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*Photo’s of ships taking part are at the end of this narrative.
This is the Captains Report of Proceedings for the period 2nd May 1945 to 31 May 1945 inclusive.
2 May 1945 Exercises in Scapa Flow
3 May Exercises West of Orkneys and Full Power Trial
9 May 2058 hours sailed from Scapa in company with C.S 10 in HMS Diadem and Iroquois
10 May 0715 Arrived at Rosyth. Carried out a check run over the D G Range (de gausing)
11 May 1630 hrs.sailed from Rosyth with Force 7 in company for operation “Kingdom” in accordance with C-in C Rosyth’s Memorandum No.00968XR dated 10 May 1945. (Not to Flag Officer, Denmark or “Dido”). Force 7 proceeded by route A-G at 21 knots.
12 May 40th M.S.F (Mine Sweeping Force) joined company at 0610hrs. in position DE and swept ahead of Force 7 in accordance with C-in-C Rosyth’s signal timed 112223, speed being reduced to 9 knots.
No mines were cut but 17 drifting mines were passed between positions G and Z.
German and Norwegian pilots were embarked at 1935hrs. from the German Minesweeper No. 460 in position 57 degrees 58 north 6 degrees 50 east. The German pilot stated that it was safe to proceed by route X to position X.1,thence inshore to Way 42 and within 5 miles of the coast to the eastern limit of the declared area.
Force 7 proceeded at 2002 hrs by this route. 40th M.S.F, were ordered to sweep ahead of the force from position X.1 to position 4 on Way 42. The German minesweeper proceeded ahead of the 40th M.S.F to position 4 and was the detached to return to Kristiansand (S)
13 May From Hvisten onward Force 7 was given a most enthusiastic welcome by large numbers of small boats. Speed was reduced to 6 knots.
The boats were most compentently handled however, and caused no anxiety.
The route instructions for Oslofjord obtained from the German pilots were embarked at Drobak and Gaasoen.
Force 7 arrived Oslohavn at 1400hrs. “Apollo” anchored and “Devonshire” and “Ariadne” moored, west of Kavringen.
Assumed duties as Senior Officer Afloat.
H.R.H Prince Olav landed from HMS Apollo at 1600hrs.
14 May Working parties were landed daily to clean the offices ashore that are to be taken over by Flag Officer Norway. These were lately occupied by the German Command.
15 May Sailed 40th M.S.F for Rosyth.
17th May NORWEGIAN NATIONAL DAY. Bishop Berggrav, Primate of the Norwegian Church visited the ship.His greetings to the Archbisop of Canterbury were sent through the Flag Officer Norway to the Admiralty.
Commanding Officers were received by H.R.H Prince Olav, and witnessed the National Day celebration from the Palace.
Ships of Force 7 were with masthead flags with the Norwegian Ensign at the main from the time of entering Norwegian waters until sunset today. “Devonshire”, “Apollo” and “Ariadne” gave a searchlight and firework display after dark.
18 May Sailed “Apollo” and “Ariadne” for Rosyth. A party for children between the ages of 5 and 12 was given onboard during the afternoon. 2,800 attended.
I was honoured with a gracious letter from H.R.H Prince Olav, the relevant parts of which were promulgated to Force 7 and 40th M.S.F in my 181630B. (Copy attached)
1900hrs sailed Oslo with “Iroquois” and “Savage” in company.
General Remaks –Oslo:
Supplies of provisions to other ships etc.
During the ships stayat Oslo, bread and other provisions required were to H.M Ships “Campbell”, “Iroquois”, “Savage”, “Ilfracombe”, “Beumaris”, “Vega” H.M.N.S “Arendal” and two small minesweepers, and certain supplies made for rehabilitation of the civilian population and to British troops onshore.
An average of 1,600lb of bread was baked daily.
A total of 371 tons of oil fuel was supplied to the following ships:-
“Ilfracombe”, “Arendal” (ex HMS Badsworth), “Beumaris”, and “Vega”.
