Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 22 October ……….

1683  First officials appointed to open Jamaica Dockyard. Closed 1905.

1707  Association lost on Scilly Isles. Adm Sir Cloudesley Shovell reputedly killed by looters.

AdmSirCloudesleyShovell

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, 1650-1707 – Although he is generally best known for the manner of his death when his flagship the Association, together with Romney and Eagle, struck on the Scilly Isles on 22 October 1707, Shovell was quite remarkable for being one of the very few senior officers before this century to have risen in the Service entirely on his own merit. He was first reported by Sir John Narborough for gallant behaviour under fire and was later knighted for his conduct at Bantry in 1689. He was an admiral in 1690 at Beachy Head and at Gibraltar and Malaga in 1704. He was returning from an expedition to Toulon in 1707,which was an attempt to acquire a Mediterranean base for the Fleet, when one of the storms which made such a base so important caused his death.

1793  Agamemnon fought the French Melpoméne, three other frigates and a brig corvette 15 miles to the eastward of Cape San Lorenzo, Sardinia.

1800  Indefatigable and Fisgard captured the French Venus 90 miles N. by W. of Cape Belem.

1805  Vice-Adm Collingwood, who assumed command of the Fleet off Trafalgar after Nelson’s death, issued the following General Order from his temporary flagship, the frigate Euryalus, on the day after the battle:

‘The ever-to-be-lamented death of Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronte, the Commander in Chief, who fell in the action of the 21st, in the arms of victory, covered with glory, whose memory will be ever dear to the British Navy, and the British nation; whose zeal for the honour of his King, and for the interests of his country, will be ever held up as a shining example for a British seaman – leaves me a duty to return my thanks to the Right Honourable Rear-Admiral, the captains, officers, seamen, and detachments of Royal Marines serving on board His Majesty’s squadron now under my command, for their conduct on that day; but where can I find language to express my sentiments of the valour and skill which were displayed by the officers, the seamen, and the marines in the battle with the enemy, where every individual appeared an hero, on whom the glory of his country depended; the attack was irrestible, and the issue of it adds to the page of naval annals a brilliant instance of what Britons can do, when their King and their country needs their service. To the Right Honourable Rear-Admiral The Earl of Northesk, to the captains, officers, and seamen, and to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the Royal Marines, I beg to give my sincere and hearty thanks for their highly meritorious conduct, both in the action, and in their zeal and activity in bringing the captured ships out of the perilous situation in which they were, after their surrender, among the shoals of Trafalgar, in boisterous weather. And I desire that the respective captains will be pleased to communicate to the officers, seamen, and Royal Marines, this public testimony of my high approbation of their conduct, and my thanks for it.’

1805  Five Trafalgar prizes – Redoubtable, Bucentaure, Fougueux, Santissima Trinidad and Algésires – wrecked, and five more would be taken within a fortnight.

1809  Plover captured the French privateer Hirondelle 18 miles S.E. by S. of Lizard Head.

1821  Rising Star built for Chilean Navy sailed, first British-built steam warship to cross Atlantic.

1853  British and French fleets passed the Dardanelles, precipitating war between Russia and Turkey.

1860  Metropolitan Police from the 3rd Division took over security duties at Devonport Dockyard. Establishment: 1 superintendent, 5 inspectors, 21 sergeants and 125 PCs.

1870  Slow-burning ‘pebble powder’ introduced in RN.

1904  Russian Baltic Fleet fired on British trawlers off the Dogger Bank, on its way to Tsushima.

1926  Sloop Valerian foundered in hurricane off Bermuda.

1940  Destroyer Margaree (RCN), ex-Diana, transferred, sank in collision with SS Port Fairy in Atlantic (53-24N, 22-50W). Convoy OL 8.

1941  RFA Darkdale, oiler, torpedoed and sunk at anchor off Jamestown, St Helena by U-68 (16-00S, 05-37W). Thirty-seven crew and four gunners lost. The first ship sunk by a U-boat south of the Equator in the Second World War. Memorial plaque unveiled at St Helena 15 April 2001.

1942  Wellington B/179 sank U-412 in Norwegian Sea (63-55N, 00-24W).

1943  Destroyer Hurworth sunk by mine off Kalymnos Island (36-59N, 27-06E). Survivors landed in Turkey. Adrias (Greek), ex-Border, mined in same field and beached on Turkish coast. Refloated and reached Alexandria, but CTL.

