Benjamin Bryant DSO, DSC, RN

Born  16 Sep 1905Madras, India
Died  23 Nov 1994(89)Worthing, West Sussex, England


Rear Admiral Benjamin Bryant, RN

Ranks

15 Dec 1927 Lt.
15 Dec 1935 Lt.Cdr.
30 Jun 1940 Cdr.
31 Dec 1944 Capt.
7 Jul 1954 Rear-Admiral

Retired: 1 Apr 1957


Decorations

9 May 1940 DSC
12 May 1942 Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
23 Mar 1943 DSO
11 May 1943 Bar to DSO
6 Jul 1943 2nd Bar to DSO
31 May 1956 CB

Warship Commands listed for Benjamin Bryant, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Sealion (N 72)Lt.Cdr.Submarine3 Sep 193812 Oct 1941
HMS Safari (P 211)Cdr.Submarine14 Oct 194127 Apr 1943
HMS Montclare (F 85)Cdr.Submarine Depot Ship16 Jun 194410 Oct 1944
HMS Cyclops (F 31)Cdr.Submarine Depot Ship30 Oct 19444 Feb 1945
HMS Forth (F 04)Capt.Submarine Depot Ship5 Feb 194511 May 1945
HMS Adamant (F 64)Capt.Submarine Depot Ship26 Jun 19454 Jun 1947

Career information

Son of John Forbes Bryant, MA, FRGS (Fellow Royal Geographical Society), ICS (Indian Civil Service) and Mary Ada (née Genge). Born in Madras, India on 16th September 1905 where his father was serving in the Indian Civil Service.

Younger brother to Lt. Col. Joseph Bryant, Royal Army Medical Corps and Mary Elliott (née Bryant. Her husband Lt. Colonel Francis Elliott died on active service in Burma in 1944). Education: Oundle School, Royal Naval Colleges Osborne and Dartmouth.

Married 1st in 1929 to Marjorie Dagmar Mynors (née Symonds, died 1965) 2 sons (David – died 1936 and Joseph – still living) and one daughter (Patricia Dagmar - still living).

Married 2nd in 1966 Heather Elizabeth Williams (née Hance, died 1989). No issue. Her first husband was Lt. Robert Boddington RN, commander of the submarine HMS Unique, lost on patrol in the Bay of Biscay en route to Gibraltar in October 1942.

His papers, scrapbooks, photograph albums, HMS Sealion's Jolly Roger, HMS Safari's ships bell, uniforms, medals and memorabilia are held by the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport. www.submarine-museum.co.uk

Ben Bryant was the greatest British submarine ace to survive World War II. He was described thus by Lt. Commander Edward Young, DSO, DSC, RNVR, who served as one of Bryant's officers on HMS Sealion:

Ben Bryant was one of those men who are big enough to give you confidence in yourself by assuming you can do your job without appearing to check up on you. He believed in taking the game of war seriously; nevertheless it somehow always seemed a game. He strove continuously to make himself and his men as efficient as possible, and was out to hit the enemy with all he knew, but he did so with such an air of gay bravado that half the time you had an odd feeling that you were playing at pirates. With his erect height, his seadog beard and arrogant eye, he was the typical submarine captain of the public imagination. He had a fine command of the English language, which he used to good effect in recounting yarns in the wardroom, inventing ballads, or expressing his opinion of some ineptitude on the part of one of his officers or men. He had the rare gift of being able to switch, without loss of dignity, from commanding officer to entertaining messmate.

Events related to this officer

Submarine HMS Sealion (N 72)


6 Nov 1939
HMS Sealion (Lt.Cdr. B. Bryant, RN) fires 6 torpedoes against German U-boat U-21 off the Dogger Bank in position 55°10'N, 02°11'E. All torpedoes fired missed their target.

11 Apr 1940
HMS Sealion (Lt.Cdr. B. Bryant, RN) torpedoed and sank the German merchant August Leonhard (2593 GRT) in the Skagerrak in position 56°29'N, 11°43'E.

6 May 1940
HMS Sealion (Lt.Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) attacked the German merchant Moltkefels (7862 GRT) with 3 torpedoes about 19 nautical miles south-west of Vaderob in position 58°30'N, 10°30'E. However the torpedoes miss their target.

3 Jul 1940
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fires 6 torpedoes against a German convoy off the Boknafjord, Norway. None of the torpedoes found it's target and Sealion was heavily depth charged following this failed attack.

8 Jul 1940
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fires a torpedo at the beached wreck of the German merchant Palime (2863 GRT) off Obrestadt. The Palime was beached after hitting a mine on 5 June 1940 that was laid by HMS Narwhal.

29 Jul 1940
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) attacks German U-boat U-62 with torpedoes (that miss) and then with gunfire south-west of Stavanger, Norway in position 58°21'N, 04°24'E.

4 Aug 1940
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Norwegian merchant Toran (3318 GRT, offsite link) off Homborsund, Norway in position 58°17'N, 08°38'E.

6 Aug 1940
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fires four torpedoed against the German merchant Cl?re Hugo Stinnes (5295 GRT) off Kristiansand, Norway in position 57°51'N, 07°24'E. All torpedoed missed their target.

5 Feb 1941
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the (German controlled) Norwegian Ryfylke (1151 GRT, offsite link) off Honningsv?g, Norway.

30 May 1941
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fires 6 torpedoes against German U-boat U-74 in the Bay of Biscay about 45 nautical miles south-west of Belle-Ile Island, France in position 46°58'N, 04°12'W. All six torpedoes missed their target.

7 Jul 1941
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the French fishing vessels Gustav Eugene (120 GRT) and Gustav Jeanne (39 GRT) with gunfire off Ushant.

8 Jul 1941
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the French fishing vessel Christus Regnat (28 GRT) with gunfire off Ushant.

9 Jul 1941
HMS Sealion (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the French fishing vessel St Pierre d'Alcantara (329 GRT) with gunfire off Ushant.


