Royal Navy On This Day 27 April …..

1297  All vessels of 40 tons or more and all vessels in Cinque Ports mobilised by royal writ to take an expeditionary force to France.

1521  Magellan’s Voyage around the World (1519-1522): After completing around two thirds of the first circumnavigation of the globe, Portugese navigator and explorer, Ferdinand Magellan’s plans come unstuck at the Battle of Mactan, in the Phillipines, when he dies. Wikipedia – Battle of Mactan –


The Death of Magellan on Mactan, 1521.

On the morning of 27th April, Magellan and forty-nine Spanish soldiers armed with guns, sailed to Mactan where they were confronted by Lapu-Lapu and 1,500 Mactan warriors, armed with machette-like knives, swords, spears, and shields.

In the ensuing ‘battle’, Magellan was hit by a bamboo spear and then surrounded and finished off with other weapons. Several of his men were also killed as they retreated to their boat.

Lapu-Lapu, the only native chieftain who refused to recognise the power & authority of Magellan and the sovereign power & dominion over the islands by the Spanish monarchy, is now regarded as the first Filipino hero.


An anonymous portrait of Ferdinand Magellan, 16th or 17th century (The Mariner’s Museum Collection, Newport News, VA) Legend: “Ferdinan[dus] Magellanus superatis antarctici freti angustiis clariss.” (Fedinand Magellan, you overcame the famous, narrow, southern straits.) Wikipedia –

1770  Edward Codrington born.


Sir Edward Codrington, hero of trafalgar, by Henry Perronet Briggs (died 1844). Wikipedia –

1791  Samuel Finley Breese Morse is born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the first child of the pastor Jedidiah Morse (who was also a geographer) and Elizabeth Ann Finley Breese. Samuel Morse would go on to become an inventor, contributing to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system (based on European telegraphs), to co-invent the Morse code, and also an accomplished artist.


Samuel Finley Breese Morse, 1840. Wikipedia –

Morse Code – wikipedia –

1799  Black Joke captured the French Rebecca 18 miles W.S.W. of Ushant, the latter carrying papers intended for capture to distract Bridport at the start of Brieux’s campaign. Wikipedia – Black Joke –

1813  Surveillance and Lyra captured the American letter of marque Tom 85 miles N.N.W. of Cape Ortegal.

1858  Capt Sir William Peel, VC, commanding the Naval Brigade from Shannon, died of smallpox at Cawnpore. Memorial raised in Eden Gardens, Calcutta.


William Peel – wikipedia –

1863  Iron screw steam ship, Anglo Saxon, built by William Denny and Brothers of Dumbarton in 1856, operated on the Liverpool-Canada route. On 16th April, commanded by Captain William Burgess, she sailed out from Liverpool bound for Quebec with 360 passengers and 85 crew aboard. On 27th April, in dense fog, she ran aground in Clam Cove about four miles north of Cape Race on the Newfoundland coast. The ship broke up within an hour of hitting the rocks, and sank. Of those on board 237 people died, making this one of Canada’s worst shipwrecks.


The Stranding of the SS Anglo-Saxon. Wikipedia –

1865  Dangerously overloaded, the Mississippi River-steamboat Sultana exploded at around 02:00hrs on 27th April, and became the worst maritime disaster in United States history.
An estimated 1,600 of Sultana’s 2,400 passengers were killed due to a catastrophic failure of the ship’s boiler(s). The tremendous explosion destroyed a large section of the vessel, scattering hot coals throughout the remaining superstructure, turning it into an inferno.
Passengers and crew surviving the blast and flames, were subsequently killed by drowning or hypothermia in the icy river water.
The burning wreck eventually sank around dawn, near the tiny settlement of Mound City near present-day Marion, Arkansas.
This disaster was overshadowed in the press by other recent events. John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln’s assassin, was killed the day before.


Mississippi Steamboat Sultana, 26th April 1865. Wikipedia –

1876  Battleship Inflexible launched at Porstmouth Dockyard. She carried thicker armour than any warship before or since (24in citadel), carried compound armour for the first time and had a higher metacentric height than any British warship to that date. She was ‘one of the milestones in the history of British naval architecture’ – Oscar Parkes, British Battleships, p. 252.


HMS Inflexible (1876) – wikipedia –


1908  Destroyer Gala sunk in collision with Attentive off Harwich, the latter’s second collision within a year.


HMS Gala (1905) – wikipedia –


HMS Attentive (1904) – wikipedia –

1915  VC: Lt-Cdr Edward Courtney Boyle (E 14) and Lt-Cdr Martin Eric Nasmith (E 11) for work in the sea of Marmora, beyond the Dardanelles.


Edward Courtney Boyle VC – wikipedia –


Martin Dunbar-Nasmith VC – wikipedia –

1916  Battleship Firedrake captured the German UC-5, which had grounded on the Shipwash shoal (52-05N, 01-46E), and took her into Harwich.

Ships Badge New-1b


HMS Firedrake (1912) – wikipedia –


German submarine UC-5 – wikipedia –


1917  German destroyer raid on Ramsgate. Ships: Marshal Ney, TB 4.

1937  National Maritime Museum, Greenwich opened by King George VI. Destroyer Wishart and MTBs 3, 4, 5 and 6 provided Royal Escort.


1941  Destroyers Diamond and Wryneck sunk by German aircraft S. of Nauplia. They had just rescued 700 troops. Only 50 survivors, none from Diamond (36-30N, 23-34E). Operation Demon.

1941  Patia, fighter catapult ship, sunk by German aircraft off the Tyne.



HMS Patia – wikipedia – Fighter catapult ship –

1942  Minesweeper Fitzroy sunk on British mine 40 miles E.N.E. of Yarmouth.

1944  Submarine Untiring sank the German UJ-6075 off Toulon.



 HMS Untiring (P59) – wikipedia –

1945  Frigate Redmill torpedoed by U-1105 25 miles N.N.W. of Blacksod Bay (54-23N, 10-36W). Towed into Londonderry by Jaunty, rescue tug, but CTL.

download (1)

HMS Redmill (K 554) after being torpedoed, assisted by HMS Rupert (K 561). Photo courtesy of K.R. MacPherson.

Wikipedia – HMS Redmill (K554) –


Black Panther U-1105 –

1960  The first submarine specifically designed as an ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) weapon, USS Tullibee (SSN-597) is launched from Groton, Connecticut. Built in response to a need for deeper-diving, ultraquiet submarine designs using long-range sonar, Tullibee‘s design incorporated three signicant differences. First, she incorporated the first bow-mounted spherical sonar array. This resulted in the second innovation: amidships, angled torpedo tubes. Thirdly, Tullibee was propelled by a very quiet turbo-electric power plant based on the S2C reactor.



USS Tullibee (SSN-597) is launched from Groton, Connecticut., April 27th 1960.

Wikipedia – USS Tullibee (SSN-597) –

2001  John WInton (Lt-Cdr John Pratt) died, aged 69. Naval engineering officer, submariner, historian, biographer and novelist. Creator of ‘The Bodger’ (We Joined the Navy), ‘Benbow’ in Naval Review. Retired 1964. Born 3 May 1931.

John Winton – Wikipedia –

Obituary Daily Telegraph 03 May 2001 –

2002  Enterprise, multi-role surveying ship, launched at Appledore. Sister ship Echo launched at same yard 2 March 2002.



HMS Enterprise (H88) – wikipedia – – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 26 April …..

1500  While Portugese navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral’s fleet was anchored in the natural harbour they had named Porto Seguro (Safe Port), more and more curious and friendly natives appeared. Cabral ordered his men to build an altar inland where a Christian Mass was held – the first celebrated on the soil of what would later become Brazil. He, along with the ships’ crews, participated. The following days were spent stockpiling water, food, wood and other provisions. The Portuguese also built a massive  wooden cross.

1607  With a charter from the Virginia Company of London, English colonists aboard three ships, the Susan Constant*, the Godspeed, and the Discovery reached the New World at the southern edge of the mouth of (what is now known as) Chesapeake Bay. Led by Captain Christopher Newport, the colonists (all male) came ashore at the point where the southern side of the bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, an event which has come to be called ‘The First Landing’. They erected a cross, and named the place Cape Henry, in honour of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King James.
* Early documentary evidence now supports the possibility that the ship currently known as the Susan Constant, was really named Sarah Constant.


Full-size replicas of (from L to R) Godspeed, Susan Constant* and Discovery.


Statue of Christopher Newport at Christopher Newport University. Wikipedia –

1780  Fortune (14), sloop, taken by two French frigates in West Indies.

1796  Niger destroyed the French Ecureial under Penmarc’h Point, Brittany.

1797  Emerald and Irresistible captured the Spanish Elena and Ninfa in Conil Bay, near Cadiz.

1809  Thrasher fought forty French gunboats off Boulogne.

1810  Sylvia captured the Dutch Echo and two small transports 10 miles north of Batavia. [m, bh]

1810  First appointment to Milford Haven dockyard.

1810  The body of Vice-Adm Lord Collingwood lay in state at Greenwich until his funeral in St Paul’s Cathedral on 11 May 1810.

See 7 March 1810.



Memorial Statue for Lord Collingwood overlooking the Tyne. Wikipedia –,_1st_Baron_Collingwood 

1833  Voyage of HMS Beagle (1831-36) The Beagle arrived at Montevideo on 26th April, dropped off some French passengers from the Falkland Islands, and sailed the next day to Maldonado to check on the Adventure. More mail arrived by packet ship a few days later and Charles Darwin received six letters from his sisters: two from Caroline, two from Catherine, and two from Susan.

1843  The paddle yacht Victoria and Albert, 1,034 tons, launched. The first of three royal yachts of the name built at Pembroke Dockyard.

See 16 January 1855, 9 May 1899.


1861  Brune and Fidelity, with boats of Alecto, Arrogant, Espoir and Ranger, destroyed Porto Novo, Dahomey.

1865  Bellerophon, broadside ironclad, floated out of dry dock at Chatham. The first battleship to have a balanced rudder. ‘Built at Chatham in the historical dry dock which was the cradle of iron ship construction in the Royal Dockyards, and was herself only the second Government-built iron-hulled vessel’ – Ballard, The Black Battlefleet, p. 67.

See 23 December 1863.


HMS Bellerophon (1865) – wikipedia –

1876  Vernon, established in 1872 as torpedo instruction ship in Fountain Lake, and as tender to Excellent, became an independent command.

See 1 October 1923, 31 March 1986.



HMS Vernon – wikipedia –

1881  Doterel (6) blew up and sank off Punta Arenas in Straits of Magellan, on her way to her first commission on Pacific station.

1916  Helga, an armed patrol vessel, bombarded Irish rebels in Dublin, Sold, ironically, to Irish Government in 1922.

1922  Launch of oiler RFA Oleander, last ship built at Pembroke Dockyard. Sunk Harstad Bay 8 June 1940 during Norwegian campaign.

1928  First Admiralty production order for multiple pom-pom AA guns.

1940  Destroyer Arrow rammed by German minelaying trawler (under Dutch colours) off Kristiansund (63-15N, 06-10E). Light cruiser Birmingham later sank the trawler.

1940  Destroyer Griffin captured the German Schiff 26 (ex-Julius Pickenpack), U-boat supply and depot ship, in Norwegian Sea (62-37N, 04-00E).

1940  German patrol boat VP-2623 boarded en route to Narvik. An intelligence haul spoilt by looting but still of great value. First break into the German naval Enigma.


Wikipedia – Cryptanalysis of the Enigma –

1944  Air strikes on German convoy off Bodo and on shipping there. Operation Ridge (Able). Carriers: Furious*, Victorious~, Emperor#, Pursuer, Searcher, Striker. Ships: Anson (Vice-Adm Sir Henry Moore), Jamaica, Royalist and fourteen destroyers. FAA Sqns: Hellcat: 804#, Barracuda: 827*, Seafire: 880*. Corsair: 1834~, 1836~.

