Allied Warships

HMS Saracen (P 247)

Submarine of the S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassS 
PennantP 247 
Built byCammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.) 
Ordered23 Jan 1940 
Laid down16 Jul 1940 
Launched16 Feb 1942 
Commissioned27 Jun 1942 
Lost14 Aug 1943 
Loss position42° 45'N, 9° 30'E
History

On 14 August 1943 HMS Saracen (Lt. Michael Geoffrey Rawson Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) was forced to the surface north-east of Bastia on the north-east coast of the island of Corsica, France by depth charges from the Italian corvettes Minerva and Euterpe. Her crew abandoned ship and scuttled the boat in position 42º45'N, 09º30'E.  

Former nameP 63

Commands listed for HMS Saracen (P 247)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Michael Geoffrey Rawson Lumby, RN21 Apr 194214 Aug 1943

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Notable events involving Saracen include:


The history of HMS Saracen as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine. Corrections and details regarding information from the enemy's side (for instance the composition of convoys attacked) are kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada. He also provided details regarding the special operations carried out by HMS Saracen.

This page was last updated in August 2014.

24 Jun 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) departed Liverpool for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Loch Monteith (T/Lt. K.W. Richardson, RNR). (1)

25 Jun 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of trials and training. (1)

27 Jul 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) departed Holy Loch for Lerwick. She made the passage together with HMS P 51 (Lt. M.L.C. Crawford, DSC, RN). The submarines were escorted by HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(retired) R.H. Mack). (2)

29 Jul 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) arrived at Lerwick. After taking on board fuel and fresh provisions she proceeded on her 1st war patrol. This was a work-up patrol in the Norwegian Sea.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 247 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 247 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

3 Aug 1942
While on her first patrol HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) torpedoed and sank German U-Boat U-335 (built 1941) in the North Sea north-east of the Faeroes in position 62°48N, 00°12W. There was one survivor out of a crew off 44.

(All times are zone -2)
2128 hours - In position 62°48N, 00°12W sighted a 500 tons U-Boat surfacing fine on the Starboard bow. Enemy course was 310°, speed 7 knots. Started attack.

2131 hours - Fired 6 torpedoes from 2500 yards.

2133 hours - A torpedo stuck the U-Boat abaft the conning tower. She vanished immediately.

2137 hours - Surfaced and closed the spot of the sinking.

2150 hours - Embarked 1 survivor. The 2nd survivor declined to be rescued and drowned almost immediately afterwards.

2155 hours - Withdrew to the South. (3)

9 Aug 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Lerwick. She departed for Holy Loch after a few hours in port. During the passage to Holy Loch she was escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (former French) (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (3)

11 Aug 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (4)

23 Aug 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar where she was to join the 8th submarine flotilla that was based there.

She was escorted by HMS White Bear (Cdr. (retired) C.C. Flemming, RN) until 2230 hours the following day.

For the daily positions of HMS P 247 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 247 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

31 Aug 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) was ordered to take up a patrol position off Cape Finisterre, Spain to intercept a suspected German blockade breaker. In the end nothing was sighted.

The passage to Gibraltar now became her 2nd war patrol. (3)

1 Sep 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) was ordered to continue her passage to Gibraltar. (3)

4 Sep 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

13 Sep 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. (5)

14 Sep 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, RN). (5)

17 Sep 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 3rd war patrol (1st Mediterranean war patrol). She was ordered to patrol off Valencia, Spain.

For the daily positions of HMS P 247 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 247 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map ? (3)

27 Sep 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (1st Mediterranean war patrol) at Gibraltar. (3)

30 Sep 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, RN) was docked at Gibraltar. No log for October 1942 is available therefore it is not known when she was undocked. (5)

9 Oct 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for passage to Malta. At Malta she was to join the 10th Submarine Flotilla based there.