Submarine HMS Safari (P 211)


10 Mar 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed her builders yard for Holy Loch. (1)

11 Mar 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for first of class trials followed by a training period. (1)

27 Apr 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was taken in hand for repairs at the Elderslie shipyard at Scotstoun, Scotland. (1)

1 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was docked at the Elderslie shipyard at Scotstoun, Scotland.

(The date she was undocked is currently not known to us). (2)

9 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was undocked. (2)

11 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) returned to Holy Loch. (2)

14 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. The passage South through the Irish Sea was made together with HMS Traveller (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) and HMS P 43 (Lt. A.C. Halliday, DSC and Bar, RN). They were escorted until Bishops Rock by the British minesweeper/escort vessel HMS La Capricieuse (former French) (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR).

For the daily positions of HMS P 211 during this passage see the map below.


HMS P 211 passage Holy Loch - Gibraltar click here for bigger map (2)

26 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar after an uneventful passage from the U.K. (2)

31 May 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. These exercises included A/S exercises with HMS Spiraea (T/Lt. L.C. Head, RNVR) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR). (2)

5 Jun 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 1st war patrol (also 1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol between Sardinia and Sicily, one of several submarines deployed to cover operation Harpoon.

For the daily positions of HMS P 211 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 211 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

13 Jun 1942
At 2017 hours, in position 38°42'N, 10°29'E, HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sighted smoke which three minutes later could be identified as two Condottieri-class cruisers screened by three destroyers but they passed outside attacking range. These were the light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia and Raimondo Montecuccoli escorted by the destroyers Ascari, Alfredo Oriani and Vincenzo Gioberti on passage from Cagliari to Palermo. (4)

17 Jun 1942
At 1445 hours, in approximate position 38°27'N, 08°21'E, HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sighted a U-boat. An attempt was made to close but the enemy passed out of range. This was most probably the Italian Uarsciek returning from mission to Cagliari. (4)

23 Jun 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 1st war patrol (also 1st in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (3)

4 Jul 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 2nd war patrol (also 2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Sardinia.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 211 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 211 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map (5)

12 Jul 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the small Italian merchant Adda (792 GRT, built 1905) with gunfire and one torpedo off Capo Monte Santo, Sardinia, Italy in approximate position 40°02'N, 09°48'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1325 hours - Sighted a small unescorted steamer of about 1000 tons, Southbound and close inshore. Closed submerged at high speed. Could not close enough to attack with torpedoes given the fact that Cdr. Bryant thought the target worth more than one torpedo.

1405 hours - Surfaced on the targets port quarter, for gun action at a range of 2200 yards. 24 Rounds were fired. The 2nd shot was a hit and nearly all rounds fired until the gun jammed were hits. The crew abandoned ship. The port boat was shot away and the starboard one turned turtle. Four members of the crew were taken prisoner. A torpedo was then fired which hit and the ship sank in about a minute.

1423 hours - Dived and set off after a schooner sighted to the North which had put into Gonone. A patrolling aircraft prevented this schooner from being attacked.

Twenty survivors were rescued by local boats, besides the four taken prisoners, three or four were reported missing. (5)

15 Jul 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) damaged the Italian merchant Tigrai (1302 GRT, built 1918) with gunfire off the Gulf of Orosei, Sardinia, Italy.

(All times are zone -2)
2045 hours - Sighted smoke to the North-North-East. Closed to investigate.

2127 hours - Surfaced to engage the target (in approximate position 40°15'N, 09°40'E), an unescorted merchant ship of about 1500 tons, with gunfire. Range was 3000 yards, closed on the surface and opened fire at a range of 1000 yards. Shooting was difficult and only 18 out of 33 rounds hit. When the crew began abandoning ship fire was withheld. However some men had remained on board the target and made for the shore with her. Also a gun on the poop opened fire and this was soon joined by several shore guns. By now the target was impossible to see against the cliffs. The action was broken off and P 211 retired to seaward. It was thought the target had retired towards Gonone cove so a torpedo was fired from a range of 5000 yards into this direction but the ship was not hit.

Italian sources report the ship as only slightly damaged, three were killed, one was missing and a few were wounded. (5)

24 Jul 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol (also 2nd in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (5)

4 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 3rd war patrol (also 3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the North of Sicily to provide cover for operation Pedestal.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 211 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 211 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map (5)

6 Aug 1942
At 1722 hours, in position 37°30'N, 03°21'E, HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sighted a westbound U-boat at a distance of six miles. Attempts were made to close but the enemy dived at 1800 hours before an attack could be mounted. This was possibly the Italian Giada on her way to her patrol area.

During the next days, the submarine was either informed of the movements of major enemy units or sighted vessels at long range but no attack could be developed before 16 August.

14 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol off the East coast of Sardinia. (5)

16 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) damaged a the Italian sailing vessel Gioavannina M. (21 GRT, built 1929) with gunfire off Capo Monte Santo, Sardinia, Italy (approximate position 40°06'N, 09°45'E). Cdr. Bryant however thought the ship had been sunk.

(All times are zone -2)
1103 hours - Sighted a sailing vessel to the North. Closed submerged.

1200 hours - Surfaced and engaged the target with the 3" gun at a range of 2000 yards. The target was left on the rocks near Capo Monte Santo at the Southern end of the Gulf of Orosei. 60 Rounds had been used. [Italian sources indicate that Giovannina M. which had sailed from Civitavecchia, had a crew of six and was abandoned except of one crew member. She was damaged and finally towed by the sailing vessel Italia to Arbatax.] (5)

17 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian sailing vessel Ausonia (218 GRT) with gunfire 11 nautical miles bearing 180 from Orosei, Sardinia.

(All times are zone -2)
1145 hours - Sighted a large schooner approaching from the Northward.

1223 hours - Surfaced about 5 nautical miles South of Gonone (approximately 40°12'N, 09°40'E) and opened fire on the schooner, thought to be 250 tons in size, from 1000 yards. After the 6th round the schooner blew up. The debris rained from the sky. Had P 211 been closer she most likely would have been damaged by the blast.