1944  Light cruiser Black Prince and destroyer Ashanti, with Canadian destroyers Athabaskan, Haida and Huron (RCN) engaged three German destroyers off Ile de Batz. Operation Tunnel. Haida sank T-29, 7 miles W. of Les Heaux.

1944  Adm Sir Bertram Ramsay moved into Southwick House followed by the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force. Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Commander 21st Army Group, Gen Sir Bernard Montgomery, who had mobile HQs in Southwick Park. Ramsay vacated the house on 8 September and moved his HQ to France.


Shoulder patch insignia for members or attached personnel to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force during WWII. Wikipedia – SHAEF –


Southwick House showing the colonnade. Wikpedia –


Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay who was in charge of the naval evacuation at Dunkirk. Photograph taken at his London Headquarters in October 1943. Wikipedia –

1956  SS Ideal X, the first commercially successful container ship, began her new career when she sailed from Port Newark, New Jersey for the Port of  Houston, Texas, carrying 58 35-feet (8ft wide x 8ft high) containers. She arrived at Houston five days later where 58 trucks were waiting to be loaded with the containers.
Ideal X was originally built in 1945, as a T-2 oil tanker named Potrero Hills. She was later purchased by Malcom McLean’s Pan-Atlantic Steamship Company and reconfigured to carry shipping containers.
However, Ideal X was not the first container ship, the Clifford J. Rodgers, operated by the White Pass and Yukon Route, made its debut in 1955.


Ideal X, The first commercially successful container ship.


Plan of the SS Ideal X. Wikipedia –

1971  Launch of Amazon at Vosper, Woolston, by HRH Princess Anne. First of eight Type 21 frigates, the first major warships of the RN designed with all-gas-turbine main propulsion. Commissioned 11 May 1974. Last of class was Avenger, launched by Yarrow, Glasgow, 20 November 1975, commissioned 15 April 1978.

See 9 March 1959, 20 July 1968.



HMS Amazon (F169) – Wikipedia –

1982  Antrim, Brilliant, Endurance and Plymouth with Tidespring, elements of M Coy 42 RM Cdo and SAS retook Leith, thereby recapturing South Georgia, having retaken Grytviken the previous day. Operation Paraquet. The recapture of South Georgia dealt a psychological blow to Argentina, giving clear evidence of UK’s resolve and determination to take military action if necessary, and securing for the Task Force a South Atlantic anchorage. Moreover, it reinforced the Maritime Exclusion Zone declared on 12 April and intensified on the 28th. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 25 April …..

1513  Sir Edward Howard, the Lord High Admiral, killed in action with Chevalier Pregent de Bidoux off Brest: ‘When he saw that he could not be saved he threw his silver whistle of office into the sea, that a British admiral’s insignia should not fall into enemy hands, and so was drowned.’


Arms of Sir Edward Howard, KG

Wikipedia – Edward Howard –


Breton flagship Cordelière and the Regent ablaze at the Battle of Saint-Mathieu. Illustration to Germain de Brie’s poem Chordigerae navis conflagratio.

1607  The naval Battle of Gibraltar takes place during the Eighty Years’ War, when a Dutch fleet of 26 warships surprises and engages a Spanish fleet led by Don Juan Álvarez de Ávila, anchored at the Bay of Gibraltar. During the four hours of action, most of the Spanish fleet is destroyed.


The explosion of the Spanish flagship San Augustin during the Battle of Gibraltar,1607.
Oil on canvas by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, c.1621. Wikipedia – Battle of Gibraltar (1607) –

1725  Augustus Keppel, the future Admiral Viscount Keppel, born.


Keppel, 1749, produced on Menorca. Wikipedia –,_1st_Viscount_Keppel

1758  Battle of Sadras. [bh]

See 29 April 1758.


Detail from a 1794 map showing southern India. Sadras is south of Madras on the east coast.

Wikipedia –

1796  Boats of Agamemnon, Diadem, Meleager and Peterel captured four French storeships at Loana, Italian Riviera.

1825  Capture of Prome.

2 April 1825.

1829  Charles Fremantle arrives in HMS Challenger off the coast of modern-day Western Australia, prior to declaring the Swan River Colony for the United Kingdom on 2nd May 1829.


Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle – Wikpedia –


HMS Challenger dredging and sampling configuration (from HMS Challenger Narrative, vol. I, p. 57; Courtesy of The Royal Society, London).


HMS Challenger (1826) – Wikipedia –

1831  Black Joke captured the slaver Marinerito 18 miles E.S.E. of Cape Horacio, Fernando Po.

Detained in lat. 3° 30′ N. long. 9° 15′ E., near the mouth of the River Calebar, the Spanish slave brig Marinerito, Francisco Cavieces, master, following a severe action, off the S.E. point of Fernando Po when bound from Old Calebar to Havana. Several negroes were accidentally killed in the action ; 26 died soon after from fright ; 107 were landed at Fernando Po sick from terror, crowding and privations, 60 of whom died in a few weeks, either there or on their passage up to Sierra Leone. First Class Petty Officer Isaac Foile was killed in the action with the Marinerito and 6 were wounded on boarding her, including Lieut. Ramsey, her commanding officer, severely wounded. She was sent for adjudication to the British and Spanish Mixed Court of Justice, Sierra Leone and on 3 Jun 1831 sentenced to be condemned. See page 63, part II of United Service Journal of 1832, for more detail, available in Googlebooks.

Wikipedia – Black Joke (1827) –

1858  Pearl‘s Naval Brigade at Amorcha, with the 13th Light Infantry, Bengal Yeomanry, 1st Bengal Military Police Battalion and Gurkha allies.

1859  The Suez Canal Company (Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez) officially starts the construction of the Suez Canal, on the shore of the future Port Said. The project would take more than 10 years using forced labour (corvée) of Egyptian workers during a certain period. Some sources estimate that over 30,000 people were working on the canal at any given period, that altogether more than 1.5 million people from various countries were employed, and that thousands of laborers died on the project.


The Suez Canal at Ismailia, c.1860. The Ismailia segment was completed in November 1862.

Wikipedia –

1868  Launch of the eighth Repulse. Last wooden capital ship, and last major ship launched at Woolwich. Completed at Sheerness.

1908  During a late snowstorm off the Isle of Wight, HMS Gladiator was heading into port when she struck the outbound American steamer Saint Paul. Visibility was down to 800 yd, but the strong tides and gale force winds required both ships to maintain high speeds to maintain steerage.

Lookouts on each vessel saw the approaching danger off Point Hurst, and the American ship attempted to pass to the port side. Lacking room to reciprocate the manoeuvre, Gladiator turned the opposite way, ensuring a collision. Saint Paul struck Gladiator just aft of her engine room, the glancing blow ripping open the sides of both ships. Gladiator foundered at once, while the American was able to remain afloat and launch lifeboats. Several men were saved by Royal Engineers from nearby Fort Victoria. At least 27 sailors were lost.


HMS Gladiator (Arrogant-class cruiser). Wikipedia –

1911  First naval pilots completed initial flying training at Eashchurch: Lts R. Gregory, A.M. Longmore and C.R. Samson, and Lt E.L. Gerrard, RMLI.

1915  Australian and New Zealand forces land at Anzac Cove as part of the amphibious invasion of the Turkish Gallipoli Peninsula. The landing, north of Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast of the Peninsula, was made by soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and was the first major combat of the war for these two countries. Another landing was made several miles to the south west at Cape Helles by British and French troops.


Australian 4th Battalion troops landing in Anzac Cove, 25th April 1915. Wikipedia – Landing at Anzac Cove –


Australian troops crossing Plugge’s Plateau under fire.


New Zealand troops landing at Gallipoli.

1915  The balloon spotters of HMS Manica, the first kite balloon ship of the Royal Naval Air Service are put into action directing shells onto various Turkish positions, reporting naval movements and supporting ANZAC operations.
The balloon, with its two observers, was in the air from 05:21 to 14:05 hrs, constantly reporting on the activities associated with Anzac Cove, while Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops scaled the cliffs. One of the observers sighted the Turkish battleship Turgut Reis in the Narrows. HMS Triumph was contacted by wireless, and the balloon-directed fire forced the Turkish warship to withdraw.


HMS Manica, the first kite-balloon ship of the R.N.A.S. Wikipedia –

1915  VC: Cdr Edward Unwin (Hussar); Sub-Lt Arthur Walderne St Clair Tisdall, RNVR; Mid Wilfred St Aubyn Malleson (Cornwallis); Mid George Leslie Drewry, RNR (Hussar); William Charles Williams, Able Seaman RFR; George McKenzie Samson, Seaman RNR (Hussar), Landing at Gallipoli – V Beach (River Clyde). AB Williams RFR was the first posthumous naval VC and Drewry the first RNR VC. All were serving in the River Clyde at the time.

1916  German battlecruiser bombardment of Lowestoft and Yarmouth.

1916  Submarine E 22 torpedoed and sunk by UB-18 off Yarmouth after what in RAF parlance was a dogfight.

1918  Sloop Jessamine sank U-104 in south Irish Sea (51-59N, 06-26W).

1918  Minesweeper St Seiriol mined off Shipwash lightvessel.

1918  Corvette Cowslip torpedoed by UB-105 and sunk off Cape Spartel.

1918  Willow Branch (Bombala) (Q-ship) sunk by U-153 and U-154 east of the Cape Verde Islands (20-50N, 17-20W).

1925  RN Division Memorial dedicated on Horse Guards Parade, the tenth anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. Address by Mr Winston Churchill who, as First Lord of the Admiralty, had formed the RND.

See 26 May 1951, 31 May 1981, 13 November 2003.

1940  Bradman, Hammond and Larwood sunk by German aircraft at Andalsnes.

1941  Ulster Prince, supply ship, destroyed by aircraft at Nauplia after grounding on the 24th. Operation Demon.

1943  Destroyer Pathfinder and aircraft of 811 Sqn (Biter) sank U-203 in N.W. Atlantic (55-05N, 42-25W). Convoy ONS 4.

1945  U.S. and Soviet troops meet at Torgau along the River Elbe, cutting the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany in two, a milestone in the approaching end of World War 2 in Europe.
The initial contact was made between the two sides when First Lt. Albert Kotzebue of the 3rd Battalion, 273rd Infantry, 69th Infantry Division took his men in a boat across the Elbe to be greeted by Lt Col Alexander Gardiev, Commander of the 175th Rifle Regiment of the 58th Guards Division, 34th Corps.

1945  Venturer recalled from last S/M patrol in home waters in Second World War.

1956  Porpoise, eleventh of the name and first new-style diesel-electric submarine, incorporating lessons learned from German Type XXI class, launched at Barrow-in-Furness.



HMS Porpoise (S01) – Wikipedia –

1959  The St. Lawrence Seaway, (Great Lakes Waterway) is opened to commercial traffic. The icebreaker D’Iberville was the first vessel through the system of locks, canals and channels which linked the North American Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean.
The formal opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway took place several weeks later on 26th June.


Icebreaker CGS D’Iberville in the St. Lambert locks, during the first transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Wikipedia – CCGS D’Iberville –

1960  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton completes the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe between 24th February and 25th April 1960, covering 26,723 nautical miles in 60 days and 21 hours at the average speed of 18 knots while crossing the Equator on four different occasions.

Triton had actually submerged soon after departure of her shakedown cruise on 16th February and remained submerged as she began her circumnavigation. Consequently, the total duration of her maiden voyage was 84 days 19 hours 8 minutes, covering 36,335.1 nautical miles (41,813.7 miles), of which she was continuously submerged for 83 days 9 hours, covering 35,979.1 nautical miles (41,404.0 miles).


