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viii NAVY NEWS, NARVIK 70th ANNIVERSARY SUPPLEMENT APRIL 2010

h Continued from page vii

Warspite – despite the best efforts of the Germans. No single ship in the history of the Royal Navy earned more battle honours than ‘the grand old lady’. Reluctant to die to the bitter end, she ran aground when under tow to the breaker’s yard in 1947.

U64 never reached the scrapyard, either. Her wreck was raised in the late 1950s for breaking up. It sank under tow off the Norwegian coast.

No-one has tried to salvage the twisted, now orange-brown remains of the Georg Thiele. To this day, her bow protrudes from Rombaksfjord, resting against rocks at the water’s edge.

Other German wrecks around Narvik – the Wilhelm Heidkamp, Anton Schmitt, Hermann Künne, Diether von Roeder – are

l♦l

For nearly seven decades, one wreck at Narvik proved elusive. Warships plough these waters regularly – almost every year the Royal Navy can be found in Ofotfjord conducting winter exercises.

frogmen. Not so the remains of the Eidsvold, Norge and Hardy. All are off-limits to divers.

popular with

l Hunter’s ship’s badge, still clearly identifiable after seven decades below the water and (above right)

different. A sizeable amphibious force made for Narvik for Exercise Armatura Borealis. As the war games reached their climax, the Norwegian minehunter HNoMS sailed up and down Ofotfjord, searching for dummy mines.

fruitless – until her echo sounder picked up the hull of a sunken vessel on the bed of fjord, nearly 1,000ft below, and she sent down her robot

For 14 hours, that search was The late winter of 2008 was no

mini submarine to investigate. The pictures it beamed were crystal-clear

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Written by Richard Hargreaves. Maps by Andy Brady. With thanks to the staff of the Naval Historical Branch, Portsmouth, the Imperial War Museum, London, and Ken Batchelor of the HMS Cossack Association. In addition, the following books and internet sources have been used:

Ballantyne, Iain, The Warspite

Barnett, Corelli, Engage the Enemy More Closely: The Royal Navy in the Second World War

a cluster of .5 calibre machine-guns point forlornly skywards on Hunter’s wreck

Video stills: Royal Norwegian Navy

arrows and crossbow of the ship’s badge still discernible in the gloom, the ship’s name unmistakable: H U N T E R. A few days later, Warburton-

Lee’s battle cry was hoisted aboard amphibious assault ship HMS Albion

– Continue engaging the enemy – as

a procession of Allied warships, four British – Albion, Bulwark, Cornwall and RFA Mounts Bay – and one

pictures, the back

Norwegian Coastguard vessel – NOCGV Andenes – formed a line and sailed past the wreck site. Each ship paid her respects by casting a wreath into the icy waters and pouring a tot of rum over the side.

As the force left Ofotfjord behind, the Aldis lamps flashed into life

F A R E W E L L W E ’ L L M E E T A G A I N.

Long is the shadow – and the spell – of the Battle of Narvik.

as a final tribute:

Führer Conferences on Naval Affairs Haarr, Geirr, The German Invasion of Norway April 1940

Glowworm survivors’ testimonies

(www.hmsglowworm.org.uk)

‘Interrogation of Survivors, October 1939-December 1940’ (National Archive ADM 186/805)

Mielke, Otto, Die Heldenkampf um Narvik

Kersuady, François, Norway 1940 List, Fritz, Kurs Norwegen

Lochner, R K, Als das Eis brach

Mason, F A, HMS Hardy (www.

bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ user/39/u1507239.shtml)

‘Naval Operations of the Campaign in Norway’ (National Archive ADM 186/798)

Bekker, Cajus, Hitler’s Naval War Broch, Theodor, The Mountains Wait

Dickens, Capt Peter, Narvik: Battles in

the Fjords

Plevy, Harry, Destroyer Actions

Poolman, Kenneth, The British Sailor

Rhys-Jones, Graham, Churchill and

the Norway Campaign

Salewski, Michael, Die deutsche

Seekriegsleitung 1935-1945

Tarrant, V E, Battleship Warspite

www.uboat.net

War Diary of the German Naval

Staff (held by the Imperial War Museum)

Hawkins, Ian, Destroyer: An

Anthology of First-hand Accounts of the War at Sea 1939-1945

Wiggan, Richard, Hunt the Altmark

Waage, Johan, The Narvik Campaign

Wegener, Wolfgang, Die Seestrategie

des Weltkrieges

l HMS Albion leads her sister Bulwark, frigate HMS Cornwall, Norwegian coastguard vessel Andenes and RFA Mounts Bay past the wreck site of HMS Hunter in Ofotfjord, April 2008

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