HMS Safari (P 211)
Submarine of the S class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Cammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.)|
|Ordered||23 Jan 1940|
|Laid down||5 Jun 1940|
|Launched||18 Nov 1941|
|Commissioned||14 Mar 1942|
Sold to J. Cashmore to be broken up for scrap on 7 January 1946. Sunk south east of Portland while en-route to the shipbreakers on 8 January 1946.
|Former name||P 61|
Commands listed for HMS Safari (P 211)
Please note that we're still working on this section.
|1||Cdr. Benjamin Bryant, DSC, RN||14 Oct 1941||27 Apr 1943|
|2||Lt. Richard Barklie Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN||27 Apr 1943||early 44?|
|3||Lt.Cdr. David Anthony Baily Abdy, RN||early 1944||4 Mar 1944|
|4||Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) John Robert Garstin Harvey, RN||4 Mar 1944||7 Mar 1945|
|5||Lt.Cdr. Richard Molyneux Favell, DSC, RN||7 Mar 1945||12 Mar 1945|
|6||Lt.Cdr. Lennox William Napier, DSO, DSC, RN||12 Mar 1945||16 Mar 1945|
|7||Cdr.(Retd.) John Robert Garstin Harvey, RN||16 Mar 1945||ca. Jul 45|
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Notable events involving Safari include:
The history of HMS Safari 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) are kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada. He also provided details on special operation.
This page was last updated in August 2014.
10 Mar 1942
P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed her builders yard for Holy Loch. (1)
11 Mar 1942
P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for first of class trials followed by a training period.
[As no logs are available for HMS P 211 for the months of March and April 1942 no further details can be given]. (1)
27 Apr 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was taken in hand for repairs at the Elderslie shipyard at Scotstoun, Scotland. (1)
1 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was docked in No.1 dock at the Elderslie shipyard at Scotstoun, Scotland. (3)
9 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was undocked. (3)
11 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) returned to Holy Loch. (3)
14 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. The passage South through the Irish Sea was made together with HMS Traveller (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) and HMS P 43 (Lt. A.C. Halliday, DSC and Bar, RN). They were escorted until Bishops Rock by the British minesweeper/escort vessel HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR).
For the daily positions of HMS P 211 during this passage see the map below.
HMS P 211 passage Holy Loch - Gibraltar click here for bigger map (3)
26 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar after an uneventful passage from the U.K. (3)
31 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. These exercises included A/S exercises with HMS Spiraea (T/Lt. L.C. Head, RNVR) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR). (3)
5 Jun 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 1st war patrol (also 1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol between Sardinia and Sicily, one of several submarines deployed to cover operation Harpoon.
For the daily positions of HMS P 211 during this patrol see the map below.
HMS P 211 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (4)
13 Jun 1942
At 2017 hours, in position 38°42'N, 10°29'E, HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sighted smoke which three minutes later could be identified as two Condottieri-class cruisers screened by three destroyers but they passed outside attacking range. These were the light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia and Raimondo Montecuccoli escorted by the destroyers Ascari, Alfredo Oriani and Vincenzo Gioberti on passage from Cagliari to Palermo. (1)
17 Jun 1942
At 1445 hours, in approximate position 38°27'N, 08°21'E, HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sighted a U-boat. An attempt was made to close but the enemy passed out of range. This was most probably the Italian Uarsciek returning from mission to Cagliari. (1)
23 Jun 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 1st war patrol (also 1st in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (4)
4 Jul 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 2nd war patrol (also 2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Sardinia.
For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 211 during this patrol see the map below.
HMS P 211 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
12 Jul 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the small Italian merchant Adda (792 GRT, built 1905) with gunfire and one torpedo off Capo Monte Santo, Sardinia, Italy in approximate position 40°02'N, 09°48'E.
(All times are zone -2) 1325 hours - Sighted a small unescorted steamer of about 1000 tons, Southbound and close inshore. Closed submerged at high speed. Could not close enough to attack with torpedoes given the fact that Cdr. Bryant thought the target worth more than one torpedo.
1405 hours - Surfaced on the targets port quarter, for gun action at a range of 2200 yards. 24 Rounds were fired. The 2nd shot was a hit and nearly all rounds fired until the gun jammed were hits. The crew abandoned ship. The port boat was shot away and the starboard one turned turtle. Four members of the crew were taken prisoner. A torpedo was then fired which hit and the ship sank in about a minute.
1423 hours - Dived and set off after a schooner sighted to the North which had put into Gonone. A patrolling aircraft prevented this schooner from being attacked.
Twenty survivors were rescued by local boats, besides the four taken prisoners, three or four were reported missing. (5)
15 Jul 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) damaged the Italian merchant Tigrai (1302 GRT, built 1918) with gunfire off the Gulf of Orosei, Sardinia, Italy.
(All times are zone -2) 2045 hours - Sighted smoke to the North-North-East. Closed to investigate.
2127 hours - Surfaced to engage the target (in approximate position 40°15'N, 09°40'E), an unescorted merchant ship of about 1500 tons, with gunfire. Range was 3000 yards, closed on the surface and opened fire at a range of 1000 yards. Shooting was difficult and only 18 out of 33 rounds hit. When the crew began abandoning ship fire was withheld. However some men had remained on board the target and made for the shore with her. Also a gun on the poop opened fire and this was soon joined by several shore guns. By now the target was impossible to see against the cliffs. The action was broken off and P 211 retired to seaward. It was thought the target had retired towards Gonone cove so a torpedo was fired from a range of 5000 yards into this direction but the ship was not hit.
Italian sources report the ship as only slightly damaged, three were killed, one was missing and a few were wounded. (5)
24 Jul 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol (also 2nd in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (5)
4 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 3rd war patrol (also 3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the North of Sicily to provide cover for operation Pedestal.
For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 211 during this patrol see the map below.
HMS P 211 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
6 Aug 1942
At 1722 hours, in position 37°30'N, 03°21'E, HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sighted a westbound U-boat at a distance of six miles. Attempts were made to close but the enemy dived at 1800 hours before an attack could be mounted. This was possibly the Italian Giada on her way to her patrol area.
During the next days, the submarine was either informed of the movements of major enemy units or sighted vessels at long range but no attack could be developed before 16 August.
10 Aug 1942
Convoy WS 21S, Operation Pedestal.
Convoy WS 21S and the concentration of the escort forces
Convoy WS 21S departed the Clyde on 2 August 1942. The convoy was made up of the following ships; American freighters; Almeria Lykes (7773 GRT, built 1940), Santa Elisa (8379 GRT, built 1941), British freighters; Brisbane Star (12791 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Deucalion (7516 GRT, built 1930), Dorset (10624 GRT, built 1934), Empire Hope (12688 GRT, built 1941), Glenorchy (8982 GRT, built 1939), Melbourne Star (11076 GRT, built 1936), Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933), Rochester Castle (7795 GRT, built 1937), Waimarama (12843 GRT, built 1938), Wairangi (12436 GRT, built 1935), and the American tanker; Ohio (9264 GRT, built 1940).
These ships were escorted by light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral 10th C.S., Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Stewart, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. P.W. Gretton, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN).
A cover force made up of departed Scapa Flow on the same day. This force was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN) and HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Somali (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). They were to rendez-vous with convoy WS 21S at sea on 3 August. HMS Penn was delayed by a defect and after topping off with fuel at Moville, Northern Ireland overtook the force and joined at sea.
The aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) meanwhile had already left Scapa Flow on 31 July 1941 to rendez-vous with the convoy. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). These ships were joined at sea on 1 August 1942 by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, RN), loaded with spare fighter aircraft for the operation, and her two escorts the destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RD, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR). HMS Argus and her two escorting destroyers had departed the Clyde on 31 July. HMS Buxton later split off and proceeded towards Canada and HMS Sardonyx proceeded to Londonderry.
The last ships to take part in the operation to depart the U.K. (Clyde around midnight during the night of 4/5 August) were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), loaded with Hurricane fighters for Malta, and her escorts, the light cruiser HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN) and the Polish destroyer ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP). They were joined at sea, around dawn, by HMS Sardonyx coming from Londonderry. The destroyers parted company around midnight during the night of 5/6 August. They arrived at Londonderry on 7 August. HMS Furious and HMS Manchester then joined convoy WS 21S around midnight of the next night but HMS Manchester parted company shortly afterwards to proceed ahead of the convoy and fuel at Gibraltar.
On 1 August 1942 the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN), light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Freetown to proceed to a rendez-vous position off the Azores.
On 5 August 1942, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) and the the destroyers HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN) and HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) departed Gibraltar also to the rendez-vous position off the Azores.
The convoy conducted maneuvering and AA exercises with the escorts between the Azores and Gibraltar during the period of 6 to 9 August. (Operation Berserk). Also dummy air attacks were carried out by aircraft from the carriers.
Passage of the Straits of Gibraltar and organization of escort forces.
The convoy then passed the Straits of Gibraltar during the night of 9/10 August 1942 in dense fog but despite this the convoy was detected by German and Italian spies and reported.
After passing the Straits of Gibraltar the convoy was organized as follows; The actual convoy was protected a large force of warships until the whole force would split up before entering the Sicilian narrows after which ‘Force X’ under command of Rear-Admiral Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN was to accompany the convoy to the approaches to Malta where they would be met by the Malta Minesweeping Flotilla, which was then to sweep the convoy into the harbour. Force X was made up of the following ships: Licht cruisers: HMS Nigeria (flagship), HMS Kenya,, HMS Manchester. AA cruiser: HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN). Destroyers: HMS Ashanti, HMS Fury, HMS Foresight, HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Penn. Escort destroyers: HMS Derwent, HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, RN), HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, RN). Also the rescue tug HMS Jaunty was to be part of this force.
After the escort was to be split up cover was provided by ‘Force Z’ under Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN. This force was made up of the following ships: Battleships: HMS Nelson (flagship) and HMS Rodney. Aircraft carriers: HMS Victorious, HMS Indomitable and HMS Eagle. Light cruisers: HMS Phoebe, HMS Sirius and HMS Charybdis. Destroyers: HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Lookout, HMS Eskimo, HMS Somali, HMS Tartar, HMS Quentin, HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN) HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair), HMS Wishart and HMS Vansittart. Escort destroyer: HMS Zetland. Also attached were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (for Operation Bellows, the launching of Hurricane fighters for Malta. HMS Furious only carried four Albacore aircraft for A/S searches after the Hurricanes had been launched) and the ‘spare’ destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Malcolm, HMS Venomous, HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott, HMS Wolverine, HMS Wrestler and HMS Amazon. These ‘spare’ destroyers were to take the place of destroyers in the screen ‘Force Z’ if needed, escort HMS Furious during her return passage to Gibraltar after she had completed Operation Bellows and / or strengthen the escort of ‘Force R’.
Then there was also ‘Force R’, the fuelling force. This force was made up of the following ships: Corvettes: HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR), HMS Spiraea (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Miller, DSC, RNR), HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR). Rescue tug: HMS Salvonia. RFA tankers: RFA Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, Master D.B.C. Ralph) and RFA Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941, Master R.T. Duthie).
Before we give an account of the passage of the main convoy we will now first describe the operations taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean (Operations MG 3 and MG 4), the launching of the Hurricane fighters for Malta by HMS Furious (Operation Bellows) and the return convoy from Malta (Operation Ascendant) as well as on submarine operations / dispositions.
Diversion in the Eastern Mediterranean.
As part of the plan for Operation Pedestal the Mediterranean Fleet had to carry out a diversion in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean. Before we go to the operations in the Western Mediterranean we will first give an account of the events in the Eastern Mediterranean.
It was at this time not possible to sent any supplies from Egypt to Malta as all supplies and forces were much needed for the upcoming land battle at El Alamein it was agreed that ‘a dummy convoy’ would be sent towards Malta with the object of preventing the enemy to direct the full weight of their air and naval power towards the Western Mediterranean.
