Allied Warships

HMS Parthian (N 75)

Submarine of the P class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassP 
PennantN 75 
Built byChatham Dockyard (Chatham, U.K.) 
Ordered2 Jan 1928 
Laid down30 Jun 1928 
Launched22 Jun 1929 
Commissioned13 Jan 1931 
LostAug 1943 
History

HMS Parthian (Lt. Cyril Astell Pardoe, RNR) is presumed mined in Adriatic late July / early August 1943. Having sailed from Malta on 22nd July for patrol west of Greece in the southern Adriatic. She was ordered to patrol off Otranto on 26th July 1943. She was again given a new area to patrol on the 28th. She was reported overdue at Beirut on 11th August 1943.

 

Commands listed for HMS Parthian (N 75)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Michael Gordon Rimington, RN27 May 19388 Jul 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Richard Douglas Cayley, RN8 Jul 194017 Aug 1940
3Lt. Henry Denys Verschoyle, RN17 Aug 194018 Aug 1940
4Lt.Cdr. Richard Micaiah Towgood Peacock, RN18 Aug 194016 Sep 1940
5Lt.Cdr. Michael Gordon Rimington, DSO, RN16 Sep 194028 Nov 1941
6Lt.Cdr. Drummond St. Clair-Ford, RN28 Nov 1941Nov 1942
7Lt. Michael Beauchamp St. John, RNNov 194215 Jun 1943
8Lt. Cyril Astell Pardoe, RNR15 Jun 1943Jul/Aug 43 (+)

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Notable events involving Parthian include:


The history of HMS Parthian 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 are kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

This page was last updated in October 2015.

31 Aug 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Singapore to patrol off Sabang, Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies. Parthian departed Singapore in company of HMS Olympus (Cdr. H.V. King, RN) which was to patrol in the Malacca Straits.

When war was declared on Germany on 3 September 1939 this patrol became her 1st war patrol.

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

(1)

18 Sep 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Singapore. With the exception of an Italian ship and a Dutch cruiser nothing out of the ordinary was seen as the German ships appeared to have already left Sabang. (2)

26 Sep 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (2)

5 Oct 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Singapore for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Sunda Strait.

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

(3)

25 Oct 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Singapore. (3)

1 Nov 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (4)

2 Nov 1939
During 2 and 3 November 1939, HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN), conducted exercises off Singapore. These included night exercises. (4)

7 Nov 1939
During 7 and 8 November 1939, HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN), conducted exercises off Singapore. These included night exercises. (4)

12 Nov 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Singapore for Hong Kong where she was to refit.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(4)

18 Nov 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) arrived at Hong Kong. (4)

24 Nov 1939
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) was taken in hand for refit at Hong Kong. (4)

19 Dec 1939
During her refit HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) was docked at Hong Kong. (5)

2 Feb 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) was undocked. (6)

8 Mar 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) completed refit at Hong Kong and started her post refit trials. (7)

11 Mar 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted trials off Hong Kong. (7)

18 Mar 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong. (7)

19 Mar 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong. (7)

20 Mar 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong. (7)

1 Apr 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong. (8)

2 Apr 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Hong Kong for Singapore.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during the passage to the Mediterranean see the map below.

(8)

8 Apr 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) arrived at Singapore. (8)

10 Apr 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Singapore for Colombo. (8)

16 Apr 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) arrived at Colombo. (8)

17 Apr 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Colombo for Aden. (8)

25 Apr 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) arrived at Aden. (8)

26 Apr 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Aden for Port Said. (8)

1 May 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) arrived at Port Said. (9)

2 May 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Port Said for Alexandria. (9)

3 May 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (9)

13 May 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (9)

15 May 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (9)

17 May 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria with HMS Proteus (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN). (9)

21 May 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Alexandria for her 3rd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the north of Crete.

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

(9)

3 Jun 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (10)

14 Jun 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) departed Alexandria for her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the coast off Cyrenaica.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.

(11)

16 Jun 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) arrived during the night off Tobruk, in time to observe a RAF raid over the harbour. (11)

17 Jun 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) was patrolling off Tobruk when a destroyer of the Nembo class was observed going back and forth at a speed estimated at over 30 knots. The range was 8000 to 9000 yards and the submarine attempted to close and carry out an attack but was unable to do so. This was actually the Italian destroyer Euro which was carrying out engine trials, these took less than three hours and she returned to harbour. (11)

19 Jun 1940
At 1243 hours (time zone -2) HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) fired two torpedoes from 6500 yards at the old Italian armoured cruiser San Giorgio that was moored inside Tobruk harbour. Both torpedoes exploded about 3/4 nautical mile short of the target.

Actually one hit the coast and the other hit the wreck of the Italian gunboat Berta which had been sunk by air attack on 13 June.

During the afternoon Parthian was hunted by an enemy A/S vessel, most likely a destroyer, but she was not detected. A total of about 23 depth charges were dropped but none were close.

This was the Italian destroyer Turbine (Capitano di Fregata Ruggero Ruggeri, leader 1st Destroyer Squadron) which had sailed at 26 knots to hunt the submarine. The destroyer released all her depth charges but, despite observing an oil patch, Ruggeri was not convinced that the submarine was sunk and he returned to harbour to reload with depth charges borrowed from the destroyer Euro. He sailed again this time in company with the destroyer Nembo but by this time Parthian had made good her escape. (11)

20 Jun 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Diamante (built 1933) about 35 nautical miles north-north-west of Tobruk, Libya in position 32°42'N, 23°49'E.

Five officers (including the commanding officer Tenente di Vascello Angelo Parla) and thirty-eight ratings were killed; there were no survivors.

(All times are zone -2)
1445 hours - Sighted a submarine running on the surface at a range of 6500 yards. Started attack.

1502 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 400 yards. All four torpedoes hit the target which disintegrated. No survivors were seen on the surface. (11)

3 Jul 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (11)

8 Jul 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) was docked at Alexandria.

Shortly afterwards Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley assumed temporary command of HMS Parthian as Lt.Cdr. Rimington was sick. (12)

13 Jul 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) was undocked. (12)

16 Jul 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Alexandria for her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to conduct a special operation and to patrol off the Kithera Channel. Later she was ordered to patrol off the east coast of Sicily.

Before proceeding on patrol exercises were carried out with HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN).

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.

(11)

20 Jul 1940
At 0130 HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) landed an agent (M. Spentidakis, code name SPHINX) on Crete at Gromeno Bay. The agent was to contact General Mantakas (an opponent of the dictator Metaxas) who was to organise an uprising should the Greek government sides with the Italians. He was arrested within a week but the British government applied pressure and obtained his release. (11)

27 Jul 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) attacked a convoy of two merchant vessels near Syracuse, Sicily. Three torpedoes were fired at the leading merchant vessel but no hits were obtained.

The target was the steamer Marte (5290 GRT, built 1917) followed by Dalmazia (3800 GRT) [it is not certain if this was the naval water tanker Dalmazia (3137 tons, built 1923) or the passenger cargo Dalmatia L. (3252 GRT, built 1903), our thanks to Francesco De Domenico and Tiberio ‘Sandokan’ from the Aidmen Association and Lorenzo Colombo for their suggestions] unescorted on passage from Tripoli to Catania. They had been briefly escorted out by the torpedo boat Centauro.

(All times are zone -1)
0901 hours - In position 270°, Cape Murro di Porco, 6 nautical miles (approximately 36°59'N, 15°28'E), sighted two merchant vessels bearing 120°, range 7 nautical miles. Started attack.

0915 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the leading ship from 3000 yards. No hits were obtained. (11)

1 Aug 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) had just initiated her return trip to Alexandria when she was informed by the C. in C. signal of 2157/31 that an enemy cruiser was expected on a northward course to pass near Cape Passero (this was the light cruiser Giovanni Delle Bande Nere which had sailed from Tripoli for La Spezia). The submarine turned back and maintained a patrol until dawn before resuming her passage to Alexandria.

