Royal Navy On This Day 3 March …..

1776  During the American Revolutionary War, the first amphibious landing of the United States Marine Corps begins the Battle of Nassau (3rd/4th March 1776).
The naval action and amphibious assault by American forces against the British port of Nassau, Bahamas, is considered the first cruise and one of the first engagements of the newly established Continental Navy and the Continental Marines, the progenitors of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The action was also the Marines’ first amphibious landing. It is sometimes known as the Raid of Nassau.

New Providence Raid, March 1776. Oil painting on canvas by V. Zveg, 1973

New Providence Raid, March 1776. Oil painting on canvas by V. Zveg, 1973. Wikipedia – Battle of Nassau –

1795  Illustrious (74) (first of the name) abandoned and set on fire, having grounded while trying to anchor in Valence Bay, between Spezia and Leghorn.

Illustrious (1789). Models made by A.W. Curtis.

Model of the HMS Illustrious at Buckler’s Hard. Wikipedia –

1799  Leander (first of the name) returned by Russia and Turkey after capitulation of Corfu. Taken by the Généreux after the battle of the Nile, she had been taken there and efforts were made to suborn her crew. These were resisted by her maintopmen in no uncertain terms!


Action between HMS Leander and the French national ship Le Généreux, August 18th 1798, C. H. Seaforth. Généreux visible in the front, Leander damaged in background. Wikipedia – HMS Leander (1780) – Généreux - wikipedia – .

1807  The squadron under Vice-Adm Sir John Duckworth engaged the Dardanelles forts on the return passage from Constantinople.

See 19 February 1807.

Duckworth's_Squadron_forcing_the_Dardanelles (1)

The squadron under the command of Sir J T Duckworth forcing the narrow channel of the Dardanelles, by Thomas Whitcombe. Wikipedia – Dardanelles Operation (1807) –

1811  Nymphen captured the French privateer Vigilante 40 miles E. of Yarmouth.

1812  Board contracted with Portsea Island Water Works Co. to supply fresh water through elm-wood pipes at 6d. under supervision of ‘a trusted person from the Yard’ at cask filling point near Victory gate.


Competition from two Companies to supply the Borough of Portsmouth. –

1885  The American Telephone & Telegraph Company is incorporated in New York. Wikipedia – AT&T Origins –

1915  NACA, the predecessor of NASA, is founded. On October 1, 1958, the agency was dissolved, and its assets and personnel transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).


The official seal of NACA, depicting the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Wikipedia –

1938  Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia, near the village of Damman. The discovery would turn out to be first of many, eventually revealing the largest source of crude oil in the world. Limited exports would begin in 1939, and pick up significantly with the end of World War II.

1940  The RMS Queen Elizabeth begins her maiden voyage on the morning of 3rd March.  Painted battleship grey, she quietly left her moorings in the Clyde, sailing out of the river and down the coast where she was met by the King’s Messenger who presented the captain with sealed orders.
The captain discovered that he was to take the untested vessel directly to New York without stopping, without dropping off the Southampton harbour pilot who had embarked on Queen Elizabeth from Clydebank and to maintain strict radio silence.


Queen Elizabeth, beginning her ‘secret’ maiden voyage, from Clydebank to New York in March 1940. Wikipedia –

1940  Heavy cruiser York intercepted the German SS Arucas off Iceland (63-30N, 15-13W). Arucas was scuttled.


HMS York (90) – Wikipedia –

1944  The Order of Nakhimov (below left), and the Order of Ushakov (below right) are instituted in USSR as the highest naval awards.
The Order of Nakhimov is named in honour of Russian admiral Pavel Nakhimov (1802 – 1855) and bestowed to naval officers for outstanding military leadership.
The Order of Ushakov is in honour of admiral Fyodor Ushakov (1744 – 1817) who never lost a battle and was proclaimed patron saint of the Russian Navy. It is bestowed to commend grade naval officers for outstanding leadership.


Order of Nakhimov – Wikipedia –

Order of Ushakov – Wikipedia –

1945  Rapid, Rocket, Roebuck and Rotherham (Force 68) bombarded Port Blair, Andaman Islands.

1960  The Skate-class nuclear submarine USS Sargo returned to Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, from an Arctic cruise of 11,000 miles, of which 6,003 miles were under the polar ice, reaching the North Pole on 9th February. This cruise marked the first time that a submarine explored the Arctic in winter, and with new data on Arctic ice, Arctic waters, and the physiography of the Arctic Basin, Sargo earned the Navy Unit Commendation, the second highest award possible for a ship of the U.S. Navy.


USS Sargo surfaced at the North Pole on 9 February 1960. (U.S. Navy photo). Wikipedia –

1971  Britain’s first nuclear submarine Dreadnought, reached North Pole.

See 19 April 2004.

Untitled image (3)

1980  USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine is decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. Sharing names with the submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and named after another USS Nautilus (SS-168) that served with distinction in World War II, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954.
She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982, and has been preserved at the U.S. Submarine Force Museum and Library at Groton, Connecticut.


USS Nautilus (SSN-571) Decommissioning ceremony. Words from last CO – – – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 2 March …..

1484  The College of Arms was formally incorporated by Royal Charter signed by King Richard III of England. The College of Arms or Herald’s College is a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. The heralds are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated authority to act on her behalf in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of pedigrees. The College is also the official body responsible for matters relating to the flying of flags on land, and it maintains the official registers of flags and other national symbols. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom the College is self-financed, unsupported by any public funds.


The Coat of Arms of the College of Arms. Wikipedia –

1709  Assistance, Assurance (Capt Tollett, who was very ill and conducted the battle from a deckchair), and Hampshire, with a convoy, fought a French squadron of five ships under Capt René Duguay-Trouin (Achille) 24 miles S.S.W. of Lizard Head. Five of the convoy were taken.

1776  The Battle of the Rice Boats, also called the Battle of Yamacraw Bluff takes place in and around the Savannah River on the border between the Province of Georgia and the Province of South Carolina on March 2nd and 3rd, 1776. The land and naval battle pitted the Patriot militia from Georgia and South Carolina against a small fleet of the Royal Navy, in need of rice and supplies for the besieged British army in Boston. The arrival of this fleet prompted the colonial rebels who controlled the Georgia government to arrest the British Royal Governor, James Wright, and to resist the British seizure and removal of supply ships anchored at Savannah. Some of the supply ships were burned to prevent their seizure, some were recaptured, but most were successfully taken by the British.


A 1796 map showing the Savannah area, Hutchinson Island is in the Savannah River near the town. Wikipedia – Battle of the Rice Boats –


James Wright Portrait by Andrea Soldi. Wikipedia – James Wright –

1783  Resistance captured the French Coquette 8 miles to the north-west of Grand Turk Island, West Indies.

1795  Lively captured the French Espion 40 miles N.W. of Ushant.

1800  Nereide captured the French privateer Vengeance 180 miles to the westward of Rochefort.


HMS Nereide at the Battle of Grand Port – Wikipedia –


The Vengeance of 74 guns sailing from Martinique with a fresh breeze – Wikipedia –

1808  Sappho (18) captured the Danish Admiral Jawl (28) in half an hour 20 miles N.E. of Flamborough Head. [m]

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

HMS Sappho capturing the Danish brig Admiral Jawl, Oil on Canvas, 19th century. Wikipedia – Action of 2 March 1808 – Wikipedia – The London Gazette 5 March 1808 –

1808  Capture of Marie Galante Island, West Indies, by Cerberus, Circe and Camilla.

1811  The naval engagement known as The Battle of San Nicolás takes place on the Paraná River, between the Spanish royalists from Montevideo, and the first flotilla created by the revolutionary government of Buenos Aires. It was the first engagement between the two fleets in the River Plate region since the revolution. It was a royalist victory.


Battle of San Nicolás – Wikipedia –

1858  Pearl‘s Naval Brigade made an unsuccessful attack on the fort at Belwa, India.

1914  Submarines AE 1 and AE 2 left Portsmouth for Australia, manned by loan crews from Devonport. AE 1 was lost without trace off the Bismarck Archipelago 14 September 1914 and AE 2 was scuttled 30 April 1915 in the Sea of Marmara after damage by Turkish shore batteries.

See 14 September 1914.

1940  SS Albano (1,176t) struck a mine and sank with the loss of nine lives, 7.6 miles from Coquet Island she lies in 22 metres of water at 55°15’17″N – 01°22’21″W. She was built in 1912.

1940  SS Elziena (200t) was sunk by German bombers about 5 miles E of Coquet Island at 55°21’00″N – 01°24’00″W and now lies in 160 ft of water.

1940  Cruiser Berwick intercepted the German SS Wolfsburg in Denmark Strait. Wolfsburg was scuttled.

1940  Light cruiser Dunedin intercepted the German MV Heidelberg 60 miles W.S.W. of the Mona Passage, S. of San Domingo, West Indies: Heidelberg scuttled.

See 8 March 1940.

1943  Over the next two days, the ‘Battle of the Bismarck Sea’, takes place in the South West Pacific during World War II. Over the course of the battle, aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) attacked a Japanese convoy that was carrying troops to Lae, New Guinea. Most of the task force was destroyed, and Japanese troop losses were heavy.

Allied aircraft execute a low level attack on a Japanese ship during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, March, 1943

Allied aircraft execute a low level attack on a Japanese ship during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, March, 1943. Wikipedia –

1945  A raiding force of 500 men, supported by destroyer Liddesdale, captured Piskopi, N.W. of Rhodes.

1953  Hawker Sea Hawk jet fighter entered service, with 806 NAS and RNAS Brawdy.


Sea Hawk F1s of 898 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Brawdy, 1954.


Sea Hawk in livery of the FAA. Wikipedia –

Agadir, 1960 – wikipedia –

When two earth tremors struck Agadir on the night of 1/2 March 1960, Tyne was dispatched from a visit in Spain to assist. She arrived six days after the tremors had struck, with many extra supplies she had embarked at Gibraltar, and with some sixty wooden huts prefabricated onboard during the passage by the shipwrights. She was allowed to land this equipment, but not to land personnel. The bay in which she anchored was unsafe as the earth tremor, believed to have been centred out to sea, had raised the sea bed, and the harbour was out of action. The temperature was 105 in the shade and flies abounded. The final death toll was reported at 12,000, and over 20,000 were left homeless – but exact figures will never be known.

1992  Adm Sir Julian Oswald promoted admiral of the fleet at the end of his appointment as First Sea Lord. Born 11 August 1933, son of Capt George Oswald, RN. Entered BRNCD May 1947; captain destroyer Newcastle 1977-9 and of BRNCD 1980-2; ACDS (Programmes) and ACDS (Policy and Nuclear) 1982-5; FOF3 1985-7 and CINCFLEET 1987-9; appointed First Sea Lord May 1989. Adm Oswald was President of FRINTON (Former Russian Interpreters of the Navy).


