The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:01 pm

Hi Sean,
thanks for your applause, however I see that you insist to post on the WRONG THREAD, even if a new one is available: I do understand your difficulty regarding the Court Martial evidences. Anyway I will answer to your nonsense regarding Wake-Walker in the new thread, dedicated to his brilliant shadowing tactics during the night 24-25, not here. :negative:

I re-post here the famous letter from Tovey to Roskill (just underlining for you some statements/kewords) to give you an opportunity to open your eyes and see why Roskill did not publish this information before 1971.

Tovey_Roskill_Court_Martial_1961.jpg
Tovey_Roskill_Court_Martial_1961.jpg (111.62 KiB) Viewed 148 times

As you see, Tovey was well aware that the publication of this letter would have attracted criticism on both Pound (excused anyway by Churchill endorsement) and Wake-Walker and possibly also feared unpleasant consequences as Wake-Walker's family was very influential, due to his relations..... :think:
I anyway tend to believe that Tovey's fairness was sincere.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby wadinga » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:00 am

Hello Alberto,

For there to be credible threat of court martial there must be criticism of Wake-Walker's actions in 1941. You have supplied evidence that the War Room were approving of his actions at the time and there is no record of Pound, Phillips or anyone else recording criticism afterwards. There is no time for criticism to be generated after studying reports track charts etc etc because Tovey alleges the threat was made before any of this material was even seen by Pound.

I anyway tend to believe that Tovey's fairness was sincere.


despite the fact you allege he lied in his report and is the main Cover-Up instigator! :shock:

feared unpleasant consequences as Wake-Walker's family was very influential, due to his relations.....


What more influential than Sir Henry Leach, future First Sea Lord whose relative was also apparently threatened! This story was hidden because Tovey knew Pound had no intention of going through with it, even if he did make such an empty threat. Why bother to tell anyone at all? One of the two people in the letter he did tell was Paffard and he said Tovey misremembered and exaggerated. Brind was dead so Kennedy could not check the story with him.

Roskill knew the story was fishy, and sat on it for years because he knew it was either said in a fit of unreasoning temper by Pound, whilst Tovey was giving him a hard time over the Stupidest signal, or Tovey plain misunderstood. Or Pound said he was asked to CM the Denmark Straits Two and Tovey reacted to this hypothetical situation and exaggerated it into reality. Only when Tovey was dead and could no longer be questioned over his veracity, did he pass it to Kennedy knowing he could not resist publishing it. Once it was published Roskill would be free to use it to castigate Churchill and Pound in his later works, citing Kennedy.

What is in the letter in Para 1? Is it to do with the Stupidest Signal? Why is it higher priority?

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:02 am

Hi Sean,
as said already, we don't need your concurrence witht he CM threat as being a real occurrence. We have already (and you cannot counter in any way):

1) the above letter from Tovey to Roskill (this is a written proof and can be countered ONLY by another evidence, or by a medical certificate stating Tovey was somehow insane in 1961), have you found it?),
2) McMullen testimony that Tovey told him too about it, independently from the letter (same as above),
3) several historians and writers advise (Roskill, Correlli Barnett, Graham Rhys-Jones) that are surely able to understand what had happened between Downing Street and the Admiralty at that time....
4) Sir Henry Leach confirmation (if he had even a minimum doubt about the "saga", he would have said that in the Wills book, while he accepted it as a real fact and felt the need to defend his father),
5) War Cabinet Minutes (41), 56th Item 1 and ADM 205/10 papers , clearly showing (if you finally try to open your eyes) that "certain aspects" were indeed under investigation, albeit they refer explicitly only to PoW retreat, just mentioning Barnes' W-W conduct evaluation based on Tovey despatches.

Kennedy only doubt (I have however in my hands a letter where he speaks to Roskill about this occurrence, apparently considering it as a real fact, possibly being only afraid to unveal this "regrettable aftermath".... :think: ) was based on Paffard and it was demolished by Roskill in his letter to Kennedy and in his subsequent books.