7 Aug 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (11)

19 Aug 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.M.T. Peacock, RN) departed Alexandria for her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Ionian Sea.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.

(11)

31 Aug 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.M.T. Peacock, RN) attacked the Italian cruisers Giuseppe Garibaldi and Luigi di Savoia Duca Degli Abruzzi in the Ionian Sea about 105 nautical miles east-south-east of Cape Spartivento, Italy in position 37°45'N, 18°22'E. All torpedoes fired missed their targets.

The two cruisers had sortied from Taranto escorted by the destroyers Nicoloso Da Recco, Antoniotto Usodimare and Emanuele Pessagno (16th Squadron) for a sweep of the Ionian Sea and had made their junction with the cruisers of the 7th Division (Eugenio Di Savoia, Raimondo Montecuccoli, Emanuele Filiberto Duca D’Aosta and Muzio Attendolo screened by the destroyers Antonio Pigafetta, Alvise Da Mosto, Giovanni Da Verazzano and Nicolò Zeno of the 15th Squadron). A lookout from the cruiser Abruzzi had spotted a periscope only 300 metres away followed shortly after by the bubbles typical of a discharge of torpedoes and then by two torpedo tracks. At the time of the attack, the three destroyers of the 16th Division were deployed ahead of the cruisers while the four destroyers were deployed on the left flank in single file led by Pigafetta. It was believed by the Italians – correctly – that the submarine had managed to sneak under the Pigafetta section. Although it was later circulated that the light cruiser Abruzzi had been damaged in this action, the Naval Intelligence Division remained unconvinced. It had been a daring but unrewarded attack.

(All times are zone -3)
1435 hours - When in position 37°47'N, 18°25'E the officer of the watch (S.Lt. G.D.N. Milner, RN) reported two warships hull down.

1439 hours - Started attack on the right-hand vessel.

1442 hours - Broke off the attack as the target was seen to be one of five Navigatori-class destroyers.

1443 hours - Two Zara-class cruisers were in sight. Started attack on the leading ship. Range was 8000 yards.

1452 hours - Fired six torpedoes from 350 yards. Speed of the enemy was estimated at 24 knots. Two explosions were heard after 13 and 16 seconds. Parthian had gone deep on firing. The second cruiser passed overhead when Parthian was at 60 feet.

1507 hours - Depth charging started. Only nine depth charges were dropped and none were close.

1610 hours - No more HE was heard.

1720 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight. (11)

13 Sep 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.M.T. Peacock, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. She collided while berthing with HMS Rainbow (Lt.Cdr. L.P. Moore, RN) (Friday the 13th!). (11)

27 Sep 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) was docked at Alexandria. As there is no log available for October 1940 the date of undocking is currently not known to us. (13)

9 Oct 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) after exercises with HMS Sindonis (Ch.Skr. G. Rawding, RNR) and HMS Kingston Coral (Skr. W. Kirman, RNR). She was ordered to patrol off the coast off Cyrenaica. This was later changed to an area off Cape Colonne, Calabria, Italy.

As there is no log available for October 1940 and the patrol report does not give daily positions no map for this patrol can be displayed. (11)

12 Oct 1940
At 2014 hours, HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) was proceeding to her patrol area when, in position 33°23'N, 21°55'E, about 30 miles north of Ras Hilal, two torpedo tracks were sighted. The submarine turned hard to starboard and the nearest passed 300 yards away. It is probable this attack was bogus and the torpedo tracks were only porpoises. However there is a slim possibility that the submarine Foca was responsible for this attack but she would have been off track by some 90 miles. She disappeared without a trace while on a minelaying mission off Haifa. Did she encounter any difficulty that forced her to divert her course and make for the Libyan coast? We may never have the answer. (11)

21 Oct 1940
At 2025 hours, HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) (11) was patrolling in position 38°30.8'N, 17°51.8'E (off Cape Colonne), when a submarine was sighted on the surface on a collision course, Parthian attempted to ram but missed astern. This was the Italian Zoea returning from a minelaying mission. Two Italian lookouts had also spotted the British submarine enabling Zoea to take avoiding action and disappear at full speed in the darkness. (11)

31 Oct 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (11)

15 Nov 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Benghazi, Libya.

Before proceeding on patrol attack and A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Wolborough (Lt.Cdr. (retired) F.A.W. Ramsay, DSC, RN) and HMS Kingston Crystal (Lt.Cdr. G.H.P. James, RNR).

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

(11)

3 Dec 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. No ship had been sighted. (11)

15 Dec 1940

Operations MC 2, MC 3 and HIDE


Convoy operations in the Mediterranean (MC 2), raid by the Mediterranean fleet into the Straits of Otranto (MC 3) and the passage of two transports from Malta, HMS Malaya and five destroyers to Gibraltar (HIDE).

15 December 1940.

The Port Said section of convoy MW 5B departed today. It was made up of the transports Volo (1587 GRT, built 1938), Rodi (3220 GRT, built 1928, former Italian), tanker Pontfield (8290 GRT, built 1940) and transport Ulster Prince (3791 GRT, built 1930). They were escorted by the corvette HMS Peony (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) M.B. Sherwood, RN).

Also on this day HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, CB, CVO, RN) departed Alexandria for Suda Bay and Piraeus.

16 December 1940.

The Alexandria section of convoy MW 5B departed today. It was made up of the transport Devis (6054 GRT, built 1938) and the tanker Hoegh Hood (9351 GRT, built 1936, Norwegian). The submarine HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) also took passage in this convoy to Malta. Escort for this convoy was provided by HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC, RN). This convoy sailed before noon. The corvettes HMS Salvia (Lt.Cdr. J.I. Miller, DSO, RD, RNR) and HMS Hyacinth (T/Lt. F.C. Hopkins, RNR) joined the convoy at sea coming from Suda Bay.

Another convoy for Malta also departed today, MW 5A, this convoy was made up of the faster transports Waiwera (12435 GRT, built 1934), Lanarkshire (8167 GRT, built 1940). Close escort for this convoy was made up of the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, RN) and HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN). This convoy sailed in the afternoon.

Cover for these convoys was provided by ships from the Mediterranean fleet which for this sortie was made up of the battleships HMS Waspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Thyrwhitt, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall-A’Deane, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN), HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) and HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN) . This cover force sailed from Alexandria around 0100 hours.

At 0745 hours, HMS York, HMS Gloucester, HMS Dainty and HMS Greyhound were detached to fuel at Suda Bay.

At noon the Commander-in-Chief in HMS Warspite was in position 33°36’N, 28°14’E. Course was set for the Kaso Strait which was reached at midnight.

Also on this day HMS Orion arrived at Piraeus. HMS Ajax and HMAS Sydney then departed that port for Suda Bay.

17 December 1940.

At 0400 hours, the Commander-in-Chief was in position 35°50’N, 25°56’E. Between 0345 and 0430 hours ten aircraft were flown off by HMS Illustrious to attack Stampalia and Rhodes. Results of these attacks were difficult to observe but several fires were seen to have been started at Stampalia. The weather over Rhodes was bad and only one aircraft was able to locate the target there.

At 0500 hours HMS York, HMS Gloucester, HMS Dainty and HMS Greyhound arrived at Suda Bay where they immediately started to fuel. They departed again at 0700 hours joined by the destroyer HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC, RN). The 3rd Cruiser Squadron was to patrol off the Kithera Channel and the destroyers were to carry out an A/S patrol off the bay when the fleet was to fuel at Suda Bay.

At 0600 hours, HMS Orion arrived at Suda Bay from Piraeus. She sailed at 130 hours to join HMS Ajax and HMAS Sydney which were patrolling to the west of Crete and had departed Suda Bay at 0300 hours today.