Admiral of the Fleet Sir Julian Oswald GCB – Wikipedia –

1999  At last, almost a month after the 639ft dry-bulk freighter New Carissa came ashore on the beach, near Coos Bay, Oregon, the front 400ft of her is being towed out to sea. Unfortunately, a storm is building-up which forces OSRV Oregon Responder, the trailing oil-skimmer, back to port.
Worse is yet to come though, at 5:18 p.m. and around  40 miles out, the towline snaps amid, what is now, one of the fiercest storms of the winter. The Sea Victory puts out an alert that the New Carissa is “freedrifting” on a north-northeast course at 6 mph…


New Carissa, freedrifting at 6 m.p.h. on this day in 1999. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 1 March …..

1565  The city of Rio de Janeiro proper was founded by the Portuguese on this day in 1555 and named ‘São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro’, in honour of St. Sebastian, the saint who was the namesake and patron of the then Portuguese Monarch D. Sebastião.
Rio de Janeiro (River of January) was actually the name of Guanabara Bay.

1709  HMS Assurance, HMS Assistance, and HMS Anglesea and consort, escorting a convoy engaged four French ships off the Lizard, Cornwall.

1799  Sybille captured the French Forte in Balascore Road, Bay of Bengal. A detachment of the Scotch Brigade was present. [m. bh]

1814  San Domingo captured the American letter of marque Argus 370 miles S.W. of Bermuda.

1859  End of Indian Mutiny. Naval Brigade from Pearl, wood screw corvette, rejoined ship at Calcutta after seventeen months ashore and having engaged in twenty-six actions.

1864  RNR officers’ uniform instituted, each stripe composed of two thin interwoven waves.

1878  The Russian War Scare. During Russo-Turkish War the RN acquired four armoured warships building in British yards, three for Turkey and one for Brazil. All required extensive dockyard work to convert to British standards and they were expensive and variously deficient.

See 10 September 1874, 23 October 1903.

The Brazilian Independencia became Neptune. She proved the most costly British warship built to date. The Brazilians demanded £600,000 for her but ‘the taxpayer had to find £690,000 before this had bargain joined the Colours’ – Oscar Parkes. She was seriously damaged during bombing at Millwall and at the other end of her life she almost sank. Victory at Portsmouth when being towed to the breakers. Her funnels had been installed sideways and the seas washed through her wardroom in heavy weather. Britain, in observance of neutrality, could not deliver the three Turkish ships and was more or less forced to acquire them to recompense the builders. The Hamidieh, Pakyi-Shereef and Boordyi-Zaffir were commissioned as Superb, Belleisle and Orion. ‘At best they were bad bargains’ – Oscar Parkes.

1881  RN Medical School, Haslar, opened.


RNH Haslar – Wikipedia –

1904  The Australian Defence Act 1903 came into force transferring warships ownded by individual states to the Commonwealth of Australia.

See 25 November 1910, 10 July 1911.

1907  Cap ribbons and bedding issued in lieu of a gratuity, and ready-made uniforms instead of material to be made up. Loan clothing introduced.

1913  Rear-Adm David Beatty, appointed to command the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, hoisted his flag for the first time in Lion at Devonport, in which ship it flew almost continuously until 27 November 1916, when he succeeded Adm Sir John Jellicoe as C-in-C Grand Fleet.


Rear-Admiral David Beatty – Wikipedia – David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty –,_1st_Earl_Beatty

1916  German extended submarine campaign began.

1916  Sloop Primula torpedoed by U-35 in E. Mediterranean.


HMS Primula (K14)


SM U 35, Commander Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière, cruising in the Mediterranean. Wikipedia –



1917  Pheasant, destroyer, seventh of name, sunk by mine I mile W. of the Old Man of Hoy. All hands lost except one midshipman who died ashore.

1918  AMC Calgarian, 9th CS, escorting convoy off N. Ireland, sunk by U-19 off Rathlin Island.


HMS Calgarian (1913) – Wikipedia –


SM U-19 (first row, second from the right). – Wikipedia –

1919  All surveying ships to be painted white.

1928  Courageous recommissioned. First carrier with transverse arrester wires.

HMS_Courageous_WWI (1)

HMS Courageous shortly after completion in 1916.

HMS_Courageous_(50) (1)

HMS Courageous as an aircraft carrier in 1935. Wikipedia –

1941  Albacore aircraft of 826 Sqn (Formidable) attacked Massawa, Eritrea.

1941  The minesweeping trawler St Donats sank after a collision (with destroyer HMS Cotswold) off the Humber.


HMS Cotswold (L54)

1942  SS Audacity (589t) tanker, Humber to London, was sunk by a mine off the Wash. SS Polgarth (794t) cargo ship, Blyth to Southampton with coal, was sunk by a mine, SW of Aldeburgh.

1942  South of Cape Race, Newfoundland, German U-boat U-656 was sunk with all hands by depth charges dropped by a United States Navy Lockheed Hudson of patrol squadron VP-82. North Atlantic south of Cape Race, in position (46.15N, 53.15W). U-656 became the first U-boat to be sunk by the U.S. forces in World War II.


A PBO of VP-82 at Argentia, Newfoundland – 1942.


Depth bomb swirl and U-boat swirl 30 seconds after attack. Wikipedia – U-656 –

1942  Cruisers Perth (RAN) and USS Houston sunk by Mogami and Tikuma and destroyers in the Java Sea (05-45S, 106-13E). [bh]

HMAS Perth and USS Houston left Batavia at 21.00 on 29 February to slip through the Sunda Strait. They had been under strain and hazard for the previous three months as the Japanese attacked the area, and the Houston had been damaged in the battle of Java Sea. At 23.00, just as they arrived at the entrance to the straits, they encountered a Japanese invasion force. They engaged the enemy at once, and fought until their magazines were empty and even the practice rounds had been fired. They did much damage to the invasion force, but were finally overwhelmed and sunk soon after midnight.

Heavy cruiser Exeter sunk by Japanese cruisers Haguro and Nachi, and destroyer Encounter sunk by Myoko                       and Ashigara in Java Sea (05-00S, 111-ooE). Exeter was first of eight cruisers and Encounter the ninth of forty-six                destroyers lost in 1942. [bh]

Exeter, fourth of the name, lived up nobly to the example set by her predecessor on 17 February 1782. ‘The diminished ABDA [American, Dutch, British, Australian] squadron was destroyed by an enemy superior in every department except courage’ – Roskill, War at Sea, vol. 2. p. 17.

Over 800 survivors from the two British ships were made POW. In 1945 the senior surviving officers submitted their reports to the Admiralty. ‘One cannot help but marvel at the clearness and accuracy of these accounts, written as they were three and a half years after the events which they described, and from such tenuous records as the officers had managed to secrete from the persistent searches of their captors. In all the annals of sea fights there can exist few more moving documents’ – Roskill, War at Sea, vol. 2. p. 17.

1944  Frigate Gould torpedoed 480 miles N.N.E. of Azores by U-358 after a fourteen-hour hunt. U-358 surfaced to sink her and was sunk by frigate Affleck (45-46N, 23-10W).

hmsgouldK476 (1)

HMS Gould (K476) – WIkipedia –


HMS Affleck (K462) – Wikipedia –


Kptlt. Rolf Manke on the U-358 Conning Tower. Wikipedia –

The longest continuous U-boat hunt

The First Escort Group of Captain-class frigates was on patrol to the Western Approaches and detected and sank U-91 on 25 February 1944. Early on the 29th Garlies gained an Asdic contact with U-358 and the group attacked with Hedgehog and depth charges. All through the night and next day contact was maintained and a total of 104 depth charges expended. Gore and Garlies returned to Gibraltar, while Affleck and Gould maintained Asdic contact. At 19.20. Gould was hit by an acoustic homing torpedo, and the submarine surfaced.

Affleck opened fire at 1,500yd, and then attacked with depth charges. One survivor was picked up from U-358.

1954  Castle Bravo’, was the codename for the first test of a dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands. The supposedly secret test of the nuclear device, named “Shrimp”, was the most powerful ever detonated by the U.S. with a yield of 15 megatons of TNT, far exceeding the expected yield of 4 to 6 megatons. It resulted in the worst radioactive contamination ever caused by the U.S.
Three weeks after the Bikini bomb it emerged that a Japanese fishing boat, called Lucky Dragon No. 5, was within 80 miles of the test zone at the time. Its 23 crew were severely affected by radiation sickness.


Castle Bravo – Wikipedia –

Daigo_Fukuryū_Maru_01 (1)

Daigo Fukuryū Maru (Lucky Dragon No. 5) – Wikipedia –

1974  Adm Sir Michael Pollack promoted admiral of the fleet at the end of his appointment as First Sea Lord. Born 19 October 1916. Entered RN May 1930. Gunnery Officer of heavy cruiser Norfolk at sinking of Scharnhorst, 26 December 1943; CO Ark Royal 1962; vice-admiral, 26 December 1967 and Flag Officer Submarines; Controller of the Navy 1970; First Sea Lord March 1971.


Admiral Sir Michael Pollock c.1974 – Wikipedia –

1983  First male admitted to QARNNS – Chief Medical Technician Ranji Purusran on promotion to Senior Nursing Officer.

1991  RFA Fort George, fleet replenishment ship, launched at Swan Hunters, Wallsend-on-Tyne.

See 12 June 1990.


RFA Fort George (A388) – Wikipedia –

2002  Fearless, last RN steam-powered surface warship, entered Portsmouth for the last time on return from the Indian Ocean.



HMS Fearless L10 – Wikipedia –

2004  Ranger, 49-ton Archer-class patrol vessel, returned to Portsmouth after thirteen years’ unbroken service with the Gibraltar Squadron. The longest period a RN ship in continuous commission had been away from home waters for at least a century. The record may be absolute. Ranger loaded onto Dutch-registered chartered container ship Univiat at Gibraltar on 25 February and offloaded at Southampton on 1 March, proceeding to Portsmouth under her own power.

See 11 April 1866.


HMS Ranger (P293) – Wikipedia – – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 28 February …..

