Two captains on Rodney

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paul.mercer
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Two captains on Rodney

Post by paul.mercer » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:36 am

Gentlemen,
I believe that there was another RN Captain and taking passage' to the US on Rodney (I can't remember his name) when she got caught up in the pursuit of Bismarck. As he was one of the senior officers on board I would imagine he had some input during the battle, are there any records or personal diaries etc from him about it? Also, I believe there was a US Naval officer on board as well, did he write any memories of the occasion?

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wadinga
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Re: Two captains on Rodney

Post by wadinga » Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:36 pm

Hello Paul,

If you go to the Bismarck General Discussion page and put Wellings in the Search box you can find 56 references to Lieutenant-Commander Joseph Wellings USN. If you put Coppinger in for Captain Coppinger RN who was also aboard you will find one- from yourself dated 2017!

All the best

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

hans zurbriggen
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Re: Two captains on Rodney

Post by hans zurbriggen » Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:07 am

Hello Mr.Mercer, you can find Captain Coppinger remarks enclosed to Rodney report in Admiral Tovey official despatches on Bismarck operation (ADM 234-509) at page 122.
Also, you are right, there was another US Navy officer on board, J.H.Wellings, who wrote "On His Majesty's Service", covering also Bismarck operation.
hans

paul.mercer
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Re: Two captains on Rodney

Post by paul.mercer » Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:03 am

wadinga wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:36 pm
Hello Paul,

If you go to the Bismarck General Discussion page and put Wellings in the Search box you can find 56 references to Lieutenant-Commander Joseph Wellings USN. If you put Coppinger in for Captain Coppinger RN who was also aboard you will find one- from yourself dated 2017!

All the best

wadinga
Thanks Wadinga,
I'm afraid the old memory sticks are not as good as they used to be!

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wadinga
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Re: Two captains on Rodney

Post by wadinga » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:18 am

Fellow Contributors,

Coppinger's and Welling's thoughts are interesting, but it was another passenger in Rodney whose observations caused far more concern in 1941.

As has been previously suggested in other thread, the incautious public comments repeated in a BBC broadcast of an unnamed Army officer travelling in Rodney were the real problem. He had clearly criticized the Royal Navy's gunnery and its inability to sink Bismarck. He was undoubtedly ill-informed about the technical difficulties in the prevailing bad weather of firing from one moving object at another, the short ranges enhancing Bismarck's armoured defence etc. but his comments stung.

Churchill stood up in the House of Commons and said:
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.
Laymen were clearly stunned that Hood could be dispatched in five minutes but Bismarck withstood British gunfire for hours. The Prime Minister was questioned immediately with a pointed enquiry about this apparent disparity.
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.
Tovey was horrified that such implied criticism was allowed unchallenged and that invaluable intelligence was being handed to the Germans in public statements and subsequently strenuously complained to Pound. It would be valuable if the words of that army officer's comments could be found because they clearly caused a great deal of trouble for Pound and Tovey from their political masters.

All the best

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

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