The crew of Ausonia had abandoned the vessel in two lifeboats but the explosion must have killed them as there were no survivors. (5)

18 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Perseo (5225 GRT, built 1921) near Cape Carbonara, 15 nautical miles south of Serpentara, Sardinia.

On this day P 211 also attacked but missed the Italian submarine Bronzo with torpedoes.

(All times are zone -2)
0843 hours - The Officer of the Watch reported a large tanker bearing 210°. Enemy course was 010°, range 13000 yards. Started attack.

0856 hours - While coming up to have another look sighted a German uboat crossing astern out of range. Had we not closed to attack the target we would have been in a perfect position to attack the uboat. The tanker was very large, not loaded, not zig-zagging and unescorted.

0914 hours - Fired 3 torpedoes from 750 yards. Two hits were obtained. The ship was abandoned and started to settle by the stern. Position was 8 nautical miles South-South-West of Cavoli Island (approximately 38°58'N, 09°30'E)

1145 hours - The tanker refused to sink. A salvage party had gone on board. In order to make sure she would sink decided to fire another torpedo.

1148 hours - Fired 1 torpedo from 800 yards. The result could not be observed as a seaplane circled overhead and P 211 had gone deep upon firing. Breaking up noises however followed immediately.

1200 hours - Returned to periscope depth. No sign of the tanker. Went deep to reload.

The “German” U-boat sighted was actually the Italian submarine Granito who witnessed the attack from a distance. This was the first time that torpedoes equipped with the new CCR magnetic pistols were used in the Mediterranean. MAS 504 was sailed to rescue the survivors of Perseo and hunt the submarine. The whole was saved including one seriously and eight slightly wounded.

------------------------------------------

2000 hours - Now sighted an Italian submarine in position 214°, Cavoli Island, 24 nautical miles (approximately 38°48'N, 09°20'E). Enemy course was 000°, range about 6 nautical miles. Ran in at maximum speed.

2031 hours - Fired 6 torpedoes from 3500 yards. Enemy speed was estimated at 12 knots. Depth control was lost and P 211 broached. This was due to a defect and not to bad handling. Also one of the torpedoes prematured. The Italians immediately changed course and no hits were obtained.

In Bronzo (T.V. Cesare Buldrini), an explosion was heard on the hydrophone and estimated at a range of 4000 yards. This was the torpedo which exploded prematurely. A few minutes later the submarine was apparently shaken badly by two hits under the hull and Buldrini believed that she had collided with the enemy submarine but this was probably caused by torpedoes equipped with the DCR (Duplex Coll Rod) magnetic pistols which proved to be unreliable. The first four torpedoes used DCR pistols, the last two used the more reliable CCR (Compensated Coll Rod) pistols. (5)

24 Aug 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (also 3rd in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (5)

12 Sep 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta where she was to join the 10th Submarine Flotilla.

No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed.

For the daily positions of HMS P 211 during this passage see the map below.


HMS P 211 passage Malta - Algiers click here for bigger map (1)

19 Sep 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. At Malta she was docked to repair a 'singing' propeller. Dates of the docking are (for the moment) unknown to us. (1)

26 Sep 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 4th war patrol (also 4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Adriatic.

Before proceeding on patrol practice attacks were made on HMS Hythe (Lt.Cdr. L.B. Miller, RN).

No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)

2 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and damaged (also with gunfire) the Italian merchant Veglia (896 GRT, former Yugoslavian Kosovo, built 1909) off Korcula, Croatia in position 42°56'N, 17°17'E. She was beached at Sabioncello with four killed, ten wounded and 25 missing. The damaged ship was later salvaged but declared a total loss.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0945 hours - Sighted a small coastal steamer approaching from the South-East. Set course to intercept.

1007 hours - Surfaced and engaged the target with the 3" gun. 35 Rounds were fired for 15 hits. The target cought fire but she managed to beach herself in position 42°57'N, 17°17'E. Dived.

1028 hours - To make sure of the targets destruction a torpedo was fired which hit her amidships. (5)

4 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) attacked but missed the Italian merchant Valentino Coda (4485 GRT, built 1924) with 4 torpedoes South of Vieste, Foggia, Italy in position 41°48'N, 16°13'E. P 211 then surfaced to engage the enemy with the 3" gun but only 1 hit was obtained before the action had to be broken off.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0637 hours - Sighted a large cargo ship of about 5000 tons in the mist under Gargano Head. Enemy course was 170°. She was very deep laden. Started attack.

0644 hours - Fired 4 torpedoes from 5000 yards. Enemy speed was estimated at 10 knots. All torpedoes missed as the enemy saw and evaded the tracks. The 1st and 2nd torpedo most likely would have missed ahead and it is also thought that the 4th torpedo failed to run and it was this torpedo that most likely would have hit when the enemy started to evade the 3rd torpedo.

0650 hours - Surfaced for gun action. Before Cdr. Bryant was on the bridge the enemy had opened fire. Range was 5500 yards. As conditions for gun action were difficult and also due to bad drill only 1 hit was obtained out of 56 rounds before the action had to be broken off due to shallow water and fire from the enemy.

0708 hours - Dived in 10 fathoms of water.

Valentino Coda had sighted three torpedo tracks and took evading action, two torpedoes exploded on the beach and a third was found unexploded. She opened fire on the submarine letting off 32 rounds but suffered no hit from the submarine. The torpedo boat Antonio Mosto was sent to hunt the submarine but found nothing.

At about 2000 hrs, the submarine dropped a dummy periscope east of Pianosa Island. (5)

5 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) damaged the Italian merchant Eneo (545 GRT, ex-Yugoslav Soca, built 1907) with gunfire south of Sebenik, Yugoslavia in position 43°38'N, 15°53'E. Eneo was driven on the rocks at Tmara Island and she was declared a total loss. She had been on a trip from Spalato to Sebenico in company with Cherso but the latter was at a distance and escaped the attention of the submarine.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0940 hours - Sighted smoke approaching from Mulo Island. This proved to be a small passenger/cargo steamer, of about 600 tons, full of deck passengers, possibly (and hopefully) Italian troops. Decided to attack with the 3" gun.

