The Submarine War in the Pacific.

adamant_1946

Freemantle; HMS Adamant Depot ship together with her babies.

In this film clip, the events at the end, the two subs going on patrol, the Admiral flying in and visiting with the band from the USS Gilmore are witnessed by my father in the diary, he would be among the crew being filmed.

The author retains copywrite of the diary facimili below. Any reproductions must obtain prior permission first from the author.

The following is one of my Fathers war-time diaries (1945 ). He served in submarines for most of World War 2. He was an ASDIC (sonar) operator and he told me much of what occurred during this time. I remember many details he told me about which are not in the diary. I know he kept another diary for the previous year but this was never found, he probably destroyed it, it would have contained the other year in the Pacific after leaving UK waters. Many of the actions he was involved in would have been included and I remember him telling me about them; with the benefits of the internet, I have checked the dates of submarines he was on at that time using his service certificate and they all check out true. It is a pity the other diary no longer exists (1944) but I`m sure it also contained some personal information that he did not wish me to look at. It was strictly against war-time rules to keep a diary, espeacially if it contained tactical information. As a consequence his diary is very small and the writing even smaller. It also contains some naval slang which I will translate whenever possible. This diary also contains my fathers contribution to what was the highest VC action in world war two.

1st-jan

Exmouth Gulf; Fueling point NW Australian coast.

bathe

Swimming from a submarine!

Dad was based in Perth, Western Australia. They would patrol to the North of Indonesia. While staying there he obviously was befriended by some of the locals and their families as the diary tells. My Dad was very lucky. Many submariners did not make it through the war.

Schooners; Beers or in different context small cargo carrying ships under sail.

Billet; Bed or patrol station. Lombok Straight (the rat run usually on the surface to get through quicker & under darkness and where they were often attacked/depth charged.

8th-jan

A/C; aircraft. Worked Fish; Manhandling torpedoes in confined space.

working-fish-2

15th-jan

S/M; submarine   Maidstone; HMS Maidstone another sub depot ship damaged by fire.

22nd-jan

Nips; Japanese. Started bottling (saving his rum ration!)

29th-jan

Chocker; Depressed/disappointed

Babs; My Mum!    Stand Off; not going alongside but remain at anchor or moored to buoy.

Freemantle established as a submarine base; 125 US Submarines, over 30 British and 10 other allied countries.

hms_spirit1

HM Submarine Spirit.

FEBRUARY

5-feb

327? Could be the number of a house where plain clothes (civies) could be obtained/kept.

Gloria? (girl in every port)  MT Lawley; Mount Lawley, a district to the North of Perth.

12-feb

Dhobeying; Laundry

19

Dhobeying; laundry “Sturdy,” another S class submarine.

This was supposed to be the Spirits last patrol before returning to the UK for refit and Dad hoped to go with her! His hobby was radio, that is making them and was often tinkering with valves and making amplifiers.

5-mar

12

Buzz; a rumour. Dad was depth charged a few times while in the Pacific. 800x refers to  yards – that’s close enough!

19

Spark was to be Dads next sub.

26

I will include a photo of Dad on the beach here when I get it back together with the leave pass!

leave-pass

Leave Pass for 28/3/45 and photo from beach.

2

Eileen was my Dads sister (the eldest girl) – he had 7 sisters and 1 brother.

Make and Mend; an afternoon off. Dad converted a gramophone to play electrically instead of wind up.

a-astor-1936-week-2-programme-april-11th-man-at-front-frank-ocollins

9

Dad was not to return to the UK on the Spirit. Instead he was drafted to the Submarine depot ship HMS Maidstone for a while. A big contrast to being on a sub. Friday the 13th is ringed as a day of bad luck! Soon after the outbreak of war he had to abandon his ship, HMS Sabre and he spent some time in the water.  She was rundown by another ship, the Jarvis bay. They managed to save the ship however.

maidstone1

HMS MAIDSTONE

16

So Dad left Western Australia quite suddenly (that’s war). He had clearly made close links with the locals and now found himself keeping his head down on a big ship bound for Sydney. At least he got to play around with his hobby.

Heath Robinson; a cartoonist who depicted ridiculous machines.

23

30

Peggy; one of Dads baby sisters.

7

This bout of Malaria re-occured many years later as it sometimes does I understand.

mum-babs-2

14

21

I remember my Dad telling me about his stay here. It certainly had an impact on him. Sailing a 27 foot Montague whaler at this time prompted him to buy a boat later in life.