1944  Heavy cruiser Australia (RAN) damaged by archetypal kamikaze attack.

1946  Destroyers Saumarez and Volage mined off Corfu.

The Corfu Incident

With the war in Europe over for some eighteen months, the Mediterranean Fleet of two carriers, five cruisers, eighteen destroyers and nine frigates, with a submarine and minesweeping flotilla and their attendant depot ships, were cruising, and visiting the Greek Islands which included Corfu. The cruisers Mauritius and Leander with the destroyers Saumarez and Volage were detached to negotiate the channel between Corfu and Albania where, six months before, Orion and Superb had been fired on from the Albanian shore. On passage through the channel Saumarez struck a mine which killed thirty-six of her company and damaged the ship so badly that she was subsequently scrapped. Leander and Mauritius cleared the channel immediately, leaving Volage to tow the stricken Saumarez back to Corfu. One and a half hours later Volage in turn struck a mine which killed eight men, but she was still able to tow over the bow, even though it had been blown off. She proceeded to tow Saumarez while steaming astern. The International Court of Justice decided that the mines had been laid after the end of hostilities in Europe and awarded Great Britain £1,000,000 in compensation, which has not yet been paid.


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Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 21 October ……….

A Memorable Date observed by the Corps of Royal Marines – Trafalgar

1757  Augusta, Dreadnought and Edinburgh under Capt Forrest fought a French squadron of seven ships under Capt Kersaint (Intrépide) 30 miles N.N.E. of Cape Francois, Haiti and severely damaged them. Dreadnought was commanded by Capt Suckling, who left his sword to his nephew, Horatio Nelson.

1794  Artois, assisted eventually by Diamond, captured the French Révolutionnaire off Ushant.

1805  Battle of Trafalgar (Cadiz, N. 28DEG E. 8 Leagues). Vice-Adm Viscount Nelson (Victory) died after defeating the Franco-Spanish fleet of thirty-three sail of the line under Vice-Adm Pierre Villeneuve (Bucentaure) and Adm Don Federico Gravina (Principe de Asturias), of which sixteen were destroyed and four captured.

Ships: Victory, Temeraire, Neptune, Conqueror, Leviathon, Britannia, Ajax, Orion, Agamemnon, Minotaur, Spartiate, Africa, Royal Sovereign, Belleisle, Mars, Tonnant, Bellerophon, Colossus, Achille, Revenge, Prince, Swiftsure, Polyphemus, Dreadnought, Defence, Defiance, Thunderer. Frigates: Euryalus, Naiad, Phoebe, Sirius. Cutter: Entreprenante. Schooner: Pickle.

The action began at 1220 and at 1330 Nelson was hit by a bullet from Redoubtable. ‘Partial firing continued until 4.30 when a victory having been reported to the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Nelson KB and Commander-in-Chief, he then died of his wound’, having thanked God that he had done his duty. ‘There was no old age to dim the brightness of his great achievement’ – CNP. ‘When another: for all were made acquaintances in the rites of common anguish’ – Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

That morning, kneeling in his cabin cleared for action he had written his last prayer:

May the great God whom I worship grant to my country, and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious victory, and may no misconduct in anyone tarnish it: and may humanity after victory be the predominant feature in the British Fleet. For myself individually I commit my life to him that made me: and may his blessing alight on my endeavours for serving my country faithfully. To him I resign myself, and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend.

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Nelson’s last signal was made at 11.43 –  No. 16:

‘Engage the enemy more closely.’

Trafalgar was the first posthumous award of gold medals to next-of-kin of Nelson, Duff (Mars) and Cooke (Bellerophon).

TheDeathOfNelson

‘The Death of Nelson’, by William Devis (1762-1822). Devis went aboard the Victory on her return to Portsmouth in December 1805, and took care to provide a realistic portrayal by sketching her officers and noting details of the ship. This did notfind favour with Benjaamin West, President of the Royal Academy, who felt it showed Nelson, ‘like a sick man in a Prison hole’. (RNM 1961/59)

1813  Royalist captured the Franco-Batavian Weser off Ushant, and Achates fought her compatriot, Trave, 150 miles S.W. of Ushant.

