Royal Navy On This Day 6 March …..

1475  Michelangelo was born on 6th March 1475 in Caprese near Arezzo, Tuscany. At the time of Michelangelo’s birth, his father, Ludovico di Leonardo di Buonarotto Simoni, was the town’s Judicial administrator. Michelangelo’s mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena.
Michelangelo would become a world renowned Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer and who exert an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.

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Portrait of Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo

1521  ‘Magellan’s Voyage around the World (1519-1522): The three remaining ships, of the five that set out from Spain under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, reach the Marianas and Guam. Magellan called Guam the “Island of Sails” because they saw a lot of sailboats. They renamed it to “Ladrones Island” (Island of Thieves) because many of Trinidad’s small boats were stolen there.

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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 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Magellan

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1706  (Admiral Sir) George Pocock (KB, RN) is born in Chieveley, Berkshire. The son of Thomas Pocock, a chaplain in the navy. George Pocock would enter the navy in 1718, serving aboard HMS Superb. Eventually holding several positions as an officer until, in 1761, he would be made a Knight of the Bath and admiral.

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Vice-Admiral George Pocock, by Thomas Hudson. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Pocock

1709  Portland captured the French Coventry 40 miles N. by W. of Puerto Bastimentos.

See 4 March 1709.

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Johann Schranz – HMS Portland In The Harbour Of Malta. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Portland_(1693)

1741  Vice-Adm Edward Vernon (Strafford) bombarded Puerto Cartagena, Colombia – ineffectively.

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Admiral Edward “Old Grog” Vernon. Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Vernon

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Attack of the British army commanded by the Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon on Cartagena de Indias.

1788  Following the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in January 1788, Arthur Phillip ordered Lieutenant Philip Gidley King to lead a party of 15 convicts and seven free men to take control of Norfolk Island and prepare for its commercial development. On 6th March 1788, King and his party arrived, but landed with difficulty, owing to the lack of a suitable harbour.

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Arthur Phillip – 1786 portrait by Francis Wheatley (National Portrait Gallery, London). Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Phillip

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Philip Gidley King – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Gidley_King

1797  Phaeton (38) captured the French privateer Actif 120 miles to the southward of Ushant.

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Contemporary Japanese drawing of HMS Phaeton (Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture). Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Phaeton_(1782)

1811  Landing parties from Rear-Adm Sir Richard Keats’ squadron destroyed French batteries between Rota and Puerto de Santa Maria on Spanish coast. Ships: Milford, Implacable, Warrior. Bombs: Hound, Thunder.

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Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats (1757-1834) ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Goodwin_Keats

1836  Voyage of HMS Beagle (1831-36): The Beagle arrived at King George’s Sound at the town of Albany, in Prince Royal Harbour, about 250 miles south-east of Perth, and remained there for eight days. Darwin was not very impressed with the landscape, it was a very dull looking place with no mountains, no rivers and no trees.

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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 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_voyage_of_HMS_Beagle

1838  Pincher, schooner (5), capsized with all hands off The Owers.

1869  Russian chemist and inventor, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (8th February 1834 – 2nd February 1907 N.S.), formally presents the first version of the periodic table of elements to the Russian Chemical Society. He would use the table to predict the properties of elements yet to be discovered.

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Dmitri Mendeleev in 1897. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Mendeleev

1881  Horatia Nelson (29th January 1801 – 6th March 1881), the daughter of Horatio Nelson and Emma Hamilton, dies at Beaufort Villas, Woodridings, Pinner, aged 80 years. The mother of ten children, she was laid to rest in Pinner Parish old cemetery, in Paines Lane, Pinner.

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Miniature of Horatia Nelson, c.1822 (National Maritime Museum). Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horatia_Nelson

1890  First promotion to new warrant rank of Signal Bosun: M.H.W. Evans, the top of the list, also became the first Chief Signal Bosun and, in 1903, the first Signal Warrant Officer.

1902  Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service constituted by Order in Council, replacing the naval nursing sisters.

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QARNNS – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Alexandra%27s_Royal_Naval_Nursing_Service

1908  German armoured cruiser SMS Gneisenau was christened and commissioned by Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen, the former Chief of the General Staff. One of the two-ship Scharnhorst class, she was named after August von Gneisenau, a Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars. Captain Franz von Hipper was the ship’s first commanding officer; taking command on the day she was commissioned. He was tasked with conducting the ship’s shakedown cruise, which lasted from 26 March to the middle of July.

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Alfred von Schlieffen – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_von_Schlieffen

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SMS Gneisenau

1913  Direct public school entry to RN College Dartmouth announced.

1918  GC (ex-AM): Flt Lt V.A. Watson for saving life in blazing naval warship. (Gazette date.)

1918  Submarine H 5 sunk in collision with SS Rutherglen, not as some thought a Q-ship, but a merchant vessel whose ramming a friendly submarine was not denounced by the Admiralty, in order to encourage others. First USN submarine casualty on active service – Ensign E.F. Childs, USN, appointed H 5 for experience.

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A view from the bridge of HMS H5. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_H5.

HMS H5 was mistaken for a German U-boat and rammed by a British merchant ship off the north Wales coast.

The merchant ship, the Rutherglen, later docked at Holyhead, Anglesey.

Other events in the town on Saturday include a military parade and a visit from a Royal Navy minehunter.

All 26 sailors on HMS H5 lost their lives, including a US lieutenant who was an observer on board and was the first member of the US Navy to die in World War I.

The Rutherglen later docked at Holyhead and reported sinking a German U-boat.

HMS H5 was overdue by four days and it became apparent that the merchant ship had actually struck a British submarine.

The reality of what had happened was not revealed to the crew of the Rutherglen or the families of those who died.