28

Dad went sick with acute ear ache and despite the obvious adverse effects of this on his sleep was late (adrift). Commanders report for being adrift: On trial! given a caution…that’s life on a bigger boat in the Navy; they are more strict.

4

As an ASDIC operator his ears were vital. At this time Dad was doing his seamanship exam; rope splicing.

11

Re-scrub; having to re sit exam. Divisions; parade.

18

Air raid warning red; Air craft sighted and full defence measures taken.

25Dad started working on his next submarine HM Spark.

2

9

In the rattle; To be put on a charge.

Dad was then drafted to the Spark proper and was to take part in Operation Struggle which turned out to be the highest VC action in World War 2 and the last raid of war.

hms_spark

HM Submarine SPARK

16

hms_bonaventure_f139

x craft; Mini-submarines (BELOW). HMS Bonaventure was a depot ship for x craft.(ABOVE)

submarine_xe4_at_sydney_1945

23

30

HM Submarine Spark 1945

Dad is third from the left middle row looking aft. The picture was probably taken at Alexandria or possibly Gibralta as there is a lifebuoy on Jolly Roger indicating a rescue.

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Dad, bearded on the right on the Spark.

6

I think this is the time my father found out my Mum was pregnant! Also the time they began to practice cutting underwater telephone cables prior to an invasion of Japan, which never happened. It seems strange to think as my father stepped ashore on the 6th August on a desert island paradise to the North the first Atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. The day my father found out about my Mum the second was dropped onto Nagasaki.

438px-nagasakibomb

13

20

Allotment; a payment similar to a standing order directly from your pay.

20

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3

Trincomalee; Naval base Sri Lanka.   HMS Wolf an older sub depot ship.

10

PAGE MISSING!!!!

24

The rescue of a little boy is documented and praise given to the handling of the submarine by the Captain of another ship standing by.

1

8

Uckers; Aboard game like Ludo.

15

Leave Terrible! This was when he had to deal with all the flak from family because my Mum was going to have a baby! I discovered I had a half-brother when I was 11 years old.

29

5

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12

19

26

3

10

17

end

Dad

My Dad probably pictured while he was in Freemantle/Perth W.A. This was the nearest he could do to wearing plain clothes (civies). The shoes are navy tropical issue.

hms_tantivy

Although the 1944 diary no longer exists, evidence from my Fathers service certificate shows that he was aboard HM Sub TANTIVY and took part on her 5th war patrol – Log book extract below. I do remember this story but forgot which submarine it was he was on when this happened. The 6th of August entry understates what happened. I remember him telling me he had listened on the Asdic and reported hearing nothing, allowing the skipper to make the judgement to surface but they surfaced very close to the Japanese Torpedo boat.

9 Jul 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Trincomalee. (10)

13 Jul 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (10)

14 Jul 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) is docked at Trincomalee. (10)

21 Jul 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) is undocked. (10)

23 Jul 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (10)

24 Jul 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed from Trincomalee for her 5th war patrol (4th in Far Eastern waters). Patrol area is the Malacca Straits. (5)

31 Jul 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) tries to intercept a merchant vessel bound for Sabang (see also 1 August 1944)

(All times are zone -6,5)
0635 hours – Dived
1215 hours – Sighted an unidentified aircraft
1810 hours – Surfaced
1814 hours – Sighted two submarine chasers about five nautical miles inshore steering north-west along the coast. They sighted Tantivy at the same time and turned towards. Tantivy retired to seawards at 13 knots. One of the submarine chasers turned towards the coast again to other continued to follow Tantivy. A merchant was now sighted about two to three nautical miles to the westward of the escorts in position 05°15’N, 97°10’E. After about ten minutes the submarine chaser that was following Tantivy abandoned the pursuit. Tantivy now proceeded towards the south-east point of Pulo Weh to intercept as the merchant was obviously bound for Sabang.
(5)

1 Aug 1944
While trying to attack the merchant spotted the previous day, HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) is spotted by an aircraft. The attack therefore had to be broken off.

