HMS Saracen (P247)
HMS Saracen on the River Mersey in July 1942
|Career (United Kingdom)|
|Builder:||Cammell Laird & Co Limited, Birkenhead|
|Laid down:||16 July 1940|
|Launched:||16 February 1942|
|Commissioned:||27 June 1942|
|Identification:||Pennant number P247|
|Fate:||Sunk on 14 August 1943|
|Class and type:||S-class submarine|
|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 (27.32 km/h; 16.97 mph) surfaced
8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) submerged
|Complement:||48 officers and men|
|Armament:||6 x forward 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, one aft
1 x 3-inch (76 mm) gun
1 x 20-millimetre (1 in) cannon
3 x .303-calibre machine guns
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 the German submarine 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.
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.
On Friday 13 August 1943, whilst on patrol off Bastia, Saracen was spotted by the Italian corvettes Minerva and Euterpe which attacked with depth charges. Not wanting to be sunk on Friday the thirteenth she remained under water until 2.00am on Saturday, 14 August. She was forced to surface and as the crew abandoned her, they scuttled the boat to avoid her capture.
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, Saracen. A plaque commemorating the submarine already existed in the fortress at Bastia, where the crew were taken after her sinking.
In 2015, the wreck of Saracen was discovered and photographed on the seabed, at a depth of 1,385 feet (422 m) off the coast of Corsica.
- "Abrupt end to U-335′s first patrol". World War II Today. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- "HMS Saracen (P 247)". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
- "Submarine losses 1904 to present day". RN Submarine Museum, Gosport.
- "Saracen remembered in Corsica". Navy News. Royal Naval Association. January 2009. p. 31.
- Allen, Peter (22 June 2015). "Royal Navy submarine which was scourge of the Nazis and scuttled off the coast of Corsica is finally discovered 72 years later". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.