Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 452 November 25, 1940

Operation Collar. Admiral Somerville’s Force H departs Gibraltar (battlecruiser HMS Renown, aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruisers HMS Sheffield and Despatch plus 11 destroyers) to escort convoy ME4 to Malta. They sail North of the convoy to screen against attack by the Italian fleet and will hand over the convoy to Mediterranean fleet warships (from Malta and Alexandria, Egypt) between Sardinia and Sicily on November 27.

500 miles East of New Zealand, German armed merchant cruisers Orion and Komet (accompanied by tanker Kulmerland) sink tiny New Zealand steamer Holmwood carrying 17 crew, 12 passengers including 9 women and children, 1,370 sheep and 1 horse from the remote Chatham Islands to the main Islands. The crew and passengers are taken off. Many of the sheep are taken on board the 3 German ships and slaughtered. The horse is killed on board Holmwood which is then sunk by shellfire.

British liner SS Patria is blown up in Haifa Harbour, Palestine (now Israel), by Jewish paramilitary group Irgun which aims to prevent her from deporting Jewish refugees to Mauritius. The refugees are from Central Europe and have been refused entry to Palestine by the British Colonial Office. However, 213 of the 1771 refugees and 50 of the 130 British crew are killed.

2 minesweeping trawlers sink in the Thames Estuary. HMT Conquistador collides with another vessel and HMT Kennymore hits a mine (4 killed). Further North, motor launch ML-111 hits a mine and sinks (2 killed) 10 miles off Grimsby in the Humber Estuary.

In the Bay of Biscay 10 miles South of Lorient, France, British submarine HMS Talisman torpedoes a German tanker (which comes to a halt but does not sink) and captures French trawler Le Clipper (which is then used as a spy vessel to observe German submarine movements).

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