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

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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 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 pm

Wadinga wrote: "Errr have you at last realised it illogical to separate this thread from the Court Martial."
Hi Sean,
no, just answering to your post where YOU have mixed again together the two aspects.....
you wrote, not me: "You don't threaten to haul down your flag and try to appease someone at the same time"
you wrote: "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?"
I'm sorry, I can't. The letter from May 30 was in Roskill papers related to Bismarck operation. The letter of May 31 was not, but, as you said, Roskill had unprecedented access to British official and unofficial resources.....
As the May 31 letter adds nothing to the May 30 one in regards to the "shores of France" signal, and it mentions neither the fuel problem nor the 1137/27 signal, I don't see how Roskill could have been interested in it in regards of the May 26 signal anyway, as he had already discarded the May 30 one considering it irrelevant for the signal story (as Kennedy had done as well)....

Please let's discuss this letter in the Court Martial thread if you want to discuss the CM or the BofI. :stop:




Back to the topic of the thread:
you wrote: " It is frankly illogical to imagine Tovey could ignore this in both letters "
No, it is very logical, he was VERY defensive and had no interest at all in speaking about his intention to GIVE UP the chase, after which he was explicitly ordered to go "up to the shores of France" instead. In May 30 letter he tried to appease Pound about his "badly phrased" message that provoked the 1137/27 towing one, but in May 31 one he avoided carefully to mention any aspect related to "fuel problems" and consequently to his own determination to sink Bismarck.


I have not seen any comment to these of mine about the 1950 letter to Bellair :
  • 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 offenced by the "shores of France" message (while, in 1961, this is already in some way "digested")
do you agree with all of them ?


Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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

Post by wadinga » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:37 pm

Hello Alberto,

Sorry your three points:

1) You have become chronologically muddled. A letter in 1950 can't confirm something said in a 1961 letter. Tovey is consistent. Sometimes incorrect but consistent.

2) The letter in 1950 confirms the ROOF signal was originated by Churchill (see Option A below). Tovey claimed he had only just found this out.

3) Roskill says in 1961 he imagines the ROOF signal was sent by Churchill, in 1950 he was certain Churchill was responsible. Tovey is sometimes consistent.


I'm sorry, I can't. The letter from May 30 was in Roskill papers related to Bismarck operation. The letter of May 31 was not, but, as you said, Roskill had unprecedented access to British official and unofficial resources.....
I'm sorry I can't?................ I just asked you if Roskill had the May 31st letter in the material you saw. As it is almost exclusively concerned with the Bismarck operation, if he hasn't put it in the Bismarck section then it is extremely unlikely he ever saw it.

I realise how much you would like to preserve Tovey's later life credibility by consigning the "Shores of France" discussion to the dustbin of history since it reveals his primary interest in the 1950s and early 60s relates to a signal of which no record remains and nobody else remembers being received.

Now where would you like to discuss this following passage, here or the other place?
We frequently have to curb our wish to interfere in politics, it is a very great pity politicians cannot be so strong minded when they become critical of our strategy or skill or our tactics. They have done more than enough harm surely in giving information of real value to the Hun – surely the mere fact that the Bismarck was sunk without the loss of another British life or damage to our ships was dramatic enough for anyone.
If you accept it has to do with the ROOF signal then it completely undermines Tovey's assertion to Bellairs that he didn't realise Churchill was responsible. That he links the political interference with the "Bismarck was sunk without the loss of another British life or damage " likely means it refers to the 11:37/27, because he doesn't mention "criminal stupidity" anywhere.

Option B If you want to believe it describes political interference in the apocryphal threat then that belongs on the CM thread.

Tovey does not seek to appease Pound at all. This letter flatly refuses to co-operate with Pound before going on to be informative. This 31st letter goes into great detail about the radar jamming problem and why he did not therefore keep Pound up to date.

I am still looking forward to the actual words and context of the "expunging" of the signal- not mentioned in either 1950 or 1961. Also where Roskill says to Kennedy that is is unsurprising Tovey is so obssessed with the "criminal stupidity" of it throughout the 1950s and yet doesn't mention it at all in a letter dated 30th to the person he believed was the originator two or three days previously, before that person has phoned up to apologise for it.

