Allied Warships

HMS Severn (N 57)

Submarine of the River class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassRiver 
PennantN 57 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered20 Nov 1932 
Laid down27 Mar 1933 
Launched16 Jan 1934 
Commissioned12 Jan 1935 
End service23 Dec 1944 
History

Decommissioned on 23 December 1944 at Trincomalee.

Sold to be broken up for scrap in 1946. Scrapped at Bombay, India.

 

Commands listed for HMS Severn (N 57)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Bertram Wilfrid Taylor, RNMay 193930 Oct 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Andrew Neil Gillespie Campbell, RN30 Oct 194020 Aug 1941
3Lt.Cdr. Herbert George Dymott, RN20 Aug 19414 Sep 1941
4Lt.Cdr. Andrew Neil Gillespie Campbell, RN4 Sep 19417 Jan 1944
5Lt. Raymond Henry Bull, DSC, RN7 Jan 194420 Mar 1944
6Lt. John Francis Michell, RN20 Mar 19448 Apr 1944
7Lt. Raymond Henry Bull, DSC, RN8 Apr 19445 Sep 1944
8T/Lt. Victor Henry Frank Drew, RNVR5 Sep 19446 Sep 1944
9Lt. Richard Femister Tibbatts, RN6 Sep 194421 Sep 1944
10Lt.Cdr. Russell Stanhope Brookes, DSO, DSC, RN21 Sep 194423 Dec 1944

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Notable events involving Severn include:


The history of HMS Severn as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine. This information was obtained during research at the British National Archives at London. Corrections and details regarding information from the enemy's side (for instance the composition of convoys attacked) is kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

This page was last updated in November 2017.

31 Aug 1939

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during the passage from Gibraltar to Freetown see the map below.

(1)

31 Aug 1939

HMS Clyde (Cdr. W.E. Banks, RN) and HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) both departed Gibraltar for Freetown where they were to join the South Atlantic Command for convoy defence duties. (2)

7 Sep 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Freetown. (1)

9 Sep 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown to patrol off the Cape Verde Islands. This was her 1st war patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

10 Sep 1939
At 0959 hours (zone +1), in position 09°10'N, 15°55'W, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), sighted a tanker bearing 270°, range 7 nautical miles, steering a course of 120°. Severn altered course to close at 18 knots to investigate. Shortly afterwards the tanker turned away. On closing HMS Severn told the tanker to stop. Severn then intercepted a distress message from the tanker which turned out to be the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary Oligarch (6894 GRT, built 1918, Master H.M. Sinclair). HMS Severn then made every effort to establish her identity to the tanker but this succeeded only at 1100 hours. Oligarch was then ordered to proceed to Freetown and cancel her distress message. (3)

28 Sep 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed her patrol area for Dakar. (3)

30 Sep 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Dakar. (3)

1 Oct 1939

1 October 1939, an enemy raider reported in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
The chase of the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee

Movements of the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee 21 August 1939 – 13 December 1939.

Before the Second World War had started, on 21 August 1939, the German ‘pocked battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee departed Wilhelmshaven bound for the South Atlantic. On 1 September the Admiral Graf Spee was off the Canary Islands where she made rendes-vous with the supply ship Altmark and supplies were transferred.

On 11 September another rendes-vous was made with the Altmark in the South Atlantic. The Admiral Graf Spee had launched her Arado floatplane to scout in the area as supplies were transferred. The aircraft spotted the British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.H.G. Fallowfield, RN). The German ships then immediately parted company and cleared the area at high speed. Two days later, on the 13th, the ships again met and fueling was completed. The Admiral Graf Spee was still under orders to remain unseen.

On 20 September 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee and Altmark met again to fuel. On the 26th the Admiral Graf Spee was ordered to start raiding the British trade lanes. She then proceeded towards the Pernambuco area.

On 30 September 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee found her first victim, the British merchant vessel Clement (5050 GRT, built 1934) that was en-route from New York, U.S.A. to Bahia, Brasil. She then sank the ship in position 09°05’S, 34°05’W. The Admiral Graf Spee then proceeded eastwards and found three more victims between 5 and 10 October. On the 5th she captured the British merchant Newton Beech (4644 GRT, built 1925) in position 09°35’S, 06°30’W. This ship was en-route from Capetown to the U.K. via Freetown. On the 7th she sank the British merchant Ashlea (4222 GRT, built 1929) in position 09°52’S, 03°28’W. This ship was en-route from Durban to Falmouth. The crew of the Ashlea was transferred to the Newton Beech. The next day both crew were transferred to the Admiral Graf Spee and the Newton Beech was scuttled. On 10 October the Admiral Graf Spee captured the British merchant Huntsman (8196 GRT, built 1921) in position 08°30’S, 05°15’W. This ship was en-route from Calcutta to the U.K. On 15 October 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee met the Altmark again to receive supplies and fuel. On the 17th the crew of the Huntsman was transferred to the Altmark and the ship was scuttled in approximate position 16°S, 17°W. The next day the crews of the Newton Beech and Ashlea were also transferred to the Altmark and the German ships then parted company.

On 22 October 1939, the Admiral Graf Spee sank her next victim, the British merchant Trevanion (5299 GRT, built 1937) which was en-route from Port Pirie (Australia) to Swansea. This ship was sunk in position 19°40’S, 04°02’E. On 28 October 1939, near Tristan da Cunha, the Admiral Graf Spee once more refuelled from the Altmark. The Admiral Graf Spee then set course for the Indian Ocean.

On 15 November 1939 she sank the small British tanker Africa Shell (706 GRT, built 1939) in position 24°45’S, 35°00’E. This ship was in ballast and en-route from Quelimane (Portugese East Africa now called Mozambique) to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo, also in Portugese East Africa / Mozambique). Next day the Admiral Graf Spee stopped the Dutch merchant Mapia (7188 GRT, built 1923) but had to let her go as she was a neutral ship. The Admiral Graf Spee then set course to return to the South Atlantic where she met once more with the Altmark on 27 November 1939 and the next day she fuelled from her about 300 miles from Tristan da Cunha.

On 2 December 1939, the Admiral Graf Spee sank her largest victim, the British merchant Doric Star (10086 GRT, built 1921),in position 19°15’S, 05°05’E. This ship was en-route from Auckland, New Zealand to the U.K. The next morning the Admiral Graf Spee sank the British merchant Tairoa (7983 GRT, built 1920) in position 19°40’S, 04°02’E. This ship was en-route from Brisbane, Australia to London. On 6 December 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee refuelled once more from the Altmark. She then set course to the River Plate area where the British merchant traffic was the thickest. She was to sink more ships there and disrupt British shipping movements in that area before returning to Germany.

On 7 December 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee sank what was to be her last victim, the British merchant Streonshalh (3895 GRT, built 1928) in position 25°01’S, 27°50’W. This ship was en-route from Montevideo to Freetown and then onwards to the U.K.

Then in the morning of 13 December 1939, her smoke was sighted by three cruisers from the South America Division. More on this in the article ‘The Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939’.

British Dispositions in the South Atlantic / South America area

Shortly before the outbreak of the war the South America Division of the America and West Indies Station was transferred to the newly formed South Atlantic Station. The South America Division at that moment consisted of the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. F.S. Bell, RN, flying the flag of Commodore H.H. Harwood, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, RN). In late August 1939 HMS Exeter was at Devonport with her crew on foreign leave when she was recalled to South American waters. On 25 August 1939 she sailed from Devonport. HMS Exeter arrived at Freetown on 1 September 1939. Commodore Harwood then met the Commander-in-Chief South Atlantic Station, Vice-Admiral G. D’Oyly Lyon, CB, RN. Later the same day HMS Exeter sailed for Rio de Janeiro.

Meanwhile four destroyers from the 4th Destroyer Division, Mediterranean Fleet, the HMS Hotspur (Cdr. H.F.H. Layman, RN), HMS Havock (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Courage, RN), HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN) and HMS Hunter (Lt.Cdr. L. de Villiers, RN) had left Gibraltar on 31 August 1939 for Freetown.

HMS Ajax was already on station off the coast of South America. Shortly after noon on 3 September she intercepted the German merchant vessel Olinda (4576 GRT, built 1927) in position 34°58’S, 53°32’W. This ship was en-route from Montivideo to Germany. As HMS Ajax had no prize crew available the ship was sunk by gunfire a few hours later. In the afternoon of the next day, the 4th, HMS Ajax intercepted another German ship, the Carl Fritzen (6594 GRT, built 1920) in position 33°22’S, 48°50’W. This ship was en-route from Rotterdam to Buenos Aires. This ship was also sunk with gunfire.

On 5 September two of the destroyers from the 4th Destroyer Division, HMS Hotspur and HMS Havock departed Freetown to join the South America Division. They were ordered to examine Trinidade Island on the way. On 8 September 1939 the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.H.G. Fallowfield, RN) departed Freetown to join the South America Division as well. This cruiser came from the Home Fleet and had arrived at Freetown on the 7th.

On 7 September 1939, HMS Exeter entered Rio de Janeiro where Commodore Harwood had a meeting with the Brazilian Secretary-General of Foreign Affairs and H.M. Ambassadors to Brazil and Argentine. HMS Exeter departed Rio de Janeiro the next day. Later that day Commodore Harwood was informed by the Admiralty that the German merchant ships General Artigas (11343 GRT, built 1923), Gloria (5896 GRT, built 1917) and Monte Pascoal (13870 GRT, built 1931) were assembling off the Patagonian coast. He decided to move both HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax south, and ordered the Ajax to meet him at 0800/9. They actually made rendezvous at 0700 hours. The Commodore considered it possible that the German merchant ships might embark German reservists and raid the Falkland Islands therefore he decided to sent HMS Ajax there. HMS Exeter proceeded to the Plate area to cover that important area.

On the evening of the 10th, Commodore Harwood was informed that the transportation of German reservists by the three German merchant ships was very unlikely but as it appeared probable that the German ships were converting themselves into armed raiders the Commodore decided to start short distance convoys from the Santos-Rio and Plate areas. He therefore ordered HMS Cumberland to refuel at Rio de Janeiro on her arrival there and to organize and run ‘out’ convoys in that area with HMS Havock as A/S escort. The convoys were to leave at dawn and be protected against submarines and surface raiders until dusk. The ships were then to be dispersed so that they would be far apart by dawn the next day. At the same time the Commodore ordered HMS Hotspur to join him in the Plate area after refuelling at Rio de Janeiro, so that similar convoys could be started from Montevideo. If one of the German ‘pocket battleships’ was to arrive of South America, HMS Cumberland was to abandon the convoy sheme and join HMS Exeter in the Plate area. Also on the 10th, Commodore Harwood was informed by the Admiralty that the German merchant Montevideo (6075 GRT, built 1936) was leaving Rio Grande do Sul for Florianopolis but decided not to intercept her as this would divert HMS Exeter 500 nautical miles from the Plate area.