Everybody (including you) was accepting the CM as a "well known story", UNTIL Antonio has discovered the intentional alteration of the facts and reports that was done to counter the menace and stop any further criticism. Now it is more difficult to digest, but it's not possible to deny it.


you wrote: "there must be criticism of Wake-Walker's actions in 1941"

There was, officially at least from Tom Phillips, who drove the operation, and Pound, who was not very unhappy when he asked the Court Martial to Tovey. Also the comment of Davies who (unquestioned) said that "W-W never put a foot wrong" looks like an "excusatio non petita", confirming that rumors were circulating.
We don't have Churchill comments re W-W, but the fact that both Pound and Alexander were busy restraining the PM to send his own signals to the officers involved, leaves some doubts about his mood...... :think:


you wrote: "despite the fact you allege he lied in his report and is the main Cover-Up instigator"

Tovey had to present a report that could stop any further criticism (see Barnes answer) and that could allow the rewarding by the King. Years later, when retired, I don't think his fairness toward Pound and W-W was false, at least reading his letter.
The content of the letter clearly explains why Roskill did not publish its content until Tovey's death, in 1971.


you wrote: "What is in the letter in Para 1? Is it to do with the Stupidest Signal? "

Bravo! Correct, but to speak about this signal (repeated to other ships too, so a well meditated stupidity, I would say... :think: ) means to start from other letters from 1950 and 1954 (the ones I remember by heart) in which this is fully discussed by Tovey to Roskill.
Apparently, the towing signal was felt by Tovey as a personal offense much more than the CM threat for a couple of "a bit timid" subordinates and he wrote about it to Roskill starting at least 1950.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby wadinga » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:39 pm

Hello Alberto,

So, since you have been generous enough to transcribe so much material,

Bravo! Correct, but to speak about this signal (repeated to other ships too, so a well meditated stupidity, I would say


please supply the contents of Para 1 from Tovey's letter. (Or do I have to ask Cag to overcome his scruples and supply them?)

It clear that since it was still Priority One for Tovey by the time he wrote to Roskill many years later, it is likely C-in-C Home Fleet was incandescent with rage at the time the famous telephone call was made. Since we have eliminated the possibility that the CMDS threat was made at any other time, eg after actually analysing any reports, as Kennedy incorrectly alleges, it is essential to assessing the CMDS threat that we know the detail of the thing that was more important to Tovey in 1941.

We know Pound was covering, at this time, for the Churchillian origin of the ""Stupidest and most Ill-Considered signal ever made" , and who he is recorded as considering "childish" on occasion, which probably made him doubly defensive and resulted in a fit of pique with his junior.

Criticism

officially at least from Tom Phillip


Once again the Conspiracy Filter boosts the output from something said in the War Room and apparently contradicted by all other attendees, to "Official". :D

to make it official he would have had to write it down. Where is it written down....... with signature? His only written criticism is of Dalrymple-Hamilton.

excusatio non petita


You already supplied

"The shadowing by W-W's two cruisers could not have been bettered and excited the admiration of all of us. Tom Phillips's criticisms of him have no substance whatever, and our opinion was that W-W never put a foot wrong.".


You provided the reason in the very sentence you supplied. :lol:

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Cag » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:46 pm

Hi All

Hi Wadinga, I'm afraid both when I visited the archives and bought the copy of the Ellis biography I had to sign something to say I would not reproduce them publically ver batim.

Hence my paraphrasing of the Ellis biography in the engage or not to engage thread.

The 1st part of the Dec 1961 letter is about Pound apologising for the signal sent the night before Bismarck sank. Pound said it should never have been sent, this puzzles me as the admiralty sent a similar signal to WW on the 24th? Tovey has the idea that Churchill sent it, (pursue up to the coast of France even if it means being towed home) and he states he would have ignored it for obvious reasons.

I think Tovey also mentions it in other letters and is critical of some aspects and decisions of Pound Churchill and Phillips in his other letter (sending mk9 fighters to Russia guarded by ships using mk1s, the PoW and Repulse fiasco etc etc) but again feels no need to publish as he considered these men great and did not want to be openly critical.

Hope this helps
Best wishes
Cag.

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:52 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Alberto Virtuani,

Sir Winston Churchill book number 3 : " The Grand Alliance ", into the chapter " The fate of the Bismarck " at page 282 declared the following about May 26th, 1941 ( see RED area ) in response to Adm Tovey signal of fuel shortage for KGV :

Churchill_book_3_page_282.jpg
Churchill_book_3_page_282.jpg (89.09 KiB) Viewed 102 times


What was the exact text of that message sent to Adm Tovey on May 26th, 1941 ?