1854  Admiral of the Fleet Sir Thomas Byam Martin died. First occasion when the next senior Admiral was not automatically promoted, but he was eighty-nine years old, had been on the Retired List for forty-five years and had never flown his flag.

1912  Queen Elizabeth laid down. First oil-fuelled capital ship, first to be armed with 15in guns, and first to exceed 24 knots.

1915  M 15 and M 28, supported by Theseus, bombarded Dedeagatch in Bulgaria.

1917  Destroyer Marmion lost in collision with destroyer Tirade off Lerwick.

1918  Last British merchant ship (St Barchan) sunk by German submarine in home waters in First World War, off St John’s Point, Co. Down.

1928  The Duke of York laid the foundation stone of the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook, which eventually vacated The Queen’s House at Greenwich for the National Maritime Museum.

1939  AMC Transylvania intercepted and sank the German raider Poseidon off Iceland (66-25N, 20-19W).

1940  Destroyer Kimberley drove ashore and wrecked the Italian destroyer Francesco Nullo on Harmil Island in the Red Sea (16-29N, 40-13E). Convoy BN 7.

1941  Wellington Z/179 sank U-431 in Leigh Light attack off Balearics.

1941  Jervis, Jupiter and Kandahar bombarded Bardia. Gnat torpedoed by U-79 N. of Bardia; reached Alexandria but CTL.

1941  Vice-Adm Sir James Somerville, KCB, Flag Officer Force H at Gibraltar, appointed KBE. As quick as a flash, Adm Sir Andrew Cunningham, C-in-C Mediterranean Fleet, signalled, ‘What, twice a knight at your age?’

1943  Minesweeper Chedabucto (RCN) in collision with SS Lord Kelvin in St Lawrence River (48-14N, 69-16W). Beached.

1943  Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound died.

1960  The Queen launched Dreadnought, Britain’s first nuclear-powered submarine, at Vickers Armstrongs, Barrow. Barrow’s 295th submarine. Vickers had produced 326 of the 510 boats built for the Service.

From the Secretary of the Navy, Washington, to the First Lord of the Admiralty: ‘On behalf of the US Navy, I wish to extend sincere congratulations on this historic day. Your wonderful navy has added yet another entry to the log of Maritime history. I am confident that Dreadnought will carry on the gallant traditions of the Royal Navy’ –  W.B. Franke.

To the Secretary of the Navy, Washington: ‘May I, on behalf of the Royal Navy, thank you for your kind message of congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of the launch of HMS Dreadnought. The Royal Navy is very conscious and appreciative of the part which the US Navy has played in this achievement.’ AFO 2938/60.

1965  National appeal launched for funds to erect a memorial to Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, ‘the only Naval Commander of the Second World War whom it is intended to honour in this way’ – DCI(RN) 1551/65. A bust placed in Trafalgar Square near those of Adms Jellicoe and Beatty, and a plaque in St Paul’s Cathedral near Nelson’s tomb. The DCI was signed by admirals of the fleet Earl Mountbatten, Lord Fraser, Sir Algernon Willis and Sir Philip Vian, Adm Sir David Luce, Gens Ismay and O’Connor, and Marshal of the RAF Lord Portal.

1976  Sovereign, SSN, held most northerly Trafalgar Night dinner en route to North Pole (84-53N, 69-25W).

1989  Lt-Cdr Peter Whitlock, Captain of Victory 1974-8, died on Trafalgar Day at Haslar. Last Master Rigger and Boatswain of Portsmouth Dockyard and naval historian.

1991  RM Barracks, Eastney, closed. Occupied by RM since 1865. RM Museum remains in former Officers’ Mess.

1996  Invincible Group conducted operations in the Adriatic. 800 NAS SHAR flew sorties over Bosnia.

1998  The last Trafalgar Night dinner to be celebrated at Greenwich under the White Ensign and the last Mess Dinner before the Wardroom closed on 31 October 1998. The Duke of Edinburgh, Baron Greenwich, proposed the Toast to the Immortal Memory. DCI(RN) 112/98.

BattleOfTrafalgar1805

‘The Battle of Trafalgar’, by Thomas Luny. Victory is at the centre flying the signal ‘Engage the enemy more closely’, with the Redoubtable to starboard. (RNM 1973/65)


Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 20 October ……….