On the night of 12 September 1939 the Commodore was informed by the British Naval Attaché, Buenos Aires, that a concentration of German reservists was taking place in southern Argentina with the Falklands as a possible objective. He therefore ordered HMS Ajax to remain in the Falklands till the situation cleared, and the Commodore then proceeded south of the Plate area to be closer to the Falklands himself and yet remain in easy reach of the Plate area. During the next few days HMS Exeter intercepted several British and neutral vessels.

In view of a report that the German merchant vessels Porto Alegré (6105 GRT, built 1936) and Monte Olivia (13750 GRT, built 1925) were leaving Santos on 15 September 1939 Commodore Harwood decided to start the short distance convoys from Montevideo as soon as possible. HMS Cumberland had meanwhile arranged a twelve-hour convoy system from Santos. Ships from Rio de Janeiro for Freetown would sail at dawn on odd numbered days, and ships for the south on even numbered days with HMS Havock as anti-submarine escort and HMS Cumberland in distant support. HMS Cumberland left Rio de Janeiro on 16 September and during the next eight days sighted 15 British and neutral ships while on patrol.

On 17 September 1939, HMS Hotspur joined HMS Exeter in the Plate area. HMS Exeter then made a visit to Montevideo and resumed her patrol off the Plate area on the 20th. Fuelling was done from the oiler RFA Olwen (6470 GRT, built 1917, Master B. Tunnard) in the mouth of the River Plate. Soon after leaving Montevideo on 20 September Commodore Harwood learned from the British Naval Attaché, Buenos Aires, that the local German authorities were endeavoring to inform German ships at sea that the British merchant Lafonia (1872 GRT, built 1911) was on her way to the Falklands with British reservists for the Falkland Islands defence force. It was also reported that on 17 September an unknown warship had passed Punta Arenas eastwards. In view of these reports and of other pointing out that German merchant ships in southern waters were being outfitted as armed raiders the Commodore ordered HMS Hotsput to escort the Laofona to Port Stanley. As the volume of trade in the Plate area was greater than in the Rio de Janeiro – Santos area, HMS Havock was ordered to proceed southwards to the Plate area.

The first local convoy outward from Montevideo sailed on 22 September 1939. It consisted of the British merchant ships Sussex (11062 GRT, built 1937), Roxby (4252 GRT, built 1923), El Ciervo (5841 GRT, built 1923) in addition to the earlier mentioned Lafonia, and was escorted by HMS Hotspur. HMS Exeter met this convoy during the forenoon and covered it throughout the day. At dusk the merchant ships were dispersed on prearranged courses while HMS Exeter remained within supporting distance and HMS Hotspur escorted the Lafonia to Port Stanley.

On 24 September 1939, Vice-Admiral Lyon (C-in-C, South Atlantic) and Commodore Harwood learned from the Naval Attaché, Buenos Aires, that ‘according to a reliable source’ arrangements had been made for a number of German ships and a submarine to meet near Ascension on 28 September 1939. HMS Cumberland was ordered to proceed there and HMS Ajax was ordered to leave the Falklands and take up her place in the Rio de Janeiro area. HMS Neptune (Capt. J.A.V. Morse, DSO, RN) was also ordered to proceed to the area off Ascension with the destroyers HMS Hyperion and HMS Hunter which departed Freetown on the 25th. No German ships were however encountered off Ascension and all ships then proceeded to Freetown where they arrived on 2 October 1939 with HMS Cumberland low on fuel.

While HMS Cumberland left the station to search for the German ships, HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax were sweeping of the Plate and Rio de Janeiro – Santos area respectively. On 27 September 1939, HMS Havock escorted a convoy made up of the British merchants Miguel de Larrinaga (5231 GRT, built 1924), Pilar de Larringa (7352 GRT, built 1918) and Sarthe (5271 GRT, built 1920) out of the Plate area. The next day another convoy, made up of the British merchants Adellen (7984 GRT, built 1930), Cressdene (4270 GRT, built 1936), Holmbury (4566 GRT, built 1925), Lord Byron (4118 GRT, built 1934), Ramillies (4553 GRT, built 1927) and Waynegate (4260 GRT, built 1931) left the Plate area escorted by HMS Havock and with cover from HMS Exeter.

At daylight on 29 September 1939 HMS Ajax was off Rio de Janeiro ready to escort ships sailing northward. She sighted none until the early afternoon when she met the Almeda Star (12848 GRT, built 1926) and a few hours later the tanker San Ubaldo (5999 GRT, built 1921). That night several neutral steamers were sighted off Rio de Janeiro and the next day the British La Pampa (4149 GRT, built 1938) was met and escorted during daylight on her way to Santos. So far on the work of the South American Division during September 1939. The ships assigned to Commodore Harwood had been busy patrolling and escorting ships near the focal areas.

A surface raider reported, 1 October 1939.

When a report that the British merchant Clement had been sunk on 30 September 1939 by a surface raider off Pernambuco was received by the Admiralty in the afternoon of October 1st, the C-in-C, South Atlantic was informed that he should retain the 4th Destroyer Division and that his command would be reinforced by the cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.G.B. Wilson, DSO, RN), HMS Capetown (Capt. T.H. Back, RN), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) and HMS Enterprise (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN). Also the battleships HMS Resolution (Capt. C.H. Knox-Little, RN), HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) and the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN) were to proceed to either Jamaica or Freetown. These dispositions however never materialised being superseded on 5 October 1939 by a more general policy (the institution of hunting groups) which cancelled them.

The institution of hunting groups, 5 October 1939.

On 5 October 1939 the Admiralty formed five hunting groups in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean of sufficient strength to destroy any ‘pocket battleship’ or Hipper-class cruiser. These were;
Force F; area: North America and West Indies.
HMS Berwick (Capt. I.M. Palmer, DSC, RN),
HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN),
Force G; area: S.E. coast of South America.
HMS Cumberland,
HMS Exeter
Force H; area: Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN),
HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN),
Force I; area: Ceylon.
HMS Cornwall (Capt. C.F. Hamill, RN),
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.S.C. Martin, RN),
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN),
Force K; area: Pernambuco, Brazil.
HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN),
HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN),
Force L; area: Brest, France.
Dunkerque (Capt. J.L. Nagadelle, replaced by Capt. M.J.M. Seguin on 16 October),
Bearn (Capt. M.M.A. Lafargue, replaced by Capt. Y.E. Aubert on 7 October),
Georges Leygues (Capt. R.L. Perot),
Gloire (Capt. F.H.R. de Belot),
Montcalm (Capt. P.J. Ronarc’h),
Force M; area: Dakar, Senegal.
Dupleix (Capt. L.L.M. Hameury),
Foch (Capt. J. Mathieu),
and Force N; area: West Indies.
Strasbourg (Capt. J.F.E. Bouxin),
HMS Hermes
.

The institution of the hunting groups were not the only measures taken. The battleships HMS Resolution, HMS Revenge and the light cruisers HMS Emerald and HMS Enterprise were ordered to proceed to Halifax, Nova Scotia to escort homeward bound convoys. Light cruiser HMS Effingham was to join them later. The battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, DSO, RN) left Gibraltar on 5 October for the same duty but was recalled the next day when the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. I.B.B. Tower, DSC, RN) and the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) were ordered to leave the Mediterranean and proceed to the Indian Ocean where they formed an addition hunting group, Force J which was to operate in the Socotra area off the entrance to the Gulf of Aden.

Now back to the South Atlantic, on 9 October 1939 the C-in-C, South Atlantic had informed the Admiralty and Commodore Harwood that he intended to co-ordinate the movements of ‘Force G’, ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’. As this would entail long periods of wireless silence in ‘Force G’ he proposed that Commodore Harwood should transfer his flag to HMS Ajax, leaving Capt. Fallowfield of HMS Cumberland in command of Force G. The Admiralty approved of this. Commodore Harwood stated that it was his intention to transfer his flag from HMS Exeter to HMS Ajax in the River Plate area on 27 October. He also stated that the endurance of HMS Exeter was only half the endurance of HMS Cumberland and that this would prove problematic when they were to operate together and he proposed that the Exeter would be relieved by another 10000 ton cruiser but for the moment no suitable cruiser was available to relieve her.

On 12 October 1939 the first of the hunting forces arrived on their station when HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal reached Freetown that morning coming from the U.K. They were soon followed by three more destroyers of the H-class coming from the Mediterranean; HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN). On 13 October 1939 the cruisers HMS Sussex and HMS Shropshire arrived at Simonstown from the Mediterranean and one day later HMS Hermes arrived at Dakar from Plymouth.

The South America Division during the first half of October 1939.

When the news of an enemy raider in the South Atlantic reached the C-in-C at Freetown on 1 October 1939 he immediately suspended sailings from Pernambuco and Natal and he ordered HMS Havock and HMS Hotspur to escort British ships clear of the area. But next morning he cancelled these dispositions and ordered Commodore Harwood to concentrate HMS Exeter, HMS Ajax and the two destroyers off Rio de Janeiro. By this time, however, the raider was far away from the South American coast. On 3 October 1939 the Commodore signalled the C-in-C that he intened to concentrate the Exeter and Ajax off Rio and have the Hotspur to cover the Rio – Santos area and keep the Havock off the Plate but upon receiving the orders from the C-in-C to concentrate he ordered to destroyers to join the cruisers after fuelling but not later then 0800 hours on 4 October. Reports that the enemy raider was not a ‘pocket battleship’ however kept coming in and the Commodore decided that he could not leave the heavy traffic in the Plate area without some form of protection and he ordered HMS Havock to return there but when a report coming in from Bahia, Brazil confirmed that the Clement had been sunk by the ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Scheer the Commodore once more ordered HMS Havock to join him. In the end HMS Ajax joined HMS Exeter at 1700/3, HMS Hotspur at 0500/4 and finally HMS Havock at 1300/4.

The Commodore was also informed by the Admiralty that the New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Achilles (Capt. W.E. Parry, RN) would join his station coming from the west coast of South America. HMS Cumberland left Freetown at 1900/3 to join the Commodore in the Rio de Janeiro area as well.

Commodore Harwood’s policy against enemy raiders and a new raider report coming on on 5 October 1939.

Commodore Harwood had decided to keep his forces concentrated and as no new raider reports had come in to patrol the Rio de Janeiro area in accordance with the C-in-C, South Atlantic’s order. If he met a ‘pocket battleship’ he intended to shadow it until dusk. He would then close and attack in the dark hours. If, on the other hand, he made contact at night, his destroyers would at once close the enemy’s beam and attack her with torpedoes.