USS Triton (SSRN-586). Wikipedia –

1961  Robert Noyce is granted U.S. Patent 2,981,877  for his “Semiconductor Device and Lead Structure”, a type of integrated circuit (aka IC Chip or ‘microchip’).
Noyce came up with his own idea of an integrated circuit half a year later than a similar idea by Jack Kilby. However,  Noyce’s chip solved many practical problems that Kilby’s had not. Produced at Fairchild Semiconductor, it was made of silicon, whereas Kilby’s chip was made of germanium.

1982  Britain re-established it’s presence in the Falkland Islands after a two-hour assault by Royal Marines on the remote island of South Georgia. The victory was signalled to London by the commanding officer with a brief but dramatic message, “Be pleased to inform Her Majesty that the White Ensign flies alongside the Union Jack in South Georgia. God Save the Queen.”


The British flags being raised over South Georgia, 25th April 1982.

“Be pleased to inform Her Majesty that the White Ensign flies alongside the Union Jack in South Georgia. God Save the Queen.”

Helicopters from Antrim, Brilliant, Endurance and Plymouth crippled Argentine S/M Santa Fe off South Georgia. Endurance helicopter claimed to have fired first missile used by RN, endorsed by C-in-C Fleet. Operation Paraquet. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 24 April …..

1500  After going ashore and successfully making contact with the indigenous locals, Nicolau Coelho returns to Pedro Álvares Cabral’s anchored at Monte Pascoal on the northeast coast of present-day Brazil.


Nicolau Coelho – Wikipedia –

Still believing this new land to be an island, Cabral moved the fleet north, where after traveling 40 miles along the coast, it anchored on 24th April in what the commander-in-chief named Porto Seguro (Safe Port) – The place was a natural harbour.

Again they made contact with the local inhabitants, and as before, the meeting was friendly. Cabral presented them with gifts.


A depiction of Pedro Álvares Cabral’s first landing at Porto Seguro. He is standing in front of an armoured soldier, who is carrying a banner of the Order of Christ.

1546  Navy Board appointed by letters patent to assist the Lord High Admiral.


Flag of the Navy Board. Wikipedia – Navy Board –

1590  Ten English merchantmen beat off an attack by twelve Spanish galleys near Gibraltar. Ships: Ascension, Centurion, Crescent, Elizabeth, Margaret and John, Minion, Richard Didfield, Samuel, Solomon, Violet.

1626  Seamen to be paid 14s per month, less 2d for the barber (i.e. surgeon), 4d for preacher and 6d to the Chatham Chest.

1709  Bristol taken by the French Achille and Gloire 330 miles S.W. by S. of Lizard Head.


(c) Bristol City Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

HMS Bristol (1653) – Wikipedia –

Chester captured Gloire and recaptured Bristol.

1778  Drake taken by John Paul Jones in the American Ranger off Carrickfergus, N. Ireland.


John Paul Jones: RANGER v. DRAKE, 1778. Wikipedia – HMS Drake (1777) –

1808  Grasshopper and Rapid captured two Spanish vessels and two gunboats, and wrecked two more gunboats off Faro, Portugal. [m]

1867  Murder of Frances Adams, aka Fanny Adams, in grisly circumstances at Alton, Hampshire. The lower deck wondered about the provenance of their newly tinned meat, first introduced a week later. Her killer executed in Winchester’s last public hanging. The tins became useful containers, hence fannies for mess traps.

See 29 April 1867.


Fanny Adams’ grave in Alton cemetery. Wikipedia –

1895  Joshua Slocum begins, what will be a three year solo-circumnavigation, when he set sail from Boston, Massachusetts, aboard ‘Spray’, a 36′ 9″ rigged sloop oyster boat he rebuilt in Fairhaven, Mass.
In his famous book, ‘Sailing Alone Around the World’, now considered a classic of travel literature, he described his departure in the following manner:


Joshua Slocum – Wikipedia –

“I had resolved on a voyage around the world, and as the wind on the morning of April 24, 1895 was fair, at noon I weighed anchor, set sail, and filled away from Boston, where the Spray had been moored snugly all winter. The twelve o’clock whistles were blowing just as the sloop shot ahead under full sail. A short board was made up the harbor on the port tack, then coming about she stood to seaward, with her boom well off to port, and swung past the ferries with lively heels. A photographer on the outer pier of East Boston got a picture of her as she swept by, her flag at the peak throwing her folds clear. A thrilling pulse beat high in me. My step was light on deck in the crisp air. I felt there could be no turning back, and that I was engaging in an adventure the meaning of which I thoroughly understood.”


Captain Joshua Slocum’s boat Spray, taken in 1898.

1915  DSC: Mid Eric Wheler Bush, aged 15, the youngest-ever recipient. Commanded picket boat from cruiser Bacchante landing troops at Anzac Bay, Gallipoli. Captain of the cruiser Euryalus in Second World War.


Captain Eric Wheler Bush. 14 March 1942 onboard HMS Euryalus

1916  Following the loss of their ship Endurance in Weddell Sea ice, and a harrowing ordeal for survival on drifting ice floes, the 28 exhausted members of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition were stranded on Elephant Island.

Realising that there was no chance of rescue, Ernest Shackleton decided to sail to South Georgia where he knew there was a whaling station. In one of the most incredible feats in the history of sailing and navigation, Shackleton sailed with five other men on an 800-mile voyage in the 22.5-ft open lifeboat, James Caird, on Easter Monday, 1916, arriving at South Georgia almost two weeks later.


Launching the James Caird from the shore of Elephant Island, 24th April 1916.

Wikipedia – Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914–17 –


A depiction of the James Caird landing at South Georgia at the end of its voyage on 10 May 1916.

Wikipedia – Voyage of the James Caird –

1916  VC: Lt Humphrey Osbaldeston Brooke Firman and Lt-Cdr Charles Henry Cowley, RNVR (both posthumous) for attempts to relieve Kut-al’Amara with 270 tons of supplies in Julnar, which was sunk.


Lt Humphrey Osbaldeston Brooke Firman – Wikipedia –



Charles Henry Cowley – Wikipedia –

1916  UB-3 destroyed off Zeebrugge by Gleaner of the Sea.


UB-3 was similar in appearance to her sister boat SM UB-4, pictured here in 1915.

SM UB-3 – Wikipedia –

1916  Submarine E 22 conducted ‘float-off’ trials of two Sopwith Schneider seaplanes (Nos 3730, 3743). The purpose of this first submarine/aircraft trial was to achieve an up-threat interdiction of Zeppelins over the North Sea.



HMS E 22 – Wikipedia –

1940  Light cruiser Curacoa damaged by German aircraft at Andalsnes.

1941  Evacuation of Imperial troops from Greece. Operation Demon. Ended 29 April. Ships: Ajax, Auckland, Calcutta, Carlisle, Coventry, Decoy, Defender, Diamond, Flamingo, Glencarn, Glengyle, Griffin, Grimsby, Hasty, Havock, Hereward, Hero, Hotspur, Hyacinth, Isis, Kandahar, Kimberley, Kingston, Muroto, Nubian, Orion, Perth*, Phoebe, Salvia, Stuart*, Ulster Prince, Vampire*, Vendetta*, Voyager*, Waterhen*, Wryneck. *RAN. [bh]

1943  Fortress D/206 sank U-710 south of Iceland (61-25N, 19-48W). Convoy ONS 5.

Both Duncan and Tay made regular HF/DF sweeps trying to detect any U-Boats transmitting to their control in Germany ( BdU–Befebsbaber der Unterseeboote ) but they heard nothing. In fact there was a boat sitting a short distance ahead of the convoy, but it had not sent off any messages to BdU since it had sailed out of Kiel.

Gretton was thus unaware of its near presence until the evening of the 24th. of April after it was attacked by a Flying Fortress Boeing aircraft of 206 Squadron, based at Benecula in the Hebrides.

At 1725 ( 5.25 PM ) one of the crew had sighted a fully surfaced U-Boat 10 miles away, it happened to be a newly commissioned Type VII boat, U-710, out on her very first patrol, with her Captain, Oblt. z.s. Dietrich von Carlowitz new to the Battle of the Atlantic. Instead of crash diving at the first sign of an approaching enemy aircraft, he ordered the boat’s AA guns just aft of the conning tower to be manned. Inaccurate gunfire did not deter the Fortress which released a stick of 6 Depth Charges at low level, they straddled the boat at right angles to her course. This new U-Boat was doomed, and the hull sank stern first, Flying Officer Cowley circled his bomber, and dropped a second pattern into the wreckage, counting 25 survivors milling around in the swirling waters below him. Low on fuel as he was at the end of his patrol, he made for Reykjavic. One U-Boat down with more to come.

Dawn on the 25th. of April broke to reveal a howling gale, the convoy struggling to maintain station, with the ships making a mere 2/3 knots, and steering an accurate course nigh impossible. At one stage the Commodore could make out 7 ships with 2 red vertical lights burning, indicating they were “Not under control.”

Bornholm collided with Berkel, both ships being damaged, the latter stayed within the convoy, and Bornholmleft for Reykjavic on her own, Gretton did not want to part with one of his precious escorts to accompany her. She had been holed in the engine room, some 10 feet above the waterline.

The storm was so bad that to all intents and purposes the convoy ” hove to.”

Wikipedia – U-710 –

1943  Submarine Sahib sunk by depth-charge attack by the Italian corvettes Gabbiano and Euterpe and TB Climene north of Cape Milazzo (38-25N, 15-20E). The third submarine to be lost within one week, and the seventh in four months.



HMS Sahib (P212) – Wikipedia –

1944  Sunderland A/423 (RCAF) sank U-311 in Western Approaches (50-3N, 18-36W).

1988  Frigate Cornwall commissioned at Falmouth. Attended by the Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall.



HMS Cornwall (F99) – Wikipedia –

1991  RM and QARNNS deployed to south-east Turkey and thence into northern Iraq, to provide security and humanitarian aid for Kurdish refugees after Operation Granby, Operation Haven. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 23 April …..

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

1014  (Good Friday) The Battle of Clontarf takes place with the forces of Brian Boru defeating Viking mercenaries from Dublin and the Orkney Islands, led by the King of Leinster, Máel Mórda mac Murchada. Brian Boru was killed by Norsemen who stumbled upon his tent as they were fleeing the battle.


Battle of Clontarf, oil on canvas painting by Hugh Frazer, 1826. Wikipedia –

1348  The founding of the Order of the Garter by King Edward III is announced on St George’s Day. The premier order of chivalry or knighthood in England. The Order was put under Saint George’s patronage and the medal is awarded on the 23rd April by the reigning Monarch. Membership in the order is limited to the Sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than twenty-four members, or Companions.


Arms of the Order of the Garter. Wikipedia –


Representation of the garter on a Knight’s mantle

1500  With Pedro Álvares Cabral fleet anchored at the newly-christened ‘Monte Pascoal’ on the northeast coast of present-day Brazil, the Portuguese became aware of inhabitants on the shore. After gathering the ships’ captains aboard Cabral’s ship, Cabral ordering Nicolau Coelho, a captain who had experience from Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India, to go ashore and make contact. He set foot on land and exchanged gifts with the indigenous people.

1598  Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp is born in Brill (Brielle), an historic seaport in the western Netherlands. Tromp was the oldest son of Harpert Maertensz, a naval officer who became captain of the ‘Olifantstromp’ – from the name of this ship the family name ‘Tromp’ probably has been derived, first appearing in documents in 1607. His mother supplemented the family’s income as a washerwoman. At the age of nine, Tromp will go to sea with his father and be present in a squadron covering the Dutch main fleet fighting the Battle of Gibraltar in 1607. He will go on to become an officer and later an admiral in the Dutch navy.


Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, 1597–1653, after an engraving by Jan Lievensz. Wikipedia –


Dutch vs  Spanish at the Battle of Gibraltar, 1607. Wikipedia –


The Battle of Gibraltar by Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen. Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

1621  (Admiral Sir) William Penn is born in St. Thomas Parish, Bristol to Giles Penn and Joan Gilbert. He will serve his apprenticeship at sea with his father, and during the the first Civil War he will fight on the side of the parliament, in command of a ship in the squadron maintained against the king in the Irish seas. Later will go on to become an English admiral, a politician, and the father of William Penn, founder of the Province of Pennsylvania.


Admiral Sir William Penn, 1621–1670 by Sir Peter Lely, painted 1665–1666, part of the Flagmen of Lowestoft series.

Wikipedia – William Penn (Royal Navy Officer) –

1655  The Siege of Santo Domingo was fought from 23rd to 30th April at the Spanish Colony of Santo Domingo. A force of 2,400 Spanish troops led by Governor Don Bernardino Meneses y Bracamonte, Count of Peñalba, successfully resisted a force of 13,120 troops and 34 ships of the English Commonwealth Navy led by Admiral Sir William Penn.

Wikipedia – Siege of Santo Domingo –

1661  The coronation of King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland took place at  Westminster Abbey. Charles was the last sovereign to make the traditional procession from the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey the day before the coronation. Wikipedia – King Charles II –

1697  George Anson, circumnavigator and First Lord of the Admiralty, born at Shugborough Hall, Colwich, Staffordshire.


George Anson, 1st Baron Anson (1697-1762). Wikipedia –,_1st_Baron_Anson

Anson's Voyage Round the World, by Richard Walter -

1770  Captain James Cook made his first recorded direct observation of indigenous Australians at Brush Island near Bawley Point, noting in his journal:

“…and were so near the Shore as to distinguish several people upon the Sea beach they appear’d to be of a very dark or black Colour but whether this was the real colour of their skins or the clothes they might have on I know not.”

1794  Arethusa, Concorde, Flora and Melampus captured the French Babet, Engageante and Pomone 25 miles to the south-west of Guernsey.

1797  Magicienne and Regulus repulsed a French attack on Fort Irois, Haiti.

1809  Boats of Amphion, Mercury and Spartan captured thirteen vessels at Porto Pesaro east coast of Italy.

1832  Voyage of HMS Beagle (1831-36): Charles Darwin returned to Rio de Janeiro on the evening of 23rd April with a collection of insects and plants that was beyond his wildest dreams. He learned that the ‘Beagle’ had gone back towards Salvador to check on some survey readings in the Abrolhos Shoals, so he took a boat to Botofogo Bay with Augustus Earle (the ship’s draughtsman) and Philip King (Midshipman) to wait for the Beagle to return and  spent the next few weeks in a little cottage located beneath the rounded mountain of Corcovado (2,300 fee).

1024px-HMS_Beagle_by_Conrad_Martens (1)

A watercolour by HMS Beagle‘s draughtsman, Conrad Martens. Painted during the survey of Tierra del Fuego, it depicts native Fuegians hailing the Beagle. Wikipedia –

1838  Isambard Kindom Brunel’s paddle-steamer Great Western, the first steamship purpose-built for crossing the Atlantic, completes her maiden voyage from Avonmouth to New York in just over 15 days. Even with a four-day head start, PS Sirius only narrowly beat Great Western, arriving the previous day. In addition, when coal ran low on board Sirius, the crew had to burn cabin furniture, spare yards and one mast, inspiring the similar sequence in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. Great Western had arrived with 203 tons of coal still aboard.
Although the term Blue Riband was not coined until years later, Sirius is often credited as the first winner at 8.03 knots. However, she only held the record for a day because Great Western had made the voyage faster at 8.66 knots.


SS Great Western – Wikipedia –

1853  One of the last wooden two-deckers built for the Royal Navy, James Watt (80), screw second rate, 4,950 tons, launched at Pembroke Dockyard. The only ship of the name in the service.


HMS James Watt – Wikipedia –

1856  Queen Victoria reviewed Fleet at Spithead; 240 ships, many having just returned from Baltic and Black Sea.


1889  (Rear Admiral) Karel Willem Frederik Marie Doorman, is born in Utrecht, to a family of professional soldiers. In 1906, he and his brother would be commissioned as midshipmen. He will be steadily promoted through the ranks, and become well known as the Dutch Rear Admiral who commanded ABDACOM Naval forces, a hastily-organized multinational naval force formed to defend the East Indies against an overwhelming Imperial Japanese attack.


Karel Doorman in 1930. Wikipedia –

1895  Vernon shifted to Porchester Creek.

See 26 April 1876.

1915  Burial of Sub-Lt Rupert Brooke, RNVR, on Seyros, off Troy.


Rupert Brooke – Wikipedia –

1916  Sloop Bluebell intercepted German Aud in effort to support Irish rebellion. Latter scuttled off Queenstown (Cork).

1918  St George’s Day attack on Zeebrugge to block the German U-boat exit to the sea. VC: A/Capt Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter (Vindictive), Lt-Cdr George Nicholson Bradford* (Iris), Lt-Cdr Arthur Leyland Harrison* (Vindictive), Lt Richard Douglas Sandford (C 3), Lt Percy Thompson Dean, RNVR (ML 282), Capt Edward Bamford, DSO, RMLI, Sgt Norman Augustus Finch, RMA (4th RM Battalion), AB Albert Edward MacKenzie (Vindictive). *Posthumous. Blockship operations at Zeebrugge and Ostend. Ships: Afridi, Attentive, Brilliant, Daffodil, Erebus, Faulknor^, General Craufurd^, Intrepid, Iphigenia, Iris, Lightfoot^, Lingfield, Lord Clive^, Manly, Mansfield, Marshal Soult^, Mastiff^, Matchless^, Melpomene, Mentor^, Moorsom, Morris, Myngs, North Star, Phoebe, Prince Eugene^, Scott, Sirius^, Stork, Swift^, Teazer, Tempest^, Termagant, Terror, Tetrarch^, Thetis, Trident, Truculent, Ulleswater, Velox, Vindictive, Warwick, Whirlwind, Zubian^. Monitors: M 21, M 24, M 26. Submarines: C 1, C 3, CMB: 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15A, 16A,17A, 19A, 20A, 21B, 22B, 23B, 24A, 25BD, 26B, 27A, 28A, 29A, 30B, 32A, 34A, 35A. ML: 11, 16, 17, 22, 23, 30, 60, 79, 105, 110, 121, 128, 223, 239, 241, 252, 254, 258, 262, 272, 274, 276, 279, 280, 282, 283, 308, 314, 345, 397, 416, 420, 422, 424, 429, 512, 513, 525, 526, 532, 533, 549, 551, 552, 555, 556, 557, 558, 560, 561, 562, 4th Battalion RM. Intrepid, Iphigeia and Thetis sunk as blockships; C 3 expended; Iris and Daffodil, Mersey ferries, renamed Royal Iris and Royal Daffodil by command of King George V. [bh ‘Zeebrugge 1918′]

^Took part in the unsuccessful Ostend operation.

DSO: Revd Charles John Eyre Peshall, Chaplain of Vindictive. Under heavy enemy fire ‘his cheerful encouragement and assistance to the wounded, calm demeanour during the din of battle, strength of character and splendid comradeship were most conspicuous to all with whom he came into contact. . . . He showed great physical strength and did almost superhuman work in carrying wounded from the Mole over the brow of Vindictive.’ Chaplain of the Fleet in 1933. He was a commanding presence at Greenwich in ‘his archdeacon’s black garb and gaiters, but his boxer’s countenance and his row of medal ribbons alone gave any hint of his martial history’ – Revd Gordon Taylor, The Sea Chaplains, p. 343. Retired 1935. Rejoined RN 1940.

Zeebrugge and Ostend

In the First World War these ports were used by the Germans as submarine bases with easy access to the British sea lanes. Adm Sir Roger Keyes planned the raids intended to block them which were launched on 23 April 1918. They were scarcely successful.

The Zeebrugge attack was carried through with great heroism under heavy enemy fire. Three old minelayers Intrepid, Iphigenia and Thetis, filled with concrete, were sunk in the canal. The old cruiser Vindictive landed an assault party of seamen and marines on the Long Mole, held in position by two Mersey ferries, Iris and Daffodil. The obsolete submarine C 3 was driven in under the Mole’s defenders off from reinforcements. Motor launches were used in the attack and to take off blockship crews.

The battle on the Mole was ferocious and the crews of Vindictive and Iris, as well as the assault parties, carried out the attack with remarkable resolution, although their ships were shot full of holes and their casualties were terrible. There are dozens of tales of heroism and of the eight VCs awarded, some were allocated by ballot under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant since it would have been impossible to choose between them. Fifty per cent of the Royal Marines were casualties, and as a special honour no other RM battalion has ever again been numbered the 4th. But the port was operational within two days.

The Ostend operation did not succeed since the blockships were sunk before reaching their target. Vindictive sailed again, this time as a blockship. Her bows are now a War Memorial in the port of Ostend.

1940  Troops and naval base staff landed at Mole, Norway.

1943  Hesperus sank U-191 in N. Atlantic (56-45N, 34-25W). Convoy ONS 4. FIrst success by Hedgehog.


HMS Hesperus (H57) – Wikipedia –

Wikipedia – U-191 –

1943  Liberator V/120 sank U-189 in N. Atlantic (59-50N, 34-43W). Convoy HX 234.

1943  Hudson of 500 Squadron sank U-602 off Algiers. Wikipedia – 500 Sqdn RAF –


U-602 – Wikipedia –

1945  Liberator U/86 sank U-396 off Hebrides (59-29N, 05-22W). Wikipedia – U-396 –


Conning tower emblem U-396

1947  In near-hurricane conditions, the eight crew of the Mumbles lifeboat, Edward, Prince of Wales, were all lost while attempting to rescue the crew of SS Samtampa, a 7,219 ton Liberty ship that had got into severe difficulties on Sker Point, off Porthcawl and Kenfig, Wales, in the Bristol Channel.
The lifeboat was launched and the crew drove into the darkness of the bay, returning for further information regarding the position of the Samtampa, as there was no radioman on board. Then they went back out to rescue the stricken ship – this was the last time they were seen alive.
The following morning the Samtampa was found broken into several pieces, it’s crew was been lost. The lifeboat was found, bottom up, on the rocks not far away.
The lifeboat crew are remembered in a memorial stained-glass window at All Saints Church, Oystermouth in the heart of Mumbles, Swansea.


Designed by Tim Lewis, the ‘Lifeboat Window’ is a tribute to; Coxswain William J. Gammon, 2nd Coxswain William Noel, 1st Mechanic Gilbert Davies, 2nd Mechanic Ernest Griffin, Boatman William Thomas, Boatman William Howell, Boatman Ronald Thomas and Boatman Richard Smith.

1947  Battleship Warspite ran ashore in Prussia Cove, Cornwall on her way to breakers. Broken up there instead.


HMS Warspite (03) – Wikipedia –

1949  Swayed by ‘limited funds’ (despite funds having already been provided in the Naval Appropriations Act of 1949) and bitter opposition from the United States Army and Air Force, Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson announced on 23rd April 1949 – five days after the ship’s keel was laid down – the cancellation of construction of the USS United States (CVA-58), the lead ship of a new design of supercarrier.
Secretary of the Navy John Sullivan immediately resigned, and the subsequent “Revolt of the Admirals” cost Admiral Louis Denfeld his position as Chief of Naval Operations.
The United States was not completed, and the other four planned carriers were never built.


An artist’s impression of the USS United States aircraft carrier. Wikipedia –

1958  Vice-Adm Sir Stephen Carlill made an honorary vice-admiral in the Indian Navy. Adm Carlill had been Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy from 22 July 1955 to 21 April 1958.

NPG x166380; Sir Stephen Hope Carlill by Walter Stoneman

Stephen Hope Carlill – Wikipedia – – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 22 April …..