1778  Jupiter and Medea fought the French Triton off Cape Vilano, Spain.

1779  Charon, Lowestoft, Pomona, Porcupine, Racehorse, with the Loyal Irish Volunteers, captured San Fernando de Omoa and two Spanish privateers.

1779  Proserpine captured the French Alcmene 80 miles E. of Martinique.

1782  Adm Viscount Howe (Victory) fought the Franco-Spanish Fleet 45 miles W. by S. of Cape Spartel. Ships: (van) Goliath, Ganges, Royal William, Britannia, Atlas, Ruby, Panther, Foudroyant, Edgar, Polyphemus, Suffolk, Vigilant: (centre) Courageux, Crown, Alexander, Sampson, Princess Royal, Victory, Blenheim, Asia, Egmont, Queen, Bellona; (rear) Raisonnable, Fortitude, Princess Amelia, Berwick, Bienfaisant, Dublin, Cambridge, Ocean, Union, Buffalo, Vengeance.

1793  Crescent captured the French Réunion 4 miles E. by N. of Cherbourg. Capt James Saumarez knighted.

1798  Fisgard captured the French Immortalité. 60 miles W. by N. of Ushant.

1806  Athenienne (64), ex-French L’Athenienne, wrecked on Esqueriques (‘Skerki’) Banks off Cape Bon. Capt Robert Raynsford and 396 men lost.

1827  The battle of Navarino, the last fleet action under sail. Vice-Adm Sir Edward Codrington, a Trafalgar veteran, commanding a combined fleet of British, French and Russian ships, destroyed a Turco-Egyptian Fleet in Navarino Bay which was intent on restoring Turkish hegemony over Greece. Ships: Asia (flag), Albion, Genoa, Brisk, Cambrian, Dartmouth, Glasgow, Mosquito, Philomel, Rose, Talbot, Hind.

The battle was referred to in the King’s Speech at the Opening of Parliament on 29 January 1828 as ‘this untoward event’. Codrington had won a ‘diplomatically inexpedient victory’ (Woodhouse), which led to his being recalled. He handed over to Sir Pulteney Malcolm on 22 August at Malta.

Navarino1827

The battle of Navarino, 1827. (RNM 1984/499)

1849  Columbine, Fury, Phlegethon (Ben. Mar.), with a pary from Hastings, destroyed fifty-eight pirate junks in the Kua Kam, Indo-China.

857  Second party of Shannon’s Naval Brigade arrived at Allahabad.

1914  Glitra, first British merchant ship to be sunk by a German submarine, torpedoed by U-17 14 miles W.S.W. of Skudenaes. Until then the submarine had been regarded as an anti-warship weapon.

1918  Belgian coast completely recaptured by Allied forces. Coastal monitor M 21 sunk by mine off Ostend.

1927  Submarine L 4 rescued SS Irene  from pirates off Honk Kong.

1939  AMC Transylvania captured the German Bianca in Denmark Strait (67-29N, 22-15W).

1940  Three Force H destroyers, Hotspur, Gallant and Griffin, attacked the Italian submarine Lafole E. of Gibraltar. After a long and persistent hunt she was rammed and sunk by Hotspur, Cdr H.F.H. Layman: bar to DSO. Ship’s company enjoyed extended run ashore in Gibraltar while ship’s bows repaired.

Cdr Layman’s first DSO was for Narvik. His son, Kit (later rear-admiral0, commanded Argonaut in Falklands War: DSO.

1941  Light cruisers Ajax, Galatea and Hobart (RAN) bombarded batteries E. of Tobruk.

1942  Liberator H/224 sank U-216 in Bay of Biscay 948-21N, 19-25W). Aircraft crashed on landing due to damage incurred by explosion of depth charges.

1943  Light cruiser Aurora and Miaoulis (Greek) bombarded Rhodes.

1988  Fawn fired on by Guatemalan gunboats while surveying in Gulf of Honduras.

1997  HMY Britannia sailed from Portsmouth on her last cruise, a clockwise circumnavigation visiting seven UK ports.


Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 19 October ……….

1739  Great Britain declared war on Spain – the War of Jenkins’ Ear. The three principal naval actions, all official battle honours, were Porto Bello 22 November 1739, Finisterre 3 May 1747 and Ushant 14 October 1747.