It was some 50 years later before the tragic circumstances emerged.

1920  Light cruiser Calcutta dealt with serious fire in the American Balabac at Port of Spain, Trinidad. Admiralty approved acceptance of rare award of the Presidential Life Saving Medal, made without reference to Congress, by President Wilson.

1938  Spanish Nationalist heavy cruiser Beleares torpedoed and sunk in action with Republican units off Cape Palos E. of Cartagena during Spanish Civil War. Patrolling British destroyers Boreas and Kempenfelt rescued 470 men but lost one of their own men and 4 wounded when Government bombers attacked sinking cruiser.

See 23 July 1938.

1941  ‘We must assume that the Battle of the Atlantic has begun’ – Winston Churchill. Five years later it was defined by the Admiralty as ‘the most protracted and bitterly fought campaign in which the British Empire and her allies have ever been engaged’.

1944  Swordfish X/816 (Chaser) sank U-973 off northern Norway. Convoy RA 57. Second Chaser success in two days.

1944  Icarus and Kenilworth Castle, with Chaudiere, Chilliwack, Fennel, Gatineau and St Catherines (all RCN), sank U-744 in N. Atlantic (52-01N, 22-37EW). Convoy HX 280.

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HMCS Chilliwack‘s boat crew boards U744 in the North Atlantic. Forty men of her crew of 51 were taken prisoner. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-744

1945  Midget submarine XE 11 collided with boom defence vessel Norina in Loch Striven and sank. CO and two men lost. Last RN submarine loss of the Second World War.

See 19 January 1945.

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HMS XE11 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XE-class_submarine

1987  Cross-Channel ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized off Zeebrugge. RN clearance divers assisted in rescue operations and returned on 10 April to help recover bodies.

With her bow ballast tanks filled to facilitate loading, Townsend Thoresen RO-RO ferry, ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’, left her berth in Zeebrugge inner harbour at 18:05 (GMT), whilst untrimmed and with her bow doors open.

Carrying 80 crew members, 459 passengers, and 131 assorted vehicles, she passed the outer mole at 18:24hrs, and started to build speed. As soon as she reached 18.9 knots, seawater began flooding the car deck.

The subsequent free surface effect destroyed her stability and she developed a 30-degrees list to port. Righting herself briefly, she listed to port once more and capsized. Almost immediately, both main and emergency electrical systems failed, which left the ship in darkness.

The Herald of Free Enterprise ended on it’s side, half-submerged in ‘shallow’ water, approx half-a-mile from shore. Only a fortuitous turn to starboard in her last moments, and capsizing onto a sandbar, prevented the ship from sinking entirely in much deeper water.

The entire event took place within 90 seconds. It would result in the loss of 193 passengers and crew.

The disaster would bring about improvements to the design of RO-RO vessels, with watertight ramps, bow-doors indicators, and the banning of undivided decks.

After so much adverse publicity, Townsend Thoresen was renamed P&O European Ferries.

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Spirit-class RORO Ferry Herald of Free Enterprise. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Herald_of_Free_Enterprise

1993  Retirement of CPO W. Price, last of the ‘promised men’ who joined the RN in 1948 and in 1970 were guaranteed employment until age 65. He served for twenty-two years in the RN Detention Quarters, Portsmouth.

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 5 March …..

1496  King Henry VII of England issues letters patent to Italian navigator & explorer John Cabot  (Zuan Chabotto) and his sons, authorising them to explore unknown lands (As passage below).

“…free authority, faculty and power to sail to all parts, regions and coasts of the eastern, western and northern sea, under our banners, flags and ensigns, with five ships or vessels of whatsoever burden and quality they may be, and with so many and with such mariners and men as they may wish to take with them in the said ships, at their own proper costs and charges, to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians.”

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John Cabot – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cabot

1616  Nicolaus Copernicus’s book, ‘De revolutionibus orbium coelestium’ is placed on the Index of Forbidden Books and withdrawn from circulation by the Catholic Church, pending “corrections” in order that his opinion (i.e. the earth moves and the sun is motionless) may not creep any further to the prejudice of Catholic truth.

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1580 portrait (artist unknown) in the Old Town City Hall, Toruń. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus

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The front cover and an inner page from De Revolutionibus showing Copernicus’s hypothesis regarding the revolution of planets around the sun. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_revolutionibus_orbium_coelestium

1800  Phoebe captured the French privateer Heureux 200 miles W.S.W. of Cape Clear. Wikipedia – HMS Phoebe (1795) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Phoebe_(1795). Wikipedia – HMS Heureux (1800) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Heureux_(1800)

1804  Boats of Blenheim repulsed in an attempt to cut out the French Curieux at St Pierre, Martinique.

1804  Boat of Eclair cut out the French privateer Rose at Deshayes, Guadeloupe.

1829  The last survivor of the HMS Bounty mutineers, John Adams, died on Pitcairn Island, South Pacific, aged 61 years.
John Adams’ grave on Pitcairn is the only known grave site of a Bounty mutineer. It has a replacement headstone, the original lead-covered wooden grave marker having been taken back to Britain where it is now on display in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.
The main settlement and capital of Pitcairn, Adamstown, is named for John Adams.

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The grave of John Adams on Pitcairn Island. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Adams_(mutineer)

1850  The Britannia Rail Bridge across the Menai Strait is opened. Connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the mainland of Wales, the bridge provided a direct rail link between London and the port of Holyhead.
Designed and built by Robert Stephenson, the tubular bridge of wrought iron rectangular box-section spans, fulfilled the requirements that during construction the strait remain accessible to shipping, and on completion it would be sufficiently stiff to support the heavy loading associated with trains.
Following a fire in 1970 it was rebuilt as a two-tier steel truss arch bridge, carrying both road and rail traffic.