As no log is available for this period no map can be displayed. (3)

10 Oct 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) twice encountered the German U-Boat U-605. P 247 attacked with six torpedoes but missed. Later the Germans attacked P 247 with four torpedoes but also missed.

(All times are zone -1)
0950 hours - In position 36°20'N, 02°35'W sighted a 500 tons German U-Boat, enemy course 080°, range 1,5 nautical miles. Closed to attack.

0954 hours - Fired six torpedoes from 2000 yards. No hits were obtained as the sea was flat calm and the U-Boat sighted and combed the tracks.

1005 hours - Surfaced for gun action. After three rounds of HE were fired the U-Boat dived.

1007 hours - Dived and patrolled the area.

1100 hours - Surfaced to pass an enemy report however failed to do so.

1108 hours - Dived.

1230 hours - Surfaced to send another signal.

1233 hours - Sighted a periscope moving at high speed on the starboard beam at 500 yards range. At this time P 247 was attacked with four torpedoes by the Germans this was however not noticed.

1245 hours - Dived. Reloaded no.1 and no.2 torpedo tubes. This was not done earlier due to the quantity of cargo for Malta in the torpedo compartment.

1315 hours - Received orders to clear the area to the North to allow aircraft and destroyers to hunt the enemy submarine.

1948 hours - Surfaced in position 36°28'N, 02°26'W and set course to return to Gibraltar keeping within 4 nautical miles of the Spanish coast. (3)

11 Oct 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) returned to Gibraltar and departed again for Malta later the same day after having embarked six new torpedoes.

Following the loss of HMS Talisman, P 247 was ordered to avoid using the QBB.255 route and given an alternate one. (3)

19 Oct 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. (3)

21 Oct 1942
In the afternoon, HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) sailed from Malta for her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) with HMS P 35 (Lt. S.L.C. Maydon, RN) escorted by HMS Hythe (Lt.Cdr. L.B. Miller, RN), after two hours they parted company. P 247 was to carry out a sweep from Kerkenah to Kuriat then return to Malta. She was ordered not to close any Tunisian port.

As no log is available for this period no map can be displayed. (6)

22 Oct 1942
In the afternoon a signal from S.10 ordered her that after Kuriat she was return to Malta and to arrive at 1015A/24 October. (6)

23 Oct 1942
In the evening, another signal from S.10 ordered her, if she was within 65 miles of Kerkenah buoy no.4, to proceed there as air reconnaissance had shown a small merchant ship southbound. (6)

24 Oct 1942
P 247 returned to Malta ending her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). At his time no further information is available on this sortie. (6)

3 Nov 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Capo San Vito, Sicily in a patrol line with HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) and HMS P 212 (Lt. J.H. Bromage, DSC, RN). This patrol line was formed to give cover during the landings in North-Africa (Operation Torch).

Later she was ordered to patrol in the Sicilian Channel between Sicily and Tunisia.

The three submarines departed Malta together escorted by the British minesweeper HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, DSC, RN). They were attacked by German Me-109 fighters. HMS P 247 sustained some damage to her main aerial.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 247 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 247 5th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

9 Nov 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Granito (630 tons, built 1942) about 40 nautical miles North-West of Capo San Vito, Sicily, Italy in position 38°34'N, 12°09'E.

(All times are zone -1)
1539 hours - In position 38°34'N, 12°09'E sighted an Italian submarine bearing 115°, enemy course 270°, enemy speed 9 knots, range 2200 yards. Started attack.

1544 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 800 yards. Three loud explosions were heard one minute later. HE stopped immediately.

1546 hours - No sign of the enemy submarine.

1552 hours - Passed through an area of oil and wreckage.

Granito (T.V. Leo Esposito) was lost with all hands (five officers and 41 ratings). (3)

16 Nov 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) attacked an escorted merchant vessel off the Gulf of Tunis. Three torpedoes were fired but no hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -1)
0855 hours - In position 37°30'N, 10°40'E sighted a merchant vessel of 4000 to 5000 tons escorted by one destroyer bearing 110°. Enemy course was 240°. Speed 9 knots. Range was 2500 yards. Started attack.