1781  Gen Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, cornered by Washington and blockaded by de Grasse who had evaded Graves.

1797  Anson and Boadicea captured the French privateer Zephyr 45 miles S.W. by W. of Belle Ile.

1799  Stag captured the French letter of marque Heureux 130 miles W. by S. of Cordouan lighthouse.

1799  Cerberus fought five Spanish frigates and two brigs, escorting a large convoy, 40 miles N.N.E. of Cape Penas.

1818  Unsuccessful experiments to defeat the weevil by adding caraway seed to biscuit: the weevils simply ignored the seeds.

1831  Gold-laced trousers restored for all officers.

1903  First drill night in London Division RNVR.

1917  AMC Orama sunk by U-62 S. of Ireland.

1918  Zeebrugge and Bruges retaken by Allied forces.

1918  Plumpton mined off Ostend.

1939  AMC Scotstoun captured the German tanker Biscaya off Reykjavik (66-03N, 23-00W).

1939  Supply of Dentures to Serving Ratings. ‘An initial supply of dentures at the public expense is allowable to serving ratings of all branches, including recruits and Royal Marine ranks, provided

1a. The supply is essential to render the man dentally fit for general service . . .

1b. The need for the supply had not arisen through the man’s imprudence or fault.’ AFO 3074/39.

1940  Venetia sunk by mine off the East Knob in Thames estuary (51-33N, 01-10E).

1941  Corvette Mallow and sloop Rochester sank U-204 in Strait of Gibraltar.

1942  P 37 (Unbending) sank the Italian destroyer Giovanni da Verazzano S. of Pantelleria (35-52N, 12-02E).

1944  Termagant and Tuscan drove ashore and destroyed the German TA-18 (ex-Italian TB Solferino) off Skiathos 937-45N, 26-59E).

HMSTermagant1946

HMS Termagant, a T-class destroyer, 1946. (RNM W&L 795A)

1944  Continuation of attacks on Nicobar and on Nancowry.


Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 18 October ……….

1652  First recorded dockyard strike when no pay was available on pay day.

1746  Severn, escorting a convoy, taken by the French Terrible 450 miles W.S.W. of Ushant. The convoy, with Woolwich, escaped.

1760  Boreas captured the French SireneLively captured Valeur, Hampshire drove ashore Prince Edouard and Fleur-de-Lys (burned by own crews) off Tortuga.

1798  Anson (44) and Kangaroo (18) captured the French Loire (44) S.W. of Ireland.

1799  An exuberant master, having helped bring a convoy from Lisbon and impatient to get into Spithead, put the allegedly Impregnable (98) on to the Chichester Shoals. During the night she moved nearly 2 miles over them, and bilged; the master disissed and the wreck sold.

1806  Caroline captured the Dutch Zeerob between Middleburg and Amsterdam Islands, and Maria Reygersbergen in Batavia Roads. The Dutch Phoenix, three corvettes and eight merchant vessels ran themselves ashore.

1812  Brig sloop Frolic (18), damaged in a gale off US east coast while escorting a convoy, boarded and taken by the also-gale-damaged American ship sloop Wasp (18), after a desperate gunnery duel. Within hours the RN two-decker Poictiers (74) arrived and took both sloops.

1854  Boats of Spartan recaptured the cargo of the wrecked barque Caldera to the southward of Macao. Also destroyed twenty junks, three villages and a battery at Sam Hoi Chuk.

1854  VC: Capt William Peel and Mid Edward St John Daniel (Diamond). Batteries before Sevastopol.

1909  Warrant rank opened to writers, cooks and stewards.

1914  First bombardment of Ostend, which continued until the 21st. Ships: Attentive, Foresight, Humber, Mersey, Severn, Amazon, Mohawk, Nubian.

1914  E-3 sunk by U-27 off the Ems (first RN submarine sunk in action).

1921  US Congress signed a separate peace treaty with Germany, formally ending American hostilities in the First World War. Having refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, the USA had continued to be legally at war with Germany two years longer than Britain, France, Italy and Japan.