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The Britannia Rail Bridge early 1900’s. Note the two ornamental lions guarding the entrance to the bridge. There is also a pair of lions at the opposite side, although they are all now unseen, being below the level of the road deck.

1858  Pearl‘s Naval Brigade, with the Bengal Yeomanry, a detachment of the 1st Bengal Military Police Battalion and Gurkha allies, Baruk and Gorakhnath Regiments, totalling 1,261 men, completely defeated the 14,000 Indian rebels at Amorha, thereby preventing a second extensive rising in the Trans-Gogra district. Indian Mutiny Medal; clasp ‘Amorha 1858′. One captured gun turned on rebels by three RN officers and an AB. [bh]

1915  Bombardment of the Smyrna forts began; continued for five days. Ships: Euryalus, Swiftsure, Triumph, Anne Rickmers (seaplane carrier). Minesweepers: Okino and four others. Sunk: M/S Okino.

1916  Assigned to the Barcelona-Buenos Aires line, the Glasgow-built SS Príncipe de Asturias was, at the time, one of the largest steamships in the Spanish merchant fleet. Shortly before dawn on 5th March, whilst trying to approach the port of Santos in dense fog, she struck the jagged reefs along the Brazilian coast at Ponta Boi and sank quickly. At least 445 people out of 588 aboard lost their lives, being probably the biggest single-incident maritime loss of lives since the sinking of RMS Empress of Ireland in May 1914.

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SS Príncipe de Asturias

1922  Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE, FRGS (15th February 1874 – 5th January 1922) was buried in the Grytviken cemetery, South Georgia, after a short service in the Lutheran church.

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The expedition’s physician, Alexander Macklin, wrote in his diary: “I think this is as “the Boss” would have had it himself, standing lonely in an island far from civilisation, surrounded by stormy tempestuous seas, & in the vicinity of one of his greatest exploits.”

Prior to Shackleton’s burial, a memorial service was held for him with full military honours at Holy Trinity Church, Montevideo, and on 2nd March a service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, at which the King and other members of the royal family were represented.

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Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave in Grytviken, South Georgia.

1942  VC: Cdr Anthony Cecil Capel Miers (Torbay). Attack on shipping in Corfu Roads. Gazetted 7 July 1942. Invested at Buckingham Palace 28 July 1942 at which other Torbay personnel decorated. DSO: Lieutenant (E) Hugh Kidd, DSC; bars to DSC: Lieutenants Paul Chapman. DSC and D.S. Verschoyle-Campbell, DSC; and twenty-four ratings received DSMs or bars to DSM.

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Cdr Anthony MIERS RN, CO HM S/M Torbay carried out a difficult attack on shipping off Corfu and torpedoed two merchantmen. For this and a number of other successful patrols, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The London Gazette, Tuesday 7 July, 1942 – (From the ADMIRALTY, Whitehall, S.W.1)

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:

Commander Anthony Cecil Capel Miers, D.S.O., Royal Navy.

For valour in command of HM Submarine Torbay in a daring and successful raid on shipping in a defended enemy harbour, planned with full knowledge of the great hazards to be expected during seventeen hours in waters closely patrolled by the enemy. On arriving in the harbour he had to charge his batteries lying on the surface in full moon­light under the guns of the enemy. As he could not see his target he waited several hours and attacked in full daylight in a glassy calm. When he had fired his torpedoes he was heavily counter‑attacked and had to with­draw through a long channel with anti‑submarine craft all round and continuous air patrols overhead. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Miers

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HM S/M Torbay secured to a buoy in Plymouth Sound fitted with an external stern tube, 20mm Oerliken and radar. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Torbay_(N79)

1942  At 23:07hrs, whilst carrying 8,539 tons of general cargo, including silver bullion, pig iron and rubber, from Bombay to Oban, the unescorted British merchant vessel, SS Benmohr was torpedoed and sunk  by German submarine U-505, about 210 miles south-southwest of Freetown, West Africa. The master, 51 crew members and four gunners were rescued by a British Sunderland flying boat (Sqdn. 95) and landed at Freetown.
U-505 was eventually captured in 1944. After years of neglect, she is now fully restored and on display in an underground, climate-controlled environment at the the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL.

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SS Benmohr at Vancouver.

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U-505 shortly after being captured. Conning tower of U-505, showing the badge of the flotilla to which she belonged. Also note the shell damage caused during her capture. Wikipedia – U-505 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-505

1943  USS Bogue (ACV-9) begins the first anti-submarine operations by a carrier, specifically assigned to (Atlantic) convoy escort duty.

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USS Bogue (ACV-9) underway near Norfolk, 20th June 1943. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bogue_(CVE-9)

1944  Swordfish F/816 (Chaser) sank U-366 off northern Norway. Convoy RA 57.

See 4 March 1944. Wikipedia – U-366 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-366

1946  The start of the Cold War. Winston Churchill, speaking at Fulton, Missouri, said, ‘From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.’ – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War

1996  Flag of FOSNNI shifted from Pitreavie, Rosyth, to Neptune, Clyde Submarine Base.

See 1 April 1994. – Wikipedia – FOSNNI – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_Officer_Scotland,_Northern_England,_Northern_Ireland

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 4 March …..

1394  Infante Henry of Portugal, Duke of Viseu, was born in Porto. Better known as Henry the Navigator, he was the third child of King John I of Portugal, founder of the Aviz dynasty, and of Philippa of Lancaster, the sister of King Henry IV of England.
Henry would become an important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire and the Age of Discoveries in total. He was responsible for the early development of Portuguese exploration and maritime trade with other continents.