All the best

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:51 pm

Hi Sean,
thanks for confirming exactly my three points (with the usual "linguistic" disclaimers) + Tovey consistency in correctly remembering the facts.
  • 1) We have up to now 2 letters (1950 and 1961) speaking about the phone call with Pound, received as soon as KGV arrived in Scapa.
    2) Only in 1950 Tovey discovered that Churchill originated the "shores of France" signal (you had previously stated otherwise....)
    3) In 1950 he was offended by the fact W.C. originated it, in 1961 he was plainly "accepting" it.
you wrote: " I just asked you if Roskill had the May 31st letter in the material you saw...... if he hasn't put it in the Bismarck section then it is extremely unlikely he ever saw it"
I tend to agree, but I already told you that the May 31 letter has no relevance to the signal (as the May 30 letter had not, not only according to me but according to Roskill who had this letter and did not discuss it with Kennedy speaking about the signal).

So said, I think that the "political interference" (referred clearly to the Board of inquiry) required by Pound as following this request) are to be discussed in the Court Martial thread, as they have nothing to do (in this instance) with the signals or the fuel shortage....


More will come about the May 26 signal with the other letters.


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 wadinga » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:31 pm

Hello Alberto,
consistency in correctly remembering
These are two different things.

So you say this
We frequently have to curb our wish to interfere in politics, it is a very great pity politicians cannot be so strong minded when they become critical of our strategy or skill or our tactics. They have done more than enough harm surely in giving information of real value to the Hun – surely the mere fact that the Bismarck was sunk without the loss of another British life or damage to our ships was dramatic enough for anyone.
Has nothing to do with the imaginary 26th ROOF signal? :lol: So you maintain Tovey realised the apocryphal threat was Churchill on May 31st but still thought Pound was responsible for a "criminally stupid" signal, simply so you can deny Tovey's misremembering when writing to Bellairs in 1950?

As has been pointed out to me, there is no mention of the phone call in the 31st letter. Quite surprising really :shock:
We have up to now 2 letters (1950 and 1961) speaking about the phone call with Pound
consistency in correctly remembering
These are two different things.

All the best

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:28 pm

Wadinga wrote: "So you maintain Tovey realised the apocryphal threat was Churchill on May 31st but still thought Pound was responsible for a "criminally stupid" signal, simply so you can deny Tovey's misremembering when writing to Bellairs in 1950?"
Hi Sean,
this is what is written in this letter (May 31, 1941) and in the 1950 letter to Bellairs...... It's not me to "maintain" it.... :negative:

Tovey always refers to the threat as clearly being a "political" interference, while he ONLY realized that the "shores of France" signal was from the PM too on 1950, when Churchill published his vol.3. Pound apparently took the responsibility on himself for the signal, when speaking to Tovey.


you wrote: "there is no mention of the phone call in the 31st letter"
and there is no mention of the May 28 letter in the phone call.... surprising ? Possibly, but not impossible.
In the first case, if the phone call was quite "heated", I can easily understand that he preferred not to mention its content again, answering just to what Pound had written.


Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:43 pm

Hello everybody,
as promised, here the text of the letter that Tovey wrote to Roskill in 1954 about the "shores of France" signal. As the letter is almost entirely related to this topic, giving several details on the situation when the signal was received, on his intention to disobey the signal and on his reluctance to make this episode public, I post its full text.

As usual in () the words I could not interpret with 100% certainty in Tovey handwritten letter + my interpretation. Luckily Tovey has an overall VERY intelligible calligraphy....
Tovey_Roskill_20-11-1954.jpg
Tovey_Roskill_20-11-1954.jpg (110.23 KiB) Viewed 2743 times
Bye, Alberto
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Re: The KGV and Adm fuel signals on May 26 and 27.

