HMS Saracen (P247)

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HMS Saracen.jpg
HMS Saracen on the River Mersey in July 1942
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: S class submarine
Name: HMS Saracen
Builder: Cammell Laird & Co Limited, Birkenhead
Laid down: 16 July 1940
Launched: 16 February 1942
Commissioned: 27 June 1942
Fate: Sunk on 14 August 1943
General characteristics
Displacement: 814-872 tons surfaced
990 tons submerged
Length: 217 ft (66 m)
Beam: 23 ft 6 in (7.16 m)
Draught: 11 ft (3.4 m)
Speed: 14.75 knots surfaced
8 knots submerged
Complement: 48 officers and men
Armament: 6 x forward 21-inch torpedo tubes, one aft
13 torpedoes
one three-inch gun (four-inch on later boats)
one 20 mm cannon
three .303-calibre machine guns
For other ships of the same name, see HMS Saracen.

HMS Saracen was an S class submarine of the Royal Navy, and part of the Third Group built of that class. She was built by Cammell Laird and launched on 16 February 1942.

Career[edit]

Her first pennant was P213, to which her commissioning crew objected because of the unlucky connotations of 13, so the Admiralty changed it to P247 (which still added up to 13). She started her wartime career in home waters, where she sank U-335 in the North Sea. There were only two survivors out of a crew of 44, one of whom died shortly afterwards after refusing to be rescued, the other being taken prisoner.[1]

She then served in the Mediterranean, where she sank the Italian submarine Granito, the Italian auxiliary submarine chaser V 3 / Maria Angelette, the French tugs Provincale II and Marseillaise V, the Italian merchant ships Tagliamento and Tripoli and the German merchant vessel Tell. She also attacked and damaged two sailing vessels and the French (in German service) tanker Marguerite Finally. She also attacked a number of convoys, torpedoing and sinking the Italian merchant ship Francesco Crispi. Saracen had less luck attacking other convoys, firing three torpedoes against one made up of the small Italian tanker Labor, the German merchantman Menes, which were escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Calliope and Climene. All torpedoes fired missed their targets. On another occasion, she fired four torpedoes against the German transport ship Ankara and one of her escorts, the Italian destroyer Camicia Nera. Again, all torpedoes fired missed their targets.[2]

Sinking[edit]

On 14 August 1943, whilst on patrol off Bastia, Saracen was spotted by the Italian corvettes Minerva and Euterpe which attacked with depth charges. She was forced to surface and as the crew abandoned her, they scuttled the boat to avoid her capture. [3]

Memorial[edit]

In September 2008 the families of crewmen from HMS Saracen were invited to Corsica to witness the unveiling of a memorial to British secret agents who helped establish the Corsican Resistance, and to the boat that landed them, HMS Saracen. A plaque commemorating the submarine already existed in the fortress at Bastia, where the crew were taken after her sinking.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Abrupt end to U-335′s first patrol". Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  2. ^ HMS Saracen, Uboat.net
  3. ^ Submarine losses 1904 to present day, RN Submarine Museum, Gosport
  4. ^ Navy News

Coordinates: 42°45′N 9°30′E / 42.750°N 9.500°E / 42.750; 9.500