank the Italian S/M Corallo off Bougie (37-00N, 05-09E). Convoy ET 5.
1943 Liberator B/53 sank U-391 in the Bay of Biscay (45-45N, 09-38W).
1943 Calpe and the USS Wainwright sank U-593 in W. Mediterranean (37-38n, 05-58E). Convoy KMS 34.
1944 Swordfish L/813 and Q/813 (Campania) sank U-365 in Arctic (70-43N, 08-07E). Convoy RA 62.