Post by wadinga » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:35 pm

Hello Alberto,

Please accept my very genuine appreciation of your making this material available. It makes Tovey's depth of feeling in 1954 very clear about the "Shores of France" signal. It makes it clear that he estimated obeying such an order could only lead to the destruction of KG V with very little chance, if any, of inflicting damage at all to Bismarck.

Will his statement that he would have disobeyed such an order, thus refusing potential combat add him to the "couple of cowards" already identified by your co-author? I do hope not.
I though D.P. had originated it.
This is my personal opinion, but the cordial tone of both Tovey's 30th and 31st letters belie this, both written to the originator of the "stupidest and most-ill considered signal ever sent". The second was a personal handwritten letter. There is also no indication of how or why Pound would have it expunged. As has been already observed when wrote to Bellairs about he forgot to say it was being expunged, just another embellishment added in the 3 years between the two writings.

All the best

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:48 pm

Hi Sean,
I was expecting you to be very defensive on this letter. I see that you cannot accept what is evident and really important in it.
  • 1) the "shores of France" signal was sent on May 26 evening: the situation is lucidly circumstantial in Tovey letter, giving precious info to correctly time the signal itself.
    2) Tovey claims he would have disobeyed the signal: we cannot know whether he would have actually done so, but, in this case, he was well aware of the consequences, had Bismarck reached St.Nazaire.
    3) The whole letter is so clear and precise that it's diffcult now to say that Tovey was "mis-remebering" anything.

The fact that Churchill wrote that the signal was sent on May 26, together with Tovey 1954 and 1961 letters constitute an overwhelming evidence that this signal was actually sent and actually "espunged", but I guess Pound could do it QUITE easily......



Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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

Post by wadinga » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:33 pm

Hello Alberto,

There is no need for me to be defensive about anything to do with this letter.

As we have established "one witness is not a witness" so the information contained in it should be confirmed against independent information.

Why would Tovey be surprised there were "no remarks" about a signal he claimed was expunged? Unless he informed Roskill of its existence previously, say about the time he was talking to Bellairs, how would Roskill find any record of it? Obviously Tovey had no confidence in the expunging being successful for the reasons already discussed.

Having believed from 26th May 1941 until he read Churchill's third volume in 1950 that it was his First Sea Lord that originated the "stupidest and most ill considered signal ever made" it is astonishing it is mentioned in neither the 30th or 31st letters to Pound written by Tovey. The phrase :
The one thing I value above all is the confidence of my subordinate commanders, and I think you will agree that it was this confidence of officers in TLs and their CinC that was largely responsible for their magnificent work in this operation.
is quite stunning when Tovey apparently had so little confidence in Pound's own judgement and instructions. (31st letter)

On the other hand if he had just muddled up the 11:37B message and thus invented many years later a circumstance in which Pound had given him a direct order of such "criminal stupidity" it would explain why his confidence in Pound was apparently undiminished in 1941.
I would even recommend publishing my tribute, so unpopular in political circles,
Tovey obviously identified another example of political (Churchillian) intereference, and recommended Pound ignore it.

Have you surveyed ROSK 4/30, 4/17, 4/18 and 11/9? I note Roskill's correspondence file for correspondents including To..... remains closed until 2058. :D A long wait to see everything written to him perhaps.

All the best

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:54 pm

Wadinga wrote: "one witness is not a witness"
Hi Sean,
you forget Churchill (second witness).... :wink:


you wrote: "Why would Tovey be surprised there were "no remarks" about a signal he claimed was expunged? Unless he informed Roskill of its existence previously"
Probably he informed Roskill during his visits to him between 1950 and 1954, however please don't mix what is in an official repository, (e.g. a signal log, that can be easily "censored") with what everybody in the high levels of the RN is aware of, even if there is no written reference of it......



