The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

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Antonio Bonomi
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The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:37 am

Hello everybody,

on May 26th, 1941 at around 17:00 after one unsuccesful strike of the HMS Ark Royal Swordfish against the Bismarck, it was realized by Adm Tovey on board KGV that the fuel situation was becoming very critical if Bismarck was not going to be slowed down.

After many visual signals with Rodney, in order to realize that situation too while reducing the speed, Adm Tovey sent out this signal at 18:21 on May 26thy, 1941 :
Tovey_1821_fuel_KGV.jpg
Tovey_1821_fuel_KGV.jpg (59.2 KiB) Viewed 3493 times
It now seems very unusual that the Admiralty did not reply in any way to such a signal providing directions :think: .

On a private letter to Stephen Roskill after the war Adm Tovey stated that the response was provided and described the content of it too, but Adm Pound during the CM phone call on May 30th, 1941, after having beg pardon for that message told Adm Tovey that the message was going to be deleted ( expunged ) from the records.
Re: The Court Martial for the Denmark Strait - Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:20 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
This created all sort of questions on the British historians and even some very unfair doubts about Adm Tovey memory, since no evidence in this direction have been found anywhere by the historians.

Sir Winston Churchill on his 3rd book " The Grand Alliance " on page 282 stated the following, while declaring that the message was really sent to Adm Tovey and he personally was the one requesting it to be sent by Adm Pound with clear directions :
Churchill_book_3_page_282.jpg
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Still remain the fact that the only Admiralty recorded message regarding the KGV fuel situation from the Admiralty to Adm Tovey, ... thus confirming they had received the previous day message about the fuel critical situation of KGV from Adm Tovey that apparently had no reply sent back to him immediately after, ... even if they were very carefully visualizing the whole tactical situation on real time into the War Room, ... is this one at 11:37 on May 27th, 1941 :
Admiralty_fuel_KGV_27_May_at_1137.jpg
Admiralty_fuel_KGV_27_May_at_1137.jpg (41.86 KiB) Viewed 3493 times
Logic would dictate that there is something that does not fit right and that having 2 persons ... Adm Tovey and Sir Winston Churchill, ... both with memory failures about such a very important event, ... seems very unlikely.

We have other examples of messages/documents and record alteration and elimination during WW2 on the RN side, ... consequently my personal opinion here is that most likely Adm Tovey and Sir Winston Churchill were right about that message being sent on May 26th, 1941.

In this case, differently than for the Court Martial attempt, we will probably never able to prove it.

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 KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by dunmunro » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:34 am

Signals are recorded by every ship that that intercepts the radio transmission. Dozens of ships and even RCN radio stations in Canada would have recorded a message ordering "...KGV to pursue Bismarck to the shores of France..." or words to that effect, yet the only source for it is Tovey's letters, written years after the fact.

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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by dunmunro » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:37 am

dunmunro wrote:Signals are recorded by every ship that that intercepts the radio transmission. Dozens of ships and even RCN radio stations in Canada would have recorded a message ordering "...KGV to pursue Bismarck to the shores of France..." or words to that effect, yet the only source for it is Tovey's letters, written years after the fact.
Churchill does not state that this (pursue to the shores of France) message was sent.

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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:51 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Dunmunro,

according to Churchill, that message was sent between the 18:21 received message by Adm Tovey and this one by Adm Tovey too, from where Churchill realized that Adm Tovey was not abandoning the Bismarck chase and was surely going to engage the enemy with the KGV too at dawn, ... so in the early morning as he wrote :

Tovey_final_engagement_action_message_0009_27th_May.jpg
Tovey_final_engagement_action_message_0009_27th_May.jpg (30.05 KiB) Viewed 3467 times
Bye Antonio :D
Last edited by Antonio Bonomi on Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by wadinga » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:56 pm

Hello Antonio,

You say
but Adm Pound during the CM phone call on May 30th, 1941, after having beg pardon for that message told Adm Tovey that the message was going to be deleted ( expunged ) from the records.
Is this in one of the letters that Tovey wrote to Roskill? Could we have the precise wording?

As Dunmunro has pointed out, this retrospective removal is impossible, and of course was never done, and as you have shown Churchill admits the existence and origin.

I expect it will need a major effort of imaginative supposition to explain why an erroneous Time Of Origin would be put on it, or why Tovey and his staff found it funny initially, if it were really received when Bismarck was getting away and KGV ordered to run out of fuel in a vain pursuit of an uncatchable foe. Not very funny at all.

"Remain on the scene" means there is a scene to be on, ie Bismarck is trapped, stopped and being battered to death. This signal is probably a response to intercepted "My 10:42 Cannot get her to sink with guns 1045/27 C in C HF to FO Force H." Interestingly Churchill may have been addressing the House of Commons by this time as he only received news of the Bismarck's sinking when he sat down.