H.M.S 280 developed major engine defects on the 16th May, “Devonshire” manned up the job throughout the next 56 hours, but was unable to complete the work. Machine work was forwarded and turned over to the Base Engineer Officer before sailing from Oslo.
The majority of the ships company are, of course, Hostilities Only and a special effort was made to impress all Libertymen with the meaning of “showing the flag” and the versity of good behaviour and smartness in dress.
They conducted themselves very satisfactory at Oslo – this was reasonably easy as there was practically nothing ashore to drink.
Open to Visitors.
At Oslo the ship was open daily from 1600hrs to 2000hrs.and although no special boats were run this was a great success.
The visitors were invariably hungry and were delighted if offered something to eat or given a stale crust of bread to take home.
19 May Swedish pilots were embarked on entering Swedish waters off Stromsted and ships proceeded to
Copenhagen, led by the Swedish destroyer “Karlkrona” through the Swedish Neutrality Channel.
On parting company the following signal was made to “Karlkrona”:-
We are deeply grateful for the courtesy and consideration of the Royal Swedish Navy in the excellent arrangements provided for our safe passage through these delightful waters.
Pilots were changed at Lysekil, Vinga, Varberg, Halmutad and Vikaan ( by Rob G…the decyphering of these places proved difficult due to the faded transcript, so might not be spelt correctly)
1750 arrived Copenhagen and secured alongside Langelinie.
Assumed duties of Senior Officer Afloat.
The necessary communications ratings were lent to “Dido” to enable her to continue to maintain W/T responsibility for Copenhagen C.C.O.
Lieutenant Commander Holat Royal Danish Navy was attached to “Devonshire as liaison officer. His services were invaluable during our stay in Copenhagen.
The following patrols were established:-
• Burmeister and Wains shipyard
• Free Port
• Harbour boat patrol during dark hours
• The ex German tug “Schulau” was taken over from “Birmingham” and a crew placed onboard.
20 May. Sailed “Birmingham”, “Zephyr” and “Zest”. The ships company were inoculated against typhus.
21 May. A working party was landed to assist in re-establishing the British Legation.
The German Hospital ships “Pretoria” and “General Sen Martin” sailed for Keil. Theses are the first German ships to leave Copenhagen since the capitulation.
It was suspected by Military Intelligence that some man in whom they were partticlarly interested was on board the “Pretoria”. “Pretoria” was ordered to stop by signal. When this signal was noe obeyed the tug “Schulau” was sent in chasewith an armed party consisting of a section from “Devonshire”, some Paratroopers and some members of the Danish Resistance Movement.
Arrangements were made in the meantime for the “Pretoria” to be stopped and searched on arrival at Kiel and the “Schulau” was recalled.
22 May. A small patrol under the command of a Lieutenant Commander was landed at North Dockyard Island at 0700hrs.to take over from the Germans. A guard and band was provided at 0950hrs. at the Dockyard Saluting Battery, when the Danish flag was hoisted by the Danish Commander-in- Chief.
The preliminary inspection of “Prinz Eugen” and ”Nurnberg” on completion of disarmament was carried out today by the Flag Officer, Denmark accompanied by the Commanding Officer H.M.S “Dido” and the specialist officers of “Devonshire” and “Dido”.
The Inspection of “Prinz Eugen” was carried out by “Dido”. “Devonshire’s” officers inspected “Nurnberg” as directed by the Commanding Officer H.M.S “Dido”.
The British Charge d’affaires called on me in the afternoon. I gave a tea and cocktail party for Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess and their daughter Princess Margaretha. Vice Admiral Wedel, the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Danish Navy, and his wife and family: the Flag Officer Denmark: Commander Weilbach, R.D.N, the Naval Aide de Camp tp His Royal Highness and Lieutenant Commander Holdt, R.D.N were present.