On 5 October 1939, the British merchant Martand (7967 GRT, built 1939) informed HMS Cumberland that a German armed raider had attacked an unknown ship, this unknown ship was in fact the Newton Beech that was attacked about 900 nautical miles away. This information was not acted upon by the Commanding Officer of the Cumberland. The Captain of the Cumberland assumed the raider report would have been intercepted by other ships and passed on to the C-in-C, South Atlantic. He considered it was important to keep radio silence and decided against breaking it. The Admiralty however later was of the opinion that the report should have been passed on to the Commander-in-Chief.

By 5 October 1939, the Exeter, Ajax, Havock and Hotspur were concentrated in the Rio de Janeiro area ready to engage the raider if she came south from the Pernambuco area. HMNZS Achilles was on her way round Cape Horn.

When HMS Ajax visited Rio de Janeiro on 7 October 1939, Commodore Harwood directed her to suggest to the Consular Shipping Advisers there, and at Santos, that, owning to the small volume of shipping leaving these ports, the local convoy systems, which had been instituted on 22 September against armed merchant raiders, should be suspended, and Allied merchant ships be routed independently.

The Commodore intended to meet HMS Cumberland at 1700/8, but at 1600/7 he received a message from the Consular Shipping Adviser at Rio de Janeiro in which he desired an escort for a 13 knot convoy that was to sail at 0430/8 and that had received much local publicity. The Commodore thought that this publicity might draw the enemy raider to the area and he therefore took his entire force back towards Rio de Janeiro and sent HMS Hotspur ahead to make contact with the convoy, while keeping his other ships in support. The convoy consisted of the British merchants Highland Chieftain (14131 GRT, built 1929), Nariva (8723 GRT, built 1920) and the French merchant Alsina (8404 GRT, built 1922).

Meanwhile the Commodore had directed HMS Cumberland to meet him at dawn on October 9th. When the convoy was dispersed at 1800/8 the Exeter and Ajax steered to meet her while the Havock was detached to fuel at Rio de Janeiro. At 2200/8 HMS Ajax was detached. HMS Cumberland made rendezvous with HMS Exeter at 0500/9. They were ordered by the C-in-C, South Atlantic to make a sweep northwards but this could not be carried out as HMS Exeter was short of fuel. The Commodore therefore decided to make a sweep southwards towards the Plate area where HMS Exeter could refuel. He also decided to keep HMS Hotspur with the two cruisers as long as possible.

On 12 October 1939, Rio Grande do Sul reported that the German merchant Rio Grande (6062 GRT, built 1939) was about to sail. The Commodore at once ordered HMS Cumberland to proceed there and intercept. She arrived off Rio Grande do Sul at 1600/13 but on finding it all quiet in the harbour she shaped course for the Plate area at nightfall. Meanwhile the Commodore had ordered HMS Hotspur to fuel at Montevideo when HMS Havock left that port early on the 14th.

about this time RFA Olwen informed the Commodore the the German merchant Bahia Laura (8611 GRT, built 1918) was leaving Montevideo at 1000 next morning and might protest if HMS Havock sailed the same day. Instead, therefore, of entering Montevideo HMS Hotspur at once fueled from the Olwen and then remained out on patrol. The Bahia Laura however, showed no signs of leaving and at 0800/14, HMS Havock put to sea. At 1200 hours HMS Hotspur entered Montevideo. Later that day HMS Exeter and HMS Cumberland fueled from the Olwen in San Borombon Bay at the southern entrance to the Plate estuary. At 1430 hours they were joined by HMS Havock. Commodore Harwood then ordered her to patrol off Montevideo to watch the Bahia Laura. When HMS Exeter finished fueling she immediately put to sea. HMS Cumberland rejoined him next morning at 0700 hours. HMS Havock was then ordered to join the cruisers. On 16 October the commodore learned that the Bahia Laura had sailed at 1015 hours the previous day. By the time the signal reached him the German ship was far out at sea well past his patrol line. But as the whole area was enveloped in dense fog the Commodore decided against trying to catch her.

The South America Division during the second half of October 1939.

Meanwhile Commodore Harwood had informed the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic on 13 October that as HMS Exeter required certain minor repairs he proposed to proceed to the Falklands on the17th and then return to the Plate area on the 27th. The Commander-in-Chief replied that he preferred that HMS Exeter would stay in the Plate area till the Commodore would transfer his Broad Pendant to HMS Ajax on the 27th. As HMNZS Achilles was due in the Plate area on this day also, she and HMS Cumberland could then operate as ‘Force G’ during the Exeter’s absence. This would mean that there would be no cruiser in the Rio de Janeiro area until HMS Exeter would return from her repairs at the Falklands. The Commodore therefore ordered HMS Havock to sail on 21 October for a four day patrol in the Rio – Santos Area, where HMS Hotspur, which could remain at sea until 2 November, would relieve her. From that date until the relief of HMNZS Achilles there would be no warship in this area. The Commodore therefore asked the Commander-in-Chief to allow ‘Force G’ to operate in that area from 2 to 10 November. When HMS Hotspur joined the Exeter and Cumberland from Montevideo on 17 October the Commodore ordered her to patrol off Rio Grande do Sul to intercept the German ships Rio Grande and Montevideo if they would come out, and sent HMS Havock to patrol inshore with orders to anchor the night clear of the shipping route.

This proved to be the last duty of these two destroyers with the South America Division. On 20 October the Admiralty ordered their transfer to the West Indies. Three days later the Commodore sent them into Buenos Aires to refuel, and as the distance to Trinidad, 4000 miles, was at the limit of their endurance, also obtained permission to refuel them at Pernambuco. They both left Buenos Aires on the 25th and, bidding the Commodore farewell, proceeded northwards. They sailed from Pernambuco on 1 November but on the 3rd HMS Havock was diverted to Freetown with engine trouble. The two remaining destroyers of the 4th Division, HMS Hyperion and HMS Hunter, had left Freetown with convoy SL 6 on 23 October. Off Daker their escort duty was taken over by the French light cruiser Duguay-Trouin (Capt. J.M.C. Trolley de Prevaux). The destroyers then fueled at Dakar on the 27th and sailed for Trinidad early on the 28th.

Meanwhile HMS Cumberland had entered Montevideo at 0800/26. At 0900/26 HMNZS Achilles joined HMS Exeter in the Plate area and after fueling from RFA Olwen sailed to meet HMS Cumberland off Lobos the next day and then patrol with her as ‘Force G’ in the Rio – Santos area. The Olwen was now nearly out of fuel and filled up HMS Ajax ,which had arrived from the Rio area on the 26th, with her remaining fuel minus 500 tons for her passage to Trinidad. In the morning of 27 October, Commodore Harwood transferred his Broad Pendant to HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter then parted company to proceed to the Falklands for repairs.

Meanwhile the newly formed ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’ were busy on the other side of the South Atlantic. ‘Force H’, made up of HMS Sussex and HMS Shropshire had reached the Cape on 13 October. As HMS Cumberland had not passed on the report of the Martland, no news on the raider had reached the Admiralty or the Commander-in-Chief since October 1st. On 14 October ‘Force H’ sailed to search for her along the Cape – Freetown route as far as the latitude of St. Helena. That day ’Force K’ (HMS Ark Royal and HMS Renown) left Freetown with HMS Neptune, HMS Hardy, HMS Hero (Cdr. C.F. Tower, MVO, RN) and HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) to search westwards towards St. Paul Rocks, the direction of their sweep being determined by the complete lack of any further raider information.

Finally a raider report on 22 October 1939, Sweeps by ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’.

The three weeks old ‘mystery’ of the raiders whereabouts was partially solved on 22 October when the British merchant vessel Llanstephan Castle (11293 GRT, built 1914) intercepted a message from an unknown ship ‘Gunned in 16°S, 04°03’E’ at 1400 G.M.T. There was however no immediate confirmation of her report and the Commander-in-Chief ordered ‘Force H’ to sail after dark on the 27th to sail for the latitude of St. Helena. At noon on 31 October this Force was in 15°S, 02°51’E, the north-eastern limit of it’s patrol, when a Walrus aircraft failed to return to HMS Sussex from a reconnaissance flight. It was never found, though the two cruisers spend over three days searching for it. Being short of fuel they then returned to the Cape by the same route they had used outwards.

Sweep by ‘Force K’, 28 October – 6 November 1939.

To cover the northern end of the route from St. Helena onward, HMS Neptune and the destroyers HMS Hardy, HMS Hasty, HMS Hero and HMS Hereward had left Freetown on 28 October. HMS Neptune was to sweep independently from position 03°20’S, 01°10’W and then through 14°30’S, 16°50’W back to Freetown. On 30 October a report from Dakar stated that the German merchant Togo (5042 GRT, built 1938) had left the Congo on 26 October, that the German merchant Pionier (3254 GRT, built 1934) had sailed from Fernando Po (now called Bioko Island) on 28 October and that five German ships had left Lobito (Angola) the same day. When the Vice-Admiral, Aircraft Carriers, received this information her detached HMS Hardy and HMS Hasty to sweep north-westward for the Pioneer, while ‘Force K’ and the remaining two destroyers searched for her to the south-westward. Both searches were unsuccessful. Meanwhile a message from Lobito had stated that the five German ships that were stated to have left the harbour were still there. On 5 November the German merchant vessel Uhenfels (7603 GRT, built 1931), that had left Laurenco Marques (now called Maputo, Mozambique) on 16 October was sighted by an aircraft from HMS Ark Royal. Only energetic action from HMS Hereward saved her from being scuttled in position 06°02’N, 17°25’W. She was brought into Freetown on 7 November by HMS Herward, a few hours behind ‘Force K’.

’Force H’ and ‘Force G’, first half of November 1939.

The first half of November was relatively quiet on both sides of the South Atlantic At the start of the month ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’ were still on the shipping lane between Sierra Leone and the Cape. On 3 November 1939 the Admiralty informed the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic that all German capital ships and cruisers were apparently in home waters. It appeared therefore that the pocket battleship, which was still thought to be the Admiral Scheer, had returned home and that the raider reported by the Llangstephan Castle on 22 October was nothing but an armed merchantman. Here was a good opportunity for resting the hunting groups and on 4 November the Admiralty issued orders that ‘Force G’ and ‘Force H’ should exchange areas. This exchange would not only give ‘Force G’ an opportunity of resting and refitting at the Cape, but would also provide Commodore Harwood with the hunting group of long endurance that he desired.

The Commander-in-Chief had planned that ‘Force H’ which had returned to the Cape on 7 November would then sweep towards Durban, arriving there on 16 November. However on the 11th they were ordered to sail for patrol in the Atlantic and on the evening of the 17th, while west of St. Helena, exchange patrol areas with ‘Force G’. The exchange of areas however did not take place as ‘Force G’ was delayed due to HMS Exeter being damaged while casting off from the oiler in heavy seas. Before the exchange now could take place it was cancelled.

South America Division, first half of November 1939.