1579  Francis Drake (Golden Hind) captured the Spanish Cacafuego off Cape San Francisco, Ecuador.


Capture Of Cacafuego (1626) engraving by Friedrich Hulsius. Wikipedia –

1748  John Thomas (later Adm Sir John) Duckworth born at Leatherhead.


Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth by Sir William Beechey, 1810 – Wikipedia –,_1st_Baronet

1758  Monmouth (64) captured the French Foudroyant (80), the largest ships afloat at the time. Revenge (64) and Berwick (64) captured the French Orphée (64) 20 miles to the south of Cartagena. Monarch (74) and Montagu (60) drove Oriflamme (50) ashore at Monte Cope. [bh]


The Capture of Foudroyant by HMS Monmouth, 28 February 1758. Painting by F. Swaine, 1725-1782. National Maritime Museum, London. Wikipedia –


HMS Foudroyant towing the Pégase entering Portsmouth Harbour, 30th April 1782 by Dominic Serres. Wikipedia –

1760  Aeolus, Brilliant and Pallas captured the French privateers Blonde, Maréchat de Belleile and Terpsichore 6 miles to the southward of the Mull of Galloway. The French had taken Carrickfergus Castle on the 21st and sailed for home on the 27th but the Lord-Lieutenant sent ‘expresses’ to Capt Elliot at Kinsale, and he took his three frigates to sea at once. Three French ships parted company, the other three were taken.

1810  Sea Fencibles disbanded: 61 captains, 245 lieutenants and 23,455 men. Wikipedia –

1849  SS California, establishes the first regular steamboat service between the East and West coast of the United States, via the Straits of Magellan (Cape Horn), when she arrives in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 22 days after leaving New York Harbour (October 6th 1848).


SS California, Pacific Mail’s first ship on the Panama City to San Francisco route. Wikipedia –


1866  Grapeshot declared obsolete in RN.


An example of grapeshot. Wikipedia –

1890  On the North Queensland coast, RMS Quetta, a British India Line merchant ship on a regular route between Great Britain, India and the Far East, was in the hands of an experienced pilot as she sailed through the Torres Strait, en route to Thursday Island. Turning into the Adolphus Channel to round Cape York at around 21:15hrs, the ship struck an uncharted rock  in the middle of the channel near Albany Island.
The rock ripped a hole through the plates from the bow to the engine room amidships, 4 to 12 feet wide. The ship sank in less than five minutes. Of the 292 people aboard, 134 perished. At the time, it was the worst maritime disaster in Queensland’s history.


RMS Quetta, on the River Thames near Gravesend, England, 1884. Wikipedia –


1893  The USS Indiana (Battleship No.1) is launched. She is lead ship of her class and the first true battleship of the United States Navy,  comparable to foreign battleships of the time. The launch was attended by around 10,000 people, including President Benjamin Harrison, several members of his cabinet and the two senators from Indiana.


USS Indiana in Philadelphia (Digitally colourised image)Late 1800’s). WIkipedia –

1935  Wallace Hume Carothers (27th April 1896 – 29th April 1937), chemist, inventor and the leader of organic chemistry at DuPont, creates ‘polyamide 6-6′, the substance that would come to be known as Nylon. He would later help to lay the groundwork for Neoprene. Tragically for Wallace Carothers, a long-time sufferer of depression, even his breakthrough didn’t give him peace of mind and took his own life just two years later.


Wallace Carothers – Wikipedia –

1940  SS Stofoss (1,508t) a Swedish ship sank in 40 metres of water, due to a collision 10 miles E of Beadnell at 55°32’00″N – 01°20’00″W.

1941  During the night 23 British RAF Hampden aircraft from Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, attacked battleship Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Low clouds resulted in only 4 aircraft locating the battleship, and they failed to hit their target.

1941  SS Holmelea (4,223t) cargo ship, Rosario, Argentina to Hull with a cargo of grain was sunk by U-47 in the North-western Approaches. Twenty-seven of her crew were lost.



October 1939. U-47 returns to port after sinking HMS Royal Oak. The battleship Scharnhorst can be seen in the background. Wikipedia – 


Conning tower art of U-47. This image was later used as the emblem for the entire 7th U-boat Flotilla.

1942  The Battle of Sunda Strait occurs on the night of 28th February-1st March 1942, when the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth and the American heavy cruiser USS Houston faced a major Imperial Japanese Navy task force. In a ferocious night action that ended after midnight, the two Allied cruisers were sunk. Two Japanese transports and a minesweeper were sunk by friendly torpedoes’. Two Japanese other transports were also sunk but later refloated.
696 men on board the Houston were killed, while 368 others were saved. Perth lost 375 men, with 307 others saved. The captains of both cruisers were also killed. Wikipedia – Battle of Sunda Strait –


Commemorative plaque for HMAS Perth and USS Houston.
Rockingham Naval Memorial Park

1945  Labuan, Loch Fada, Wild Goose and Liberator H/112 (USN) sank U-327 off Scilly Isles (49-46N, 05-47W).

(c) David Cobb; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Wikipedia – U-327 –

1962  RN Wireless Station at Mauritius took over operationally from Ceylon at 0001Z. C-in-C South Atlantic and South America commissioned the station on 19 March 1962 as HMS Mauritius. AFO 567/62.


Commcen and Admin Blocks.

Ship Room

Ship room.



The first naval personnel arrived at Mauritius in 1960 under the title of Naval Party 1212. The Wireless Station took over from HMS Highflyer, Ceylon West, on 28 February 1962.
It was commissioned as HMS Mauritius on 19 March 1962.
Commcen Mauritius closed at 302359Z November 1975. HMS Mauritius was closed on 31 March 1976.

1990  Abolition of rum issue in RNZN. Wikipedia – Grog – Rum ration –

For centuries,  a daily rum ration known as Grog was issued to all hands aboard warships of the Royal Navy: it reputedly helped fire them up for battle, gave  relief from wretched and uncomfortable living conditions and, though probably not originally intended, provided wonderful and flexible barter for all sorts of favours and payments in lieu..!  By the 20th century Grog was required to be issued in watered down form and only to those over 18 years old, the 1/8th of a pint of 95.5 proof spirit (that’s 56% alcohol!)  being diluted with 2 parts of water for junior rates – though senior rates drew theirs neat (“Neaters”).  The wardroom had by the 20th century been excluded from this free issue (they had their gin after all).  The daily issue of rum, from a large oak barrel bound with brass hoops and with the words THE KING (or QUEEN) GOD BLESS HIM (HER), was a fantastically laborious process!  It started with the Mater-at- Arms’ Office calculating precisely how many tots were to be issued that day (who is not onboard, who is under age, who is entitled but wishes to decline, who is turned in in the Sick Bay and is medically unfit for the fiery spirit, who is under certain restrictions as a punishment), to the drawing of the rum from casks (which were heavily locked under lock and key!) by huge copper and brass hand operated pumps.  Those who were entitled to Neaters received their share unadulterated with water, the remainder had theirs mixed with the requisite amount of water (minutely calculated!) and stirred – by hand in the best ships –  in the rum tub.  “Up Spirits” was then piped over the main broadcast (it was by now around noon) and representatives from each of the sailors’ messdecks would eagerly muster, tot receptacle at the ready.  Each was in turn filled with the apportioned amount of grog which was then hurried down to its parent messdeck where all would be waiting….  At the end of the Daily Issue, any grog remaining was required to be disposed of in  view of the Regulating staff and supervising officer: wise staff would ensure that the “Sloppers” were ditched there and then over the lee side as there were cases of it being tipped away down basins which, of course, had been secretly pre-tapped by forward thinking sailors to ensure that nothing went to waste!   And there were other tricks too – plenty of them…    “Black Tot Day” in the RN was 31st July 1970 and only the RNZN continued the custom though that navy too, finally killed off the tot in 1990.  “Splice the Mainbrace” is now the only occasion when rum is formally issued to the Royal Navy: ordered only by the Monarch it is issued as a formal “well done and thank you” to a ship’s company for outstanding service.  In the 20th/21st century such occasions would be a notable feat of arms by one of the Sovereign’s warships (the bringing to surrender by the British Mediterranean Fleet of the Italian Fleet in 1943; the formal ending of the European and then Far East conflicts in 1945; the daring breakout from the River Yangtze in July 1949 of the frigate HMS AMETHYST,  are all examples); and aboard the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA this order, Splice the Mainbrace, would invariably accompany the signal received onboard from the Queen after she had completed a spell of Royal Duty onboard.   More recently, the birth of Prince George in the summer of 2013 required Her Majesty’s Ships and Establishments at home and abroad to Splice the Mainbrace!


Without this card you wouldn’t get your tot, which is why they were normally placed inside the back of the plastic wallet holding your Identity Card, the two most valuable cards in your possession.


1991  Ceasefire against Iraqi forces in Operation Granby. A total of 2,821 RN and RM personnel had been deployed afloat and 565 ashore, including 1,771 Reservists. Commodore Paul Haddacks, SNO Middle East, relieved 3 December 1990 by Commodore Christopher Craig who became also CTG 321.1. Some 200 replenishments at sea had been made and 18 hits secured from 26 Sea Skua missiles fired. Ships: Battleaxe, Brave, Brazen, Brilliant, Cardiff, Exeter, Gloucester, Manchester, London, Jupiter, York, Otus, Opussum, Atherston, Bicester, Brecon, Brocklesby, Cattistock, Dulverton, Hurworth, Ledbury, Hecla, Herald. RFAs: Argus, Bayleaf, Diligent, Fort Grange, Olna, Orangeleaf, Resource, Sir Bedivere, Sir Galahad, Sir Percivale, Sir Tristram. FAA Sqns: 815, 826, 829, 845, 846, 848. Mine clearance and ebmargo enforcement continued. The Armilla patrol re-established.

1999  Near Coos Bay, Oregon, the morning tide is the highest yet, allowing the salvage tug, Sea Victory to drag the bow section of the broken dry-bulk freighter, New Carissa, 35 feet in the morning and another 25 feet shortly before midnight.


The bow of the New Carissa moves slowly past her stern. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 27 February …..

1617  Sweden and Russia sign the Treaty of Stolbovo, ending the Ingrian War and stripping Russia of its access to the Baltic Sea.

Wikipedia – Treaty of Stolbovo – Wikipedia – Ingrian War –

1700  William Dampier became the first known European to visit the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago in Papua, New Guinea, dubbing it with the Latin name Nova Britannia (New Britain).


Portrait of Dampier holding his book, a painting by Thomas Murray (c. 1697–1698)

1806  Hydra captured the French Furet 30 miles S.E. by S. of Cape de Santa Maria, Portugal.

1841  Capture of the Whampoa forts, Canton River. Ships: Alligator, Calliope, Herald, Modeste, Sulphur, Bengal Marine Steamers: Madagascar, Nemesis. Medal: China. 1841-2.

1847  Senior Engineers became commissioned officers.

1859  No. 4 Detachment, Indian Navy, with the 1st Assam Light Infantry and Assam Local Artillery, stormed and captured Romkong (Rengging) and Passi, Assam.