1453  The Ottoman blockading fleet’s failure to overcome the chain which protected the Golden Horn, whilst allowing a small flotilla of four Christian ships from entering on 20th April, strengthened the morale of the defenders and caused embarrassment to the 21-year-old Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II.
To circumvent the chain, Mehmmet ordered the construction of a road of greased logs across Galata on the north side of the Golden Horn, and rolled his ships across on 22nd April. An action which would seriously threaten the flow of supplies from Genovese ships from the (nominally neutral) colony of Pera, and demoralise the Byzantine defenders.


Sultan Mehmet II oversees his boats being transported overland into the Golden Horn.
Painting by Fausto Zonaro, (1854-1929). Wikipedia – Mehmed the Conqueror –

1500  Whilst sailing in a westerly direction, en route to India with a fleet of twelve ships, Portuguese navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral became the first European to sight a new land which he initially assumed to be a large island. In reality, he had accidentally discovered what is now known as Brazil. The fleet anchored near what Cabral christened the Monte Pascoal (‘Easter Mount’, it being the week of Easter).


Cabral (center-left, pointing) sights the Brazilian mainland for the first time on 22 April 1500.

Wikipedia – Pedro Álvares Cabral –

1519  (Good Friday) Hernán Cortés arrives in Mexico and establishes the first Spanish settlement on the mainland of the Americas, which he names Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz (Present day Veracruz).
‘Villa Rica’ (Rich Village) referring to the area’s gold, and ‘Vera Cruz’ (derived from the Latin Vera Crux) dedicated to the ‘True Cross’, because he landed on the Christian holy day of Good Friday, the day of the Crucifixion.


Wikipedia – Hernán Cortés –

1529  Treaty of Saragossa divides the eastern hemisphere between Spain and Portugal along a line 297.5 leagues or 17° east of the Moluccas. The Treaty of Zaragoza, also referred to as the Capitulation of Zaragoza was a peace treaty between Spain and Portugal signed on 22nd April, by King John III and the Emperor Charles V, in the Spanish city of Zaragoza.
The treaty defined the areas of Spanish and Portuguese influence in Asia to resolve the ‘Moluccas issue’, when both kingdoms claimed the Moluccas islands for themselves, considering it within their exploration area established by the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. The conflict sprung in 1520, when the expeditions of both kingdoms reached the Pacific Ocean, since there was not a set limit to the east.


The 1494 Tordesilhas Treaty meridian (purple) and the Moluccas antimeridian (green), set at the Treaty of Zaragoza, 1529

Wikipedia – Treaty of Zaragoza –

1622  The Capture of Ormuz by an Anglo-Persian force ends more than a century of Portuguese control of Hormuz Island, and entirely changes the balance of power and trade through the Persian Gulf.
The English force, supplied by the English East India Company, consisted of five warships and four pinnaces. The Persian army, already besieging the Portuguese fort in Kishm, negotiated with the English to obtain their support to capture Ormuz, promising the development of silk trade in their favour. An agreement was signed, providing for the sharing of spoils and customs dues at Hormuz, the repatriations of prisoners according to their faith, and the payment by the Persians of half of the supply costs for the fleet.


The position of the city of Hormuz set on the strait at the bottom of the Arabian Gulf, 1572.

Wikipedia – Capture of Ormuz –

1676  The naval Battle of Augusta (also known as the Battle of Agosta) takes place during the Franco-Dutch War between a French fleet of 29 man-of-war, five frigates and eight fireships under Abraham Duquesne and a Dutch-Spanish fleet of 27 (17 Dutch, 10 Spanish) plus five fireships with Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral-General Michiel de Ruyter in command.
The battle was a short but intense affair and ended abruptly when Duquesne, after hearing that De Ruyter had been mortally wounded, retreated. Neither side lost a ship, though there were many dead and wounded, especially among the Dutch.


A naval engagement, said to be the Battle of Agosta, By Aernout Smit. Wikipedia – Battle of Augusta –

1782  Pirate Anne Bonny died today. Born in Kinsale, Ireland. Bonny’s family relocated to the New World very early on in her life. Her mother died shortly after they arrived in North America, where her father eventually joined a merchant business.
Anne became famous as a female pirate operating in the Caribbean. What little is known of her life comes largely from ‘A General History of the Pyrates’, a 1724 book published in Britain, containing biographies of contemporary pirates.

Anne Bonny from a Dutch version of Charles Johnson’s book of pirates. WIkipedia –
Pyrate Anne Bonny (8th March 1702 – 22nd April 1782)
“Well behaved women seldom make history”

1793  All captains became entitled to half-pay when not actively employed.

1813  Weazle destroyed four French gunboats and eight vessels of a convoy in Boscaline (Marina) Bay, Adriatic. [m, bh]

1838  The wooden-hulled side-wheel paddle steamer Sirius, chartered by the British and American Steam Navigation Company to make the first Transatlantic crossing by steamship (ahead of Brunel’s Great Western), arrives in New York to the acclaim of a large and enthusiastic crowd, 18 days 10 hours after her departure from Cork, Ireland.
Sirius is also regarded as the first holder of the ‘Blue Riband’, although the term was not used until decades later.


Sidewheel Paddle-Steamer Sirius. Wikipedia – SS Sirius –

1847  Detachment of North American and West Indies squadron – Alarm, Daring, Hermes, Vesuvius and Persian – protected British interests in Gulf of Mexico during American-Mexico War.

1848  Erebus and Terror, on Franklin’s ill-fated expedition in search of the North West Passage, abandoned in the Arctic having been ice-bound since 12 September 1846. Sir John Franklin died on 11 June 1847.

1854  Bombardment of Odessa for twelve hours. British ships: Arethusa, Furious, Retribution, Sampson, Terrible, Tiger. French: Caton, Descartes, Mogador, Vauban. Rocket boats of Agamemnon, Britannia, Highflyer, Sans Pareil, Trafalgar, Arethusa, the only purely sailing ship in the squadron, operatied separately. This was the last occasion when a sailing ship in action was manoeuvred under sail. Her consorts were all paddle steamers.

1861  Metropolitan Police of the 1st Division took over security duties at Woolwich Dockyard. Establishment: 1 superintendent. 10 inspectors, 30 sergeants and 149 PCs.

1898  USS Nashville (PG-7) captures a Spanish merchant ship as the U.S. Navy begins a blockade of Cuban ports during the Spanish-American war. She captured another three Spanish vessels by 26th July, and also assisted in cutting the undersea telegraph cable just off the shore of Cienfuegos, where many of her sailors and Marines were honored with Medals of Honor. Nashville remained on duty off Cuba until the war’s end.


Gunboat USS Nashville, the only ship of her class. Wikipedia – USS Nashville –

1902  RMS Carpathia, built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson at their Newcastle upon Tyne, England shipyard, begins her sea trials between 22nd and 25th April.


RMS Carpathia – Wikipedia –

1916  Battle cruisers Australia and New Zealand collided. Former missed Jutland and never fired a shot in anger.

1918  Destroyers Jackal and Hornet drove off Austrian attack on Otranto defences.

1918  UB-55 sunk by mine north of Varne lightvessel.


UB-148 at sea, a U-boat similar to UB-55. Wikipedia – UB-55 –

1930  The United Kingdom, Empire of Japan and the United States sign the London Naval Treaty regulating submarine warfare and limiting naval shipbuilding.
Ratifications would be exchanged in October 1930, and it would be registered in League of Nations Treaty Series in February 1931.


Menu and List of Official Toasts at formal dinner which opened the London Naval Conference of 1930.

Wikipedia – London Naval Treaty –

1933  Vice-Adm Sir William Rooke Creswell died aged 80. Former lieutenant RN and cattle drover, and later the founder of the Royal Australian Navy.


Portrait of Vice Admiral Sir William Rooke Creswell, KCMG, KBE, RAN.

Wikipedia – William Rooke Creswell –

This portrait of Sir William Rooke Creswell (1852 – 1933) was painted using photographs of the man and not from life. The artist, Irene Hill, produced two portraits of the man, not identical, one for the AWM and one for the naval base HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay, NSW. He is commonly considered to be the ‘father’ of the Royal Australian Navy.

      Creswell was born at Gibraltar on 20 July 1852 (hence the name Rooke) and entered the RN in 1865 aged 13. He resigned i 1878 and migrated to Australia where he spent many years cattle droving in Northern Territory. An old shipmate, then Commandant of the South Australian Naval Forces, offered him an XO appointment in the Colony’s only warship, Protector, which he accepted. Creswell later commanded the ship in Chinese waters during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. Creswell was to become an articulate advocate of an Australian naval force which development gained power with the creation of the Commonwealth in 1901. In 1911 Creswell was made First Naval Member of the new Naval Board and de facto C-in-C of the newly constituted Royal Australian Navy. He retired in 1919 and was promoted vice-admiral in 1922. Plaque erected in Naval Chapel, Garden Island, Sydney, 1937. His name is perpetuated in HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay.

1940  Pelican damaged by German aircraft off Norway (62-49N, 04-20E).

1941  Heavy cruiser York, aground and CTL in Suda Bay.

1944  Operation Reckless and Operation Persecution are initiated with Allied amphibious landings taking place at at Hollandia, in Dutch New Guinea (currently known as Jayapura, Indonesia) and Aitape, in the Australian Territory of New Guinea (later Papua, New Guinea) about 140 miles east of Hollandia, thus commencing the Western New Guinea campaign.


Landing craft approaching Tanahmera Bay.


Operation Reckless – LVT’s head for the invasion beaches at Humboldt Bay, as cruisers bombard in the background. The ship firing tracer shells is USS Boise (CL-47). Just ahead of her is USS Phoenix (CL-46), 22nd April 1944.

Wikipedia – Operation Reckless –


DUKWs head toward the beach at Aitape. Wikipedia – Landing at Aitape (Operation Persecution) –

1944  Frigates Swansea and Matane (RCN) sank U-311. Wikipedia – U-311 –

1945  After learning that Soviet forces have taken Eberswalde without a fight, Adolf Hitler admits defeat in his underground bunker and states that suicide is his only recourse. Unfortunately, this (being one of his better ideas) has come to him ten years too late…

1966  HM The Queen extended to chief and petty officers the privilege of drinking the Sovereign’s health seated.

1969  Lt Robin Knox-Johnston, RNR, arrived back at Falmouth in his 32ft yacht Suhaili after 312 days alone at sea and having achieved the first solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the world.


Robin Knox-Johnston, on his boat Suhaili, as he sailed towards Falmouth at the end of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, 1969. Wikipedia –

      Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Master Mariner, was knighted in 1995 having won the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest-ever circumnavigation of the world under sail in 74 days 22 hours 18 minutes and 22 seconds.

See 7 February 2005.

1982  Wessex helicopter from destroyer Antrim retrieved SAS and FAA personnel from Fortuna Glacier, South Georgia in unusually bad weather. Operation Corportate.

1983  Admiral of the Fleet Lord Lewin of Greenwich appointed third naval KG since Adm Lord Howe in 1797. Installed 13 June 1983. Other recipients were Queen Victoria’s second son, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

(c) Michael Noakes; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Admiral of the Fleet Terence Thornton Lewin, Baron Lewin KG, GCB, LVO, DSC (19 November 1920 – 23 January 1999).

Wikipedia –,_Baron_Lewin

2010  The ‘Deepwater Horizon’ semi-submersible offshore oil rig, sinks to 5000-ft in the Gulf Of Mexico after suffering the extreme consequences of a blowout two days earlier. The well then created the largest spill in U.S. history (to date), with oil gushing from the damaged wellhead. A situation that would last until 15th July when it was temporarily sealed by a cap.


‘Deepwater Horizon’, listing before sinking in the Gulf of Mexico, April 22nd, 2010. – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 21 April …..