After hoisting Commodore Harwood’s Broad on 27 October the HMS Ajax had swept the Plate focal area. When the Commodore received the signal of the Commander-in-Chief on the 5th regarding the changeover over patrol areas between ‘Force G’ and ‘Force H’, he ordered HMS Cumberland to proceed to the Plate at 20 knots to refuel. About this time a message reached him from Buenos Aires that the Argentinian Foreign Minister had drawn attention to cases of fueling in the Plate by HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax. Although the Argentinian Government had no apparent intention of raising the issue he decided to cut down the fuellings in the inshore waters of the Plate as much as possible. He therefore cancelled the fuelling of HMS Exeter, due to take place on 7 November from the oiler RFA Olynthus (6888 GRT, built 1918, Master L.N. Hill), which had relieved RFA Olwen. He ordered HMS Cumberland to fuel at Buenos Aires on 9 November. HMS Exeter which had arrived at the Falklands on 31 October for repairs, sailed again on 4 November to meet up with HMS Cumberland off the Plate on 10 November, but the Commodore ordered her to enter Mar del Plata for a 24-hour visit on the 9th. As this gave her some time at hand, he ordered her to cover the Plate while HMS Ajax visited Buenos Aires from 6 to 8 November during which the Commodore discussed the question of fuelling his ships in the River Plate Estuary with the Argentine naval authorities. During his visit to Buenos Aires, the Commodore discussed the matter of fuelling his ships of English Bank with the Argentinian Minister of Marine and his Chief of Naval Staff they both suggested that he should use San Borombon Bay which was most acceptable. He had in fact been using it for some time.

When HMS Ajax left Buenos Aires on 8 November she patrolled the Plate area. HMS Exeter arrived at Mar del Plata the next day but fuel could not be obtained there. She was ordered to fuel from RFA Olynthus in San Borombon Bay on the 10th and then meet up with HMS Cumberland off Lobos Island at 0600/11. On the 10th HMS Ajax also fueled from RFA Olynthus as did HMS Exeter after her while HMS Ajax was at anchor close by. However weather quickly deteriorated and the Olynthus was forced to cast off, damaging the Exeter in doing so. Besides that she was still 600 tons short of fuel. As she could not reach the Cape without a full supply the sailing of ‘Force G’ to exchange areas with ‘Force H’ was delayed. The Exeter finally finished fuelling on the 13th and sailed with HMS Cumberland for Simonstown. Before the exchange of areas could be effected, however, a raider was reported in the Indian Ocean and the order was cancelled.

Another raider report, 16 November 1939.

On 16 November 1939 the Naval Officer-in-Charge, Simonstown, reported that the small British tanker Africa Shell ( GRT, built ) had been sunk off Lourenco Marques the previous day by a raider identified as a pocket battleship. After the usual conflicting reports from eye-widnesses during the next few days, however, it was doubtful how many raiders there were or whether they were pocket battleships or heavy cruisers.

The presence of an enemy heavy ship in the Mozambique Channel called for new dispositions. When the raider report reached the Admiralty on 17 November they immediately cancelled the exchange of areas between ‘Force G’ an ‘Force H’. ‘Force H’ was ordered to return to the Cape and ‘Force G’ was ordered to return to the east coast of South America. They also ordered the dispatch of ‘Force K’ towards the Cape with instructions to go on to Diego Saurez in Madagascar. That morning a report reached the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic that the German merchant vessels Windhuk (16662 GRT, built 1937) and Adolph Woermann (8577 GRT, built 1922) had left Lobito. He at once ordered ‘Force H’, which was at that moment west of St. Helena in the approximate latitute of Lobito to spend three days searching for them.

Next day, 18 November 1939, ‘Force K’ left Freetown together with HMS Neptune, HMS Hardy, HMS Hero and HMS Hostile to sweep west of St. Helena through position 16°30’S, 10°W and thence on to Diego Saurez. The destroyers parted company at 2300/18 to search for the German ships. On 20 November 1939, the Commander-in-Chief ordered ‘Force H’ to return to the Cape of nothing of the German merchant vessels had been sighted. HMS Sussex and HMS Shropshire did so on 23 November.

The Adolph Woermann had not escaped. Early on 21 November 1939, the British merchant Waimarama (12843 GRT, built 1938) reported her in position 12°24’S, 03°31’W. At 1127/21, ‘Force K’ (HMS Ark Royal and HMS Renown) was in position 05°55’S, 12°26’W, altered course to close, and HMS Neptune, which was still with them, went ahead at high speed. Shortly after 0800/22 she made contact with the Adolf Woermann in position 10°37’S, 05°11’W and went alongside. Despite efforts to save her the German vessel was scuttled and when HMS Neptune returned to Freetown on 25 November 1939 she had 162 German survivors on board.

’Force H’ and ‘Force K’, second half of November 1939.

As the search for the Adolf Woermann had taken ‘Force K’ nearly 200 miles to the eastward, the Vice-Admiral, Aircraft Carriers decided to proceed to the Cape by the route east of St. Helena to save fuel. In hindsight this might have saved Altmark for being intercepted as she was waiting for the Admiral Graf Spee in the area ‘Force K’ would have otherwise passed through. On 23 November 1939, the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic, ordered ‘Force H’ to sail from the Cape the next day and patrol the ‘diverse routes’ as far as 33°E until 28 November.

At the northern end of the South Atlantic station HMS Neptune, HMS Hardy, HMS Hero, HMS Hostile, HMS Hasty and the submarine HMS Clyde (Cdr. W.E. Banks, RN) had established a patrol between 22 and 25 November 1939 to intercept escaping German merchant ships or raiders. No ships were however sighted and they were recalled to Freetown on 30 November.

In the meantime the Admiralty had ordered, ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’ to conducted a combined patrol on the meridian of 20°E. The two forces met early on 1 December. The plan, according to the Commander-in-Chief, appeared to be a good one in theory but was found unsuitable in practice that on account of local weather conditions. These permitted flying off aircraft from HMS Ark Royal only once in five or six days, so that the patrol could not be extended far enough to the south to intercept a raider bent on evasion. In fact, only once, on 2 December weather was suitable for flying off aircraft.

South America Division, second half of November 1939.

After HMS Cumberland and HMS Exeter (‘Force G’) had sailed from San Borombon Bay for Simonstown on 13 November 1939, HMS Ajax patrolled the Plate area and escorted the French Massilia ( GRT, built ) that was bound for Europe from Buenos Aeres with French reservists. After parting from the Massilia she closed Rio Grande do Sul and ascertained that the German merchant vessels Rio Grande and Montevideo were still there. For the next two days she patrolled the normal peace time shipping routes.

When the Admiralty cancelled the exchange of ereas between ‘Force G’ and ‘Force H’ on 7 November, Commodore Harwood sent ‘Force G’ to cover Rio de Janeiro. He ordered HMNZS Achilles to fuel off the Olynthus in the Plate area on 22 November and then relieve ‘Force G’ in the Rio area as HMS Exeter would need to refuel in the Plate area again on 26 November. HMS Cumberland was to remain with the Exeter to keep ‘Force G’ together so she could refuel from the Olynthus as well. They were then to patrol the Plate area so that HMS Ajax could visit the Falklands.

On 18 November the Commodore was informed that the German merchant Ussukuma ( GRT, built ) might sail from Bahia Blanca for Montevideo at any time. He at once ordered the Olynthus to watch for her between Manos and Cape San Antonio and took the Ajax south to the same vicinity.

On 22 November 1939 HMNZS Achilles heard the German merchant Lahn (8498 GRT, built 1927) calling Cerrito by wireless, and when HMS Ajax arrived half an hour later a search was carried out. It was insuccessful for both cruisers but both the Lahn and another German merchant the Tacoma (8268 GRT, built 1930) reached Montevideo safely during the forenoon.

HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles then both fuelled from the Olynthus at San Borombon Bay during the next afternoon. The Achilles the sailed for the Rio de Janeiro area. She had orders to move up to Pernambuco and show herself off Cabadello and Bahia as a number of German ships in Pernambuco were reported ready to sail to Cabadello to load cotton for Germany. She was to return at once to the Rio area if any raiders were reported in the South Atlantic.

HMS Ajax left the Plate area on 25 November 1939 and sent up a seaplane to reconnoitre Bahia Blanca. The Ussukuma showed no signs of sailing so HMS Ajax proceeded to the Falklands, arriving there on the 27th. By this time HMS Cumberland and HMS Exeter were in urgent need of refits after long periods at sea, and Commodore Harwood ordered the Exeter to proceed to the Falklands forthwith. She arrived at Port Stanley on 29 November 1939 and her defects were immediately taken in hand as far as local resources permitted.

8 December 1939 was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Battle of the Falklands, and thinking the enemy might attempt to avenge the defeat, the Commodore ordered HMS Cumberland to patrol off the Falklands as of 7 December for two days after which she too was to enter Port Stanley for rest and refit.

French Forces at Dakar in November 1939.

During November them most important event at Dakar, where the French were maintaining a number of more or less regular patrols, was the reorganisation of ‘Force X’. On 1 November 1939 the large destroyer L’Audacieux (Cdr. L.M. Clatin) sailed from Dakar to the westward to 26°W and thence south-west to search for the German merchant Togo. She returned to Dakar on 4 November having sighted nothing. That day the French light cruiser Duguay-Trouin sailed to sweep round the Cape Verde Islands and then on to St. Paul Rocks. She returned to Dakar on 10 November. The old ‘Force X’, the Strasbourg (Capt. J.F.E. Bouxin), Algerie (Capt. L.H.M. Nouvel de la Fleche) and Dupleix (Capt. L.L.M. Hameury) sailed on 7 November to sweep west of the Cape Verde Islands. It returned to Dakar on 13 November 1939. Meanwhile French submarines based at Casablanca were maintaining a continuous patrol round the Canary Islands between 25°N and 30°N.

On 18 November a new ‘Force X’ was formed, now made up of the Dupleix and her sister ship Foch (Capt. J. Mathieu) and the British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. On 21 November the Strasbourg, Algerie and the destroyers Le Terrible (Cdr. A.E.R. Bonneau) and Le Fantasque (Capt. P.A.B. Still) left Dakar to return to France. The next day the new ‘Force X’ sailed with the destroyers Milan (Cdr. M.A.H. Favier) and Cassard (Cdr. R.A.A. Braxmeyer) to cruiser towards 08°N, 30°W. That day L’Audacieux departed Dakar with a convoy for Casablanca.

On 25 November, the Duguay-Trouin sailed to patrol the parallel of 19°N, between 25° and 30°W. Two days later the British submarine HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) docked at Dakar. On the 30th the Dupleix and Foch returned from patrol being followed the next day by HMS Hermes and her escorts Milan and Cassard.

Dispositions of South Atlantic Forces at the beginning of December 1939.