1021 hours - Surfaced for gun action from a range of 1000 yards. 20 Rounds were fired, all hit around the waterline. The steamer put her helm hard over and she turned stern on. Three hits were then scored around her rudder post. She ran up on Tmara Island. The sea was seen to be full of swimming men. Various shore batteries had opened up. Shooting was quite accurate.

1024 hours - Dived. Decided to expand a torpedo to complete destruction. The periscope was still being fired at by the shore batteries.

1049 hours - Fired one torpedo from 1000 yards at the engine room. The torpedo however ran off to starboard and hit the island. Now had 6 torpedoes remaining and wanted to keep a full salvo left. The stern of the target was settling and while running on the rocks her bottom must have been torn out. Decided to leave her.

According to Italian sources Eneo was carrying some 229 passengers mostly military. She was beached on Punta Sebenico Vecchio while batteries at Luxa, Punta Est, Capocesta and Zecevo opened fire on the submarine. Two tugs were sent to her assistance and brought back 173 survivors (including 43 seriously wounded). There were 35 killed and 16 missing. (5)

8 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) attacked but missed (it was thought the target was hit and sunk) the Italian merchant Giuseppe Magluilo (935 GRT, built 1917) South of Sebenik. Following the attack P 211 was depth charged but only minor damage was caused to her.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
1620 hours - A merchant vessel was spotted coming from behind Smokvica Island. She was a deep laden steamer of about 1500 tons. Started attack. The Italian torpedo boat T 5 was patrolling the area.

1629 hours - When the torpedo boat had passed fired 3 torpedoes from 1000 yards in approximate position 43°29'N, 15°58'E. Went deep on firing. 55 Seconds after firing the first torpedo an explosion was head thought to be a hit.

1635 hours - The torpedo boat started dropping depth charges. In 5 attacks, 9 depth charges were dropped. Some were close enough to smash a few lamps and shake down corking.

According to Italian sources the submarine was sighted by the battery on Monte S. Antonio (Rogoznica) which opened fire and led the torpedo boat T 5 to the spot and subsequent depth charging. (5)

10 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fires three torpedoes against the Italian merchant Goffredo Mameli (4103 GRT, built 1910) about 10 nautical miles south-east of Dubrovnik, Croatia, Yugoslavia in position 42°32'N, 18°13'E. The target was not hit.

The Goffredo Mameli was in convoy together with the Italian Merchants Carlo Margottini (653 GRT, built 1893) and Enrico Baroni (782 GRT, built 1902). The convoy was escorted by the Italian torpedo boat T 7.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0920 hours - Made out a convoy Northbound under the cliffs. Closed.

0940 hours - Made out the convoy as a large cargo ship in ballast leading with two much smaller ships astern of her. A 'T 5 / T 8'-class torpedo boat was zigzagging to seaward. Started attack on the largest ship.

1000 hours - Fired 3 torpedoes at the largest ship of the convoy (estimated at 4000 tons). Range was 2000 yards. The 3rd torpedo fired ran off to Starboard. 2 Torpedo explosions were heard thought to be hits on the target. This could not be observed as P 211 had gone deep upon firing.

1007 hours - A counter attack started. 13 Depth charges were dropped, some were quite close but no damage was sustained.

The Italian ships sighted two torpedo tracks. The torpedo boat T 7 hunted the submarine while two ships escaped to Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and the third to Gravosa.

At 2015 hours, HMS P 211 dropped a dummy periscope 12 miles off the coast between Kotor and Dubrovnik, "the rude message painted on the previous ones was carved on this one". (5)

14 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (also 4th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)

18 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (also 5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to intercept a Southbound enemy convoy near Pantelleria. When this failed she was ordered to intercept the convoy South of Lampedusa.

No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)

20 Oct 1942
Before midnight on 19 October 1942 a British aircraft torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant Titania (5397 GRT) which was part of the 'Delta' convoy from Naples and Cagliari for Tripoli with Saturno (5029 GRT, built 1914), Capo Orso (3149 GRT, built 1916) and Beppe (4859 GRT, built 1912) escorted by the destroyers Antonio Pigafetta, Giovanni da Verazzano, Vincenzo Gioberti, Alfredo Oriani, Ascari and Antonio da Noli and the torpedo boats Sagittario, Centauro and Nicola Fabrizi. Beppe and Da Verazzano had already been sunk by the British submarine HMS P 37.

Titania was sunk early the next day by P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) east of Tunisia in position 34°30'N, 12°53'E.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0510 hours - Sighted a large merchant vessel laying stopped in position 158°, Lampion Island, 70 nautical miles. Closed. 2 Destroyers were seen to be in company of the merchant vessel.

0529 hours - In position 34°30'N, 12°53'E fired 1 torpedo from 6000 yards but it missed and was never heard to detonate.

0534 hours - Dived and approached the target submerged.

0618 hours - Fired one torpedo from 1800 yards. The torpedo detonated 77 seconds after firing, a hit. P 211 meanwhile took avoiding action. One of the destroyers counter attacked with a three-charge pattern but it was not very close.

0655 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Both destroyers were making off to the Southward. Returned to the merchant vessel. She was seen to be of 5000 tons and had a deck cargo of lorries. She was broken abaft the funnel. Stood by and waited for her to sink.

0833 hours - A small explosion was heard and the ship was seen to sink rapidly.

According to Italian sources Ascari had been ordered by Pigafetta (escort leader) to go to the assistance of Titania and had observed many survivors floating in the sea. Oriani joined to take care of the survivors while Ascari signalled to Titania but remained unanswered and she appeared completely abandoned. Ascari was preparing a boarding party to take her in tow by the destroyers Ascari and Oriani when the attack occurred. In all 78 survivors were picked up but they came under criticism that they had abandoned the vessel when she was still seaworthy. (5)

22 Oct 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (also 5th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)

3 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (also 6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the North of Sicily, Italy to provide cover for 'Operation Torch', the Allied landings in North Africa. Later she was ordered to patrol East of Tunisia and even later she was sent into the Gulf of Sirte.

