On This Day
1940 > WW2
On This Day - 1940
- December 30, 1940
HMAS WATERHEN, (destroyer), collided with, and sank, HMS BANDOLERO, (anti-submarine trawler), off Sollum, Libya. Damage to WATERHEN required a month in dock to repair.
HMAS VOYAGER, (destroyer), captured the 190 ton Italian supply schooner ZINGARELLA, in a night sweep off Sollum, Libya. CMDR Morrow reported in the destroyer’s Proceedings, that ‘when the schooner was boarded it was found that British POWs had turned the tables on their Italian captors and taken the vessel. More than 100 crewmen and passengers were battened below’. The schooner was escorted into Sollum.
The auxiliary minesweeper HMAS TOLGA, was commissioned. TOLGA, (as SIR T HUGH BELL, ex-DORLONCO), was laid down in Dorman Long & Co, Sydney, in 1925. She was requisitioned for the RAN, from her owners, the Adelaide Steamship Co, (who had renamed her TOLGA), on 1 November 1940.
- December 28, 1940
HMAS PERTH, (cruiser), was painted in camouflage colours. The pattern and colour scheme was so unusual the ship was requested to ‘try again’.
- December 27, 1940
HMAS PERTH was at Alexandria for camouflage painting on the 27/12/40 and 28/12/40, and on the 30/12/40 replaced sister ship SYDNEY in the 7th Cruiser Squadron.
HMAS VAMPIRE, (destroyer), sailed from Alexandria to relieve HMS WRYNECK on the Inshore Patrol off Bardia. VAMPIRE developed engine problems and returned to port for urgent repairs.
- December 26, 1940
The intensity of the struggle in the Mediterranean may be gauged from this diary entry of HMAS WATERHEN: ‘Torpedo attack by aircraft 3.30pm. Attack by 24 bombers escorted by 18 fighters. First salvo missed WATERHEN 40 yards clear on starboard side. CHALKA near-missed and leaking. Many soldiers killed on shore. Great dog fight by Gladiators, several bombers and Italian fighters shot down by our fighters. 7.15pm torpedo attack by aircraft turned away by fire from WATERHEN‘s main armament. 9pm left Salum on patrol westward of Bardia. ‘
- December 25, 1940
HMAS WATERHEN, (destroyer), on the Libyan coast, sank the Italian supply schooner TIREREMO DIRRITO, west of Bardia. From a prisoner the destroyer learnt the schooner was carrying the garrison’s Christmas mail and comforts.
HMAS NAPIER, (destroyer), at Scapa Flow, Scotland, recorded ‘a coldly sober Christmas’. The fare was turkey, apple pie and ice cream. A disappointed sailor wrote: ‘Never even spliced the main brace. Never will forget it’.
- December 24, 1940
HMAS PERTH, (cruiser), relieved HMAS SYDNEY, (cruiser), in the Mediterranean Fleet.
- December 23, 1940
HMAS NAPIER, (destroyer), blew off her own galley funnel in sub-calibre shoots in Scapa Flow.
- December 22, 1940
HMAS ORARA, (auxiliary minesweeper), signalled HMAS SWAN, (sloop), on observing her coloured minesweeping lights burning too brightly on her stern:- ‘May I hang my stocking on your Christmas tree?’ SWAN replied:- ‘Yes, and I will shortly be hanging a sprig of mistletoe over my stern’
- December 21, 1940
HMAS AUSTRALIA, (cruiser), sustained damage when bombed in dry dock at Liverpool, England.
A 1588 kg aerial torpedo fell between the ship and the dockside, but failed to explode.
- December 19, 1940
HMAS NIZAM, (destroyer), was commissioned under LCDR M. J. Clark, RAN, at Clydebank, Scotland.