In the evening of 10 August 1942 a ‘convoy’ (MG 3) of three merchant ships departed Port Said escorted by three cruisers and ten destroyers. Next morning one more merchant ship departed Haifa escorted by two cruisers and five destroyers. The two forces joined that day (the 11th) and then turned back dispersing during the night. The Italian fleet however did not go to sea to attack ‘the bait’.
The forces taking part in this operation were: From Port Said: Merchant vessels City of Edinburgh (8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (8039 GRT, built 1938) and City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. R.J.R. Dendy, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton(Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN) and HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN).
From Haifa: Merchant vessel Ajax (7797 GRT, built 1931) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), the destroyers HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J. A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. H.C. Simms, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Tetcott (Lt. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN).
After dark on 11 August 1942 the force turned back and the City of Pretoria returned to Port Said escorted by HMS Eridge and HMS Hursley. The City of Edinburgh, escorted by HMS Beaufort and HMS Belvoir proceeded to Haifa. The City of Lincoln escorted by HMS Dulverton and HMS Hurworth proceeded to Beirut and finally the Ajax, escorted by HMS Tetcott and HMS Croome returned to Haifa. HMS Dido had to return to Port Said with hull defects. She was escorted by HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin and HMS Jervis.
HMS Cleopatra, HMS Arethusa, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin then proceeded to carry out another diversion (Operation MG 4). They bombarded Rhodos harbour and the Alliotti Flour Mills during the night of 12/13 August but did little damage. On the way back HMS Javelin attacked a submarine contact in position 34°45’N, 31°04’E between 0654 and 0804 hours. She reported that there was no doubt that the submarine was sunk but no Axis submarines were operating in this area so the attack must have been bogus. This force returned to Haifa at 1900/13.
During operation Bellows, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, started 37 Spitfire which were to proceed to Malta, when south of the Balearic Islands. The Admiralty had decided to carry out this operation at the same time as Operation Pedestal.
HMS Furious remained with the convoy until 1200/11. She then launched the Spitfires for Malta in 5 batches between 1230 and 1515 hours. During these flying off operations she acted independently with the destroyers HMS Lookout and HMS Lightning. After having launched the last batch of Spitfires she briefly re-joined to convoy until around 1700 hours when she split off and set course for Gibraltar escorted by the destroyers HMS Malcolm, HMS Wolverine and HMS Wrestler. These were joined shortly afterwards by HMS Keppel and HMS Venomous.
Around 0100/12, HMS Wolverine, rammed and sank the Italian submarine Dagabur which was trying to attack HMS Furious. Around 0200 hours, HMS Wolverine reported that she was stopped due to the damage she had sustained in the ramming. HMS Malcolm was detached to assist her.
At 1530/12, the destroyer HMS Vidette joined the screen. The force then entered Gibraltar Bay around 1930/12. The damaged HMS Wolverine arrived at Gibraltar at 1230/13 followed by HMS Malcolm around 1530/13.
On 10 August 1942 the empty transports Troilus (7648 GRT, built 1921) and Orari (10107 GRT, built 1931) departed Malta after dark for Gibraltar. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN). They first proceeded to the south of Lampedusa, then hugged the Tunisian coast as far as Galita Island. Near Cape Bon they encountered the Italian destroyer Lanzerotto Malocello that was laying a minefield. They had a brief gunfight but this was soon ended as both sides were thinking the enemy was Vichy-French. The remained of the passage to Gibraltar was uneventful and the convoy arrived at Gibraltar shortly before noon on 14 August 1942.
Submarine operations / dispositions. Eight submarines took part in the operation; these were HMS Utmost (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN), HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, DSO, RN), HMS P 34 (Lt. P.R.H. Harrison, DSC, RN), HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN), HMS P 44 (Lt. T.E. Barlow, RN), HMS P 46 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN). Two of these were to carry out normal dived patrol to the north of Sicily, one off Palermo, the other off Milazzo which is futher to the east. The other six submarines were given alternative patrol lines south of Pantelleria, one od which they were to take up at dawn on 13 August 1942, according to the movements of enemy surface ships that might threathen the convoy from the westward. When the convoy had passed the patrol line, which it should have done by that time, the submarines were to proceed on the surface parallel to the convoy as a screen and to dive away clear of the convoy at noon. It was expressly intended that they should be seen on the surface and reported by enemy aircraft in order to deter enemy warships from attacking the convoy.
Enemy warships did go to sea but as soon as it was clear that the enemy ships could not reach the convoy the sunmarines were ordered to dive and retire. These six sumarines had no contact with the enemy. One of the the two submarines off the north coast of Sicily, HMS P 42, managed to torpedo two Italian cruisers near Stromboli on the morning of 13 August 1942.
Now we return to the main convoy to Malta.
Passage eastwards after passing the Straits of Gibraltar.
10 and 11 August 1942.
After passing through the Straits of Gibraltar in the early hours of 10 August 1942, in dense fog, the convoy was first sighted by an Italian passenger aircraft, which sighted the convoy in the afternoon of the same day. German reconnaissance aircraft started shadowing the convoy from dawn on the 11th, and thereafter they or Italian aircraft kept the convoy under continuous observation, despite the effort of the fighters from the carriers to shoot them down or drive them off. At 1315 hours, HMS Eagle, was hit an sunk by torpedoes from the German submarine U-73 which had penetrated the destroyer screen. At that moment there were thirteen destroyers in the screen, the remainder was away from the main convoy, escorting HMS Furious during the flying off operations of the Hurricane fighters for Malta or oiling from and screening ‘Force R’ which was several miles away. Between 1430/10 and and 2030/11 no less then three cruisers and twenty-four destroyers fuelled from the two oilers of ‘Force R’.
At the time of the torpedoing of HMS Eagle the convoy was in four columns, zigzagging at 13 knots, with the heavy ships stationed close round it and a destroyer screen ahead. HMS Eagle was on the starboard quarter of the convoy. She was hit on her starboard side by four torpedoes which had dived through the destroyer screen and the convoy columns undetected and then torpedoed and sank the Eagle in position 38°05’N, 03°02’E (Another source gives 03°12’E but this might be a typo). The carrier sank quickly in about 8 minutes, 926 of her crew, including the Commanding Officer, were rescued by the destroyers HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout and the rescue tug HMS Jaunty. At the time of her sinking, HMS Eagle had four aircraft on patrol. These landed on the other carriers. All other aircraft were lost with the ship. The survivors picked up were later transferred to the destroyers HMS Keppel, HMS Malcolm and HMS Venomous that were to escort HMS Furious back to Gibraltar. The tug HMS Jaunty that had been involved in picking up survivors was never able to rejoin the convoy due to her slow speed.
Late in the afternoon air attacks were expected so Vice-Admiral Syfret ordered the destroyer to form an all-round screen. Indeed the air attacks started around sunset, 2045 hours. The last destroyers had just returned from oiling from ‘Force R’. The enemy aircraft that were attacking were 36 German bombers and torpedo aircraft, Ju 88’s and He 111’s, most of which attacked the convoy but a few attacked ‘Force R’ to the southward. The Junkers arrived first, diving down from 8000 feet to 2000 / 3000 feet to drop their bombs. They claimed to have hit an aircraft carrier and one of the merchant ships. Then the Heinkels attacked, they claimed to have torpedoed a cruiser but during the attacks no ship was hit. The British fighter cover was unable to attack / find the enemy in the failing light. Four enemy aircraft were claimed shot down by the ships AA fire but it appears only two JU 88’s were in fact shot down.
12 August 1942
At 0915/12 another wave of German aircraft attacked the convoy. Some twenty or more JU 88’s approached the convoy out of the sun ahead. They were intercepted by fighters about 25 miles from the convoy. About a dozen got through to the convoy, making high-level or shallow dive-bombing attacks individually but without any result. Eight German aircraft were claimed to be shot down by the fighters and two more by AA guns from the ships. The fighters meanwhile were also busy dealng with shadowers, three of which are claimed to have been shot down before the morning attack. Around this time destroyers were also busy with numerous submarine contact which were attacked by depth charges.
Around noon the enemy launched heavy air attacks from the Sardinian airfields. Seventy aircraft approached which were heavily escorted by fighters. They attacked in stages and employed new methods.
First ten Italian torpedo-bombers were each to drop some sort of circling torpedo or mine a few hundred yards ahead of the British force, while eight fighter bombers made dive-bombing and machine-gun attacks. The object at this stage was clearly to dislocate the formation of the force and to draw anti-aircraft fire, making the ships more vulnerable to a torpedo attack which soon followed with over forty aircraft. They attacked in two groups, one on either bow of the convoy. The next stage was a shallow dive-bombing attack by German aircraft, after which two Italian Reggiane 2001 fighters, each with a single heavy armour-piercing bomb were to dive bomb on one of the aircraft carriers, whilst yet another new form of attack was to be employed against the other carrier, but defects in the weapon prevented this attack from taking place.
The enemy attack went according to plan besides that the torpedo attack was only made half an our after the ‘mines’ were dropped instead of five minutes. British fighters met the minelaying aircraft, they shot down one of them as they approached. The remaining nine aircraft dropped their ‘mines’ at 1215 hours in the path of the force, which turned to avoid the danger. The mines were heard to explode several minutes later. Only three of the fighter-bombers of this stage of the attack appear to have reached as far the screen, but HMS Lightning had a narrow escape from their bombs.
The torpedo-aircraft appeared at 1245 hours. Their number were brought down a bit due to British fighters. The remaining aircraft, estimated at 25 to 30 machines, attacked from the port bow, port beam and starboard quarter. They dropped their torpedoes well outside the screen some 8000 yards from the merchant ships which they had been ordered to attack. The force turned 45° to port and then back to starboard to avoid the attack.
In the next stage, around 1318 hours, the German bombing attack, the enemy scored their one success. These aircraft were also intercepted on their way in but about a dozen of about twenty aircraft came through. They crossed the convoy from starboard to port and then dived to 3000 feet. They managed to damage the transport Deucalion which was leading the port wing column. More bombs fell close to several other ships.
Finally, at 1345 hours, the two Reggiane fighters approached HMS Victorious as if to land on. They looked like Hurricanes and HMS Victorious was at that time engaged in landing her own fighters. They managed to drop their bombs and one hit the flight deck amidships. Fortunately the bomb broke up without exploding. By the time HMS Victorious could open fire both fighters were out of range.
The Deucalion could no longer keep up with the convoy and was ordered to follow the inshore route along the Tunisian coast escorted by HMS Bramham. Two bombers found these ships late in the afternoon, but their bombs missed. At 1940 hours, however, near the Cani Rocks, two torpedo aircraft attacked and a torpedo hit the Deucalion. She caught fire and eventually blew up.
The convoy passed some 20 miles north of Galita Island and spent the afternoon avoiding enemy submarines which were known to be concentrated in these waters. There were innumerable reports of sightings and Asdic contacts and at least two submarines proved dangerous. At 1616 hours, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Zetland attacked one on the port bow of the convoy and hunted her until the convoy was out of reach. HMS Ithuriel, stationed on the quarter, then attacked, forced the enemy to surface and finally rammed her. She proved to be the Italian submarine Cobalto. Meanwhile HMS Tartar, on the starboard quarter, saw six torpedoes fired at close range at 1640 hours, and the next destroyer in the screen, HMS Lookout sighted a periscope. Together they attacked the submarine, continuing until it was no longer dangerous. There was no evidence this submarine was sunk.
At 1750 hours, HMS Ithuriel, which was on her way back to the convoy after sinking the Italian submarine Cobalto was attacked by a few dive-bombers, when still a dozen miles astern of the convoy. At this time the convoy came under attack by aircraft stationed on Sicily. This force numbered nearly 100 aircraft. Ju.87 dive-bombers as well as Ju.88’s and SM-79’s all with a strong escort of fighters. The enemy started attacking at 1835 hours, the bombers attacking from both ahead and astern which last was the direction of the sun. The torpedo aircraft came from ahead to attack on the starboard bow and beam of the convoy.