At 0800 hours, the Alexandria and Port Said sections of convoy MW 5B made rendez-vous in position 33°40’N, 27°10’E. Owning to the slow speed of the Hoegh Hood she was detached escorted by HMS Havock.

At 0830 hours, the fleet entered Suda Bay and the destroyers were fuelled.

At 1130 hours, the Rear-Admiral Aircraft Carriers proceeded independently with HMS Illustrious, HMS Valiant, HMS Jervis, HMS Janus, HMS Juno and HMS Mohawk. They were to make rendez-vous with the remainder of the fleet on the 18th but until then had to act independently.

At 1415 hours, the remainder of the fleet also departed. Course was set for the Anti-Kithera Channel which was passed at 1830 hours.

At 1600 hours, the destroyer HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) departed Malta to join the Commander-in-Chief.

The 3rd Cruiser Squadron (York and Gloucester) and the 7th Cruiser Squadron (Orion, Ajax and Sydney) carried out a sweep to the north-west during the night.

At midnight the Commander-in-Chief was in position 34°42’N, 21°45’E.

18 December 1940.

At 0900 hours, the 3rd and 7th Cruiser Squadrons rejoined the Commander-in-Chief in position 36°45’N, 20°28’E. Also HMS Griffin joined from Malta.

At 0930 hours, the Rear-Admiral Aircraft Carriers, also joined.

During the afternoon the weather deteriorated, with high winds and bad visibility, and it appeared unlikely that the proposed bombardment of Valona could take place and that air operations were certainly out of the question.

It was however decided to proceed with the sweep into the Adriatic.

At 1600 hours therefore, a striking force made up of HMS Orion, HMS Ajax, HMAS Sydney, HMS Jervis, HMS Juno and HMS Mohawk was detached. They were ordered to cross latitude 40°25’N at 2330 hours.

At 1800 hours the air striking force, made up of HMS Illustrious, HMS York, HMS Gloucester, HMS Dainty, HMS Greyhound, HMS Gallant and HMS Griffin was also detached. They were to be in position 39°00’N, 20°00’E by 2200 hours.

At 2000 hours, the Commander-in-Chief was in position 39°19’N, 19°20’E.

19 December 1940.

At 0001 hours, the Commander-in-Chief was in position 40°15’N, 19°05’E and at that time the weather had undergone great improvement with good visibility.

It was therefore decided to go ahead with the bombardment. Course was altered to 120° at 0030 hours to close Valona. At 0110 hours, course was altered to a firing course of 140°. HMS Hasty and HMS Hereward swept ahead of HMS Warspite with T.S.D.S. (Two Speed Destroyer Sweep) but no mines were encountered.

At 0113 hours, fire was opened and ceased seven minutes later. About 100 round having been fired. The results of the firing could not be observed.

Between 0130 and 0200 hours, enemy starshell and searchlights were seen in the neighbourhood of Saseno but the bombardment appeared to be a complete surprise to the enemy.

Couse was altered to 210° at 0130 and to 170° and 0230 hours.

In the meantime the striking force had swept up to the line Bari – Durazzo but sighted nothing.

At 0800 hours, the Vice-Admiral light forces (in HMS Orion and his force rejoined the Commander-in-Chief in position 38°33’N, 19°32’E.

One hour later, the Rear-Admiral Aircraft Carriers (in HMS Illustrious and his force also rejoined the Commander-in-Chief. Course was then altered to 220°.

At noon, when in position 34°42’N, 18°44’E, the cuisers HMS Orion, HMS Ajax, HMAS Sydney, HMS Gloucester and HMS York as well as the destroyers HMS Dainty, HMS Gallant, HMS Greyhound, HMS Griffin and HMS Hasty were detached to cover the convoy’s.

At 1400 hours, one aircraft was flown off by HMS Illustrious to carry correspondence to Malta.

There were no further incidents during the day and course was altered to 180° at 1400 hours, to 240° at 2000 hours.

At midnight the Commander-in-Chief was in position 35°40’N, 16°37’E.

20 December 1940.

At 0300 hours, course was altered to 270°.

Early in the morning, convoy MW 5A and her escort of HMS Malaya, HMS Defender, HMS Diamond and now also HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and HMS Wryneck (Lt.Cdr. R.H.D. Lane, RN) arrived at Malta. After fuelling the destroyers left Malta to join the Commander-in-Chief which they did around 0800 hours.

After these destroyers joined the Commander-in-Chief, HMS Hyperion, HMS Hero, HMS Hereward and HMS Ilex were then detached to fuel.

Meanwhile, at 0630 hours, the destroyers HMS Dainty, HMS Gallant, HMS Greyhound, HMS Griffin and HMS Hasty arrived at Malta to refuel. They had been detached by the Vice-Admiral light forces (in HMS Orion). After fuelling these five destroyers joined the Commander-in-Chief at 1000 hours.

At noon the Commander-in-Chief was in position 35°40’N, 14°10’E. HMS Warspite escorted by HMS Jervis, HMS Janus and HMS Juno then proceeded into Grand Harbour, Malta.

At 1205 hours, the first part of convoy MW 5B arrived at Malta, the other part arrived a little over an hour later except for the Hoegh Hood and her escort HMS Havock.

At 1250 hours, HMS Malaya, escorted by HMS Hyperion, HMS Hereward and HMS Ilex departed Malta to join HMS Illustrious and HMS Valiant and the remaining destroyers at sea.

At 1450 hours, convoy ME 5A sailed from Malta for the east. It was made up of the transports Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Clan Macaulay (10492 GRT, built 1936), Memnon (7506 GRT, built 1931) and HMS Beconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939). They were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Calcutta and the corvettes HMS Peony, HMS Salvia and HMS Hyacinth. The destroyer HMS Wryneck also joined.

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Meanwhile in the western Mediterranean ‘Force H’ was to sail from Gibraltar today to provide cover for convoy MG 1 (see below) and HMS Malaya during their passage to Gibraltar.

At 0930 hours, five destroyers; HMS Duncan (A/Capt. A.D.B. James, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN), HMS Isis (Cdr. C.S.B. Swinley, DSC, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN) departed Gibraltar eastward. This was done so they could sweep ahead of the fleet and that they could also economise fuel in a proportion of the destroyers so the be able to conduct another A/S sweep ahead of ‘Force H’ later in the Skerki Channel.

The remainder of ‘Force H’; battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Sommerville, KCB, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN), light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), departed Gibraltar westwards at 18 knots at 1800 hours. It was then still daylight. At 1930 hours, when it was completely dark, they reversed course to pass Gibraltar eastwards and also increased speed to 23 knots.

21 December 1940.

At 0700 hours, Hoegh Hood and HMS Havock arrived at Malta.

At 0845 hours, the Vice-Admiral Light Forces which was escorting convoy ME 5, detached HMAS Sydney to Suda Bay where she was to pick up her damaged Walrus aircraft following which Sydney was to proceed to Malta for a short refit.

At 1000 hours, HMS Hyperion, HMS Hero, HMS Hereward and HMS Ilex put into Malta.

At noon, convoy MG 1 departed Malta for Gibraltar, it was made up of transports Clan Forbes (7529 GRT, built 1938) and Clan Fraser (7529 GRT, built 1939) escorted by HMS Hyperion, HMS Hasty, HMS Hero, HMS Hereward and HMS Ilex. At sea HMS Malaya also joined.

Also at noon, HMS Jervis, HMS Janus and HMS Juno departed Malta to proceed ahead of convoy MG 1 on an A/S sweep to the north-west of Pantelleria.

At 1300 hours, a reconnaissance aircraft from HMS Illustrious sighted an enemy convoy. This convoy was then attacked by nine Swordfish fitted with torpedoes. They managed to sink two Italian transports in position 34°39’N, 10°48’E. These were the Norge (6511 GRT, built 1907) and Peuceta (1926 GRT, built 1902).

