HMS Curlew (D 42)
Light cruiser of the Ceres class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Vickers (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.)|
|Laid down||21 Aug 1916|
|Launched||5 Jul 1917|
|Commissioned||14 Dec 1917|
|Lost||26 May 1940|
|Loss position||67° 32'N, 16° 37'E|
HMS Curlew was rearmed as Anti-Aircraft cruiser before the war.
HMS Curlew (Capt. Basil Charles Barrington Brooke, RN) was sunk in Lavangsfjord, Ofotfjord near Narvik, northern Norway in position 67º32'N, 16º37'E by German bombers.
Commands listed for HMS Curlew (D 42)
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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.
|1||Capt. Basil Charles Barrington Brooke, RN||23 Aug 1939||26 May 1940|
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Notable events involving Curlew include:
4 Nov 1939
Convoy ON 1.
This convoy departed Methil on 4 November 1939 and arrived in Norwegian waters near Bergen on 7 November 1939.
The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Folda (British, 1165 GRT, built 1920), Glen Tilt (British, 871 GRT, built 1920), Majorca (British, 1126 GRT, built 1921), Treworlas (British, 4692 GRT, built 1922) and Warlaby (British, 4875 GRT, built 1927).
A close escort was provided for the convoy made up of the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, RN) and HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN).
The AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 0100A/5 to join the close escort which she did around 0830A/5.
The destroyer HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) joined the convoy at 1700A/5 and HMS Fame then parted company.
The light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) departed Rosyth around 1800A/5 to provide close cover for the convoy.
At 0720A/6, HMS Ashanti parted company to proceed to Sullum Voe to repair defects.
Ships from the Home Fleet were at sea to provide distant cover.
7 Nov 1939
Convoy HN 1.
This convoy was formed near Bergen, Norway on 7 November 1939 and arrived off Methil on 10 November 1939.
The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Egton (British, 4363 GRT, built 1938), Goodleigh (British, 5448 GRT, built 1938), Hardingham (British, 5415 GRT, built 1933), Hetton (British, 2714 GRT, built 1924), Rozewie (Polish, 766 GRT, built 1938), Thomas Walton (British, 4460 GRT, built 1917) and Vina (British, 1021 GRT, built 1894).
On forming up the convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) and HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, RN).
The light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) provided close cover for the convoy.
At 1800A/8, the destroyer HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN) joined the convoy escort having departed Sullum Voe at 1630A/7.
HMS Curlew parted company with the convoy at 1715A/9 and proceeded to Scapa Flow.
They were joined around 1645A/13, by HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) which was also on passage to Immingham. She had departed Scapa Flow around 2330A/12.
HMS Edinburgh, HMS Curlew, HMS Ashanti and HMS Maori arrived at Immingham around 1300A/14. (1)
17 Apr 1940
Troopship Chrobry (Polish, 11442 GRT, built 1939) departed Lillesjona for Namsos to land more troops and stores together with the troops that had been put on board the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN). The newly arrived AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) went in with the Chrobry and the five destroyers while HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral G. Layton, CB, DSO, RN) remained at sea while the other AA cruiser, HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), was sent north to Skjel Fjord to fuel. The troopship Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914) was ordered to return to the U.K. escorted by HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN) and HMS Whirlwind (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN). HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) was also initially have to been part of this escort but she had run aground while on A/S patrol off Lillesjona around 0130 hours and had been damaged. She was detached soon after departure for the Tyne where she was to undergo repairs. Shortly before HMS Highlander was detached she forced a German submarine to dive which enabled the convoy to pass unharmed.