1500  Seaweed was sighted by sailors of Pedro Alvares Cabral’s fleet, leading them to believe they were nearing land. The fleet of 12-ships, which sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, bound for Calicut, on March 9th, had continued to sail away from their intended destination since crossing the equator on 9th April.
India-bound Portugese navigators sailors understood that by sailing west, they could use the Southern Atlantic’s counter-clockwise rotating wind system to carry them past the entire western coast of Africa.

1509  Henry VIII becomes the second monarch of the Tudor dynasty, ascending the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII.
Henry’s reign would have a significant effect on Britain’s maritime history, not least because he is traditionally cited as one of the founders of the Royal Navy.
Henry would invest in large cannon for his warships, replacing the smaller serpentines that were in use – an idea that had taken hold in other countries. He was responsible for the creation of a permanent navy, with the supporting anchorages and dockyards. Henry would see the Navy move away from boarding tactics to employ gunnery instead, and he would order more ships (including the Mary Rose), to increase the size of the Navy.
He also was responsible for the establishment of the “council for marine causes” to specifically oversee all the maintenance and operation of the Navy, becoming the basis for the later Admiralty.


The Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s Flagship, at Spithead in 1545. wikipedia – Mary Rose –

1702  Overseer and Inspector of naval chaplains first appointed, by Order of Council.

1782  Foudroyant (80) took the French Pégase 30 miles N.N.W. of Ushant. Capt J. Jervis made KB and given a winged horse in his grant of arms. [bh]

1796  Indefatigable (38) captured the French Virginie (44) 80 miles W.S.W. of the Scilly Isles. [m, bh]

1798  Mars (74) captured the French L’Hercule (74) in the Passage du Raz (Raz de Sein), Brest. Capt Alexander Hood killed in the action. [m, bh]

1904  Capture of Illig. Somaliland. Ships: Fox, Hyacinth, Mohawk and the Italian Volturno, 1st Bn The Hampshire Regt Africa General Service Medal: clasp ‘Somaliland 1902-4′.

1914  The SS Ypiranga, a German-registered cargo-steamer commissioned to transport arms and munitions to the Mexican government under control of Victoriano Huerta, reached the port of Veracruz in Mexico. While attempting to unload the ship on the first day of the (unofficial) U.S. occupation, workers were detained by American troops (by the order of President Woodrow Wilson) because the landing of weapons completely violated the arms embargo that the U.S. had placed on Mexico, which was at the time, in the midst a civil war.

Because there was neither a declaration of war on Mexico by the U.S., nor a formal blockade on its ports, the detention of the Ypiranga was not legal and it was quickly released. It proceeded to Puerto Mexico, a port outside of American influence and it was able to unload its cargo to Huerta’s officials.


The cargo-steamer Ypiranga. Wikipedia –


Deck shot of the SS Ypiranga showing the anti-rolling tanks to the left of the officer.

1916  Unidentified U-boat sunk in nets of the smack I’ll Try It.


Smack (ship) I’ll Try It – wikipedia – Smack (ship) –

1917  German destroyer raid in Dover Strait. Dover shelled just before midnight on 20th/21st. Ships: Swift, Broke, Sabreur. German destroyers G-42 and G-85 sunk. British War Medal: clasp ’21 April 1917′ approved for Broke and Swift but not issued. [bh]

1918  ML 413 sank UB-71 W. of Gibraltar (35-58N, 05-18W).


The UB-71 German UB-III-class submarine off Tangier 1918. Wikipedia –

1934  Probably the most famous photo allegedly showing the ‘Loch Ness Monster’, is supposedly taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynaecologist. The image was published in the Daily Mail on 21st April 1934, but Wilson’s refusal to have his name associated with the photograph led to it being called ‘Surgeon’s Photograph.
In 1999, the photo was revealed to be a hoax (really!). Essentially, it was a toy submarine bought from F.W. Woolworths with a head and neck made of plastic wood.


The ‘Surgeons Photograph’ on the front of the Daily Mail newspaper, 21st April, 1934.

1941  Bombardment of Tripoli by Adm Sir Andrew Cunningham (Warspite). Ships: Barham, Gloucester, Valiant, Warspite, Hasty, Havock, Hereward, Hero, Hotspur, Jaguar, Janus, Jervis, Juno. Mark ship: Truant. Albacores of 826 and 829 NAS and Fulmars of 803 and 806 NAS (Formidable).

Andrew_Cunningham_1947 (1)

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, 1947. wikipddia –,_1st_Viscount_Cunningham_of_Hyndhope#Battle_of_Cape_Matapan_.28March_1941.29

1943  Submarine Splendid scuttled after depth-charge attack by the German-manned destoryer Hermes (ZG-3).* Finally sunk by gunfire 2 miles S.S.E. of Capri. *Ex-Hellenic Vasilefs Georgios I.



British S class submarine HMS Splendid underway off Sheerness. wikipedia –


German destroyer Hermes (ZG-3) (Ex-Greek destroyer Vasilefs Georgios I)

1945  Bazely, Bentinck and Drury, Captain-class frigates, sank U-636 in N.W. Approaches.


The frigate HMS Bentinck docked at Lisahally. Wikipedia – HMS Bentinck –


Wikipedia – HMS Bazely –


Wikipedia – HMS Drury –


Conning Tower Emblem U-636 –

1945  Frigate Retalick engaged several German explosive motor boats 210DEG Ostende 28 miles, sinking four.

Battle of the Atlantic, March to May 1943

Nine hundred and twelve ships sailed in North Atlantic convoys during this period. March 1943, eastbound convoy HX 228 was escorted by an experienced mixed British, Free French and Polish escort group. The destroyer Harvester detected a U-boat on the surface by radar and rammed it. Harvester and the U-boat were damaged. The French corvette Aconit sank the submarine. Harvester then came to a standstill as a result of action damage and was torpedoed and sunk as Aconit returned to assist. Aconit sank the U-boat by depth-charging and ramming. U-121 also attacked the convoy, was hit by debris from an exploding ship and blinded, and just escaped being sunk by the escorts in a counter-attack. Five merchant ships were lost.

HX 229, which followed, had a weak escort and was set upon by thirty-eight U-boats in all. There was no air cover or rescue ship, and thirteen merchant ships were sunk. SC 122 was slightly ahead of HX 229, but slower. When the two convoys joined, the U-boats attacked and SC122’s regular escort was overwhelmed. Eight more ships were lost. One U-boat was sunk, and the battle ended when aircraft from Iceland were able to assist the escorts. Although on the face of it a German victory. German records revealed that two U-boats were severely damaged and nearly all other U-boats received bomb or depth-charge attacks.

In April HX 231 lost only three ships with two U-boats sunk. HX 233 lost one ship, with one U-boat sunk.

The turning point came with convoy ONS 5, escorted by Cdr Gretton’s escort group. Forty ships sailed on 22 April with six escorts. After five days of gales one merchant ship had detached to Iceland for repairs, and one fallen behind. At one time eight were showing ‘Not Under Command’ lights. U-boats converged on 28th, and the escorts followed HFDF bearings to keep the ‘homing’ U-boats down. That night the escorts forced U-boats down six times, using radar to detect them i a rising gale.

The next day one merchant ship was sunk, but most U-boats went ahead to join another group and lie in wait. Five days of bad weather followed and the convoy was scattered by gales, and low visibility. On 5 and 6 May the U-boats struck: eleven ships were sunk. One U-boat was sunk by RCAF aircraft, another by a corvette escorting a group of eleven stragglers. Fog on the 6th gave the escort the chance to use their radar to advantage, and twenty-four attacks were detected and beaten off: U-638 sunk by Sunflower and U-125 by Oribi; U-531 was rammed by Vidette and U-438 sunk by depth charges from Pelican (just joining with the 1st Escort Group). A total of sixty U-boats attacked. Six were sunk -and twelve merchantmen lost. Two other U-boats collided and were lost. Others were badly damaged. In all, twenty-seven U-boats were sunk during this period. U-boat command morale fell, and there was a reluctance to attack future convoys.

On 24 May 1943, U-boats were withdrawn from the North Atlantic routes, and the battle of the Atlantic had been largely won.

1970  Vice-Adm Sir Arthur Francis ‘Attie’ Turner, Chief of Fleet Support, promoted to admiral. The first marine engineering officer and the first of a non-executive branch to reach four-star rank in the Royal Navy.

‘. . . a little mention [of the promotion’s significance] in Hickey [column, Daily Express] or Peterborough [column, Daily Telegraph] would fall as music on the ears of all that bootfaced purple crew who [seek?] to make my life a misery’ – manuscript memo from Adm Sir Michael Le Fanu, First Sea Lord, to DPR(N) dated 19 January 1970.

See 2 April 1979, 26 October 1991. Wikipedia –

1989  Quorn, last of eleven Hunt-class MCMVs, commissioned.


wikipedia – HMS Quorn (M41) – – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 20 April …..

1453  The last naval battle in Byzantine history occurs, as three Genoese galleys escorting a Byzantine transport fight their way through the huge Ottoman blockade fleet and into the Golden Horn. The Ottoman fleet is prevented from following by way of a huge chain which is strung across the estuary, and is controlled to allow or deny access to the harbour.
The Golden Horn is an inlet off the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbour that has sheltered ships for thousands of years. The scimitar-shaped estuary joins the Bosphorus just at the point where that strait enters the Sea of Marmara, thus forming a peninsula the tip of which is ‘Old Istanbul’.


A map of Byzanz, showing the Golden Horn.

1534  French explorer, Jacques Cartier, set sail from Saint-Malo with two ships and a crew of 61, under a commission from King François of France, hoping to discover a western passage to the wealthy markets of Asia. In the words of the commission, he was to “discover certain islands and lands where it is said that a great quantity of gold and other precious things are to be found”. Twenty days later he reached Newfoundland.


Jacques Cartier – wikipedia –

1657  Adm Robert Blake (George) destroyed sixteen Spanish ships at Santa Cruz, Tenerife. Ships: Bridgewater, Bristol, Centurion, Colchester, Convert, Fairfax, Foresight, George, Hampshire, Jersey, Langport, Lyme, Maidstone, Nantwich, Newbury, Newcastle, Plymouth, Ruby, Speaker, Swiftsure, Unicorn, Winsby, Worcester. This was a great risk taken, and a great reward. ‘The whole action was so miraculous that all men who knew the place wondered why any man, with what courage so ever endowed would have undertaken it, and they could hardly persuade themselves to believe what they had done, while the Spaniards comforted themselves with the belief that they were devils and not men who had destroyed them in such a manner.’ Blake died on 7 August, just off Plymouth. [bh]


Admiral Robert Blake led the attack at Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Wikipedia – Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife –


Robert Blake’s flagship the George at the battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1657.

1667  Princess fought seventeen Dutch men-of-war off the Dogger Bank. [bh]

1807  Boats of Richmond cut out the Spanish privateer Galliard 18 miles to the northward of Peniche, Portugal. [m]

1810  Firm, Sharpshooter and Surly captured the French privateer Alcide at Pirou, Granville Bay, north coast of France. [m]

1814  Orpheus and Shelburne captured the American Frolic 15 miles N.N.W. of Puerto Matanzas, Cuba.

1837  Capt Robert Contart McCrea, with boats from brig sloop Zebra, captured the ex-Rajah of Kedah at Bruas, Perak.

1865  Father Pietro Angelo Secchi, astronomer and scientific advisor to the Pope, demonstrates the ‘Secchi disk’, an instrument with which to measure water clarity, from the Papal steam yacht, Immacolata Concezione (Immaculate Conception) in the Mediterranean Sea.


Pietro Angelo Secchi – wikipedia –

The ‘Secchi disk’, a circular metal plate attached to a calibrated rope, is still in use today. It is probably the least expensive and easiest to use tool in water quality monitoring. One of it’s best attributes is that the information it provides is easily interpreted by volunteers and can be used to detect water quality trends in lakes.

