The Catastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

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The Catastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by aurora » Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:26 pm

The Controversial Loss of HMS Glorious 8 June `1940
Posted on: 1/8/2019 2:16:31 AM
The Navy's official historian, Captain Stephen Roskill, who in 1980 finally lifted the lid on the controversy in an explosive article for the Sunday Times. '

The Cantankerous Captain of HMS Glorious' drew upon testimony from Captain J.B. Heath, Glorious' senior aviator, who had missed the sinkings due to having been put ashore before she sailed for the final time. Roskill painted a picture of a desperately unhappy ship run by a captain whose First World War legend disguised incompetence, tyranny and questionable mental stability, who had put Heath ashore when the latter could not comply with impossible orders.

So choleric was D'Oyly-Hughes, asserted Roskill, the sole reason his ship was racing home independently, completely unready for combat, was in order to bring forward a court martial against his former air command officer.
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Re: The C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:42 am

Cannot comment about the psychology of D'Oyly-Hughes. But, from what I can glean from the internet regarding his service background and qualifications (submarines in WW1, learned to fly post-war but had no apparent experience or training in carrier operations) he certainly seems to have been a questionable choice for that command and played his tactical hand very badly.

1500 probably needless deaths .....

B

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Re: The C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:49 am

Hello everybody,

surely D'Oyly-Hughes was not an easy guy and his ship was not a "happy ship", as several officers confirmed.

At Churchill Archives there is a letter of Adm.A.S.Bolt where he wrote to S.Roskill (file Roskill 4/77):
"D'Oyly Hughes was a throwback to the worst kind of arrogant, authoritarian and choleric Edwardian naval officer.... a very vain man and would not admit his ignorance of air matters and tried to enforce his view by bulling and bluster"


However Adm. R.Keyes said that he was a "splendid fellow and a scapegoat" (J.Levy "The inglorious end of the Glorious: the release of the findings of the board of enquiry into the loss of HMS Glorious") and Adm. Dumbar-Smith and Drax thought very well of him and his "offensive spirit" (H.Plevy "Norway 1940" pag.311).
Also I find his decision to take a pilot's license after his appointment to the carrier very good and demonstrating his "dedication".


A very controversial officer, I guess, whose character is fully in line with the decision to come back to Scapa (even taking risks) in order to "punish" Heath.

I would like to know more about the "case" with his air arm commander (Heath) and the exact circumstances that caused the refusal of Heath to obey D'Oyly-Hughes' orders causing the Court Martial (that was not celebrated after Glorious sinking)... Was the mission really suicidal and Heath refusal fully justified ? (let's not forget that the request of the mission came from Lord Cork, it was not an idea of D'Oyly-Hughes)


I find this documentary quite well done, with many evidences, complete and quite balanced however: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yAahSUiXt4 and once more I would spend a word to underline the profound injustice of not having conceded the "Victoria Cross" to Barker and Glasfurd for their heroic sacrifice, recognized by Germans on board SH and GU too.


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 C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by aurora » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:15 pm

,The captain of HMS Glorious, Guy D’Oyly Hughes, had ordered Air Commander J.B. Heath to attack certain enemy shore positions in Norway. Heath refused on the basis that the targets were ill-defined and that his aircraft were not suitable for the mission. D’Oyly Hughes did not take this well. Once at Scapa Flow, Heath was placed under house arrest awaiting a court martial on the return of HMS Glorious from its next mission in Norway.

HMS Glorious was a frequent visitor to Malta.
HMS Glorious was a frequent visitor to Malta.
HMS Glorious formed part of one of two convoys heading out of Norway. Vice Admiral aircraft carriers Sir Lionel Victor ‘Nutty’ Wells was on HMS Ark Royal which together with HMS Glorious formed part of one convoy. The Norwegian royal family and members of parliament had been transferred onto HMS Devonshire along with Norwegian gold, sailing separately towards Scapa Flow.

In the early hours of June 8, HMS Glorious asked for permission from Wells to proceed independently to Scapa Flow, citing lack of fuel as the reason for the request. Permission was granted and HMS Glorious and its two escorts, HMS Ardent and HMS Acasta, parted from the convoy.