The Italian SM-79’s torpedo bombers dropped their torpedoes from ranges of about 3000 yards outside the destroyer screen, and once again the convoy turned away to avoid them. However the destroyer HMS Foresight was hit by a torpedo and disabled. The bombers chose HMS Indomitable as their main target. She was astern of HMS Rodney at the time on the port quarter of the convoy. Four Ju.88’s and eight Ju.87’s came suddenly out of the sun and dived steeply towards HMS Indomitable from astern. Some of the Ju.87 came down to 1000 feet and the carrier received three hits and her flight deck was put out of action. Her airborne fighters eventually had to land on HMS Victorious. HMS Rodney meanwhile had a narrow escape when a bomber attacked from ahead. One enemy aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by AA fire from the ships while the fighters claimed nine more although there were about twice as much enemy fighters in the air then British.
HMS Tartar took the damaged HMS Foresight in tow and proceeded westward for Gibraltar. Next day, as they were shadowed by enemy aircraft, and enemy submarines were known to be in the area, it was decided to scuttle the cripple before both ships might be lost. HMS Tartar then torpedoed HMS Foresight a few miles from Galita Island.
Passage through the narrows, 12-13 August 1942, and the loss off HMS Manchester.
These last air attacks took place about 20 nautical miles west of the Skerki Channel and at 1900 hours, when the attacks were clearly over, Vice-Admiral Syfret turned away with ‘Force Z’. It was now up to Rear-Admiral Burrough with ‘Force X’ to take the convoy to Malta.
At 2000 hours, when the convoy was changing it’s formation from four to two columns, the convoy was attacked by Italian submarines. The submarine Dessie attacked a freighter with four torpedoes and claimed three hits. The sound of the torpedo hits was however not caused by her attack but by an attack by the Axum which hit three ships, HMS Nigeria, HMS Cairo and the tanker Ohio.
HMS Nigeria had to turn back to make for Gibraltar escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Derwent, HMS Wilton and HMS Bicester. Rear-Admiral Burrough transferred his flag to the destroyer HMS Ashanti. The stern of HMS Cairo had been blown off and she had to be sunk as she was beyond salvage with both engines also out of action. She was scuttled by HMS Pathfinder. The Ohio meanwhile managed to struggle on.
At this time the convoy was still trying to form up the the submarine attacks messed things up and right at thus time the convoy was once more attacked from the air in the growing dusk at 2030 hours. About 20 German aircraft, Ju-88’s made dive bombing and torpedo attacks, hitting the Empire Hope with a bomb and the Clan Ferguson and Brisbane Star with torpedoes. The first of these ships had to be sunk (by HMS Bramham, the second blew up but the last eventually reached Malta. Soon after this attack, at 2111 hours, HMS Kenya was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Alagi. She was able to evade three of the four torpedoes but was hit in the bow by the fouth. She was however able to remain with the convoy.
The situation was then as follows. HMS Kenya and HMS Manchester with two merchant ships, and with the minesweeping destroyers HMS Intrepid, HMS Icarus and HMS Fury sweeping ahead, had passed the Skerki Channel and were steering to pass Zembra Island on the way to Cape Bon. HMS Ashanti, with Rear-Admiral Burrough on board was fast overhauling these ships. The other two destroyers HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury, were rounding up the remaining nine merchant ships. The escort destroyer HMS Bramham was also catching up after having escorted the single Deucalion until she sank.
On learing about the fate of HMS Nigeria and HMS Cairo, Vice-Admiral Syfret detached HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali to reinforce Rear-Admiral Burrough. It would take these ships several hourse to catch up with the convoy.
The main body of the convoy passed Cape Bon around midnight. Fourty minutes later enemy Motor Torpedo Boats appeared and started to attack. Their first victim was HMS Manchester which was torpedoed at 0120/13 by the Italian MS 16 or MS 22. She had to be scuttled by her own crew. Many of her ships company landed in Tunisia and were interned by the Vichy-French but about 300 were picked up by destroyers (first by HMS Pathfinder, and later by HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. These last two destoyers then set off towards Gibraltar.)
Four and possibly five of the merchant ships were also hit by the Motor Torpedo Boats. These were the Wairangi, Rochester Castle, Almeria Lykes, Santa Elisa and probably the Glenorchy. They were attacked between 0315 and 0430 hours about 15 nautical miles south-east of Kelibia whilst taking a short cut to overhaul the main body of the convoy. Four were lost, only the Rochester Castle survived and she managed to catch up with the main body of the convoy at 0530 hours. The Glenorchy was sunk by the Italian MS 31, the other four, of which the Rochester Castle survived as mentioned earlier, were hit by the German S 30 and S 36 as well as the Italian MAS 554 and MAS 557.
Shortly before 0530 hours HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali had joined the main body of the convoy making the force now two cruisers and seven destroyers with the transports Rochester Castle, Waimarama and Melbourne Star. The damaged tanker Ohio was slowly catching up. With her was the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury. Astern of the main body was the Port Chalmers escorted by the destroyer HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Bramham. The destroyers recued the crew of the Santa Elisa when the passed by the abandoned ship which was afterwards finished off by a German bomber. The Dorset was proceeding without escort and lastly the damaged Brisbane Star was still keeping close to the Tunisian coast independently, intending to steer towards Malta after nightfall.
At 0730 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, sent back HMS Tartar and HMS Somali to Kelibia to assist HMS Manchester and then go to Gibraltar. When they arrived they found out that the Manchester had been scuttled several hours earlier so they rescued those of her crew that had not reached the shore yet and then made off to Gibraltar as ordered. Besides crew of the Manchester they also picked up survivors from the Almeria Lykes and Wairangi.
The next encounter with the enemy was an air attack on the main body of the convoy at 0800 hours by German bombers. About 12 Ju.88’s made a shallow diving attack coming down from 6000 feet to 2000 feet to drop their bombs. Two dived on the Waimarama hitting her several times and she blew up immediately, one of the bombers was even destroyed in the explosion. HMS Ledbury saved some of her crew out of the blazing sea. At 0925 hours, when the Ohio, Port Chalmers and Dorset where with the main body again, a few Ju.87’s escorted by Italian fighters attacked. They dived down to 1500 to 1000 feet. HMS Kenya leading the port column, and the Ohio last ship but one in the starboard column, had narrow escapes. One of the enemy aircraft crashed on board the Ohio just after having released it’s bomb after being damaged by gunfire from the Ohio and HMS Ashanti. Another aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by fighters from Malta that had been patrolling overhead since daybreak.
Arrivals at Malta 13-15 August 1942.
At 1050 hours, about 20 bombers, mostly Ju.88’s with a few Ju.87’s, came in to attack. Target was the Ohio and she received four or five near misses and her engines were disabled. At the same time the Rochester Castle in the port column was near-missed and set on fire but she continued with the convoy. The Dorset which was astern of her was hit and stopped. The convoy went on leaving the Dorset behind with the Ohio and two destroyers.
At 1125 hours the last air attack on the main body took place. Five Italian SM.79’s attacked with torpedoes and almost hit the Port Chalmers as the torpedo got stuck in the paravane. Further attacks on the main body were held of by fighters from Malta. At 1430 hours, four minesweepers from Malta joined the main body of the convoy, these were HMS Speedy (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Doran, RN, with the group’s commander A/Cdr. H.J.A.S. Jerome, RN on board), HMS Hebe, HMS Rye and HMS Heyte. Also with them were seven Motor Launches; ML 121, ML 126, ML 134, ML 135, ML 168, ML 459 and ML 462. HMS Rye and two of the ML’s were sent towards the damaged Ohio which was ‘vital for Malta’, according to A/Cdr. Jerome.
At 1600 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, set course to the west with his two cruisers and with five destroyers. The Port Chalmers, Melbourne Star and Rochester Castle arrived in Grand Harbour around 1800 hours with the force of A/Cdr. Jerome. The Rochester Castle was by that time very low in the water, she had just made it into port on time.
Out were still the Ohio, Dorset and the Brisbane Star. The valuable Ohio had been helpless with HMS Penn and HMS Bramham. When HMS Rye arrived at 1730 hours, HMS Penn took the Ohio in tow. Meanwhile HMS Bramham was sent to the Dorset but soon afterwards German bombers came again and the ships were attacked repeatedly until dark. Both merchantman were hit around 1900 hours and the Dorset sank.
At daylight on the 14th HMS Ledbury arrived to help bringing the Ohio to Malta. HMS Speedy also soon arrived on the scene with two ML’s. The rest of his force he had sent to search for the Brisbane Star. At 1045 hours, enemy aircraft made their last attempt, causing the parting of the tow. Fighter from Malta shot down two of the attackers. The tow was passed again and the slow procession went on and in the morning of the 15th the vital tanker finally reached Malta.
The Brisbane Star had by then also arrived. She left the Tunisian coast at dusk on the 13th. Aircraft had attacked her unsuccessfully and one of the attackers was shot down by a Beaufighter escort that had been sent from Malta. She arrived at Malta in the afternoon of the 14th.
Italian surface ships to operate against the convoy ?
The convoy had experienced the violence of the enemy in every shape except that of an attack by large surface ships. Yet Italian cruisers and destroyers had been at sea to intercept and attack it. Two light cruiser had left Cagliari in the evening of 11 August 1942 and the heavy cruisers Gorizia and Bolzano from Messina, and a light cruiser from Naples had sailed on the morning of the 12th. That evening reconnaissance aircraft reported one heavy and two light cruisers with eight destroyers about 80 nautical miles to the north of the western tip of Sicily and steering south. It would have been possible for this force to meet the convoy at dawn on the 13th so the shadowing aircraft was therefore ordered in plain language to illuminate and attack. This apparently influenced the Italians as they had limited air cover and they turned back at 0130/13 when near Cape San Vito. At 0140 hours the aircraft reported that it had dropped its bombs but no hits had been obtained. Similar orders were signalled, in plain language, to relief shadowers and to report the position of the enemy force to the benefit of imaginary Liberator bombers in case the Italians would change their minds and turn back. They however held on to the eastward.
The submarine HMS P 42 sighted them around 0800/13 off Stromboli and attacked with four torpedoes claiming two hits. She had in fact hit the heavy cruiser Bolzano which was able to proceed northwards and the light cruiser Muzio Attendolo which managed to reach Messina with her bows blown off. The other cruisers went to Naples. Following the attack P 42 was heavily depth charged by the destroyers but managed to escape.
In fact the following Italian ships had been at sea; heavy cruisers Gorizia, Trieste, Bolzano, light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia Raimondo Montecuccoli, Muzio Attendolo. They were escorted by eleven destroyers; Ascari, Aviere, Camicia Nera, Corsaro, Fuceliere, Geniere, Legionaro, Vincenzo Gioberti, Alfredo Oriani, Grecale and Maestrale.
The return to Gibraltar.
The British ships returning to Gibraltar had better fortune. Having left the convoy off Malta in the afternoon of the 13th, they rounded Cape Bon around 0130/14 and from that point until past Zembra Island they successful ran the gauntled of E-boats laying in wait.
at 0450/14, near the Fratelli Rocks, a submarine fired torpedoes at HMS Ashanti from the surface. She was nearly rammed by HMS Kenya, which was next astern of the ‘flagship’ (Rear-Admiral Burrough was still in HMS Ashanti). The inevitable shadowers arrived soon after daylight to herald their air attacks that began at 0730 hours. They lasted until around 1315 hours. German bombers came in first with three attemps by a few Ju.88’s. This was followed by a more severe attack with about 30 bombers, Ju-88’s and Ju-87’s between 1030 and 1050 hours. An hour later 15 Savoia high-level bombers attacked followed until 1315 hours by torpedo-carrying Savoia’s. Around 20 aircraft attacking single or in pairs. Also aircraft are though to be laying mines ahead. Several ships were near missed, but no further damage was sustained. After these attacks the British were left alone and in the evening they joined ‘Force Z’.
