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

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:39 pm

Wadinga wrote: " I suspected you were withholding knowledge of it, but had to provoke into admitting it to be sure. And it worked!"
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

The above ridiculous attempt to disguise your blatant and embarrassing ERROR (that you are, once again, unable to admit because of your well proven arrogance) is very, very far from being credible and it is not addressing the key point: Roskill was well aware of this letter (as we were) and considered it totally irrelevant regarding the "shores of France" signal, never mentioning it in any discussions with Kennedy (was he hiding it ? :negative: ).
you wrote: "he (Roskill) wasted so much effort trying to find the "Shores of France" signal when this letter clearly shows it never existed"
All the forum members that had seen Roskill papers, even before me, have never mentioned it as relevant for the signal matter..... Only you consider it important and "showing" something.... seriously, ask yourself a question, my dear Sean.... :think:


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

pgollin
Senior Member
Posts: 268
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:01 pm

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

Post by pgollin » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:07 pm

.

Alberto,

I'm sorry, but your omission over the letter is something you need to explain, or else it hangs over your research and communication methods leaving a black mark against you.

.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:36 pm

pgollin wrote: "your omission over the letter is something you need to explain"
:lol: :lol: :lol: ( btw there are 245 pages of documents in Roskill papers re.Bismarck operation.......)
I had already "explained" : " Roskill was well aware of this letter (as we were) and considered it totally irrelevant regarding the "shores of France" signal, never mentioning it in any discussions with Kennedy (was he hiding it ? :negative: )....the forum members that had seen Roskill papers, even before me, have never mentioned it as relevant for the signal matter.....
In addition, speaking of black marks, pgollin is a recognized MASTER on this forum !
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

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

Post by wadinga » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:16 am

Hello All,

As has been noted, Grenfell in his account makes no mention of the ROOF signal, and looking at the pretty comprehensive listing in Jack Broome's "Make a Signal" (1956), neither the imaginary signal of the 26th nor the real 11:37B appear. His introduction says he had access to a 200 ton archive of original signal logs. He does find and record the mild admonition to Tovey not to give credit for Bismarck's resistance against great odds. Since Broome highlights the disastrous effects of Pound's intervention in the PQ 17 action there is no reason why he would deliberately leave out any ROOF signal.

Tovey's letter of the 30th to Pound which I reproduced in full for other Forum readers makes it clear that there was no ROOF signal on the 26th, otherwise he would have mentioned it, as it would have been vastly more important than the irrelevant and tardy 11:37B which he did mention. The problem of W/T transmissions disabling British radar is highlighted, and of course as noted in the Cabinet Papers, this was the sort of technical problem which needed "investigating".

As we have discovered, Roskill was asking Tovey for the exact wording of "Shores of France" as late as 1962, so the omission of any reference to it in Tovey's letter to Pound was not enough for him. The careful fudging of his coverage in Churchill and the Admirals where he starts describing the signal as if it belongs on the 26th but owns up to it being the 27th in the footnote is his final attempt to associate the "stupidest" with Pound and Churchill.


Hello Alberto,
Thanks for further information about Roskill's file at Cambridge, it will be useful for planning my visit. :D

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:40 pm

Wadinga wrote: "Tovey's letter of the 30th to Pound which I reproduced in full for other Forum readers makes it clear that there was no ROOF signal on the 26th, otherwise he would have mentioned it"
Hi Sean,
I disagree: Tovey's letter mentioned neither the May 26 "Shores of France" signal nor the 1821/26 CiC HF signal, with which he announced that it was his intention to give up the chase at misnight, had Force H failed to slow down Bismarck.

