Translation of Polish naval logs required

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by JohnH, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    My grandfather from Shetland, was a merchant seamen on the S.S Glen Tilt which escaped from Norway on 9 April 1940 after the Germans had invaded. The S.S Glen Tilt was among the last merchant ships to escape Norway. She was part of Convoy HN.25 which departed Norwegian Waters (anchorage at Frøysjøen fjord 61 N, 5°E) on 9 April 1940 and arrived in Methil in Scotland on 12 April 1940. The convoy consisted of 10 British and 30 neutral ships. The Royal Navy detailed HMS Tartar and the Polish destroyers Blyskawica, Grom and Burza to meet up and escort HN 25 safely to the port of Methil in Scotland.

    I checked with the National Archives at Kew, London but they don’t have any records on the HMS Tartar or the Polish destroyers Blyskawica, Grom and Burza for this period. However, I now have online access to Polish naval archive records for the ORP Błyskawica, one of the naval escorts from his convoy. They came online last week at the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London at Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum following digitising. The records are very detailed and include the ships naval logs and cover the 4 day period I am looking at from 9-12 April 1940.

    All the written reports are in Polish, so I will need a Polish interpreter who has experience of Polish naval history and can translate it all into English for me. Do you know anybody who could do this for me either in Poland or the UK? I would be happy to pay for this service.

    Thank you.
     
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  2. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    This is a very valuable resource since I have been unable to find the daily logs for the escort vessel my father served on and I believe such logs do not exist ( he joined the RNVR in 1941 ).

    Thank you for posting, and welcome to the forum.

    I am always interested to see how far optical character reading software and computer translation ( Google translate ) works since I have been "translating" a fair amount recently, ( but not from Polish into English) using Google translate.

    I am sure that naval experts can interpret the technical content of the log but this is a very rough transcription, without any Polish accents, by sentence, and an edited version of what the computer said. There may be my transcription errors, but I have tried to reduce them. I have used { and } for my comments.

    The references to "Southampton" are, I assume, references to a type of flying boat.

    From : Archives References: MAR.A.V. 16/16

    { Typed page number - 36 Handwritten page number 41 pdf page 42 }

    ORP "Blyskawica"

    Konwojowanie 9/ 4/1940

    O godz. 1050 dla okretow polskich przychodzi rozkaz wyjscia z szyku celem udania sie pod dowodztwem K.T. angielskiego "Tartar" pod brzegi Norwegii i objeccia tam konwoju idacego do Anglii.


    Convoying 9 / 4/1940

    At 1050 orders for Polish ships issued: order to go under the command of English Destroyer "Tartar" to the shores of Norway and take over there a convoy going to England.

    __________________

    Dywizjon kontrtorpedocow polskich wraz z H.M.S. "Tartar" w poz. 60 deg. 25 min. N - 2 deg 54 min. Ost kladzie sie na kurs 27 degrees, idac w szyku torowym.

    Polish destroyer squadron with H.M.S. "Tartar" in position 60 deg. 25 min N. - 2 deg 54 min. E. puts on a course of 27 degrees, following the formation track.


    ______________

    W odlegkosci 11,000 m. ukazuje sie samolot niemiecki typu Heinkel.


    At a distance of 11,000 m a German Heinkel aircraft appears.

    __________

    Po 15 minutach hydro oddalilo sienie strzelano.


    After 15 minutes the hydro was fired. {? depth-charge or similar }

    ____________

    O godz. 1640 zespol kontrtorpedowcowa osiaga poz. 61 deg. 43 min. N - 4 deg. 17 min. Ost.


    At. 1640 unit of destroyers reaches position 61 deg. 43 min N - 4 deg. 17 min E.

    ___________

    Z firdu dlugim sznurem wychodzi na morze konwoj statkow handlowych.


    A convoy of commercial ships overlooks the sea with a long rope. { poetic licence ?}

    _____________

    Kontrtorpedowcowiec angielski oddala sie pod brzeg i wchodzi do fiordu dla przyspieszenia wyjscia ostatnich statkow.


    The English destroyer moves towards the shore and enters the fjord to speed up the departure of the last ships.

    _______________

    Dywizjon znajduje sie na czele konwoju 31 statkow.


    The squadron is at the head of a convoy of 31 ships.

    ______________

    O 1730 wraca H.M.S. "Tartar" i zajmuje miejsce z lewej strony czola konwoju, O.R.P. "Groom" z prawej, "Burza" w tyle, O.R.P. " Blyskawice" z lewej strony na tyle konwoju.


    At 1730 H.M.S. "Tartar" returns and takes place on the left side of the head of the convoy, O.R.P. "Groom" on the right, "Storm" behind, O.R.P. "Blyskawice" on the left at the back of the convoy.

    ___________

    Eskortoweny transport zawiera m. in. zleto norweskie..

    Escortable transport includes, among others Norwegian zleto. {?}

    ______________

    Kurs konwoju 260 degrees, szybkosc 6 do 7 wezkow.