Vice-Admiral Syfret had gone as far west as 01’E where he ordered the damaged carrier HMS Indomitable to proceed to Malta with HMS Rodney and a destroyer screen (which). He then turned back to the east to make rendez-vous with Rear-Admiral Burrough. They arrived at Gibraltar on the 15th.
A few hours before they arrived the damaged HMS Nigeria and her escort had also entered port, as had HMS Tartar, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. On her way back HMS Nigeria had been attacked by torpedo-bombers and a submarine but she had not been hit.
Out of the fourteen ships that had sailed only five arrived ‘safe’ at Malta. This was not a very high score also given the very heavy escort that had been provided also taken in mind that an aircraft carrier, a light cruiser, an AA cruiser an a destroyer had been lost and two heavy cruiser had been damaged. But the convoy had to meet very heavy air attacks by over 150 bombers and 80 torpedo aircraft, all in the space of two days. Also these aircraft were protected by fighter in much greater strength that the carriers and Malta could provide. And there were also the enemy submarines and E-boats.
The spirit in which to operation was carried out appears in Vice-Admiral Syfret’s report: ‘ Tribute has been paid to the personnel of His Majesty’s Ships, both the officers and men will desire to give first place to the conduct, courage, and determination of the masters, officers, and men of the merchant ships. The steadfast manner in which these ships pressed on their way to Malta through all attacks, answering every maneuvering order like a well trained fleet unit, was a most inspiring sight. Many of these fine men and their ships were lost. But the memory of their conduct will remain an inspiration to all who were privileged to sail with them. ‘ (6)
14 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol off the East coast of Sardinia. (5)
16 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) damaged a the Italian sailing vessel Gioavannina M. (21 GRT, built 1929) with gunfire off Capo Monte Santo, Sardinia, Italy (approximate position 40°06'N, 09°45'E). Cdr. Bryant however thought the ship had been sunk.
(All times are zone -2) 1103 hours - Sighted a sailing vessel to the North. Closed submerged.
1200 hours - Surfaced and engaged the target with the 3" gun at a range of 2000 yards. The target was left on the rocks near Capo Monte Santo at the Southern end of the Gulf of Orosei. 60 Rounds had been used. [Italian sources indicate that Giovannina M. which had sailed from Civitavecchia, had a crew of six and was abandoned except of one crew member. She was damaged and finally towed by the sailing vessel Italia to Arbatax.] (5)
17 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian sailing vessel Ausonia (218 GRT) with gunfire 11 nautical miles bearing 180 from Orosei, Sardinia.
(All times are zone -2) 1145 hours - Sighted a large schooner approaching from the Northward.
1223 hours - Surfaced about 5 nautical miles South of Gonone (approximately 40°12'N, 09°40'E) and opened fire on the schooner, thought to be 250 tons in size, from 1000 yards. After the 6th round the schooner blew up. The debris rained from the sky. Had P 211 been closer she most likely would have been damaged by the blast.
The crew of Ausonia had abandoned the vessel in two lifeboats but the explosion must have killed them as there were no survivors. (5)
18 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Perseo (5225 GRT, built 1921) near Cape Carbonara, 15 nautical miles south of Serpentara, Sardinia.
On this day P 211 also attacked but missed the Italian submarine Bronzo with torpedoes.
(All times are zone -2) 0843 hours - The Officer of the Watch reported a large tanker bearing 210°. Enemy course was 010°, range 13000 yards. Started attack.
0856 hours - While coming up to have another look sighted a German uboat crossing astern out of range. Had we not closed to attack the target we would have been in a perfect position to attack the uboat. The tanker was very large, not loaded, not zig-zagging and unescorted.
0914 hours - Fired 3 torpedoes from 750 yards. Two hits were obtained. The ship was abandoned and started to settle by the stern. Position was 8 nautical miles South-South-West of Cavoli Island (approximately 38°58'N, 09°30'E)
1145 hours - The tanker refused to sink. A salvage party had gone on board. In order to make sure she would sink decided to fire another torpedo.
1148 hours - Fired 1 torpedo from 800 yards. The result could not be observed as a seaplane circled overhead and P 211 had gone deep upon firing. Breaking up noises however followed immediately.
1200 hours - Returned to periscope depth. No sign of the tanker. Went deep to reload.
The “German” U-boat sighted was actually the Italian submarine Granito who witnessed the attack from a distance. This was the first time that torpedoes equipped with the new CCR magnetic pistols were used in the Mediterranean. MAS 504 was sailed to rescue the survivors of Perseo and hunt the submarine. The whole was saved including one seriously and eight slightly wounded.
2000 hours - Now sighted an Italian submarine in position 214°, Cavoli Island, 24 nautical miles (approximately 38°48'N, 09°20'E). Enemy course was 000°, range about 6 nautical miles. Ran in at maximum speed.
2031 hours - Fired 6 torpedoes from 3500 yards. Enemy speed was estimated at 12 knots. Depth control was lost and P 211 broached. This was due to a defect and not to bad handling. Also one of the torpedoes prematured. The Italians immediately changed course and no hits were obtained.
In Bronzo (T.V. Cesare Buldrini), an explosion was heard on the hydrophone and estimated at a range of 4000 yards. This was the torpedo which exploded prematurely. A few minutes later the submarine was apparently shaken badly by two hits under the hull and Buldrini believed that she had collided with the enemy submarine but this was probably caused by torpedoes equipped with the DCR (Duplex Coll Rod) magnetic pistols which proved to be unreliable. The first four torpedoes used DCR pistols, the last two used the more reliable CCR (Compensated Coll Rod) pistols. (5)
24 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (also 3rd in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (5)
12 Sep 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta where she was to join the 10th Submarine Flotilla.
No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed.
For the daily positions of HMS P 211 during this passage see the map below.
HMS P 211 passage Malta - Algiers click here for bigger map (1)
19 Sep 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. At Malta she was docked to repair a 'singing' propeller. Dates of the docking are (for the moment) unknown to us. (1)
26 Sep 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 4th war patrol (also 4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Adriatic.
Before proceeding on patrol practice attacks were made on HMS Hythe (Lt.Cdr. L.B. Miller, RN).
No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)
2 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and damaged (also with gunfire) the Italian merchant Veglia (896 GRT, former Yugoslavian Kosovo, built 1909) off Korcula, Croatia in position 42°56'N, 17°17'E. She was beached at Sabioncello with four killed, ten wounded and 25 missing. The damaged ship was later salvaged but declared a total loss.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0945 hours - Sighted a small coastal steamer approaching from the South-East. Set course to intercept.
1007 hours - Surfaced and engaged the target with the 3" gun. 35 Rounds were fired for 15 hits. The target cought fire but she managed to beach herself in position 42°57'N, 17°17'E. Dived.
1028 hours - To make sure of the targets destruction a torpedo was fired which hit her amidships. (5)
4 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) attacked but missed the Italian merchant Valentino Coda (4485 GRT, built 1924) with 4 torpedoes South of Vieste, Foggia, Italy in position 41°48'N, 16°13'E. P 211 then surfaced to engage the enemy with the 3" gun but only 1 hit was obtained before the action had to be broken off.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0637 hours - Sighted a large cargo ship of about 5000 tons in the mist under Gargano Head. Enemy course was 170°. She was very deep laden. Started attack.
0644 hours - Fired 4 torpedoes from 5000 yards. Enemy speed was estimated at 10 knots. All torpedoes missed as the enemy saw and evaded the tracks. The 1st and 2nd torpedo most likely would have missed ahead and it is also thought that the 4th torpedo failed to run and it was this torpedo that most likely would have hit when the enemy started to evade the 3rd torpedo.
0650 hours - Surfaced for gun action. Before Cdr. Bryant was on the bridge the enemy had opened fire. Range was 5500 yards. As conditions for gun action were difficult and also due to bad drill only 1 hit was obtained out of 56 rounds before the action had to be broken off due to shallow water and fire from the enemy.
0708 hours - Dived in 10 fathoms of water.
Valentino Coda had sighted three torpedo tracks and took evading action, two torpedoes exploded on the beach and a third was found unexploded. She opened fire on the submarine letting off 32 rounds but suffered no hit from the submarine. The torpedo boat Antonio Mosto was sent to hunt the submarine but found nothing.
At about 2000 hrs, the submarine dropped a dummy periscope east of Pianosa Island. (5)
5 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) damaged the Italian merchant Eneo (545 GRT, ex-Yugoslav Soca, built 1907) with gunfire south of Sebenik, Yugoslavia in position 43°38'N, 15°53'E. Eneo was driven on the rocks at Tmara Island and she was declared a total loss. She had been on a trip from Spalato to Sebenico in company with Cherso but the latter was at a distance and escaped the attention of the submarine.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0940 hours - Sighted smoke approaching from Mulo Island. This proved to be a small passenger/cargo steamer, of about 600 tons, full of deck passengers, possibly (and hopefully) Italian troops. Decided to attack with the 3" gun.
1021 hours - Surfaced for gun action from a range of 1000 yards. 20 Rounds were fired, all hit around the waterline. The steamer put her helm hard over and she turned stern on. Three hits were then scored around her rudder post. She ran up on Tmara Island. The sea was seen to be full of swimming men. Various shore batteries had opened up. Shooting was quite accurate.
1024 hours - Dived. Decided to expand a torpedo to complete destruction. The periscope was still being fired at by the shore batteries.
1049 hours - Fired one torpedo from 1000 yards at the engine room. The torpedo however ran off to starboard and hit the island. Now had 6 torpedoes remaining and wanted to keep a full salvo left. The stern of the target was settling and while running on the rocks her bottom must have been torn out. Decided to leave her.
According to Italian sources Eneo was carrying some 229 passengers mostly military. She was beached on Punta Sebenico Vecchio while batteries at Luxa, Punta Est, Capocesta and Zecevo opened fire on the submarine. Two tugs were sent to her assistance and brought back 173 survivors (including 43 seriously wounded). There were 35 killed and 16 missing. (5)
8 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) attacked but missed (it was thought the target was hit and sunk) the Italian merchant Giuseppe Magluilo (935 GRT, built 1917) South of Sebenik. Following the attack P 211 was depth charged but only minor damage was caused to her.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 1620 hours - A merchant vessel was spotted coming from behind Smokvica Island. She was a deep laden steamer of about 1500 tons. Started attack. The Italian torpedo boat T 5 was patrolling the area.
1629 hours - When the torpedo boat had passed fired 3 torpedoes from 1000 yards in approximate position 43°29'N, 15°58'E. Went deep on firing. 55 Seconds after firing the first torpedo an explosion was head thought to be a hit.
1635 hours - The torpedo boat started dropping depth charges. In 5 attacks, 9 depth charges were dropped. Some were close enough to smash a few lamps and shake down corking.
According to Italian sources the submarine was sighted by the battery on Monte S. Antonio (Rogoznica) which opened fire and led the torpedo boat T 5 to the spot and subsequent depth charging. (5)
10 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fires three torpedoes against the Italian merchant Goffredo Mameli (4103 GRT, built 1910) about 10 nautical miles south-east of Dubrovnik, Croatia, Yugoslavia in position 42°32'N, 18°13'E. The target was not hit.
The Goffredo Mameli was in convoy together with the Italian Merchants Carlo Margottini (653 GRT, built 1893) and Enrico Baroni (782 GRT, built 1902). The convoy was escorted by the Italian torpedo boat T 7.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0920 hours - Made out a convoy Northbound under the cliffs. Closed.
0940 hours - Made out the convoy as a large cargo ship in ballast leading with two much smaller ships astern of her. A 'T 5 / T 8'-class torpedo boat was zigzagging to seaward. Started attack on the largest ship.
1000 hours - Fired 3 torpedoes at the largest ship of the convoy (estimated at 4000 tons). Range was 2000 yards. The 3rd torpedo fired ran off to Starboard. 2 Torpedo explosions were heard thought to be hits on the target. This could not be observed as P 211 had gone deep upon firing.