0907 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1500 yards. No hits were obtained. During the attack the periscope was machine gunned by an aircraft. The torpedoes were most likely evaded. A short counter attack with 9 depth charges followed but no damage was caused by these.

The convoy attacked was initially made up of the small Italian tanker Labor (510 GRT, built 1930) and the German merchant Menes (5609 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Calliope and Clio. Climene reinforced the escort later in the afternoon].

The attack was made on Menes (Labor and Calliope were not present, the former had been lost from view in rain squall a few hours before and the latter had just turned back because of defects) who sighted two torpedo tracks then opened fire on the periscope with a 20mm gun (it was not an aircraft) and tried to ram the submarine. Clio dropped a few depth charges for intimidation purposes. (3)

24 Nov 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

7 Dec 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Naples. Later she was ordered to patrol off Tunisia.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 247 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 247 6th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

17 Dec 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) fired four torpedoes against the German transport ship Ankara (4768 GRT, built 1937) and her escort the Italian destroyer Camicia Nera north of Bizerte, Tunisia. All torpedoes fired missed their targets.

(All times are zone -1)
1154 hours - In position 37°43'N, 09°55'E sighted a merchant vessel of about 3500 tons escorted by one destroyer. Six Ju-88 aircraft were also seen patrolling the area. The merchant ship was steering 180° and was about 5 nautical miles away. Started attack.

1208 hours - The enemy altered course to 233°.

1213 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 6500 yards.

1221 hours - Heard one loud explosion followed by a dozen smaller ones resembling bombs. There was no counter attack by the destroyer and its HE was never heard again. It is though possible that the loud explosion was a torpedo hit on this destroyer.

1300 hours - Returned to periscope depth. No ships in sight. Six Ju-88's were circling the area of the attack.

According to Italian sources the attack was foiled by an A.R.S.14 aircraft of 197^ Squadriglia which sighted the torpedo tracks and gave the alarm. The aircraft could not attack the submarine having already dropped its bombs on an earlier sighting. Camicia Nera reported she was missed by a torpedo. (3)

22 Dec 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) sighted twice a U-Boat at 2048 hours and 2322 hours. It was the Italian submarine Argento who initially believed the British submarine to be her sister boat Corallo and hesitated to attack. P 247 failed to gain an attacking position. (3)

25 Dec 1942
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. Here she re-joined the 8th Submarine Flotilla. (3)

10 Jan 1943
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea near Naples.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 247 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 247 7th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

20 Jan 1943
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) sank the Italian patrol boat V 3 / Maria Angeletta (214 GRT, built 1914, only armed with two 8mm guns) with gunfire about 30 nautical miles miles south of the island of Capri in position 40°14'N, 14°10'E.

(All times are zone -1)
0053 hours - When in position 40°14'N, 14°10'E sighted a darkened vessel bearing 010° 3.5 nautical miles. Dived to attack. When the range was under a miles the target was identified as a schooner lying stopped. It was assumed it was an A/S schooner and therefore a worthwhile target. 0300 hours - Surfaced on the Port quarter of the schooner and opened fire from 400 yards. The crew immediately abandoned ship, offering no resistance at all. 20 rounds were fired but the schooner still refused to sink.

0310 hours - Proceeded alongside and sent over a boarding party. No documents could be retrieved as a shell had wrecked the captains cabin and the officers quarters. A demolition charge was now set.

0320 hours - Proceeded Northwards at speed.

0327 hours - The charge exploded. The schooner sank immediately.

According to Italian sources the crew of Maria Angeletta destroyed the secret documents before abandoning the vessel. The torpedo boat Fortunale (escorting the motor ship Mario Roselli to Naples) arrived on the scene at 0800 hours and rescued the fifteen survivors. (3)

22 Jan 1943
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) attacked what was thought to be a small tanker with four torpedoes near Capri, Italy. No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -1)
0410 hours - In position 40°15'N, 14°05'E sighted one large and two small merchant vessels bearing 240°, range 3 nautical miles.

