Report of Bomb Attack on HMS Glasgow 1940
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Shell hole on the Signal Deck of Glasgow
Bombing 9th April 1940 on HMS GLASGOW
Transcribed by Don Kindell
Subject: Bombing Attack on the 18th Cruiser Squadron on 9th April 1940 and Damage sustained by H.M.S. GLASGOW
From: THE COMMANDING OFFICER, H.M.S. GLASGOW
Date: 18th APRIL 1940 No. 0460/017
To: THE VICE ADMIRAL COMMANDING, EIGHTEEN CRUISER SQUADRON
The following report is submitted, departmental reports are being forwarded as enclosures.
2. Weather Conditions
Weather – blue sky with strong sun, cumulus cloud varying in density from 1/10 – 8/10 covered.
Sea – 3-4
Wind – NE force 5
3. Method of Attack
Between approximately 1430 and 1500, a number of dive bombing attacks were made by individual aircraft. At 1445, one such attack on H.M.S. GLASGOW delivered from the starboard quarter resulted in two very near misses port side. Gunfire was impeded by the fine angle of approach but the aircraft was engaged by close range weapons. Ship’s course 340 degrees – speed 17 knots.
4. Two bombs of 250 – 500 lbs. Weight were released at a height of about 1500 feet while still in the dive. It is considered probable that they fell about 15 feet from the ship’s side, one bursting on impact abreast 70 station and the other under water further forward.
5. State of ship at 1445
Hands were at Action Stations, all men not required for fighting the A.A. armament being off the upper deck. All ratings between decks were distributed as far as possible throughout the ship. The upward trend of the splinters again being demonstrated the value of men lying flat on the deck away from the ship’s side. Had this not been enforced casualties would have been greater.
6. Doors, hatches, and ventilation were in the action state.
7. Damage sustained
A large proportion of the bomb which burst on impact entered the ship three feet above the lower deck level, holding an area of approximately six feet by three feet; in addition further penetration of the ship’s side was caused by scattered splinters of varying size numbering about sixty. A further effect of the bomb was blast which blew in four dead lights, one of which coming inboard was responsible for the death of a rating. Considerable quantities of water entered with movement of the ship, and themessdecks between 53 – 74 stations were about one foot under water. Certain subsidiary flooding occurred and minor underwater damage further for’d was experienced, probably as a result of the other bomb.
8. ‘A’ turret was temporarily out of action (see Appendix III).
9. Details of the damage are given in the Appendices.
10. Action Repairs
A good deal of smoke and debris impeded a rapid examination of the area affected but at 1500 my Executive Officer was able to report that there was no considerable flooding and by 1515, it had been ascertained that the lower deck was intact and that there were only very minor leaks below it. Power had by this time been restored to ÒAÓ turret.
11. Until a more complete inspection of the structural damage could be made and the holes blocked to get flooding under control, a request was made that speed should not be increased except in case of emergency. The obvious damage in frames and plates made it doubtful at this time whether high speed could be possible even when shored.
12. By 1540, a complete inspection had been made and shoring was well under way. My signal times 1547 reported that the ship would be ready for service and high speeds in half an hour’s time. Shoring was completed and all important holes blocked by 1700.
13. Work was then started in building cofferdams of wood and cement round important hatches on the lower deck, such as lower steering position, to preserve access to them should the ship go further down by the bow due to further damage or the displacement of puddings. These were completed by 2230.
14. That evening, the ship was steamed at speeds up to 26 knots and the following day 30 knots was maintained for a considerable period.
15. Harbour repairs
On the following day, 10th April, the ship was ordered to Scapa and plates were prepared on passage to effecting more permanent repairs.
16. The ship anchored at 1905, but subsequently nearly two hours’ work were lost due to an air raid.
17. At midnight, the Base Engineer Officer and Mr. Mackenzie of Metal Industries estimated that good temporary repairs could be effected in forty eight hours. Twenty twohours later, the ship proceeded to sea and the repairs which were done entirely by the ship’s staff have stood up to a week of hard steaming.
I regret to report the following casualties
Eric William Sizer, Acting Leading Signalman, P/JX 138361
Arthur Gudger, Stoker 2nd Class, P/KX 97026
Royston Walter Burrows, Ordinary Signalman, P/SSX 23322 (since died)
Robert Nisbet Milligan, Able Seaman, P/JX 132375
Robert George Edwards, Able Seaman, P/JX 144393
Ivor Stuart Lockier, Signalman, P/JX 145592
David Cowper Pattie, Ordinary Signalman, P/SSX 25072
19. The wounded were transferred to H.M. Hospital Ship AMARAPOORA on arrival in harbour.
Detailed recommendations are included in the Appendices, but the following are most strongly urged:
(a). At least two tons of rapid hardening cement or alternatively one ton of Portland cement and one ton of ciment fondu should be carried in war time.
(b). A supply of tongued and grooved 9? by 3? deals should be carried for building cofferdams. (These could be made into mess tables to facilitate stowage).
(c). All water tight hatches situated on the lower deck which lead to important compartments below should have higher coamings where possible level to the deck head.
(d). Second Welding set. It is strongly recommended that a second single point welding set should be carried.
21. Bomb splinters have been forwarded to the Admiral Commanding, Orkneys and Shetlands, in accordance with Orkneys and Shetlands General Memorandum No. 249.
22. Copies of Appendices II and III are being forwarded under separate cover to the Director of Electrical Engineering, the Director of Naval Construction and the Captain,H.M.S. VERNON in accordance with C.A.F.O.@s 3376/39 and 2833/39.
Damage Control Organisation
23. The damage control organisation worked smoothly, and the work of the repair parties in bringing the ship back to full efficiency so rapidly is worth of high praise. The direct credit for this, under my Executive Officer, must go to Lieutenant (E) Horatio Peter Bowen Evans, Royal Navy, Damage Control Officer, and Mr. Albert Groves, Warrant Shipwright, Royal Navy.
24. The behaviour of all officers and ratings, both immediately after the damage occurred and during the subsequent repairs, was exemplary, and morale was quite unaffected during the subsequent attacks.
25. The energy, initiative and fine example shown by the following ratings is worthy of special mention:
Chief E.R.A. 2nd Class John Edward Milne, P/M 24939
Chief Stoker Percy John Bowen, P/K 66145
Chief Shipwright 2nd Class Gilbert Henry Robinson, P/M 15163
Stoker 1st Class Leslie Price, P/K 95358
26. The whole of this creditable state of affairs is basically due to the skilled organisation, cool leadership, and personality of my Executive Officer, Commander John Wilson Cuthbert, Royal Navy, whole name I should particularly like to bring to your notice.