1870  The Japanese flag, i.e. A white rectangular flag with a large red disk (representing the sun) in the centre, is first adopted as the national flag for Japanese merchant ships under Proclamation No. 57 of Meiji 3 (issued on February 27, 1870).
Eight months later, it is adopted for use by the Navy under Proclamation No. 651 of Meiji 3 (issued on October 27, 1870).


1881  Defeat of the British by the Boers at Majuba Hill, Transvaal. Naval Brigade from Boadicea and Dido. Troops: 58th, 3/60th and 92nd Regiments.


The Battle of Majuba, drawn by Richard Caton Woodville for the Illustrated London News. Wikipedia –

1881  Cdr Francis Romilly, iron screw corvette Bacchante, commanding a Naval Brigade landed from Dido and Bacchante at Natal on 6 January, mortally wounded by an explosive bullet in a Boer attack on Majuba Hill, Transvaal, in the First Boer War. He died on 2 March.


HMS Bacchante (1876) – Wikipedia –

1885 (& 1928)  Theodore Gordon Ellyson, U.S. Navy (27th February 1885 – 27th February 1928), came into the world and left it again on the same day of the month, albeit 43 years apart.


Lieutenant Theodore Gordon Ellyson, USN. Naval Pilot No. 1, in 1911. Wikipedia –

Theodore Gordon Ellyson, the son of Henry Theodore Ellyson and Lizzie (Walker) Ellyson, was born in Richmond, Virginia, on February 27th, 1885.

During his career with the Navy, he managed to fulfill roles serving, on, beneath, and over, the water, and was a recipient of the Navy Cross for distinguished service, whilst stationed at the U.S. Naval Base in Plymouth England.

However “Spuds” is probably best remembered for his achievements during the period from January 1911 when he reported for aviation duty at North Island, San Diego, California. There he met and received instruction from Glenn Curtiss, and became closely associated with the development of naval aviation, eventually earning the distinction of being appointed Naval Pilot Number 1.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck “Spuds'” on his 43rd birthday. By now, married with children, he received a dispatch from Annapolis that one of his daughters was ill. Granted a leave, he left Virginia on board a Loening OL-7 amphibian plane to make the two hour flight home. He never arrived. The aircraft went down soewhere in the lower Chesapeake Bay.

For over a month the Navy searched for the missing plane, but to no avail. Commander Theodore G. Ellyson’s body washed ashore on April 11th, 1928. He was buried in the Naval Academy Cemetery, in Annapolis.

1900  Capture of Cronje’s final laager at Paardeberg, Naval Brigade of sixty-four men, more than half of whom were killed, from Barrosa and Doris with Grant’s guns. South Africa Medal: clasp Paardeberg.

1923  Special Service Squadron on world cruise under command of Vice-Adm Sir Frederick Field, Hood (flag), Repulse and cruisers Delhi, Dragon, Dauntless and Danae, arrived at Fremantle before visits to Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney.



Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Field. Wikipedia – Special Service Squadron Empire Cruise route. Wikipedia –

1941  During the night, 30 British Wellington bombers from Wyton in Cambridgeshire, Marham in Norfolk, and Stradishall in Suffolk attacked battleship Tirpitz. The 26 aircraft that arrived, attacked and reported success, though the actual results were questionable.

1941  The auxiliary patrol vessel Remillo was sunk by a mine off the Humber.

1941  SS Old Charlton (1,562t) cargo ship, Hartlepool to London with a cargo of coal was sunk by German aircraft off Felixstowe.

1941  Leander (New Zealand) sank the Italian disguised raider Ramb 1 in Indian Ocean.

HMS_Leander (1)


HMNZS Leander – Wikipedia – Italian ship Ramb I sinking in 1941 – wikipedia –

1942  SS Macgregor (2,498t) cargo ship, Tyne to Tampa, Florida, United States, was sunk by U-156, NW of Puerto Rico.



Conning tower emblem of U-156. – U-156 (foreground) and U-507 (background) on 15 September 1942 – wikipedia – U-156 –

1942  Electra sunk by Asagumo in the Java Sea.



HMS Electra before the war wearing the single white stripe of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. Wikipedia – HMS Electra (H27) – underway on September 14, 1939. Wikipedia – IJN destroyer Asagumo

Also sunk: Dutch: De Ruyter (Rear-Adm K. Doorman) by Haguro, Java by Nachi, Kortenaer and Evertsen (beached, destroyed on the 28th). Damaged: Exeter and the USS Houston, Jupiter sank early on the 28th, on a Dutch mine off Surabaja (06-45S, 112-06E). A hastily-organized multinational allied naval force, formed to defend the East Indies against an overwhelming Imperial Japanese attack, suffers a disastrous defeat during the Battle of the Java Sea. Dutch Rear Admiral Karel Doorman is killed whilst in command of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Strike Force when his Flagship, HNLMS De Ruyter, was hit by a single Type 93 torpedo from Japanese cruiser Haguro at about 23:30hrs. She sank around 3 hours later with the loss of 345 men.

See 1 March 1942.




Karel Doorman as a Lieutenant Commander in 1930. Wikipedia – .

A port side view of De Ruyter at anchor, shortly before her loss in the Battle of the Java Sea. Wikipedia – Wikipedia – IJN Haguro –

1942  In a floating drydock at Deutsche Werke in Kiel, repairs had just been completed on the German battlecruiser Gneisenau, and she was on schedule to deploy to Norway on 6th March. Her ammunition stores had been restocked and she was being readied for a short round of sea-trials before her departure.

During the night of 26-27th February 1942, 49 British RAF bombers took off to attack the ship in the drydock. Arriving over Kiel in clear weather, the aircrews of the 33 Wellingtons, 10 Hampdens & 6 Halifaxes, claimed good results with one of the high-explosive bomb’s scoring a direct hit on the bows of the Gneisenau.

The bomb had struck the forecastle, penetrating the armored deck and into the forward ammunition magazine. The red-hot bomb fragments ignited the recently restocked propellant charges in the forward turret, causing tremendous damage as they exploded. The turret was thrown off its mount and the entire bow section was burned out. The blast killed approximately 116 men and injured at least 21 others.


Images of Gneisenau, severely damaged in the drydock in Kiel, 1942. wikipedia –

The damage would prove sufficient to bring about the end of Gneisenau as a fighting unit.
The RAF lost 2 Wellingtons and 1 Halifax during the operation.
Bombs dropped in the town of Kiel destroyed several houses and killed 16 people.

1943  Tigris presumed lost to depth charges of UJ-2210, S.E. of Capri (40-26N, 14-16E).


HMS Tigris (N63) in Plymouth Sound in July 1942 – Wikipedia –

German warship UJ-2210 – wikipedia –

1945  Frigate Loch Fada sank U-1018 in S.W. Approaches. Convoy BTC 81.


HMS Loch Fada after modernisation – note twin main gun and F390 pennant. Wikipedia – U-1018 – wikipedia –

1966  Frigate Lowestoft first ship on Beira Patrol off Mozambique, establishing oil embargo on Rhodesia after UDI.

See 19 December 1967, 25 June 1975.


HMS Lowestoft in 1979 – wikipedia –

1970  Michael Lewis, naval historian and author, died. Taught at Osborne and Dartmouth and succeeded Sir Geoffrey Callender as Professor of History and English at Greenwich.


Michael Lewis (naval historian) – wikipedia –

1999  Despite the adverse conditions of the last few days, a helicopter had carried a towline to the tug Sea Victory from the bow section of the New Carissa, the once seaworthy wood-chip freighter that beached on 4th February, near Coos Bay, Oregon.
After the towing connections were completed, a two-hour pull by the Sea Victory on 26th February, appeared to pivot the bow slightly seaward.
Today, speculation turned to cautious celebration when Sea Victory applied the power and the front 400ft section of the broken ship began inching into the sea. By the end of the day she had moved 35ft on the rising tide.

feb27_New_Carrissa_Sea_Victory_Pulls_Bow (1)

New Carissa is tugged slightly seaward by Sea Victory (out of frame). Wikipedia – New Carissa –

2004  Tigerfish, the Mk 24 Mod 2 heavyweight torpedo, withdrawn after thirty-seven years’ service. Submarine Triumph was the last boat to carry this weapon.


Tigerfish (torpedo) – wikipedia –

2004  During an overnight journey from Manila to Bacolod in the Philippines, a militant terrorist attack results in the sinking of the 10,192-ton ferry SuperFerry 14 and the deaths of 116 people. Investigators determined that the Superferry was targeted after its owners, WG&A, refused a request for $1m in protection money in 2003. To date, he incident is the world’s deadliest terrorist attack at sea.


The Superferry 14 bombing, Philippines, 2004. Wikipedia – – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 26 February …..

1790  Vice-Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley (1734-1790), died at the family home of Tendring Hall in Suffolk, England, aged 55 years. Rowley served with distinction in a number of battles throughout his career and was highly praised by his contemporaries. Unfortunately whilst his career was often active he did not have the opportunity to command any significant engagements and always followed rather than led. Rowley, however remains one of the stalwart commanders of the wooden walls that kept Britain safe for so long.


Sir Joshua Rowley, Vice-Admiral of the White – Wikipedia –,_1st_Baronet

1813  Furieuse and Thames with the 2nd Bn. 10th Regiment, captured Ponza Island, west coast of Italy.


HMS Furieuse (1809) – Wikipedia –

1814  Dryad 36 received the surrender of the French Clorinde, Eurotas was fast coming up under jury rig, having been dismasted in the action on the previous day.


Capture of La Clorinde, by Thomas Whitcombe, 1 March 1817, in the collection of the National Maritime Museum. – Wikipedia – La Clorinde – Wikipedia –

1841  Capture of the Wantong and Anung Hoi forts in the Boca Tigris, Canton River. Ships: Alligator, Blenheim, Calliope, Druid, Herald, Melville, Modeste, Samarang, Wellesley. Bengal Marine Steamers: Royal Artillery, 26th and 49th Regiments Madras Artillery, 37th Madras Native Infantry, Bengal Volunteer Regiment. Medal China 1841-2.

1852  While ferrying British and Irish soldiers and some of their wives and children to Algoa Bay, troopship HMS Birkenhead (ex-Vulcan), one of the first iron-hulled ships built for the Royal Navy, was wrecked after striking an uncharted submerged rock off Danger Point, South Africa. There were not enough serviceable lifeboats for all the passengers, and the soldiers famously stood firm, thereby allowing the women and children to board the boats safely.
Of the 643 people on board, only 193 people (and 8 horses) survived, the rest either drowned, died from exposure or were taken by sharks.
The soldiers’ chivalry gave rise to the “women and children first” protocol when abandoning ship, while the “Birkenhead drill” of Rudyard Kipling’s poem came to describe courage in face of hopeless circumstances.