0425 hours - Dived right ahead of the enemy and started an attack on the large vessel. At a range of 1500 yards it became clear that this was a naval auxiliary so target was shifted to the 2nd vessel, a small tanker.

0454 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 1500 yards. No hits were obtained. It was thought the torpedoes ran under.

So far the target has not been identified. (3)

23 Jan 1943
At 0437 hours, in position 40°18'N, 14°13'E, HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) heard Diesel H.E. and seventeen minutes later a U-boat was sighted bearing 180°, 2 miles, steering 020°, 10 knots. P 247 dived and at 0510 hours four torpedoes were fired at 8 seconds interval at 1000 yards (at the limit of periscope visibility). They missed.

No Axis submarine operated in the vicinity so the “U-boat” may have been a fishing vessel. (3)

27 Jan 1943
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (3)

7 Feb 1943
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Genoa. En-route she was also to carry out a special operation off the West coast of Corsica.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 247 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 247 8th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

11 Feb 1943
In the early morning hours HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) landed a party of three agents in Cupabia Bay (41°43.6'N, 08°44.9'E) to the South of Ajaccio, Corsica, France. This was Special Operation FREDERICK (MI6), the three men were the Belgian Guy Verstraete and the Corsicans Charles Simon Andrei and Antoine Colonna d'Istria. The first two were later captured and executed. (3)

12 Feb 1943
HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) sank the French tugs Provinçale II (124 GRT) and Marseillaise V (138 GRT) with gunfire off Cape Sardineaux, southern France.

(All times are zone -1)
1710 hours - Sighted two columns of smoke approaching from the South.

1800 hours - Identified the ships as a 350 tons seagoing tug and a 650 tons oceangoing tug flying the nazi ensign. Enemy course was 050°, speed 6 knots.

1824 hours - Surfaced in position 43°20N, 06°48'E. Engaged the leading tug with gunfire from 1000 yards.

1828 hours - Left the leading tug in a sinking condition. Chased the second tug which meanwhile had made off for shallow water.

1832 hours - The first tug sank. Opened fire on the second tug from 1500 yards.

1840 hours -The second tug was now in a sinking condition and on fire forward. Retired to the South-East. In all 50 rounds had been fired. (3)

15 Feb 1943

HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) was now named HMS Saracen.

HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) torpedoed and damaged the French (in German service) tanker Marguerite Finaly [the Germans also referred to her as Fritz 134] (12309 GRT, built 1933) in the Capo di Noli / Capo di Vado area (south-west of Genoa, Italy).

(All times are zone -1)
0818 hours - In position 44°08'N, 08°28'E sighted a large tanker (6000 to 8000 tons) bearing 280°. She was in ballast and escorted by a highly camouflaged armed yacht of about 800 tons. Enemy course was 045°, speed was 8 knots. Range was about5 nautical miles. Started attack.

0840 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 500 yards.

0845 hours - Heard one loud explosion.

0858 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Sighted the tanker laying stopped and pointing inshore. The armed yacht was proceeding towards the firing position.

0955 hours - The yacht withdrew to the North-East.

1050 hours - Considered that the hunt was now abandoned. Set course towards the last known position of the tanker but it was not seen again.

Marguerite Finaly (carrying ten lighters for Tunisia) was proceeding from Marseille to Genoa, escorted by the gunboat Zagabria, when two torpedo tracks were seen and avoided but the third hit her between hold 6 and 7. VAS 303 sailed from Genoa to hunt the submarine but without success. Marguerite Finaly managed to reach Genoa the same day and was docked two days later. (3)

19 Feb 1943
At 1735 hours (zone -1) HMS Saracen (Lt. M. Lumby, DSC, RN) bombarded a small shipyard at Cervo, Liguria, Italy. Two schooners under construction were damaged.