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As dawn broke the five destroyers that had sailed earlier were sighted by ‘Force H’ and then joined the fleet. Speed was reduced to 18 knots. A/S patrol aircraft were launched by Ark Royal and a section of fighters was kept at the ready but the RD/F (radar) screens remained clear.

At 1800 hours, four destroyers; HMS Duncan, HMS Encounter, HMS Isis and HMS Jaguar went ahead at 26 knots to make the A/S sweep referred to earlier. ‘Force H’ meanwhile increased speed to 20 knots and at 1930 hours to 22.5 knots.

22 December 1940.

At 0240 hours, HMS Malaya reported that HMS Hyperion had been mined in positon 37°04’N, 11°31’E. HMS Ilex was detached to pick up survivors which she did. She then proceeded to Malta to land them there.

HMS Dainty and HMS Greyhound were detached by the Rear-Admiral Aircraft Carriers to Malta to escort HMS Warspite which was due to return to rejoin the fleet at sea. She departed Malta at 0700 hours escorted by these two destroyers as well as HMS Havock. They rejoined the fleet shortly after 1100 hours in position 35°38’N, 14°06’E

Earlier that morning HMS Illustrious had launched a total of fifteen Swordfish aircraft, in two waves, at 0515 and 0615 hours, to attack Tripoli. Fires were seen to have been started and a warehouse was seen to blew up. All aircraft returned safely.

At 0900 hours, convoy MG 1 and her escort made rendez-vous with ‘Force H’ near Galita Island and continued on the west.

At noon, the Commander-in-Chief was in position 35°34’N, 14°15’E. Course was then set for the eastward.

At 1415 hours, an air search was flown off to search between the Sicilian coast and 070°. This search sighted nothing except a hospital ship.

At 1715 hours, HMS Dainty, HMS Greyhound and HMS Ilex departed Malta to joined the Commander-in-Chief around 0900 hours the next day.

The fleet proceeded to the eastward without incident. Course being altered to 070° at 1800 hours and to 100° at 2030 hours.

At midnight the Commander-in-Chief was in position 35°17’N, 17°56’E.

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The moon rose at 0135 hours and visibility was high. Therefore a torpedo bomber striking force was made ready on board HMS Ark Royal as of 0200 hours.

At 0400 hours, a signal was received from HMS Malaya, that one of the destroyers in her screen, HMS Hyperion, had been mined in position 37°04’N, 11°34’E.

At 0834 hours, a signal was received that HMS Hyperion had sunk and that HMS Ilex had the survivors on board and was proceeding to Malta leaving three destroyers with HMS Malaya.

Shortly before dawn eight aircraft were flown off by HMS Ark Royal but these sighted no enemy ships. Two enemy aircraft were sighted, one by a Swordfish aircraft and one by HMS Jaguar. HMS Duncan and HMS Isis rejoined with ‘Force H’. HMS Encounter and HMS Jaguar had been detached to join HMS Malaya which made rendez-vous with ‘Force H’ at 0940 hours. They then proceeded westwards at 15 knots.

Ark Royal launched a feighter patrol at 1020 hours and this was maintained throughout the day.

At 1245 hours another air search was flown off but again they sighted no enemy ships.

Shortly afterwards, when ‘Force H’ was in position 37°49’N, 08°33’E an aircraft was detected by RD/F and Ark Royal reported that her Skua patrol had driven off an Italian aircraft.

The remainder of the day was uneventful except for sighting a Vichy-French convoy which was not molested.

23 December 1940.

At 0745 hours, an air search was flown off to search a sector between 290° and 270°.

At 0800 hours, the Commander-in-Chief was in position 35°02’N, 20°35’E. Course was 095°.

At 1315 hours, HMS Dainty, HMS Greyhound and HMS Ilex joined the fleet. They had been delayed due to a defect to the steering gear of HMS Greyhound.

At 1400 hours, HMS Defender and HMS Griffin were detached for convoy escort duty with convoy AS 9.

There were no further incidents during the day.

The Vice-Admiral Light Forces in HMS Orion arrived at Alexandia today with HMS Ajax and convoy ME 5. The third cruiser squadron (HMS Gloucester and HMS York) had been detached earlier for Piraeus where they arrived on this day.

HMAS Sydney arrived at Malta for a shot refit.

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Meanwhile in the western Mediterranean all was quiet as well. Air patrol was kept up throughout the day but they saw no action. Some destroyers carried out exercises.

At 1700 hours, the force was split into two groups; HMS Renown, HMS Malaya and HMS Ark Royal went ahead with a screen on nine destroyers (HMS Faulknor, HMS Firedrake, HMS Forester, HMS Fortune, HMS Foxhound, HMS Fury, HMS Hasty, HMS Hero and HMS Hereward) and set course for Gibraltar at 18 knots. The merchant vessels proceeded at 13 knots escorted by HMS Sheffield and five destroyers (HMS Duncan, HMS Encounter, HMS Isis, HMS Jaguar and HMS Wishart).

24 December 1940.

At 0001 hours, the Commander-in-Chief was in position 33°34’N, 25°27’E steering 120°.

There were no incidents during the day and Alexandria was reached around 1500 hours.

’Force H’ and convoy MG 1 and it’s escort all arrived at Gibraltar today. At 0730 hours, HMS Renown and three destroyers (HMS Faulknor, HMS Forester and HMS Foxhound had increased speed to 24 knots to exercises with the defences of Gibraltar. All ships of the ‘fast group’ had entered Gibraltar by 1230 hours. The ‘slow group’ entered Gibraltar around 1500 hours. (14)

16 Dec 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Malta with convoy M.W.5b.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(15)

20 Dec 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at Malta. (15)

29 Dec 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the Calabrian coast.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.

(15)

31 Dec 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) attacked two merchant vessels with torpedoes near Cape Spartivento, Calabria, Italy. No hits were obtained. [So far we have not been able to identify these vessels].

(All times are zone -1)
1539 hours - In position 37°53'N, 16°15'E sighted smoke bearing 250°. Turned towards at high speed but when doing so the after hydroplaned jammed at 10 degrees of dive and Parthian dived steeply and was halted at 95 feet by blowing forward main ballast. The hydroplanes then reacted correctly and trim was regained and Parthian returned to periscope depth.

1555 hours - The target was identified as a 5000 - 6000 tons merchant vessel. Started attack.

1626 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 6500 yards. No hits were obtained.

During the attack, at 1620 hours, Lt.Cdr. Rimington had sighted more smoke to the westward.

1640 hours - Started attack on this second ship.

1658 hours - This new target was identified as an elderly looking merchant vessel of 3000 tons.

1715 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 4500 yards. No hits were obtained. (15)

9 Jan 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Carlo Martinolich (4208 GRT, built 1928) about 10 nautical miles east of Punta Stilo, Calabria, Italy in position 38°28'N, 16°44'E.

One of the crew of the merchant was killed, four were missing. The torpedo boat Simone Schiaffino was ordered to hunt the submarine and picked up the thirty-four survivors.

(All times are zone -1)
1442 hours - The officer of the watch (Lt. G.D.N. Milner, RN) sighted the masts and upperworks of a large merchant ship approaching from the direction of Messina.

1444 hours - Started attack. Range was about 5 to 6 nautical miles.

The target turned out to be a fairly modern merchant vessel of about 7000 - 8000 tons, fully laden.

