Allied Warships

HMS Phoenix (N 96)

Submarine of the P class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassP 
PennantN 96 
Built byCammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.) 
Ordered7 Feb 1928 
Laid down23 Jul 1928 
Launched3 Oct 1929 
Commissioned3 Feb 1931 
Lost16 Jul 1940 
Loss position37° 15'N, 15° 15'E
History

HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. Gilbert Hugh Nowell, RN) was most likely sunk on 16 July 1940 off Augusta, Sicily, Italy in position 37º15'N, 15º15'E by the Italian torpedo boat Albatros.

 

Commands listed for HMS Phoenix (N 96)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. David Caldicott Ingram, RN29 Jul 193726 Feb 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Charles Alexander Rowe, RN26 Feb 19401 Apr 1940
3Lt.Cdr. Gilbert Hugh Nowell, RN1 Apr 194016 Jul 1940 (+)

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Notable events involving Phoenix include:


The history of HMS Phoenix as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine. Corrections and details regarding information from the enemy's side (for instance the composition of convoys attacked) is kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

3 Sep 1939
When war broke out with Germany HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) was based at Hong Kong.

4 Sep 1939
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) departed Hong Kong for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Pacific to the East of Luzon Strait.

For the daily positions of HMS Perseus during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Phoenix 1st war patrol click here for bigger map

12 Sep 1939
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Hong Kong.

23 Sep 1939
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) departed Hong Kong for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Yellow Sea.

For the daily positions of HMS Perseus during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Phoenix 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map

14 Oct 1939
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Hong Kong.

20 Oct 1939
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong together with HMS Thanet (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN).

24 Oct 1939
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) departed Hong Kong for her 3rd war patrol. She is ordered to patrol off the Kii-suido, Japan.

For the daily positions of HMS Perseus during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Phoenix 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map

10 Nov 1939
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Hong Kong.

14 Nov 1939
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) commenced a refit at Hong Kong.

22 Feb 1940
With her refit completed HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) conducted trials off Hong Kong.

23 Feb 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) conducted trials off Hong Kong.

24 Feb 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) searched off Hong Kong for torpedoes she lost the previous day after having fired a test salvo.

27 Feb 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted trials off Hong Kong.

4 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong.

5 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong.

11 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong.

12 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong with HMS Pandora (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Linton, RN).

13 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong.

18 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong.

19 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong.

20 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong with HMS Pandora (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Linton, RN).

25 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong.

27 Mar 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. C.A. Rowe, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong with HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN).

2 Apr 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) departed Hong Kong for Singapore. This was the first leg of the trip to Alexandria where she was to join the Mediterranean Fleet.

For the daily positions of HMS Perseus during this p assage see the map below.


HMS Phoenix passage Hong Kong - Alexandria click here for bigger map

8 Apr 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) arrived at Singapore.

10 Apr 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) departed Singapore for Colombo.

16 Apr 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) arrived at Colombo.

17 Apr 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) departed Colombo for Aden.

25 Apr 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) arrived at Aden.

26 Apr 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) departed Aden for Port Said.

1 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) arrived at Port Said.

2 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) departed Port Said for Alexandria.

3 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) arrived at Alexandria.

13 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria.

14 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included A/S exercises with the French destroyers Lynx (Cdr. A.M. De Gouyon Matignon de Pontourade) and HMS Tigre (Capt. M. De La Forest Divonne).

15 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria.

16 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria.

23 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) is docked at Alexandria.

25 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) is undocked.

28 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria.

29 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria with HMS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN).

31 May 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria with HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN).

1 Jun 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria with HMS Kingston Cyanite (Skr. F.A. Yeomans, RNR) and HMS Bandolero (Lt.Cdr. F.M.W. Harris, RNR).

3 Jun 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria.

4 Jun 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) departed Alexandria for her 4th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Suda Bay, Crete.

For the daily positions of HMS Perseus during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Phoenix 4th war patrol click here for bigger map

24 Jun 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria.

3 Jul 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) departed Alexandria for her 5th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the East coast of Sicily.

8 Jul 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) fired torpedoes at the Italian battleships Giulio Cesare and Conte di Cavour about 200 nautical miles east of Malta in approximate position 35°36'N, 18°28'E. The torpedoes however miss their target(s). The battleships were escorted by the Italian destroyers Freccia, Saetta, Dardo and Strale.

Phoenix made 3 signals to Capt. (S) One. Stating she had attacked two battleships escorted by four destroyers. She attacked at long range and claimed one possible hit. These signals were also intercepted by the German B-dienst at 0515, 0645 and 0800 hours. The attack must have been made between 0645 and 0800 hours and was not noticed by the Italians.

14 Jul 1940
HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) made her last signal at 2350 hours. She acknowledged the receipt of Capt. (S) One's signal ordering her to proceed to Malta to replenish her torpedoes.

16 Jul 1940
At 1252 hours (Rome time) HMS Phoenix (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) possibly attacked the Italian tanker Dora C. (5843 GRT, built 1922) with torpedoes off Augusta, Sicily, Italy.

The escorting Italian torpedo boat Albatros sighted 2 torpedoes. Albatros then possibly sank Phoenix during the counter attack in which a pattern of 10 depth charges was dropped followed by another pattern of 8. Albatros observed bubbles of air (no oil was seen) and believed that the submarine may have been damaged (it did not claim a sinking at the time). At the time of the attack Albatros was the only Italian vessel equipped with an experimental sonar but it broke down and was not used in the attack.

So it is quite possible that she was sunk by Albatros on this day but is also possible that the torpedo tracks seen by Albatros were porpoises (a frequent mistake !). Phoenix was ordered to return to Malta on the 14th and she had acknowledged that she had received this signal. It is therefore a bit strange the she would still be in her patrol area around noon on the 16th. There was also an Italian minefield about 4 miles South-East of Augusta (minefield 4 AS) and although Phoenix had orders not to enter the 200 fathom line (an exception could be made if a target was worth it) so it is not impossible that she ran into it.


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