P 211 departed Malta together with HMS P 212 (Lt. J.H. Bromage, DSC, RN) and HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN). They were escorted out by HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, DSC, RN). During the passage out they were attacked by German Me-109 fighters but no damage was caused to P 211.

No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)

5 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived in her patrol area of Capo San Vito, Sicily, Italy. (5)

8 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol off Capo Gallo, Sicily, Italy. (5)

9 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol off Capo San Vito, Sicily, Italy. (5)

11 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol off Sousse, Tunisia. (5)

13 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian motor sailing vessel Bice (269 GRT, built 1918) with gunfire east of Sousse, Tunisia.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
1331 hours - Surfaced 5 nautical miles East of Sousse (approximately 35°51'N, 10°48'E) and engaged an Italian auxiliary brigantine fitted with a gun from 1000 yards. Fired 52 rounds for 40 hits. The ship sank and the Captain was taken prisoner. The ship was en-route from Trapani to Tripoli.

Bice was unarmed and quickly abandoned by her crew. There were no casualties but she was boarded and documents giving the Italian recognition signals for aircraft and minor vessels for the week were seized. The survivors were taken in tow by a French vessel and bought to Tunisia. (5)

14 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Sirte. (5)

16 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the German transport Hans Arp (2645 GRT, built 1926) off Ras Ali, Libya in position 30°28'N, 18°48'E. She was at anchor with the German minesweeper R 15.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
2120 hours - Sighted a large darkened ship close inshore off Ras Ali. Closed. A number of small craft were later sighted around this ship.

2200 hours - Upon reaching the 10 fathom line fired 1 torpedo at the ship, which was at anchor.

2201 hours - Fired a second torpedo as the first torpedo failed to run.

2202 hours - The ship went up in a sheet of flame. Immediately set off for deeper water but no one took the slighted interest in the submarine that was now illuminated by the blaze.

Hans Arp was hit on the port side between holds no. 2 and no. 3. Two were killed and one was wounded, there were 83 survivors. A torpedo was found the next day on the beach, this was most likely the first torpedo fired. (5)

17 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fired a torpedo at a number of German barges anchored at Ras Ali. The barges F 358, F 360 and F 545 were present but none were hit. The target was probably F 545 as the other two were unloading at the beach at that time. It has been sometime mentioned that F 346 was hit but she had sailed from Benghazi at 1130/17 towing two Siebel ferries and was therefore not present.

Later the same day a schooner was attacked with one torpedo. A sinking was claimed but this does not appear to be correct. The target has not been identified so far.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
At dawn closed Ras Ali. Sighted the capsized and burning wreck of the merchant vessel, a number of large landing barges, a schooner and several lighters. Fired one torpedo at one of the landing barges. It ran dead true, passed under the barge and exploded shorly afterwards. Retired to seaward.

The exact time of the attack is not recorded in P 211’s report, the German war diaries of Seetransportstelle Ras Aali gives the time as 0800 hours. The torpedo hit the mole and destroyed it on a length of 25 metres. Five were killed and about fifteen wounded. One German source mentions that the minesweeper R 15 was damaged on this day but although she was present, the diaries of Ras Aali do not confirm it.

-----------------------------------------

1930 hours - Proceeded to attack a large 3-masted schooner sighted of El Brega (approximate position 30°25'N, 19°35'E).

1944 hours - Almost grounded while setting up the attack on the schooner. Got out to sea again to come in for another run.

2018 hours - Fired No.5 torpedo tube but the torpedo remained in the tube. Luckily it was not a hot run as both tube and torpedo failed !

2024 hours - Fired no.6 torpedo tube. Went out astern.

2025 hours - The schooner disappeared in a column of spray. When the spray subsided the schooner was still there. It was not possible to see what kind of damage was inflicted. (5)

18 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank a small light vessel and damaged a landing barge with gunfire near Ras Ali. The small vessel has not been identified, the landing barge was F 346 which replied with her 2 cm gun (apparently her 7.5 cm was not operable). She suffered some damage and ran aground.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0615 hours - Sighted an unidentified vessel to the South-West. Closed to investigate. The vessel turned out to be an unmanned small light vessel in position 025°, Ras Ali, 10 nautical miles.

0647 hours - Surfaced and sank the vessel with 4 rounds of the 3" gun.

------------------------------------------

0844 hours - Sighted a landing barge Southbound in position 020°, Ras Ali, 4.5 nautical miles. Closed for gun action. A lot of machine guns were seen so decided to keep the range above 2000 yards.

0910 hours - Surfaced and engaged the target from 2300 yards. Unfortunately the sight setter made an error installing a piece of equipment and this caused shooting to be very bad. Eventually a couple of hits were scored but as water became very shallow the action had to be broken off.

0919 hours - Dived and proceeded to seaward. (5)

21 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) fired a torpedo at a landing barge off Ras Ali. It however missed. The target was most likely F 541 which was present at Ras Ali and sailed later in the day.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0830 hours - Fired a torpedo at a large landing barge off Ras Ali. The torpedo appeared to run straight but no explosion followed.

According to German sources the torpedo hit the mole. (5)

22 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) damaged a landing barge with gunfire of Ras Sultan, Libya. This was F 541 towing Lighter no. 36 from Ras Ali to Tripoli.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
1056 hours - Surfaced 2 nautical miles North of Ras Sultan (approximate position 31°07'N, 17°24'E) and engaged a large landing barge towing a lighter from 3500 yards. Several hits were obtained.

1106 hours - Dived, having expended all 3" ammunition.

According to German sources F 541 recorded only one hit which caused slight damage. (5)

24 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (also 6th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)

27 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) is docked at Malta. (6)

30 Nov 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) is undocked. (6)

16 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Hammamet, Tunisia. Later she patrolled off Tripoli, Libya.

No daily positions are known for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)

18 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian sailing vessel Eufrasia C. (49 GRT, built 1897) with gunfire in the Gulf of Hammamet, Tunisia. She was on a trip from Trapani to Tripoli.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
1448 hours - Surfaced in position 200°, Hammamet, 3 nautical miles and engaged a deeply laden southbound schooner from 600 yards. The 10th shot hit her aft and set off her cargo of petrol. P 211 then retired to seaward.