Of course a May 26 "Shores of France" signal, would have been the very "natural" reaction to 1821/26 (when Churchill was present in the War Room). If Tovey had already "vigorously" spoken about the signal with Pound in the famous telephone call, and Pound had already promised to have it "espunged from the records", it's only understandable and absolutely logical that Tovey did not mention it again in writing..... :negative:


We will possibly never know for sure, as even Roskill, who was very uncertain about the May 26 signal, said that the matter could be solved ONLY by finding the original KGV message log......
The only evidences we have are Tovey and Chuchill written statements, and both point to the message to have been sent on May 26 evening/night.....


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

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

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

Post by wadinga » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:33 pm

Hello Alberto,

What would be the point of writing this letter
If Tovey had already "vigorously" spoken about the signal with Pound in the famous telephone call,
This letter was written before the phone call. Why bother to write down all these things which would have been already discussed on the phone? Tovey wrote his interim report, which had no consultation with detached units and would therefore be modified, and this more personal covering letter, on the way in to harbour for dispatch on arrival. Some time after this was shipped off came the call with Pound.

You keep imagining natural reactions are evidence of the existence of something. Tovey told Pound he would abandon the chase at midnight because there was no chance of catching Bismarck. No chance. There was no "natural reaction" of telling the man on the spot to do something amazingly stupid and keep going, which would still not catch Bismarck.

There is no mention of the "Shores of France" signal in Tovey's letter because as I have speculated recently the existence of this drafted but never sent message was likely only mentioned in the phone call when Tovey's letter was already on a fast train headed south..
nor the 1821/26 CiC HF signal,
No, Tovey did not repeat every signal he sent - what would be the point?

"and again our only hope lay in the Fleet Air Arm"
here he makes it clear, no interception at all without a Bismarck slowdown which is effectively what he said in the 18:21/26.

I believe I have your assurance that you have not seen the letter sent by Pound to Tovey dated 28th which I have not found, and presumably delivered on arrival at Scapa Flow?

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:10 pm

Wadinga wrote: "This letter was written before the phone call."
Hi Sean,
it may be, but I'm not so sure. This letter is not a covering letter to the report, we all have the cover letter of the May 30 preliminary report. Why bother to provide "early justifications" for Leach decision to disengage and W-W decision not to re-engage (see below from your posted May 30 letter) if Tovey had not yet spoken to Pound ? :think:
Tovey_30May_letter_Leach.jpg
Tovey_30May_letter_Leach.jpg (40.75 KiB) Viewed 2257 times
Tovey_30May_letter_W-W.jpg
Tovey_30May_letter_W-W.jpg (21.58 KiB) Viewed 2257 times
In any case, even if the letter was written before the phone call, that is well possible, Tovey was careful enough not to mention at all his intention to give up the chase and therefore "omitted" also the consequent "Shore of France" explicit order to continue the chase.....

you wrote: "Tovey told Pound he would abandon the chase at midnight because there was no chance of catching Bismarck"
Why ? At dawn Somerville would have been ready for an additional raid against Bismarck, even if the Luftwaffe would have been almost in range, so clearly many more risks had to be taken.
However, any early abandon of the chase was apparently not an option for the PM, even at the cost of the KGV.



Unfortunately, as Roskill stated clearly, having read this letter and all the others mentioning the "Shores of France" signal, there is no sure proof about the existence of the May 26 "Shore of France" signal, because no original message log has survived and , as you correctly pointed out, even comprehensive lists of signal are missing some key messages.


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

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:45 pm

Hello everybody,
thanks to Wadinga, who has posted a most interesting letter from Tovey to Pound (dated 31 May 1941 re. the "regrettable aftermath" of the Bismarck operation, viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6728&start=1050#p77747), showing a great fairness, I post here below the full text of the letter that Tovey wrote to Roskill in 1961.
The most relevant point of this letter is the Court Martial (the part related to it has been already posted here by me (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6728&start=900#p77032), but it also contains a mention to the "Shores of France" signal (here is worded as "Coast of France"). More will come soon from other letters.