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:20 pm

Hi Antonio,
in one letter (1962), Tovey wrote to Roskill that the text was:
"if necessary she is to be pursued right up to the shores of France, even if the K:G.V. has to be towed home"

in another letter to Bellairs (1950) Tovey said it was: "you are to continue the pursuit right up to the shores of France even if you have to be towed home"

in another letter to Roskill (1954) Tovey says that the message was "ordering me to continue the chase up to the shores of France, even if the K.G.V. had to be towed back"

Finally in the "Court Martial" letter from December 1961, Tovey wrote that the message was: "you are to continue the pursuit right up the coast of France, even if it means your ship being towed back"


Bye, Alberto
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:07 am

Hello everybody,

@ Alberto Virtuani,

thanks for the message text various version.
Bottom line Adm Tovey was stating always the same concept and it does make sense, looking at what was going on into the Admiralty War Room on that moment.
He signalled at 18:21 that he was going to quit the chase of the Bismarck with KGV by midnight ( 24:00/26 ) and go for refuel, and the exchanging messages about this matter has been many by Tovey, ... mostly visual to Rodney, 17.24; 17:51; 17:58; 18:21; 18:29; 19:11. The key one was the 18:21 sent to everybody by radio, ... and probably the response received by the Admiralty/Pound to that one was very clear to him ... according to WSC written declaration.
There are no more fuel related messages recorded between Adm Tovey and Rodney after the 19:11 one.
Bismarck was hit on the rudder area by the Ark Royal Swordfish at around the 21:00 on the 26th of May.
We have no response by the Addmiralty regarding the KGV fuel problem and Adm Tovey intention to quit the chase at 24:00/26 being recorded, ... and this seems very unusual, ... :think:
After Bismarck was damaged, at 22:38 Adm Tovey requested a destroyer screen for his probable very slow return home on the 27th.

We will dig more into this new interesting situation when we will analyze the 26th of May.

Meanwhile I congratulate you for the posting of the Adm Tovey letter to Stephen Roskill telling the " TRUTH " about this matter and hopefully closing this debate and this thread forever.

Tovey_Roskill_Court_Martial_1961.jpg
Tovey_Roskill_Court_Martial_1961.jpg (111.62 KiB) Viewed 92 times


Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby wadinga » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:53 pm

Hello All,

According to Kennedy:
Sometime during the night of 26th May, Winston Churchill, not then knowing the enemy was crippled beyond repair, became obsessed with the idea that Bismarck must be sunk at whatever cost to our ships. He therefore drafted or had drafted for him the following signal to Tovey:

"We cannot visualise the situation from your signals. Bismarck must be sunk at all costs and if to do this it is necessary for KG V to remain on the scene, then she must do so, even if it means towing KG V."

..........

Pound himself disagreed with the signal, and should not have approved it; but he was not always firm where Churchill was concerned, and it finally went out from the Admiralty at 11:37 next morning, by which time the battle was over and Tovey was on his way home.


Has this wording actually been identified anywhere in the War Diary/ Radio Signal Logs? If so what are the TOO and time received? Is it TOO 1137B/27 as is suggested? Is there any mention in any recorded message of the Coast of France? Or is that something Tovey just invented? Roskill himself seems to have difficulty finding messages with this content.

It is clear from Tovey's letter that this was the most important thing discussed in the famous phone call, and I believe it was the tensions arising from this part of the conversation that actually triggered the apparent/apocryphal/potential threat for Court Martial.

Antonio is correct in saying:

We have no response by the Addmiralty regarding the KGV fuel problem and Adm Tovey intention to quit the chase at 24:00/26 being recorded, ... and this seems very unusual,


as far as I can see from the signals listings (Duncan says p54 but I only have 50 pages).

That is where one might expect the exhortation to run out of fuel, get torpedoed and die with your entire crew, but instead VCNS Phillips instructs War Hindoo, an oiler, should be made ready to sail. 2325B/26.

Tovey reports "Enemy appears badly damaged 0009/27" and since his intent is only to quit the chase at 2400/26 if Bismarck's speed is not reduced, he obviously got this information in the nick of time.

