“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:
“Force H off Gibraltar, 1940.” Oil on canvas by Rowland Langmaid.
“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.
“On the day in history” 22 June 1940, German Type IXB submarine U-122 (KrvKpt. Hans-Günther Looff) missing presumed lost in the North Atlantic.
U-122’s last reported position was approx. 56.00N, 10.30W on 21 June 1940. The submarine was reported missing on 27 July 1940 after repeatedly failing to report its position.
It is possible that U-122 was lost due to a collision with SS San Felipe on 22 June 1940, but there is no record of a wreck.
All 49 officers and men aboard U-122 were lost.
“On this day in history” 14 June 1945, Royal Navy S-class submarine HMSM Saga (P257) placed in commission.
Saga was built at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead and launched in March 1945. She left the builder’s yard in June, and commissioned at Holy Loch on 14 June 1945, Lt P. Thirsk, RNR commanding.
Saga‘s Royal Navy service was short. She was still undergoing working up trails at Scapa Flow and Holy Loch when the war with Japan ended. On 10 February 1946, Saga collided with the fishing vessel Girl Lena in the English Channel, causing the trawler to sink.
In 1948, Saga was sold to Portugal and renamed NRP Nautilo. She continued to serve in the Marinha de Guerra Portuguesa until 1969.
“On this day in history” 12 June 1943, German Type XB submarine U-118 (KrvKpt. Werner Czygan) was sunk with depth charges by a flight of Avenger aircraft operating from the US Navy escort carrier USS Bogue (ACV/CVE-9). There were 43 dead (including Czygan) and 16 survivors. The wreck of U-118 lays west of the Canary Islands at 30.49N, 33.49W.
Remarkably, a gun camera photo of the attack exists. The photo is in the collection of US Naval History and Heritage Command.