HMS Glorious was not flying any air cover as is usually done by an aircraft carrier to give it visibility cover for miles around. Nor did it have personnel in the crow’s nest of the ship even though it was a clear and calm day.

These factors proved to be the undoing of all three ships later in the day.
Quo Fata Vocant-Whither the Fates call

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Re: The C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:58 pm

Hi Jim,
no doubt D'Oyly-Hughes had not taken all precautions while sailing back "alone" to Scapa. Also it's strange he kept his South-Westerly course until 17:36 (CET time), more than half an hour after suspicious ships had been sighted by Glorious lookouts and more than 20 minutes after her "enemy in sight". Such a waste of time was catastrophic and allowed the Germans (very cautious at the beginning after the sighting at 16:46) to close range and to hit Glorious. Glorious should have immediately turned East sending Ardent to check the identity of the ships.

What is really interesting is the story about the real reason (not linked to fuel) why parted company. At minute 15:30 of the documentary I have posted above (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yAahSUiXt4) there is this:

HMS Diana_message.jpg
HMS Diana_message.jpg (43.54 KiB) Viewed 3481 times

That's why I was curious to better understand the details of the "insubordination" to see whether at least D'Oyly-Hughes had any solid reasons for being so keen to attend the Court Martial against Heath, disastrously accelerating the voyage back of HMS Glorious.
I have been unable up to now to find any further detail, except the mission had been requested by Lord Cork (who could have been unaware of the characteristic of Glorious planes), it was a bombing mission on shore enemy positions, at the limit of the autonomy of the Swordfishes, in an area where the Luftwaffe was dominating the air (also due to the fact that allies were retreating their planes).
As the Court Martial was not held after Glorious sinking, I think the only way would be to find the "circumstantial letter" written by D'Oyly-Hughes and I also wonder if there is any other account of the "hot discussion" between the Captain and his Air Arm Officer.


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 C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:34 pm

Hello everybody,

many years ago I have been asked by the GLARAC Association and by the Capt Barker ( HMS Ardent ) son to reconstruct the event.

http://www.glarac.co.uk/

I did it, ... on the autumn of the year 2003, ... for another website that after my work was posted, ... and my leaving that website forum forever on 2005, ... removed my name as the author of that reconstruction work ( while you can still find my name on the maps ) :

Here it is :

http://www.scharnhorst-class.dk/scharnh ... njuno.html

One of the many initiatives by that person to take over somebody else researched and published work.

Obviously I fully agree with Stephen Roskill also in this case.

If someone is interested, ... we are currently publishing this story I reconstructed in italian for the Storia Militare magazine, ... just during this and next month.

The current article in italian is written and published in such a way, ... to provide the event knowledge and the honor for their battle conduct to the 2 destroyers HMS Ardent and HMS Acasta commanders.

They fully deserve it together with their heroic crew.

Bye Antonio
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 C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by aurora » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:26 pm

Thank you for your interest and replies Antonio

Seventy-nine years after the worst Royal Navy tragedy at that time, relatives of the 1,531 men who perished are still asking the same questions asked in 1940: Why did they die? Why did no one pick them up from the freezing Norwegian waters for three whole days? Had they been sacrificed so that the two convoys, and HMS Devonshire, could get home safely?

In 2000 in the House of Commons, a parliamentary question put by Labour MP Tam Dalyell regarding the Glorious incident was answered by MP Peter Kilfoyle, who said that, “after exhaustive research”, new evidence had come to light: HMS Glorious had been asked to leave the safety of the convoy by the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet and proceed to Scapa Flow to conduct Heath’s court marshal.

I am a little perplexed and confused by this answer. For 60 years, up to 2000, these relatives had been told that after all the evidence had been evaluated and exhaustive research conducted, the only valid reason for HMS Glorious to leave the convoy was lack of fuel. Now they are told differently.

Relatives of the 1,531 men who perished are still asking the same questions asked in 1940

What does not make sense is that throughout the previous 60 years of exhaustive research no one found out that it was the C-in-C Home Fleet who had given the order which ultimately sent the 1,531 men to their death. The C-in-C is no ordinary Joe and surely someone must have known if this was indeed the case.