At the beginning of December 1939, HMS Ark Royal, still flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Aircraft Carriers, and HMS Renown (‘Force K’), were patrolling the meridian of 20°E, south of the Cape together with HMS Sussex and HMS Shropshire (‘Force H’) to intercept the raider reported in the Mozambique Channel on 15 November 1939.

In the north the light cruiser HMS Neptune with the destroyers HMS Hardy, HMS Hero, HMS Hostile and HMS Hasty and the submarine HMS Clyde were returning to Freetown after patrolling between there and Cape San Roque for escaping German merchant ships or raiders. The French cruiers Dupleix and Foch and the British carrier HMS Hermes (‘Force X’) and their two escorting destroyers Milan and Cassard were approaching Dakar. The French cruiser Duguay-Trouin was patrolling the parallel of 19°N, between 25° and 30°W. The British submarine Severn was refitting at Dakar. Across the South Atlantic, Commodore Harwood, in HMS Ajax was at Port Stanley as was HMS Exeter. HMS Cumberland was patrolling of the Plate area and HMNZS Achilles was off Rio de Janeiro.

Forces ‘H’ and ‘K’, 1 – 13 December 1939.

No further reports have been received of the raider which had sunk the Africa Shell off Laurenco Marques on 15 November and it seemed clear that she had either gone further into the Indian Ocean or doubled back into the South Atlantic by going well south of the Cape. On 2 December 1939 the Admiralty ordered ‘Force K’ and ‘Force H’ to their patrol line south of the Cape after refueling, and the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic at once ordered them to proceed for the Cape ports to fuel. That day a reconnaissance aircraft of the South African Air Force reported a suspicious ship south of Cape Point at noon. HMS Sussex intercepted her but her crew set her on fire. She proved to be the German merchant Watussi (9521 GRT, built 1928). She was eventually be HMS Renown. Her survivors were taken on board HMS Sussex and were landed at Simonstown.

No news of the missing raider had been coming in since 16 November but then the mistery shrouding her whereabouts was again partially solved. At 1530/2 a raidar signal ‘R.R.R., 19°15’S, 05°05’E, gunned battleship) reached the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic. It came from the British merchant Doric Star. As this signal placed the raider in the South Atlantic he immediately ordered to abandon the patrol south of the Cape and ordered ‘Force H’ to cover the trade routes between the Cape and the latitude of St. Helena at 20 knots on completion of fuelling. As it was too late for ‘Force K’ to reach the Freetown-Pernambuco area in time to intercept the rainder if she was to proceed to the North Atlantic he proposed the Admiralty that ‘Force K’, after fuelling should sweep direct from the Cape to position 20°S, 15°W. This was changed at the request of the Vice-Admiral, Aircraft Carriers to place his force in a more central position for proceeding to Freetown, to the Falklands or to Rio de Janeiro. At 1030/3 a report reached the Commander-in-Chief that the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer had been in 21°20’S, 03°10’E at 0500 hours, clearly indicating that the raider was moving westwards, clear of the Cape-Sierra Leone trade route. ‘Force H’ left Simonstown at 1700 that afternoon and ‘Force K’ sailed from Capetown at 0915/4.

The Commander-in-Chief estimated that if the enemy was proceeding northwards to the North Atlantic she would cross the Freetown-Pernambuco line between 9 and 10 December. He therefore arranged that ‘Force X’ should take HMS Neptune and her destroyers under her orders and patrol the parallel of 3°N between 31° and 38°W from 10 to 13 December. ‘Force K’ would meet HMS Neptune and the destroyers on the 14th and then return with them to Freetown to refuel. The destroyers of the 3rd Division of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla (HMS Hardy, HMS Hostile and HMS Hero) left Freetown on 6 December with the oiler RFA Cherryleaf ( GRT, built ). They had orders to meet the Dupleix, Foch, HMS Hermes and their escorting destroyers Milan and Cassard and HMS Neptune in position 03°N, 31°W on 10 December. On 7 December ‘Force X’ left Dakar for the rendez-vous. That day the submarine HMS Clyde left Freetown to patrol between 03°N, 23°W and 03°N, 28°W and thence to 05°15’N, 23°W between 9 (PM) and 13 (AM) December.

On the evening of 8 December 1939 the German merchant ship Adolf Leonhardt (2989 GRT, built 1925) sailed from Lobito for South America. ‘Force H’ which was by then between St. Helena and the west coast of Africa, was at once ordered to intercept her. The Walrus from HMS Shropshire made contact at 0952 hours next morning and alighted alongside in position 13°S, 11°44’E. At 1250 hours HMS Shropshire arrived at that position but the German ship was scuttled by her crew and could not be saved. ‘Force H’ then returned to the Cape to refuel where they arrived on 14 December.

At 0800/11 the submarine HMS Severn left Freetown for Port Stanley. She was to protect the whaling industry in South Georgio and was to intercept hostile raiders or supply ships. The cruiser HMS Dorsetshire, which arrived at Simonstown from Colombo on the 9th to finally relieve HMS Exeter in the South America Division left Simonstown on 13 December for Port Stanley. She was to call at Tristan da Cunha on the way. On that day, 13 December 1939, was fought the action between the British South America Division and the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, known as the Battle of the River Plate.

The South America Division, 1 to 13 December 1939.

At the beginning of December 1939, HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter were at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. HMS Cumberland was off the River Plate and HMNZS Achilles was patrolling the Rio de Janeiro area. On 2 December HMS Ajax left Port Stanley for the Plate area. That evening the Commodore learned that the Doric Star had been sunk by a raider to the south-east of St. Helena. Two days later the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic informed him that HMS Dorsetshire would arrive at Port Stanley on 23 December to relieve HMS Exeter which was then to proceed to Simonstown for a much needed refit.

Early on 5 December the British Naval Attaché at Buenos Aires reported that the German merchant Ussukuma had left Bahia Blanca at 1900 hours the previous evening. The Commodore immediately ordered HMS Cumberland which was on the way south to the Falkland Islands to search for her. Meanwhile HMS Ajax turned south and closed the Argentinian coast in case the Ussukuma, which was known to be short of fuel, should attempt to reach Montevideo inside territorial waters. At 1910/5, HMS Ajax sighted her smoke to the north-north-east but the Germans managed to scuttle their ship and despite the efforts to save her she sank during the night. At 0615/6, HMS Cumberland came up and embarked the German survivors and made off for the Falklands. HMS Ajax then refuelled at San Borombon Bay from the Olynthus.

About the same time the Brazilian authorities asked that HMNZS Achilles should not refuel in any Brazilian port at an interval less then three months. The Commodore, therefore, ordered her to return south and refuel at Montevideo on 8 December. HMNZS Achilles then joined HMS Ajax at 1000/10 in position 35°11’S, 51°13’W, 230 miles west of English Bank. At 0600/12 they were joined by HMS Exeter in position 36°54’S, 53°39’W.

Ever since the beginning of the war Commodore Harwood’s cruisers had worked off the east coast of South America either single or in pairs. The concentration of these three cruisers off the River Plate on 12 December 1939 was, however, no mere matter of chance.

Concentration of British Force in the River Plate area, 12 December 1939.

When a pocket battleship was located in position 19°15’S, 05°05’E on 2 December by the sinking of the Doris Star, her position was over 3000 miles from any of the South America focal areas. The Commodore however recognised that her next objective might be the valuable shipping off the east coast of South America. He estimated that at a cruising speed of 15 knots the enemy could reach the Rio area on 12 December the Plate area on 13 December and the Falklands on 14 December. As the Plate area was by far the most important of these three focal areas he decided to concentrate all his available ships off the Plate on 12 December.

The three cruisers then proceeded together towards position 32°N, 47°W. That evening the Commodore informed the Captains of his cruisers that it was intention that if they met a pocket battleship to attack immediately, by day or by night. By they they would act as two units, the light cruisers were to operate together and HMS Exeter was to operate diverged to permit flank marking. By night the ships were to remain in company in open order.

At 0614/13 HMS Ajax sighted smoke bearing 324° in position 34°28’S, 49°05’W and Commodore Harwood then ordered HMS Exeter to investigate it.

What then followed can be read in the article ‘The battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939’ which can be found on the pages of HMS Ajax, HMS Exeter and HMNZS Achilles. (4)

14 Oct 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dakar to patrol off the Cape Verde Islands. This was her 2nd war patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

16 Oct 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is ordered to proceed to Freetown. (3)

19 Oct 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Freetown. (3)

23 Oct 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South-Atlantic off north-east Brasil.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

20 Nov 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Freetown. (3)

25 Nov 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for Dakar. (5)

27 Nov 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Dakar. (5)

28 Nov 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is docked at Dakar. (5)

2 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is undocked. (6)

3 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dakar for Freetown. (6)

5 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Freetown. (6)

11 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for the Falkland Islands. This is her 4th war patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

15 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is ordered to proceed to the River Plate and to investigate Ilha da Trinidade en-route if possible. (3)

17 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) reconnoitred Ilha da Trinidade. At 0815 hours (zone +2) Severn changed course to proceed to the River Plate area. (3)

18 Dec 1939
At 0400 hours (zone +2), while in position 23°34'S, 33°24'W, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), is ordered to make a sweep for the German tanker Altmark and then to return to Freetown.

At 1600 hours, HMS Severn is ordered to proceed with despatch to position 14°30'S, 21°30'W. During the next two days Severn was ordered to proceed to several position to search for the German tanker but she was not sighted. (3)

24 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) made a short stop at Ascension Island to see if there was any mail that had to be transported northbound. Severn was passing about 10 miles from the island so Lt.Cdr. Taylor decided to pay a short visit to the Island before proceeding to Freetown.

28 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at Freetown. (3)

13 Jan 1940
No log is available for this period for HMS Severn, therefore no map can be displayed.

13 Jan 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for Portsmouth. She was part of the ocean escort of convoy SL 16F together with Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Cheshire (Capt. (Retd.) M.R. Bernard, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN).

Besides the escort the convoy was made up of 12 British merchant ships; Adda (7816 GRT, built 1922), Anselm (5954 GRT, built 1935), Baronesa (8663 GRT, built 1918), City of Nagpur (10146 GRT, built 1922), Cordillera (6865 GRT, built 1920), Cumberland (10939 GRT, built 1919), Mahia (10014 GRT, built 1917), Mary Slessor (5027 GRT, built 1930), Orari (10350 GRT, built 1931), Port Sydney (9129 GRT, built 1914), Raranga (10043 GRT, built 1916) and Scientist (6198 GRT, built 1938).