Italian sources confirm that one schooner was hit and a man was wounded. The attack was observed by personnel from SORIMA working on salvaging the nearby Dalny (torpedoed by HMS Tribune on 10 January and beached) and the tug Falco which was alongside. The coastal batteries of Colle Castelleratto and Diano Marina fired respectively ten and seven rounds of 75/17 joined by a machine gun on Cape Cervo and forced the submarine to break off the action. (3)

22 Feb 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (3)

25 Feb 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M. Lumby, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for Malta where she was to dock.

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


HMS Saracen passage Algiers - Malta click here for bigger map (7)

2 Mar 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M. Lumby, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. (8)

3 Mar 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) was docked at Malta. (8)

11 Mar 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) was undocked. (8)

15 Mar 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. (8)

16 Mar 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the North of Sicily.

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


HMS Saracen 9th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

18 Mar 1943
At 1115 hours, in position 37°57'N, 11°44'E, HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) observed what appeared to be two small tankers but on closing these were recognized as two large L.C.T.'s of about 1000 tons flying the German flag. The attack was broken off due to their shallow draught as it was believed the torpedoes would run under. These were almost certainly the Germans KT 5 and KT 6 on passage from Tunis to Palermo where they arrived this day at 1900 hours. (3)

20 Mar 1943
At 1115 hours, in position 37°57'N, 11°44'E, HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) sighted a convoy of two large merchant ships, course 240°, 15 knots, escorted by four destroyers and 16 aircraft. The submarine closed to 1600 yards and torpedoes were about to be fired on the largest merchant ship when she altered course toward he submarine and foiled the attack. The range was too short for the stern tube to be brought to bear and the attack had to be broken off.

The convoy consisted of Marco Foscarini (6342 GRT, 1940) and Nicolò Tommaseo (4573 GRT, 1942) escorted by the torpedo boats Fortunale (escort leader), Antares and Sagittario. The submarine was detected by the sonar from Sagittario and at the same time Marco Foscarini gave a submarine alarm and both ships turned toward the submarine. Sagittario did not immediately drop depth charges as she tried to keep sonar contact but this was lost and she was ordered to join back the convoy.

At 1550 hours, in position 38°02'N, 11°47'E, HMS Saracen sighted two Navigatori class destroyers approaching from the west. They were zigzagging at various speeds. They passed at 1500 yards but the attack was abandoned as the speed of the targets could not be determined. These were the destroyers Lanzerotto Malocello and Leone Pancaldo on passage from Tunis to Naples. The submarine was not detected. (3)

1 Apr 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (3)

13 Apr 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Genoa.

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


HMS Saracen 10th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

19 Apr 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) intercepts and Italian convoy and torpedoed and sank the Italian passenger/cargo ship Francesco Crispi (7600 GRT, built 1926) about 18 nautical miles west of Elba island, Italy in position 42°46'N, 09°42'E.

(All times are zone -1)
1250 hours - Heard HE bearing 080°.

1258 hours - Sighted an enemy convoy made up of one Armed Merchant Cruiser, one two-funnel liner, one merchant ship and one three-funnel destroyer. Enemy course was 220°, speed 9 knots, range 12000 yards. Started attack on the liner.

1317 hours - The convoy altered course towards.

1325 hours - In position 42°46'N, 09°42'E fires six torpedoes from 5000 yards. The liner and the merchant ship were both targeted as they formed one continues line. Four explosions were heard which are thought to be torpedoes hitting both targets. During the next three-quarters of an hour 46 depth charges were dropped which did no damage.

1448 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The destroyer and the AMC were just visible to the East. In the position of the attack a ship was seen to be sinking.

The Francesco Crispi was in convoy with the Italian merchant Rossini (2424 GRT, built 1928). They were escorted by the Italian Armed Merchant Cruiser Caralis and the Italian torpedo boat Giuseppe La Masa.