Wells was credited with giving HMS Glorious permission to leave the convoy and this was considered to be a very bad decision for him to make. He paid the price because he was never given another important role during the war. Did he take the blame for someone else? If so, one is obliged to ask why and for whom? Why did the C-in-C Home Fleet not come forward and say it was his decision and that Wells had nothing to do with it?

In 2008, the Glarac Association donated a plaque to the Maltese in honour of the Maltese ratings who lost their lives on board HMS Glorious. The association is a non-profitable organisation made up of relatives of the men lost on the three ships Glorious, Ardent and Acasta. This gesture was made because of the enduring bond between the relatives of men serving on the three ships and the Maltese. This plaque is proudly displayed at the Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa.

Local relatives hope that the Maltese government will take up their fight and help them give a proper and dignified burial to their ancestors, who went on a mission, did their duty and, like so many before and after them, paid the price with their lives for our safety and freedom.

The relatives of these men do not want monetary retribution. All they really want is a truthful burial and a rightful place in the history books. It is hard for the relatives to accept the answers given by the Ministry of Defence after the treatment they have had for the past 75 years.

Maybe there is also a kind of conspiracy, giving them a merry-go-round of answers that lead to nowhere until the 100-year Secrecy Act slapped on this tragedy in 1940 elapses.

Enough time has passed and the 1,531 men and their sacrifice should be remembered, and it is incumbent upon us to seek answers to this unfortunate tragedy. They gave up their tomorrow so that we could have our today. We shall remember them. May they rest in peace.

Every year, relatives of the Maltese seamen who died on board HMS Glorious as well as other Glarac members from the UK attend a memorial service at the Maritime Museum, Vittoriosa. This year, the service at the museum will be held on March 15. For more information call the author on 7983 5319 or e-mail salvuazz@hotmail.com.
Quo Fata Vocant-Whither the Fates call

Jim

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Re: The C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:55 pm

Hi Jim,
the "order" of the CinC HF to sail back to Scapa to allow the Court Martial to be held is dated June 6, 1940, AFAIK.

Therefore, even if I don't have the text of the message (does anybody have it ?), it looks like it was not an executive order to part company and to get back immediately.
It was just instructing Glorious to go back to Scapa instead of sailing directly to Plymouth, where a license had to be granted to the crew.

In fact, Glorious remained in Norway until June 8 early morning (she left Ark Royal at around 4 AM), therefore I think she could have stayed in Norway few hours more, sailing with the convoy that was planned for the same June 8.


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 C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:25 am

Hi Jim,
my mistake above: looking into my books I found the excellent H.Plevy "Norway", pag.322 that speaks about the CinC HF "order" to Glorious.
This message was sent on June 6 to the Admiralty (not to Glorious) and it was the answer to the request of June 5 from the Admiralty to CinC HF (both message are in the CinC HF War Diary at PRO):

Admiralty to CinC HF (June 5, 09:43): " Glorious on completion of present duty to proceed to Devenport and give 7 days license to each watch..."

CinC HF to Admiralty (June 6): "...Concur to A.T.0943, but Glorious must first proceed to Scapa to enable a court martial to be held"

What we miss are the messages sent by CinC HF to Wells and to Glorious, in order to judge whether D'Oyly-Hughes just obeyed to an executive order, or, knowing the court martial was ready to be held, he accelerated the return due to his "impatience" to punish Heath.
The text of the message intercepted by Diana (viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8494&p=82063#p82051) seems to point to the second scenario, as it does NOT say "Request permission to part company according to orders received", it says "Request permission to part company to make preparations for impending court martial" instead...


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 C atastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by aurora » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:10 am

Good Morning Alberto-just a thumbnail sketch of D;Oyly Hughes

In June 1939, as a captain, he was given command of the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious. D'Oyly-Hughes had learned to fly and continually rejected the advice of the ship's professional aviators, according to Winton.[2] Returning to Britain from the Norwegian Campaign on 8 June 1940, Glorious and her destroyer escort of HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent were surprised and caught by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Norwegian Sea. All three British ships were sunk with the loss of at least 1,533 lives. D'Oyly-Hughes went down with his ship.