    Convoy course 260 degrees, speed of 6 to 7 nodes. {knots? }

    ------------

    { Typed page number - 37 - handwritten 42 pdf page 43 }




    Trzymajac sie wyznaczonych miejsc, Kontrtorpedowcowce zygzakuja, az do zapadniecia zmroku.


    By sticking to designated places, the destroyers zigzag until darkness.

    _____________________

    Dnia 10 kwietnia / od awitu zygzakowanie / o godz. 0900 w namiarze 180 degrees sie dwa krazoniki angilskie klasy Southampton z ktorymi wymienione zostaja rozpoznawcze.


    On April 10 / from awitu zigzagging / at 0900 W Azimuth 180 degrees, two Southampton class English aircraft with whom they are mentioned are reconnaissance.

    __________________

    O 1015 w namiarze 300 degrees - konwoj spotuka oztery ang. K.T., a o 1100 W Azimuth 180 degrees - anglieski krazownik " Galatea", francuski krazownik "Emile Bertin" oraz dwa K.T. francuskie.


    At 1015 in 300 degrees - the convoy will meet the escorts , at 1100 - English cruiser "Galatea", French cruiser "Emile Bertin"
    ___________

    O godz. 1530, na wysokosci mniejwiecej polnocnych Szetlandow - konwoi zmenia kurs na 180 degrees.


    At hours. 1530, at the latitude {?} of roughly northern Shetland - the convoy changes the course to 180 degrees.

    ____________

    O 1900 - zmiana kursu na 160 degrees.


    About 1900 - change of course to 160 degrees.

    ___________

    O godz. 2040 - okrety koneza zygzakowanie, trzymajac sie na wynaczonych miejscach kolo konwoju.


    At 2040 - periods of the koneza zigzagging, sticking to designated places near the convoy

    _________

    11 - go kwietnia od 0530 zespol konwojujacy rozpczyna ponownie zygzakowanie, ktora trwa az do zapadniecia zmroku.


    On April 11, from 0530, the convoy team will start zigzagging again, which lasts until dark.

    ___________

    O 1650 zwrot na kurs 145 degrees.

    At 1650 change course to 145 degrees.

    __________

    Dnia 12 kwietnia o godz. 0100 - zwrot na kurs 202 degrees, a od switu poczatek zygzakowanie, ktors trwa az do zapadniecia zmroku.


    On April 12 at 0100 - return to the 202 degrees course, and from the beginning the zigzagging, which lasts until dark.

    __________

    O 1650 zwrot na kurs 145 degrees.


    At 1650 change course to 145 degrees.
    _______________

    Dnia 12 kwietnia o godz. 0100 - zwrot na kurs 202 degrees, a od switu poczatek zygzakowanie,.


    On April 12 at 0100 - 202 degrees return, and zigzagging at dawn.

    _________

    O 0750 konwoj skierowuje sie na Firth of Forth.


    At 0750 the convoy heads to Firth of Forth.

    __________

    O godz. 1200 konwojowane statki pozostaja przy wajsciu do Firth of Forth - kontrtorpedowcowce polskie wraz z H.M.S. "Tartar" zwiekazaja szybkosc i w szyku torowym ida do Rosyth, skad po pobraniu ropy o godz. 1915 wychodza do Scapa Flow / O.R.P. "Burza" w godzine wezniej/.

    At. 1200 escort ships remain at the entrance to the Firth of Forth - Polish destroyers with H.M.S. "Tartar" increase speed and in track formation they go to Rosyth, from where after collecting oil at 1915 leave for Scapa Flow / O.R.P. "Storm" one hour later.

    __________

    13 kwietnia O 0530 wejescie do Scapa i postoj w 4 godzinnym pogotowiu.


    13 April At 0530, you will enter Scapa and be at 4-hour standby

    ______________

    [ next entry 14/4/1940 }

    End of transcription
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
    Buteman, Roy Martin, JohnH and 3 others like this.
  3. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    The "Blyskawica" ( translates as "Lightning" ) survives as a museum piece, and took part in the Dunkirk evacuation. See this very informative video:

     
    JohnH likes this.
  4. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    Thanks for taking the time to translate Archives References: MAR.A.V. 16/15 for me, it is very much appreciated. This is Chronicle of the ORP "Błyskawica", 1939-1941.

    The 2 other documents which cover the period 9 to 12 April 1940, which require translation are: Archives References: MAR.A.V. 16/10 pdf page no. 6-7 handwritten page no. 5-6. This is War Diary, 1940-1941; a typed document which we could translate using Google.

    and Archives References: MAR.A.V. 16/55 pdf page no. 50-56 handwritten page no. 49-55. This is Ship's Log Book, 3.3.1940-7.5.1940, a hand written document which will probably need someone who can read Polish and translate into English. Its likely that documents MAR.A.V. 16/15 and MAR.A.V. 16/10 are derived from the hand written Ship's Log Book MAR.A.V. 16/55.