Francesco Crispi was transporting 1085 soldiers from Leghorn to Bastia, she was hit by three torpedoes and sank in deep waters. Immediately a large scale rescue search was organized with the tugs Turbine and Volcano, the steamers Angela and Capitano Sauro, the minesweeper Lucia Madre and MAS 558 (with Admiral Matteucci on board). By the following day 676 survivors and 16 bodies were picked up. (3)

22 Apr 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Tagliamento (5448 GRT, built 1922) about 35 nautical miles south (bearing 197) of Pianosa, Italy in position 42°03'N, 09°48'E.

(All times are zone -1)
0005 hours - In position 42°10'N, 09°51'E sighted two 6000 tons merchant ships escorted by a Crotone-class minelayer. Enemy course was 180°, speed 7 knots. Range was only 2000 yards owning to a rainsquall. When about to fire the escort turned towards so dived. Evidently Saracen was not sighted as he just started a circular tour of his convoy.

0020 hours - Surfaced and gave chase.

0102 hours - In position 42°03'N, 09°48'E fired three torpedoes at the second merchant ship from 2000 yards. Two of the torpedoes were seen to run under the first one missed ahead.

0106 hours - Fired another three torpedoes from 1200 yards. Again the first one missed ahead but the second one hit just abaft the funnel. A tremendous explosion followed. A sheet of orange flame went up hundreds of feet into the air and burning debris hurtled in all directions. As Saracen was diving the bridge of the merchant vessel sailed overhead. Saracen was Lucky to escape undamaged from the falling debris. The escort meanwhile dropped six depth charges but these were way off.

[The convoy attacked was made up of the above mentioned Tagliamento (with a cargo of ammunition) as well as the Italian merchant Ercole (4982 GRT, built 1904) and the German merchant Ringulv (Former French Ste Marguerite, former Norwegian Ringulv, 5155 GRT, built 1902). Escort was provided by auxiliary Cattaro .They were on passage from Leghorn to La Maddalena. There were no suvivors.] (3)

27 Apr 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (3)

9 May 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the North-East coast of Sardinia.

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


HMS Saracen 11th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

25 May 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. The patrol had been uneventful. (3)

19 Jun 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (9)

20 Jun 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Algiers with HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN). (9)

27 Jun 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the East coast of Corsica to provide cover during Operation Husky (the landings in Sicily).

She was also to perform a special operation.

Shortly after her departure, she was spotted by U-593 and correctly identified as a Snapper class submarine but the U-boat had orders not to attack submarines in this area and let her proceed unscathed.

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


HMS Saracen 12th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

1 Jul 1943
At 2350 hours (zone -2) HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) landed a party of six agents under Lt. Cochrane off Cape Palmeri, Sardinia (Operation Hyacinth). (3)

6 Jul 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Tripoli (1166 GRT, built 1922) about 15 nautical miles south of Capraia, Italy.

(All times are zone -2)
0900 hours - In position 42°45'N, 09°51'E sighted a merchant ship with two small escorts and an aircraft overhead. Enemy course was 265°, speed 8 knots, range 9000 yards. Started attack.

0926 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 750 yards at the merchant vessel which was thought to be about 3500 tons. Obtained two hits. The ship sank in less than a minute.

According to Italian sources Tripoli had been on a trip from Portoferraio (Elba) to Bastia (Corsica). Nineteen survivors were picked by the steamer Antonio arriving from Elba, 34 were missing. (3)

10 Jul 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) was detected and depth charged by an enemy destroyer about 15 nautical miles East of Bastia, Corsica, France. Some damage was caused.

(All times are zone -2)
0525 hours - In position 42°44'N, 09°48'E sighted a destroyer coming towards out of the dark sector to the West. Range was 3000 yards. At a range of 2000 yards the destroyer stopped and appeared to be in firm contact with Asdic.