The destroyers departed the convoy on the 20th and then proceeded to Gibraltar. On the 24th the destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, RN) and sloop HMS Rochester (Cdr. G.F. Renwick, RN) took over the escort from the HMS Cheshire and HMS Severn which then proceeded to Plymouth and Portsmouth respectively where they both arrived on the 26th. (7)

26 Jan 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. Before HMS Severn would be fit for patrol she had to undergo a period of repairs to her main motors. (8)

5 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) and HMS Tarpon (Lt.Cdr. H.J. Caldwell, RN) both departed Portsmouth for Rosyth. They were escorted by HMS Wivern (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Bushell, RN). They joined northbound convoy FN 139 at 1530/6 until 2100/7 when both submarines were ordered to patrol off the Skagerrak and course was set accordingly. This passage then became HMS Severn's 5th war patrol.

[As there is no log available for this period and the patrol report does not give any position no map for this patrol can be displayed.] (3)

10 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is ordered to patrol off Kristiansand. (8)

11 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) made a torpedo attack on a merchant vessel. No hits were obtained. This was possibly the German transport Levante (4769 GRT, built 1939) that was en-route from Hamburg to Trondheim with supplies for the German invasion forces.

2100 hours - Surfaced off Kristiansand.

2145 hours - Sighted a 6000 tons merchant vessel proceeding East. Commenced attack. Fired two torpedoes which missed. No further attack could be made due to patrol vessels in the area. (3)

15 Apr 1940
At 0615 hours, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), is bombed by a German aircraft to the east of Kristiansand. Severn dived to 120 feet and sustained no damage. (3)

21 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 5th war patrol at Rosyth. (8)

24 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) shifted from Rosyth to Dundee. (7)

29 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dundee for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the south-west coast of Norway.

[As there is no log available for this period and the patrol report does not give any position no map for this patrol can be displayed.] (3)

2 May 1940
While on patrol, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), is bombed at 2208 hours, by an enemy aircraft. Severn dived to 70 feet and continued her passage on the surface after about half an hour. (3)

4 May 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) torpedoed and sank the Swedish merchant vessel Monark (1786 GRT, built 1938) off Lister, Norway in position 57°57'N, 06°13'E. The Monark was in German service at that time. She had been at Stavanger when the Germans invaded. She was now under way to Hamburg with a German prize crew on board. The cargo was woodpulp.

0345 hours - Sighted a merchant vessel at a range of 5000 yards. The targets course was 147°. Closed to attack. hen broad on the targets beam identified her as the Swedish S.S. Monark of Stockholm. Decided not to torpedo the ship from submerged but, since it was a neutral allowed the crew to escape before sinking her in accordance with our orders.

0359 hours - Surfaced astern of the target. Gave chase for about 2 miles. Ordered the ship to stop, not to use her W/T and to sent over a boat. There was a delay of 25 minutes before a motor boat containing the Master came alongside. In reply to questions the Master, who spoke excellent English, said that his ship was at Stavanger when the Germans invaded. His ship and the cargo of woodpulp were seized and he was now proceeding to Germany with a prize crew on board. The Master was told to return to his ship and to order the prize crew to board the board and board the submarine. The Master refused this as he expected that he would be shot. A signal was then made to the Monark to abandon ship and to effect this a round was fird across her bows. The ship was immediately abandoned and the prize crew pulled towards the submarine.

0451 hours - HMS Severn was now on the surface for about one hour. The sun had risen and air patrols were expected at any moment. Fired one torpedo at the Monark from 600 yards. It hit amidships and she started to list heavily to port and shortly afterwards sank rapidly.

0500 hours - Embarked 5 members of the prize crew dived. Shortly afterwards sighted aircraft circling our position. Decided to retire to the westward. (3)

9 May 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) was ordered to return to base. (3)

10 May 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 6th war patrol at Dundee. (7)

25 May 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dundee for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off central Norway, near Trondheim.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

5 Jun 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is ordered to leave patrol and proceed to Rosyth. This was changed to Dundee the next day. (3)

7 Jun 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 7th war patrol at Dundee. (7)

20 Jun 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dundee for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Norwegian coast, Statlanded area.

[As there is no log available for this period and the patrol report does not give any position no map for this patrol can be displayed.] (3)

21 Jun 1940
At 0206 hours, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), received a report that HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) had sighted and attacked 'large enemy warships' off Fro Havet.

At 0336 hours, HMS Severn increased speed to 20 knots to proceed on the surface to Utsire as fast as possible as ordered by Vice-Admiral Submarines in his signal timed 0323/21. Severn was forced three times to dive for enemy aircraft but it was believed she was not sighted.

At 1132 hours, in position 58°54'N, 03°45'E, HMS Severn sighted the conning tower of a submarine bearing 100°, course north, range about 5 nautical miles. Severn dived and closed at full speed. The conning tower was only sighted once more from submerged at a range of about 3 nautical miles. An aircraft was seen 5 minutes later and this had probably forced the other submarine to dive. As Severn's position was roughly along the track of the enemy (aircraft report of 1120/21) decided to remain dived and proceeded towards Utsire. This was a wise dicision for later that afternoon the German submarine U-99 was detected on the surface by an Arado seaplane from the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst and bombed in error. Severn heard six distant explosions between 1528 and 1540 hours. U-99 reported being attacked at 1623 hours (German time was one hour later). It was the Scharnhorst that Severn was after but she never sighted her. The submarine sighted by Severn at 1132 hours must have been U-99.

In the evening, at 1901 hours, HMS Severn sighted a County and a Town class cruiser about 5 nautical miles to the westward. Their gun turrets were on a northerly bearing and the smoke of gunfire was seen. When the cruisers had closed to 3 miles, Severn surfaced and identified herself to the cruisers which were HMS Sussex (Capt A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN). Lt.Cdr. Taylor then asked where the enemy was but he was told that the cruisers were engaging enemy aircraft and not a surface vessel. Severn then dived again at 1922 hours and proceeded towards Haugesund. (3)

30 Jun 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) attacked a northbound German destroyer with three torpedoes in the North Sea south-west of Norway in position 57°28N, 05°31E. No hits were obtained.

1835 hours - Heard faint HE bearing 165°

1840 hours - Sighted a destroyer at a range of about 3 nautical miles. Commenced attack.

1848 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1500 yards. They probably missed astern as the speed of the enemy was underestimated.

1857 hours - Heard three loud explosions, most likely the torpedoes exploding on hitting the bottom at the end of their run. (3)

2 Jul 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 8th war patrol at Dundee. (3)

8 Jul 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) shifted from Dundee to Rosyth. (8)

10 Jul 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Rosyth for Plymouth. She made the passage around Scotland and through the Irish Sea. She was escorted by HMS White Bear (Capt. R. Gill, RNR). (8)

13 Jul 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Plymouth where she was taken in hand for refit by the Devonport Dockyard. (7)

15 Dec 1940
Having completed her refit at the Devonport Dockyard, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), departed Plymouth for Holy Loch. (9)

16 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to commence a period of trials and training. (9)

18 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in Loch Long. (9)

19 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (9)

20 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (9)

21 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted noise trials in Loch Long. (9)

22 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (9)

26 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (9)

27 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted torpedo firing trials at the torpedo range at Arrochar. (9)

28 Dec 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) shifted from Holy Loch to Glasgow where she was docked. (9)

2 Jan 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is undocked and returned to Holy Loch. (10)

6 Jan 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (10)

7 Jan 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (10)

8 Jan 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (10)

9 Jan 1941

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

9 Jan 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Holy Loch for her 9th war patrol. She was ordered to perform an anti-Uboat patrol in the North Atlantic and to proceed to Halifax on completion of her patrol. She was escorted by HMS Philante (Capt. (Retd.) H.S. Bowlby, RN) until 0627/10 (zone +1). (3)

11 Jan 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived in her patrol area. (3)

15 Jan 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed her patrol area for Halifax. (3)

22 Jan 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 9th war patrol at Halifax. (3)

4 Feb 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Halifax. (11)

9 Feb 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Halifax for her 10th war patrol. She was to escort convo SC-22 for part of the voyage across the Atlantic. She joined the convoy at sea the next day at 0711 hours (zone +4).

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(11)

21 Feb 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) detached from convoy SC-22 at 1645 hours (zone +2) in approximate position 58°50'N, 28°42'W. (11)

27 Feb 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 10th war patrol at Halifax. (11)

11 Mar 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Halifax for Freetown.

For the daily position of HMS Severn during this passage see the map below.

(12)

16 Mar 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is ordered to patrol in the North Atlantic to search for the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau that are on a raid in the North Atlantic.

HMS Severn is ordered to continue her passage the next day. (3)

25 Mar 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Freetown. (12)

30 Mar 1941
For the daily and attack positions of HMS Severn during her 11th war patrol see the map below.

(13)

30 Mar 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Freetown for her 11th war patrol. She was ordered to participate in a special operation (Operation Grab) in which four Italian submarines coming from the Red Sea and their German supply vessel/tanker were to be intercepted. The British had discovered where these ships were to make rendez-vous though 'Ultra' (code breaking) and decided to spoil 'the party'.

Besides HMS Severn the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (Capt. (Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) and the sloops HMS Milford (Cdr. (Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) and HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr. (Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) were also involved in this operation. (14)

4 Apr 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at St. Helena. She departed again later the same day having fuelled in the meantime. (15)

8 Apr 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) attacked an Italian submarine, most likely the Archimede, with two torpedoes in the South Atlantic in approximate position 25°03'S, 20°04'W.

(All times are zone +1)
0904 hours - Sighted a submarine on the surface. Dived. Commenced attack.

0944 hours - Fired two torpedoes. Missed.

0955 hours - Course and speed as requisted to keep in touch with the enemy.

1122 hours - Surfaced. Course and speed as requisted for shadowing the enemy.

1400 hours - Lost sight of the enemy. (15)

10 Apr 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) twice attacked an Italian submarine, most likely the Ferraris in approximate position 24°33'S, 20°03'W. All torpedoes fired missed their target.

(All times are zone +1)
1942 hours - Sighted a submarine on the surface. Altered course to attack.

1947 hours - Fired four torpedoes. Missed.

1950 hours - Fired two torpedoes. Missed again.

1959 hours - Dived.

2142 hours - Surfaced. Set course for rendez-vous position with HMS Alcantara and HMS Milford. (15)

23 Apr 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at St. Helena where she fuelled. (15)

24 Apr 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed St. Helena for Freetown. (15)

29 Apr 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 11th war patrol at Freetown. (15)

3 May 1941
For the daily positions of HMS Severn during the passage from Freetown to Gibraltar see the map below.

(16)

3 May 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Freetown for Gibraltar. She was escorted by HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. P. Everett-Price, DSC, RNR) until 0626/4. (16)

10 May 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Gibraltar where she joined the newly established 8th Submarine Flotilla based on HMS Maidstone (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN). (16)

25 May 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 12th war patrol. She was ordered to provide escort for Fleet tanker RFA Cairndale (8129 GRT, built 1939, Master S.G. Kent). The Cairndale was to provide fuel for naval ships involved in the hunt for the German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.

