AROUND AND ABOUT
WITH HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH
Battle Squadron at
sea consisting of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Barham and
Leave Scapa to hunt two German Battle Cruisers trying
to get back to Germany after operating in Atlantic, they
are the "Scharnhorst" and "Gneusea".
No sign of them on 18th or 19th. We are at present searching
at a point between Icesland and Greenland. 20th
signal from Admirality states HMS Ark Royal and
HMS Renown are on the trail of the enemy and are 160 miles
to the south of them. The position of the enemy is 900
miles south of us, us being QE and HMS Hood, we set our
speed to 20 knots and head south. The enemy are also steaming
at 20 knots north and are being shadowed by the "Arks"
planes. We should be in contact with enemy in less than
a day. 21st Disappointment. The enemy has eluded
us aided by bad visability. 23rd Enemy is reported
to be taking refuge in Brest. We leave it to the RAF.
We are back in dear old Scapa again.
HMS Queen Elizabeth
2rd Leave Scapa to pick up important convoy in
Halifax, Canada. Two thirds of the way over and alter
course to south as the Admiralty believes enemy ships
in Brest are going to make a break for Germany again.
Pick up HMS Repulse and proceed together toward a point
April 8th Repulse leaves
us and heads for Gib. 10th oil fuel running short.
We are at present making circles somewhere in South Atlantic
awaiting enemy movements. 11th Leave for nearest
port which is Gibraltar. 14th Arrive at the Rock,
re-fuel and re-ammunition. 15th Leave Gib for Freetown,
West Africa. 21st Arrive Freetown, helluva hot.
24th Leave Freetown. 30th Back in Gib again.
3rd Leave Gib for eastern Med, with HMS Ark Royal,
Repulse. Have five important transports with us. 5th
Are preparing for possible air attack as we are nearing
southern Sardinia and Scicily, well known danger area.
8th Pick up more warships sent to help us through
"Narrows", the narrows being a part where we
pass within five miles of enemy coast. Our force now cinsists
of HMS Ark Royal, Repulse, Barham, Warspite and Valiant,
our escort consists of about 20 Destroyers and Cruisers.
9th Are attacked by
eight torpedo carrying planes, most of the torpedos aimed
at the Ark, all miss. Later attacked by Bombers. We shoot
a couple down. Attacks go on all day. Same night, the
QE is singled out and attacked by one torpedo plane. Torpedo
misses the ships side of stern by a few feet. The Italian
news next claims a direct hit on us. Also claims to hit
the Ark, in fact later claims to have destroyed half of
our force. We had a good laugh while listening.
"Yours truly and some of the boys"
10th Looks like the
enemy dont want us to get through. The day starts
off with more determined attacks. During the second attack
the Ark and Repulse about turn and head back for Gib again.
We still making east on the night of the 10th. Plane drops
a mine on our course and with a bit of bad luck our biggest
transport smacks it. She takes about three or four hours
to go down.
11th The enemy have
packed up their attacks as we are now well past the foot
of Italy. Their attacks cost them 16 bombers. "Nice
14th Arrive at our destination
Alexandria, Egypt. 17th Are now patrolling
off Crete to ward off any attempt made by the enemy to
ship troops across to Crete where a very fierce battle
is in progress. Visited by dive bombers again. We dont
mind. Were used to it by now. Or are we? 24th
Back in Alex after being relieved by Warspite and Valiant
which are damaged by bombs later. The aircraft carrier
"Formidable" which was out with us at Crete
received a direct hit on the bows with a 1000 lb bomb.
In the same attack the destroyer "Nubian" is
hit astern. We, the QE, as usual escape damage.