At 0200/18 unloading of the Chrobry was halted and she went out to sea again with 170 tons of stores still onboard. She had to clear the area before daylight and the expected air attacks. She was to return the next night. Chrobry indeed succeeded in landing her remaining stores in the evening of the 18th. She then took on board a cargo of timber and set course for the U.K. escorted by HMS Sikh and HMS Mashona. HMS Matabele and HMS Curlew meanwhile had gone back to the U.K. for fuel. HMS Manchester was also on her way back home but was ordered to return to assist a French convoy that was next to land troops at Namsos. HMS Manchester could not be back in time to assist in the landings but course and speed were adjusted so as to meet the convoy at sea and escort it on the return passage. HMS Manchester joined the convoy in the evening of the 20th and remained with it until off the Shetlands the next day after which she was detached and set course for Scapa Flow. HMS Cairo had meanwhile also returned after fueling at Skjel Fjord and assisted the French during the landings. HMS Cairo then returned to the U.K. bolstering the escort of the French convoy. (2)
23 Apr 1940
Around 1330A/23, the aircraft carriers, HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for air operations of central Norway. On board HMS Ark Royal were 18 Skua's and 5 Rocs as well as 21 Swordfish. On board HMS Glorious were 18 Sea Gladiators and 11 Skua's. Also on board HMS Glorious were 18 RAF Gladiators which were to be flown off to Norway. The carriers were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. I.M. Palmer, DSC, RN), AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. E.W.B. Sim, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN).
In the evening HMS Glorious flew off the 18 RAF Gladiators to Norway which were to be used in the air defense of the Aandalsnes and Molde area.
On the 24th air operations were carried out over Aandalsnes. All aircraft returned safely to the aircraft carriers. Two Skuas crashed landed near the carriers on their return due to lack of fuel. Their crews were rescued by destroyers.
The carrier force then proceeded to an area between Namsos and Trondheim and at 0300A/25 the carriers flew off aircraft to attack the Vaernes airfield and other enemy military targets in the Trondheim area. Both carriers lost four aircraft, some of the crews were picked up by destroyers.
At 0725A/26 the destroyer screen parted company to proceed to Sullom Voe to refuel. They arrived at Sullom Voe at 2130A/26 and departed again 0400A/27 to rejoin the force at which they did around 1800A/27. They had been relieved at 0700A/26 by a group of destroyers coming from the Narvik area, these were; HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN).
During flying operations on the 26th two aircraft were lost.
During flying operations on the 27th also two aircraft were lost.
At 2100A/27, HMS Glorious parted company with the force and proceeded to Scapa Flow escorted by the destoyers HMS Hasty, HMS Grenade, HMS Fury, HMS Fortune, HMS Escort and HMS Encounter. They arrived at Scapa Flow at 1800A/28.
On the 28th, aircraft from HMS Ark Royal carried out another air raid on the Trondheim area. One aircraft was lost. During this raid the force was now made up of HMS Ark Royal, HMS Berwick, HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral M.L. Clarke, DSC, RN) (joined around 1200A/28), HMS Curlew (parted company around 1600A/28), HMS Fearless, HMS Hereward, HMS Hyperion and HMS Juno.
At 2100A/29, HMS Sheffield parted company.
At 0630A/30, HMS Glorious departed Scapa Flow to rejoin HMS Ark Royal at sea. Shortly after departure replacement aircraft were flown on. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Beagle, HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, RN), HMS Acheron (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Volunteer. HMS Volunteer however developed defects and was soon detached to Sullom Voe arriving there at 2230A/30. Defects proved to be of such nature that she had to return to Scapa Flow for repairs. HMS Glorious and her remaining escorting destroyers joined the Ark Royal group around 1030/1.
At 0400A/30 HMS Juno was detached from the screen of HMS Ark Royal and proceeded to Sullum Voe with defects. At Sullom Voe ammunition was transferred to HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) which then proceeded to take her place in the destroyer screen of HMS Ark Royal. HMS Juno then proceeded to Scapa Flow for repairs arriving there at 1800A/1.
Around 1100A/30, the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fury, HMS Fortune HMS Escort and HMS Encounter joined coming from Scapa Flow which they had departed at 2100A/29.
Around 1820A/1, the force came under heavy German air attack but no damage was done.
At 2000A/1, Capt. Holland assumed command of HMS Ark Royal from Capt. Power while the ship was at sea.
At 2100A/1, HMS Hyperion and HMS Beagle were detached to Sullom Voe. HMS Hereward had already been detached around 1900A/1. HMS Hereward arrived at Sullom Voe at 1240A/2 followed aby HMS Hyperion at 2215A/2. HMS Beagle proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving there at 0630A/3.
