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H.M.S. PUFFIN / SINKING OF U-16

The heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy have greatly affected his morale and will prove to be a turning point in the battle of the Atlantic.
Admiral Sir Max Horton - May 1943 - Commander of the Western Approaches
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A very early Second World War anti-U-boat operations D.S.M. group of eight awarded to Chief Petty Officer E. A. Purdue, Royal Navy
Distinguished Service Medal, G.VI.R. (E. A. Purdue, A./L. Smn., H.M.S. Puffin); Naval General Service 1915-62, 1 clasp, Palestine 1936-1939 (JX. 137806 O. Smn., R.N.); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; War Medal 1939-45; Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.VI.R., 2nd issue (JX. 137806, D.S.M., C.P.O., H.M.S. St. Angelo) D.S.M. London Gazette 1 January 1940: ‘For outstanding zeal, proficiency, skill and energy in successfully combating enemy submarines.’

Edward Arthur Purdue was decorated for his services aboard the sloop H.M.S. Puffin on the occasion of the destruction of the U-16. The latter was detected by the St. Magaret’s Bay indicator-loop on 24 October 1939, and Puffin and the anti-submarine trawler Cayton Wyke were sent to investigate. They subsequently delivered a depth-charge attack, during the course of which the U-16 ran aground on the Goodwins - all of her crew members perished, among them Kapitanleutnant Horst Wellner, who had earlier carried out a highly successful reconnaissance of Scapa Flow, his subsequent report leading to Gunther Prien’s devastating attack on the Royal Oak.

On 25 October U-16’s hull was located and a diving boat secured alongside and, notwithstanding a hole in her pressure hull forward of the conning tower, two officers went down and retrieved a number of interesting artifacts. Bad weather then intervened and by the time divers took a second look at the U-16 in early November, she had settled further into the sand and her hull was full of silt - any further prospects of salvage work were abandoned. Meanwhile, since she was the third U-boat to be lost in this area, Donitz forbade the use of the Strait of Dover as a passage through to the Western Approaches for his U-boats.

25 Oct, 1939
The German submarine U-16 was sunk in the English Channel near Dover, in position 51.09N, 01.28E, by depth charges from the British ASW trawler H.M.S. Cayton Wyke (Ch/Skr. D.F. Noble) and the patrol vessel H.M.S. PUFFIN (Lt.Cdr. Hon. J.M.G. Waldegrave).

HMS Puffin (L 52 / K 52)

Patrol vessel of the Kingfisher class

Navy: The Royal Navy
Type: Patrol vessel
Class: Kingfisher
Penant: L 52 / K 52
Built by: A. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland)
Ordered:
Laid down: 12 Jun, 1935
Launched: 5 May, 1936
Commissioned: 26 Aug, 1936
End service:

History: Heavy damaged in North Sea by collision on 26 March 1945, not repaired.
Sold 16 January 1947.


Laid mines in Tees Bay in September 1939 then patrolled Norwegian coast sinking SS Nyland on 28th September 1939. Laid mines off Dungeness on 22nd which sank fishing boat Sainte Clair in November. Heavily damaged by depth charges from HMS Puffin and HMS Caton Wyke near Goodwin Sands. She sank the next day with the loss of all hands.