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Henry the Navigator – Infante Henrique; St. Vincent Panels. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_the_Navigator

1493  The first voyage of Christopher Columbus: As Columbus returns to Europe from his voyage, to (what is now) The Bahamas and other islands in the Caribbean, a storm forces him to shelter in Lisbon, where he anchored his ship Niña next to the King’s harbour patrol ship on 4th March 1493 in  After spending more than one week in Portugal, he set sail for Spain. He crossed the bar of Saltes and entered the harbour of Palos on 15th March 1493.

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A depiction of the Niña with the caravel on the left. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ni%C3%B1a

Sailing Ship Nina Niña in Morro Bay, CA

A present-day replica of Columbus’ ship, Niña.

1519  Spanish conquistador, Hernan Cortes arrives off the coast of Yucatan peninsula, Mexico where he will learn of the Aztec civilization, its wealth and its ruler, Montezuma. Cortés made a peaceful stop at Cozumel, received Gerónimo de Aguilar, and continued on to Tabasco and Veracruz, for the conquest of Mexico, Montejo being one of his captains.

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Hernán Cortés. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hern%C3%A1n_Cort%C3%A9s

1653  Leopard (Capt Appleton) and three hired merchantmen, Levant Merchant, Peregrine and Samson, taken by the Dutch squadron under Capt Johan van Galen off Leghorn. Samson was burned by a fireship. A fourth hired ship, Bonaventure, blew up, and a fifth, Mary, escaped.

1665  English King Charles II declares war on the Netherlands marking the start of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The first encounter between the nations would be at sea on 13 June, with the Battle of Lowestoft.

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James, Duke of York, the Lord High Admiral of England, argued in favour of a war between England and the Dutch.

Wikipedia – Second Anglo-Dutch War – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Anglo-Dutch_War

1675  John Flamsteed, FRS, was appointed by royal warrant “The King’s Astronomical Observator” – the first English Astronomer Royal, with an allowance of £100 a year. In June 1675, another royal warrant provided for the founding of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and Flamsteed laid the foundation stone in August. In time, he would catalogue over 3000 stars.

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John Flamsteed by Godfrey Kneller, 1702. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Flamsteed

1709  Portland fought the French Coventry and Mignon 40 miles N. by W. of Puerto Bastimentos, Colombia. A detachment of Brig-Gen Thomas Handasyd’s Regiment was present.

1806  Diadem captured the French Volontaire in Table Bay, South Africa, which had surrendered in January.

1807  Boats of Glatton (56) cut out a Turkish treasure-ship in Port Sigri, Lesbos.

1824  The ‘National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck’ is founded as a charity on 4th March 1824 by Sir William Hillary, with Royal Patronage from King George IV of Great Britain and Ireland.

It was given the prefix “Royal” and the name is changed to the ‘Royal National Lifeboat Institution’ in 1854 by Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) saves lives at sea around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as on selected inland waterways.

The RNLI has saved more than 140,000 lives since its foundation.

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Wikipedia – RNLI – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_National_Lifeboat_Institution

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The rescue of the crew of the Daunt Lightship by the Ballycotton lifeboat Mary Stanford.
An oil painting by B. F. Gribble RBC SMA (10th May 1872 – 21st February 1962).

RNLI Motto: Train one, Save many.

1842  Arthur Knyvet Wilson born.

1844  Order in Council re-established Deptford as a building yard.

1850  Medea, with a party from Hastings, captured thirteen pirate junks in Mirs Bay.

1853  Admiral Sir Thomas Bladen Capel, GCB RN, (25 August 1776 – 4 March 1853), died at his home in Rutland Gate, London.
He was an officer in the British Royal Navy whose distinguished service in the French Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 earned him rapid promotion and great acclaim both in and out of the Navy. He was also a great friend of Admiral Nelson and can be considered a full member of Nelson’s “band of brothers”.
He was buried in Kensal Green cemetery in a family plot, later joined by his wife Dame Harriet Capel. Their grave can still be seen and is largely still legible.

Kensal Green Cemetery  Kensal Green London Borough of Brent Greater London, England

Kensal Green Cemetery, Kensal Green, London Borough of Brent, Greater London, England.

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A cartoon showing Nelson and his officers celebrating with the men aboard HMS Vanguard after the victory at the Battle of the Nile. Admiral Sir Thomas Bladen Capel – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bladen_Capel

1872  First warship model test (Greyhound) at Admiralty Experimental Works, Torquay.

1890  The 1.5 mile Forth Railway Bridge in Scotland, the world’s first major steel bridge is formally completed when HRH Edward Prince of Wales tapped into place a ‘golden’ rivet.
In the First World War returning British sailors would time their departures or returns to the base at Rosyth by asking when they would pass under the bridge. This practice continued at least up to the 1990’s.

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Forth Railway Bridge from the south. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forth_Bridge

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Comparison of the side elevations of the Forth Bridge and some notable bridges at the same scale.(click for interactive version)

1899  Cyclone Mahina struck Bathurst Bay, Australia and the surrounding region with a devastating storm surge.
Within an hour, the Thursday Island based pearling fleet was either driven onto the shore or onto the Great Barrier Reef or sunk at their anchorages. Four schooners and the manned Channel Rock lightship were lost. A further two schooners were wrecked but later refloated. Of the luggers, 54 were lost and a further 12 were wrecked but refloated. Over 30 survivors of the wrecked vessels were later rescued from the shore however over 307 were killed, mostly immigrant non-European crew members.
To date, the death toll is the the largest of any natural disaster in Australian history.

1915  Ghurka and Maori, destroyers, destroyed U-8 near the Varne lightvessel (50-56N, 01-15E) by modified sweep. First success with indicator nets.

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HMS Ghurkha G15 (1907) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ghurka_(1907)

HMS MAORI-3-1909-1915.