HMS Ark Royal, HMS Glorious, HMS Valiant, HMS Berwick, HMS Acheron, HMS Antelope, HMS Encounter, HMS Escort, HMS Fearless, HMS Fortune, HMS Fury and HMS Kimberley arrived at Scapa Flow around 1030A/3. (3)
4 May 1940
Around 1600A/4, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN), AA cruiser, AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operations off Norway.
On the 6th, HMS Ark Royal flew of a Walrus to Harstad with the Staff Officer Operations onboard. He was to confer with Admiral of the Fleet W.H.D. Boyle (Lord Cork), GCB, GCVO, RN, the Flag Officer, Northern Norway.
In the afternoon of the 6th, HMS Ark Royal flew off six Skua's for a fighter patrol over Tjelsundet, Bogen and Harstad. One aircraft reported having sighted a submarine near the Andenes Lighthouse. Therefore an A/S patrol of three Swordfish was flown off but these sighted nothing.
At 0640A/7, HMS Encounter and HMS Jaguar were detached to fuel at Harstad. They returned at 2000A/7 at which time HMS Sikh and HMS Tartar were detached to fuel at Harstad.
On the 7th, flight operations were carried out by HMS Ark Royal, these included fighter patrols in the Narvik / Harstad area. Also the Walrus aircraft with the Staff Officer Operations returned to HMS Ark Royal. Two Swordfish aircraft carried out a photographic reconnaissance of the area east of Bogen.
HMS Sikh and HMS Tartar rejoined at 1054/8. Later that day, at 1737A/8, HMS Inglefield and HMS Mashona were sent to Harstad to fuel.
On the 8th, flight operations were carried out by HMS Ark Royal, these included the usual fighter patrols in the Narvik / Harstad area. In the afternoon Skua's damaged two enemy bombers and forced a enemy flying boat down. One of the Skua's was lost in this last engagement. The crew was safe and later returned to HMS Ark Royal. Also one Swordfish carried out a photographic reconnaissance of the east east of Bogen and the Herjangsfjord. In the afternoon two more Swordfish conducted an A/S patrol around the carrier force.
At 0902A/9, HMS Inglefield and HMS Mashona rejoined. At 1315A/9, HMS Jaguar was detached to Harstad. At 2253A/9, HMS Encounter was detached to Harstad.
On the 9th, flight operations were carried out by HMS Ark Royal. The flying operations started around 0800A/9 with a strike force of 9 Swordfish aircraft which were to to carry out an attack on the railway line at Nordalsbroen, Hundalen and Sildvik. They were followed by three Skua's which were to give fighter protection for this Swordfish strike force. Two more Skua's were then flown off for a defensive patrol. Three of the Swordfish had to return to HMS Ark Royal and one had to ditch and the crew was picked up by a destroyer. The remaining Swordfish successfully attacked railway infrastructure. One of the Skua's of the fighter cover for the Swordfish had to crash land due to engine problems. It's crew survived and managed to escape capture by the Germans. No flying was prossible for the remainder of the day due to the weather conditions.
At 0225/10, HMS Jaguar rejoined followed by HMS Encounter at 1703A/10 at which time HMS Sikh and HMS Tartar were detached for Harstad.
On the 10th, no flying was possible until early afternoon when 2 flights of three Skua's each were flown off for fighter patrols in the Narvik, area. Fighted patrols were maintained throughout the remainder of the day.
At 1355A/11, HMS Sikh and HMS Tartar rejoined and HMS Mashona and HMS Jaguar were detached with orders to proceed to Scapa Flow.
On the 11th, flying commenced around 1000 hours when three Skua's were flown off to provide fighter cover for Allied convoys. This fighter cover was maintained throughout the day.
On the 12th, flying commenced around 0400 hours with Skua's been again flown off for convoy fighter cover. These fighter patrols were discontinued around noon. In late afternoon aircraft were flown off for operations and fighter patrols in the Narvik area.
At 1304A/13, HMS Curlew and HMS Inglefield were detached to fuel at Harstad.
On the 13th, flying already started at 0215 hours when two Skua's were flown off for fighter patrol over Herjangsfjord. Also a Swordfish was flown off for reconnaissance duty for the Army. Fighter patrols would be maintained over the Fleet and various areas throughout early in the morning. Also several strike forces were flown off to engage land targets. Flying was halted around 0800 hours due to the unsuitable weather conditions.