0540 hours - After going round Saracen several times and over the top twice the destroyer then carried out his only attack. Saracen was then at 300 feet. The destroyer passed right overhead at 20 knots and dropped a pattern of 27 depth charges al set deep. This was an extremely accurate attack. Saracen had altered course after the destroyer had made her second run overhead. This was done as it appeared the destroyer was trying to establish the submarines course and then drop the giant pattern of depth charges along the full lenght of the submarine. Instead it now fell across the submarine. A certain amount of serious damage and a considerable amount of minor damage was done. Saracen ended up at 430 feet.

0630 hours - Returned to 220 feet.

0800 hours - Came to periscope depth. Two aircraft were in sight. Went to 120 feet.

1200 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight.

According to Italian sources the attacker was the corvette Danaide (T.V. Giovanni Fabiani) but contact was lost and the result of her attack was believed to have been negative. (3)

11 Jul 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the German merchant Tell (1349 GRT, built 1938) about 25 nautical miles east of Corsica.

Following this attack Saracen was depth charged by the escort. Some damage was caused.

(All times are zone -2)
1040 hours - In position 42°12'N, 09°57'E sighted a 2000 tons merchant vessel escorted by a small Armed Merchant Cruiser bearing 330°, range 6 nautical miles, enemy course 180°, speed 8 knots. Started attack.

1118 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1600 yards. Obtained one hit.

1122 hours - Heard the ship breaking up. The escort meanwhile dropped 12 depth charges quite close.

1300 hours - Returned to periscope depth after having heard nothing for quite a while. Sighted the escort 600 yards away and coming straight towards. Went deep quickly. 8 Depth charges were dropped when Saracen passed 120 feet causing considerable damage. Remained deep until 1700 hours. Another 24 depth charges were dropped during this time but no more damage was inflicted.

1700 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight.

Tell was on passage from Leghorn to La Maddalena and had been escorted by the German SG 11, the latter dropped 57 depth charges and picked up 52 survivors, including seven wounded, and three corpses. (3)

21 Jul 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (3)

25 Jul 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) was docked at Algiers to inspect for damage from the recent depth charging and periodical docking.

As there is no log available for August it is not known when she was undocked but this must have been on one of the first days of August. (10)

5 Aug 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) was ordered to destroy the wreck of the ammunition ship Fort Lamontee beached outside Algiers, the forepart had already blown up accidentally and it was feared that ammunition in the stern might also blow up. The submarine acquitted of her task by using her deck gun [the date and time are not known with exactitude]. (6)

7 Aug 1943
HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 13th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol East of Corsica, France. (11)

13 Aug 1943
During the night of 12/13 August, HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived off Bastia and started cruising off the coast. No worthwhile target was sighted. Two warships were seen patrolling off Bastia continuously but these were mistaken for minesweepers. These were in fact the corvettes Minerva (T.V. Mario Baroglio) and Euterpe (T.V. Antonio March) which had recently arrived at Bastia. This was Friday the 13th and the 13th patrol of the submarine. (6)

14 Aug 1943
After midnight on 14 August, in position 050° - Cape Sagro (Bastia) – 13 miles, Minerva obtained a contact and attacked with six patterns for a total of 40 depth charges. HMS Saracen (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSO, DSC, RN) attempted to escape but at a depth of 220 feet was badly shaken by the explosions. Saracen porpoised between 100 and 400 feet but began to take water and was forced to the surface. She came under fire from both corvettes and the order to abandon ship was given. Forty-six survivors were picked up (26 by Minerva and 20 by Euterpe), two ratings were missing. (6)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17477
  2. ADM 173/17478
  3. ADM 199/1843
  4. ADM 173/17479
  5. ADM 173/17480
  6. Platon Alexiades
  7. ADM 173/17990
  8. ADM 173/17991
  9. ADM 173/17994
  10. ADM 173/17995
  11. ADM 199/1919

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


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