Two men were observed escaping in a boat but it was believed the rest of the crew perished. (5)

20 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) heavily damaged the Italian auxiliary patrol vessel F 139 / Costantina (345 GRT, built 1895) in the Gulf of Hammamet, Tunisia in position 36°04'N, 10°30'E. The damaged and beached Italian ship was declared a total loss and officially radiated on 10 April 1943.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
1040 hours - Sighted a small steamship close inshore. Closed submerged.

1116 hours - Surfaced and engaged from 2000 yards. The 4th round hit and the steamer turned towards the beach. 6 Hits had been scored before a JU 88 was sighted. The gun crew was sent below.

1123 hours - The JU 88 passed without sighting us. Remanned the gun and opened fire again. The target was now stern on and had drifted ashore in position 36.04'N, 10.30'E. In all 84 rounds had been fired for at least 12 hits. The target was hit in every hold, 3 times on the waterline and 2 times in the engine room. Then the JU 88 was seen returning so the action was broken off and P 211 dived. The wreck was examined the next 2 days and was considered to be a total loss. Also no salvage attempts were made by the enemy. (5)

21 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian magnetic minesweeper Rosina S. (297 GRT) about 5 nautical miles south of Hammamet, Tunisia.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
1726 hours - Sighted a vessel to the Eastward. She was thought to be a schooner but as light was failing this was not sure. Closed submerged to investigate.

1755 hours - Surfaced and followed the vessel that was now seen to be a large 3-masted schooner to the Southward.

1814 hours - Opened fire from a range of 500 yards. The ship was immediately hit. A boat was seen leaving the target and other men were seen jumping overboard. After 40 hits or more she still refused to sink. 12 Survivors were picked up including her Captain. 4 Were wounded. A torpedo was then fired to sink the ship. It hit and she sank at once. Cdr. Bryant decided to proceed to Malta to land the prisoners and embark ammunition.

According to survivors, her crew consisted of 24 men and 15 naval passengers. Other survivors were left in the water. It is not known if they were rescued. (5)

23 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. She landed her prisoners and took on board fuel and 150 rounds for the 3" gun. She left again after 3 hours. (5)

27 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian sailing vessel Eleonora Rosa (54 GRT, built 1901) with gunfire about 10 nautical miles south of Sousa, Tunisia. She was carrying 100 tons of petrol from Zuwara to Tripoli.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0637 hours - Sighted a small eastbound schooner 3 nautical miles from the shore and 5 nautical miles to the East of Ras Jioggig (East of Zuwara, Libya). 0652 hours - Surfaced and opened fire from 400 yards. 4 Out of the first 5 rounds hit. The next round set her ablaze amidships. The crew abandoned ship and 2 of them were picked up before P 211 was forced to dive for 2 fighter aircraft.

0703 hours - Dived and proceeded westwards along the coast.

A third survivor was found by the hospital ship Meta, two were missing. (5)

29 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Torquato Gennari (1012 GRT, built 1890) about 25 nautical miles south of Sfax, Tunisia in position 34°20'N, 10°49'E. She was returning from Tripoli to Trapani.

(All times are zone -1 ? or -2 ?)
0851 hours - After a long time to find a favourable firing position fired three torpedoes at a small merchant vessel from 4000 yards. Went deep after firing.

0853 hours - When at 65 feet when several depth charges were dropped by one of the patrolling JU 88's. A number of lamps were broken and corking fell down but no real damage was caused.

0854 hours - A torpedo was heard to hit the target.

0913 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw the ship down by the stern and sinking.

0950 hours - The ship had now completely disappeared.

Eight crew members were reported killed or missing. (5)

30 Dec 1942
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (also 7th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)

2 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Algiers. (1)

6 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) arrived at Algiers where she joined the 8th Submarine Flotilla. (1)

20 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 8th war patrol (also 8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Naples, Italy.

Before proceeding on patrol A/S exercises were carried out with the British M/S trawlers HMS Juliet (Lt. L.B. Moffatt, RNR) and HMS Cava (/Lt. R.L. Petty-Major, RNVR) and later with HMS Polruan (Lt.Cdr. (retired) J.S. Landers, RNR) and HMS Brixham (Lt. G.A. Simmers, DSC, RNR).

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 211 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 211 8th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)

21 Jan 1943
At 0226 hours, in position 37°52'N, 04°30'E HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) was bombed in error by a British Wellington aircraft. This was aircraft “N” of 179 Squadron (Flight Sergeant French). P 211 was in an area where bombing restrictions were in force but the aircraft was out of position and thought P 211 was an enemy submarine. The bombs fell wide and caused no damage. (5)

24 Jan 1943
At 0535 hours (zone -1) HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), while trying to attack an enemy destroyer from periscope depth was detected and depth charged by this enemy destroyer about 35 nautical miles to the North of Ustica (approximately 39°12N, 13°12'E). In all 32 depth charges were dropped but no damage was caused by them.

According to Italian sources this was the destroyer Lanzerotto Malocello (C.F. Mario Rossi) on passage from Naples to Trapani. She reported carrying three runs for seventeen depth charges but her sonar did not work effectively and she lost contact. (5)

26 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) attacked an Italian convoy of 2 merchant vessels with a destroyer escort with 4 torpedoes about 12 nautical miles South of the Bocca Piccola (approximately 40°22N, 14°22'E). No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -1
0634 hours - Sighted a darkened ship to the Northward. Started attack.

0637 hours - It was seen the ship was part of a convoy with another merchant vessel escorted by 4 destroyers. The merchant ships were large and looked very modern. The destroyers made the attack very difficult but at ....

0648 hours - Fired 4 torpedoes from 3000 yards at the closest merchant ship. All missed most likely as the speed was underestimated. No counter attack followed as the attack appeared to be unobserved.

