The submarine that has spent 77 years trapped at the bottom of the sea in Malta


Lieutenant commander Edward Tomkinson He was one of the best captains of the 10th Underwater Fleet of the Royal Navy British Under his direction, the submarine crew HMS Urges they achieved great successes during the 20 missions they carried out in the WWII that earned them even get high military decorations.

They sent to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to a German tanker who supported the operations of Nazi submarines, paralyzed the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto during operations linked to the first battle of Sirte and even torpedoed and sank the light cruiser Bande Nere in April 1942.

Military successes

HMS Urge carried out 20 missions during World War II until it disappeared in 1942

While discussing whether Tomkinson was deserving of the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration to the value "against the enemy" of all British decorations, the Admiralty of the Royal Navy sent the Urge to a new and dangerous mission. The objective was to move the base of the 10th Malta Flotilla to Alexandria (Egypt) to avoid the constant bombing of Axis forces.

The submarine left the island on April 27, 1942. On board not only the 32 regular crew members traveled, but there were at least 11 people plus naval personnel and even a war correspondent. That was 77 years ago and, until a few weeks ago, nobody had seen the ship again.

The U-class ship remains anchored on the seabed

The U-class ship remains anchored on the seabed
(Royal Navy)

The Urge never reached the Egyptian coast because, as they have been able to confirm now a group of underwater archaeologists from the Malta UniversityHe never left the perimeter of this Mediterranean island. He is still there, sitting defiantly at a depth of 120 meters, with the hull embedded in the seabed and its deck canyon facing a distant horizon.

There follow the remains of the 44 souls that traveled inside. Researchers have confirmed the distinctive characteristics of the U-class submarine and compared them with contemporary photographs to certify that they really had HMS Urges. The exact location of the wreck, however, has not yet been revealed.

Destination Egypt

The submarine carried 44 people on board when it was sunk by a mine off the coast of Malta

With this discovery, this submarine is no longer one of the 19 U-class vessels lost during World War II, 13 of them in the Mediterranean Sea. These types of ships were small and were originally built to be used exclusively in training practices.

The British Admiralty concluded, after his disappearance, that the Urge ran into an enemy minefield shortly after leaving malt, although no evidence of the wreck had been found so far. The latest findings confirm this hypothesis and rule out other theories that have appeared in recent years.

The British submarine, before diving into the Mediterranean Sea

The British submarine, before diving into the Mediterranean Sea
(Royal Navy)

The most famous of these conjectures, made by a shipwrecked hunter, said that the Urge had gone to the coast of Libya around the city of Tobruk (located near the border with Egypt) and away from its planned route. Under this assumption, the ship allegedly had been sunk by an Italian plane two days after leaving Malta.

The search for archaeologists from the University of Malta, in collaboration with the Royal Nav, the Canadian naval researcher Platon Alexiades and Francis Dickinson, grandson of the commander of Urge, has ruled out this option and validated that the submarine really succumbed to a mine placed For a German ship. The impact caused catastrophic damage and led the Urge to the seabed.

Visible cannon

The Urhe is 120 meters deep, with the hull embedded in the seabed

The crew's families, headed by Bridget, the daughter of Lieutenant Commander Tomkinson, now expect to erect a monument in Malta and attend a service next year to commemorate the tragedy and rediscovery of Urge, the Royal reported in a statement British Navy

”Many members of the HMS Urge crew formed links with the population of the island. A crew member even married a Maltese girlfriend, ”says Professor Timmy Gambin, of the Department of Classics and Archeology at the Maltese University. "The powerful image of this shipwreck reflects the courage of those who sailed on the submarine, as well as the enduring alliance of HMS Urge with Malta," he concludes.


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