1007 hours - A counter attack started. 13 Depth charges were dropped, some were quite close but no damage was sustained.
The Italian ships sighted two torpedo tracks. The torpedo boat T 7 hunted the submarine while two ships escaped to Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and the third to Gravosa.
At 2015 hours, HMS P 211 dropped a dummy periscope 12 miles off the coast between Kotor and Dubrovnik, "the rude message painted on the previous ones was carved on this one". (5)
14 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (also 4th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)
18 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (also 5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to intercept a Southbound enemy convoy near Pantelleria. When this failed she was ordered to intercept the convoy South of Lampedusa.
No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)
20 Oct 1942
Before midnight on 19 October 1942 a British aircraft torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant Titania (5397 GRT) which was part of the 'Delta' convoy from Naples and Cagliari for Tripoli with Saturno (5029 GRT, built 1914), Capo Orso (3149 GRT, built 1916) and Beppe (4859 GRT, built 1912) escorted by the destroyers Antonio Pigafetta, Giovanni da Verazzano, Vincenzo Gioberti, Alfredo Oriani, Ascari and Antonio da Noli and the torpedo boats Sagittario, Centauro and Nicola Fabrizi. Beppe and Da Verazzano had already been sunk by the British submarine HMS P 37.
Titania was sunk early the next day by P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) east of Tunisia in position 34°30'N, 12°53'E.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0510 hours - Sighted a large merchant vessel laying stopped in position 158°, Lampion Island, 70 nautical miles. Closed. 2 Destroyers were seen to be in company of the merchant vessel.
0529 hours - In position 34°30'N, 12°53'E fired 1 torpedo from 6000 yards but it missed and was never heard to detonate.
0534 hours - Dived and approached the target submerged.
0618 hours - Fired one torpedo from 1800 yards. The torpedo detonated 77 seconds after firing, a hit. P 211 meanwhile took avoiding action. One of the destroyers counter attacked with a three-charge pattern but it was not very close.
0655 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Both destroyers were making off to the Southward. Returned to the merchant vessel. She was seen to be of 5000 tons and had a deck cargo of lorries. She was broken abaft the funnel. Stood by and waited for her to sink.
0833 hours - A small explosion was heard and the ship was seen to sink rapidly.
According to Italian sources Ascari had been ordered by Pigafetta (escort leader) to go to the assistance of Titania and had observed many survivors floating in the sea. Oriani joined to take care of the survivors while Ascari signalled to Titania but remained unanswered and she appeared completely abandoned. Ascari was preparing a boarding party to take her in tow by the destroyers Ascari and Oriani when the attack occurred. In all 78 survivors were picked up but they came under criticism that they had abandoned the vessel when she was still seaworthy. (5)
22 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (also 5th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)
3 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (also 6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the North of Sicily, Italy to provide cover for 'Operation Torch', the Allied landings in North Africa. Later she was ordered to patrol East of Tunisia and even later she was sent into the Gulf of Sirte.
P 211 departed Malta together with HMS P 212 (Lt. J.H. Bromage, DSC, RN) and HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN). They were escorted out by HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, DSC, RN). During the passage out they were attacked by German Me-109 fighters but no damage was caused to P 211.
No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)
5 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived in her patrol area of Capo San Vito, Sicily, Italy. (5)
8 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol off Capo Gallo, Sicily, Italy. (5)
9 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol off Capo San Vito, Sicily, Italy. (5)
11 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol off Sousse, Tunisia. (5)
13 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian motor sailing vessel Bice (269 GRT, built 1918) with gunfire east of Sousse, Tunisia.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 1331 hours - Surfaced 5 nautical miles East of Sousse (approximately 35°51'N, 10°48'E) and engaged an Italian auxiliary brigantine fitted with a gun from 1000 yards. Fired 52 rounds for 40 hits. The ship sank and the Captain was taken prisoner. The ship was en-route from Trapani to Tripoli.
Bice was unarmed and quickly abandoned by her crew. There were no casualties but she was boarded and documents giving the Italian recognition signals for aircraft and minor vessels for the week were seized. The survivors were taken in tow by a French vessel and bought to Tunisia. (5)
14 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Sirte. (5)
16 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the German transport Hans Arp (2645 GRT, built 1926) off Ras Ali, Libya in position 30°28'N, 18°48'E. She was at anchor with the German minesweeper R 15.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 2120 hours - Sighted a large darkened ship close inshore off Ras Ali. Closed. A number of small craft were later sighted around this ship.
2200 hours - Upon reaching the 10 fathom line fired 1 torpedo at the ship, which was at anchor.
2201 hours - Fired a second torpedo as the first torpedo failed to run.
2202 hours - The ship went up in a sheet of flame. Immediately set off for deeper water but no one took the slighted interest in the submarine that was now illuminated by the blaze.
Hans Arp was hit on the port side between holds no. 2 and no. 3. Two were killed and one was wounded, there were 83 survivors. A torpedo was found the next day on the beach, this was most likely the first torpedo fired. (5)
17 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fired a torpedo at a number of German barges anchored at Ras Ali. The barges F 358, F 360 and F 545 were present but none were hit. The target was probably F 545 as the other two were unloading at the beach at that time. It has been sometime mentioned that F 346 was hit but she had sailed from Benghazi at 1130/17 towing two Siebel ferries and was therefore not present.
Later the same day a schooner was attacked with one torpedo. A sinking was claimed but this does not appear to be correct. The target has not been identified so far.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) At dawn closed Ras Ali. Sighted the capsized and burning wreck of the merchant vessel, a number of large landing barges, a schooner and several lighters. Fired one torpedo at one of the landing barges. It ran dead true, passed under the barge and exploded shorly afterwards. Retired to seaward.
The exact time of the attack is not recorded in P 211’s report, the German war diaries of Seetransportstelle Ras Aali gives the time as 0800 hours. The torpedo hit the mole and destroyed it on a length of 25 metres. Five were killed and about fifteen wounded. One German source mentions that the minesweeper R 15 was damaged on this day but although she was present, the diaries of Ras Aali do not confirm it.
1930 hours - Proceeded to attack a large 3-masted schooner sighted of El Brega (approximate position 30°25'N, 19°35'E).
1944 hours - Almost grounded while setting up the attack on the schooner. Got out to sea again to come in for another run.
2018 hours - Fired No.5 torpedo tube but the torpedo remained in the tube. Luckily it was not a hot run as both tube and torpedo failed !
2024 hours - Fired no.6 torpedo tube. Went out astern.
2025 hours - The schooner disappeared in a column of spray. When the spray subsided the schooner was still there. It was not possible to see what kind of damage was inflicted. (5)
18 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank a small light vessel and damaged a landing barge with gunfire near Ras Ali. The small vessel has not been identified, the landing barge was F 346 which replied with her 2 cm gun (apparently her 7.5 cm was not operable). She suffered some damage and ran aground.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0615 hours - Sighted an unidentified vessel to the South-West. Closed to investigate. The vessel turned out to be an unmanned small light vessel in position 025°, Ras Ali, 10 nautical miles.
0647 hours - Surfaced and sank the vessel with 4 rounds of the 3" gun.
0844 hours - Sighted a landing barge Southbound in position 020°, Ras Ali, 4.5 nautical miles. Closed for gun action. A lot of machine guns were seen so decided to keep the range above 2000 yards.
0910 hours - Surfaced and engaged the target from 2300 yards. Unfortunately the sight setter made an error installing a piece of equipment and this caused shooting to be very bad. Eventually a couple of hits were scored but as water became very shallow the action had to be broken off.
0919 hours - Dived and proceeded to seaward. (5)
21 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fired a torpedo at a landing barge off Ras Ali. It however missed. The target was most likely F 541 which was present at Ras Ali and sailed later in the day.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0830 hours - Fired a torpedo at a large landing barge off Ras Ali. The torpedo appeared to run straight but no explosion followed.
According to German sources the torpedo hit the mole. (5)
22 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) damaged a landing barge with gunfire of Ras Sultan, Libya. This was F 541 towing Lighter no. 36 from Ras Ali to Tripoli.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 1056 hours - Surfaced 2 nautical miles North of Ras Sultan (approximate position 31°07'N, 17°24'E) and engaged a large landing barge towing a lighter from 3500 yards. Several hits were obtained.
1106 hours - Dived, having expended all 3" ammunition.
According to German sources F 541 recorded only one hit which caused slight damage. (5)
24 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (also 6th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)
27 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) is docked at Malta. (7)
30 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) is undocked. (7)
16 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Hammamet, Tunisia. Later she patrolled off Tripoli, Libya.
No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)
18 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian sailing vessel Eufrasia C. (49 GRT, built 1897) with gunfire in the Gulf of Hammamet, Tunisia. She was on a trip from Trapani to Tripoli.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 1448 hours - Surfaced in position 200°, Hammamet, 3 nautical miles and engaged a deeply laden southbound schooner from 600 yards. The 10th shot hit her aft and set off her cargo of petrol. P 211 then retired to seaward.
Two men were observed escaping in a boat but it was believed the rest of the crew perished. (5)
20 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) heavily damaged the Italian auxiliary patrol vessel F 139 / Costantina (345 GRT, built 1895) in the Gulf of Hammamet, Tunisia in position 36°04'N, 10°30'E. The damaged and beached Italian ship was declared a total loss and officially radiated on 10 April 1943.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 1040 hours - Sighted a small steamship close inshore. Closed submerged.
1116 hours - Surfaced and engaged from 2000 yards. The 4th round hit and the steamer turned towards the beach. 6 Hits had been scored before a JU 88 was sighted. The gun crew was sent below.
1123 hours - The JU 88 passed without sighting us. Remanned the gun and opened fire again. The target was now stern on and had drifted ashore in position 36.04'N, 10.30'E. In all 84 rounds had been fired for at least 12 hits. The target was hit in every hold, 3 times on the waterline and 2 times in the engine room. Then the JU 88 was seen returning so the action was broken off and P 211 dived. The wreck was examined the next 2 days and was considered to be a total loss. Also no salvage attempts were made by the enemy. (5)
21 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian magnetic minesweeper Rosina S. (297 GRT) about 5 nautical miles south of Hammamet, Tunisia.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 1726 hours - Sighted a vessel to the Eastward. She was thought to be a schooner but as light was failing this was not sure. Closed submerged to investigate.
1755 hours - Surfaced and followed the vessel that was now seen to be a large 3-masted schooner to the Southward.
1814 hours - Opened fire from a range of 500 yards. The ship was immediately hit. A boat was seen leaving the target and other men were seen jumping overboard. After 40 hits or more she still refused to sink. 12 Survivors were picked up including her Captain. 4 Were wounded. A torpedo was then fired to sink the ship. It hit and she sank at once. Cdr. Bryant decided to proceed to Malta to land the prisoners and embark ammunition.
According to survivors, her crew consisted of 24 men and 15 naval passengers. Other survivors were left in the water. It is not known if they were rescued. (5)
23 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. She landed her prisoners and took on board fuel and 150 rounds for the 3" gun. She left again after 3 hours. (5)
27 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian sailing vessel Eleonora Rosa (54 GRT, built 1901) with gunfire about 10 nautical miles south of Sousa, Tunisia. She was carrying 100 tons of petrol from Zuwara to Tripoli.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0637 hours - Sighted a small eastbound schooner 3 nautical miles from the shore and 5 nautical miles to the East of Ras Jioggig (East of Zuwara, Libya). 0652 hours - Surfaced and opened fire from 400 yards. 4 Out of the first 5 rounds hit. The next round set her ablaze amidships. The crew abandoned ship and 2 of them were picked up before P 211 was forced to dive for 2 fighter aircraft.
0703 hours - Dived and proceeded westwards along the coast.
A third survivor was found by the hospital ship Meta, two were missing. (5)
29 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Torquato Gennari (1012 GRT, built 1890) about 25 nautical miles south of Sfax, Tunisia in position 34°20'N, 10°49'E. She was returning from Tripoli to Trapani.