A contemporary picture of the ship. “The Wreck of the Birkenhead” (ca 1892) by Thomas M Hemy. The Wreck of the Birkenhead (1901) by Charles Dixon. Wikipedia –

1891  Christening of the seventh Royal Sovereign. First ship to carry all main armament on weather deck and secondary in casemates, to exceed 12,000 tons and to have steel armour. This class ‘presented a proud, pleasing and symmetric profile, initiating a new era of volcanic beauty after twenty years of misshapen misfits’ – Parkes.


A British Battleship – HMS Royal Sovereign – Drawn for “The Boys own Paper” by J J Jelley – Wikipedia –

1891  Launch of Royal Arthur, first-class protected cruiser, at Portsmouth.

$_57 (1)LaunchHMSRoyalArthur26Feb1891

Queen Victoria Launches HMS Royal Arthur (1891)(The Graphic & The Illustrated London News) – Wikipedia –

1914  The Britannic, the third and largest Olympic-class ocean liner of the White Star Line, is launched at the Harland & Wolff shipyard, Belfast.


Wikipedia – HMHS Britannic –

British Pathé – Launch of Britannic –

1915  VC: Lt-Cdr Eric Gascoigne Robinson (Vengeance) at Gallipoli for charging two 4in guns in turn under heavy fire.


Eric Robinson, VC from Gallaher Cigarette Cards – Wikipedia –

1916  SS La Provence, a former ocean liner refitted as an auxillary cruiser during WWI, was transporting troops from France to Salonika when she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-35 south of Cape Matapan in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship listed so quickly that many of the lifeboats could not be used. There were 742 survivors. Nearly a thousand French soldiers and sailors died in the sinking.


French liner ‘La Provence’ in 1912. Wikipedia – SM U-35, Commander Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière, cruising in the Mediterranean – Wikipedia –

1916  Completion of evacuation of Serbian Army by RN and Italian force.

1917  Operations following the reoccupation of Kut-al’ Amara. Recaptured: Firefly, Sumana.

1935  First British seaborne radar tested. Robert Watson-Watt demonstrated RADAR (Radio Detection & Ranging) for the first time, near Daventry, United Kingdom.


Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, KCB, FRS, FRAeS – Wikipedia – .

The History of Radar – Wikipedia –

1948  GC (ex-AM): CPO J. Lynch (Nigeria) for saving life of rating lost overboard in gale at Port Stanley, Falklands Islands.

1964  Keel laid of Resolution, first RN SSBN, at Vickers, Barrow.

See 30 October 1967, 15 January 1968, 15 June 1968.

Ships_crest_of_HMS_Resolution_(S22)694655Resolution (1)

HMS Resolution (S22) – Wikipedia –

1981  A variable-angle ski jump (7-15°), of the type fitted to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, becomes operational at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset.


A Sea Harrier of 801 Sqdn, uses the Ski-Jump at RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron), September 2005. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 25 February …..

1723  Sir Christopher Michael Wren FRS, died whilst taking a nap, aged 90 years, at his home in London.

Amongst his achievements, Wren had been a professor of astronomy, and a founding member of the Royal Society, along with other mathematicians, scientists and scholars.
Wren’s scientific works ranged from astronomy, optics, the problem of finding longitude at sea, cosmology, mechanics, microscopy, surveying, medicine and meteorology. He observed, measured, dissected, built models and employed, invented and improved a variety of instruments.
Stitched Panorama
One of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history, he was also commissioned to design the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, the Royal Hospital Chelsea for retired soldiers, and the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich (Greenwich Hospital), which later became the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
Wikipedia – Old Royal Naval College -
Christopher Wren was was laid to rest on 5th March 1723, in the south-east corner of the crypt of his masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral, beside his daughter Jane, his sister Susan Holder, and her husband William.

The Old Royal Naval College is the architectural centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site in Greenwich, London, described by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as being of “outstanding universal value” and reckoned to be the “finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles”


The Royal Observatory (below), overlooks the Old Royal Naval College, and can be seen in the distance in the image above.


Wikipedia – Royal Observatory, Greenwich –,_Greenwich

1744  Solebay captured the Spanish Concordia 30 miles west of Cadiz.

1744  William Cornwallis, C-in-C Channel Fleet, 1801-2, 1803-6, born.

See 17 June 1795.

William_Cornwallis_as_Admiral (1)

William Cornwallis – Wikipedia –

1781  Cerberus captured the Spanish Grana 60 miles west of Cape Finisterre in fifteen minutes.

1814  Eurotas engaged the French Clorinde 180 miles W.S.W. of Ushant and would have taken her had she not surrendered to Dryad and Achates, who towed her into Portsmouth where she was commissioned as Aurora. [m. bh]


Clorinde fighting HMS Eurotas – Wikipedia – French frigate Clorinde –

1915  Bombardment of Dardanelles forts resumed. Outer forts partially destroyed by the 26th. Battleship Queen Elizabeth in action for the first time.

1917  German destroyer raid on Margate and Westgate.

1917  Six miles northwest by west of Fastnet, Cunard liner RMS Laconia was struck by two torpedoes, twenty minutes apart, from German submarine U-50, as she was returning from the United States to England with 75 passengers, 217 crew, and a large consignmment of silver (1 million ounces!) along with her general cargo.
Laconia sank at 22:20 hrs. Six crew and six passengers were killed, some of whom were American citizens. This aspect of the incident contributing towards the U.S. declaration of war against Germany less than two months later.

RMS_Laconia_1912Wilhelmshaven, U-Boot-Männer mit Eisernem Kreuz

RMS Laconia (1911) – Wikipedia – U-50 – Wikipedia –

1933  USS Ranger (CV-4) is launched at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia. She was the first ship of the United States Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier.


USS Ranger (CV-4) – Wikipedia –

1936  GC 9ex-EGM): Edwin Crossley, HM Dockyard, Chatham. (Gazette date.)

1940  Destroyers Escort, Imogen, Escapade and Inglefield escorting convoy HN 14, S.E. of the Shetlands, alerted by submarine Narwhal, destroyed U-63, CO of Imogen, Cdr (later Vice-Adm Sir) Alastair Ewing, had a mantra:

Good, better, best

Never let us rest

Until our good is better

And our better, best.

1941  At 11:40hrs, the German battleship Tirpitz was commissioned to Kapitän Friedrich Karl Topp at Wilhelmshaven. Several days later she sailed to the Baltic Sea to conduct sea trials. Tirpitz was the second and last battleship of the Bismarck class, but weighing 2,000 tons more than her sister, she was the largest warship built in Germany.


The battleship Tirpitz conducting trials in the Baltic Sea during 1941. – Wikipedia –

1941  Destroyer Exmoor sunk by the German E-boat S-30 off Lowestoft (52-29N, 01-50E). Convoy FN 417.


HMS Exmoor (L61) – Wikipedia – German Schnellboot E-boat S-30 – Wikipedia –

1941  Upright, submarine, sank the Italian cruiser Armando Diaz in 6 minutes off Kerkenah Bank, 60 miles E. of Sfax, Tunisia. The submarine developed the technique of dealing with Italian acoustic mines by firing machine guns into the sea ahead of the boat.


HMS Upright (second from left) – Wikipedia – Italian cruiser Armando Diaz –

1944  Destroyer Mahratta sunk by U-990 with a homing torpedo, 280 miles W. of North Cape, Catalina M 210 sank U-601. Convoy JW 57.


HMS Mahratta (G23) – Wikipedia

1944  Destroyer Inglefield sunk by glider bomb off Anzio. Operation Shingle.


HMS Inglefield, with HMS Hood in the background – wikipedia –

1944  Frigates Affleck, Gore and Gould sank U-91 in N. Atlantic.


HMS Affleck (K462) – Wikipedia – HMS Gore (K481) – Wikipedia – HMS Gould (K476) – Wikipedia –

UB_148_at_sea_2.jpeg (3)

U-148 Unterseeboot similar to U-91 – Wikipedia –

1945  SS Egholm (1,317t) a Danish ship, was converted for the Ministry of War Transport and was on a voyage from Leith to London when she was sunk by U 2322 off St Abbs Head at 55°55’00″N – 01°55’24″W. Two crew members and three gunners were killed. She lies in 23 metres of water. She was built in 1924.


SS Egholm  U-2322 – Wikipedia –

1955  Ark Royal (fourth of the name) commissioned. First RN carrier built with angled deck.


HMS Ark Royal (R09) during the International Naval Review at Hampton Roads, VA, USA (May 1957). Wikipedia –

1966  MCD Branch formed. DCI278/66 –

See 7 March 1952.

The Minewarfare and Clearance Diver Branch was formed in response to the increasing complexity of minewarfare, which makes minesweeping in the old sense impractical. Clearance divers are highly qualified and often work at the limits of modern technology. Their tasks include all the more complex underwater operations as well as mine countermeasures and training teams of ships’ divers for the less complex diving tasks.

1967  HMS Renown (S26) launched at Birkenhead.


HMS Renown (S26) – Wikipedia –

1970  Concept of the Military Salary approved in Parliament.

1991  Destroyer Gloucester destroyed Iraqi Silkworm missile with her Sea Dart just short of USS Missouri. Operation Granby.

1994  HMY Britannia completed 1 million nautical miles. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 24 February …..

1582  On this day in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII announces the reformation of the calendar and decrees by the papal bull Inter gravissimas, that the day after Thursday, 4th October 1582 would be not Friday, 5th October, but Friday, 15 October 1582.
The new calendar duly replaced the Julian calendar (in use since 45 BC), and has since come into universal use. Because of Gregory’s involvement, the reformed Julian calendar came to be known as the Gregorian calendar.


Pope Gregory XIII in an early 17th century engraving. Wikipedia –

Wikipedia – Gregorian Calendar –

1743  Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, GCB, PRS was born* at 30 Argyll Street, London to William Banks, a wealthy Lincolnshire country squire and member of the House of Commons, and his wife Sarah, daughter of William Bate.
He would become known as an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences. He would take part in Captain James Cook’s first great voyage (1768–1771), and the exploration of Botany Bay. *Birth date: 24th February 1743 (13th February 1743, O.S.)