HMS Maori (1909) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Maori_(1909)

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German submarines at Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, on 17 February 1914. Identifiable are: U 22, U 20, U 19, and U 21 (first row, left-right); U 14, U 15, U 12, U 16, U 18, U-17, and U 13 (second row, left-right); U-11, U-9, U-6, U-7, U-8, and U-5 (third row, left-right). As U 22 (the newest boat) was commissioned in November 1913, the photo was taken in 1914. Caption says: “Our submarine boats in the harbour” (in German).

SM U-8 Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_U-8

1918  The USS Cyclops (AC-4), one of four Proteus-class colliers built several years before WW1, departs from Barbados and is never seen again. The loss of the ship and 306 crew and passengers without a trace within the area known as the Bermuda Triangle some time after 4th March 1918 remains the single largest loss of life in U.S. Naval history not directly involving combat.
The Naval History & Heritage Command has stated she “probably sank in an unexpected storm” but the cause is unknown.

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USS Cyclops photographed by the New York Navy Yard, probably while anchored in the Hudson River, NY, on 3 October 1911. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cyclops_(AC-4)

1941  Transportation of Imperial troops from Egypt to Greece. Ended on 24 April, when the evacuation began. Operation Lustre.

1941  Successful raid on the Lofoten Islands, Norway. Operation Claymore. Ships: Bedouin, Eskimo, Legion, Somali (D 6), Tartar, Sunfish, Prinses Beatrix, Queen Emma. Close support: Edinburgh, Nigeria. Troops: RE, Commandos, Norwegian forces.

On 1 March a force of five destroyers under Capt C. Caslon in Somali and two cross-Channel steamers, carrying 500 men of 3 and 4 Commando, 50 Royal Engineers and some Norwegian troops sailed from Scapa Flow on Operation Claymore. The objective was to destroy the Norwegian oil factories on the Lofoten Islands, which were valuable to the Germans. A submarine was used as a navigational beacon, and the force achieved complete surprise with a first landing at 05.00 on 4 March. All the objectives including a fish factory ship were destroyed. By 13.00 the troops had re-embarked with 200 German prisoners, and the force returned on 6 March. This was a good example of the exploitation of sea power as a flexible aid to military force, where a small force can strike where and when required, and keep large numbers of enemy troops employed guarding many places. Most important was the acquisition from the trawler Krebs of a set of Enigma rotors; this may have been a matter of luck but it led to the capture of Munchen on 7 May.

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The view of the burning oil tanks, as seen from H.M.S. Legion, 4th March 1941. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Claymore

1942  Destroyer Stronghold and sloop Yarra (RAN), with MMS 51 sunk by Japanese surface forces 300 miles S. of Java, 220 miles S. of Sunda Strait (11-30S, 109-03E).

1943  The Battle of the Bismarck Sea (March 2nd – March 4th) comes to an end in the South West Pacific. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bismarck_Sea

1943  Destroyer St Croix and corvette Shediac (both RCN) sank U-87 in N. Atlantic. Convoy KMS 10.

4_inch_gun_%26_crew_HMCS_St_Croix_1941_LAC

HMCS St Croix (I81) Crew manning a 4-inch gun, Halifax, March 1941. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_McCook_(DD-252)#As_HMCS_St._Croix

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HMCS Shediac, 16 December 1944. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Shediac_(K110)

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U-87 breaking surface in rough sea off Heligoland. Wikipedia – U-87 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-87_(1941)

1943  Hudson V/500 sank U-83 E. by S. of Cartagena (37-10N, 00-05E).

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RAF West Malling Station Crest. Wikipedia No. 500 Squadron RAF – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._500_Squadron_RAF

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Hudson Mk V.

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Photo taken by the crew of Hudson “V” of 500 Sqn RAF which sank U-83 on 4 Mar, 1943.

U-83-Kiosqueetemblme

Wikipedia – U-83 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-83_(1940)

1944  Destroyer Onslaught and Swordfish B/816 (Chaser) sank U-472 off North Cape (73-05N, 26-40E). Convoy RA 57.

See 5 March 1944.

HMS_Onslaught_FL17021

HMS Onslaught during the Second World War. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Onslaught_(G04). Wikipedia – U-472 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-472

1944  Heavy cruiser Shropshire bombarded Hauwei Island, Admiralty Islands ahead of US attack.

HMS_Shropshire_(73) (1)

HMS Shropshire - Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Shropshire

1960  The 4,310-ton French freighter La Coubre, carrying 76 tons of Belgian munitions, exploded at 15:10hrs while it was being unloaded in Havana harbor, Cuba. The death toll was between 75 and 100 people with more than 200 people injured.
The explosion is often attributed to the CIA who wished to overthrow the new government of Fidel Castro. The relevant files in the USA are currently sealed under a 150-year embargo. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Coubre_explosion

1965  Vice-Adm J.M.D. Gray appointed the last C-in-C South Atlantic and South America station. Flag in Afrikander. Flag hauled down April 1967 after 170 years of station’s existence. Gray was born 13 June 1913; died 3 February 1998 aged 84.

See 11 April 1967. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gray_(Royal_Navy_officer)

1970  While French Daphné-class submarine Eurydice (S644) was diving in calm seas off Cape Camarat in the Mediterranean, 35 miles east of Toulon, a geophysical laboratory picked up the shock waves of an underwater explosion. French and Italian search teams found an oil slick and a few bits of debris, including a parts tag that bore the name Eurydice. The cause of the explosion was never determined. All 57 crew were lost.

Submarine history – Eurydice – http://www.netmarine.net/bat/smarins/eurydice/histoire.htm

1992  Vanguard, tenth of the name and first of the RNL Trident submarines launched at Barrow-in-Furness.

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Launch day HMS Vanguard (S28)

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 3 March …..

