“On this day in history” 27 August 1940, Royal Navy armed merchant cruiser HMS Dunvegan Castle (Capt. H. Ardill) struck by 3 torpedoes from submarine U-46 (Oblt. E. Endrass) while escorting Convoy SL-43 (convoy commodore RAdm. J. C. Hamilton).
The first torpedo struck Dunvegan Castle at 21.47 aft of the bridge, but the ship remained underway. The second torpedo struck the engine room at 22.12 and the third torpedo stuck forward of the bridge at 22.51.
Dunvegan Castle foundered and caught fire, with 27 men (3 officers, 24 ratings) killed. Convoy escorts HMS Harvester (LtCdr. M. Thornton) and HMS Primrose (LtCdr. C. Sanders) took off 240 survivors.
Dunvegan Castle sank in position 54°54N/11°W, 75-miles NW of Ireland.
On 24 August 1943, German submarine U-185 (Type IXC/40, Kptlt. A. Maus) sunk by depth charges from Avenger and Wildcat aircraft of US Navy Composite Squadron 13 (VC-13), operating from escort carrier USS Core (CVE-13) in position 27.00N, 37.06W.
Records on U-185 are held at the US National Archives.
“On this day in history” 24 August, the following U-boats were at sea:
The first plane to actually crass the coast (top) was piloted by Lt Goodfellow, RNVR, flying from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Implacable.
Implacable served as part of the British Pacific Fleet from April 1945 until victory over Japan. On 17 July 1945, aircraft from Implacable joined those from Formidable and Victorious to conduct attacks on Japanese airfields in the Tokyo-Yokohama area.
‘Cammell Laird from the River’ oil on board by R. A. Edwards, 1960.
“On this day in history” 26 June 1916, Royal Navy Courageous-class battlecruiser HMS Furious was placed into commission.
Furious was modified to become an aircraft carrier trials ship, her forward turret was removed and a flying-off deck added. Floatplanes, such as the Short Admiralty Type 184, would land on the water for recovery.
Between November 1917 and March 1918, Furious underwent further conversion. Her aft turret was removed and a landing deck added. Elevators were installed to service aircraft hangars.
The modifications proved unsatisfactory, particularity due to the separate flying-off and landing decks, and in 1921 Furious was taken in hand for further conversion.
The work was intensive and took place at HM Dockyards Rosyth and Devonport. Her bridge superstructure and funnels were removed to provide for a full-length flight deck. A two-level hangar was built under the flight deck and serviced by two elevators. Furious recommissioned in 1925.
By the outbreak of war in 1939, Furious was serving as a deck landing training carrier. She was then assigned to the Home Fleet to replace Courageous, lost on 29 September.
On 10 April 1940, Furious embarked Swordfish aircraft of 816 and 818 Naval Air Squadrons for service in the Norway campaign. Without fighter aircraft, she was vulnerable to German attack, and on 18 April bombs dropped by an He.111 damaged her propeller shafts.
After repairs, Furious sailed for Canada carrying £18,000,000 in gold bullion. This was part of Operation Fish, the temporary evacuation of British wealth to safety in Canada during the Second World War. The British bullion – amounting in total to $25 million (~ $28 billion in 2016) – was stored in a specially constructed vault at the Sun Life Building in Montreal.
Furious served with Force H during Operation Torch in 1942 and with the Home Fleet during two operations against the Tirpitz – Operation Tungsten in April 1944 and Operation Mascot in July 1944.
Showing signs of age, Furious was placed reserve in September 1944 and paid off in April 1945. She was sold for scrap in 1948.
Amazingly, a photograph of the attack is in the IWM archives.
The Liberator (serial 120/H) was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Alexander Fraser, Royal Australian Air Force, operating from Reykjavik, Iceland. As you can see from the photograph, Fraser caught U-200 on the surface and his two depth charges straddled the U-boat perfectly.
Fraser was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross for his “magnificent example of determination to destroy the enemy in the face of opposition.”
U-200 was lost with all hands. The figure of 67 dead includes not only the U-boat’s crew, but also a 7-man German special forces unit of Brandenburg commandos. The Brandenburg unit was in transit to South Africa, where they were to be landed and make contact with anti-British sympathizers in the Boer community.
The loss of Royal Navy battleship HMS Victoria “on this day in history” 22 June 1893 following collision with HMS Camperdown.
Oil on canvas by A. R. D. Ligmore.
Victoria’s wreck lays off Tripoli, Lebanon.
Victoria sank in just 13-minutes, slipping into the water bow first.The men in the engine room never received orders to abandon ship and went down with her. Other men in the water were sucked down with the ship. Of her ship’s company, 357 were rescued and 358 lost.