Joseph Banks, as painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1773. Wikipedia –

1809  Capture of Martinique by Lt-Gen George Beckwith and Rear-Adm the Hon. Sir Alexander Cochrane (Neptune). Ships and vessels: Acasta, Acolus, Amaranthe, Bacchus, Belleisle, Bellette, Captain, Cherub, Circe, Cleopatra, Cuttle, Demerera, Dominica, Eclair, Ethalion, Eurydice, Express, Fawn, Forester, Frolic, Gloire, Goree, Haughty, Hazard, Intrepid, Liberty, Mosambique, Neptune, Pelorus, Penelope, Pompee, Port d’Espagne, Pultusk, Recruit, Ringdove, St Pierre, Snap, Star, Stork, Subtle, Supericure, Surinam, Swinger, Ulysses, Wolverine, York. The Military General Service Medal was bestowed on the Army, and the French eagles sent home were the first seen in England. [m. bh]

Georgebeckwith (1)Alexander_Cochrane (1)

Lt-Gen George Beckwith – Wikipedia –

Sir Alexander Inglis Cochrane GCB RN – Wikipedia –

1809  Defiance, Caesar, Donegal and Amelia drove ashore the French Calypso, Cybéle and Italienne at Sables d’Olonne, west coast of France. Cybéle became a total wreck.


Battle of Les Sables-d’Olonne – Wikipedia –

1813  Peacock (18) taken by the American Hornet (20) off the mouth of the Demerera River, British Guiana, despite the weather gauge and her immaculate appearance which earned her the nickname ‘The Yacht’.


U.S. sloop-of-war Hornet duels HMS Peacock. Original painting by Patrick O’Brien. Wikipedia – USS Hornet – Wikipedia – Sinking of HMS Peacock –

1841  Repulse of boats of Termagant by a Spanish brig 15 miles W.N.W. of Cape Mount, Sierra Leone.

1855  Leopard and the French Fulton destroyed ten guns and other Russian Government property at the estuary of the Kuban River, Black Sea.

1857  First awards of the Victoria Cross announced in the London Gazette;( 27 RN and RM names out of 85 listed.

See 26 June 1857.

Wikipedia – List of VC recipients –

1875  During a severe storm, the SS Gothenburg ran on to the Great Barrier Reef off the north coast of Queensland, Australia. During the night of 24th/25th February, whilst trying to refloat her on the rising tide, the ship was holed and subsequently wrecked. The storm made launching the lifeboats almost impossible, and as the sinking ship heeled over, many passengers were washed into the raging sea where several sharks had gathered. One survivor recalled the sea on the downwind side of the ship as “being covered with human heads bobbing up and down like corks.”
There were few survivors. Some were rescued from a lifeboat after two days by the Leichhardt, while the occupants of two other lifeboats were later rescued from Holbourne Island. Between 98 and 112 others died, including a number of high profile civil servants and dignitaries.


SS Gothenburg – Wikipedia –

1911  (Possibly 25th February) Glenn Curtiss demonstrates his first amphibian aircraft at North Island, San Diego, CA., by taking off and alighting on both land and water. Three days later, Curtiss would become the first person to successfully arise from water with a passenger, Theodore G. Ellyson, U. S. Navy.
Subsequently, Curtiss would sell the U.S. Navy their first aircraft. An A-1 ‘Triad’ seaplane equipped with retractable wheels – Triad standing for Land, Water, Air.


The first Curtiss ‘Triad’ – North Island, Spring 1911. Wikipedia –

1917  Reoccupation of Kut-al’ Amara. River gunboats: Butterfly, Mantis. Supports: Gadfly, Moth, Snakefly,Tarantula.

1940  SS Jevington Court (4,544t) steamer, Tyne to London with a cargo of coal, was sunk by a mine off Cromer.
SS Clan Morrison (5,936t) steamer, Tyne to London on Admiralty service was also sunk by a mine off Cromer.


1941  SS Linaria (3,385t) cargo ship, Tyne to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada was sunk by the Italian submarine Bianchi, between the south coast of Iceland and the west coast of Ireland. [Other sources suggest that the submarine responsible was the U Boat U-96.]

sawfish-02St. Nazaire, U-96 einlaufend

Wikipedia – U-96 –

1941  Dainty, destroyer, sunk by German aircraft off Tobruk.


HMS Dainty (H53) – Wikipedia –

1941  Monitor Terror sank off Derna after being bombed by German aircraft off Benghazi on the 22nd and off Derna on the 23rd.

HMS_Terror_(I03) (2)

HMS Terror (I03) – Wikipedia –

1942  On 15th December 1941, the SS Struma was towed to Istanbul after suffering an engine failure whilst carrying Jewish refugees from Axis-allied Romania to British-controlled Palestine during World War II. On February 23rd, 1942, with her engine inoperable and her refugee passengers still aboard, Turkish authorities towed the ship from Istanbul harbour through the Bosphorus out to the coast of Şile in North Istanbul. Once there, the Turkish authorities abandoned the ship, where it drifted helplessly. On the morning of February 24th, it was torpedoed and sunk by the Soviet submarine Shch 213, killing 768 men, women and children, with only one survivor, a 19 year old man, making it the largest exclusively civilian naval disaster of the war in the Black Sea.


British yacht Xantha in about 1890. In 1941 she was renamed Struma – Wikipedia –


Wikipedia – Shch-213 –

1943  Vandal, U-class submarine, disappeared whilst working up in the Kilbraunan Sound. She had sailed from the Holy Loch on February 22nd for the exercise area between the Mull of Kintyre and the Isle of Arran, and was last seen leaving Loch Ranza on the afternoon of the 24th. By nightfall she had failed to make her “surfacing signal”, at daybreak a search of the area was made, but no trace of the boat was found.


HMS/M Vandal, unfortunately had the shortest career of any submarine in the Royal Navy. In 1995, the wreck of Vandal was positively identified lying in 300 feet of water about one and a half miles North West of Loch Ranza off the Isle of Arran. The cause of her loss is still unknown.

1944  SS Philipp M (2,085t) cargo ship, Tyne to London with coal, was sunk by an E-Boat, off Great Yarmouth.


1944  Waskesiu (RCN), frigate, sank U-257 in N. Atlantic. Convoy SC 153.


HMCS Waskesiu (K330) – Wikipedia –

Wikipedia – U-257 –

1944  Destroyers Anthony and Wishart and Catalina G/202 and US aircraft sank U-761 off Gibraltar.


HMS Anthony (H40) – Wikipedia – HMS Wishart in drydock sometime prior to World War II. Wikipedia –


HMS Wishart (in the background) inbound on an attack run just after U-761 submerged – HMS Anthony opens the datum to set up for an attack. U-boat Archive – HMS Wishart‘s depth charges explode. U-761’s crew abandon ship.

1945  Frigates Duckworth and Rowley sank U-480 and Warwick K/179 sank U-1208 in S.W. Approaches. Convoy BTC 78.


HMS Duckworth at Belfast, April 1945 – Wikipedia – HMS Rowley (K560) – Wikipedia –  U-1208 – Wikipedia –

1959  After reclassification, conversion and re-commissioning at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, the U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser, USS Galveston (CLG-3), launches a RIM-8 Talos missile on 24th February 1959, the first time the supersonic, surface-to-air Talos had been fired at sea.


The first sea-launched ‘Talos’ missile sends it’s payload off in a trail of bright orange flame.
Galveston reported the shot “hot, straight and normal”, 24th February 1959. Wikipedia – RIM-8 Talos –

1970  824 NAS formed at Culdrose, first operational deployment of Westland Sea King Helicopters.


Westland Sea King HAS.1 air-lifting a Westland Whirlwind HAS.7 near RNAS Culdrose, 1971. Wikipedia – Westland Sea King –

Wikipedia – 824 NAS –

1983  Minehunter Brocklesby collided with coastal minesweeper Nurton in fog off Portland and holed Nurton’s port side amid-ships. Most of ship’s company of Nurton abandoned ship onto bows of Brocklesby.

1991  UN ground offensive against Iraq began. Operation Desert Sabre. RN MCMV continued to sweep battleship fire support areas for battleships USS Missouri and Wisconsin. Operation Granby. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 23 February …..

1633  Samuel Pepys (FRS, MP, JP) was born in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, London, to John Pepys, a tailor, and Margaret Pepys (née Kite), daughter of a Whitechapel butcher. Pepys was the fifth in a line of eleven children, but the oldest survivor.

Samuel_Pepys (1)

Portrait of Samuel Pepys by J. Hayls. Oil on canvas, 1666, National Portrait Gallery, London. Wikipedia –

He would go on to become the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty, where his influence and reforms would be important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy, though e would become most famous (posthumously) as a diarist.

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)

Pepys was the epitome of a man for all seasons. His life spanned England’s only excursion from monarchy: it began when Charles I was on his throne, and he was 9 when the Civil War started. His career began during the Protectorate, blossomed with the Restoration of Charles II and soared through the Dutch Wars, the Plague and the Great Fire of London. Religion nearly cost him his life; ironically the Glorious Revolution cost him his career.

Even so, it was a memorable one, and his Diary ensures his imperishable reputation, not only as a man with a perpetually enquiring mind, who became a Fellow and President of the Royal Society, Master of the Clothworker’s Company, an Elder Brother and twice Master of Trinity House and a Governor of Christ’s Hospital as well as the first Secretary of the Board of Admiralty, but also as an avaricious but adorable, ambitious but endearing man about town and citizen of the world.

1674  Tiger captured the Dutch Schakerloo in Cadiz Bay.

HMS_'Tiger'_taking_the_'Schakerloo'_in (1)

HMS Tyger taking the Dutch ship Shackerloo in Cadiz harbour in 1674. Wikipedia –

1695  Centurion engaged four Dunkirk privateers, capturing one, 15 miles E.N.E. of the North Foreland.

Wikipedia – HMS Centurion (1691) –

1746  Navy Club resolved to send three officers to wait upon their Lordships and ask for a uniform for officers.

1802  In a terrible blizzard in three Salem East Indiamen, the Brutus, the Ulysses, and the Volusia,  went aground in the shallow waters off Cape Cod. The crew members of the latter two vessels were fortunate enough to be rescued by local inhabitants. The seamen on the Brutus were not so lucky as nine of the 14 crew members perished.


The Friendship, a replica of an 18th century Salem East Indiaman. Docked in Salem Harbour, across from the Customs House.

1805  Leander (50) captured the French Ville-de-Milan (32) and recaptured Cleopatra (40) 300 miles S.E. by S. of Bermuda.

See 17 February 1805.

hms_leanderVille_de_Milan_Cleopatre_Caussé_PU5687 (1)HMS_Cleopatra_(1779) (2)

HMS Leander (1780) – Battle between Ville de Milan and HMS Cleopatra, depicted in a contemporary print. Wikipedia – Ville-de-Milan – HMS Cleopatra, depicted in a print by Nicholas Pocock Wikipedia – HMS Cleopatra –

1810  Royalist captured the Boulogne privateer Prince Eugéne off Dungeness. [m]

1814   During the ‘War of 1812′, while cruising off Cape Sable, HMS Epervier captures the American privateer-brig Alfred, of Salem. Alfred, which mounted 16 long 9-pounders and had a crew of between 94 to 108 men, surrendered without a fight.


