SUBMARINE LOSSES 1904 TO PRESENT DAY - Page 19



HMS Truculent

12 January 1950

Sank in Thames Estuary following collision with Swedish tanker Divina

On 12th January 1950 HMS Truculent sailed from Chatham to carry out trials, having just completed a refit; in addition to her normal compliment she was carrying an additional 18 dockyard workers. The trials complete she set a course for Sheerness, which would take her through the Thames Estuary hat night. At 7 o’clock a ship showing three lights appeared ahead in the channel. It was decided that the ship must be stationary and as Truculent could not pass to the starboard side without running aground, the order was given to turn to port. At once the situation became clear as the cargo ship Divina came out of the darkness: the extra light indicated that she was carrying explosives. A collision was unavoidable. The two vessels remained locked together for a few seconds before the submarine sank.

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HMS Affray

16 April 1951

Foundered north west of Alderney

On Monday 16th April 1951 HMS Affray left Portsmouth to take part in Exercise Training Spring with a training class of young officers aboard, her orders being to make a daily report between 9 and 10 o'clock each morning and to land a party of Royal Marines on any suitable beach in the patrol area during the night. On the morning of the 17th Affray failed to report her position as required and rescue vessels were immediately put on alert as repeated attempts to call up the submarine failed. It was known that she had intended to dive 30 miles south of the Isle of Wight, so the search was concentrated off the island but the exact position of Affray was unknown. A number of vessels involved in the search reported faint Asdic signals and the submarine Ambush decoded a message stating, "WE ARE TRAPPED ON THE BOTTOM" but the Affray still could not be found. On the evening of the 19th the Admiralty regretfully called off the search. While the search for survivors was now fruitless the search for the Affray was to continue. In the middle of June, after nine weeks of searching, an underwater camera focused on the submarine’s nameplate. Her final position proved to be 37 miles from her known diving position. She was lying on an even keel on the edge of a series of underwater chasms known as Hurd’s Deep in the English Channel. Divers could find no evidence of collision damage but noted that her radar aerial and periscope were raised, indicating that she must have been submerged when she foundered. Both hydroplanes were in the rise position indicating that attempts to raise the submarine must have been in operation before being finally defeated by the incoming water. A reason for the disaster was however soon found when the snort mast was examined. A clean break was discovered 3 feet above the deck leading to the conclusion that metal fatigue had caused the loss, allowing water into the boat through a 10-inch hole. This was confirmed by tests carried out on the recovered mast at Portsmouth, all assertions as to a collision being quashed. Exactly what caused the snorkel to shear at the time it did will in all likelihood never be known.

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HMS Sidon

16 June 1955

Sank in Portland Harbour after torpedo explosion in tube

On 16th June 1955 Sidon was moored beside her parent ship, HMS Maidstone, waiting her allotted time to cast away for torpedo firing trials. At 0825 a loud explosion shook the submarine as one of the highly volatile hydrogen peroxide motors of the torpedoes exploded. A cloud of smoke rose from the conning tower hatch as the order to abandon ship was given. Sidon soon began to sink and at 0845 went down by the bows. Several divers at once entered the water and began tapping messages on Sidon’s hull to those trapped inside the submarine. By early afternoon it was apparent that all 12 men inside were dead or incapable of replying to the tapping. On 23rd/24th June Sidon was raised and the deceased were buried on the 28th in a small naval cemetery in Portland. On 14th June 1957 Sidon was towed from Portland and sunk as a target. She now lies off Portland at a depth of 34 meters.

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HMS Artemis

1 July 1971

Sank in Portsmouth Harbour.

HMS Artemis sank alongside HMS Dolphin in 1971 owing to water entering through the after torpedo hatch which could not be shut because electrical shore supply cables had been passed through it. Three men were trapped onboard the submarine but managed to escape successfully through the Forward escape tower. A bad trim and poor precautions lead to the loss and many lessons were learnt. HMS Artemis never returned to service.

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