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

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

New Providence Raid, March 1776. Oil painting on canvas by V. Zveg, 1973. Wikipedia – Battle of Nassau – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nassau

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

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

Model of the HMS Illustrious at Buckler’s Hard. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Illustrious_(1789)

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

Leander_%26_Genereux

Action between HMS Leander and the French national ship Le Généreux, August 18th 1798, C. H. Seaforth. Généreux visible in the front, Leander damaged in background. Wikipedia – HMS Leander (1780) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Leander_(1780)Le Généreux - wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_ship_G%C3%A9n%C3%A9reux_(1785) .

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

See 19 February 1807.

Duckworth's_Squadron_forcing_the_Dardanelles (1)

The squadron under the command of Sir J T Duckworth forcing the narrow channel of the Dardanelles, by Thomas Whitcombe. Wikipedia – Dardanelles Operation (1807) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dardanelles_Operation_(1807)

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

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

Competition_from_two_Companies_to_supply_the

Competition from two Companies to supply the Borough of Portsmouth. PortsmouthWater.co.uk – http://www.portsmouthwater.co.uk/about-us/default2.aspx?id=5580

1885  The American Telephone & Telegraph Company is incorporated in New York. Wikipedia – AT&T Origins – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT%26T_Corporation#Origins

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

NACA_seal

The official seal of NACA, depicting the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Advisory_Committee_for_Aeronautics

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

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

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Queen Elizabeth, beginning her ‘secret’ maiden voyage, from Clydebank to New York in March 1940. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Elizabeth#Maiden_voyage

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

HMS_York_secured

HMS York (90) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_York_(90)

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

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Order of Nakhimov – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Nakhimov

Order of Ushakov – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Ushakov

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

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

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USS Sargo surfaced at the North Pole on 9 February 1960. (U.S. Navy photo). Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Sargo_(SSN-583)

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

See 19 April 2004.

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

Riddell_Decom

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) Decommissioning ceremony. Words from last CO – USSnautilus.org – http://www.ussnautilus.org/events/2004Nov17goldenyear/Riddell_lecture.shtml

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 2 March …..

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

Coat_of_Arms_of_the_College_of_Arms.svg

The Coat of Arms of the College of Arms. http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/about-us/history Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_of_Arms

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

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

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A 1796 map showing the Savannah area, Hutchinson Island is in the Savannah River near the town. Wikipedia – Battle of the Rice Boats – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Rice_Boats

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James Wright Portrait by Andrea Soldi. Wikipedia – James Wright – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Wright_(governor)

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

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

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

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HMS Nereide at the Battle of Grand Port – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_frigate_N%C3%A9r%C3%A9ide_(1779)

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The Vengeance of 74 guns sailing from Martinique with a fresh breeze – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Vengeance_(1774)

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

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

HMS Sappho capturing the Danish brig Admiral Jawl, Oil on Canvas, 19th century. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Sappho_(1806). Action of 2 March 1808 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_of_2_March_1808. The London Gazette 5 March 1808 – https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/16124/page/321

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

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

Combate_de_San_Nicolás

Battle of San Nicolás – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_San_Nicol%C3%A1s

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

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

See 14 September 1914.

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

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

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

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

See 8 March 1940.

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

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

Allied aircraft execute a low level attack on a Japanese ship during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, March, 1943. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bismarck_Sea

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

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

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

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Sea Hawk in livery of the FAA. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Sea_Hawk

Agadir, 1960 – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960_Agadir_earthquake

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

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

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Admiral of the Fleet Sir Julian Oswald GCB – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Oswald

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

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New Carissa, freedrifting at 6 m.p.h. on this day in 1999.

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 1 March …..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See 10 September 1874, 23 October 1903.

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

1881  RN Medical School, Haslar, opened.

haslar-hospital,large.1419075807

RNH Haslar – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Hospital_Haslar

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

See 25 November 1910, 10 July 1911.

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

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

Rear_Admiral_David_Beatty_pre-1915

Rear-Admiral David Beatty – Wikipedia – David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Beatty,_1st_Earl_Beatty

1916  German extended submarine campaign began.

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

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HMS Primula (K14)

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SM U 35, Commander Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière, cruising in the Mediterranean. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_U-35_(Germany)

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LIFEmagU-35

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

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

HMS_Calgarian

HMS Calgarian (1913) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Calgarian_(1913)

U-Boote_Kiel_1914

SM U-19 (first row, second from the right). – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_U-19_(Germany)

1919  All surveying ships to be painted white.

1928  Courageous recommissioned. First carrier with transverse arrester wires.

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HMS Courageous shortly after completion in 1916.

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HMS Courageous as an aircraft carrier in 1935. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Courageous_(50)

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

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

COTSWOLD_1736

HMS Cotswold (L54)

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

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

U-656PBO1

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

U-656A

Depth bomb swirl and U-boat swirl 30 seconds after attack. Wikipedia – U-656 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-656

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

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

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

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

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

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

hmsgouldK476 (1)

HMS Gould (K476) – WIkipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Gould_(K476)

HMSAffleckK462

HMS Affleck (K462) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Affleck_(K462)

KptltMankeRolf

Kptlt. Rolf Manke on the U-358 Conning Tower. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-358

The longest continuous U-boat hunt

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

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

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

Castle_Bravo_Blast

Castle Bravo – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Bravo

Daigo_Fukuryū_Maru_01 (1)

Daigo Fukuryū Maru (Lucky Dragon No. 5) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daigo_Fukury%C5%AB_Maru

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

Mpollock

Admiral Sir Michael Pollock c.1974 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Pollock

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

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

See 12 June 1990.

