§ 10. Mr. Stokes
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he has any further statement to make about the Report on the loss of H.M.S. "Glorious" and the attendant destroyers H.M.S. "Acasta" and H.M.S. "Ardent."
Yes, Sir. Since the statement I made oh 8th May, 1946, about this most gallant action, further information that has become available has now established, that one important source of information, namely, the German account of the action, confused the parts played by H.M. Destroyers "Acasta" and "Ardent," and the order in which they were sunk. The account published in the OFFICIAL REPORT is, therefore, incorrect in this respect, and should be amended. I will, with permission, circulate details of the necessary amendments in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. Stokes
When are we to be allowed a really full report of what happened; is it not a fact that the proper escort, the cruiser and the other two destroyers, were 385 taken away from the "Glorious"; is it not also a fact that neither the officer commanding Coastal Command, the officer commanding submarines, nor, I think, the officer commanding the Home Fleet was told of the movement of the "Glorious," and in consequence thousands of men were left rocking about in the water, and nobody went to look for them?
At the request of the hon. Member we have had a very full statement prepared. I have now merely amended it in certain respects. That does give us as full a statement as we are able to provide.
§ Mr. Medland
Will my hon. Friend say whether any orders were received direct from the Minister of Defence, over and above the Admiralty, to divert destroyers away from these men?
§ Following are the Amendments:
§ Column 1053—Second paragraph, first five sentences.
§ Amend to read: "The order to 'Abandon Ship' was given about 17.20. Listing heavily to starboard, she sank about 17.40. The 'Ardent', after firing two four-tube salvoes at the enemy, had been sunk about 17.28. The 'Acasta' was still in action with her guns firing, and as she steered to the south-east, fired a four-tube salvo, hitting the 'Scharnhorst' with one torpedo abreast of the after 11-inch turret. A final salvo hit the 'Acasta' at 18.08, and she sank beneath the waves."
§ Column 1055—last paragraph, second sentence.
§ Amend to read: "The gallant efforts made by her attendant destroyers should also be borne in mind—the 'Ardent' doing her utmost to engage an overpowering enemy and to screen the 'Glorious'; the 'Acasta' in dire straits, turning and launching the torpedo which hit the 'Scharnhorst,' probably saved the approaching convoy and its 14,000 troops from destruction, while her captain on his 386 sinking ship cheerfully waved a last farewell to his men on the Carley floats."