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Effingham Side 7

Vrak i Nordland > HMS Effingham

Dette unike bildet viser HMS "Effingham"s vrak, merket "old wreck" midt i bildet. Fotoet er tatt av et av flyene som fotograferte under "Operation Leader" hvor bl.a. D/S "Rabat"ble senket i 1942. Foto: Erling Skjold.




DATE: 25th May, 1940. No.12/N .156.


                    Be pleased to lay before Their Lordships the accompanying report from Rear Admiral Commanding, 20th Cruiser Squadron, on the circimstances attending the loss of H.M.S."EFFINGHAM".

2.                               As I stated in my signal 1521 of 19th May, I have not conducted any enquiry here into the loss of "EFFINGHAM"; for many reasons it seemed better not. The Captain and Natigator of that ship went home in s.s. "SOBIESKI". The Commanding Officer of the "MATABELE" is a material witness and is on his way home escorting convoy.
Rear Admiral Commanding, 20th Cruiser Squadron, was in direct charge of the operation and in close company with "EFFINGHAM". "
COVENTRY" actually touched but no damage.

(Signed) CORK & ORRERY.



From ... ... The Rear-Admiral, Anti-Aircraft Ships.

Date  ... ...  19th May, 1940.  No.A.A.S.659.       

To     ... ...      The Flag Officer, Narvik.


Subject:-                                 LOSS OF H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM"
        With reference to your signal timed 1245 of the 19th May, 1940, the report twich follows is confined to the circumstances attending the loss of H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" and the consequent abandonment of the operation of disembarking the South Wales Borderers, ancillary units, equipment, etc., at BODO.

      2. In compliance with the instructions contained in your messages timed 2025/16th May and 2325/16th May, H.M S. "EFFINGHAM", escorted by H.M.S. "COVENTRY", wearing my Flag, H M.S. "CAIRO", H.M.S. "MATABELE" and H.M.S. "ECEO", left HARSTAD at 0400 on Friday, 17th May, 1940, adjusting course and speed as requisite, so as to arrive off SVARTOKSEN LIGHT at 2000 that day.

     3. Apart from a report by H.M.S. "COVENTRY" of the sighting of a periscope at 0910, the forenon passed uneventfully, and opportunity was taken to exchange messages with H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" concerning the details of the approach to and withdrawal from BODO. At 1034, H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" suggested to me that, in view of the possible submarine danger in the main approach to BODO, the force should proceed between BRIKSVAER and TERRA ISIANDS, stating that a large-scale Norwegian chart, No.65, was held onboard.

       Chart No.65 was not available in my Flagship, but it appears in the Index of the Norwegian folio issued by the Admiralty, and I therefore assumed that H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" had received it before H.M.S. "COVENTRY".

      4. There had, at various times, been reports of submarines off BODO, and at 1401, I asked H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" if any recent reliable information was available about submarines off BODO. At 1433, he replied, "Nothing reliable".
      5. At 1449, I asked H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" if he had considered the possibility of the proposed channel being mined and he replied to the effect that this was most unlikely.

     6. At this time I had reason to believe that the force had not been sighted and, in addition to the avoidance of possible submarine attack, an unexpected direction of approach to BODO was very desirable. I therefore decided to implement H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM's" suggestion.

     7. I informed H.M.S. EFFINGHAM" accordingly, stating that he would be ordered to lead the force in, preceded by H.M. Ships "MATABELE" and "ECHO" as A/S screen, and that he should make the necessary course signals.

     8. At 1922, I made the signal, "Proceed in execution of previous orders," which I had already arranged to be the executive signal for the following general signal made at 1555 :-

H.M.S."Effingham" i august 1939 med andre skip fra Reserveflåten (The Reserve Fleet), med presenningen trukket over akterdekket, klart for inspeksjon av Kong George VI. "Effingham" var flaggskip for Reserveflåten - kan kalles eller best sammenlignes med vårt Sjøheimevern - og bar flagget til viseadmiral Sir Max Horton da dette bildet ble tatt.
Foto: David Dellit, Australia.

Page 2.

  8. (Continued)

       "When ordered to proceed in execution of previous orders at

     "about 1945 today, Friday, "EFEINGHAM" is to take "MATABELE" and

     "ECHO" under her orders and proceed to BODO. "MATABELE" is to

"provide close A. A. support during disembarkation. "EFFINGHAM"

"is to leave BODO not later than 0001/18. "COVENTRY" is to patrol

"north-west of BODO, "CAIRO" North side of
SALTFJORDEN to the south

"of BODO. A.A. ships are to take A/S precautions while patrolling.

"Unless otherwise ordered, all ships are to rendezvous with my Flag

"off SVARTOKSEN LIGHT by 0030"18."

This was amplified in a signal to H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" informing him that H.M.S. "COVENTRY" andH.
MS."CAIRO" would follow in H.M.S."EFFINGHAM's" wake until clear of channel.

9. At 1912, the force then being in position 67°13' N., 13° 28'E, I ordered H.M.S. "EEFINGHAM" and H.M.S "COVENTRY" to exchange stations in the line, thus making the order of sailing, H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM",H.M.S. "COVENTRY", H.M.S. "CAIRO", with H.M.S. "MATABELE and H.M.S."ECHO" as a submarine screen.