1507 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1200 yards. At 50 seconds and 68 seconds after firing the first torpedo loud explosions were heard. HE of the target ceased and she was heard breaking up. (16)

13 Jan 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) crossed the Corinth Canal and arrived at Piraeus, Greece. (16)

16 Jan 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Piraeus for Alexandria. (16)

21 Jan 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (16)

27 Jan 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria together with HMSAS Southern Floe (T/Lt. J.E.J. Lewis, SANF(V)) and HMSAS Southern Sea (T/Lt. A. Thomas SANF(V)). Upon completion of the exercises she set course for Port Said. (16)

29 Jan 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at Port Said. (16)

30 Jan 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) was docked at Port Said. (16)

6 Feb 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) was undocked. (17)

12 Feb 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Port Said for Alexandria. (17)

13 Feb 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (17)

17 Feb 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to perform a special operation at Kastelorizo Island.

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

(18)

19 Feb 1941
During 18 and 19 February 1941, HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) carried out periscope reconnaissance from submerged. She was able to obtain nearly all the information required for the landing party for operation 'Abstention'. (18)

23 Feb 1941

Operation Abstention.

Landing on and capture of the Italian island of Castelelorizo.

The destroyers HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN) and HMS Hereward (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) embarked 200 Commandos at Suda Bay and then sailed for Castelorizo in the afternoon of 23 February 1941.

Later the same day the light cruisers HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) and HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) departed Suda Bay to provide cover for this operation.

The submarine HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) was also involved in this operation. During 18 and 19 February 1941 she had carried out submarine periscope reconnaissance of the island and during the actual landings she was to act as beacon.

a part (24 men) of the garrison for Castelorizo of Royal Marines which had to be landed after the commandos had taken the island was embarked on the river gunboat HMS Ladybird (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN). This vessel departed from Famagusta, Cyprus at 2330/23.

Before dawn on the 25th the destroyers landed the Commandos which then successfully captured the island after the small Italian garrison surrendered. HMS Ladybird also managed to land the Marines in daylight. During an Italian air raid HMS Ladybird was hit while in the harour. The commanding officer of the Commandos stated that he did not require the Marines so these were re-embarked on HMS Ladybird which then left for Cyprus.

The main garrison of Royal Marines was embarked in the armed boarding vessel HMS Rosauria. Her sailing to Castelorizo was cancelled due to the enemy’s air raids on the harbour. She was to sail at night but this gave trouble due to her slow speed. She was to be escorted by the two destroyers but by now these were low on fuel.

In the end all ships involved in the operation were ordered at 0230/26 to proceed to Alexandria where the destroyers were to fuel and then take over the Royal Marines from Rosaria and land them at Castelorizo. The Commandos in the meantime had to held the island.

HMS Gloucester, HMS Bonaventure and HMS Decoy arrived at Alexandria at 2000/26. HMS Rosauria and HMS Hereward arrived at 0400/27. HMS Ladybird was ordered to remain at Famagusta, Cyprus. When HMS Gloucester arrived at Alexandria Rear-Admiral Renouf reported sick and command of the operation was transferred to Captain Everton of HMS Bonaventure.

The garrison from the Rosauria was then transferred to the destroyers HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, RN) and HMS Decoy.

The Italians however meanwhile did not wait and counter attacked. Over 300 troops were embarked at Rhodos by the torpedo boats Lupo and Lince. They were supported by the destroyers Francesco Crispi, Quintino Sella and the motor torpedo boats MAS 541 and MAS 546.

When HMS Ladybird left Castelorizo for Famagusta the commandos were left without support and means to communicate. So when the Italians attacked they were on their own.

At 0700/27, HMS Decoy with half the garrison, and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN) departed Alexandria for Castelorizo. They were followed around 0830 hours by HMS Bonaventure, HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN), HMS Hero (with the other half of the garrison) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN). HMS Decoy and HMS Hero were to land the garrison at Castelorizo and take off the commandos.

When the force arrived off Castelorizo a small party was landed and found out about the Italian counter attack. It was then concluded that without more naval and air support the situation would be hopeless. The bulk of the exhausted commandos were then embarked and the whole force then set course for Suda Bay.

While covering the withdrawal of the commandos HMS Jaguar sighted a unknown ship in the harbour (this was the Italian destroyer Francesco Crispi). Jaguar fired five torpedoes into the harbour entrance. Four explosions were heard but the enemy ship was not hit. Shortly afterwards Jaguar sighted two torpedo tracks passing astern. Jaguar then opened fire on the enemy destroyer and claimed two hits. After the searchlight of Jaguar had broken down starshell was fired by her with some delay but in the meantime she had lost contact with the enemy.

The whole force then proceeded towards Suda Bay but at 1000/28, HMAS Perth, HMS Hasty and HMS Jaguar were detached. HMS Bonaventure then escorted HMS Dainty and HMS Hero south of Crete towards Suda Bay but parted company with them at 1500/28 and Bonaventure then set course for Alexandra where she arrived at 0715 hours on March 1st. Decoy and Hero continued on to Suda Bay where the commandos were landed in the afternoon of March 1st. They then also proceeded to Alexandria still with the intended garrison for Castelorizo on board. They arrived at Alexandria at 0630 hours on 2 March 1941. (19)

25 Feb 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) acted as a beacon to guide the ships in that participated in operation 'Abstention'.

A raiding party of 200 commando's was landed by destroyers HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN) and HMS Hereward (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN). Gunboat HMS Ladybird (Lt.Cdr. (retired) J.F. Blackburn, RN) landed Royal Marines. However the operation was a failure as Italian forces led by Admiral Biancheri reacted with vigour and retook the island. (18)

27 Feb 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (18)

6 Mar 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the Calabrian coast.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.

(18)

16 Mar 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant Giovanni Boccaccio (3141 GRT, built 1919) off Capo dell'Armi in position 37°57'N, 15°40'E. She was carrying 2000 tons of sulphur and was in convoy with Valsavoia (5733 GRT, built 1919) and Maddalena G. (5212 GRT, built 1918) escorted by the auxiliary Lago Tana (790 tons, built 1940) and were on a trip from Catania to Gallipoli and Bari. Three men were wounded and she had to be beached near Melito di Porto Salvo (Calabria). From Lago Tana one torpedo track had been observed followed by three more and she immediately gave the alarm. The auxiliary altered course in time as she was missed by torpedo ahead while the others passed astern. She combed the tracks and dropped twelve depth charges but three failed to explode. An oil patch was seen and it was believed the submarine had been damaged. The convoy proceeded and was reinforced by the torpedo boat Giuseppe Dezza. Boccacio was towed by the tugs Titan, Impero and Littorio and arrived at Reggio on 25 March.

(All times are zone -2)
1120 hours - Sighted a large quantity of smoke in the Straits apparently coming down.

1150 hours - Sighted masts and funnels of three merchant ships and what appeared to be a cruiser. The ships were very difficult to identify due to mirage effect.

As time progressed the ships were identified as a 6000 tons merchant ship, a 10000 tons tanker and a merchant ship of 4500 tons. The cruiser was seen to be a sloop or corvette type of ship. Started attack.

1239 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the leading merchant ship from 2100 yards.

1241 hours - Fired a second salvo of three torpedoes at the tanker from 1000 yards.

It is thought that several torpedo hits had been obtained but as a counter attack started immediately and 5 depth charges were dropped. The last two were very close and shook Parthian considerably. The results of the attack could therefore not be observed.

7 More depth were then dropped also very close. The hunt continued for quite some time but the escort was not in contact and by 1545 hours no more HE could be heard. (18)

24 Mar 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (18)

4 Apr 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Port Said. (20)

5 Apr 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at Port Said here she was docked for repairs. The dates of docking and undocking are not mentioned in the ships log. (20)

13 May 1941
With her repairs completed HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) conducted trials off Port Said. (21)

15 May 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) conducted trials off Port Said.

As there were still problems with her after hydroplanes she was docked again later the same day. (21)

17 May 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) was undocked. (21)

18 May 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) again conducted trials off Port Said.

As there were still problems with her after hydroplanes she was docked yet again later the same day. (21)

20 May 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) was undocked. (21)

21 May 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Port Said for Alexandria. (21)

22 May 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (21)

23 May 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean off the Dardanelles.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.

