Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 156 February 3, 1940

British minesweepers HMS Sphinx, Speedwell and Skipjack, sweeping the mouth of Moray Firth, are attacked by German bombers. About 9.30 AM, a bomb destroys the aft deck of HMS Sphinx, killing many below decks as well as the Captain on the bridge. Sphinx is crippled but not taking water, so the crew remains on board as she is taken in tow by HMS Speedwell. However, Sphinx capsizes and sinks in very heavy seas 19 hours later. Frigate HMS Boreas, summoned along with other Royal Navy vessels to provide assistance, rescues crewmembers from the foundering ship and from the sea but a total 54 lives are lost.

At 9.36 AM, U-58 spends 13 hours and 3 torpedoes chasing and sinking tiny Estonian vessel SS Reet in the North Sea halfway between Stavanger, Norway & Aberdeen, Scotland (18 lives lost).

At 2.32 PM, U-25 torpedoes and sinks British steamer SS Armanistan 100 mile West of Lisbon, Portugal. The entire crew is rescued by Spanish vessel SS Monte Abril and landed on the Spanish island of Tenerife off the West coast of Africa.

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