(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?) 0851 hours - After a long time to find a favourable firing position fired three torpedoes at a small merchant vessel from 4000 yards. Went deep after firing.
0853 hours - When at 65 feet when several depth charges were dropped by one of the patrolling JU 88's. A number of lamps were broken and corking fell down but no real damage was caused.
0854 hours - A torpedo was heard to hit the target.
0913 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw the ship down by the stern and sinking.
0950 hours - The ship had now completely disappeared.
Eight crew members were reported killed or missing. (5)
30 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (also 7th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)
2 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Algiers. (1)
6 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Algiers where she joined the 8th Submarine Flotilla. (1)
20 Jan 1943
For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 211 during her 8th war patrol see the map below.
HMS P 211 8th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
20 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 8th war patrol (also 8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Naples, Italy.
Before proceeding on patrol A/S exercises were carried out with the British M/S trawlers HMS Juliet (Lt. L.B. Moffatt, RNR) and HMS Cava (T/Lt. R.L. Petty-Major, RNVR) and later with HMS Polruan (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.S. Landers, RNR) and HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, DSC, RNR). (5)
21 Jan 1943
At 0226 hours, in position 37°52'N, 04°30'E HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was bombed in error by a British Wellington aircraft. This was aircraft “N” of 179 Squadron (Flight Sergeant French). P 211 was in an area where bombing restrictions were in force but the aircraft was out of position and thought P 211 was an enemy submarine. The bombs fell wide and caused no damage. (5)
24 Jan 1943
At 0535 hours (zone -1) HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), while trying to attack an enemy destroyer from periscope depth was detected and depth charged by this enemy destroyer about 35 nautical miles to the North of Ustica (approximately 39°12N, 13°12'E). In all 32 depth charges were dropped but no damage was caused by them.
According to Italian sources this was the destroyer Lanzerotto Malocello (C.F. Mario Rossi) on passage from Naples to Trapani. She reported carrying three runs for seventeen depth charges but her sonar did not work effectively and she lost contact. (5)
26 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) attacked an Italian convoy of 2 merchant vessels with a destroyer escort with 4 torpedoes about 12 nautical miles South of the Bocca Piccola (approximately 40°22N, 14°22'E). No hits were obtained.
(All times are zone -1 0634 hours - Sighted a darkened ship to the Northward. Started attack.
0637 hours - It was seen the ship was part of a convoy with another merchant vessel escorted by 4 destroyers. The merchant ships were large and looked very modern. The destroyers made the attack very difficult but at ....
0648 hours - Fired 4 torpedoes from 3000 yards at the closest merchant ship. All missed most likely as the speed was underestimated. No counter attack followed as the attack appeared to be unobserved.
This convoy was was probably the one made up of the Italian merchant vessels Spoleto (Former French Caledonien, 7960 GRT, built 1940) and Noto (Former French Djebel Nador, 3168 GRT , built 1938) which had just sailed from Naples for Bizerta. They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Lampo and Saetta.
The attack was indeed unobserved. (5)
30 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian Sant’Aniello (73 GRT, built 1924) and Gemma (67 GRT, built 1883) with gunfire of Cape Scalea, Italy. They were on passage from Scario to Vibo Valentia.
(All times are zone -1) 0820 hours - Sighted the masts of 2 schooners to the Northward. Closed submerged.
0944 hours - Surfaced 1000 yards on the Starboard quarter of the rear schooner, The other schooner was 3000 yards ahead of the rear one. The crew of the closest schooner immediately abandoned ship (except for one person). After hitting this schooner about 12 times on the waterline went off in pursuit of the other one. It was soon seen that she had also been abandoned. This schooner was soon ablaze and sank. Returned to the other schooner and sank her after some more 'gunnery practice'.
1009 hours - Dived in position 39°56'N, 15°41'E. (5)
2 Feb 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) intercepts and Italian convoy off the island of Capri and torpedoed and sank the Italian merchants Valsavoia (5733 GRT, built 1919) and Salemi (1176 GRT, built 1912) in position 40°35'N 14°29'E.
(All times are zone -1) 1347 hours - Sighted 2 vessels leaving Bocca Piccola and turning to the Eastward. The vessels were thought to be a medium seized tanker with an escort. Started attack.
1415 hours - Identified the targets as a modern looking ship of about 2500 tons with the engines aft. The other ship was not an escort but a merchant vessel of about 700 tons. The first ship looked like a tanker but was a regular merchant vessel given the samson posts before the bridge and the goal post after the bridge. She had a large gun on the poop. Decided to torpedo this ship and then attack the smaller ship with the gun.
1438 hours - Fired 3 torpedoes at the leading ship from 1000 yards. 2 Hits were obtained. Went deep after firing. Upon coming up again sighted the target settling. The smaller merchant vessel had turned back towards Naples.
1442 hours - Surfaced and engaged the small merchant with the 3" gun from 2000 yards. The 1st round already hit as did most of the 26 rounds fired before an aircraft appeared.
1446 hours - Dived while the steamer tried to beach herself but a shot in her bridge had put her steering out of action. A number of shots were on her waterline and in her engine room.
1450 hours - Returned to periscope depth it was seen that the large merchant could not be seen anymore it had sunk. The small merchant's cargo had shifted and she had capsized. Retired to seaward. (5)
8 Feb 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (also 8th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)
22 Feb 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 9th war patrol (also 9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to perform a special operation off the North coast of Sicily and not to attack enemy ships. This was Special Operation BIGOT (COPP 4) and consisted of several beach reconnaissances of the Gulf of Castellamare (Sicily) carried out by a folbot manned by Captain Parsons of the Royal Engineers and Leading Seaman Irvine and later by Lieutenant N.J. McHarg, RN. These were carried out at the following time:
27 February 1943 At 2015-2345 hours: first reconnaissance.
28 February 1943 At 2015-0020/1: second reconnaissance,
1 March 1943 2015 hours: The folbot was launched but very soon was recovered because of the heavy surf.
2 March 1943 2315 hours: third reconnaissance. The folbot was launched again but failed to return. The submarine returned the two following nights but to no avail, It was hoped that Captain Parsons and Leading Seaman had been made prisoners.
6 March 1943 2115 hours: fourth reconnaissance. Another folbot was sent, this time manned by Lieutenant N.J. McHarg, for a beach reconnaissance in the southeast corner of the Gulf of Castellamare. He was successfully recovered at 0215 hours the 7th.
8 March 1943 2100 hours: fifth reconnaissance. The folbot was again sent manned by Lieutenant N.J. McHarg, for a beach reconnaissance in the Gulf of Castellamare. He was successfully recovered at 0130 hours the 9th.
For the daily and attack positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.
HMS Safari 9th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
9 Mar 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian sailing vessel Stefano M. (69 GRT, built 1899) with gunfire off Cape San Vito. She was on passage from Palermo to Trapani.
(All times are zone -1) The special operation was now completed. Set course to return to Algiers and hoped to finally be able to draw some blood.
1017 hours - Sighted a deeply laden westbound schooner. Closed.
1110 hours - Surfaced and fired 23 rounds from 1000 yards. Most were hits.
1118 hours - Dived.
1129 hours - The target was seen to sink.
According to Italian sources following her sinking, the corvette Persefone sailed from Trapani to hunt the submarine and was joined by two motor A/S boats. The result was negative. (5)
12 Mar 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (also 9th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)
27 Mar 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for 10th war patrol (also 10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the South and South-East coasts of Sardinia, Italy.
For the daily and attack positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.
HMS Safari 10th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
3 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary patrol vessel Nasello (314 GRT, built 1924) and the Italian sailing vessel S. Francisco di Paola A. (77 GRT, built 1909) with gunfire off the Gulf of Orosei, Sardinia, Italy. They were on passage from Albia to Cagliari.
(All times are zone -1) 1137 hours - Sighted a small grey steamship inshore to the Northward. She was coast crawling to the Southward. Closed to attack.
1215 hours - The steamship was hard to see against the cliffs. She was shortly afterwards seen to be a minesweeping trawler of about 350 tons. Decided to go forward with the attack.
1229 hours - Surfaced and opened fire with the 3" gun from 1200 yards. Out of the first 3 rounds the 2nd round hit but after the 3rd round was fired the gun jammed. Her engines meanwhile had stopped, her crew abandoned ship. The gun meanwhile was cleared and fire was opened again. In all 54 rounds were fired at the trawler for many hits.
1239 hours - The trawler was now a wreck so left her to sink. Meanwhile a schooner had been sighted to the North-East. Set off in pursuit.
1248 hours - The trawler was seen to sink,
1300 hours - Dived to close the schooner further at periscope depth.
1321 hours - Surfaced in position 40°12'N, 09°45'E and engaged the schooner from 1000 yards. She was about 150 tons and very deeply laden. In all 50 rounds were fired at her.
1332 hours - Dived. The schooner was awash forward and burning aft.
1350 hours - The schooner was seen to sink. (5)
6 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) fires three torpedoed against the Italian merchant Vincenzina (1579 GRT, built 1889) with the tug Santa Chiara (63 GRT, built 1895) escorted by the auxiliary minesweeper R.D.41 off Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. All torpedoes fired however missed their target. They were on a trip from Arbatax to Cagliari.
(All times are zone -1) 1240 hours - Sighted a Z.501 flying boat patrolling and smoke between Cavoli Island and Cape Carbonara.
1245 hours - Made out the masts and funnel of a medium seized merchant vessel. She was seen to be escorted by the above mentioned flying boat, a JU 88 aircraft and what appeared to be a small torpedo boat. Started attack on the merchant vessel.
1345 hours - In position 260°, Finocchio Tower, 2000 yards (39°08'5"N, 09°22'E) fired 3 torpedoes from 600 yards.One hit was obtained (this was however not the case). Went deep on firing. A hunt for Safari by the escort was ineffective. (5)
9 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary minesweeper No. 295/Bella Italia (117 GRT, built 1905) with gunfire off Cape Carbonara, Sardinia, Italy.
(All times are zone -1) 1110 hours - Sighted the masts of a brigantine to the North-West. Proceeded to intercept.
1130 hours - A small Motor Minesweeper preceded the brigantine.
1218 hours - Surfaced for gun action. Engaged the brigantine from 1200 yards. The Motor Minesweeper was not seen during the following action but afterwards it appears she had beached herself. 31 Rounds were fired at the brigantine. A lot of hits were obtained including several on the water line. Her main hold was set on fire.
1226 hours - Shore guns now opened fire so dived.
1233 hours - The target sank in position 39°07'N, 09°23'E. (5)
10 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) attacked an Italian convoy and torpedoed and sank the Italian auxiliary Loredan / D 19 (1355 GRT, built 1936) and the Italian naval tanker Isonzo (3363 GRT, built 1937) near Cape Torre delle Stelle off Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. They were in company with Entella (2691 GRT, built 1899), the minesweeper RD 29 and MAS 507. Entella, while attempting to avoid torpedoes, ran aground at Torre Finocchio.
(All times are zone -1) 1550 hours - Sighted a convoy leaving Cagliari. This convoy consisted of 3 ships. These later proved to be a modern cargo liner of about 5000 tons that appeared to be an armed merchant cruiser, a medium seized tanker of about 3500 tons and a merchant vessel of about 3000 tons. A various number of small craft were around, E-boats, Motor Minesweepers and other small craft. Also an RD-class minesweeper was in the area. Started attack.
1719 hours - 4 Torpedoes were fired at the tanker and the Armed Merchant Cruiser. It was intended to fire to remaining 2 torpedoes however trim was lost and the attack had to be broken off.
1720 hours - All four torpedoes hit their targets. 2 Hits were obtained on the tanker and 2 on the AMC. A short glimpse through the periscope was taken and the air was seen to be full of spray and debris. Breaking up noises were heard at 1723 and 1806 hours, these were the 2 ships sinking.
1723 hours - A counter attack now followed. Went to 230 feet in 270 feet of water. However at 210 feet Safari hit the bottom and got stuck.