(All times are zone -6,5)
0508 hours – Dived off the south-east corner of Pulo Weh.
0608 hours – The masts and bridge of a ship were sighted. Also one single engined aircraft was patrolling over the Malacca Passage. After a while the ship suddenly turned towards leaving Tantivy perfectly placed for an attack. At 0704 hours when Cdr. Rimington wanted to have a last quick peep through the attack periscope an aircraft bomb went off. Fortunately it was not close. The aircraft had probably seen us and dropped the bomb as a warning that a submarine was very close. The target immediately changed course. One of the escorts was only 400 yards away and turned strait towards Tantivy. Cdr. Rimington immediately ordered Tantivy deep. It was only after seven minutes that the first two depth charges were dropped and these were not close. When Tantivy was able to return to periscope depth the target could be seen stern on and out of range. At the same time a twin-engined bomber, a Sally, was seen to dive towards us from 1000 feet but failed to drop anything as Tantivy went deep again
0910 hours – Returned to periscope depth to find the sea and sky clear. Proceeded to a position to the north-west of the One Fathom Bank
1852 hours – Surfaced.
(5)

6 Aug 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) is spotted by a Japanese torpedo boat. She is depth charged but no damage was done.

(All times are zone -6,5)
0440 hours – In position 210°, 3 nautical miles from Observation Island (Butangs) a light was sighted flashing. It was challenging us. Tantivy turned to the south stern on to the light. A small destroyer was then sighted that started to challenge again. We had clearly been sighted and as it was getting light Cdr. Rimington dived at 0449 hours. Tantivy went deep immediately expecting to be attacked. The destroyer was picked up on the Asdic (My father was no doubt busy)and was approaching at 12 knots. No attack however developed and by 0540 hours Tantivy came to periscope depth. It was now light enough to see the destroyer, (Otori class) about 4 nautical miles to the eastward steering towards Langkawi
0750 hours – The destroyer was seen to make off towards Penang. Also the first aircraft of the day was sighted at this time. During the day at least one aircraft was in sight. Sometimes up to three were in sight at the same time
1815 hours – The mast of an escort vessel (most likely the Otori-class destroyer again) was sighted bearing 110°, 5 to 6 nautical miles. She appeared to be heading slowly north. Tantivy was at this time about 3.5 nautical miles to the south-east of Observatory Island. Cdr. Rimington turned to the west to open up the range to the vessel before surfacing. She was very soon out of sight in the dusk
1908 hours – Surfaced
2030 hours – The after lookout sighted the destroyer closing us. She was then about 4 nautical miles away on the starboard quarter. Turned to the south-west, stern on to the destroyer and increased speed to 13 knots. The destroyer soon followed us and appeared to have increased speed
2116 hours – Distance was now about 3 nautical miles and decreasing so there was no other choice then to dive. Just before diving a second vessel was sighted bearing 050 about 4 nautical miles away. On diving Tantivy turned to port to 090°, hoping the destroyer’s Commanding Officer was thinking the submarine would turn to seaward. The destroyer steamed on to the diving position and as she crossed fairly close astern she dropped a single depth charge. She then reduced speed and to Cdr. Rimingtons disgust also turned to Port and steamed up Tantivy’s Starboard side dropping two more depth charges about half a mile apart. The destroyer then turned to Port, crossed close ahead and then drew out to the North of Tantivy. Cdr. Rimington started to turn slowly 180° to Starboard to 270°. During this time nothing had been heard from the second vessel. The destroyer appeared to be at fault. As the destroyer drew clear, Cdr. Rimington took the risk to increase speed to get clear of the search area. At this moment the second vessel was heard to approach fast from the South-West (Port bow). She passed very close to port and then joined the destroyer. The game of cat and mouse continued during the whole night and Tantivy was unable to surface during the night so measures were taken to conserve battery power and improve the air quality.
(5)

16 Aug 1944
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 5th war patrol at Trincomalee. (5)

He was then drafted to HMS Maidstone continuing as spare crew to serve aboard other submarines.

notes of ship prior to above…..

HMS ADAMANT remained at Kilindini until Tuesday, 28th September 1943 when she sailed to return to Colombo. Escorted by NAPIER, NORMAN and NEPAL she arrived at Colombo on Friday, 8th October. Two days later, Captain 4th Submarine Flotilla, was installed aboard ADAMANT. She did not remain at Colombo for long’ she sailed for Trincomalee on December 1st, escorted by QUICKMATCH and RAPID

The Submarine depot ship HMS MAIDSTONE joined ADAMANT at Trincomalee on March 3rd 1944; upon her arrival the 4th Submarine Flotilla was split when a new 8th Submarine  Flotilla was formed and attached to MAIDSTONE (Note: 8th SM Flotilla then comprised 8 S-Class submarines but increased in July when four T-Class, six S-Class and the Dutch O19 were being supported). MAIDSTONE sailed for Fremantle August 25th 1944.