Convoy “CROSSKEYS” arrived Copenhagen.
23 May. Further inspections of “Nurnberg” wer carried out as arranged by the individual inspecting officers.
0815hrs. Arrived “Diadem” and Oribi”.
General remarks Copenhagen:
Supplies of provisions to other ships etc.
HM Ships “Iroquois”, “Savage”, H.M.L’s and H.M ships were supplied with bread and stores as necessary.
A total of 299tons of oil fuel was supplied to the following ships:- “Savage”, “Iroquois” and “Sidmouth”.
Libertymen conducted themselves very satisfactory, although there was plenty of temptation in the port.
Cigarettes were in great command ashore, and some bartering may have taken place. 20 Krones (equal to 17/-) (17 Shillings at 2007 rates equates to 85 pence) were offered for a packet of cigarettes, and camera’s and watches were held up on the quayside to entice men to “swop” them for a few cigarettes. To prevent trafficking it was necessary to double the sentries on the jetty.
At Copenhagen a large number of visitors were shown round the ship, but as there was only one narrow brow it was not possible to open to the public.
24 May. The Commanding Officers “Prinz Eugen” and “Nurnberg” repaired onboard “Devonshire” at 0950hrs. to receive their orders for the passage to Wilhelmshaven.
A liaison officer, a Royal Marine and two signalmen from “ Devonshire were placed on board “Prinz Eugen” and a similar party from “Dido” boarded “Nurnberg”.
1000hrs, sailed “Sidmouth” for Kristiansand (S).
1130hrs, sailed with “Dido”, “Iroquois”, “Savage”, “Prinz Eugen” and “Nurnberg” in company in accordance with Flag Officer Denmark’s signal timed 2322144B May (not to all)
“Prinz Eugen,”Nurnberg” and Dido took station astern of “Devonshire” in that order. The Destroyers were ordered to prolong the line until clear of Swedish and Norwegian waters when they were stationed on either beam of “Prinz Eugen”.
From 2130hrs until clear of Swedish waters the Swedish destroyer “Norhoping” was in company, and took station ahead of “Devonshire”.
Course and speed signals were made in international code and in addition were made by TBS to the escorting force and by light using Swedish procedure to the Swedish Destroyer.
“Prinz Eugen” was was well handled and was normally prompt in answering signals but some difficulty was experienced in passing signals to “Nurenberg”
Paravanes were streamed on leaving Swedish waters and once more “Prinz Eugen” was ready to proceed an appreciable time before “Nurnberg”.
25 May. The very hurried arragements which had to be made for leaving did not allow any photographic record of the escort of the German ships by units of the Home Fleet being made at Copenhagen.
I therefore request in my signal timed 250943B May that this somewhat historic occasion should be put on record.
26 May. Paravanes were hauled at 0600hrs. and at 0705hrs. rendezvous was made with the 18th M.S.F. The escort of “Prinz Eugen” and “Nurnberg” was turned over to “Iroquois” and at 0800hrs “Devonshire and “Dido” proceeded to return to Rosyth at 24 knots. Speed was later reduced to 22 knots to conserve oil fuel.
In order to test the arrangements advertised in QZH 458, the trawler was called on 500Kc/s from 1745hrs to 1809hrs. No reply was received nor was the trawler sighted at position H.
The buoy in position G was not sighted nor were the hydrographic beacons in positions DE, CD, or BC.
27 May. “Devonshire” and “Dido” passed May Island at 1045hrs. and anchored in B^ and B5 berths respectively at about 1330hrs.
In accordance with Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet’s Memorandum HF.985/60 dated 22 February 1945, an account of the passage has been prepared for possible use by the BBC.
In view of Naval interest of the occasion, the waters through which the German ships were escorted, and the proximity to the 29th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, it has seemed odd that the only mention made by broadcast was in the Canadian news with reference to the activities of the “Iroquois”, and that the Home service news should have dealt so repeatedly with a flight over the North Pole and the indeterminate position of the Magnetic Pole.