The 1954 letter regarding the "Shores of France" signal leaves no doubts: either Tovey was a very sophisticated liar, able to build a story with a complete background and lucid circumstantial description, or he is .... simply right !
I see option 2 (Tovey misled by Churchill and by the "Bay of Biscay" forecasts) very weak after reading this letter.


you wrote: "Have you surveyed ROSK 4/30, 4/17, 4/18 and 11/9? I note Roskill's correspondence file for correspondents including To..... remains closed until 2058."
I have, unfortunately.... as well as I have looked for DUPO entry to discover that.... "Pound's own papers were destroyed (by burning), shortly after World War Two, by his fellow admirals Cunningham and Geoffrey Blake." :(



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 wadinga » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:07 pm

Hello Alberto,

Previously I have posted on the muddled chronology of Churchill's account. As a witness statement it is valueless:
Churchill has described the successful Ark Royal attack and goes on to describe Vian's torpedo attacks in the early hours of the 27th long before he talks of the signal. Then only after this he describes his movements, arriving at the War Room and talking to Bruce Fraser. He says he was there for four hours. Then he quotes Lutjens' final message concluding "Long live the Fuehrer!" and even the despatch of German bombers which happens on the 27th and U-boats to the rescue and includes the toothless U-556's encounter with Ark Royal many hours before the successful T/B attack. Then he retrospectively refers to Tovey's message planning the abandonment of the chase at midnight and then at last gets around to his intervention and the supposed signal.
Nowhere is the signature phrase "Shores of France" mentioned. The towing home element is present in the real 11:37B as well as the apocryphal signal. Many things Churchill "suggested" were not acted upon.

And lastly, Winston's alcohol consumption at evening dinner was notorious, suggestions that appear sensible to those who have taken drink are ignored by those who are sober. Alcohol can affect memory too you know :D

He is not a witness to "Shores of France" on the 26th and his ambiguous writings can refer accurately to the 11:37B.
a signal log, that can be easily "censored"
We have already discussed the difficulty/impossibility of doing this. We have not identified a motive.
either Tovey was a very sophisticated liar
I have seen no indication that anyone in this affair was a liar. The nearest thing to manipulation of the truth is Roskill with his deliberately imprecise description of the signal in Churchill and the Admirals. Motivated as he is to highlight every malevolent intervention of the Great Man/Monster, even he cannot ignore probity and owns up in the footnote 36 that the signal is actually 11:37B/27 and not the imaginary signal misremembered by Tovey nine years after the event and about which he pestered for another decade.

The above statement about veracity is true except for Pound and Alexander, who pretended to Churchill that an investigation of certain aspects had taken place when there is little indication of any analysis other than the Hood Boards of Inquiry which were not concerned with tactical matters. Since Churchill's diletantte interference in matters of naval detail were uninformed, unrealistic and unwelcome this is not surprising. As both PM and Minister of Defence he had more important matters he should be thinking about.

Pound's "own papers" may refer to private correspondence, but in his role as First Sea Lord, the idea that professional matters of record were dispensed with in this summary way is incorrect. We have access to plenty of material. Brodhurst records Cunningham and Blake's pyromania causing the "fury of subsequent historians" but still manages to complete a comprehensive biography without uncovering skulduggery, such as a Conspiracy Theorist might allege. Theorists who always allege that lack of supporting evidence for their suppositions means it must have been destroyed.

From the May 27th Hansard record of Parliamentary proceedings the following- Winston addresses the House:
Mr. Lees-Smith May I ask the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make on the course of the war?
§
The Prime Minister Yes, Sir. The battle in Crete has now lasted for a week. During the whole of this time our troops have been subjected to an intense and continuous scale of air attack, to which, owing to the geographical conditions, our Air Forces have been able to make only a very limited, though very gallant, counterblast. The fighting has been most bitter and severe, and the enemy's losses up to the present have been much heavier than ours. We have not, however, been able to prevent further descents of airborne German reinforcements, and the enemy's attack and the weight of this attack has grown from day to day. The battle has swayed backwards and forwards with indescribable fury at Canea and equally fiercely, though on a smaller scale, at Retimo and Heraklion. Reinforcements of men and supplies have reached and are reaching General Freyberg's Forces, and at the moment at which I am speaking the issue of their magnificent resistance hangs in the balance............... however, that we have lost the cruisers "Gloucester" and "Fiji" and the destroyers "Juno," "Greyhound," "Kelly" and "Kashmir," by far the greater part of their crews having been saved. Two battleships and several other cruisers have been damaged, though not seriously, either by hits or near misses, but all will soon be in action again, and some are already at sea..................
Etc Etc Etc Bad news from Crete takes priority over Bismarck.