Fort_George6-1993

RFA Fort George (A388) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFA_Fort_George_(A388)

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

MG1577_1_Zoom

HMSFearlessL10

HMS Fearless L10 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Fearless_(L10)

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

See 11 April 1866.

HMS_Ranger_P293_BB

HMS Ranger (P293) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ranger_(P293)

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 28 February …..

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

Capture_Of_Cacafuego

Capture Of Cacafuego (1626) engraving by Friedrich Hulsius. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuestra_Se%C3%B1ora_de_la_Concepci%C3%B3n

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

Admiral_Sir_John_Thomas_Duckworth_(1748

Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth by Sir William Beechey, 1810 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_John_Duckworth,_1st_Baronet

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

HMS_Monmouth_and_Foudroyant_1758

The Capture of Foudroyant by HMS Monmouth, 28 February 1758. Painting by F. Swaine, 1725-1782. National Maritime Museum, London. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Monmouth_(1667)

Foudroyant%26PegasEnteringPortsmouthHarbour

HMS Foudroyant towing the Pégase entering Portsmouth Harbour, 30th April 1782 by Dominic Serres. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Foudroyant_(1758)

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

1810  Sea Fencibles disbanded: 61 captains, 245 lieutenants and 23,455 men. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Fencibles

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

SS_California_Poster_Sharpened

SS California, Pacific Mail’s first ship on the Panama City to San Francisco route. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_California_(1848)

feb28_SS_California_map1848

1866  Grapeshot declared obsolete in RN.

Grape_shot

An example of grapeshot. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapeshot

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

feb28_RMS_Quetta

RMS Quetta, on the River Thames near Gravesend, England, 1884. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Quetta

quetta_90

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

feb28_USS_Indiana_Battleship_No_1

USS Indiana in Philadelphia (Digitally colourised image)Late 1800’s). WIkipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Indiana_(BB-1)

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

Wallace_Carothers%2C_in_the_lab

Wallace Carothers – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Carothers

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

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

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

holmelea

U-47s

October 1939. U-47 returns to port after sinking HMS Royal Oak. The battleship Scharnhorst can be seen in the background. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-47_(1938) 

U47logo

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

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

Rockingham_Naval_Park_7

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

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

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

Wikipedia – U-327 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-327

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

HMSMauritiusCommcenAndAdminBlocks

Commcen and Admin Blocks.

Ship Room

Ship room.

Tare

TARE.

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

1990  Abolition of rum issue in RNZN. Wikipedia – Grog – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grog. Rum ration – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rum_ration.

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

rum06

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

rum07

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

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

feb28_New_Carrissa_Bow_Passing_Stern

The bow of the New Carissa moves slowly past her stern.

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 27 February …..

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

Wikipedia – Treaty of Stolbovo – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Stolbovo. Wikipedia – Ingrian War – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingrian_War

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

Dampier-portrait

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

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

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

1847  Senior Engineers became commissioned officers.

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

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

feb27_japanese_flag

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

Majuba_LondonNews

The Battle of Majuba, drawn by Richard Caton Woodville for the Illustrated London News. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Majuba_Hill

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

HMS_Bacchante_(1876)

HMS Bacchante (1876) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Bacchante_(1876)

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

ns_ellyson

Lieutenant Theodore Gordon Ellyson, USN. Naval Pilot No. 1, in 1911. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_G._Ellyson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frederick_Field_(Royal_Navy_officer)

Empire_Cruise_1923

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Field. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Field_(Royal_Navy_officer). Special Service Squadron Empire Cruise route. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruise_of_the_Special_Service_Squadron

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

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

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

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

HMS_Leander (1)

Ramb1

HMNZS Leander – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMNZS_Leander. Italian ship Ramb I sinking in 1941 – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramb_I

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

Turmabzeichen_von_U_156

U-156_37-35_Laconia_1942_09_15

Conning tower emblem of U-156. – U-156 (foreground) and U-507 (background) on 15 September 1942 – wikipedia – U-156 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-156_(1941).

1942  Electra sunk by Asagumo in the Java Sea.

HMS_Electra

Asagumo

HMS Electra before the war wearing the single white stripe of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. Wikipedia – HMS Electra (H27) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Electra_(H27)Asagumo underway on September 14, 1939. Wikipedia – IJN destroyer Asagumo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_destroyer_Asagumo_(1937)

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

See 1 March 1942.

Karel_Doorman_as_lieutenant-commander

HNLMS_De_Ruyter

CruiserHaguro

Karel Doorman as a Lieutenant Commander in 1930. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karel_Doorman .

A port side view of De Ruyter at anchor, shortly before her loss in the Battle of the Java Sea. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HNLMS_De_Ruyter_(1935). Wikipedia – IJN Haguro –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_cruiser_Haguro

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

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

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

gallgneisedestruction04feb26_Gneisenau_bfeb26_Gneisenau_c

Images of Gneisenau, severely damaged in the drydock in Kiel, 1942. wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_battleship_Gneisenau

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

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

HMS_Tigris

HMS Tigris (N63) in Plymouth Sound in July 1942 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Tigris_(N63)

German warship UJ-2210 – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_warship_Uj-2210

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

HMS_Loch_Fada_(F390)_MOD_45139853

HMS Loch Fada after modernisation – note twin main gun and F390 pennant. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Loch_Fada_(K390). U-1018 – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-1018

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

See 19 December 1967, 25 June 1975.

HMS_Lowestoft_(F103)

HMS Lowestoft in 1979 – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Lowestoft_(F103)

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

gaddis-john-lewis-c-michael-marsland

Michael Lewis (naval historian) – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Lewis_(naval_historian)

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

feb27_New_Carrissa_Sea_Victory_Pulls_Bow (1)

New Carissa is tugged slightly seaward by Sea Victory (out of frame). Wikipedia – New Carissa – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Carissa.

