1,000 sailors are released from Soviet captivity and join the Polish Navy in G.B. Carnage in the Battle of the Atlantic continues with convoys PQ15 and PQ16 to Murmansk. Channel Operations include the ill-fated Dieppe raid in August. ORP Kujawiak hits a mine and is sunk on a Malta-bound convoy in the Mediterranean.

Adam Sala

Able-bodied Seaman See Wall of Names

Malta Relief Convoy, June

Adam Sala

Able-bodied Seaman Adam Sala

In June 1942 ORP Kujawiak, a Hunt-class destroyer, was nominated for service with the Home Fleet for escort of the Malta Relief Convoy (Operation Harpoon). On the 15h June she detonated a mine whilst entering Grand Harbour, Malta and sank.

Malta Relief Convoy

During the dark days of WWII, Malta became the lynchpin of the Allied campaign in the Mediterranean and North Africa theaters and a vital base from which to attack Axis convoys supplying Rommel in Libya. Malta was extremely difficult to keep supplied and by the summer of 1942 the situation was critical with the island close to surrender.

Operation Harpoon left Gibralter on 12th June 1942 carrying a total of 39,000 tons of cargo and oil with an escort including ORP Kujawiak and 8 additional destroyers. Italian air attacks began on the 14th June and at dawn on 15th June the already depleted convoy was subjected to a coordinated attack by enemy aircraft and ships. The convoy lost many merchant ships and destroyers. In the evening of the 15th the surviving escort and just two remaining cargo ships limped to Malta. But entering the Grand Harbour they ran into a minefield. ORP Kujawiak sustained major structural damage and sank after midnight, killing 13 Polish sailors and wounding 20.

Por. Mar. Adam Sala was serving on ORP Kujawiak during the Malta Convoy. He had joined the Polish Navy in 1936 and in August 1939 he escaped to G.B. with destroyer ORP Grom. During the Norwegian Campaign on 4th May 1940 Adam had just left one of the 2 oil powered engine rooms for a medical inspection when Grom was bombed and sunk by German bombers. Half naked he was blown into the freezing water in Rombaksfjord off Narvik. He said that he was quite warm however being so covered in oil he had swallowed some and so did not feel very well! 59 of the crew of 180 were initially killed.

On 15th June, serving on ORP Kujawiak, Adam was again sunk, this time by a drifting mine as the ship entered Valetta Harbour with the remaining convoy. Half naked again from the great heat of the engine room, Adam entered the water to be stung from head to foot by jellyfish and had to be hospitalized. After convalescence Adam later went onto serve on ORP Krakowiak during the D Day landings.


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