The transport City of Dieppe (7958 GRT, built 1929) that was to proceed to St. Johns, Newfoundland made part of her voyage together with HMS Severn and RFA Cedardale. They were to proceed to position 43°00N, 35°00W from where the City of Dieppe was to be detached to St. Johns.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(16)

26 May 1941
At 1240 hours, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), reversed course for Gibraltar as per orders she had received by signal. (16)

27 May 1941
Around 0800 hours (zone -1), HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) took up a patrol position in the Straits of Gibraltar.

Following the sinking of the Bismark, HMS Severn was ordered, around 1700 hours to rejoin RFA Cedardale at sea. (16)

28 May 1941
In the afternoon, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), is ordered to return to Gibraltar. (16)

29 May 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 12th war patrol at Gibraltar. (16)

30 May 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Gibraltar. (16)

1 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 13th war patrol. She is to perfom an anti-Uboat patrol to the West of Gibraltar.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(17)

7 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 13th war patrol at Gibraltar. (17)

11 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Gibraltar. (17)

12 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with the Dutch submarine O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and the British destroyers HMS Wrestler (Lt. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) (17)

14 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 14th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

16 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is ordered by signal (V.A.C.N.A. 1910A/16) to take up a patrol position off Palermo. (3)

20 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) attacked an escorted merchant vessel off Cape Zafferno to the east of Palermo, Sicily in approximate position 38°10'N, 13°35'E. A total of six torpedoes were fired in two attacks but no hits were obtained.

The target was the Italian merchant Ninetto G. (5355 GRT, built 1913) which left Palermo for La Spezia via Naples. She was not escorted. Perhaps a local patrol vessel was escorting her outwards at the moment of the attack. The attack was observed and Ninetto G. returned to Palermo only to sail again five days later and she reached Naples without incident.

Following this attack HMS Severn proceeded to patrol off Naples.

(All times are zone -1)
1755 hours - Sighted a large merchant vessel of about 5000 to 6000 tons and an escort vessel leaving Palermo by the eastern swept channel. Range was 16000 yards.

1800 hours - Commenced attack.

1854 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 2000 yards. All missed, most likely ahead due to the speed of the target being overestimated.

1858 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 2000 yards. Both missed. The enemy was seen to turn to comb the tracks.

22 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) fired torpedoes at, most likely, an Italian Argonauta class submarine, south of the Gulf of Naples in appoximate position 40°25'N, 14°24'E.

The target was most likely the Italian submarine Ametista which was on passage from La Spezia to Augusta and was at that time off Naples. The attack was unobserved.

(All times are zone -1)
1206 hours - Sighted a submarine leaving Naples Bay (through Bocca Piccola) southward towards Messina. Range was 5000 yards.

1229 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 900 yards. Missed. The enemy zigged shortly before firing so the setup had to be changed quickly from an attack from 500 yards to 900 yards.

25 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed her patrol area off Naples for the east coast of Sardinia. (3)

26 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Polinnia (1292 GRT, built 1911) in the Thyrrhenian Sea about 95 nautical miles south-west of Ischia Island, Italy in position 40°05'N, 12°08'E.

(All times are zone -1)
2010 hours - Sighted a merchant ship. Started attack.

2045 hours - Fired one torpedo from 1500 yards. It hit.

2100 hours - Surfaced. Opened fire with the deck gun.

2108 hours - Ceased firing. Proceeded to pick up survivors as the crew had abondoned ship.

2202 hours - Fired a second torpedo as the ship did not sink from a range of 1000 yards. The cargo of the ship was timber. It hit and the ship now started settling by the stern..

28 Jun 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Ugo Bassi (2900 GRT, built 1902) off the Gulf of Orosei, Sardinia in approximate position 40°07'N, 09°50'E.

(All times are zone -1)
0602 hours - Sighted a southbound cargo/passenger vessel of about 7000 to 8000 tons. Range was 12000 yards. Started attack.

0633 hours - Fired one torpedo from 2500 yards. It hit underneath the bridge and a heavy explosion followed. The target was settling fast.

0638 hours - Retired from the scene to the eastward.

4 Jul 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (3)

13 Jul 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is docked at Gibraltar. (18)

22 Jul 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is undocked. (18)

25 Jul 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. (18)

26 Jul 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN). (18)

28 Jul 1941
For the daily and attack positions of HMS Severn during her 15h war patrol see the map below.

(3)

28 Jul 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 15th war patrol. She was ordered to escort convoy HG 69 for part of the way.

Before proceeding on patrol A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN). (3)

31 Jul 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is ordered to leave the convoy and to patrol along a line to the west of Gibraltar for an anti-Uboat patrol. (3)

7 Aug 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) fired torpedoes at the German submarine U-93 in position 34°48'N, 13°04'W. All torpedoes missed their target although the British claimed to have sunk the submarine. The Germans heard two torpedoes exploding.

(All times are zone -1)
0048 hours - Sighted a U-boat on the surface at a range of 4000 yards. Started attack.

0056 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 3000 to 4000 yards. All missed.

0101 hours - Fired one torpedo from 3000 to 4000 yards. Missed.

0102 hours - Fired one torpedo from 3000 to 4000 yards, it hit at 0105 hours. A very loud explosion was heard.

0106 hours - Dived to reload. (3)

8 Aug 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is ordered to return to Gibraltar. (3)

10 Aug 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 15th war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

19 Aug 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN) and HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN). (19)

20 Aug 1941
HMS Severn (with Lt.Cdr. H.G. Dymott, RN temporary in command as Lt.Cdr. Campbell was sick)eparted Gibraltar for her 16th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Atlantic to the west of Gibraltar.

Shortly after departing Gibraltar HMS Severn grounded near Cape Spartel and damaged her Asdic dome.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(19)

4 Sep 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Dymott, RN) ended her 16th war patrol at Gibraltar. (20)

10 Sep 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is docked at Gibraltar. (20)

11 Sep 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is undocked. (20)

16 Sep 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR) and HMS Lord Hotham (T/Skr. F.J. Setterfield, RNR). (20)

17 Sep 1941
In the morning, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), and in the afternoon HMS Severn conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN). (20)

18 Sep 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR) and HMS Fleur de Lys (Lt. (Retd.) A. Collins, RNR). (20)

22 Sep 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted independent exercises off Gibraltar. (20)

23 Sep 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted independent exercises off Gibraltar. (20)

28 Sep 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is docked at Gibraltar. (20)

11 Oct 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is undocked. (21)

14 Oct 1941
In the morning, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), conducted independent exercises off Gibraltar. In the afternoon A/S exercises were carried out together with aircraft. (21)

15 Oct 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Gibraltar for Freetown.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this passage see the map below.

(21)

22 Oct 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Freetown. (21)

27 Oct 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Freetown for a few days of exercises together with the destroyer HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN), the corvettes HMS Armeria (T/Lt. H.N. Russell, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR), HMS Aster (Lt.Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR), the A/S trawlers HMS Fandango (Lt. J.A.T. Maishman, RNR), HMS Morris Dance (Lt. A. Bruce, RCNVR) and several ML's. (21)

30 Oct 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) returned to Freetown. (21)

1 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Freetown. (22)

3 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN), HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR) and two ML's. (22)

7 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN), HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR) and two ML's. (22)

9 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN), HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) and HMS Turcoman (T/Lt. R.F. Pretty, RNVR). (22)

11 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Bengali (Lt. F.R. Pike, RCNVR) and three ML's. (22)

13 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR) and Sunderland aircraft. (22)

14 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Bergamot (Lt. R.T. Horan, RNR), HMS Bengali (Lt. F.R. Pike, RCNVR) and Walrus and Sunderland aircraft. (22)

15 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN), HMS Lavender (Lt.Cdr. J. Whayman, RNR), HMS Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Crocus (Lt.Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR). (22)

16 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN), HMS Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Crocus (Lt.Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR). (22)

18 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Lavender (Lt.Cdr. J. Whayman, RNR), HMS Aster (Lt.Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR), HMS Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Crocus (Lt.Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR). (22)

22 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Rumba (T/Lt. N.E. Hendy, RNVR) and HMS St. Wistan (Lt. H.P. Carse, DSC, RN). (22)

24 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Surprise (Cdr.(Retd.) L.C. Ansdell, RN) and HMS Fandango (Lt. J.A.T. Maishman, RNR). (22)

25 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS St. Wistan (Lt. H.P. Carse, DSC, RN) and HMS Arran (T/Lt. J.E.B. Healy, RNVR). (22)

30 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Woodruff (A/Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gray, RNR), HMS Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Freesia (T/Lt. R.A. Cherry, RNR). (22)

1 Dec 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Freetown. (23)

2 Dec 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Freetown for Gibraltar.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this passage see the map below.

(23)

9 Dec 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (23)

12 Dec 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is docked at Gibraltar. (23)

29 Dec 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is undocked. (23)

4 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted independent exercises off Gibraltar. (24)

6 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and HMS Haarlem (T/Lt. L.B. Merrick, RNR). (24)

9 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN).

At 1155 hours, a smoke candle failed and a fire was started in the after end of the submarine which was quickly extinguished. No serious damage was sustained and Severn continued the exercise. (24)

10 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN). (24)

12 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with ML 126, ML 176 and ML 224.

Following these exercises she carried out attack exercises on HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, DSC, RN). She also returned the favour and served as target for HMS Clyde during her attack exercises. (24)

14 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Spiraea (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR) and HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR). (24)

18 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Gibraltar for Portsmouth.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this passage see the map below.

(24)

24 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (24)

30 Jan 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is docked at Portsmouth. (24)

2 Feb 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is undocked. (25)

17 Feb 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Portsmouth for Philadelphia, U.S.A. where she is to refit.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this passage see the map below.

The map is incomplete as no log is available for March 1942 so no positions can de displayed after 28 February 1942.

(25)

26 Feb 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) reported that she was delayed due to heavy weather she had encountered on the passage to Philadelphia. (26)

27 Feb 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) reported that she had sustained wheather damage, which included damage to the pressure hull and gun platform, and it was her intention to divert to Halifax. She confirmed that she was indeed doing so the next day. (26)

1 Mar 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Halifax. (7)

13 Mar 1942
Having completed temporary repairs, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), departed Halifax for Philadelphia. (26)

16 Mar 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was taken in hand for refit. (7)

12 Sep 1942
Having completed her refit at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), ran port-refit trials in Delaware Bay. She then returned to Philadelphia. (27)

23 Sep 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) shifted from the Philadelphia Navy Yard to Delaware Bay. (27)

24 Sep 1942
After a day of trials in Delaware Bay, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), returned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. (27)

30 Sep 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) shifted from the Philadelphia Navy Yard to Delaware Bay. (27)

1 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) shifted from Delaware Bay to New York. (28)

2 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) shifted from New York to the submarine base at New London where she was to commence a training period. (28)

2 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at New London, Connecticut, USA from the Philadelphia Navy Yard for a training period. (28)

3 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed New London for trials and exercises but due to the state of the sea these were cancelled and she returned to New London. (28)

5 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted trials and exercises in Block Island Sound. (28)

8 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted trials and exercises in Block Island Sound. (28)

9 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted trials and exercises in Block Island Sound. (28)

12 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted trials and exercises in Block Island Sound. (28)

13 Oct 1942
During 13/14 October 1942, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), conducted trials and exercises in Block Island Sound. These included night exercises. (28)

15 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted trials and exercises in Block Island Sound. (28)

16 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted trials and exercises in Block Island Sound. (28)

18 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed New London, Connecticut, USA for Halifax.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this passage see the map below.