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

Tigerfish_torpedo

Tigerfish (torpedo) – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigerfish_(torpedo)

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

feb27_Superferry_2004

The Superferry 14 bombing, Philippines, 2004. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_SuperFerry_14_bombing

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 26 February …..

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

Admiral_Joshua_Rowley

Sir Joshua Rowley, Vice-Admiral of the White – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Joshua_Rowley,_1st_Baronet

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

Bonne_Citoyenne_and_Furieuse

HMS Furieuse (1809) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Furieuse_(1809)

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

Eurotas_and_Clorinde

Capture of La Clorinde, by Thomas Whitcombe, 1 March 1817, in the collection of the National Maritime Museum. – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Dryad_(1795). La Clorinde – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_frigate_Clorinde_(1808)

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

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

The_Birkenhead-TroopshipWreck_of_the_BirkenheadThe_Wreck_of_the_Birkenhead

A contemporary picture of the ship. “The Wreck of the Birkenhead” (ca 1892) by Thomas M Hemy. The Wreck of the Birkenhead (1901) by Charles Dixon. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Birkenhead_(1845)

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

HMS-Royal-Sovereign-copyQueenVictoriaatthefloatingOfHMSRoyalSovereign1891HMSRoyalSovereign1891

A British Battleship – HMS Royal Sovereign – Drawn for “The Boys own Paper” by J J Jelley – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Royal_Sovereign_(1891)

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

$_57 (1)LaunchHMSRoyalArthur26Feb1891

Queen Victoria Launches HMS Royal Arthur (1891)(The Graphic & The Illustrated London News) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Royal_Arthur_(1891)

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

feb26_Britannic_launch

Wikipedia – HMHS Britannic – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMHS_Britannic

British Pathé – Launch of Britannic – http://youtu.be/1HdQe8fHleU

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

VCEricGascoigneRobinson

Eric Robinson, VC from Gallaher Cigarette Cards – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Gascoigne_Robinson

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

feb26_La_ProvenceSM_U_35_mediterranean_800pxpause-auf-der-feindfahrt-seiner-majestaet

French liner ‘La Provence’ in 1912. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_La_Provence. SM U-35, Commander Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière, cruising in the Mediterranean – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_U-35_(Germany)

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

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

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

Robert_Watson-Watt

Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, KCB, FRS, FRAeS – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Watson-Watt .

The History of Radar – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_radar

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

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

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

Ships_crest_of_HMS_Resolution_(S22)694655Resolution (1)

HMS Resolution (S22) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Resolution_(S22)

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

feb26_Yeovilton_Ski_jump

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

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


Royal Navy On This Day 25 February …..

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

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

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

united_kingdom_-_england_-_london_-_greenwich

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

feb25_Royal_obs

Wikipedia – Royal Observatory, Greenwich – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Observatory,_Greenwich

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

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

See 17 June 1795.

William_Cornwallis_as_Admiral (1)

William Cornwallis – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Cornwallis

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

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

Eurotas_and_Clorinde-cropped

Clorinde fighting HMS Eurotas – Wikipedia – French frigate Clorinde – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_frigate_Clorinde_(1808)

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

1917  German destroyer raid on Margate and Westgate.

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

RMS_Laconia_1912Wilhelmshaven, U-Boot-Männer mit Eisernem Kreuz

RMS Laconia (1911) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Laconia_(1911). U-50 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_U-50

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

feb25_USS_Ranger_CV_4_launchedUSS_Ranger_CV-4

USS Ranger (CV-4) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Ranger_(CV-4)

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

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

Good, better, best

Never let us rest

Until our good is better

And our better, best.

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

battleship-tirpitz

The battleship Tirpitz conducting trials in the Baltic Sea during 1941. – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_battleship_Tirpitz

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

hambledon_hms_hunt_classGermaneboat

HMS Exmoor (L61) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Exmoor_(L61). German Schnellboot E-boat S-30 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-boat

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

300px-HMS_UprightArmando_Diaz_AllenGren3

HMS Upright (second from left) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Upright_(N89). Italian cruiser Armando Diaz – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_cruiser_Armando_Diaz

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

Mahratta

HMS Mahratta (G23) – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Mahratta_(G23)

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

HMSInglefieldMaltaHMSHoodBackground

HMS Inglefield, with HMS Hood in the background – wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Inglefield_(D02)

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

The_Royal_Navy_during_the_Second_World_WarHMS_Gore_1944_IWM_FL_13520HMSGouldK476

HMS Affleck (K462) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Affleck_(K462). HMS Gore (K481) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Gore_(K481). HMS Gould (K476) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Gould_(K476).

UB_148_at_sea_2.jpeg (3)

U-148 Unterseeboot similar to U-91 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-91_(1941)

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

egholm_0U2322u2322-tipoXXIII

SS Egholm  U-2322 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-2322

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

ukr07feb25_HMS_Ark_Royal_at_Hampton_Roads_1957

HMS Ark Royal (R09) during the International Naval Review at Hampton Roads, VA, USA (May 1957). Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ark_Royal_(R09)

1966  MCD Branch formed. DCI278/66 – http://www.mcdoa.org.uk/DCI_278_66_Formation_of_MCD_Branch.htm

See 7 March 1952.

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

1967  HMS Renown (S26) launched at Birkenhead.

Ships_crest_of_HMS_Renown_(S26)HMS_Renown_(Resolution-class_submarine)_

HMS Renown (S26) – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resolution-class_submarine

1970  Concept of the Military Salary approved in Parliament.

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

1994  HMY Britannia completed 1 million nautical miles.

wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx


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