Since CMDS was second priority in the famous phone call I suggest we call it the ROOF (Run Out Of Fuel) phone call from now on, what do you think?

All the best
wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:31 pm

Wadinga wrote: "Is this in one of the letters that Tovey wrote to Roskill? Could we have the precise wording?"
Hi Sean,
yes it is (1954). No you can't, a least if you don't fully apologize for the "conspiracy filter" accusation.


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 KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by Cag » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:09 pm

Hi All

There are a few pieces of correspondance regarding the towing signal in Roskills papers. He attempts to find the relevant signals and has correspondence with the relevant departments that would hold such records.

He receives a letter from Pitcairn-jones in which PJ states that he knows not of any other signal apart from the one noted in B.S. 5 page 34 "which would have kept King George V pretty well right up to the French coast from the air point of view" and PJ believes it was this signal that Lord Tovey references in his notes that Pitcairn-jones showed Roskill.

Roskill adds a handwritten note at the bottom of the letter that the signal was the 11.37B one. It also seems to show that the air danger was the most pressing, so the reference of the French coast may be explained.

Roskill also asks in a letter someone called Geoff to try and find any signal to which he receives the following

'We cannot visualise the situation from your signals. BISMARCK must be sunk at all costs and if to do this it is neccessary for KING GEORGE V to remain on the scene then she must do so even if it subsequently means towing KING GEORGE V .
1st Sea Lord to C in C HF 11.37B Most Immediate Naval Cypher F.

Pound did apologise for the signal stating it should never have been sent, I think he mentions it should be expunged from the records (any expungement would have been difficult as every ship and station would have received it). Tovey states he believed it came from Pound but also states that if he had known that it in fact had come from Churchill he would have included reference to it in his despatch.

Hope this helps
Best wishes
Cag.

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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by wadinga » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:45 pm

Hello Cag,

Please bear with me, I just want to clarify.

Is this
one noted in B.S. 5 page 34
this
'We cannot visualise the situation from your signals. BISMARCK must be sunk at all costs and if to do this it is neccessary for KING GEORGE V to remain on the scene then she must do so even if it subsequently means towing KING GEORGE V .
1st Sea Lord to C in C HF 11.37B Most Immediate Naval Cypher F.
?

If so it is Pitcairn-Jones who originated the Coast of France element in his post war analysis, which Tovey muddled with things that actually happened in 1941.

Where does Pound state this:
Pound did apologise for the signal stating it should never have been sent, I think he mentions it should be expunged from the records
Only in Tovey's recollection? He would believe the message came from Pound because it has SL for Sea Lord instead of ACNS as originator. Criticising the message in his despatch, especially if he said it was from Churchill would have been a very, very bad idea.

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:06 pm

Wadinga wrote: "If so it is Pitcairn-Jones who originated the Coast of France element in his post war analysis, which Tovey muddled with things that actually happened in 1941."

Hi Sean,
I see you don't listen my suggestion to get the papers before just guessing (wrongly).... :lol:

P-J letter is from 1953, Tovey first mention of the "shores of France" element is from 1950..... :negative:



Bye, Alberto
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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by Cag » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:58 pm

Hi All

Hi Wadinga, I'm not sure as I don't have B.S.5 but Roskills handwritten note states the signal was the 11.37B. It only says that is what PJ thinks Tovey is referencing in his notes given to Roskill by PJ. It was only in connection with the air threat that the coast of France is referenced.

Tovey mentions the expungement in a letter dated 20/11/54, Tovey states he has been contacted by a newspaper for comment on Churchills interference with commanders at sea in Roskills 1st volume which he declined to comment on.

He says he is surprised at there are no remarks on the coast of France signal which in his opinion was the most stupidest ill conceived signal ever sent and if known would have given the press a field day. As soon as KGV reached harbour Pound telephoned him to apologise and told him it would be expunged from the records. He claims that on its receipt PoW was severely damaged, Rodney was in dire need of refit and Nelson was unavailable and too slow leaving only KGV available and with any hope of bringing Bismarck to action after she had made good her damage.

He decided that if Ark Royal could not damage Bismarck enough to force an action he would disobey the signal and return to face trial.

The letter in which he mentions putting the signal in his despatch (WC claiming the signal in his 3rd volume of memoirs and Tovey stating "if known it would certainly have appeared in my despatch) was to Roger Bellairs in October 1950, he also mentions the coast of France and towing home and calls it appallingly stupid as an order and compares it to asking for disaster in a similar manner to the criminal stupidity of the PoW Repulse affair.

