21 May 1941

  • The British Coastal Command dispatched from RAF Wick two Spitfire aircraft on a photo-reconnaissance mission over the Norwegian fjords. One of the aircraft was piloted by Flying Officer Michael Suckling. Suckling flew high, banking every few minutes or so to catch a glimpse of the various fjords scattered along the coast. Suddenly, he caught sight of a group of ships below him and dived down to take a closer look. He identified one of them as a cruiser, surrounded by destroyers and an oil tanker. Turning on his cameras, he made a pass across the fjord before heading for Bergen to check out the harbour there. As he turned for home he spotted another group of ships below him. Turning on his camera again he photographed what he thought were two cruisers before resuming his homeward course. When his photographs were finally examined by photo-interpreter David Linton it was realized that Suckling had, in fact, found the Bismarck and a hipper-class heavy cruiser at 1315 hours in the Grimstadtfjord a little south of Bergen. The German ships would depart the fjord at 2000 hours. ww2dbase [Bismarck | Grimstadfjord, Hordaland | CPC, AC]
Photo(s) dated 21 May 1941
Bismarck near Bergen, Norway, 21 May 1941, photo 2 of 2

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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