(18)

3 Jun 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian oiler Strombo (5232 GRT, built 1923) east of Limnos in position 39°57'N, 25°38'E.

She had been in convoy with the tankers Dora C. (5843 GRT, built 1922) and Annarella (5999 GRT, built 1913) escorted by the torpedo-boats Castelfidardo and Calatafimi. They had sailed from Piraeus for a trip to the Black Sea but the two torpedo boats had left them just before the attack. There were no casualties. Strombo managed to reach Istanbul and was docked on 5 June.

(All times are zone -3)
1250 hours - The officer of the watch (Lt. P.H. May, RN) sighted three ships to the southward. Closed to investigate.

1301 hours - In position 39°58'N, 25°58'E it was seen that the ships sighted were a convoy of tankers, 2 large and 1 medium-seized. They were escorted by two destroyers. Soon the destroyers made off towards Mudros at high speed leaving the convoy to do the last 12 miles to Cape Helles unescorted, except for one seaplane. Started attack.

1329 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the rear tanker, thought to be 7000 - 8000 tons, from 7000 yards.

1334 hours - Heard a torpedo explosion. Upon returning to periscope depth saw that the rear tanker had been hit and was badly damaged. She was listing 15-20 degrees to port with her stern nearly awash and the whole afterpart was on fire. Both destroyers were racing back towards the scene. Parthian went deep and cleared the area. (18)

8 Jun 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) sank two sailing vessels and another small vessel at Mitylene, Lesbos, Greece. Also the jetty was destroyed. Parthian had fired two torpedoes in the harbour but both missed and hit the sea wall in the northern part of the harbour.

(All times are zone -3)
0709 hours - Fired a stern torpedo (old Mark II type) at 2 schooners seen moored alongside the jetty inside Mitylene harbour. The torpedo broke surface violently about 300 yards astern jumping right out of the water. She then settled down again but ran 30 yards to port missing the targets.

0710 hours - Fired another Mark II torpedo from the other stern tube. This torpedo hit right between the two moored schooners and a lighter. When the smoke had cleared there was no more sign of both schooners, the lighter and even the jetty had gone. (18)

13 Jun 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (18)

21 Jun 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for her 13th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Syria.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.

(18)

25 Jun 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Vichy French submarine Souffleur (built 1927) off Beirut in position 33°49'N, 35°26'E. The submarine was hit by a single torpedo near the deck gun. Of the six men on the bridge, one was mortally wounded but the others managed to swim away. Four reached the shore but the fifth drowned. In all fifty men perished.

(All times are zone -3)
1235 hours - The officer of the watch (Lt. G.D.N. Milner, RN) sighted a Requin-class submarine south-west of Beirut in position 33°49'N, 35°26'E on the surface bearing 005°, range 6000 yards. This was most likely the submarine sighted earlier in the morning but that dived when about to fire torpedoes.

1246 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 2000 to 3000 yards. One torpedo hit the target underneath the conning tower. The submarine broke in two and sank rapidly. Parthian went deep and retired to seaward. (18)

28 Jun 1941
At 0100 hours (zone -1) HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) tried to ram a French Requin-class submarine about 12 nautical miles north-west of Beirut in position 34°04'N, 35°19'E. Parthian just missed the stern of the French submarine which was diving. Parthian then also dived and while doing so the after hydroplanes again jammed. Depth control was however soon regained.

The submarine encountered was most likely Caiman but she did not reported any encounter with an enemy submarine. (18)

1 Jul 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) put into Haifa as ordered the previous day. (18)

2 Jul 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Haifa to resume her patrol. It was uneventful. (18)

6 Jul 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) again put into Haifa. (18)

9 Jul 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Haifa for Alexandria. (18)

11 Jul 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 13th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (18)

21 Jul 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for her 1st storing trip to Malta. On the 27th she was ordered by Capt. S.10 to take up a patrol position to intercept a southbound enemy convoy making this Parthian's 14th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean).

Parthian was to proceed to the U.S.A. for a much needed refit.

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

(18)

28 Jul 1941
Having not sighted the convoy HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) continued her passage to Malta. (18)

30 Jul 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (18)

3 Aug 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. (22)

9 Aug 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (22)

11 Aug 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Gibraltar for Portsmouth.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during the passage from Malta to Portsmouth see the map below.

(22)

19 Aug 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (22)

29 Aug 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Portsmouth for Dartmouth. (22)

30 Aug 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at Dartmouth. (22)

1 Sep 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Dartmouth. (23)

2 Sep 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) departed Dartmouth for Portsmouth, U.S.A. where she was to refit at the Navy Yard.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(23)

16 Sep 1941
HMS Parthian (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) arrived at the Portsmouth Navy Yard to commence her refit. (23)

15 Feb 1942
With her refit completed HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed the Portsmouth Navy Yard for New London, Connecticut, U.S.A. (24)

16 Feb 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at the U.S.N. submarine base at New London for a period of trials and training. (24)

20 Feb 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) is put on the slipway at New London. (24)

25 Feb 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) is put back in the water. (24)

7 Mar 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed New London for Gibraltar.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(25)

9 Mar 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) returned to New London with defects she had developed the previous day. (25)

13 Mar 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) is put on the slipway at New London. (25)

23 Mar 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) is put back in the water. (25)

17 Apr 1942
With repairs completed HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) started another period of trials and training off New London. (26)

23 Apr 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed New London for Gibraltar and a patrol off Chaucer Bank (42°45'N, 29°00'W). (26)

28 Apr 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) again developed mechanical problems. Course was set towards Bermuda to effect repairs. (26)

30 Apr 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Bermuda. (26)

30 May 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) conducted trials off Bermuda. (27)

31 May 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) was docked at Bermuda to repair her fuel tanks that were leaking. (27)

4 Jun 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) was undocked. (28)

7 Jun 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Bermuda with HMS Castle Harbour. (28)

8 Jun 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Bermuda for Gibraltar.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(28)

20 Jun 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (28)

8 Jul 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta. This was her 2nd storage trip.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(29)

18 Jul 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Malta. Unloading of the cargo commenced immediately (36 tons of aviation spirit, 33 tons of miscellaneous stores and 47 tons of ammunition, most of them for HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN).

As Parthian had developed engine problems she remained at Malta for repairs. (29)

31 Jul 1942
With her engine repairs completed HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. She had on board 45 passengers. This was her 3rd storage trip.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.
No position Is known for 9 August 1942.

(29)

10 Aug 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (30)

5 Sep 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) was docked at Gibraltar. (31)

9 Sep 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) was undocked. (31)

22 Sep 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Lord Hotham and HMS Coltsfoot. (31)

23 Sep 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) conducted attack exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Lookout.

26 Sep 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta. Before proceeding she carried out practice attacks on HMS P 48.

This was her 4th storage trip. Parthian had on board:
4 tons of canteen stores
8 Mk VIII torpedoes
80 bags of mail
16400 gallons of diesel oil
2300 gallons of lubricating oil and
a Dachsund dog for the Princess Ali Khan

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(18)

3 Oct 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Malta where the unloading of stores and mail started immediately. (18)

5 Oct 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Malta for Beirut. She had on board 16 passengers and
736 lbs of wardroom stores
100 hammocks and bedding
12 cases of flares
O, P and R-class submarine spare gear

This was her 5th storage trip.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(18)

13 Oct 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Beirut. A few hours before her arrival an air bottle exploded and killed a rating. (18)

25 Oct 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) conducted exercises off Beirut. (32)

26 Oct 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Beirut for Malta. This was her 6th storage trip.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(18)

2 Nov 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) arrived at Malta where the unloading of the stores started immediately.

Parthian had on board
5 tons of dehydrated cabbage
5 18" torpedoes
80 bags of mail
3000 gallons of diesel fuel
6 passengers (18)

4 Nov 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Malta for her 15th war patrol (13th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the east and south-east coast of Sicily.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.
The positions had to be taken from the patrol report as there is no log available, therefore not all days have positions.