Under the continuing stress of the disastrous naval campaigns of Greece and Crete and with the added pressure of pretending the "Stupidest Signal" Ever Sent originated with him instead of Churchill, when Tovey's anger on the phone caused him to turn on his superior, Pound evidently lost his temper and said things he never meant which Tovey interpreted as the CMDS threat. It was still less important to Tovey than the SSES even years later.

BTW I note that earlier on the 26th Pound helpfully suggested Tovey should use his destroyers for a night attack. "Gee Boss thanks, I never thought of that!" DuuuuH!

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:23 pm

Wadinga wrote: "It is clear from Tovey's letter that this was the most important thing discussed in the famous phone call,"

Hi Sean,
clear from what in your opinion ? :negative:

This is the weighted content of the letter:
    16rows are "compliments" and salutations
    11 rows are dedicated to point 1, the towing signal
    35 rows are dedicated to the Court Martial threat (I have posted them entirely, see above)

As you see , the vast majority in it is dedicated to the Court Martial, by far the most important thing discussed in the phone call. :D


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby dunmunro » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:27 pm

wadinga wrote:Hello All,

According to Kennedy:
Sometime during the night of 26th May, Winston Churchill, not then knowing the enemy was crippled beyond repair, became obsessed with the idea that Bismarck must be sunk at whatever cost to our ships. He therefore drafted or had drafted for him the following signal to Tovey:

"We cannot visualise the situation from your signals. Bismarck must be sunk at all costs and if to do this it is necessary for KG V to remain on the scene, then she must do so, even if it means towing KG V."

..........

Pound himself disagreed with the signal, and should not have approved it; but he was not always firm where Churchill was concerned, and it finally went out from the Admiralty at 11:37 next morning, by which time the battle was over and Tovey was on his way home.


Has this wording actually been identified anywhere in the War Diary/ Radio Signal Logs? If so what are the TOO and time received? Is it TOO 1137B/27 as is suggested? Is there any mention in any recorded message of the Coast of France? Or is that something Tovey just invented? Roskill himself seems to have difficulty finding messages with this content.

It is clear from Tovey's letter that this was the most important thing discussed in the famous phone call, and I believe it was the tensions arising from this part of the conversation that actually triggered the apparent/apocryphal/potential threat for Court Martial.

Antonio is correct in saying:

We have no response by the Addmiralty regarding the KGV fuel problem and Adm Tovey intention to quit the chase at 24:00/26 being recorded, ... and this seems very unusual,


as far as I can see from the signals listings (Duncan says p54 but I only have 50 pages).

That is where one might expect the exhortation to run out of fuel, get torpedoed and die with your entire crew, but instead VCNS Phillips instructs War Hindoo, an oiler, should be made ready to sail. 2325B/26.

Tovey reports "Enemy appears badly damaged 0009/27" and since his intent is only to quit the chase at 2400/26 if Bismarck's speed is not reduced, he obviously got this information in the nick of time.

Under the continuing stress of the disastrous naval campaigns of Greece and Crete and with the added pressure of pretending the "Stupidest Signal" Ever Sent originated with him instead of Churchill, when Tovey's anger on the phone caused him to turn on his superior, Pound evidently lost his temper and said things he never meant which Tovey interpreted as the CMDS threat. It was still less important to Tovey than the SSES even years later.

BTW I note that earlier on the 26th Pound helpfully suggested Tovey should use his destroyers for a night attack. "Gee Boss thanks, I never thought of that!" DuuuuH!

All the best

wadinga


I posted an updated pdf:

http://www.sfu.ca/~dmunro/images/Bismarckops2.pdf

which has the infamous signal on page 54.

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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby wadinga » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:01 am

Hello Alberto,

As kindly reproduced by Antonio

Item 1) Redacted to avoid further discussion by A. Virtuani.
Item 2 ) DP said...............

In my experience the first item on the agenda is always the most important. See what I mean about filtering? :negative:

How about finding another letter about CMDS where it is first priority?

Oh, hang about though, :?

in one letter (1962), Tovey wrote to Roskill that the text was:
"if necessary she is to be pursued right up to the shores of France, even if the K:G.V. has to be towed home"

in another letter to Bellairs (1950) Tovey said it was: "you are to continue the pursuit right up to the shores of France even if you have to be towed home"

in another letter to Roskill (1954) Tovey says that the message was "ordering me to continue the chase up to the shores of France, even if the K.G.V. had to be towed back"

Finally in the "Court Martial" letter from December 1961, Tovey wrote that the message was: "you are to continue the pursuit right up the coast of France, even if it means your ship being towed back"


"Towing home" gets mentioned in four separate letters, spread over 11 years and CMDS gets mentioned once (in writing) in the last letter as second priority.