The ‘Immacolata Concezione’, built in 1859 for the Pope’s private use by the Thames Iron and Shipbuilding Company, was 178 feet long and carried 8 brass 18-pounder guns. She was lost in the Mediterranean in 1905.
The flag and a scale model are in the Vatican Museum in the Lateran Palace.


The armed screw steam yacht Immacolata Concepzione, built for His Holiness the Pope.

Article, – “End of the Papal Navy” –

1893  His Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, a Gaff-rigged cutter built to the “Length And Sail Area Rule” for Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, is launched at the D&W Henderson shipyard on the River Clyde.
By the end of her first year’s racing, the ‘Britannia’ scored thirty-three wins from forty-three starts. In her second season, she won all seven races for the first class yachts on the French Riviera, and then beat the 1893 America’s Cup defender Vigilant in home waters.


Prince Albert Edward’s first-class rater Britannia (George Lennox Watson design) c.1893-1899.

wikipedia – HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht) –

Cowes Week Regatta, Yacht "Brittania"

King George V at the helm.

1917  Paddle minesweeper Nepaulin mined near Dyke lightvessel off Dunkirk.



PS Neptune was launched on 10 March 1892 after achieving 18 knots on trials, exceeding her contract speed by a quarter of one knot. At that time her owners boasted she was the fastest ship of her size afloat. She was fitted out to a high standard and was an immediate success. She was placed on the Ardrossan to Arran route, where she soon became involved in unofficial racing with the Caledonian Steam Packet Co’s crack steamer Duchess of Hamilton. Neptune was later replaced by Glen Sannox and she moved to the Rothesay and Kyles of Bute service from Greenock to Princes Pier. In 1898 she was replaced on the Ayr station (where this picture was taken) by the new steamer Juno, who was much faster at over 19 knots. On excursion work she went as far as Stranraer but with the advent of the Great War she was requistioned by the Admiralty with her sister Mercury. Neptune (HMS Nepaulin) was lost in April 1917 after she struck a mine and sank off the Dyck Light Vessel.


1940  Rutlandshire bombed and driven ashore, and Auckland damaged, at Namsos, by German aircraft.

Memoirs of Yngvar Ottesen, Norwegian pilot onboard Rutlandshire –

1940  Pansy, Flower-class corvette, launched at Harland and Wolff. Promptly renamed Heartsease.

wikipedia – HMS Heartsease (K15) –

1942  Codenamed ‘Operation Calendar’, 47 Supermarine Spitfires are flown to Malta from the deck of the United States Navy carrier USS Wasp, together with the pilots of No.601 and No.603 Squadrons RAF.
However, the Luftwaffe launch a series of devastating raids on the airfields at Luqa and Ta’Kali, and by 23rd April, nine of the Spitfires have been destroyed on the ground and a further 29 damaged.


British Spitfires revving their engines prior to take off from USS Wasp, on their way to Malta.

1949  Amethyst, frigate, fired on by Communist PLA batteries in Yangtze River east of Nanking. Opening of the Yangtze Incident.

See 10 July 1949.


HMS Amethyst (F116) –

Amethyst Incident – wikipedia –


This is a poster for Yangtse Incident: The Story of HMS Amethyst. The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, British Lion Films Wilcox-Neagle, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.

1991  UK/Netherlands Landing Force commanded by Maj-Gen R.J. Ross, MGRM, Joint Force Commander, deployed to Turkey-Iraq frontier area on humanitarian mission to assist Kurdish refugees following Gulf War. Operation Haven. RFA Argus, RFA Resource, HQ 3 Cdo Bde, 40 Cdo, 45 Cdo, Cdo Logistic Regt, 3 Cdo Bde Air Squadron, Sea Kings from 845 NAS and 846 NAS. Force levels reduced from mid-June. One Coy 40 Cdo remained with multinational battalion until 1 October. Operation Warden.

2010  At 09:45hrs (CDT), during the final phases of drilling an exploratory well at Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico, a geyser of seawater erupted 240 ft into the air from the marine riser of the ‘Deepwater Horizon’ ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible offshore oil drilling rig.

This was soon followed by the eruption of a slushy combination of mud, methane gas, and water. The gas component of the slushy material quickly transitioned into a fully gaseous state and ignited into a series of explosions and then a firestorm, which was visible 35 miles away. An attempt was made to activate the blowout preventer, but it failed.

At the time of the explosion, there were 126 crew on board. Eleven workers were presumed killed in the initial explosion. The rig was evacuated, with numerous injured workers airlifted to medical facilities.


The ‘Deepwater Horizon’ platform engulfed in flames, April 2010. Wikipedia – – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 19 April …..

1587  ‘Singeing of the King of Spain’s beard’ by Sir Francis Drake (Elizabeth Bonaventure) at Cadiz. Ships: Dreadnought, Elizabeth Bonaventure, Rainbow and about thirty merchantmen. He wrote a memorable letter to Sir Francis Walsingham, too long to reprint but well worth looking up. ( Letter from Drake to Walsingham –


Drake’s map of his attack on Cádiz. Singeing of the King of Spain’s beard – wikipedia –

1757  Edward Pellew, the future Admiral Viscount Exmouth, born.


Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth. Wikipedia –,_1st_Viscount_Exmouth

1770  The 1st Voyage of Captain James Cook (1768–71): Having sailed west from New Zealand, Captain James Cook and the crew of HMS Endeavour sight the eastern coast of what is now Australia, and in doing so his expedition become the first recorded Europeans to have encountered it’s eastern coastline.


1775  The Siege of Boston begins, marking the the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War as New England militiamen (who later became part of the Continental Army) surround the town of Boston, Massachusetts, preventing movement by the British Army garrisoned within.
The siege would last for almost eleven months, ending when the British withdraw by sea, leaving the town to the American colonists led by George Washington.

1781  Resource captured the French Unicorne 20 miles S.W. by W. of Cape Blaise (San Blas), Gulf of Mexico. Detachment of the loyal American Rangers and of Artillery were present.

1782  The Battle of the Mona Passage takes place between a British squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood, and a small French fleet, in the strait separating Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, shortly after the British victory at the Battle of the Saintes (9th-12th April 1782).
On 17th April, with orders to seek out any disabled or damaged French ships that had escaped the battle, Hood’s division of twelve ships had set out towards toward Saint-Domingue.

The French 64-gun ship of the line Caton had been damaged in the initial encounter between the fleets on 9th April, and the Jason, also 64 guns, had been damaged on the 10th April when it collided with the heavily-damaged Zélé. Both of these ships were in the Mona Passage, making sail for Cap-Français along with several smaller ships, when Hood’s squadron spotted them.

Hood chased down the French ships, the faster copper-sheathed British ships outpacing the damaged French ships. HMS Valiant captured both Jason and Caton at the cost of four men killed and six wounded, whilst HMS Magnificent captured the frigate Aimable at the cost of four killed and eight wounded. The corvette Céres was also captured, while the frigate Astrée managed to escape with minimal damage.


The French 64-gun ship of the line, Jason, is captured in the Mona Passage, 19th April, 1782.

The captured French ships were taken back to England for further use. Jason was renamed HMS Argonaut, while Caton was used as a prisoner of war hospital ship and moored off Saltash in Cornwall. She continued in this role well into the Napoleonic Wars. Aimable was renamed HMS Aimable and served in the Royal Navy until 1811. Ships: Alfred, Barfleur, Belliqueux, Magnificent*, Monarch, Montagu, Prince William, Valiant#, Warrior, Yarmouth. Frigates: Alecto, Champion~. *Captured Aimable, #Captured Caton and Jason. ~Captured Céres.

1917  Peak of Merchant Ship sinkings by U-boats.

See 10 May 1917.

First World War: The Convoy System

By the beginning of 1917 Germany had about 100 U-boats operating, and with their numbers increasing rapidly there was a dramatic increase in the damage they inflicted. Losses to shipping were:

Month          Ships Sunk          Tonnage

January               181                  298,000

February             259                  468,000

March                  325                  500,000

April                     423                  849,000

On one day alone (19 April) eleven British merchant ships and eight fishing vessels were sunk by submarines and mines. These losses could not have been sustained for more than about five months without totally crippling Britain. The convoy system was accordingly introduced in May.

1917  Submarines E 50 and UC-62 collided, both submerged off N. Hinder lightvessel.

Wikipedia – HMS E50 –


SM UC-62 – wikipedia –

1941  Glengyle landed a raiding party of 460 men to attack Bardia, Libya.

1944  Ula (Nor) sank U-974 off Stavanger.



HNoMS Ula (1943) – wikipedia –

1944  Air raid on Sabang. Operation Cockpit. Carrier Force (70): Renown (Vice-Adm Sir Arthur Power), Illustrious (Rear-Adm C. Moody), Saratoga (US), Ceylon, Gambia (RNZN), London, Quilliam (D 4), Queensborough, Quadrant; Cumings, Dunlap, Fanning (all US). Covering Force (69): Queen Elizabeth (Adm Sir James Somerville), Valiant, Richelieu (Fr), Newcastle (Rear-Adm A.D. Read – CS 4), Nigeria, Tromp (Neth), Tactician, Napier (RAN), Nepal, Nizam (RAN), Rotheram (D 11), Racehorse, Penn, Petard, Van Galen (Neth), Quiberon (RAN), FAA Sqns (all from Illustrious): Barracuda: 810, 847. Corsair: 1830,1833.

Assault on Sabang

On 16 April, a force under Adm Somerville sailed from Trincomalee, and arrived off the S.W. of Sabang by 19th. At 0530 aircraft from the carriers Illustrious and Saratoga (USN) attacked the port from different directions at once and achieved complete surprise. The first AA fire rose after the first bombs had landed. Three of the four oil tanks were destroyed and extensive damage was done to installations, but there was no shipping to be hit. Twenty-four enemy aircraft were destroyed on the ground, and one Allied aircraft was shot down, but its pilot was rescued by the submarine Tactician, which came under fire from shore batteries during the rescue. It was the first raid by the Eastern Fleet, which comprised three battleships (one French), a battlecruiser, two carriers (on USN), six cruisers (one RNZN, one Dutch), and fifteen destroyers (three RAN, three USN and one Dutch).

1945  First flight of de Havilland Sea Hornet. Navy’s first twin-engined, single-seat fighter.

1945  The Royal Air Force targets Heligoland (the German North Sea archipelago) for the final time. Using 36 Avro Lancasters from 9 and 617 Squadrons, they attack submarine pens and coastal battery positions with Tallboy bombs for no losses.
Meanwhile, following the yesterday’s air raid (18th April 1945) by 969 Allied aircraft, the civilian population is evacuated. It had remained on the main island throughout WW2, being protected from Allied bombing raids in rock shelters. Most of the island’s 128 casualties during the wartime period were anti-aircraft crews.

In 1952, the islands were restored to the German authorities, who had to clear a huge amount of undetonated ammunition, landscape the main island, and rebuild the houses before it could be resettled.
Heligoland is now a holiday resort and enjoys a tax-exempt status, as it is part of the EU but excluded from the EU VAT area and customs union, and consequently, much of the economy is founded on sales of cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and perfumes to tourists who visit the islands.
Heligoland is also home to a search and rescue (SAR) base of the DGzRS, the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger (“German Maritime Search and Rescue Service”).


Heligoland with the main island in foreground and the islet of Düne in the background.

1989  On board USS Iowa (BB-61), At 09:55 hrs, during a gunnery exercise, an explosion ripped through the Number Two 16-inch gun turret, killing 47 crewmen. A gunner’s mate in the powder magazine room quickly flooded the No. 2 powder magazine, likely preventing catastrophic damage to the ship.
The incident was the subject of two investigations. The first by the, Naval Investigative Service (later renamed Naval Criminal Investigative Service or NCIS), satisfied the Navy with their theory that one of the dead crewmen was responsible due to his emotional state at the time. However, much criticism forced Congress to reopen the case, resulting in independant investigators uncovering evidence which pointed to an accidental powder explosion rather than an intentional act of sabotage.


