ROYAL NAVAL RESERVE
RECORD | THE
LOSS OF THE RUTLANDSHIRE
A/S TRAWLER GROUP
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On the 13th April 1940, the Admiralty ordered the 21st A/S Striking Force, comprising the trawlers:
and the 23rd A/S Group to sail from Rosyth, Scotland. Both groups arrived in the Namsos area on the 16th April 1940. These trawlers went sent to Norway primarily to give anti-submarine protection to H.M. ships and transports in the fjords, but no sooner had they arrived than they were subjected to frequent heavy air attacks, high level and dive bombing and machine gunning, which made it suicidal for them to carry out A/S patrols except during the few hours of darkness. They suffered severe casualties, 11 out of a total of 29 trawlers sent to Norway being sunk or driven ashore. During daylight hours, after the first day or two, they were forced to take shelter under high cliffs, partly to evade bombing and partly to rest their crews. While so placed some of the crews endeavoured to camouflage their vessels with evergreen and small trees and themselves took refuge on shore, in some instances leaving their gunsí crews on board to engage the enemy aircraft.
Despite all best efforts, I've been unable to obtain a photograph of the trawlers Rutlandshire and Melbourne. If anyone can assist, I'd be more than interested to hear from you.
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