Glorious had been sighted in conditions of maximum visibility, a condition in which an aircraft carrier would normally have one or more aircraft out on a Combat Air Patrol. Glorious had no such patrol, and was unable to reach maximum speed before coming in range of the enemy's 11-inch guns. Winton describes D'Oyly-Hughes' lack of belief in the effectiveness of air patrols and the questions raised by numerous commentators, including eyewitnesses from Glorious and Scharnhorst,[3] about the captain's judgement in this and other matters
Quo Fata Vocant-Whither the Fates call

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Re: The Catastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:12 am

Hello everybody,

if someone is interested on read and have more here 2 magazines ( in Italian ) about it :
Glorious_February_March_SM_magazine_covers.jpg
Glorious_February_March_SM_magazine_covers.jpg (90.08 KiB) Viewed 2187 times
Bye Antonio
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 Catastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:26 am

Hello everybody,

Title: "The sinking of HMS Glorious"
Subtitle: "The loss of of the British carrier and the heroic end of his destroyers escort"

Glorious_Subtitle.JPG
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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 Catastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by wadinga » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:36 pm

Hello All,

D'Oyly-Hughes undoubtedly exploited the confused command hierarchy for his own motives. Nominally a Home Fleet ship and thus under C in C HF Forbes' command, Glorious like Ark Royal was being seconded to Lord Cork and Orrery (Ginger Boyle) as C in C invasion Narvik. Presumably he was also commanding the evacuation process, and should have been aware and given approval if his allocated escorts were disappearing off to Scapa for their own purposes. Was Glorious under Forbes' or Cork's control when the mercurial D'Oyly-Hughes decided to prosecute his campaign in Court Martial?

It is clear that no-one at the Admiralty realised that S & G were operational and that these German surface ships were a threat off Norway. Glorious had made a completely unescorted run to Norway previously. Theatre-specific accounts, confined to a mental box, fail to take into account what was happening simultaneously at the Admiralty. Just as the battle for and evacuation of Crete diverted attention away from the Bismarck Chase and vice versa, so the process between final withdrawal from Dunkirk and later the Brittany ports including the sinking of the Lancastria happened at the same time as the Norway withdrawal.

Wells obviously assumed permission to return early had been given by one of the two C-in-Cs, but surely the forces allocated to Cork should have remained together under his command, until the troop convoy with thousands of men aboard was safely in UK waters. As soon as Glorious left Norwegian waters a "holiday atmosphere" seems to have descended with weapons being stowed away and no defensive measures at all undertaken. This is directly D'Oyly-Hughes' fault, and cannot be assigned elsewhere.

The blame game against Admiral John Cunningham is unwarranted. Muddled transmissions were made from Glorious on unusual frequencies far too late, actions stations having being called only when enemy fire commenced. Shortly afterwards the radio facilities were destroyed before any clear information about the carrier's plight were transmitted. Whatever the precise wording of the messages received were in Devonshire, they do not seem to have been clear that Glorious was actually under fire, and initial reports of "2 P/B", could have referred to aircraft sightings, remote from the vessel herself, and were not confirmed. B-Dienst operators in Gneisenau were actively jamming transmissions from Glorious. Devonshire had over 450 supernumeraries aboard, and was under strict orders to return to the UK at high speed, whilst maintaining radio silence and however much Cunningham might have wanted to investigate, his primary mission could not be jeopardised. Geir Haarr's excellent "The Battle for Norway" covers the matter in detail, and his summary of the difficulties facing Cunningham, firstly at the time with so little information available, and later once the ghastly details became clear, is mature and thoughtful.

Haarr, a Norwegian writes:
The disappointment is that the British Navy and Ministry of Defence remain in denial to this day about the precise details of the event, rather than putting the case forward as an example of the challenges that may face senior officers at times of war- and that they need to be prepared for.
D'Oyly-Hughes' gung-ho "attack at all costs" devil-take-the -hindmost attitude had served him well in submarines in World War One, but was hardly suitable for the commander of a major warship, who must consider the future value of the major asset under his command, not to mention over a thousand lives. His aggressiveness and personal bravery would have been assuaged in a much smaller unit, and his frustrations would not have been taken out on officers making responsible decisions, with which he did not agree. He should have been kept in destroyers or similar.