1924  Adm Sir Percy Scott died.

CaptPercyScott1853-1924

Capt Percy Scott (1853-1924). (RNM)

1940  Seven U-boats attacked convoy SC 7 and sank seventeen of thirty-four ships. Six attacked convoy HX 79 and sank fourteen of forty-nine.

1940  Submarine H 49 sunk by UJ-116 and UJ-118 off the Texel.

1940  Destroyers Firedrake, Wrestler and London flying-boats of 202 Sqn sank the Italian S/M Durbo E. of Gibraltar.

1941  Broadwater, ex-US destroyer Mason, sunk by U-101 in N. Atlantic (57-01N, 19-08W) escorting convoy SC 48. Memorial to four officers and forty en lost is in St Mary’s Church, Broadwater, West Sussex. They include Lt John Stanley Parker, RNVR, of Boston, Massachusetts, one of the first of his countrymen to become a sea officer in the Royal Navy.

1944  Geelong (RAN) sunk in collision with the US tanker York off New Guinea (06-04S, 147-50E).


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Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 17 October ……….

1781  Admiral of the Fleet Lord Hawke died. ‘Lord Hawke is dead and does not seem to have bequeathed his mantle to anybody’ – Horace Walpole.

1782  London and Torbay fought the French Scipion and Sibylle in Samana Bay, San Domingo. Scipion wrecked. Badger in company though not engaged.

1798  Mermaid fought the French Loire off the south-east coast of Ireland.

1799  Alcmene, Naiad, Ethalion and Triton captured the Spanish Brigida and Thetis in the entrance to Muros Bay.

1804  Cruizer captured the French privateer Contre-Amiral Magon after a chase of 97 miles that had started with their engagement off Ostend on the previous day. Prize money varied from £40,000 for the Captain to £182 for a seaman.

1854  First bombardment of Sevastopol by the Allied Fleet under Vice-Adm Dundas. Ships: Terrible, Albion, Arethusa, Sampson, London, Sans Pareil, Agamemnon, Sphinx, Tribune, Lynx, Queen, Bellerophon, Rodney, Vengeance, Trafalgar, Britannia. Towing or lashed alongside larger vessels: Firebrand, Niger, Triton, Vesuvius, Furious, Retribution, Highflyer, Spitfire, Spiteful, Cyclops. French: Napoléon, Henri Quatre, Valmy, Ville de Paris, Jupiter, Friedland, Marengo, Montebello, Suffren, Jean Bart, Charlemagne. Turkish: Mahmudich.

1855  Bombardment and reduction of the Kinburn forts by British and French fleets. Ships: Royal Albert, Algiers, Agamemnon, Princess Royal, St Jean D’Acre, Curacao, Tribune, Sphinx, Hannibal, Dauntless, Terrible, Odin, Spitfire, Valorous, Furious,Sidon, Leopard, Gladiator, Firebrand, Stromboli, Spiteful. Mortar vessels: Raven, Magnet, Camel, Hardy, Flamer, Firm. Gun vessels: Lynx, Arrow, Viper, Snake, Wrangler, Beagle. Gunboats: Boxer, Clicker, Cracker, Fancy, Grinder. French: Montebello, Asmodée, Cacique, Sane. Floating batteries: Devastation, Lave, Tonnante (first armoured ships in action).

Terrible1854

The wooden paddle frigate Terrible, heavily armed, principally with 56- and 68-pounders, 1854. (RNM 1968/49)

The Screw

The superiority of the screw over the paddle was proved in May 1845 when the steam sloop Rattler, screw-driven, competed with the paddle-sloop Alecto of similar power and size. Rattler won the race easily, and when the two vessels were connected stern to stern and attempted to out-tow each other Rattler after some time was able to pull the Alecto astern at 2.5 knots. Despite this demonstration the early steam warships with screw propulsion remained essentially sailing sips with auxiliary engines. Funnels were telescoped and propellers hoisted up out of the water when under sail. In 1848, the RN commissioned its first screw ship of the line was launched in 1850, a 91-gun three-decker, the Agamemnon. She proved her worth, being one of two vessels able to bombard Sevastopol effectively, because of their ability to manoeuvre regardless of the wind.

1884  Sick Berth Branch formed by Order in Council.

1914  Undaunted, Lance, Lennox, Legion and Loyal sank the German destroyers T-119, T-115, T-117 and T-118 in the Broad Fourteens, 40 miles S.W. of the Texel.