arctic

29 Dec 1942
HMS P 315 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) departed from her builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS P 53 (Lt. G.E. Hunt, DSC, RN). (1)

30 Dec 1942
HMS P 315 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for a period of trials and training. (1)

5 Feb 1943
HMS P 315 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) is docked at Glasgow. (2)

7 Feb 1943
HMS P 315 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) is undocked. (2)

13 Feb 1943
HMS P 315 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Lerwick. She made the passage together with HMS P 223 (Lt. G.D.N. Milner, DSC, RN) and HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(retired) R.H. Mack, RN). (2)

15 Feb 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) arrived at Lerwick. She departed Lerwick again after a few hours for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Northern Norway to provide cover for convoy JW-53.

For the daily positions of HMS Truculent during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

11 Mar 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Lerwick. (3)

20 Mar 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) departed from Lerwick for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Northern coast of Norway, just North of the Lofoten.

For the daily positions of HMS Truculent during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

9 Apr 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Lerwick. (3)

11 Apr 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) departed from Lerwick for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS Templar (Lt. D.J. Beckley, DSO, RN) and HMS HMS Sea Nymph (Lt. G.D.N. Milner, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Alecto (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN). (3)

13 Apr 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (3)

28 Apr 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) is docked at Gare Loch. She left dock later the same day. (4)

30 Apr 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Lerwick. She made the passage together with HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN), HMS Ultimatum (Lt. W.H. Kett, RNR) and HNoMS Ula (Lt. R.M. Sars). They were escorted by HMS Dornoch (Lt. H.E. Jackson, RN). (4)

3 May 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, RN) arrived at Lerwick. She departed Lerwick again after a few hours for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol to the North of Iceland.

For the daily positions of HMS Truculent during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

21 May 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Lerwick. (3)

2 Jun 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) departed from Lerwick for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Norwegian Sea (anti U-boat patrol).

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Truculent during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

4 Jun 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, RN) torpedoed and sank German U-boat U-308 in the Norwegian sea north-east of the Faeroes, in position 64°28’N, 03°09’W. U-308 had left Kiel on her first war patrol on 29 May 1943. There were no survivors.

(All times are zone -2)
1420 hours – A lookout sighted a U-boat three to four nautical miles away. Lt.Cdr. Alexander dived and proceeded to attack.

1445 hours – 6 torpedoes were fired with 2 hits and the target sank.

1456 hours – Truculent surfaced. A large patch of oil fuel and wreckage was observed. No survivors were seen. (3)

17 Jun 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at Lerwick. She departed for Holy Loch later on this day. En-route she makes a short call at Scapa Flow. She made the passage south together with HMS Tally-Ho (Lt.Cdr. L.W.A. Bennington, DSO, DSC, RN). They were escorted by armed yacht HMS Breda (Capt.(retired) A. E. Johnston, RN). (5)

20 Jun 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (5)

10 Jul 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) departed from Holy Loch for her 5th war patrol. She is to patrol in the North Atlantic, North of the Azores.

For the daily positions of HMS Truculent during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

23 Jul 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, RN) ended her 5th war patrol at Holy Loch. (3)

30 Jul 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, RN) is docked at Holy Loch. It is not know when she was undocked but this seem to be on either 31 July or 1 August. (6)

15 Aug 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, DSO, RN) departed from Holy Loch for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Bay of Biscay.

For the daily positions of HMS Truculent during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

26 Aug 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, DSO, RN) ended her 6th war patrol at Holy Loch. (3)

31 Aug 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, DSO, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Port H.H.Z. (at Loch Cairnbawn). She made the passage together with HMS Thrasher (Lt.Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN), HMS Sceptre (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, DSC, RN) and HMS Syrtis (Lt M.H. Jupp, DSC, RN). The submarines are escorted by the British minesweeper HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (7)

1 Sep 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, DSO, RN) arrived at Port H.H.Z. (8)

11 Sep 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt.Cdr. R.L. Alexander, DSO, RN) departed from Port H.H.Z. for her 7th war patrol. She is to tow midget submarine X 6 to the entrance to the Alten Fjord in Northern Norway.

Truculent and X 6 are part of Operation Source. An attack by six midget submarines on the German battleship Tirpitz.

For the daily positions of HMS Truculent during this patrol see the map below.