SUBMARINE LOSSES 1904 TO PRESENT DAY - Page 14



HMS Usk

26 April 1941

Presumed mined off Cape Bon, Tunisia

On 19th April 1941 HMS Usk sailed from Malta for a patrol off the north west coast of Sicily. Anti-submarine activity was intense and Usk was accordingly ordered to alter her position until this activity had passed. What happened to Usk during her change of position has never been established, but it is almost certain that she was mined in the vicinity of Cape Bon some time after 25th April.

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HMS Undaunted

12 May 1941

Possibly sunk off Zuara, Libya by Italian TB Pegaso

HMS Undaunted sailed for her Mediterranean patrol from Malta on 1st May 1941. Ordered to patrol off Tripoli the submarine failed to return on her due date of 11th May and attempts to contact her failed. It is believed that she fell victim to the Italian torpedo boat Pegaso who had sailed from Tripoli on the 12th. At 2030 that evening Pegaso signalled that she had attacked a submarine with depth charges and that a large patch of oil had been observed, indication of the submarine’s destruction. Against this theory is the fact that by that date Undaunted should have been back in harbour but it is possible that a decision to remain at sea for a day had been taken or that Undaunted may have suffered mechanical problems preventing her return. There is always the every present possibility that the submarine fell foul to a mine.

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HMS Umpire

19 July 1941

Sunk off Suffolk following collision with trawler Peter Hendriks

HMS Umpire left Chatham on 19th July 1941 bound for the Clyde prior to joining the 3rd Submarine Flotilla at Dunoon. Having stopped over night at Sheerness she joined up with a northbound convoy, although she was not part of the convoy escort. Umpire developed mechanical problems and began to fall behind the convoy which was kept informed of the submarine’s progress by radio. At midnight the northbound convoy passed a southbound convoy as expected but Umpire following behind was surprised to see the convoys pass port to port rather than the normal starboard to starboard. Umpire altered her course to port as the first few vessels passed to Umpire’s starboard side but the trawler Peter Hendriks remained on a collision course. As the two vessels came together a gash was torn in Umpire’s side sending her to the bottom.

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HMS Union

20 July 1941

Depth charged south west of Pantelleria by Italian TB Circe

HMS Union sailed from Malta at 1 o’clock on the morning of 14th July 1941 with orders to intercept a convoy north of Tripoli the following day. She never made the appointed location as she was sunk early that day by an Italian torpedo boat.

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HMS Cachalot

30 July 1941

Scuttled off Benghazi to avoid capture

On 9th July 1941 Cachalot departed from Alexandria loaded with stores bound for Malta and arrived on the 16th. She left again on the 26th with personnel bound for Alexandria and instructions to look out for an escorted tanker heading for Benghazi. At 2 o’clock on the morning of 30th July a destroyer was spotted heading towards Cachalot, forcing the submarine to dive. On returning to the surface the submarine was spotted and attacked by the Italian destroyer which steamed in firing it’s guns. Cachalot’s diving drill was sorely hampered when the upper hatch jammed, thereby preventing a crash dive, and the Italian destroyer rammed into her, although not at great speed as the Italian Captain had realised that the order to abandon the submarine had already been given. As the crew went into the water the main vents were opened and Cachalot sank in very deep water. All the crew, apart from a Maltese steward, were picked up by the destroyer and transported to Benghazi from where they were taken to a POW camp near Naples, until repatriation in 1943.

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HMS P32

18 August 1941

Mined off Tripoli

HMS P32 left Malta for a patrol off Tripoli on 12th August 1941. On the 18th P32 sighted a convoy of five merchant vessels heading towards Tripoli. As the submarine returned to periscope depth, to check the convoy’s position, she struck a mine on the port side. The submarine took a heavy list to port and began to sink.

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HMS P33

20 August 1941

Presumed mined off Tripoli

On 6th August 1941 HMS P33 sailed from Malta with orders to intercept an Italian convoy bound for Libya. On 18th August HMS P32 reported hearing a prolonged depth charge attack that lasted for two hours. When the attack was finally over P32 attempted to contact P33 but received no response and it is almost certain that P33 had perished in the attack.

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HMS Tetrarch

27 October 1941

Probably mined of Capo Granditola, Sicily

HMS Tetrarch left Malta on 26th October 1941 bound for Gibraltar. The route she was to take meant her passing through a known minefield. On Monday 27th she communicated with P34 who was in the same area. This was the last contact with the submarine. It is believed that she struck a mine on 27th.

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HMS Perseus

6 December 1941

Mined off Cephalonia, Greece

On 26th November 1941 HMS Perseus sailed from Malta to return to Alexandria with instruction to patrol to the east of Greece on her passage. On 3rd December two torpedoes were fired and it is thought a hit was achieved. Three days later Perseus was off Cephalonia when at 2200 a huge explosion ripped the submarine apart.

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HMS H31

20 December 1941

Lost off NW Spain (unknown cause).

In December 1941 news was received of a possible break out from Brest, by the German battleships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen. In expectation of this eight submarines were sent to the area but although the breakout did not take place, H31 failed to return. The submarine had sailed from Falmouth on 19th December. She was requested to signal her position on the 24th but did not do so. She is believed to have been mined between these dates in the Bay of Biscay.

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HMS Triumph

31 December 1941

Lost in Cyclades (unknown cause).

HMS Triumph left Alexandria on 26th December 1941 to land a party of commandos ashore and then patrol the Aegean. Four days later she signalled that the party had been successfully landed at Bireans. She was due to return to pick up the commandos on 9th January but failed to make the rendezvous. Nothing further was heard of the submarine. No axis power claimed her destruction and it is believed that she struck a mine.

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