Tovey_Roskill_14-12-1961_1.jpg
Tovey_Roskill_14-12-1961_1.jpg (53.7 KiB) Viewed 2238 times
Tovey_Roskill_14-12-1961_2.jpg
Tovey_Roskill_14-12-1961_2.jpg (77.87 KiB) Viewed 2240 times
No pencil annotation from Roskill are written on this letter, except, on top left, the word "Bismarck". I hope it will be readable and I have not made too many mistakes: I can't post it in original photocopy, as it is copyright protected.
Within () the only word I was not able to read (+ my poor interpretation).

Enjoy reading.


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

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:11 am

Wadinga wrote (on another thread...): "Thank you for your fairness in reproducing the 1961 letter. "
Hi Sean,
you are welcome of course.
I hope you have realized how the parts of the letter I had not reproduced before yesterday, were NOT relevant at all to the Court Martial story (and very generic about the "shores of France" signal too).

In relation to the signal, however, this letter contains two important indications:
1) about the timing of the signal: "the evening before the Bismarck was brought to action" and
2) about the fact that Tovey claims he decided to disobey the signal if needed: "I had decided I would not comply"


Much more interesting regarding the signal is the (single) letter from 1954, that, as soon as I will find the time to copy it, I will post here.



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

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:30 am

Hello everybody,
just to start in chronological order, here the text of the letter from 1950 from Tovey to Bellairs from the Roskill papers, ONLY for its part related to the Bismarck operation and to the "shores of France" signal.

As usual in () the words I could not be sure to correctly read from Tovey handwritten letter + my poor interpretation). In Italic the topics treated before and after the signal.
Tovey_Bellairs_1950.jpg
Tovey_Bellairs_1950.jpg (55.44 KiB) Viewed 2181 times
No mention of any other topic dicussed here (e.g. CMDS).
The letter is quite long and I had no time to re-write it in full. If anyone is interested to the full text, please drop me a private message with an e-mail address and I will provide a photo of it to all friends.

The letter from 1954 will follow (quite a long one as well, mostly related to the signal + to Pound / W.C.).



Bye, Alberto



P.S. on the letter, there are several pencil annotations from S.Roskill, one aside the text related to the signal: "A paraphrase of the signal referred to in the footnote in Bismarck B.S. (mission???)". (Bismarck undelined by Roskill).
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

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

Post by wadinga » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:39 pm

Hello Alberto,

I wish to record appreciation on behalf of all who may visit this thread that you have put these letters up here. It is a very significant and unbiased contribution to uncovering the truth.

Swanage is a small coastal town in Southern England.

In the Bellairs letter I think it is revealing that whereas in his letters of 1941 to Pound (albeit subordinate to Commander) he makes no mention of the "Shores of France" message, here he describes this supposed signal as "appalling stupidity" and "criminal stupidity". Is it really possible that he could write the two friendly and sympathetic letters of 30th and 31st May 1941 whilst really believing in 1941 Pound had originated the supposed message? In the 30th letter Tovey clearly sympathizes with Pound, left in the dark over what is happening on the 27th, and offers his understanding over the signal which was really sent: 11:37B.

In neither 1950 or 1961 letter Tovey mentions expunging. I expect we will get a timing for Roskill quizzing Tovey over the wording/timing, since he could find no record of the "Shores of France" despite unparalleled resources.


All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:34 pm

Wadinga wrote: "Is it really possible that he could write the two friendly and sympathetic letters of 30th and 31st May 1941 whilst really believing in 1941 Pound had originated the supposed message? "
Hi Sean,
as you have said yourself, the 1941 letters are "subordinate to Commander", and in this case a subordinate that desperately needed to appease the superior to avoid to be "forced" to haul down his flag or, even worse, to be Court-Martialled himself (see his May 31 letter).

No surprise about the tone of the letters. Rhys-Jones, albeit neither apparently having read the May letters nor the "shores of France" references, understood very well the situation and wrote: "Tovey immediate reaction to this message (1137/27) was defensive, resentment came later.....The tone of this letter (the May 30 preliminary report) was conciliatory...." (The loss of Bismarck - an avoidable disaster, pag.226-227).