I think unbiased opinion would side with me :cool:

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:37 am

Wadinga wrote: "See what I mean about filtering?"

No, I don't and I would have expected a bit more fairness from your side, having reproduced the text to avoid this low kind of comments from you. Please post my "filtered" statements or SHUT UP ! :stop:



you wrote (my bold): "It is clear from Tovey's letter that this was the most important thing discussed in the famous phone call"

This is an intentional FALSE stratement of YOU, motivated only by your side-taken approach.
You did not have the letter, how did you claim to say the above ?
I have shown you that, in this letter, it is not the case, due to the length of the point 1) and 2) but you ARE SIMPLY UNABLE TO ACCEPT you are wrong.. The sequence of the items may be simply dictated by previous Roskill questions about the phone call.... :negative:


If you want to say that, in the OTHER LETTERS, Tovey felt much more the towing message than the Court Martial threat, I can agree with you, as obvious, because the towing message was questioning his own sense of duty, while the CM was menaced for two of his "a bit timid" subordinates .....

However, in his official despatches, he was forced to dedicate much more attention to justify his two (or three) officers, than to the towing message, JUST IGNORED in the despatches. Obviosly the towing message was still for him an "open item", which was still weighting on his mind. :think:



you wrote: "CMDS gets mentioned once (in writing) in the last letter "

Again you are wrong (and arrogant too), not having the proper information and the text of all the letters. The threat to Wake-Walker is mentioned in another letter. I don't intend to post the text of this latter, as you clearly don't deserve it, after what you were able say above.

You can continue trusting your fairy tale about the Denmark Strait, with everybody deserving medals, Tovey despatches incorrect information and the "final" Kennedy novel.
We have enough evidences of the "regrettable aftermath" of the DS battle.



Bye, Alberto
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby wadinga » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:15 pm

Hello Alberto,

Did you remove the reference to the towing signal when you reproduced the 1961 letter leaving 1)....? That is filtering. How can I possibly post what you have deliberately hidden? SHUT UP indeed (who is arrogant?) shows how desperate you are to keep this increasingly unlikely fantasy alive.

Which other letter mentions CMDS? Is it first priority, paragraph one in that? Previously it was supposedly only mentioned verbally to Roskill. Maybe Cag can tell us which letter also mentions CMDS. Maybe in that letter Tovey remembers it happening at some other time than immediately on arrival at Scapa. Maybe he remembers it was a letter and not a phone call. Maybe it was only Leach and not Wake-Walker. Who knows what Tovey remembered and how much it had to do with what actually happened.

Antonio has already opened another thread to try to disconnect fuel concern messages from the debate here. We have not yet started to contemplate the fact that Tovey keeps going on about the "Coasts of France" over a period of 11 years. Will we find the phrase "Coasts of France " anywhere in the radio log or anywhere else, or is it just another figment of Tovey's imagination?

The towing message does not question Tovey's sense of duty, because in no way can an Admiral be expected to destroy his flagship and kill his crew to no gain. It was simply stupid, as he said. Which is why he was so cross that he went on and on about it for years. Unlike CMDS.

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:36 pm

Wadinga wrote: "Did you remove the reference to the towing signal when you reproduced the 1961 letter leaving 1)....? "

Hi Sean,
yes I did, as well as I removed the salutations and the compliments....., as there was NO relation at all with the Court Martial, despite your ridiculous attempt to link the 2 facts (as well as linking Crete with the Denmark Strait)...... :negative:

To hear such an accusation from someone able to read the ADM 205710 and having the effrontery to state that nothing was in it of any interest about the "regrettable aftermath" of the DS, is really incredible.


I will not loose time (and money) anymore to reproduce anything in this forum (and to answer your questions) if you don't apologize for the "conspiracy filter" repeated accusation. I have given you the full CM ralated wording instead of the "usual" sentences on the conversation between Pound and Tovey..... just to hear someone too lazy for going to KEW and read the documents accusing me. Maybe, maybe, maybe.....-.End of the story from my side. :stop:


Bye, Alberto
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