10. At 1923, H.M. S. "EFFINGHAM" altered course to 080° and disposed destroyers, H.M.S. "MATABELE" ahead, and H.M.S. "ECHO" close on her starboard bow. Speed was then 23 knots and ships in open order.

11. At 1947, H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" took the ground in what was apparently, from the chart, very deep water. I immediately directed H.M.S. "MATABELE" to attempt to tow her off and told H.M S. "ECHO" to act as A/S screen, but H.M.S. "MATABELE" informed me that she had also been aground and later she reported her starboard 'A' bracket and propellor damaged and spirit room making water slightly.

12. I ordered H.M.S. "CAIRO" to proceed with all despatch to BODO to send out all puffers and trawlers which were available, with the object of transferring the stores and military personnel to BODO in this manner. Shortly after this it became obvious that H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" had refloated but was rapidly sinking and she had ordered H.M.S. "ECHO" to close to take off personnel.

13. At 1951, I infformed Flag Officer, NARVIK, repeated Admiralty, that H.M S. "EFFINGHAM" had grounded. At 2044, I made an amplifying signal stating that H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" would become a total loss and that H.M S. "MATBAELE" was damaged.

14. At 2004, I ordered H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" to destroy all secret documents. At 2034, she informed me that all S.P's and important C.B`s had been transferred to H.M.S. "ECHO" and that the latter ship was tryingng to tow her into shallow water. At 2040, I suggested to the Commanding Officer, H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM", that it would be better to let the ship sink in deep water. -I did not give him an order to do this as I was not sure how long the shijp would float and it was necessary to make certain that she was totally abandoned before she sank.

15. H.M.S. "ECHO" embarked the South Wales Borderers and one watch of H M.S. "EFEINGHAM" ship's company and transferred them to H M.S. "COVENTRY"at 2105. I asked the Camanding Officer, H.M.S. "ECHO", how long he thought H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" would float and he informed me that the Camnnanding Officer, H M.S. "EFFINGHAM", was getting worried about saving the rest of the ship's company.

16. After H.M.S. "ECHO" had embarked the first load of survivors in E.M S. "COVENTRY" she returned to H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" to take off the remainder.

17. At 2234, H.M.S."CAIRO" reported five steamers and thirteen puffers proceeding to HM.S. "EFEINGHAM".

18. At 2242" H.M.S. "ECHO" came alongside with the remainder of ff personnel of H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" including her Commanding Officer, Capt J.M. HOWSON, Royal Navy. I discussed the situation with Captain Howso, He informed me that the quarter-deck was then under water and there was little or nO hope of salving any stores; that the ship was touching forward but her stern was in deep water. Captain Howson said that if the ship was not too heavy he thought that two trawlers could tow her into deep water but, in any event, if she was torpedoed where she then was she would turn over on her beam ends.

19. H.M.S. "CAIRO" at this time was closing H.M.S. "COVENTRY". I ordered H.M.S. "ECHO" to transfer the remainder of H.M.S. "EFFINGHAMl's" ships company to H.M.S. "CAIRO" as H.M.S. "COVENTRY" could take no more, and then to take Captain Howson back to H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM", by which time the trawlers should have arrived. I ordered Captain Howson to do his best to tow the ship into deep wrater with the trawlers and if this could not be done to torpedo her where she was; that no risks were to be taken with the safety of H.M.S. "ECHO".

20. H.M.S. "MATABELE" was then clear and reported to me that she could steam at 20 knots on one engine.

21. I had discussed with Brigadier GAMMEL and the Colonel of the South Wales Borderers the possibility of landing one company of troops at BODO, but they were still short of some essential fighting equipment which was still in H.M.S."EFFINGHAM". In view of Captain Howson's report that the quarterdeck of H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" was under water when he left her, I came to the conclusion that the possibility of getting these stores was very remote and in any event would take a considerable time; further, I considered that air attack might develop very shortly, as the news of the grounding must be known in BODO.

22. I considered that my obJect was now to get the personnel back to HARSTAD in safety and that by sailing at once, H.M.S. "COVENTRY" and probably H.M.S. "CAIRO" could arrive before the usual morning air attacks.

23. At 2305, I ordered H.M.S. "COVENTRY" to proceed at 23 knots and H.M.S. "CAIRO" to escort H.M.S. "MATABELE" to HARSTAD at H.M.S."MATAEELE's" best speed.

24. At the same time I informed Flag Officer, NARVIK repeated R.A.A., and "ECHO" that the operation was abandoned and requested air protection for H.M.S. "ECEO" until the sinking of H.M.S. "EFFINGHAM" had been completed. At 2309, I ordered H.M.S. "ECHO" to inform R.A.A., when air protection was no longer required.

25. At 0545, Saturday, 18th May 1940, H.M.S. "COVENTRY" arrived HARSTAD and disembarked military and naval personnel.

26. Having had an opportunity to examine Norwegian chart No 65, and noted that there is apparently a deep channel with over 100 fathoms running between the two islands, I consider that Captain Howson was fully justified in making his suggestion to me that the squadron should use this channel.

(Sgd.) G. VIVIAN.


Anti-Aircraft Ships.


19th May, 1940.


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Oppdatert 10.09.2012

Oppdatert 10.09.2012
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