Ardent and Acasta's commanders were nominated for VCs by the Admiral Commanding Destroyers according to Haarr, but lack of evidence as to what had actually occurred, and an understandable desire not to highlight the disaster, and the personal and organisational shortcomings that had led to it, in time of continuing crisis led to them only being awarded Posthumous Mention in Despatches in mid 1940.

The exposure of any injustices intrinsic in the Glorious' story in the darkest Days of 1940 when Britain stared invasion and imminent defeat in the face, should not be used as a lever for inventing stories of extensive cover-ups a year or more later.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The Catastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:52 pm

Hello everybody,

I agree with almost everything Mr.Wadinga writes regarding the dramatic events that ended with HMS Glorious sinking.

Just regarding radio transmissions, it looks like Glorious transmitted the first enemy in sight at 17:15 (17 minutes before Germans opened fire against the carrier), correcting the wrong 2PB identification with the correct 2BC (battlecruisers) identification at 17:20 (when the ship went to action stations), still before fire was opened. At that time, Devonshire was at less than 30 sm from the twins (and 50 sm from Glorious), but even inverting course immediately, she would have been probably too late to save Glorious, had the Germans decided not to run away.
The frequencies were both 253 kHz and 8.29 MHz, thus the high frequency was different from the agreed Narvik area frequency (3,7 MHz), for unknown reasons (the 8,29 MHz should have been used only when more south) while the mid frequency had been abandoned by Narvik area ships (due to interferences) without Glorious being aware of this change. The messages were however both received (according to the operators of Devonshire) in a clear and understandable way and the correct position of Glorious was even plotted on the cruiser bridge. The 17:20 message was received in both the main and secondary wireless office on board Devonshire.
Glorious message was repeated continuously until at least 17:52 on the 8,29 Mhz (heard by Gneisenau B-Dienst operators) and until 18:20 on the mid frequency wave (253KHz, the fleet wave).



I do agree that Adm. J.Cunningham has not to be blamed in any way: he had clear orders and anyway the survival of the passengers and the Norwegian gold were objectively reasons enough to determine his decision to continue to Britain without helping the Glorious (I doubt anyway that a heavy cruiser would have posed a severe threat to the twins anyway, had they decided to continue the action). The radio silence he observed was however the cause of the late rescue of the (by then) few survivors. An officer of his staff said that the decision to continue "ignoring" Glorious messages weighted immensely on the Admiral, as logical.



Where I disagree with the above post is that the reasons for not recognizing the VC to Barker and Glasfurd and to admit the real reasons and circumstances for which Glorious got back in advance and for which Devonshire ignored her help request are in some way understandable in 1940 but they are totally incomprehensible and unjustifiable nowadays, when still the GLARAC association is demanding that one of the most splendid examples of seamanship, abnegation and courage against so superior forces, ending in the direct damages of Scharnhorst (and being the cause of the following damages for Gneisenau, costing 6 months out of service for the most powerful German units) should be recognized.

The due "revision" of historical events is a very hard and difficult process, not only in this specific case.


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 Catastrophic Sinking of HMS Glorious in 1940

Post by HMSVF » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:34 pm

wadinga wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:36 pm
Hello All,

D'Oyly-Hughes undoubtedly exploited the confused command hierarchy for his own motives. Nominally a Home Fleet ship and thus under C in C HF Forbes' command, Glorious like Ark Royal was being seconded to Lord Cork and Orrery (Ginger Boyle) as C in C invasion Narvik. Presumably he was also commanding the evacuation process, and should have been aware and given approval if his allocated escorts were disappearing off to Scapa for their own purposes. Was Glorious under Forbes' or Cork's control when the mercurial D'Oyly-Hughes decided to prosecute his campaign in Court Martial?