At 0830A/14, HMS Inglefield rejoined. At 1338A/14, the destroyers HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) joined. At the same time HMS Inglefield and HMS Sikh were detached with orders to proceed to Scapa Flow while HMS Encounter was detached to Harstad. At 1350A/14, HMS Curlew rejoined but she left again at 2057A/14.
On the 14th, flying commenced only at 1100 hours when three Skua's were flown off for a fighter patrol over Bjerkvik. Fighted patrols were maintained throughout the day in various areas.
At 0615A/15, HMS Encounter rejoined. HMS Tartar parted company on the 15th, also to fuel at Harstad (no time given).
On 15 May, flying commenced shortly after 0400 hours, when two Skua's were flown off for a fighter patrol over Hartvig. Fighter patrols were maintained over several area's throughout the day. Also several stike forces of Swordfish aircraft were flown off during the day.
At 0703A/16, HMS Westcott parted company to proceed to Harstad to effect repairs there as she was suffering from engine trouble and her Asdic was out of action. At 1044A/16, HMS Tartar rejoined. At 1800A/16, HMS Volunteer was detached to fuel at Harstad.
On 16 May, flying commenced around 0300 hours, when a strike force of 9 Swordfish was flown off to attack enemy troops and stores on the Hemnes Peninsula in the Ranfjorden. Three Skua's were also flown off to give them fighter protection. They also were to sink the damaged troopship Chrobry (Polish, 11442 GRT, built 1939). One bomb hit the ship and she finally sank. Earlier attempts had failed to sink the derelict wreck. Fighter patrols made up of Skua's were flown off throughout the day to patrol in various areas. Also late in the afternoon a Swordfish was flown off for a photographic reconnaissance.
At 2100A/17, HMS Volunteer rejoined from Harstad.
On the 17th, fighter protection was provided for HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN), HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), HMS Coventry (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, DSC, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) and HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN) which where en-route from Harstard to Bodo carrying troops. These fighter patrols continued until 0630A/18.
At 0200A/18, the destroyer HMS Brazen (Lt.Cdr. Sir M. Culme-Seymour, RN) joined. At 1445A/18, the destroyer HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, RN) joined. At 1800A/18, HMS Encounter was detached to oil. HMS Tartar was also detached on this day (no time given).
Late the 18th, two groups of three Skua's were flown off by HMS Ark Royal for figher cover in the Narvik area.
At 1612A/19, HMS Encounter rejoined. At 1900A/19, HMS Volunteer parted company to oil at Harstad.
On the 19th, No flying took place as conditions inshore were unsuitable.
At 1830A/20, HMS Volunteer rejoined and HMS Brazen was detached to oil at Harstad.
On the 20th, around 0330 hours, HMS Ark Royal flew off a strike force of 9 Swordfish that was to attack Hundalen and Sildvik. Around the same time 3 Skua's were flown off for a fighter patrol in the Narvik area. More Skua fighters patrols for the Narvik area were flown off at 0400 and 0600 hours. When these aircraft all returned later in the morning, visibility had deteriorated and flying was halted for the remainder of the day.
At 1928A/21, HMS Brazen rejoined.
On 21 June HMS Ark Royal flew of 6 Skua's around 0300 hours for a fighter patrol near Bardufoss airfield to cover the landing of Gladiator fighters there that were flown off from HMS Furious. Later Skua's were flown off to conduct a fighter patrol off Bardufoss.
Around 2345A/22, HMS Volunteer and HMS Encounter lost touch in thick fog. They only rejoined at 1523/23, after the fog had cleared. HMS Ark Royal now ended her operations off Norway and course was set to return to Scapa Flow.
At 0455A/24, HMS Antelope was detached followed by HMS Brazen at 1518A/24. HMS Ark Royal, HMS Volunteer and HMS Encounter arrived at Scapa Flow around 1915A/24.
- ADM 53/108462
- ADM 53/112663 + ADM 186/798
- ADM 199/376 (+ ADM 53/111432 and ADM 53/111433)
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.