Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 414 October 18, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 101. Again, fog in Southern England restricts Luftwaffe activity to reconnaissance and single aircraft raids throughout the day. There are few engagements and no aircraft are shot down. Between 11.37 AM to 1.11 PM, German guns near Calais fire 10 shells at Dover but only two explode. Anti-submarine trawler HMT Kingston Cairngorm hits a mine in the English Channel and is taken in tow but sinks the next day. Night bombing of London is on a reduced scale but the Rose and Crown Pub in Lambeth is demolished by a direct hit at 8.25 PM, killing 42 with 6 injured. Liverpool and Birmingham are heavily bombed, receiving considerable damage.

Off Alboran Island, 120 miles East of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean, 2 Saro London flying boats of RAF 202 Squadron from Gibraltar spot Italian submarine Durbo. British destroyers HMS Firedrake & Wrestler attack with depth charges forcing Durbo to the surface. The crew scuttles Durbo but, before she sinks, British sailors manage to go aboard and capture secret papers revealing the location of other Italian submarines in the Mediterranean. Durbo’s crew of 48 is taken prisoner, taken to Gibraltar and sent to England aboard troopship Reina Del Pacifico (and later to camps in USA).

German submarine chasers (U-J├Ąger) UJ-116 and UJ-118 sink British WWI-era submarine H-49 (21 killed, 1 survivor taken prisoner) off Texel Island on the Dutch coast.

At 6.36 AM, U-38 torpedoes British SS Carsbreck in convoy SC-7, which stays afloat on its cargo of lumber. 4 other U-boats (U-99, U-100, U-101 and U-123) converge and attack convoy SC-7, 100 miles Northwest of Ireland. Between 10 PM and midnight, 10 steamers are torpedoed. U-99 sinks British Fiscus (38 killed, 1 survivor clings to floating debris and will be found next day by a lifeboat from another ship). U-100 and U-123 both torpedo British SS Shekatika but she does not sink (all 36 crew escape in lifeboats). 400 miles further Northwest, at 10.25 PM, U-48 sinks British SS Sandsend (5 killed).

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