Battle of Cabo de Palos, 5th/6th March, 1938

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  • #20637
    Tony F
    Participant

      Good evening

      During the night of 5th/6th March, 1938, the largest sea battle of the Spanish Civil War took place 60 miles of the coast of Cabo de Palos, near Cartagena, one of Spain’s major ports and naval establishments.

      A Nationalist battle-cruiser, ‘Baleares’ was sunk with the loss of many lives. Although part of the blockade of the Spanish Coast, two destroyers HMS Kampenfeld and HMS Boreas were dispatched to the area to render assistance and whilst doing so, they were bombed by Republican ‘planes who mistook the British ships for Nationalist ships.

      As a result, a British seaman, A/B Long of HMS Boreas was hit in the chest by a shell fragment and he subsequently died.

      I have a 4 page typewritten account, by A/B Ivan E B D’Arcy who was on the island of Palma Majorca at the time, who gave an almost contemporaneous account of the whole event.

      I have all the technical details of the two RN ships involved but have nothing else, especially where A/B Long is buried.

      Does anybody have any further information about the battle please? I have the complete account from Spanish records but there may be something else lurking somewhere.

      #20681
      David Hepper
      Participant

        The incident was widely reported in the British press at the time, and some newspapers also carried reports of the funeral of AB George Long at Gibraltar.

        The Boreas and Kempenfelt arrived at Gibraltar 7 March and he was evidently buried that same afternoon.

        Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet and Vice Admiral J F Somerville, commanding the destroyer flotillas, were in attendance, and the Rev. R T Venn of HMS Warspite officiated. General Franco’s representative at Gibraltar was also present and placed a wreath on the grave.

        Other newspapers give some background on AB Long, indicating that he was from Byker, Newcastle, originally, but then resided at Rainham, Kent, and left a widow and child.
        [source: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk]

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