A report by me by the liasion officer to “Prinz Eugen” is attached
Report of Liasion Officer to “Prinz Eugen”
30th May 1945
1..I have the honour to forward the following report of my passage in “Prinz Eugen” from Copenhagen to Wilhelmshaven, which was carried out in accordance with you instructions received on 24th May 1945.
2.The following points were observed during passage..
a) The attitude of the officers was correct and every assistance was accorded to me during the passage. The crew also attempted to maintain a correct attitude, but lack of experience and knowledge of procedure withheld them at times from making the proper salutes.
b) The army personnel, numbering 635, were mostly soldiers of various ranks. Here the attitude was different and they were slovenly, paid no respect and I was met by scowling faces. The Captain of the ship deplored their presence in his vessel and their attitude, hanging and leaning over the guardrails, slouching about the parts of ship with no respect for his officers or himself.
c) The state of efficiency aboard the “Prinz Eugen” appeared to be of a very high nature. Orders given were promptly executed in a seaman like way. Two examples:-
(i) The streaming of two sets of P.V’s forward and midships was executed in eleven minutes. The number of hands employed – 27 – including an officer and two Petty Officers.
(ii) The berthing of the ship in dock at Wilhelmshaven was effected by 16 hands, who knew, in a seaman like way just what was required of them. The remainder of the hands were stood at attention.
d) An opportunity was afforded of observing the efficiency of their radar. Some 40 miles distant from Heligoland, permission was requested from “Iroquois” to take a bearing on Heligoland. Permission was granted and the “Iroquois” also gave range and bearing. To the best of my knowledge at that time the distance was approximately 40 miles. “Prinz Eugen” distance and bearing was the same as our own, allowing the distance apart from the two ships.
e) Signals were not well executed. The procedure aboard was – signal officer and one rating with head telephones were stationed on the trespass platform, and signalman were on the signal bridge – some fifty yards aft and some 30 feet higher – and appeared to be much slower than our own procedure. A yellow flag is waved from the signal deck when the engines are being stopped and also used for indicating the movements of the screws.
f) Ship handling. The ship was well handled by the Captain. The Officers of the Watch, however, appeared to lack experience. “Prinz Eugen” had no difficulty in following in “Devonshire’s” wake. She was however, at very light draught.
g) Morale. The morale of the crew and officers was of fairly high standard, respect being paid by sailors prompyly and smartly to the senior officers and it would appear that the Captain is well liked on board his ship.
h) Conditions of living on board were not comparable to our Navy. The ship internally was dirty and the food well below standard.
I Have the honour to be Sir
Your obedient servant
Lieutenant Douglas Kirkhope Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
By Robby G; May I suggest that this Officer had no idea of the sad situation these surrendered Germans were in. Here they are, having lost the war, being escorted back to there Home Port. No wonder they showed little respect to there conquerors. I expect that this narrow minded Officer was put aboard as he no doubt spoke fluent German and was probably the school prat!
“Operation Kingdom” message from Prince Olav.
31 May 1945
From: HMS Devonshire
To: HM ships Apollo, Ariadne, , Savage, Campbell, 40th M.S.F and
His Royal Highness Prince Olav has addressed me the following message:
I should be grateful if you would be kind enough to convey to the Officers and Ships Company of all those of His Majesty’s ships who took part in Operation Kingdom my warmest and most sincere thanks.
Our return to Norway was an occasion to which we had all looked forward for a long time, and of which we shall now treasure the happiest memories of the efficient and successful way in which it was carried out.
I am proud that a ship of the Royal Norwegian Navy was selected to take part in the Operation and am most aware of the close and friendly co-operation that has always existed with the Royal Navy and which I am confident will long continue.
My best wishes to the future for you all.