The map is incomplete as no log is available for Novemer 1942 so no positions can de displayed after 31 October 1942.

(28)

25 Oct 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Halifax for Portsmouth, UK. This was later changed for Holy Loch. (28)

3 Nov 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (26)

6 Nov 1942
After two days of trials in the Clyde area, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), departed Holy Loch for Portsmouth where a new battery was to be installed. (29)

9 Nov 1942
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (29)

5 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises off Portsmouth. (30)

10 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Portsmouth for Holy Loch. She was to make rendez-vous the next morning with HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) and the US submarines USS Herring (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Johnson, USN) and USS Shad (Lt.Cdr. E.J. MacGregor III). During the passage from Portsmouth to the rendez-vous position HMS Severn was escorted by the Free French submarine chasers Chasseur 11 and Chasseur 15. (30)

12 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a training period. (30)

13 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (30)

15 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (30)

16 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (30)

19 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) shifted from Holy Loch to Arrochar where she was to conduct torpedo discharge trials. (30)

20 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted torpedo discharge trials at Arrochar. (30)

21 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted torpedo discharge trials at Arrochar. (30)

23 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted torpedo discharge trials at Arrochar. Upon completion of these trials she returned to Holy Loch. (30)

25 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (30)

25 Feb 1943
HMS Usurper (Lt. D.R.O. Mott, DSC, RN) was conducting exercises on Inmarnock Water when she was ordered to search in the Clyde area for her missing sister ship HMS Vandal (Lt. J.S. Bridger, RN).

The following submarines / ships were also ordered to search for HMS Vandal (which was not found until 1994); HMS Graph (Lt. P.B. Marriot, DSO, RN), HMS L 27 (Lt. W.N. Eade, RNR), HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.A. Duff, RN), HMS Whitehall (Cdr. C.L.de H. Bell, RD, RNR), HMS Breda (Capt.(Retd.) A.E. Johnston, RN), HMS Kingfisher (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.H. Gandy, RN), HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR), HMS Cygnet (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Proudfoot, RN), HMS Tedworth (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.H. Warren, RN) and HrMs Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.L.M. van Geen, RNN). (31)

26 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (30)

28 Feb 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted noise trials in Loch Goil. (30)

17 Mar 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is docked at Govan to make good defects. (29)

26 Mar 1943
Having completed her repairs at Govan, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), retuned to Holy Loch. (29)

1 Apr 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Holy Loch for her 17th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol of the Lofoten. Passage north towards just north of Muckle Fluga was made together with USS Barb (Lt.Cdr. N. Lucker, Jr., USN) under escort by HMS Rhododendron (Lt. L.A. Sayers, RNR). (3)

11 Apr 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) had to abandon her patrol due to a defect to the after hydroplanes that was beyond repair by the ships staff. (32)

13 Apr 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) suffered engine defects limiting her speed on the surface to 10 knots, delaying her arrival at Lerwick. (32)

15 Apr 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 17th war patrol prematurely at Lerwick. (32)

19 Apr 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Lerwick for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS Tuna (Lt. D.S.R. Martin, RN). They were escorted by HMS Hayling. (T/Lt. G.B. Christie, RNR). (3)

22 Apr 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (3)

23 Apr 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) shifted from Holy Loch to Greenock where repairs were to be undertaken at the Scotts Shipyard. (29)

3 Jun 1943
Having completed her repairs, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) shifted from Greenock to Holy Loch. (33)

4 Jun 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area. (33)

6 Jun 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Holy Loch for Algiers. During the passage south through the Irish Sea she was escorted by HMS White Bear (Cdr. (Retd.) C.C. Flemming, RN) until 1700/8. (33)

6 Jun 1943

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during the passage from Holy Loch to Algiers see the map below.

(33)

13 Jun 1943
At 1650 hours (GMT), HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), was bombed by a so far unidentified aircraft in approximte position 42°08'N, 10°05'W. She sustained no damage. (3)

16 Jun 1943
In the evening HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), landed a sick rating at Gibraltar before continueing her passage to Algiers. (33)

18 Jun 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Algiers. (33)

24 Jun 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises at Algiers. (33)

27 Jun 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Algiers for her 18th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was to perfom a special operation (Hawthorn) off the west coast of Sardinia.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

30 Jun 1943
In the late evening, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), conducted the first part of Operation Hawthorn (details hopefully to follow later but is has something to do with raiding parties being landed to raid enemy airfields). (3)

1 Jul 1943
In the late evening, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), conducted the second part of Operation Hawthorn (details hopefully to follow later but is has something to do with raiding parties being landed to raid enemy airfields). (3)

2 Jul 1943
Due to defects, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), is forced to abandon patrol and the special operation and set course to return to Algiers. A third party that was to be landed therefore could not be landed and was taken back to Algiers. This party was later parachuted in. (3)

4 Jul 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 18th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (3)

18 Jul 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (34)

19 Jul 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (34)

20 Jul 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Algiers for her 19th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was to perfom a special operation (take off the raiding parties that were landed for Hawthorn) off the east coast of Sardinia.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

25 Jul 1943
During the nights of 24/25 and 25/26 July 1943, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), tried to make contact with the party's ashore. On one night a signal was received that the embarkation place was compromised. The operation was reluctantly abandoned. (3)

31 Jul 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 19th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. Once again HMS Severn returned to base with serious defects. (3)

5 Aug 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (35)

2 Sep 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (36)

4 Sep 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is docked at Algiers. (36)

5 Sep 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is undocked. (36)

9 Sep 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is docked again at Algiers. (36)

1 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) is undocked. (37)

4 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (37)

6 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Algiers for Bizerta.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during the passage from Algiers to Beirut see the map below.

(37)

7 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Bizerta from Algiers. (37)

8 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Bizerta for Malta. (37)

9 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Malta from Bizerta. (37)

11 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Malta for Beirut. (37)

15 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) arrived at Beirut. (37)

18 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Beirut for her 20th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). This was a storage trip to Leros. HMS Severn had on board 6 Bofors guns, 15 tons of ammunition,3 tons of aviation spirit and 8 Military personnel.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol / storage trip see the map below.

(3)

21 Oct 1943
During the night of 21/22 October 1943, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), unloaded her supplies at Leros. (3)

25 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 20th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Beirut. (3)

31 Oct 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Beirut for 21th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). This was her second storage trip to Leros. HMS Severn had on board barrles for Bofors guns, stores and Naval and other Military personnel.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this aborted vpatrol / storage trip see the map below.

(38)

1 Nov 1943
At 2300 hours (zone -2), HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), set course to return to Beirut. She was unable to continue her transport mission to Leros due to serious engine defects. (39)

3 Nov 1943
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) ended her 21th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Beirut. Once again HMS Severn returned with serious engine defects. (39)

8 Apr 1944
After a long time of repairs, HMS Severn (Lt. J.F. Michell, RN), conducted trials and exercises off Beirut.

On completion of these exercises Lt. R.H. Bull resumed command from Lt. Michell. (40)

9 Apr 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Beirut. (40)

10 Apr 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) departed Beirut for Port Said. (40)

11 Apr 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) arrived at Port Said where she was to continue her repairs and refit. (40)

19 Apr 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) is docked at Port Said. (40)

8 May 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) is undocked. (41)

28 May 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) is docked again at Port Said. (41)

7 Jun 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) is undocked. (42)

10 Jun 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Port Said. (42)

11 Jun 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Port Said. (42)

19 Jun 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Port Said. (42)

22 Jun 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Port Said. (42)

24 Jun 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) departed Port Said for Suez where she arrived later the same day. (42)

25 Jun 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) departed Suez for Aden.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during the passage from Suez to Trincomalee see the map below.

(42)

30 Jun 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) arrived at Aden. (42)

3 Jul 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) departed Aden for Colombo. During this passage her destination was changed to Trincomalee. (43)

16 Jul 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (43)

7 Aug 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) departed Trincomalee for her 22th war patrol (1st in the Far East). She was ordered to perform two special operations.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

12 Aug 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) tried to conduct the first of her special operations but it had to be postponed due to the bad weather. The weather did not impove the next day and the operation had to be cancelled. (No further details available for the moment). (3)

19 Aug 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) had to cancel the execution of her second special operation (no further details available at the moment) due to engine defects. (3)

26 Aug 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) ended her 22th war patrol (1st in the Far East) at Trincomalee. Once again Severn returned to base with serious engine defects. Besides that her general state was considered very poor and the submarine needed a large refit before she was to be fit to be operationally employed. (3)

28 Aug 1944
HMS Severn (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) accidentaly fired a torpedo from no.8 torpedo tube inside Trincomalee harbour. (44)

23 Dec 1944
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Brookes, DSO, DSC, RN) was decommissioned at Trincomalee where she was then berthed on the mud. (45)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16079
  2. ADM 173/16078
  3. ADM 199/1878
  4. ADM 186/794
  5. ADM 173/16081
  6. ADM 173/16082
  7. ADM 199/2572
  8. ADM 199/373
  9. ADM 173/16531
  10. ADM 173/16978
  11. ADM 173/16979
  12. ADM 173/16980
  13. ADM 173/16980 + ADM 173/16981
  14. ADM 173/16980 + ADM 199/1886
  15. ADM 173/16981
  16. ADM 173/16982
  17. ADM 173/16983
  18. ADM 173/16984
  19. ADM 173/16985
  20. ADM 173/16986
  21. ADM 173/16987
  22. ADM 173/16988
  23. ADM 173/16989
  24. ADM 173/17567
  25. ADM 173/17568
  26. ADM 199/424
  27. ADM 173/17569
  28. ADM 173/17570
  29. ADM 199/1909
  30. ADM 173/18046
  31. ADM 173/18388
  32. ADM 199/627
  33. ADM 173/18047
  34. ADM 173/18048
  35. ADM 173/18049
  36. ADM 173/18050
  37. ADM 173/18051
  38. ADM 199/1916
  39. ADM 173/18052
  40. ADM 173/18708
  41. ADM 173/18709
  42. ADM 173/18710
  43. ADM 173/18711
  44. ADM 173/18712
  45. ADM 173/18716

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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