(18)

12 Nov 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) is ordered to a new patrol area, near Marettimo Island to the west of Sicily. (18)

13 Nov 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) attacked an escorted merchant vessel north of Marettimo Island. This was the Italian freighter Sivigliano (1270 GRT, built 1921) escorted by the torpedo boat Giuseppe Sirtori on a trip from Palermo to Bizerta. Three torpedo tracks were observed and avoided.

(All times are zone -1)
1614 hours - Sighted a large merchant ship escorted by a three funnelled torpedo-boat with an aircraft flying overhead bearing 074°, range 6 nautical miles. Started attack.

1637 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 4000 yards. One loud explosion was heard 3 m 16s after firing.

1643 hours - A counter attack by the torpedo-boat started.

1756 hour - The last depth charge was dropped by the torpedo boat. 23 Depth charges in all had been dropped. Some were quite close causing some minor damage.

[The patrol report does not mention an attack position and as there is no log available the position of the attack is not known to us for the moment]. (18)

16 Nov 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) fires four torpedoes against a large unescorted merchant vessel to the north-west of Marettimo Island in position 38°03'N, 11°51'E. No hits were obtained. This was the Italian auxiliary D 16 / Barletta (1975 GRT, built 1931) on a trip from Messina to Tunis. She reported to have been missed by two torpedoes and reacted by dropping five depth charges for intimidation purposes.

(All times are zone -1)
1045 hours - Sighted a large merchant vessel hull down bearing 005°, range 8000 yards. Altered course to attack.

1051 hours - Enemy now right ahead. Enemy course was 260°. She was a large single funnel armed merchant vessel, possibly an Armed Merchant Cruiser.

1118 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 4000 yards. One explosion was heard that might have been a torpedo hit. (18)

20 Nov 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. D. St. Clair-Ford, RN) ended her 15th war patrol (13th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

Parthian had returned from patrol with a whole lot of serious defects. By now it had become clear that the refit at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in the U.S.A. was not thoroughly carried out. (18)

10 Dec 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Malta for her 16th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Linosa island.

12 Dec 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) ended her 16th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. This patrol had to be aborted due to serious defects.

20 Dec 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) was docked at Malta.

26 Dec 1942
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) was undocked.

8 Jan 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Malta for Beirut.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this passage see the map below.

(18)

13 Jan 1943
When diving early in the morning HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) went rapidly from 80 feet to 150 feet due to a malfunctioning valve. This rapid descend resulted in structural damage to a fuel tank. (18)

14 Jan 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) arrived at Beirut.

As Parthian was suffering from many serious defects on top of the damage from yesterday's event it was decided to give Parthian a short refit by the depot ships staff. (18)

16 Feb 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Beirut for Port Said. (33)

18 Feb 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) arrived at Port Said. (33)

19 Feb 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) was docked at Port Said. (33)

3 Mar 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) was undocked. She then continued her refit at Port Said. (34)

15 Mar 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Port Said for Beirut. (34)

17 Mar 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) arrived at Beirut. On the way she had performed a deep dive to 350 feet. (34)

23 Mar 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Beirut for her 17th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.
The positions had to be taken from the patrol report as there is no log available, therefore not all days have positions.

(18)

28 Mar 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) sank three sailing vessels on this day with gunfire, demolition charges and ramming.

(All times are zone -2)
0730 hours - Surfaced to the east of the Doro Channel and engaged a 30 tons caique bound for the Doro Channel. The opening range was 3000 yards. Fourteen rounds were fired with range closing. The crew of seven abandoned ship in their dinghy. Parthian went alongside and placed a boarding party on board. The ships papers were taken as well as some loot. Cargo was olive oil and stored. Demolition charges were placed and she blew up at 0815 hours.

[This was the Greek sailing vessel MY 46 / Angela (25 GRT).]

----------------------------------------

0930 hours - In position 38°17'N, 24°55'E closed an east bound caique and hailed her alongside. The caique was packed with refugees and allowed to proceed. One former Greek Army officer was retained on board.

----------------------------------------

1715 hours - Surfaced in position 39°20'N, 25°30'E and opened fire on a 20 tons westbound caique. Twelve rounds were fired before the caique sank. Opening range was 4000. The last round was fired from 700 yards. She was loaded with kerosene. Three survivors were picked up and placed on upturned wreckage.

Parthian then closed another caique 8 nautical miles to the westward. Three rounds were fired across the bows of this caique and the crew abandoned ship. This caique was estimated at 120 tons. Parthian slightly damaged the caique while going alongside and as a result of this she sank shortly afterwards to our amazement.
[This was the Greek sailing vessel SYR 320 / Archangelos (61 GRT).]
(18)

29 Mar 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) attacked an escorted merchant vessel about 20 nautical miles west of the entrance to the Dardanelles. Four torpedoes were fired at this ship but no hits were obtained. In the same attack two torpedoes were fired at one of the escorts thought to be a sloop. These torpedoes also missed.

The target was Alba Julia (5700 GRT, built 1922) escorted by the German minelayer Drache, the Italian torpedo boat Castelfidardo, and the auxiliaries GL 54, Aethos and Seeadler. The alarm was given by an escorting aircraft allowing the convoy to take avoiding action.

(All times are zone -2)
0923 hours - In position 39°59'N, 25°43'E sighted a merchant vessel of 2000 - 3000 tons. She was escorted by a destroyer, a sloop, an armed tug and four motor boats. Also three aircraft were patrolling overhead. Started attack.

In the attack two stern torpedoes were fired at the sloop and four bow torpedoes were fired at the merchant ship. No hits were obtained. Parthian went deep on firing and was hunted but the patrol report makes no mention of depth charges being dropped. (18)

30 Mar 1943
In the morning HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) bombarded a factory near Cape Paliuri, Greece. Seventy-eight rounds were fired, sixty-eight fell in the target area. Also four caiques were destroyed and the hulls of five more that were on the beach were also destroyed. One of the four caiques is so far not identified the others were Evangelistria, CHI 73 / Maria and Vol 252 / Agios Spiridon. The German Naval High Command confirmed that four caiques had been set afire. (18)

31 Mar 1943
During the morning (the patrol report does not mention a time) HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) sank the Greek caique Elpis by setting it on fire to the North of Skiathos. The cargo was fuel oil. The crew was evacuated to another small caique. (18)

10 Apr 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) ended her 17th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean) at Beirut. (18)

25 Apr 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Beirut for Port Said. (35)

27 Apr 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) arrived at Port Said. (35)

29 Apr 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) was docked at Port Said to have both propellers changed. She was undocked later the same day. (34)

30 Apr 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Port Said for her 18th war patrol (16th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to conduct a special operation and to patrol in the Aegean.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.
The positions had to be taken from the patrol report as there is no log available, therefore not all days have positions.

(18)

2 May 1943
In the evening HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) landed a party of three at Makri Yalo Bay (ca. 35°01’N, 26°04’E) on the south coast of Crete. This was operation Ironclad [not to be mistaken with the operation of the same name which resulted in the occupation of Madagascar a year earlier].

[No information is found in files regarding SOE operations which means this operation was most likely an ISLD operation (as MI6 was known in the Middle East).] (18)

4 May 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) sank the sailing vessel Rodi 1606 / Spina Secondo aka Despina II (13 GRT) with gunfire off Kos, Greece.

(All times are zone -3)
0800 hours - In position 36°36'N, 26°48'E sighted a caique coming from the south and steering round Cape Daphni (Kos). Closed to attack with the gun.

