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


HMS UPHOLDER - U-class Submarine

HM S/M United, sister-boat (Cyber Heritage, click to enlarge)

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B a  t t l e   H o n o u r s




One of first Group of submarines of the Class ordered in 1939 and identified by name on launch in 1940. After trials and working-up in Home waters at the end of 1940 this submarine took passage to join the 10th Submarine Flotilla in Malta on 10th December.


After delay by repair in Gibraltar she arrived in Malta on 12th January 1941 and began her first patrol on 24th January. Attacks were made on several ships in the Cape Bon area during which two supply vessels were sunk. Further sinkings were made on successive patrols This submarine sailed for her seventh patrol on 18th May and intercepted the 17,879 tons Italian liner CONTE ROSSO on the 24th. A difficult torpedo attack was carried out on this target which was part of a heavily defended convoy taking troops to North Africa. Two of the salvo hit this troopship which was carrying over 2,500 military personnel. The liner sank with the loss of many troops. For his hazardous attack the captain, Lieutenant Commander M D Wanklyn was awarded the Victoria Cross. On her following patrol in June she sank another mercantile in the Aegean before being deployed off Sicily and there had another sinking of a supply ship. A later torpedo attack on 28th June damaged the Italian cruiser GARIBALDI. Further successful attacks in August included another supply ship and on 18th September she intercepted an Italian troop convoy from which she sank the liners NEPTUNIA and OCEANIA. During a patrol on 9th November this submarine intercepted the Italian destroyer LIBECCIO which was carrying out rescue of the survivors from another destroyer which had been sunk in an action with HM cruisers off Cape Spartivento. The torpedo hit the stern and during a towing attempt capsized and sank within an hour.


On 5th January 1942 she sank the Italian submarine AMMIRAGLIO SAINT BON off Sicily and in February whilst deployed in the western Mediterranean a supply ship off Sardinia Whilst on patrol in the Adriatic she sank another Italian submarine, TRICHEO on 18th March. Sailing from Malta for her 21st patrol on 6th April she landed an intelligence party on the North African coast three days later and transferred an Army officer to HM Submarine UNBEATEN on the following night. Whilst carrying out an attack on a convoy on 14th April in a position NE of Tripoli she came under attack by the Italian destroyer-escort PEGASO after being sighted by aircraft and sank with no survivors. This submarine had an unsurpassed record of tonnage sunk or damaged in attacks on warships and shipping as well as for defence of Malta relief convoys against Italian warships. She was commanded by Lieutenant Commander Wanklyn since commissioning in 1940. In 1987 this name was again used for a type 2400 Patrol submarine. 


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revised 30/11/10
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