It is clear that no-one at the Admiralty realised that S & G were operational and that these German surface ships were a threat off Norway. Glorious had made a completely unescorted run to Norway previously. Theatre-specific accounts, confined to a mental box, fail to take into account what was happening simultaneously at the Admiralty. Just as the battle for and evacuation of Crete diverted attention away from the Bismarck Chase and vice versa, so the process between final withdrawal from Dunkirk and later the Brittany ports including the sinking of the Lancastria happened at the same time as the Norway withdrawal.

Wells obviously assumed permission to return early had been given by one of the two C-in-Cs, but surely the forces allocated to Cork should have remained together under his command, until the troop convoy with thousands of men aboard was safely in UK waters. As soon as Glorious left Norwegian waters a "holiday atmosphere" seems to have descended with weapons being stowed away and no defensive measures at all undertaken. This is directly D'Oyly-Hughes' fault, and cannot be assigned elsewhere.

The blame game against Admiral John Cunningham is unwarranted. Muddled transmissions were made from Glorious on unusual frequencies far too late, actions stations having being called only when enemy fire commenced. Shortly afterwards the radio facilities were destroyed before any clear information about the carrier's plight were transmitted. Whatever the precise wording of the messages received were in Devonshire, they do not seem to have been clear that Glorious was actually under fire, and initial reports of "2 P/B", could have referred to aircraft sightings, remote from the vessel herself, and were not confirmed. B-Dienst operators in Gneisenau were actively jamming transmissions from Glorious. Devonshire had over 450 supernumeraries aboard, and was under strict orders to return to the UK at high speed, whilst maintaining radio silence and however much Cunningham might have wanted to investigate, his primary mission could not be jeopardised. Geir Haarr's excellent "The Battle for Norway" covers the matter in detail, and his summary of the difficulties facing Cunningham, firstly at the time with so little information available, and later once the ghastly details became clear, is mature and thoughtful.

Haarr, a Norwegian writes:
The disappointment is that the British Navy and Ministry of Defence remain in denial to this day about the precise details of the event, rather than putting the case forward as an example of the challenges that may face senior officers at times of war- and that they need to be prepared for.
D'Oyly-Hughes' gung-ho "attack at all costs" devil-take-the -hindmost attitude had served him well in submarines in World War One, but was hardly suitable for the commander of a major warship, who must consider the future value of the major asset under his command, not to mention over a thousand lives. His aggressiveness and personal bravery would have been assuaged in a much smaller unit, and his frustrations would not have been taken out on officers making responsible decisions, with which he did not agree. He should have been kept in destroyers or similar.

Ardent and Acasta's commanders were nominated for VCs by the Admiral Commanding Destroyers according to Haarr, but lack of evidence as to what had actually occurred, and an understandable desire not to highlight the disaster, and the personal and organisational shortcomings that had led to it, in time of continuing crisis led to them only being awarded Posthumous Mention in Despatches in mid 1940.

The exposure of any injustices intrinsic in the Glorious' story in the darkest Days of 1940 when Britain stared invasion and imminent defeat in the face, should not be used as a lever for inventing stories of extensive cover-ups a year or more later.

All the best

wadinga

Hi Wadinga,

Im sure you've seen the excellent documentary in regards to HMS Glorious that Channel 4 undertook back in the early 90's. Of interest was that HMS Devonshire undertook 2 actions that raise suspicion. The first was an order to make full speed and the second was exercise main armament. The wireless operator on board Devonshire was adamant that a message was received. IMHO that explains the above actions. That the signal books were destroyed also (IMHO) makes a mockery of the claim that no message was received. Cunningham could have done nothing apart from swell the casualty list on the British side.

The controversy and possible reason for the 100 year rule being so stringently applied is more than likely that

i) D'Oyly-Hughes was allowed to take Glorious to sail to Scapa to settle a grudge

ii) He completely cocked up Glorious's defence (no standing patrol, nobody on look out)

iii) Devonshire did know what occurred but maintained radio silence which effectively sealed the fate of up to a thousand sailors, officers and aircrew.




To me the 3rd is most likely reason we will have to wait till 2040 to read the files.


Best wishes


HMSVF

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