1004 hours - Surfaced and opened fire on the caique which was flying the Italian flag. Eight rounds were fired before she sank. Opening range was 2500 yards and the last shot was fired from 300 yards. Her cargo was fuel oil in drums, stores and also several sheep were seen. Three survivors were allowed to escape towards Kos in their dinghy. (18)

5 May 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) attacked an Italian escort vessel with gunfire about 7 nautical miles north-east of the Doro Channel in position 38°20'N, 24°46'E. This was actually the German minelayer Drache (also used as A/S vessel) of 1870 tons, escorting again Alba Julia (see 29 March 1943). She was hit by the submarine’s gunfire and had four killed and fourteen wounded (four of them seriously) but replied with all her gun armament, firing six rounds of 8.8cm, 28 rounds of 3.7cm and 286 rounds of 2cm. She then attempted to ram the submarine unsuccessfully and dropped a total of 102 depth charges. Parthian slipped away with a damaged forward periscope. The torpedo boat Castelfidardo and the patrol boat MS 41 were ordered to the area to hunt the submarine.

(All times are zone -3)
1940 hours - Sighted a mast and funnel near the Euboea side of the strait. This turned out to be the same escort vessel that was attacked by Parthian off the Dardanelles on 29 March 1943. Range was closed to 1000 yards and since she appeared lightly armed and as it was growing dark, it was decided to risk a gun action.

Surfaced and opened fire with the 4" gun. The second hit at the base of the funnel causing a vivid flash or orange flame and scattering tracer ammunition in all directions. When she came head on she received four more hits, one on the side of bridge and the remainder forward. Although extensive damage must have been inflicted the enemy now got one of her quick-firing guns into action with far too much accuracy. We therefore dived receiving several hits in the progress, one of which entered the bridge about one foot from the commanding officer. We had hoped that with the hits on the bridge we had rendered the enemy in-operative in the A/S sense.

15 Minutes later however the target commenced an A/S hunt using Asdics. He was joined half an hour later by another ship that was not using Asdics. They they dropped 76 depth charges all most uncomfortably close. The last pattern of depth charges was dropped at 2110 hours.

2200 hours - HE had faded so surfaced and ran at full speed to the north-east. (18)

7 May 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) bombarded Platamone with 41 rounds at 2015 hours. Two caiques were claimed sunk with one hit each, one of 70 tons and one of 30 tons. One of these caiques was SAL 92 / Agios Issidoros (22 GRT).

The action was broken off when Parthian received return fire. One of her gun crew was mortally wounded and died later that night. He was buried at sea.

Lt. St. John decided to abandon the patrol as the attack periscope was out of action amongst other minor mechanical problems. (18)

12 May 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) ended her 18th war patrol (16th in the Mediterranean) at Beirut. (18)

27 May 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Beirut for her 19th war patrol (17th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the western Aegean.

For the daily positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.
The positions had to be taken from the patrol report as there is no log available, therefore not all days have positions.

(18)

10 Jun 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) ended her 19th war patrol (17th in the Mediterranean) at Beirut. The patrol had been uneventful. Caiques were not molested as the submarine was after bigger game but none materialised. (18)

20 Jun 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. C.A. Pardoe, RNR) departed Beirut for her 20th war patrol (18th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to conduct a special operation off Sicily.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Parthian during this patrol see the map below.
The positions had to be taken from the patrol report as there is no log available, therefore not all days have positions.

(18)

23 Jun 1943
As the special operation was cancelled HMS Parthian (Lt. C.A. Pardoe, RNR) was ordered to patrol in the western Aegean. (18)

30 Jun 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. C.A. Pardoe, RNR) attacked, off Suda Bay, Crete, the Greek merchant (in German service) Tanais (1545 GRT, built 1907) escorted by the German patrol boats GK 01, GA 70 and GA 71 on passage from Milos to Suda. Three torpedoes were fired but the escorting aircraft sighted to torpedo tracks and warned the target so the torpedoes were evaded.

(All times are zone -3)
0457 hours - Dived in position 35°36'N, 24°19'E. A while later sighted a 3000 tons merchant ship. She was deeply laden and escorted by two seaplanes. Started attack.

0635 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 5000 yards. It was intended to fire four torpedoes but due to a malfunction the 4th torpedo could not be fired. Two explosions were heard 4 minutes after firing giving a running range of 5500 yards.

0645 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Sighted a lot of smoke on the approximate bearing of the target. One of the aircraft was circling overhead. (18)

3 Jul 1943
At 2005 hours HMS Parthian (Lt. C.A. Pardoe, RNR) stopped a small caique flying an Axis flag with two warning shots in position 36°48'N, 23°07'E. The crew of three immediately abandoned the vessel which was boarded and examined and a suitcase with 8,600,000 drachmas was confiscated but the crew allowed to board back their vessel and proceed. A decision which was criticised by Captain Ruck-Keene (Capt. S.1) who thought that it should have been sunk. (18)

7 Jul 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. C.A. Pardoe, RNR) ended her 20th war patrol (18th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (18)

22 Jul 1943
HMS Parthian (Lt. C.A. Pardoe, RNR) departed Malta for her 21th war patrol (19th in the Mediterranean). She was initially ordered to patrol off the western coast of Greece north of 39°N but on the evening of 26 July, she was ordered to patrol 10 miles east of Cape Otranto and on the morning of 28 July to between 40°N and 41°30’N in the Adriatic keeping on the west side as Intelligence has shown that Italian battleships were exercising in this area [in fact the Italian battleships had been observed exercising near Taranto]. On 30 July, Captain S.10 ordered HMS Unruffled (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Uproar (Lt. L.E. Herrick, DSC, RN) to patrol within 15 miles from Brindisi and Bari respectively. Parthian was ordered to stay clear of both areas. On 6 August, Parthian was ordered to leave her patrol and to make a brief summary when south of 36°N. She was expected to arrive in Beirut on 11 August but failed to show up. Four officers and sixty-one ratings perished. (35)

5 Aug 1943
At 1930 hours an Italian aircraft reported having attacked a submarine in position 151°, Linguetta Point, 6 miles. (Linguetta Point is near Vlorë aka Valona, Albania). Following an attack with depth charges an oil patch was observed.

The Italian torpedo boat Giuseppe Cesare Abba (equipped with sonar) sailed from Saseno at 2325 hours and searched the area for nearly eight hours but found nothing. It is doubtful that Parthian was in this area as her orders specified to patrol the western side of the Adriatic. On the other hand if she failed to receive the orders of 26 and 28 July, she could have been off Linguetta Point but since the great majority of Axis antisubmarine air attacks were rarely effective and land-based aircraft even less so, the success of this attack is open to question. It should be noted that Supermarina had also been informed of the sighting of a submarine in position 293° - Cape Bianco (Corfu) – 11 miles [this probably referred to Cape Levkas which was not on Corfu but further south] at 0700 hours on 4 August but had classed it as of ‘doubtful value’. There is a strong likelihood that Parthian was mined as there were several minefields in her patrol area and the mystery of her disappearance has yet to be solved.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/15901
  2. ADM 173/15902
  3. ADM 173/15903
  4. ADM 173/15904
  5. ADM 173/15905
  6. ADM 173/16408
  7. ADM 173/16409
  8. ADM 173/16410
  9. ADM 173/16411
  10. ADM 173/16412
  11. ADM 199/283
  12. ADM 173/16413
  13. ADM 173/16415
  14. ADM 199/387 + ADM 199/392
  15. ADM 173/16418
  16. ADM 173/16885
  17. ADM 173/16886
  18. ADM 199/1832
  19. ADM 199/414
  20. ADM 173/16888
  21. ADM 173/16889
  22. ADM 173/16892
  23. ADM 173/16893
  24. ADM 173/17345
  25. ADM 173/17346
  26. ADM 173/17347
  27. ADM 173/17348
  28. ADM 173/17349
  29. ADM 173/17350
  30. ADM 173/17351
  31. ADM 173/17352
  32. ADM 173/17353
  33. ADM 173/17889
  34. ADM 199/1916
  35. ADM 199/2565

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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