This convoy was was probably the one made up of the Italian merchant vessels Spoleto (Former French Caledonien, 7960 GRT, built 1940) and Noto (Former French Djebel Nador, 3168 GRT , built 1938) which had just sailed from Naples for Bizerta. They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Lampo and Saetta.

The attack was indeed unobserved. (5)

30 Jan 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian Sant’Aniello (73 GRT, built 1924) and Gemma (67 GRT, built 1883) with gunfire of Cape Scalea, Italy. They were on passage from Scario to Vibo Valentia.

(All times are zone -1)
0820 hours - Sighted the masts of 2 schooners to the Northward. Closed submerged.

0944 hours - Surfaced 1000 yards on the Starboard quarter of the rear schooner, The other schooner was 3000 yards ahead of the rear one. The crew of the closest schooner immediately abandoned ship (except for one person). After hitting this schooner about 12 times on the waterline went off in pursuit of the other one. It was soon seen that she had also been abandoned. This schooner was soon ablaze and sank. Returned to the other schooner and sank her after some more 'gunnery practice'.

1009 hours - Dived in position 39°56'N, 15°41'E. (5)

2 Feb 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) intercepts and Italian convoy off the island of Capri and torpedoed and sank the Italian merchants Valsavoia (5733 GRT, built 1919) and Salemi (1176 GRT, built 1912) in position 40°35'N 14°29'E.

(All times are zone -1)
1347 hours - Sighted 2 vessels leaving Bocca Piccola and turning to the Eastward. The vessels were thought to be a medium seized tanker with an escort. Started attack.

1415 hours - Identified the targets as a modern looking ship of about 2500 tons with the engines aft. The other ship was not an escort but a merchant vessel of about 700 tons. The first ship looked like a tanker but was a regular merchant vessel given the samson posts before the bridge and the goal post after the bridge. She had a large gun on the poop. Decided to torpedo this ship and then attack the smaller ship with the gun.

1438 hours - Fired 3 torpedoes at the leading ship from 1000 yards. 2 Hits were obtained. Went deep after firing. Upon coming up again sighted the target settling. The smaller merchant vessel had turned back towards Naples.

1442 hours - Surfaced and engaged the small merchant with the 3" gun from 2000 yards. The 1st round already hit as did most of the 26 rounds fired before an aircraft appeared.

1446 hours - Dived while the steamer tried to beach herself but a shot in her bridge had put her steering out of action. A number of shots were on her waterline and in her engine room.

1450 hours - Returned to periscope depth it was seen that the large merchant could not be seen anymore it had sunk. The small merchant's cargo had shifted and she had capsized. Retired to seaward. (5)

8 Feb 1943
HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (also 8th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)

22 Feb 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 9th war patrol (also 9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to perform a special operation off the North coast of Sicily and not to attack enemy ships. This was Special Operation BIGOT (COPP 4) and consisted of several beach reconnaissances of the Gulf of Castellamare (Sicily) carried out by a folbot manned by Captain Parsons of the Royal Engineers and Leading Seaman Irvine and later by Lieutenant N.J. McHarg, RN. These were carried out at the following time:

27 February 1943
At 2015-2345 hours: first reconnaissance.

28 February 1943
At 2015-0020/1: second reconnaissance,

1 March 1943
2015 hours: The folbot was launched but very soon was recovered because of the heavy surf.

2 March 1943
2315 hours: third reconnaissance. The folbot was launched again but failed to return. The submarine returned the two following nights but to no avail, It was hoped that Captain Parsons and Leading Seaman had been made prisoners.

6 March 1943
2115 hours: fourth reconnaissance. Another folbot was sent, this time manned by Lieutenant N.J. McHarg, for a beach reconnaissance in the southeast corner of the Gulf of Castellamare. He was successfully recovered at 0215 hours the 7th.

8 March 1943
2100 hours: fifth reconnaissance. The folbot was again sent manned by Lieutenant N.J. McHarg, for a beach reconnaissance in the Gulf of Castellamare. He was successfully recovered at 0130 hours the 9th.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Safari 9th war patrol click here for bigger map
(5)

9 Mar 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) sank the Italian sailing vessel Stefano M. (69 GRT, built 1899) with gunfire off Cape San Vito. She was on passage from Palermo to Trapani.

(All times are zone -1)
The special operation was now completed. Set course to return to Algiers and hoped to finally be able to draw some blood.

1017 hours - Sighted a deeply laden westbound schooner. Closed.

1110 hours - Surfaced and fired 23 rounds from 1000 yards. Most were hits.

1118 hours - Dived.

1129 hours - The target was seen to sink.

According to Italian sources following her sinking, the corvette Persefone sailed from Trapani to hunt the submarine and was joined by two motor A/S boats. The result was negative. (5)

12 Mar 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (also 9th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)

27 Mar 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for 10th war patrol (also 10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the South and South-East coasts of Sardinia, Italy.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Safari during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Safari 10th war patrol click here for bigger map (5)

3 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary patrol vessel Nasello (314 GRT, built 1924) and the Italian sailing vessel S. Francisco di Paola A. (77 GRT, built 1909) with gunfire off the Gulf of Orosei, Sardinia, Italy. They were on passage from Albia to Cagliari.

(All times are zone -1)
1137 hours - Sighted a small grey steamship inshore to the Northward. She was coast crawling to the Southward. Closed to attack.

1215 hours - The steamship was hard to see against the cliffs. She was shortly afterwards seen to be a minesweeping trawler of about 350 tons. Decided to go forward with the attack.

1229 hours - Surfaced and opened fire with the 3" gun from 1200 yards. Out of the first 3 rounds the 2nd round hit but after the 3rd round was fired the gun jammed. Her engines meanwhile had stopped, her crew abandoned ship. The gun meanwhile was cleared and fire was opened again. In all 54 rounds were fired at the trawler for many hits.

1239 hours - The trawler was now a wreck so left her to sink. Meanwhile a schooner had been sighted to the North-East. Set off in pursuit.

1248 hours - The trawler was seen to sink,

1300 hours - Dived to close the schooner further at periscope depth.

