Where Churchill was on 30 Oct. 1939?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Juha, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    on the claim that Churchill, Admiral Sir Dudley Pound and the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Sir Richard Peirse were on HMS Nelson when it was attacked by U-56 and hit by dud torpedoes on 30 Oct 1939. This claim is mentioned in many places in the net e.g. October 1939 - Wikipedia and Wilhelm Zahn - Wikipedia.

    I began doubt the claim when I noticed that according to HMS Nelson, British battleship, WW2
    22 Oct 1939 At 1830 hours the Home Fleet (incl. HMS Nelson) sailed from Loch Ewe to provide distant cover for convoy NV1
    26 Oct DD HMS Impulsive joined the Home Fleet at sea.
    It had been deployed on anti-submarine patrol and convoy escort duties in SW Approaches earlier.

    31st – At 0900 hours the Fleet arrived in the Clyde off Greenock. Whilst off Greenock the CinC Home Fleet was visited by the First Sea Lord Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound and the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Sir Richard Peirse.
    (The discussion that took place on board NELSON was about the provision of air defence and anti-submarine defences at the fleet bases...)

    Not see much logic that WC, Pound and Pierce would sail with the Home Fleet over a week in the Atlantic or if they arrived on HMS Impulsive just under a week while the fleet acted as a distant cover for a Norwegian - UK convoy. According to Zahn’s Wiki page ‘ The reason for the gathering was Winston Churchill's decision to convene a conference with the leadership of the British Navy because of the sinking disaster of HMS Royal Oak caused by a U-boat attack during which 833 servicemen died.[8]’ Much the same is mentioned in naval-history.net as the reason of the meeting on Nelson on 31 Oct. off Greenock. The latter is much more logical place to hold a top brass conference during a war.

    Also the war cruise did not fit to Churchill’s engagement diary

    Winston Churchill Engagement Diary : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
    but I don’t have an idea how reliable source it is.

    So has any of the members reliable info where W. Churchill was on 30 Oct. 1939?


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  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    One assumes that "PM's Committee " would be minuted and these would be in TNA. If WSC was present then he cannot have been being torpedoed with dud torps off the Scottish coast, If however he did not attend one would suspect that he was en route on a train or plane. I suspect that this should be the first place to look (TNA not off the Celtic fringe).
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  3. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    According to Martin Gilbert's "Finest Hour: Winston S. Churchill 1939 - 1941" at noon on Sunday Oct 29 Churchill was at War Cabinet No. 64 (CAB65/3). Then, he says that WSC went to Scapa Flow on October 31 "to discuss the northern defences with the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Forbes", returning to London on 1 November and attending War Cabinet No. 67 of 1 November 1939 (CAB65/4).

    There is obviously a discrepancy between Gilbert's "Scapa Flow" and the references above to Greenock - I suspect Gilbert assumed it would be Scapa Flow because of presence of Forbes.


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  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  5. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Thanks to all, especially to dbf!
    So one more myth debunked, there even seems to be alternative histories based on the assumption that Winston would have died on that day when HMS Nelson had been hit and sunk. As a result, Germany would have won the war.

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