1917  Strongbow and Mary Rose, escorting a Scandavian convoy, sunk by the German light cruisers Bremse and Brummer in Norwegian Sea (60-06N, 01-06E).

1918  Ostend retaken by Allied forces.

1939  Old battleship Iron Duke bombed in Scapa Flow. Grounded but remained in commission.

1940  GC: Sub-Lt Jack Maynard Cholmondeley Easton, RNVR, and OS Bennett Southwell, for bomb and mine disposal (the latter posthumously).

1943  Liberators D/59 and H/120 sank U-540 in N. Atlantic (58-38N, 31-56W). Convoy ON 206.

1943  Destroyers Jervis and Penn sank UJ-2109 (ex-minesweeper HMS Widnes) in Kalymnos harbour.

1943  Frigate Byard sank U-841 in N. Atlantic, off Cape Farewell. Convoy ONS 20.

1944  Bombardment and air-strike by Force 63 on Nicobar. Operation Millet. Ships: Renown (Vice-Adm Sir Arthur Power), Indomitable (Rear-Adm H.T.C. Walker, CS 5), Cumberland, Phoebe, Suffolk, nine destroyers, including Norman and Van Galen (Neth). FAA Sqns: Barracuda: 815, 817: Hellcat: 1839, 1844: Corsair: 1834, 1836.

1948  GC (ex-AM): A.R. Lowe, Boy, for saving another member of crew of liberty boat capsized in gale at Portland.

1998  Osprey, RNAS Portland, closed.


Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 16 October ……….

1759  Eddystone Light first lit.

1778  Capture of Pondicherry by Maj-Gen Hector Munro after a close blockade by Cdre Sir Edward Vernon (Ripon). Ships: Ripon, Coventry, Seahorse, Cormorant, Valentine (Hon. East India Company).

1798  Kangaroo (18) fought the French Loire (44) off Blacksod Bay, Ireland.

1815  Bonaparte landed on St Helena.

1913  Queen Elizabeth launched at Portsmouth. With Barham (John Browns 1914), Malaya (Armstrongs 1915), Valiant (Fairfield 1914) and Warspite (Devonport 1913), the first British battleships to mount 15in guns and the first big ships to be completely oil-fired.

HMSQueenElizabeth1913

HMS Queen Elizabeth (1913) with observation balloon. (RNM)

1918  Submarine L 12 torpedoed and sank UB-90 in Skagerrak.

1939  GC (ex-EGM): Cdr Richard Frank Jolly (Mohawk). Posthumous.

1940  Dundalk mined off Harwich (51-57N, 01-27E). Sank in tow of Sutton next day.

1940  Monitor Erebus, with three destroyers, bombarded Dunkirk.

1940  Eleven Swordfish and three Skua aircraft of 816 and 801 Sqns (Furious) bombed the oil tanks and seaplane base at Tromso. Operation Dhu.

1941  Gladiolus torpedoed and sunk, probably by U-588, in 57N, 25W while escorting convoy SC 48 in W. Approaches.

1942  Destroyer Fame sank U-353 in W. Approaches (53-54N, 29-30W). Convoy SC 104. Submarine boarded but she sank too fast for any intelligence-gathering.

1943  Liberators S/59 and L/86 sank U-844. Liberators C/59, E/120 and Z/120 sank U-470 and Sunflower sank U-631 in N. Atlantic. Convoy ON 206.

1943  Liberator Y/86 sank U-964 in N. Atlantic. Convoy ONS 20.

1943  Bisley aircraft E and H/244 sank U-533 in Gulf of Oman.

1944  Frigate Annan (RCN) sank U-1006 off the Faroes.

1970  Central Drafting Depot transferred from Haslemere to Grange Road, Gosport, commissioned as Centurion.

1998  Statue of Capt Frederick John Walker, RN, unveiled at Liverpool Pier Head by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. It was dedicated to Walker’s memory and that of the men of the 36th Escort Group and 2nd Support Group, and all who fought in the battle of the Atlantic. Admiral of the Fleet Lord Lewin had accepted a suggestion by a local Reservist and saw to its execution by Vice-Adm Michael Gretton, son of another distinguished escort group commander, Vice-Adm Sir Peter Gretton.


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