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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006


HMS UNBEATEN - U-class Submarine

HM S/M United, sister-boat  (Navy Photos/David Maltby & Charlie Chivers, click to enlarge)

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B a t t l e    H o n o u r s




First use of the name by the RN and launched under this name instead of Pennant Number P33. Deployed in Home waters after work-up this submarine took passage to the Mediterranean in February 1941 and carried out patrol from Gibraltar before joining the 10th Submarine Flotilla in Malta during April.


Her initial patrols were uneventful as far as sinking records relate although in July she took part in a joint operation to intercept an Italian troop convoys including several large liners. Her torpedo attack on the liner OCEANIA failed. The next month during patrol off Augusta she sank a supply ship and during a joint operation with other submarines of the Flotilla sighted another important troop convoy in the eastern Mediterranean, As a result HM Submarine UPHOLDER carried out successful attacks sinking the liners OCEANIA and NEPTUNIA. This submarine was the deployed to carry out patrols to intercept Italian warships on passage to intercept the HALBERD relief convoy to Malta In December 1941 she was deployed to intercept an Italian supply convoy M41 against which units of the Mediterranean Fleet were also carrying out a major search operation. In January she carried out patrol in the western Mediterranean and on 12th of that month sighted the German submarine U374 off Catania, Sardinia which she attacked and sank.. She rescued the sole survivor. Three months later she sank a supply ship off Tunisia and on 17th March the Italian submarine GUGLIELMOTTI. On return to Malta she was damaged during an air raid whilst part submerged in Lazaretto Creek. A stick of bombs exploded near enough to cause serious damage to her torpedo tubes rendering them unusable. Despite this disability she was deployed for a special duty to collect an army officer from HM Submarine UPHOLDER after which she was released from Mediterranean service and returned to UK for repair to her damaged torpedo tubes.


She was deployed in Home waters on completion and sailed from the Clyde for patrol in the Bay of Biscay on 23rd October 1942. After landing an intelligence agent near Vigo she began her anti-submarine patrol and on 6th November was ordered to intercept a enemy blockade runner known to be on passage from the Far East to France. This ship had earlier been under air attacks and her interception position was reported. The submarine was then ordered to meet another submarine with a convoy in the Bishops Rock area and foiled to arrive. Her loss may have been caused by depth charges from an RAF WELLINGTON aircraft which reported an attack on a submarine on 12th November. This has never been fully established. The Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Commander EA Woodward RN during her outstanding Mediterranean service and by Lieutenant D E O Watson at the time of her loss.


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revised 30/11/10
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