1725 hours - Depth charges were dropped and some lamps were broken.
1900 hours - Finally came off the bottom however the A/S craft heard Safari and depth charges were dropped but none were very close.
1940 hours - Returned to periscope depth and saw a torpedo boat very close. Safari made off to seaward at slow speed and did not surface until midnight. She was however not pursued any further. Following the attack, the minesweeper RD 29 opened fire on the periscope and was joined by RD 41 who was in the vicinity escorting the sailing vessel Idria. MAS 507 arrived and dropped five depth charges in the first run and a sixth (her last) in a second run, claiming the submarine sunk. About an hour and a half after the attack, MAS 510 arrived on the scene, observed a large patch of oil and dropped ten depth charges. Both MAS boats then returned to base. (5)
11 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) destroyed the beached Italian merchant Entella (2691 GRT, built 1899) off Cape Torre delle Stelle, Sardinia, Italy.
(All times are zone -1) 0845 hours - Sighted a beached wreck in position 39°08'5"N, 09°24'E. This was the 3rd ship of the convoy we had attacked yesterday. Her stem was seen to be damaged, possibly she rammed one of her consorts [actually she had run aground during the attack].
0953 hours - Fired one torpedo aimed at her engine room. It hit and she sank aft at once. She was now clearly a total loss.
0955 hours - Fired a torpedo in her no.2 cargo hold to destroy her cargo there. It also hit. Then retired to seaward while being hunted by E-boats.
Accoding to Italian sources the crew of Entella was saved. The first E-boat to arrive on the scene was MAS 510 which had sailed from Cagliari, she sighted the same patch of oil as the previous day but her hydrophones did not detect the presence of a submarine. The seaplane R.M. 8/188 flew over the scene and MAS 510 dropped four depth charges and was joined by MAS 507 and both continued their attacks. After an attack, the seaplane observed a small patch of oil and dropped her two depth charges on it, a larger patch of oil was now seen and the pilot believed the submarine damaged. In the afternoon, the seaplane and MAS 510 returned to the scene and both dropped more depth charges. Marina Cagliari claimed that two submarines had been sunk in two days. However, Supermarina viewed the claims with scepticism and rejected the view that there were two submarines in the area. It correctly assumed that the two patches of oil observed were most likely from the two victims of Safari and that. without sonar or hydrophone contacts, in most likelihood that a submarine may have been slightly damaged which was correct. (5)
14 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (also 10th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)
17 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) is docked at Algiers. (8)
19 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) is undocked. (8)
28 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (8)
29 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 11th war patrol (also 11th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off North-West Sardinia, Italy.
For the daily and attack positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.
HMS Safari 11th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
2 May 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary Sogliola / F 111 (307 GRT, built 1924) with gunfire off Asinara Island, Italy. Sogliola had just delivered to Sardinia assault boats of the Decima Flotiglia Mas to defend the island from an invasion fleet. Of her crew of 35, one was killed and five were missing.
(All times are zone -1) 0800 hours - Sighted a small vessel coast crawling Northward. Closed.
0857 hours - Surfaced 500 yards on the Port quarter of a 450 tons coaster and opened fire with the 3" gun. 26 Rounds were fired for 25 hits, mostly on the waterline. The crew abandoned ship.
0905 hours - Dived.
1026 hours - The coaster was seen to sink in position 41°05'N, 08°15'E. (5)
6 May 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian auxiliary minesweeper R 106 / Onda (98 GRT, built 1903) off Asinara Island, Italy. Of her crew of nine, only two survivors were picked up.
(All times are zone -1) 0655 hours - Sighted smoke from the direction of Porto Torres. Closed to investigate.
0922 hours - Surfaced astern of a 300 tons steam trawler and engaged her with the 3" gun from 600 yards. 46 Rounds were fired for 40 hits.
0933 hours - The ship sank in position 40°58'N, 08°20'E.
0945 hours - Dived after sighting an aircraft and shore batteries had opened fire. (5)
8 May 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Liv (3068 GRT, former Norwegian Liv, offsite link) at Porto Torres, Sardinia, Italy. Liv had already been damaged by air attack.
(All times are zone -1) 1745 hours - Observed 2 merchant ships inside Porto Torres. Closed as it seemed possible to attack on of them through the harbour entrance.
1928 hours - About 5 minutes after sunset fired a torpedo at the ship. She was half laden and was estimated to be 2500 tons in size. Range was 2100 yards. The torpedo hit the quay and exploded,
1930 hours - Fired another torpedo, this hit just abaft the funnel. The ship soon settled on the bottom of the harbour on an even keel. Retired to seaward.
Supermarina confirms that she was sunk during this attack. (5)
14 May 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (also 11th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)
26 May 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 12th war patrol (also 12th in the Mediterranean). She was to carry out special operation MARIGOLD in two parts.
Later she was ordered to patrol off North-West Sardinia, Italy.
For the daily and attack positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.
HMS Safari 12th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
30 May 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) started her special operation. A raiding party (Captain Godfrey Basil Courtney of the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment and Sergeant Norman Thompson, R.E., both now with the Special Boat Section) and was to be landed by folbot near Muravera on the South-East coast of Sardinia to carry out a beach reconnaissance. They were to drop a marked notebook on purpose to simulate a landing for deception purposes. This was successful and they returned at 0037 hours on the 31st. (5)
1 Jun 1943
At 0005 hours, the second part of the operation was started. This time two folbots and two dinghies were launched with Captain Courtney, Captain Gudgeon and ten other ranks. They were landed at Porto Gonone to simulate a reconnaissance in force and hopefully capture an enemy soldier. The operation was only partly successful as they came under fire when they reached the shore. At 0300 hours, they returned to the submarine except Sergeant Lossby who was taken prisoner.
With the special operation completed HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) set course for Bone to land the raiding party there before she could continue her 12th war patrol. (5)
3 Jun 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Bone to disembark the raiding party. She left to resume her 12th war patrol later the same day. (5)
7 Jun 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) was detected and depth charged by an enemy A/S vessel. Shortly afterwards an enemy convoy was sighted and attacked. No hits were obtained but Safari was hunted and depth charged by an enemy destroyer.
(All times are zone -1) 0440 hours - Sighted smoke ahead, shortly afterwards sighted a dark shape.
0441 hours - The object came towards, and fast. Shortly afterwards it opened fire from a range of 2000 yards.
0442 hours - Dived to 200 feet and shut off for depth charging which began immediately. 12 Depth charges were dropped but none very close. [According to Italian sources this was the Italian torpedo boat Lira. She was escorting a convoy of three merchant ships (Italian passenger ship Buccari (334 GRT, built 1931, Italian tanker Scrivia (1086 GRT, built 1937) and cargo ship Ferrara (2993 GRT, built 1909) from La Spezia to La Maddalena. Lira sighted a submarine at 0430 hours in position 41°48'N, 09°31' E and from a distance of 5000 metres opened fire with her forward gun and then dropped two patterns of five depth charges but without result.]
0550 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Sighted smoke to the North. Thought this to be the A/S vessel departing.
0555 hours - Altered course to close the coast. The smoke had disappeared.
0615 hours - The smoke reappeared but now in greater volume.
0620 hours - Closed the bearing of the smoke.
0634 hours - Saw that the smoke was from a convoy of 3 southbound merchant vessels escorted by 2 destroyers. Range was about 7 nautical miles. Started attack.
0719 hours - After closing at high speed for 25 minutes, in position 41°46'N, 09°30'E, fired 4 torpedoes from 7000 yards at two 5000 tons merchant vessels. No hits were obtained.
0726 hours - A counter attack begin in which 14 depth charges were dropped, all reasonably close causing some minor damage.
0823 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw a destroyer almost 4000 yards astern. She had G 8 painted on her bow (GB = Vincenzo Gioberti). Closed to investigate and brought 2 tubes to the ready.
0900 hours - The destroyer increased speed and came towards. Abandoned the idea of attacking her and went deep.
0904 hours - The destroyer dropped 3 depth charges, close.
0936 hours - The destroyer carried out 2 attacks dropping a pattern of 3 and 4. All were close.
1030 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The destroyer was 3000 yards astern, hunting. Went deep again and proceeded to seaward, slowly, at 300 feet.
1400 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The destroyer was now 6 nautical miles away, still hunting. Half an hour later she was joined by a similar destroyer.
[According to Italian sources the convoy attacked was made up of the German Merchants Canosa (3823 GRT, built 1939, former French Sampiero Corso) and Melfi (4866 GRT, built 1929, former French President Dal Piaz) and the Italian merchant Cassino (5890 GRT, built 1934). They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Vincenzo Gioberti, and Fuciliere and Legionario. Vincenzo Gioberti hunted the submarine but believed only to have damaged it, the Italian corvettes Folga and Danaide were ordered to take over the hunt but found nothing.] (5)
9 Jun 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) was detected and attacked with depth charges by an enemy A/S vessel to the East of Sardinia, Italy. No damage was sustained. This was the torpedo boat Ardito on passage from La Maddalena to Naples. She had spotted the surfaced submarine at 3000 metres and rushed to the attack, dropping six depth charges and claimed to have sunk a large submarine.
(All times are zone -1) 0057 hours - Sighted a ship to the Westward. Turned stern on.
0058 hours - The ship appeared to be a submarine steering 160°. Started attack.
0059 hours - Observed ship to turn away and increase speed considerably.
0100 hours - Dived. Shut off for depth charging. Altered course 90° to the Eastward.
0102 hours - At 200 feet. The 1st depth charge was dropped. The vessel was using Asdics.
0103 hours - 3 Depth charges were dropped, not very close.
0148 hours - Surfaced. The A/S vessel was in sight right ahead laying stopped.
0150 hours - Dived and went to 200 feet again. Cleared the area at slow speed.
0335 hours - Surfaced. The vessel was still in sight.
0341 hours - Dived and proceeded to the South to shake here off.
0530 hours - At periscope depth. Sighted nothing.
0650 hours - The A/S vessel was sighted again. On first glimpse through the periscope it was again thought to be a submarine.
0715 hours - The vessel disappeared to the Northwards. Continued to patrol the approaches to Olbia. (5)
10 Jun 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the German transport ship KT-12 (834 GRT, built 1943) off Orosei, Sardinia, Italy in position 40°21'N, 09°45'E. She had been on passage from Leghorn to Cagliari.
(All times are zone -1) 1155 hours - Sighted a 1200 tons fast coaster rounding Cape Comito. She was Southbound and thought to be escorted by an E-boat. Started attack.
1219 hours - Fired 3 torpedoes from 600 yards. 1 hit was obtained.
1226 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw that the engine room and after part of the ship were burning furiously. The E-boat was seen to be rescuing the survivors.
1235 hours - It was now seen that the E-boat was just a small motor launch.
1300 hours - Saw the ship sinking. Proceeded Southwards.
The corvettes Danaide, Folaga and Gazzella were sent to pick up the survivors and hunt the submarine. Thirty-nine were found and twenty-seven were missing. (5)
15 Jun 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (also 12th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)
1 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Bizerte where she was to exercise with U.S. ships. (5)
3 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises with the US destroyer USS Bristol (Cdr. J.A. Glick, USN). (5)
4 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Bizerta for her 13th war patrol (also 13th in the Mediterranean). She was to act as a beacon submarine during Operation Husky, the Allied landings in North Africa.
In the morning, before proceeding on patrol, Safari was rammed in error by a French tug. Only some minor damage was sustained to the ballast tanks which could be made good by the submarines own crew.
No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)
9 Jul 1943
During the evening HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted her duties as beacon submarine off Licata during the Allied landing on Sicily. She successfully made contact with the US destroyer USS Bristol (Cdr. J.A. Glick, USN). Soon afterwards Safari was joined by her escort USS PC 543. (5)
10 Jul 1943
Around 0345 hours HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) completed her beacon duties and course was set towards Malta still escorted by USS PC 543.