The Peacock and Epervier, 1814. Engraving by Abel Bowen. Wikipedia – HMS Epervier (1812) –

1854  Adm Napier appointed to command the North Sea Fleet in the Russian war, and Rear-Adm Dundas the Mediterranean.


Sir Charles Napier (1854). Bombardment of Bomarsund during the Crimean War. Napier is the large figure in the slouch hat and carrying telescope in centre foreground. Wikipedia – Charles Napier –

1858  Algerine, wood screw gunvessel, and two boats of Calcutta destroyed four pirate junks in Long Harbour, Mirs Bay.


Design profile for the Algerine class. Wikipedia –

1904  The United States acquires control of the Panama Canal Zone, for $10 million, plus annual payments of $250,000 (as provided in the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, signed on November 18, 1903). After the U.S. formally takes control of the French property relating to the canal, construction resumes later in 1904.


Construction of the Panama Canal in 1904. Wikipedia – Panama Canal Zone –

1915  Royal Marines occupied Lemnos.

1917  UC-32 blew up on her own mines off Sunderland.

Wikipedia – UC-32 –

1918  SS Florizel, a passenger liner and flagship of the Bowring Brothers’ Red Cross Line of steamships, was one of the first ships in the world specifically designed to navigate icy waters. During its last voyage, from St. John’s to Halifax and on to New York, it sunk after striking a reef at Horn Head Point, Cape Race near Cappahayden, Newfoundland, Canada, with the loss of 94 including Betty Munn, a three-year-old girl, in whose memory a statue of Peter Pan was erected at Bowring Park in St. John’s.


Passenger Liner SS Florizel arriving St. John’s Harbour sometime between 1909 and 1918. Wikipedia –

1940  The minesweeping trawler Benvolio hit a mine and sank off the Humber.

benvolio_h347 (1)

1940  Destroyer Gurkha sank U-53 S. of the Faroes.


HMS Gurkha (F20) – Wikipedia – U-53 – WIkipedia –

1941  Monitor Terror, 7,200 tons and armed with twin 15in guns, damaged by Italian aircraft on 22 February and scuttled during following night 20 miles N.W. of Derna, Libya (32-40N, 22-30E). No lives lost. The only British monitor lost in the Second World War. Attacked shortly after leaving Benghazi with corvette Salvia and minesweeper Fareham.

HMS_Terror_(I03) (1)fareham

HMS Terror (I03) – Wikipedia – HMS Fareham (J89) – Wikipedia

1942  Submarine Trident torpedoed the German cruiser Prinz Eugen off Norway, destroying 30ft of her stern.


HMS Trident (N52) – Wikipedia – Prinz Eugen under escort from Copenhagen to Wilhelmshaven after surrendering – Wikipedia –

1942  Submarine P 38 sunk by the Italian TBs Circe and Usodimare off Tripoli; Circe‘s second success in ten days.

HMS P38 – Wikipedia – – HMS P38 –

1942  The Imperial Japanese Navy’s submarine I-17, under the command of Commander Nishino Kozo, surfaces and shells the oil refinery near Santa Barbara. The shelling does only minor damages to a pier and an oil well derrick, but creates “invasion” fears along the West Coast.

Speculation now exists that the attack was ‘revenge’ for a humiliating incident involving Nishino Kozo from before the war, when as skipper of an oil tanker, he had refueled there.


The attack, which lasted about 20 minutes, caused little damage to the Ellwood refinery. But it helped to stoke fears, which had existed since the raid on Pearl Harbor 10 weeks earlier, that the Japanese might be preparing a full-scale invasion of the West Coast.

In Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel, The Man in the High Castle, the Japanese not only plan a U.S. invasion, they carry it off. In reality, though, the Imperial High Command envisioned nothing of the sort, lacking both the military capacity and a strategic reason for invasion.

Cmdr. Nishino Kozo, skipper of the I-17, was familiar with the Ellwood refinery, having docked there as the captain of an oil tanker before the war. A Parademagazine article in 1982 suggested that Kozo staged the raid on his own initiative, in retaliation for a slight he suffered during a prewar visit to Ellwood.

Whether Kozo took the opportunity to settle an old score is unknown. He never said. (The I-17 was on combat patrol along the Pacific Coast. Five days after shelling the refinery, Kozo torpedoed an American tanker off Cape Mendocino.)

Kozo’s gunnery display scared the bejesus out of the already skittish Americans. On the night following I-17‘s shelling of the refinery, trigger-happy anti-aircraft gunners in Los Angeles lit up the night sky with tracer ammunition for a couple of hours after spotting some UFOs. The refinery shelling, in any event, showed the extent to which submarine technology had advanced since World War I.

The I-17 was a B1-class submarine: 350 feet long, with 2,200 tons surface displacement, and by far the largest combat sub to see service during World War II. By comparison, Germany’s largest long-range combat U-boat, the IXD, was 70 feet shorter and displaced barely 1,600 tons when surfaced.

A generation earlier, World War I subs were smaller, carried fewer torpedoes and had a much more limited range.

Kozo was able to take advantage of the fact that American coastal defenses were poorly organized in early 1942. German U-boat commanders on the East Coast were discovering the same thing, with devastating effect on Allied shipping.

Japanese submarine I-17 – Wikipedia –

Bombardment of Ellwood – Wikipedia –

1943  Bicester, with Lamerton and Wheatland, Hunt-class destroyers, sank U-443 off Algiers (36-55N, 02-23E). A three-day hunt demonstrating ‘the value of persistent effort’ (Naval Staff History).


Wikipedia – U-443 –

1943  Cutter Totland sank U-522 in Atlantic. Convoy UC 1.

HMS_Totland_1943_IWM_FL_9911KapitanLeutnantHerbertSchneider – HMS Totland (Y88) –

Wikipedia – U-522 –

Wikipedia – Herber Schneider –

1945  La Combattante (Free French) (ex-Haldon) sunk by mine off East Dudgeon Light.


Wikipedia – French destroyer La Combattante –

1945  Part of an Arctic Convoy, the last allied ship sunk by the Luftwaffe during WWII, the Liberty-ship SS Henry Bacon, is torpedoed in the Barents Sea, although she doesn’t go down without a fight…

During the winter of 1945 many Norwegian civilians fled the horrors of Nazi rule in Finnmark. An estimated 502 Norwegians were picked up from the Norwegian island Sørøya by British destroyers and brought to Murmansk, Russia, where they were transferred to merchant ships in a convoy headed for Loch Ewe, Gourock, Scotland.

Twice, the icy waters of the Arctic Sea had separated the Liberty Ship SS Henry Bacon from the rest of convoy RA-64, leaving her an easy target. In the stormy weather, 23 Junkers Ju 88 and Ju 188 Nazi torpedo bombers found and attacked the lone ship. The crew did not radio for help because they did not want to risk revealing the convoy’s position, and instead fought alone in the gale force winds.

The Henry Bacon was armed with eight 20 mm anti-aircraft guns, a 5 inch (127 mm) gun aft and a 3 in (76 mm) gun forward. The ship’s Naval Armed Guard gunners fought the attacking aircraft for over an hour, shooting down five planes, and damaging at least four others. They also managed to defend against several torpedoes by causing their detonation before they reached the ship until, almost inevitably, one aerial torpedo got through, striking the hold under the No 5 hatch – this was the aft magazine. The vessel began settling at once, but until she went down, her guns kept firing.

When the order to abandon ship was given one of the four lifeboats was smashed in lowering and another had been damaged by weather and capsized. Two were successfully launched, one carrying the 19 refugees and a few crewmen and the other, 15 crewmen and seven gunners. All these and other survivors who had jumped overboard or had taken to rafts were later picked up by British naval craft – in 30 foot waves, the British destroyer HMS Opportune came to the rescue and picked up the survivors from the lifeboat. HMS Zambesi and HMS Zelast also assisted. In all there were 64 survivors and 22 crew members were killed.

The action on board the Henry Bacon almost certainly saved the rest of the convoy, as the attackers were unable to carry on further, having used up their fuel, ammunition, and taken damage.


SS Henry Bacon, eventually sunk during a German aerial torpedo attack on 23rd February 1945.

Wikipedia – SS Henry Bacon –

1945  Four days after U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima, they managed to achieve their first goal -the isolatation and capture of Mount Suribachi. Despite taking Suribachi, the battle would continue for many days, and the island would not be declared “secure” for several weeks.
However, an event on this day would come to be regarded (especially in the United States) as one of the most significant and recognisable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time.

‘Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima’ was taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal, and depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi.

Interestingly, the famous picture captured the second flag-raising of the day, as a U.S. flag had already been raised atop Suribachi soon after it was captured at around 10:20hrs. The original event recorded by Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, a photographer with Leatherneck magazine.

However, when it was realised that the first flag was too small to be easily seen from the nearby landing beaches, a 40-man patrol of Marines climbed Surbachi again with a 96″ x 54″ flag (found in Tank Landing Ship LST 779). Reaching the top of Suribachi around noon, the flag was tied to an old Japanese water pipe and raised by Michael Strank, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley, and Harlon Block.

Immortalised on film, only three of the men (Hayes, Gagnon, and Bradley) would survive the battle Iwo Jima. Strank was killed six days after the flag-raising when a shell, likely fired from an offshore American destroyer, tore his heart out; Block was killed by a mortar a few hours after Strank; Sousley was shot and killed by a sniper on March 21, a few days before the island was declared secure.


“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”, by Joe Rosenthal, (October 9th 1911 – August 20th 2006).

Wikipedia – Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima –

1980  The Greek tanker Irenes Serenade, loaded with 102,660 tonnes of Iraqi crude oil (Kirkuk Blend), en route from Syria to Trieste, explodes whilst refueling in Navarino Bay, Greece. As fire consumes the vessel, a burning oil slick two miles long by half a mile wide spread from the vessel and continued to burn, until the following morning when the tanker sank off Pylos Harbour, close to Sfakteria Island. All but two crew members were rescued. Fishing gear on the jetty was destroyed in the fire and the hillside of Sfakteria Island was scorched to a height of 30 metres. The bunkering installation on the island was also damaged as a result of the fire. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 22 February …..

1692  Capt Wrenn (Norwich), with Antelope, Diamond, Mary (62) and Mordaunt escorting the trade from Barbados to Jamaica, repulsed a superior French force under Capt Comte de Blenac when off Desirade, West Indies, and saved his convoy after a five-hour fight.