    I had friends visiting the Blyskawica museum in Gdynia in Poland recently and they took some cracking photos of ORP Błyskawica for me.

    Thanks again for your assitance. Best wishes John.
     
  5. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Supermarine Southampton
    [​IMG]

    Tim
     
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  6. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    John H,

    It was good fun, and better than trying to do Sudoku or whatever it is called, or any of the modern variations of crosswords, not that I like the easy sort much as in " 1. Across " "The _ _ _ sat on the mat." ( 3 letters ) ". Answer: cat, could be dog. ( who cares?).

    The handwritten logs in MAR.A.V. 16/55 with the personnel numbers, fuel state, water state ( boiler, cleaning, human consumption ) and some handwritten British ship's names are easy to read with Google translate where printed but the script is difficult because the words have been shortened. However, there are a lot of repetitions.

    I know an archivist who happens to have been born and educated in Poland who I could ask for help, but it might take a little time, given the time of year.

    John
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  7. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    Hi John,

    Yes, I would be grateful if you could ask your archivist friend to assist with the translation.
    I never met my grandfather as he died before I was born, so his story has only come to light recently following my research. The main source of my research has been the Commodore's report of Convoy HN25 ADM 199_24 which I obtained from National Archives. This gives a detailed report of events up to the point when the naval escorts joined the convoy, but is scant on details of their journey home, so the ORP Błyskawica archive is going to fill the blanks. ADM 199_24 even includes a copy of an intercepted German naval coded message from the German tanker SKAGERRAK (6044grt) when it sighted Convoy HN25 on 9 April 1940. Now that would be an difficult puzzle to solve!

    Thanks again for your assistance. John H.
     
  8. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    I will ask her for assistance. Interesting that ADM199/24 contains an intercepted message sent in April 1940. For interceptions after March 1941 you can download file series DEFE3 from Kew for free, but it would take a long time, given the number of files and their size. According to a German wireless message I found in one of the DEFE3 files, sent on October 2nd 1944, an allied submarine was sunk in the Aegean sea. Fortunately this turned out to be an exaggeration, since my late father was on board the submarine.

    DEFE3 will contain references to ORP Błyskawica but probably not by her name. I first thought she was a smaller vessel but was in fact a very fast destroyer built on the Isle of Wight. No doubt more answers to the puzzle will emerge, but first define the puzzle !
     
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  9. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    Thanks for your message.

    I have attached the intercepted German naval coded message from the German tanker SKAGERRAK (6044grt) when it sighted Convoy HN25 on 9 April 1940. This tanker was one of the support ships which sailed in advance of the German naval invasion of Norway. The message was recorded by the steamer FYLINGDALE (3918grt). Her Master Captain J. S. Pinkney was acting as convoy Commodore for Convoy HN25. The Captain J. S. Pinkney of FYLINGDALE received a congratulatory message from the Board of Admiralty, and was later awarded an O.B.E. for the manner in which he brought this convoy to safety.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    Thanks to the sterling efforts of Papiermache and his Polish archivist friend, I have a full translation of all the ORP Błyskawica [Lighting] archive material over period 9 to 12 April 1940 when Convoy H.N.25 was on passage from Norway to Methil. I am now writing up the story of their fortunate escape.

    One issue I have not been able to find out is how Convoy H.N.25 would have been set up. I know Convoy H.N.25 formed into 4 columns with steamers with FYLINGDALE (3918grt), GLEN TILT (871grt), BRIGHTON (5359grt) and LEO (1140grt) as column leaders. There were 39-42 ships in this convoy depending on which source you use.

    What I can't find are details of the distance between the 4 columns and the distance between ships in those columns. This would give me an idea what sea area the convoy would have covered. I would welcome any advice from our more experienced members on what was the standard practice for merchant convoys of this type and size in April 1940.

    Thanks again for your assistance. John H.
     
  11. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

     
  12. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    Hi Stefan,

    Thanks for your kind offer.

    I have already got all the ORP Błyskawica [Lighting] archive material translated now from Polish into English, thanks to a fellow member Papiermache and his Polish archivist friend.

    Regards, John H
     
  13. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    One issue I have not been able to find out is how Convoy H.N.25 would have been set up. I know Convoy H.N.25 formed into 4 columns with steamers with FYLINGDALE (3918grt), GLEN TILT (871grt), BRIGHTON (5359grt) and LEO (1140grt) as column leaders. There were 39-42 ships in this convoy depending on which source you use. The passage of Convoy H.N.25 took 73 hours covering a distance of 515 nautical miles between Hovden Island Point, 85 nautical miles north of Bergen, and Methil on the Firth of Forth. The convoy's average speed was 7 knots per hour.

    What I can't find are details of the distance between the 4 columns and the distance between ships in those columns. This would give me an idea what sea area the convoy would have covered. I would welcome any advice from our more experienced members on what was the standard practice for merchant convoys of this type and size in April 1940.

    Thanks again for your assistance. John H.
     

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