Operation WARDEN

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Roy Martin, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Yesterday at Kew I was going through piece ADM 223/480 and saw quite a bit about the plans for an operation captioned WARDEN, but didn't get far enough to find if it was carried out. It involved an old cargo ship Empire xxx, built about 1910. It had the usual MN officers and 28 crew (no breakdown). The ship was to load iron ore in Peppel and, when near Las Palmas, the Chief Engineer would fake a machinery problem so that the ship would go into Las Palmas. There were a number of German, Italian and Danish ships in port. By the sound of it some of the 28 crew were service personnel. They were supposed to attach limpet mines to the enemy vessels to immobilise them. As I have never heard of this before I assume that it didn't happen; anyone know anything about it? If not I'm back there in about a month and will photograph the file.

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Roy

    I have found some info on Empire XXX ore carriers - its not much but perhaps a start:


    Ore carriers[SIZE=small][[/SIZE]edit]
    Four vessels all of 2,922 gross tons, length 315 feet (96.01 m) and breadth 44 feet (13.41 m) were built as ore carriers. These were Empire Moat, Empire Ness,Empire Ridge and Empire Stream


    edited to add:
    Empire Moat
    Empire Moat was a 2,922 GRT ore carrier which was built by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow. Launched on 28 April 1941 and completed in July 1941. Torpedoed on 20 September 1941 by U-124 800 nautical miles (1,500 km) west of Ushant, France (48°07′N 22°05′W) while a member of Convoy OG 74. Ship was abandoned but remained afloat although salvage was impracticable. Presumed to have sunk.

    Empire Ness
    Empire Ness was a 2,922 GRT ore carrier which was built by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow. Launched on 17 March 1941 and completed in May 1941. Collided on 30 November 1944 with Liberty Ship William Paca off Terneuzen, Netherlands and sank, a total loss.

    Empire Ridge
    Empire Ridge was a 2,922 GRT ore carrier which was built by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow. Launched on 7 February 1941 and completed in April 1941. Torpedoed on 19 May 1941 and sunk by U-96 at 55°08′N 10°40′W

    Empire Stream
    Empire Stream was a 2,922 GRT ore carrier which was built by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow. Launched on 2 December 1940 and completed in March 1941. Torpedoed on 25 September 1941 and sunk by U-124 at 46°03′N 24°40′W while a member of Convoy HG 73.

    Hmmm - looks as though these are not the ones as they were all bulit in 1940's

    :( TD
  3. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    As well as the the file you have highlighted you may like to have a look at HS 6/931. Operation Warden was an SOE operation that may not have gone a head. Only one way to find out.
  4. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Thanks Hugh,

    Will follow it up next time I'm at Kew. Thanks also your PM - will send the information later this morning.


  5. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Hi TD,

    Thanks.unintetionally I misled you. When I put Empire XXX it was because I hadn't noted the name of the Empire boat they intended to use. I will have a better look next time and post the results.


  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Roy

    No misleading at all, I assumed that XXX was an unknown quantity. On wandering around the net I thought I might have cracked with the first link in my post. Then I decided just to explore those names but unfortunately they did not fit the bill, however there are hundreds of small craft starting 'Empire XXXXXXX'

    For example there are 103 craft called 'Empire M.......' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Empire_ships_(M) and that is just the M's, if you change the letter in brackets to another letter then .......................... :(

    It might be quicker obtaining the info from Kew.. :)


    edited to add:
    the link takes you straight to the alphabetical selection so no need to change the M
  7. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    It looks as if Operation Warden was one of Ian Fleming's ideas and, as Hugh said, it probably didn't go ahead. I will check it out next month at Kew.

  8. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    A bit more about Operation Warden, information is in several 'D' section files, including HS 6/931 which Hugh mentions.

    There were a number of German and Italian merchant ships in Las Palmas and one Dane. At least one of the German ships kept loading fuel and . stores and was thought to be resupplying U - boats at sea. By September 1941 this had been confirmed, presumably by Bletchly Park, though they are not mentioned. The ship was to be the Empire Simbla, a US ww1 built ship. The 'extra crew' were from many nationalities, none British. Plans were well advanced but the British Embassy in Madrid managed to get the operation cancelled, as they felt that they could deal with it by diplomatic means. Probably just as well as one can imagine this being enough to tip the Spanish into siding (can't spell it) completely with the Axis.
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    How' this Roy:

    ADM 223/480 Special Operations Executive: pt 1. Includes Warden (sabotage of German ships at Las Palmas), Sprinkler and Sconce (saboteurs in northern Spain in event of German invasion), Resolute (destruction of a cliff on the River Danube at Kazan), Culebra (destruction of U-boats and U-boat supply ships at Cape Verde), Rubble (special steels and machine tools contracts in Sweden: removal by ship) and correspondence with Commander Ian Fleming. Contain photograpgh.
  10. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Hi Drew,

    Yes I've looked at HS 7/3, HS 7/5, HS 6 /931, ADM 223/480. /490, /464. a couple of others were 'In Use'. I missed the photograph in /480. One small thing - do you know when Fleming was promoted to Lt Cdr? He was Lieutenant in March 1940 and still that when in France in June 1940, but Lt Cdr in New York in 1942. I don't think that he ever held the rank on Commander, though he possibly retired with it?
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    No idea Roy - My knowledge on him is limited to the new TV series on Sky.

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    The programme seemed fairly accurate, albeit glamour'ed up a bit. At the end when he resigned his commission he was wearing 3 full rings on his uniform and people were referring to him as Commander.
  13. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member


    Thanks, I think he glamoured up a lot, he is referred to as Commander Fleming in tthe TNA index, but I doubt he ever was.


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