1321 hours - Surfaced in position 40°12'N, 09°45'E and engaged the schooner from 1000 yards. She was about 150 tons and very deeply laden. In all 50 rounds were fired at her.

1332 hours - Dived. The schooner was awash forward and burning aft.

1350 hours - The schooner was seen to sink. (5)

6 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) fires three torpedoed against the Italian merchant Vincenzina (1579 GRT, built 1889) with the tug Santa Chiara (63 GRT, built 1895) escorted by the auxiliary minesweeper R.D.41 off Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. All torpedoes fired however missed their target. They were on a trip from Arbatax to Cagliari.

(All times are zone -1)
1240 hours - Sighted a Z.501 flying boat patrolling and smoke between Cavoli Island and Cape Carbonara.

1245 hours - Made out the masts and funnel of a medium seized merchant vessel. She was seen to be escorted by the above mentioned flying boat, a JU 88 aircraft and what appeared to be a small torpedo boat. Started attack on the merchant vessel.

1345 hours - In position 260°, Finocchio Tower, 2000 yards (39°08'5"N, 09°22'E) fired 3 torpedoes from 600 yards.One hit was obtained (this was however not the case). Went deep on firing. A hunt for Safari by the escort was ineffective. (5)

9 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary minesweeper No. 295/Bella Italia (117 GRT, built 1905) with gunfire off Cape Carbonara, Sardinia, Italy.

(All times are zone -1)
1110 hours - Sighted the masts of a brigantine to the North-West. Proceeded to intercept.

1130 hours - A small Motor Minesweeper preceded the brigantine.

1218 hours - Surfaced for gun action. Engaged the brigantine from 1200 yards. The Motor Minesweeper was not seen during the following action but afterwards it appears she had beached herself. 31 Rounds were fired at the brigantine. A lot of hits were obtained including several on the water line. Her main hold was set on fire.

1226 hours - Shore guns now opened fire so dived.

1233 hours - The target sank in position 39°07'N, 09°23'E. (5)

10 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) attacked an Italian convoy and torpedoed and sank the Italian auxiliary Loredan / D 19 (1355 GRT, built 1936) and the Italian naval tanker Isonzo (3363 GRT, built 1937) near Cape Torre delle Stelle off Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. They were in company with Entella (2691 GRT, built 1899), the minesweeper RD 29 and MAS 507. Entella, while attempting to avoid torpedoes, ran aground at Torre Finocchio.

(All times are zone -1)
1550 hours - Sighted a convoy leaving Cagliari. This convoy consisted of 3 ships. These later proved to be a modern cargo liner of about 5000 tons that appeared to be an armed merchant cruiser, a medium seized tanker of about 3500 tons and a merchant vessel of about 3000 tons. A various number of small craft were around, E-boats, Motor Minesweepers and other small craft. Also an RD-class minesweeper was in the area. Started attack.

1719 hours - 4 Torpedoes were fired at the tanker and the Armed Merchant Cruiser. It was intended to fire to remaining 2 torpedoes however trim was lost and the attack had to be broken off.

1720 hours - All four torpedoes hit their targets. 2 Hits were obtained on the tanker and 2 on the AMC. A short glimpse through the periscope was taken and the air was seen to be full of spray and debris. Breaking up noises were heard at 1723 and 1806 hours, these were the 2 ships sinking.

1723 hours - A counter attack now followed. Went to 230 feet in 270 feet of water. However at 210 feet Safari hit the bottom and got stuck.

1725 hours - Depth charges were dropped and some lamps were broken.

1900 hours - Finally came off the bottom however the A/S craft heard Safari and depth charges were dropped but none were very close.

1940 hours - Returned to periscope depth and saw a torpedo boat very close. Safari made off to seaward at slow speed and did not surface until midnight. She was however not pursued any further. Following the attack, the minesweeper RD 29 opened fire on the periscope and was joined by RD 41 who was in the vicinity escorting the sailing vessel Idria. MAS 507 arrived and dropped five depth charges in the first run and a sixth (her last) in a second run, claiming the submarine sunk. About an hour and a half after the attack, MAS 510 arrived on the scene, observed a large patch of oil and dropped ten depth charges. Both MAS boats then returned to base. (5)

11 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) destroyed the beached Italian merchant Entella (2691 GRT, built 1899) off Cape Torre delle Stelle, Sardinia, Italy.

(All times are zone -1)
0845 hours - Sighted a beached wreck in position 39°08'5"N, 09°24'E. This was the 3rd ship of the convoy we had attacked yesterday. Her stem was seen to be damaged, possibly she rammed one of her consorts [actually she had run aground during the attack].

0953 hours - Fired one torpedo aimed at her engine room. It hit and she sank aft at once. She was now clearly a total loss.

0955 hours - Fired a torpedo in her no.2 cargo hold to destroy her cargo there. It also hit. Then retired to seaward while being hunted by E-boats.

Accoding to Italian sources the crew of Entella was saved. The first E-boat to arrive on the scene was MAS 510 which had sailed from Cagliari, she sighted the same patch of oil as the previous day but her hydrophones did not detect the presence of a submarine. The seaplane R.M. 8/188 flew over the scene and MAS 510 dropped four depth charges and was joined by MAS 507 and both continued their attacks. After an attack, the seaplane observed a small patch of oil and dropped her two depth charges on it, a larger patch of oil was now seen and the pilot believed the submarine damaged. In the afternoon, the seaplane and MAS 510 returned to the scene and both dropped more depth charges. Marina Cagliari claimed that two submarines had been sunk in two days. However, Supermarina viewed the claims with scepticism and rejected the view that there were two submarines in the area. It correctly assumed that the two patches of oil observed were most likely from the two victims of Safari and that. without sonar or hydrophone contacts, in most likelihood that a submarine may have been slightly damaged which was correct. (5)

14 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (also 10th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (5)

17 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) is docked at Algiers. (7)

19 Apr 1943
HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN) is undocked. (7)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/2569
  2. ADM 173/17434
  3. ADM 173/17435
  4. Platon Alexiades
  5. ADM 199/1839
  6. ADM 199/1919
  7. ADM 173/17988

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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