...........This morning, at daylight or shortly after daylight, the "Bismarck" was attacked by the British pursuing battleships. I do not know what were the results of the bombardment; it appears, however, that the "Bismarck" was not sunk by gunfire, and she will now be dispatched by torpedo. It is thought that this is now proceeding, and it is also thought that there cannot be any lengthy delay in disposing of this vessel................

Mr. Garro Jones May I ask the Prime Minister whether he can say what was the weight of the projectiles which were thrown on the "Bismark" prior to the abandonment of the gun attack for torpedo attacks?
§
The Prime Minister I naturally cannot. I only heard about five minutes before I came into the Chamber the latest information to reach the Admiralty, and, as I have said, I have no doubt we shall get further information in the course of the day.
§
Mr. Woodburn Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the dropping of weeping gas bombs on the "Bismarck" to see whether she could not be captured?
So Winston was aware that Tovey's guns had failed to sink Bismarck, before he started speaking on the morning of the 27th, and undoubtedly pestered Pound with the "tow home" twaddle he had thought up the previous night, resulting in the 11:37B actually being sent. Pressured by the PM moments before he was to address the House of Commons with unrelentingly bad news from Crete, Pound is instructed to send a "fairly stupid" signal to Tovey.

All the best

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:43 pm

Wadinga wrote: "Winston's alcohol consumption at evening dinner was notorious"
Hi Sean,
why, when in clear difficulties, D,S & Co always revert to accuse W.C to have been an alcoholic, Tovey to have become a demented, Pound to have been lunatic due to his brain tumor and Ellis to have become a poor old sailor, forgetting things ? :stop:

What is really strange is that, after all the above low insinuations, they feel offended by the accusation of cowardice against three officers who actually withdrew from the enemy or avoided to engage the same enemy, even when "suggested" to do so ? :think:


you wrote: "and his ambiguous writings can refer accurately to the 11:37B"
No they can only according to your redacted summary. :negative:
In the original book that (albeit not always precise) must be taken into account and that you avoid carefully to mention (preferring your own "resume"), the former P.M. clearly mentions the May 26 signal as related to the shortage of fuel signal received from Tovey:
Churchill_book_3_page_282.jpg
Churchill_book_3_page_282.jpg (88.92 KiB) Viewed 2650 times
This is perfectly in sync with Tovey 1954 letter:
Tovey_Roskill_20-11-1954_extract.jpg
Tovey_Roskill_20-11-1954_extract.jpg (117.63 KiB) Viewed 2650 times



All the rest of your verbose post is repetition of already discussed aspects and is your own interpretation of what was in the mind of the P.M., of the 1st Sea lord, of Alexander, of Roskill..... and is anyway posted in the WRONG thread (+ contains insinuations on a "conspiracy theory" when I was just answering your direct question on ROSK files adding the unfortunate DUPO file description...... :negative: ).



Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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

Post by dunmunro » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:13 pm

Churchill made a mistake in his 1950 history as to when the infamous ROOF signal was made. Tovey admittedly reads the book and immediately he assumes that the signal was sent on 26 May instead of 1137/27 May.

Tovey begins speaking and letter writing about this mistaken timing, which in turn is based upon Churchill's published mistake and so a single mistake becomes widely propagated and is not able to be corrected until the Admiralty War Diary is declassified.

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

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:04 pm

Dunmunro wrote: "....a single mistake becomes widely propagated and is not able to be corrected until the Admiralty War Diary is declassified."
Hi Duncan,
what should the Admiralty War Diary demonstrate ?


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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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

Post by dunmunro » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:12 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Dunmunro wrote: "....a single mistake becomes widely propagated and is not able to be corrected until the Admiralty War Diary is declassified."
Hi Duncan,
what should the Admiralty War Diary demonstrate ?


Bye, Alberto
It demonstrates that the ROOF message was sent at 1137/27.

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