At 0410 hours the task force was bombed by German JU 88's. A stick of bombs fell close to HMS Safari.
At 0452 hours, they witnessed the sinking of the US destroyer USS Maddox which had been hit by a dive-bomber. Safari rushed to find survivors but found none [in fact 74 were rescued by landing craft].
At 1515 hours HMS Safari ended her 13th war patrol (also 13th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)
15 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 14th war patrol (also 14th in the Mediterranean). She was to patrol off the West coast of Sardinia and Corsica.
For the daily and attack positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.
HMS Safari 14th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
18 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary minesweeper R 47 / Amalia (101 GRT, built 1931) with gunfire in position 40°42'N, 09°49'E.
Following this attack Safari was attacked by an Italian aircraft.
(All times are zone -1) 1345 hours - Sighted a Northbound motor minesweeper.
1405 hours - Surfaced for gun action. Range was 1600 yards. 34 Rounds were fired and several hits were obtained. The enemy at first replied with 2 machine guns wounding 2 of Safari's gun crew. The enemy however soon caught fire and was abandoned by her crew. The Captain was taken prisoner. The ship burnt until 1920 hours when it sank.
1430 hours - An Breda 65 aircraft appeared and opened cannon fire. Very wide.
1432 hours - Dived, proceeded to seaward.
1434 hours - One bomb was dropped, not very close. Went deep.
1503 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Soon afterwards 2 bombs were dropped quite near. No aircraft however was seen. Went to 120 feet. (5)
19 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) attacked the German barges Maria, Paula and the Italian armed yacht Margherita (88 GRT) with gunfire off the port of Favone, Corsica, France. Maria (or Marie) received a direct hit and sank, Paula was hit several times but above the water-line and could resume her passage the next day. Margherita was hit nine times and ran aground in Porto Vecchio. Apparently there were no casualties.
(All times are zone -1) 1420 hours - Sighted a German transport barge proceeding Northward. Closed submerged for gun action.
1430 hours - The barge stopped in Favone Cove. A second barge arrived and secured alongside.
1500 hours - A small naval auxiliary arrived. She was southbound and was loaded with some sort of cargo.
1514 hours - Surfaced and opened fire on the naval auxiliary. 15 Rounds were fired from 600 yards. 6 or 7 hits were obtained on the waterline. The crew had abandoned ship as soon as fire was opened. Then shifted fire to the barges which had anchored about 300 yards from the shore. 42 Rounds were fired from 1100 yards.
1521 hours - After about 35 hits on the nearest barge, for no apparent effect broke off the action to conserve ammunition.
1525 hours - Fired a torpedo from 1100 yards. It was seen to pass under the barges but exploded 3 seconds later on hitting the shore. Proceeded to seaward.
1539 hours - One of the barges was seen to capsize and sink. The other was in a sinking condition as was the naval auxiliary. (5)
20 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian pilot vessel / armed yacht F 50/Silvia Onorato (208 GRT, built 1895) between Bastia and La Maddalena carrying 180 tons of cement.
(All times are zone -1) 1615 hours - Sighted a large A/S steam yacht (similar to HMS Breda). She was southbound and just passing Aciago Point. The target was of about 1000 tons, armed with depth charges, a 3.9" gun amidships and a 20mm gun forward. Enemy course was 198°, speed 6.5 knots. Range was 6500 yards, closed to attack.
1640 hours - In position 41°46'N, 09°26'E fired 2 torpedoes from 50 yards. Both hit, the ship disintegrated and depth charges exploded as she sank. As the range had been overestimated had to take avoiding action to prevent a collision with everything that remained so went hard-a-starboard. The ships mainmast passed about 25 feet clear on the port side. 2 Survivors were seen Climbing on a large float and paddle for the shore.
Of her crew of fifteen, 13 survived including two wounded, two were missing. (5)
22 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian minelayer Durazzo (530 tons) East of Corsica, France. She was on passage from La Maddalena to Bastia.
(All times are zone -1) 0800 hours - Sighted a Buccari-class minelayer proceeding Northwards, coast crawling.
0845 hours - Surfaced in position 41°39'N, 09°25'E to engage with the gun. Range was 2500 yards. Enemy speed was 6 knots. After fire was opened the enemy immediately turned towards the shore and ran himself aground in Cola Bay. 35 Rounds were fired scoring about 6 and 7 hits. By this time shore batteries had opened up an accurate fire.
0850 hours - Dived. Decided to finish off the damaged ship with a torpedo. As the ship was in a difficult position it took a long time to find a good firing position.
1013 hours - Fired 1 torpedo from 1800 yards. It hit under the ships bridge and the ship was now a total loss.
1015 hours - Proceeded to seaward.
According to Italian sources Durazzo had four killed (including her captain) and four wounded. (5)
25 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary minesweeper FR 70 (ex French La Coubre, 120 GRT) gunfire North-West of the Island of Elba in position 42°47'N, 10°05'E.
(All times are zone -1) 0715 hours - Heard HE coming from inshore. This soon turned out to be a large 3-masted schooner bound for Bastia.
0736 hours - Surfaced in position 42°51'N, 10°04'E and chased the schooner.
0742 hours - Sighted a ship approaching from beyond the schooner. She could not be clearly made out due to the mirage effect.
0745 hours - Dived when it was sighted to be an A/S trawler. Decided to attack this trawler with torpedoes and then to follow up on the schooner.
0819 hours - Fired 2 torpedoes from 1000 yards. Both missed. The schooner was now seen to be smaller than first thought.
0823 hours - Surfaced and engaged the trawler with the 3" gun. 38 Rounds were fired for many hits.
0829 hours - Observed a large single funneled merchant liner. Broke off the action to intercept. The sea suddenly looked full of small ships all firing. Almost immediately the merchant was seen to turn 180 degrees and made back for the Italian mainland.
0832 hours - Re-opened fire on the trawler. Fired 20 rounds for 19 hits. Soon she was on fire and sinking.
0839 hours - Dived. Several landing barges and shore batteries had now also opened fire.
0850 hours - The target was seen to sink in position 42°47'N, 10°05'E.
Twenty-nine survivors were picked up, six were missing. (5)
26 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) attacked a 5000 tons merchant vessel with 3 torpedoes off Piombino, Toscane, Italy. All torpedoes missed. This was the Italian Saluzzo (ex-French Tamara, 3747 GRT, built 1936) escorted by the torpedo boats Ardito and Animoso on passage from Naples to La Maddalena. The submarine Ambra had been in company but had left hem 20 minutes before the attack.
Shortly afterwards Safari fires three torpedoes at the French (German controlled) tanker Champagne (9946 GRT, built 1938). Again all torpedoes missed their target. She was on passage from Bastia to Leghorn escorted by SG 11.
(All times are zone -1) 1815 hours - Sighted a 5000 tons merchant vessel escorted by 3 Climene-class torpedo boats and 1 MA/SB approaching from astern. Enemy course was 270°. Started attack.
1855 hours - In position 42°55'N, 10°25'E fired 3 torpedoes from 750 yards. All missed. Took avoiding action upon firing but there was no counter attack so returned to periscope depth and noticed that the target and one of the torpedo boats had turned 180° and made for Porto Vecchio di Piombino. 2 Torpedo boats were searching in the area. The MA/SB was not sighted.
According to Italian sources the torpedo boat Ardito was detached to hunt the submarine but without success.
1910 hours - The first proper all round look revealed the surprising sight of another 5000 tons merchant vessel and an 8000 tons tanker steering 080°. Range was about 4000 yards. Started attack. Both were against the land and difficult to pick out. An aircraft flew overhead.
1918 hours - In position 42°54'N, 10°25'E fired 3 torpedoes from 1500 yards. Again all missed. Took avoiding action upon firing.
1925 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The target could no longer be seen but one torpedo boat passed at 2500 yards doing 20 knots on an opposite course. Over a period of 95 seconds it dropped 14 depth charges. Safari meanwhile retired to the North-West.
Two torpedo tracks were observed from Champagne and avoided. (5)
30 Jul 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (also 14th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)
15 Aug 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for Gibraltar. HMS Safari was to proceed to the U.K. for a refit.
For the daily positions of HMS Safari during this passage see the map below.
HMS Safari passage Algiers - Gibraltar click here for bigger map (5)
19 Aug 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (5)
22 Aug 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 15th war patrol. She was ordered to perform an anti-Uboat patrol in the Bay of Biscay and to proceed to Portsmouth upon completion of this patrol.
Nothing was sighted except fishing vessels.
For the daily positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.
HMS Safari 15th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)
8 Sep 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 15th war patrol at Portsmouth. (5)
15 Sep 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Portsmouth for the Clyde. She made the passage together with HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN). They were escorted by Chasseur 5. (9)
18 Sep 1943
HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived in the Clyde area. Shortly afterwards (23 September) she was taken in hand for refit at Troon. (9)
31 Jan 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) ended her refit at Troon. (1)
5 Feb 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) shifted from Troon to Holy Loch. (10)
8 Feb 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) shifted from Holy Loch to Rothesay where she joined the 7th Submarine Flotilla. This was the training flotilla so from now on HMS Safari was assigned to training duties, mostly in the Clyde area. Often she was used for the Commanding Officers Qualifying Course. (10)
16 Mar 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was ordered to proceed to Lerwick. She was to patrol off Norway as the British thought the German battleship Tirpitz was going to return to Germany for repairs. Safari made the passage North together with the Dutch submarine HrMs Zeehond (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) and HMS Una (Lt. C.A.J. Nicholl, RN). They were escorted by the Canadian corvette HMCS Camrose (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.R. Pavillard, RCNR). (12)
18 Mar 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) arrived at Lerwick. A few hours later she departed for her 16th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Southern Norway for operation FOREMOST (deployment of submarines against Tirpitz).
For the daily positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.
HMS Safari 16th war patrol click here for bigger map (12)
21 Mar 1944
As it now had become clear to the Admiralty the German battleship Tirpitz was not moving at all HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was recalled from patrol. (5)
23 Mar 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) ended her 16th war patrol at Lerwick. (5)
24 Mar 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) departed Lerwick for Rothesay. She made the passage together with HMS Truant (Lt. E.C. Croswell, DSC, RN), HMS Una (Lt. C.A.J. Nicholl, RN), HMS Vivid. (Lt. J.C. Varley, RN) and HrMs Zeehond (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN). They were escorted by the British minesweepers HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.M. Norman, RN). (12)
27 Mar 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) arrived at Rothesay to resume her training duties. (12)
2 Apr 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was docked in AFD 7 at Holy Loch for a propeller change. (12)
3 Apr 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was undocked. (12)
25 May 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was docked in AFD 20 at Rothesay. (14)
30 May 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was undocked. (14)
25 Aug 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was docked in AFD 20 at Rothesay. (16)
30 Aug 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was undocked. (16)
9 Sep 1944
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was briefly docked in AFD 20 at Rothesay. She was undocked later the same day. (17)
17 Jan 1945
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was docked in AFD 7 at Holy Loch. (23)
21 Jan 1945
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was undocked. (23)
17 Mar 1945
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was docked in AFD 7 at Holy Loch. (25)
18 Mar 1945
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) was undocked. (25)
7 Jul 1945
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) departed the Clyde for Portsmouth. (1)
9 Jul 1945
HMS Safari (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (1)
- ADM 199/2569
- ADM 173/17200
- ADM 173/17434
- ADM 173/17435
- ADM 199/1839
- ADM 199/651 + ADM 234/353
- ADM 199/1919
- ADM 173/17988
- ADM 199/627
- ADM 173/18618
- ADM 173/18598
- ADM 173/18620
- ADM 173/19219
- ADM 173/18621
- ADM 173/19353
- ADM 173/18624
- ADM 173/18625
- ADM 173/19250
- ADM 173/19196
- ADM 173/19289
- ADM 173/19243
- ADM 173/19132
- ADM 173/19528
- ADM 173/20316
- ADM 173/19530
- ADM 173/20183
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.