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

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

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

Post by wadinga » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:00 am

Hello Alberto,

You don't threaten to haul down your flag and try to appease someone at the same time. Tovey is not desperate, he is merely saying he will not co-operate in Pound's little scheme. End of. There is nothing defensive about Tovey in 1941,

Rhys Jones inference is based only Tovey's report, not from either of the personal, less formal letters I reproduced. I have not seen any indication any author has yet referred to the 31st letter I reproduced. When you have supplied all the Roskill communications we will see whether even he saw this letter you have now seen- supplied by me. Lazy researcher indeed! LOL

Yes resentment came later, much much later- 9 years later.
"appalling stupidity" and "criminal stupidity"
He only realized this in 1950 and please don't bother to say this was ROOF not CMDS. He claimed he was angry enough to resign in 1941 :shock:

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2590
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:42 am

Wadinga wrote: "You don't threaten to haul down your flag and try to appease someone at the same time."
Hi Sean, why ?
Tovey stood up in a very courageous way to protect his subordinates, menacing to sacrifice himself, but he was not (in 1941) trying in any way to attack Pound (and W.C.) for his own treatment. :negative:

Rhys-Jones is absolutely correct, Tovey was very "appeasant" and defensive, both in his preliminary report of May 30 and in the letters you have kindly provided us, even begging pardon for the 27 morning badly phrased signals that provoked the 1137/27 message....
Resentment came later, when Tovey left the RN and could take some "revenge", as natural for a retired officer.




What is interesting in the letter to Bellairs is that:
  • 1) it confirms 1961 letter about the phone call received from Pound as soon as KGV anchored at Scapa, already in 1950.
    2) it underlines that in 1950 Tovey had just discovered that the signal was coming from W.Churchill (in 1961 this is given as a fact)
    3) it makes clear Tovey felt very much offensed by the "shores of France" message (while, in 1961, this is already "digested")


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

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

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

Post by wadinga » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:30 pm

Hello Alberto,
and in this case a subordinate that desperately needed to appease the superior to avoid to be "forced" to haul down his flag or, even worse, to be Court-Martialled himself (see his May 31 letter)
Errr have you at last realised it illogical to separate this thread from the Court Martial. These threats relate to CM not fuel signal. :D



Since you have assured me you had not previously seen the 31st letter, and you have scanned through the 250 item Roskill file, can you say whether this seems correct?
When you have supplied all the Roskill communications we will see whether even he saw this letter you have now seen- supplied by me.
The National Archives are under constant revision and material is added as it is located. I believe it is quite possible Roskill never saw this 31st letter, being identified and added later. You were jubilant to reveal he already had the 30th letter, but what about the 31st?

Tovey was not appeasing a superior, because both the threats come from Tovey himself not Pound. Pound does not threaten to dismiss Tovey, Pound does not threaten to CM Tovey. Tovey says back down or I will do these things. That is attack not defence.

And Pound backs down completely. No investigation at all has come to light.

It is immensely frustrating that we do not (yet) have the 28th letter from Pound, but one of the Great Steps forward that we have is no reference at all to "Shores of France" in either the 30th or 31st letter. It is frankly illogical to imagine Tovey could ignore this in both letters when nearly ten years later he describes this supposed signal as "appalling stupidity" and "criminal stupidity". Also if he really blamed Churchill only for the apochryphal threat and not the 26th ROOF signal why not challenge Pound about it?

He makes it perfectly clear he knows Churchill is interfering and yets forgets it about until talking to Bellairs.
In neither 1950 or 1961 letter Tovey mentions expunging. I expect we will get a timing for Roskill quizzing Tovey over the wording/timing, since he could find no record of the "Shores of France" despite unparalleled resources.
I await the next letters with baited breath to find out when Tovey started remembering expunging.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

Post Reply