Heavy smoke pours from Turret Two of USS Iowa after the internal explosion on 19th April 1989. The left gun of Turret One in the background is fully elevated as it’s crew tries to clear an earlier misfire by trying to coax the powder bags to slide backwards against the primer. Wikipedia – USS Iowa turret explosion –


A cutaway of a 16 inch gun turret aboard an Iowa-class battleship.

2004  Nuclear submarines Tireless, Trafalgar-class, and USS Hampton, Los Angeles-class, surfaced together at the North Pole following combined operational exercises beneath the polar ice cap.

See 3 March 1971.



HMS Tireless (S88) – wikipedia –



USS Hampton (SSN-767) – wikipedia – – On This Day –

Royal Navy On This Day 18 April …..

1667  Princess, on her way from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Gothenburg, fell in with some two dozen of the Dutch Rotterdam fleet and fought her way through them from dawn to dusk, defeating three attempts to board her.

1782  Aeolus captured the French privateer Aglae 30 miles to the northward of Cape Cornwall.

1797  Boats of Dido and Terpsichore cut out the Spanish Principe Fernando at Santa Cruz, Tenerife.

1797  Spithead mutineers petitioned the Board of Admiralty.

Extract from petition by the Spithead mutineers to Admiral of the Fleet Earl Howe . . .

‘It is now upwards of two years since your petitioners observed with pleasure the augmentations which had been made to pay of the army and militia, and the provision that took place with the respect of their wives and families, of such soldiers as were serving on board, naturally expecting that they should in their turn experience the same munifecence, but alas no notice has been taken on them, nor the smallest provision made for their wives and families except what they themselves sent out of their pay to prevent them burdensome to the parish.

That your petitioners humbly presumed that their loyalty to their sovereign is as conspicuous and their courage as unquestionable as any other discription of men in His Majesty’s Service as their enemies can testify, and as your Lordship can witness who so often led them to victory and glory and by whose manly exertions the British flag rides triumphant in every quarter of the globe.

And your petitioners humbly conceive that at the time when their wages were settled in the reign of Charles II it was intended as a comfortable support both for themselves and families, but at present by the considerable rise in the necessaries of life, which is now almost double, and an advance of 30% on slops, your Lordship will plainly see that the intentions of the legislature is counteracted by the before-mentioned causes and therefore most humbly pray for relief. . . .’

1803  Second and expanded edition of Popham’s signal book. Consolidated and reprinted in 1805 it enabled Nelson to make his penultimate and most famous signal, but requiring one word to be spelled out – Duty.

1813  Unicorn and Stag captured the American letter of marque Hebe 100 miles S.W. of Ushant.

1814  Capture of Genoa. Ships: America, Aboukir, Caledonia, Boyne, Iphigenia, Furieuse, Cephalus, Edinburgh, Berwick, Curacoa, Pembroke, Prince of Wales, Rainbow, Pylades, Swallow, Union and a Sicilian flotilla.

1863  Linton Chorley Hope (FRAes) is born in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Linton Chorley Hopps the son of Edwin and Sara Hopps. He later changed his surname to Hope.
He will go on to become English naval architect and yachtsman, designing a variety of yachts as well as international canoes and Thames Raters, and he will win two gold medals for sailing at the 1900 Olympic Games in France, aboard ‘Scotia’, a yacht of his own design.


Linton Hope, Olympic sailor at the 1900 Summer Olympics. Wikipedia –


The Linton Hope designed, 33ft Thames Rater Dorothy, originally built in 1894.

1905  Launch of A 13, first RN submarine with diesel engine.

1912  RMS Carpathia docked at New York’s Pier 54 carrying 700+ survivors that had been rescued from the lifeboats of the Titanic disaster. She was greated by some 40,000 people waiting at the quayside in heavy rain.

The ship’s arrival in New York led to a frenzy of press interest, with newspapers competing to be the first to report the survivors’ stories. Some reporters bribed their way aboard the pilot boat New York, which guided Carpathia into harbour, and one apparently managed to get onto Carpathia before she docked.

After the survivors of Titanic had disembarked, Carpathia was hurriedly restocked with food and provisions so she might resume her journey to Fiume, Austria-Hungary. Her crew were given a bonus of a month’s wages by Cunard as a reward for their actions, and some of Titanic’s passengers joined together to give them an additional bonus of nearly £900 (£66,038 today), divided among the crew members.


Carpathia docked at Pier 54 in New York, following the rescue of survivors from Titanic, 1912.

Wikipedia – RMS Carpathia –

1940  White cap covers optional for duration.

See 11 April 1946.

1940  Sterlet, submarine, sunk by German convoy escorts T-190 and M-75 in the Skagerrak (58-57N, 10-36E).

STERLET_badge-1- (1)

HMS_Sterlet (1)

British S class submarine HMS Sterlet moored at a buoy in the Medway. Wikipedia –

1941  The drifter Young Ernie (88t) was on Admiralty service when she was in collision, off Tynemouth, with the examination vessel Ben Idris. The Young Ernie sank at 55°01’18″N – 01°21’23″W.

1941  Fiona, armed boarding vessel, sunk by aircraft off Sollum.

1941  Light cruiser Gloucester bombarded the Bardia area.

1942  The first air attack on the Japanese homeland is carried out by sixteen specially-prepared North American B-25 ‘Mitchell’ bombers, taking off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet.
The operation, now known as ‘The Doolittle Raids’, was the U.S. response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, and was as imporant psychologically as militarily, with the intendion of restoring American morale, whilst denting the Japanese population’s belief in it’s leadership when shown that Japan was not beyond the reach of the enemy, as they were being told.


Lt. Col. ‘Jimmy’ Doolittle’s B-25 takes-off first, from the carrier USS Hornet, 18th April 1942.

Wikipedia – USS Hornet (CV-8) –

1942  Submarine Upholder posted missing. She may have been mined off Tripoli 11th/12th, victim of an air attack off Misurata 13th or depth-charged by Pegaso on the 14th. It matters little. On the 11th, Wanklyn had written home ‘count the days, they are not many’, presumably referring to his arrival because he was about to take his boat on her last scheduled patrol before returning to UK. He had been awarded the VC nearly a year before he died.

Much later the Admiralty issued an unprecedented statement:

‘It is seldom proper for Their Lordships to draw distinctions between different services rendered in the course of naval duty, but they take this opportunity of singling out those of HMS Upholder, under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Wanklyn, for special mention. She was long employed against enemy communications in the Central Mediterranean, and she became noted for the uniformly high quality of her services in that arduous and dangerous duty. Such was the standard of skill and daring that the ship and her officers and men became an inspiration, not only to their own flotilla, but to the fleet of which it was part, and to Malta, where for so long HMS Upholder was based. The ship and her company are gone, but the example and the inspiration remain.’



British U class submarine HMSM Upholder underway. Wikipedia –


Malcolm David Wanklyn VC DSO and two Bars. Wikipedia –


Lt Commander Malcolm David Wanklyn VC, DSO with his First Lieutenant, Lt J R D Drummond, both of HMS Upholder.

1943  Submarine P 615, ex-Turkish Uluc Ali Reis sunk by U-123 120 miles S. of Freetown (06-42N, 12-56W).


HMS P615 ex-Ulic Ali Reis – wikipedia – Oruç Reis-class submarine –

Lorient, Einlaufen von U-123

U-123 at Lorient in February 1942. Wikipedia –

1943  Submarine Regent believed sunk by mine off Monopoli, in the southern Adriatic.



Rainbow-class submarine HMS Regent (N41) under way. Wikipedia –

1943  Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and as such, responsible for major battles such as Pearl Harbor and Midway, was killed in an ambush as he was being flown to an inspection tour of forward positions in the Solomon Islands on board a Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber. Unfortunately for Yamamoto, U.S. naval intelligence had learned of the tour from decrypted Japanese messages, and were able to specifically target him in a mission involving sixteen U.S. Lockheed P-38 ‘Lightning’ fighters, codenamed ‘Operation Vengeance’.
His death was a major blow to Japanese military morale during World War II.


Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, (4th April 1884 – 18th April 1943). Wikipedia –

1945  969 aircraft, comprised of 617 Lancasters, 332 Halifaxes, and 20 Mosquitoes, attack Heligoland, a small German archipelago in the North Sea. The Naval base, airfield, & town are bombed into crater-pitted ‘moonscapes’. 3 Halifaxes were lost. The islands were evacuated the following day.

1947  Royal Navy detonated 7,000 tons of explosives beneath Heligoland to demolish fortifications. ‘The greatest non-atomic explosion in history’ – The Times. Fired from cable ship 9 miles offshore on the fourth pip of the BBC time signal at noon.


A huge cloud of smoke rises on 18 April 1947 from the devastated island of Helgoland, after the British occupiers have made equal with 6800 tons of explosives military installations and bunker systems to the offshore island to the ground.

Wikipedia – Heligoland Explosion –

1949  The keel for the first of the five planned postwar aircraft carriers, USS United States (CVA-58), is laid down at Newport News Drydock and Shipbuilding, Virginia. She is to be the lead ship of a new design of ‘supercarriers’ – The order  was cancelled five days later.


United States keel plate being laid in a construction dry dock, 18th April 1949.

1955  Albert Einstein, the German-born theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, died in hospital in Princeton, New Jersey, aged 76, having been admitted three days earlier with an internal complaint.
The eminent scientist’s work laid the foundations for many modern technologies including nuclear weapons and cosmic science, and also earned him the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.
After his death, Einstein’s brain was removed and preserved for scientific research by Canadian scientists. It was found that the part of Einstein’s brain responsible for mathematical thought and the ability to think in terms of space and movement was 15% wider than average. It also lacked a groove which normally runs through this region suggesting that the neurons were able to communicate.


Albert Einstein – wikipedia –


Task Force 1, the world’s first nuclear-powered task force in the Mediterranean, June 1964.
USS Enterprise (in formation with Long Beach & Bainbridge) has Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence formula E=mc² spelled out on it’s flight

1978  The U.S. Senate backed a treaty to transfer the Panama Canal to the control of Panama. The Senate’s approval by 68 votes to 32 was by the narrowest of margins – just one vote more than the two-thirds majority required. The outcome was seen as a victory for President Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy at a time when the effectiveness of his administration was under question.

1988  U.S. naval forces within Iranian territorial waters launch ‘Operation Praying Mantis’. It is an  offensive against Iranian naval forces in retaliation for the Iranian mining of the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war and the subsequent damage caused to an American guided-missile frigate, USS Samuel B. Roberts, which was almost sunk by one of the mines while deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of ‘Operation Earnest Will’ – The 1987-88 convoy missions in which U.S. warships escorted reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers to protect them from Iranian attacks.

‘Praying Mantis’ was the largest U.S. surface engagement since World War II, and marked the U.S. Navy’s first exchange of anti-ship missiles by ships. By the end of the operation, American Marines, ships and aircraft had damaged Iranian naval and intelligence facilities on two inoperable oil platforms, sank at least three armed Iranian speedboats, one Iranian frigate and one fast attack gunboat. One other Iranian frigate was damaged in the battle.

The U.S. suffered two casualties, the crew of a Marine Corps AH-1T Sea Cobra helicopter gunship, which crashed sometime after dark while flying a reconaissance mission. Navy officials said the wreckage showed no sign of battle damage.


The Vosper Thornycroft-built frigate of the Iranian Navy, IS Sahand (F-74), was sunk after being hit by three Harpoon missiles and numerous cluster bomblets during ‘Operation Praying Mantis’. Wikipedia – Op Praying Mantis –


An aerial view of the Iranian frigate IS Sahand (74) burning on 18 April 1988 after being attacked by aircraft of U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wing 11 in retaliation for the mining of the guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58)

1988  Sandown, third of name and first of class of single-role minehunter, launched at Vosper Thornycroft, Woolston. – On This Day –

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