1705  Edward Hawke (1st Baron Hawke) was born in London, the only son of a lawyer. He will go on to become an officer in the Royal Navy, best remembered for his service during the Seven Years’ War, particularly his victory over a French fleet at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759, preventing a French invasion of Britain.

1744  Adm Thomas Mathews (Namur)(90) and Rear-Adm Lestock fought the Franco-Spanish fleet of twenty-eight ships of the line under Vice-Adm de Court (Terrible) and Rear-Adm Don Juan Jose Navarro (Real Felipe) off Toulon (20 miles S.S.W. of Cape Sicie).


Engraving of the Battle (1796) Naval museum of Madrid. Wikipedia –

The Spanish Poder was captured (by Edward Hawke in Berwick leaving the line) then retaken; abandoned later and burned by the British on the following night. Ships: Stirling Castle, Warwick, Nassau, Barfleur, Pricess Caroline, Berwick, Chichester, Boyne, Kingston, Dragon, Bedford, Somerset, Princessa, Norfolk, Namur, Marlborough, Dorsetshire, Essex, Rupert, Royal Oak, Dunkirk, Cambridge, Torbay, Neptune, Russell, Buckingham, Elizabeth, Revenge, and Anne, galley fire-ship. The attack was made with the English line ill-formed. Lestock was out of station and though court-martialled was acquitted, while Mathews was dismissed, which seems hard.


Admiral Thomas Mathews, 1743, by Claude Arnulphy. Wikipedia –

Admrial Richard Lestock. Wikipedia –

Portrait of José Navarro, Museo Naval de Madrid. Wikipedia –,_1st_Marquis_of_la_Victoria

1797  French force landed Fishguard Bay. Surrendered on the morning of the 24th.

The ‘Battle of Fishguard’ (Wales) begins with a military invasion by Revolutionary France. Taking place between the 22nd and 24th February, as part of the War of the First Coalition. The brief campaign results in the an unconditional surrender by the invasion force and the British capture of 1,800 prisoners (and later), a Frigate and a Lugger. The incident was the most recent effort by a foreign force that was able to land on Britain and thus, is often referred to as the “Last invasion of Britain”.

Wikipedia – Battle of Fishguard –

1799  Espoir captured the Spanish Africa 9 miles S.S.E. of Marbella, south coast of Spain.


Espoir and Liguria, with Gibraltar in the background. An aquatint by Nicholas Pocock, 1801. Wikipedia –

On 22 February 1799, Majestic was in sight when Espoir, under the command of Captain James Sanders, captured the Spanish 14-gun xebec Africa some three leagues from Marbello on the Spanish coast. Captain Cuthbert, of Majestic, transmitted Sanders’s letter, adding his own endorsement extolling “the meritorious Conduct of Captain Sanders and his Ship’s Company on the Occasion.” Espoir and Majestic shared the prize money for the xebec, whose full name was Nostra Senora de Africa.

1806  Earl of St Vincent returned  to sea, aged 71. The Cabinet ‘deemed that on the appearance afloat of a once First Lord . . . the Union Jack at the main, as now the Admiral of the Fleet, was the becoming flag for his Lordship to hoist’.

See 13 March 1823.


John Jervis 1st Earl of St Vincent, 1806 by Domenico Pellegrini. Wikipedia –,_1st_Earl_of_St_Vincent

1812  Victorious and Weazle captured the French Rivoli, and destroyed Mercure 14 miles N.W. by W. of Cape Salvore, in the Gulf of Trieste. [m*, m, bh]

Wikipedia – HMS Victorious (1808) –

Wikipedia – HMS Weazel (1805) –

1862  First officers commissioned in RNR.

1894  Gambia expeditionary force landed by Raleigh, iron screw frigate. East and West Africa Service Medal: clasp ‘Gambia 1894′.

1895  Destruction of Nimbi, Brass River, by Naval Brigade from Barrosa, St George, Thrush, Widgeon and Niger Coast Protectorate Forces, East and West Africa G.S. Medal: clasp ‘Brass River 1895′.

1903  Intending to set up winter quarters in the Weddell Sea quadrant, Scottish naturalist, polar scientist and oceanographer, William Speirs Bruce, heading the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition aboard the research ship Scotia, manage to reach 70°25′S on this day in 1903. Unable to proceed further because of heavy ice, they retreat to Laurie Island in the South Orkneys, and winter there, establishing a meteorological station as part of a full programme of scientific work.


William Speirs Bruce – Wikipedia –

Scotia, anchored at Laurie Island. 1903. – Wikipedia –

1909  The United States Navy fleet of 16 ‘new’ battleships along with various escorts, sails in to Hampton Roads, Virginia, on completion of it’s around-the-world tour which began on 16th December 1907, by order of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Nicknamed “The Great White Fleet” as their hulls were painted white with gold detailing, the armada’s cicumnavigation was meant to demonstrate America’s military might and growth as a world power.


The Great White Fleet taken from a silk banner.

The Fleet Passing Through the Magellan Straits by naval artist Henry Reuterdahl, who traveled with the fleet on USS Culgoa. Wikipedia –

1937  Sterlet, last of the first batch of S-class submarines, launched. She was sunk in Skagerrak 18 April 1940 by German A/S trawler.


Wikipedia – HMS Sterlet (2S) –

1940  Trawlers from the Tyne continued to use the Dogger Bank fishing ground (90 miles off the east coast) during the war, just as they had done in peacetime. This did not go unnoticed by the German Naval Group West who planned an operation against the trawlers with the threefold aims of eroding the morale of the trawlermen, possibly capturing some valuable auxiliaries and forcing the Royal Navy to supply escorts for the trawlers.

The German destroyers Eckholdt as leader, joined by Beitzen, Riedel, Schultz, Maass and Koellner, each ship carrying a prize crew, sailed from the Schillig Roads about midday on Thursday, 22nd February 1940. They made their way through swept channel ‘1’ (a channel 6 miles wide, providing a safe and secret passage for German warships needing to reach the North Sea) entering the minefield at 19.00, in line ahead 200 metres apart, steering 300? at 26 knots.

At 19.13, a twin-engined aircraft was sighted flying 60 metres above the destroyers as if trying to identify them. At 19.21 the aircraft appeared again, and on its second run, the Beitzen and Koellner opened fire, the plane replied and sheered off. It was not seen again until 19.43 when the Maass reported it and opened fire, the aircraft dropped 2 bombs 1 of which hit the Maass between the bridge and forward funnel. The remaining destroyers turned back towards the ‘Maass’ but were ordered to stand off by the flotilla leader. Suddenly the Maass guns opened up again as 2 more bombs were released, when the smoke had cleared, the bows and stern of the ship were visible, pointing vertically upwards, the lower parts resting on the shallow sea-bed.

A period of great confusion reigned as the ‘Riedel’ hearing an explosion from the direction of the Schultz, dropped depth charges but was going so slowly that she badly damaged her own gyro-compass, rudder motor and all of her command elements. The Koellner seeing the Riedel dropping depth charges, ordered her picket boat to cast off (it was tied to the ships propeller guard), under the impression that it had done so, the ‘Riedel’ picked up speed, dragged her picket boat under and drowned the occupants, then, seeing what was thought to be the conning tower of a submarine, went to ram it only to discover that it was the bows of the Maass sticking out of the sea. The flotilla leader ordered the remains of his force back to Wilhelmshaven. In all 578 German seamen were lost.

A disaster of such proportions demanded an explanation, the truth gradually dawning on the Germans – they had bombed and sunk their own ships. Hitler was eventually made aware of the situation, and he ordered a full inquiry. The conclusions reached were: A Heinkel He 111 from 4/KG26 had made 2 bombing runs – on the first, sinking the Maass and on the second, sinking the Schultz. The aircraft was part of a force sent out to attack shipping in the North Sea, an operation about which the Luftwaffe informed the Kriegsmarine, but about which the latter did not see fit to warn its own destroyers. Furthermore: the Kriegsmarine did not notify the Luftwaffe that its destroyers were at sea. So ended the action that was intended to harass our trawlers.

1940  RM Depot at Lympstone opened. Now Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines.

Wikipedia – CTCRM Lympstone –

1941  After bombarding Benghazi, the ex WW1 monitor HMS Terror is attacked by a squadron of Junkers Ju88s. She is badly damaged by near misses and is taken under tow back to Alexandria, however after two days she is abandoned by her crew after many of her watertight bulkheads give way. She sinks just off Derna in Libya, leaving the remainder of her squadron, HMS Gnat, Ladybird, and Aphis to carry on bombardment duties along the Northa African coast. Terror was the primary unit of the Inshore squadron but with her loss the little Insect class gunboats now become the primary targets, with Ladybird being sunk in Tobruk a few months later and Gnat torpedoed by a Uboat off Bardia, Libya, in October 1941.

1941  Shropshire bombarded Brava, Italian Somaliland.

1943  Burza (Pol) and USS Campbell sank U-606 in N. Atlantic.


ORP Burza as a museum ship. Wikipedia –

USCGC Campbell (WPG-32) – Wikipedia –

U-606 – Wikipedia –

1943  Corvette Weyburn (RCN) sunk by mine off Cape Spartel (35-46N, 06-02W). Convoy MKS 8.


HMCS Weyburn (K173) –

1943  USS Iowa (BB-61) is commissioned. She put to sea for a shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic coast on 24th February. Iowa was the last lead ship in the last class of U.S. battleships, and the only ship of her class to serve in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II.


USS Iowa (BB-61) fires her 16-inch/50-caliber guns on 15 August 1984 during a firepower demonstration after her modernization. Wikipedia –

1945  Corvette Trentonian (RCN) sunk by U-1004 off Dodman Pt. Convoy BTC 76.


HMCS Trentonian (K368) –


U-1004 Crew and emblems.

1945  Pincher, Recruit and Evadne sank U-300 off Portugal. Convoy Appian Flight F.

U-300 – Wikipedia –

1965  Ministry of Defence (Royal Navy), Christopher Mayhew, announced disbandment of the Royal Naval Volunteer (Supplementary) Reserve. Some RNV(S)R officers transferred to Active List of RNR: remainder placed on Retired List of RNVR. Disbandment marked by a dinner at RN College, Greenwich, 16 December 1965. DCI(RN) 1637/65.

See 11 November 1936, 10 December 1936.

1974  LTJG Barbara Ann Allen becomes first U.S. Navy designated female aviator. She later became the first Navy woman to qualify as a jet pilot.


Rainey as a Lt. Junior Grade. Wikipedia – LTJG Barbara Allen Rainey – – On This Day –

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