In the 1962 letter in response to seeing Roskills articles on DP he mentions the signal again as Roskill must have asked for his recollection on the wording. Again it is "if neccessary Bismarck is to be pursued up to the coast of France even if KGV is to be towed home." Roskill puts a written note that this is not mentioned in the signal 11.37B 27/5/41 BR 1736 (3/50).

Hope it helps

Best wishes
Cag.

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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by dunmunro » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:56 pm

P-J, in B.S.5, reproduces the 27May 1137b signal verbatim in a footnote on page 34. No mention about the "shores of France" or wording to that effect. P-J also states that the signal was sent after Bismarck was sunk, but before it was known by the Admiralty.

This is the same Admiralty which previously had ordered an R class battleship and Renown not to engage Bismarck unless Bismarck was already heavily engaged by other battleships.

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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by wadinga » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:47 pm

Hello Alberto,

Thank you for this :D
Tovey first mention of the "shores of France" element is from 1950
Excellent progress, we have established Tovey was remembering things that never happened as early as 1950! Can you tell me if he remembered Pound saying the message would be expunged, which is evidently impossible, in the same 1950 letter?

Various ships were sent ROOF messages and all ignored them, because they were all stupid. Sending one to the most valuable ship was slightly more stupid than to the others.

All the best

wadinga
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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:10 pm

Hello everybody,

there are no doubts that a message like that one, ... either in the version remembered by Adm Tovey or just the text we can read on the 27th morning version being issued at 11:37, ... so well after the engagement started and was going on ... is not a very intelligent and clever message.

Apparently there are no more doubts that the reason for Adm Tovey to mention it to somebody was the Churchill third book publication on 1950 and the associated text content, ... where he claimed the origin of it being himself, ... either remembering it correctly or not on the events and time when it was sent by Adm Pound to Adm Tovey.

In this regard Churchill version of the facts on his book, ... surely had an evident impact on Adm Tovey recollection and re-construction of that event, ... considering Churchill written declaration.

Another point to be seriously taken in consideration is the intention of Adm Pound to " expunge " it from the records.

Either if he succesfully did it or not, ... being possible or not, ... and evidently for Pound it was possible obviously ... just the intention to do it tells the whole approach that was used on that period about some critical events reporting.

Not a surprise, ... referencing the Churchill own directions to Adm Godfrey.

Evidently Adm Pound was following those directions, ... and Adm Tovy was not at all surprised about it, ... :think:

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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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:34 pm

Wadinag wrote: "we have established Tovey was remembering things that never happened as early as 1950! "
Hi Sean,
If you believe that the signal mentioning the "shores of France ", attributed by Tovey to May 26 was never sent, then we have discovered that W.Churchill too was remembering things that never happened in 1950, as he wrote first that the message had duly been sent to Tovey by D.Pound on May 26 in his 3rd book.....

But, if you are right, and Tovey was already a bit "stoned" 20+ years before his death, than we now possibly know why he wrote incorrectly also his despatches in 1941 and you would be correct, there was no cover-up ! Tovey was just already suffering from memory failures and he was inventing things as early as 1941, when he forgot that the PoW "Y" turret jammed after the disengagement, etc.etc...... :lol:
If this is your opinion of Tovey, then it was an hazard to have him in command of the H.F., don't you think ? .... :think:

Don't you see how ridiculous is your attempt to insinuate Tovey's memory failure ?


Bye, Alberto
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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by wadinga » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:09 am

Hello Alberto,

Antonio kindly reproduced Churchill's recollection about a ROOF signal to KG V at 09:37 yesterday. Can you point out where the words Coast(s) /shores of France appears? As Dunmunro has pointed out these words do not appear anywhere. Please acknowledge this.
If you believe that the signal mentioning the "shores of France ", attributed by Tovey to May 26 was never sent,
No message including these words was sent either on the 26th or 27th, but Tovey pestered Roskill with a recollection that he had been ordered to continue the chase to the shores of France for 11 years, by your own admission. Tovey's ability to remember things that never happened in 1950 says nothing about his abilities in 1941. It merely confirms Pafford's opinion, solicited and responsibly reproduced by Kennedy.

I think in Antonio's largely incomprehensible 19:10 posting of last night, he suggests that Tovey read WSC's book and then remembered Churchill's version instead of what really happened......adding in the Coasts of France business purely from his own imagination. He then presented this mangled mishmash to Roskill as reality and continued to bang on about it for a further 11 years.

There are many things in Churchill's "history" books that real historians take issue with, many glaring inaccuracies compared with reality, and his belief as to when a certain signal was sent would be very low in significance in comparison.

All the best

wadinga
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