At war’s end, the Prinz Eugen was surrendered at Copenhagen. In the post-war settlement, she was awarded to the U.S., which commissioned her as the U.S.S. Prinz Eugen, (IX-300). In 1946, she was among the ships used as a target fleet during Operation Crossroads, the two U.S. atomic detonations (Able and Baker) at Bikini Atoll.
The Prinz Eugen survived the blasts, but was too radioactive to attempt repairs of the ship.
She was towed to Kwajalein Atoll, where she finally capsized on December 22, 1946. Her stern and propellors are still visible to this day (though one prop was salvaged for museum display).
General San Martin (Hospital Ship)survived to serve as a troop ship for the British for a few years after the war.
HMS Diadem (Cruiser)was a Bellona-class cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was a modified Dido design with only 4 turrets but improved AA armament – aka Dido Group 2. She was built by R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Company, Limited (Hebbum- on- Tyne, UK), with the keel being laid down on 15 Dec. 1939. She was launched on 21 Aug.1942, and commissioned 6 Jan 1944.
HMS Dido (Cruiser)was the name ship of her class of light cruisers for the Royal Navy She was built by Cammel Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead), with the keel being laid down on 26 Oct. 1937. She was launched on 18 Jul. 1939 and commissioned 30 Sept. 1940. HMS Dido After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign she was adopted by the civil community of Bolton, then in the County of Lancashire.
M o t t o ‘Steadfast’
HMCS Iroquois,G89/217(Destroyer), Fleet Destroyer Tribal Class, Built: Swan Hunter,Newcastle-on-Tyne, Of a total 27, 8 were Canadian and 3 Australian Commissioned RCN 30.11.42 Paid Off 24.10.62
Complement 249 Gibraltar convoys off Vigo Spain, rescued 628 survivors from Duchess of York, Russia Convoys 43, 10th DF for invasion duties 44,
HMS Apollo (M01) (Minelayer) was The eighth Apollo an Abdiel-class minelayer launched in 1943 and broken up in 1962. HMS Apollo M o t t o Fortis et benignus: ‘Strong and kindly, or merciful’
HMS SAVAGE ( Destroyer) Laid down 7 Dec, 1941 Launched 24 Sep, 1942. Commissioned 8 Jun, 1943 Scrapped at Newport 11 April 1962. HMS Savage. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign held in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Buxton.
HMS Beaumaris (Minesweeper) Built by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. (Troon, Scotland) Laid down 31 Dec, 1939 Launched 31 Oct, 1940 Commissioned 28 Aug, 1941 Saw service in the 15th Fleet Minesweeping Flotilla (Leader HMS Lyme Regis). Sold on 1 January 1948 and scrapped at Milford Haven.
HMS Ilfracombe (Minesweeper) Built by William Hamilton & Co. (Port Glasgow, Scotland): Whites M.E. Laid down 11 Oct, 1939 Launched 29 Jan, 1941 Commissioned 20 Aug, 1941 Sold 1 January 1948. HMS Ilfracombe In November 1941 she was most appropriately “adopted” by the civil community of Ilfracombe, Devonshire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign.
HMS Sidmouth (Minesweeper) Built by Henry Robb Ltd. (Leith, U.K.): Plenty , Laid down 11 Jun, 1940 Launched 15 Mar, 1941 Commissioned 4 Aug, 1941 Sold 18 January 1950.
HMS Birmingham (Cruiser) Built by Devonport Dockyard. Laid Down 18th July 1935.
Launched 1st September 1936. Completed 18th November 1937.
Paid off December 1959. Broken up by Ward, Inverkeithing, 1960. HMS Birmingham M o t t o: ‘Forward’
HMS Vega L 41 (Desrroyer) Built by Doxford Shipyard (Sunderland, U.K.) Laid down11 Dec, 1916 launched 1 Sep, 1917 commissioned 14 Dec, 1917 Reconstruction to Fast Escort completed on 27 November 1939. Pennant number was D52 changed to L 41 upon completion of this reconstruction. Sold to be broken up for scrap on 4 March 1947. HMS VEGA. This ship was adopted by Godalming, Surrey after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in December 1941.
