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


HMS UNRIVALLED - U-class Submarine

HM S/M Unrivalled (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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B a t t l e    H o n o u r s




Commissioned as P45 this submarine was renamed in conformation with the naming policy introduced early in 1943. Operational deployment with the 9th Submarine Flotilla began on 25 June 1942 and when she sailed from Lerwick for patrol off Norway in support of the passage of Russian convoy PQ17.


Two unsuccessful attacks were made on German submarines during this patrol intended to intercept U-Boats carrying out attacks on the convoys and its escorts. On 22nd July she was involved in a collision with HM Destroyer DOUGLAS near Scapa Flow and sustained serious damage requiring repair. This submarine resumed Home Fleet duties in September and was deployed for patrol off Norway to supplement the anti-submarine defence of Russian convoys PQ18 and QP14. These were uneventful and she returned to the Clyde on 26th of that month. Transferred for service in me Mediterranean she took passage to Gibraltar on 10th October and joined the 10th Submarine Flotilla in Malta on 9th November after a patrol in the western Mediterranean during passage. Before being deployed for support of allied landings in Algeria (Operation TORCH) she carried out a patrol in Gulf of Tunis where she damaged an Italian schooner in a surface gun action. The subsequent deployment off Algiers was to intercept any Italian attempt to interfere with landing operations. On release from TORCH during deployment in Tunis area later in December attacks were carried out on two small ships and one source records sinking of the Italian hospital ship CITTA DA TRAPANI but requires conformation.


Whilst carrying patrol in the Gulf of Hammamet in January 1943 attacks by surface gunfire were sinking six small ships. A special reconnaissance operation was carried out in preparation for the allied landings in Sicily during the first patrol as first RN warship to carry the new name. Later she attacked two ships off Palermo sinking one, mv BOYS ROSE and damaging the other. A counter-attack was made by escorts which dropped over 50 depth charges. On 29th March she sank two submarine chasers, UJ2201 and 2202 in the Bay of Picenzi and during a patrol in late April two more smaller ships were sunk. Her patrol in May was carried out off north Messina where she sank two sailing raft and a tug before sailing from Malta for special patrols off possible landing areas in east and south east Sicily. Another special operation was carried out in preparation for HUSKY during mid June and she was deployed as a navigational marker for the landing of Canadian troops from Force "V" on the west coast of the Pachino Peninsula on 8th July. Further patrol after HUSKY was in the north of the Messina Straits where two small ships were sank and a brigantine driven ashore. She was selected for special operation at Taranto to attack warships using "Chariots" but this was cancelled on 26th August, possibly because of the delicate political discussions to negotiate an Italian surrender.


Before being specially deployed in the SW Aegean in October she was deployed in the Bari area and returned with eight small craft carrying refugees in company. Her service in support of the failed British defence of the Dodecanese islands was unremarkable except for the rescue of airmen from their dinghy and a failed attack on an invasion craft carrying troops.


Recalled to UK for refit she sailed from Malta on 17th November and after call at Tobermory arrived at Blyth on 12th December. Refit and trials were completed in May and the submarine then was deployed for training duties based at Rothesay. In February 1945 she was taken in hand for repair at Devonport and on completion in April was deployed for local anti-submarine training with the 5th Flotilla until being paid-off at Portsmouth on 27th July 1945. Laid-up at Lisahally she was placed on the Disposal List and sold to T W Ward for breaking-up at Briton Ferry where she arrived on 22nd January 1946. The Commanding Officers were Lieut. Turner, 1942-43, Lieut. Sprice 1943 and Lieut Stevens 1943. 


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revised 30/11/10
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