M o t t o : Praeclare fulgens: ‘Shining brightly’
HMS Oribi (Destroyer) Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) Ordered 3 Sep, 1939 Laid down 15 Jan, 1940 Launched 14 Jan, 1941 Commissioned 5 Jul, 1941 Transferred to Turkey in 1946 being renamed Gayret. Former name HMS Observer.
HMS Ariadne (Minelayer) one of a pair of fast minelayers completed in 1943-1944 as repeat editions of the famous Abdiel class. The original four Abdiels had proved so successful that two more were laid down in late 1941, just in time to make good the loss of three between 1941 and 1943.
MS Ariadne. This ship was one of the few RN ships which was loaned to the US Navy and served with the US Seventh Fleet in the Pacific during 1944.
Motto: Celer et audax: ‘Quick and bold’ or ‘Swift and fearless’.
HMS Zephyr R19 (Destroyer) Built by Vickers Armstrong (Newcastle-on-Tyne, U.K.) : Parsons Laid down13 Jul, 1942 launched 15 Jul, 1943 conmmissioned 6 Sep, 1944. Scrapped at Dunston on 2 July 1958. HMS Zephyr adopted by the civil community of Doncaster after a WARSHIP WEEK in 1942.
HMS Zest (Destroyer) HMS Zest (R02) was an Z-class destroyer that saw service during World War II. She was later converted into a Type 15 fast anti-submarine frigate, with the new pennant number F102.
HMS Campbell (Destroyer) Built by Cammell Laird launched 21st September 1918 Sold to Cammell Laird the original builders in February 1947. and scrapped at Rosyth. HMS Campbell May 1942 was adopted by the civil community of Caithness following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in May 1942.
M o t t o ‘Dinna forget’
HMS Onslow: (Destroyer)
Onslow participated in the collection and destruction of U-boats in “Operation Deadlight” between 29 December 1945 and 3 February 1946. The ship was then deployed for submarine training and trials at Portsmouth until being reduced to the Reserve in April 1947. She was laid up at Devonport and placed on the Disposal List. Onslow was sold to Pakistan on 30 September 1949, where she was commissioned as PNS Tippu Sultan and served until 1957. The ship was then converted to a Type 16 anti-submarine frigate at Birkenhead before returning to service in 1960. She was the last of her class to remain in use when she was taken off the active list and scrapped in 1980.
Pennant G 39
Built by William Denny & Brothers (Dumbarton, Scotland)
Ordered 3 Sep 1939
Laid down 25 Apr 1940. Launched 19 Feb 1942. Commissioned 3 Sep 1942
Scrapped at Inverkeithing in November 1964.
HMNoS Stord (ex HMS Success) (Destroyer).
S or SAVAGE-Class Destroyer ordered on 9th January 1941 from J Samuel Write at Cowes with the 5th Emergency Flotilla. The ship was laid down on 25th February 1942 and launched on 3rd April 1943. She was the 19th ship to carry this name, dating from 1650. It was last used for a destroyer which was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy and sold in 1937. During August 1943 before completion on 6th September this ship was transferred on loan to the Royal Norwegian Navy and renamed HM Norwegian Ship STORD. In 1942 following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign she was adopted as HMS SUCCESS by the civil community of Downham Market in Norfolk.
Captain of HMS Norfolk 1 Sep 1944 Oct 1945. Capt. John Gerald Yerburgh Loveband, RN.
Here are some photo’s taken of King Haakon of Norway on passage to Oslo aboard HMS NORFOLK:
“Ok! For your safe return we accept that you will supply the Chrismas tree, each year, to be situated in Trafalgar Square, London. Gold would have been nice, but not to worry, maybe next time!”
See this link for the Liberation of Denmark