Allied Warships

HMS P 222 (P 222)

Submarine of the S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassS 
PennantP 222 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered4 Apr 1940 
Laid down10 Aug 1940 
Launched20 Sep 1941 
Commissioned4 May 1942 
Lost12 Dec 1942 
History

P 222 (Lt.Cdr. Alexander James MacKenzie, RN) left Gibraltar for a patrol off Naples on 30 November 1942. Messages were received from her on 7th December but after that date no more was heard. P 222 failed to arrive at Algiers and was reported overdue on 21 December 1942. The Italians claimed to have sunk a submarine by depth charging from the Italian torpedo boat Fortunale on 12 December, south-east of Isola di Capri in position 40º29'N, 14º20'E. This is the most probable cause of the submarine’s loss but there has been no confirmation.  

Former nameP 72

Commands listed for HMS P 222 (P 222)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Alexander James Mackenzie, RNMar 194212 Dec 1942

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Notable events involving P 222 include:


The history of HMS P 222 as compiled on this page is extracted from the logbooks and patrol reports of this submarine.

This page was last updated in July 2013.

2 May 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) and HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN) both depart their builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch. They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (1)

3 May 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of trials and training. (1)

25 May 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) is docked at Elderslie. (1)

28 May 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) is undocked. (1)

1 Jun 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) is docked at Kames Bay. (2)

2 Jun 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) is undocked. (2)

12 Jun 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) and HMS P 46 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN) both departed Holy Loch for their passage to Gibraltar. Both submarines were to join the Mediterranean Fleet. They were escorted until Bishops Rock by HrMs Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.L.M. van Geen, RNN).

For the daily positions of HMS P 222 during this passage see the map below.


HMS P 222 passage Holy Loch - Gibraltar click here for bigger map (3)

23 Jun 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (3)

29 Jun 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon DSC, RN) and HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR). (2)

30 Jun 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Fowey (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN), HMS Stonecrop (A/Lt.Cdr. J.V. Brock, RCNVR), HMS Carnation (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Houchen, OBE, RNR) and one other escort vessel (name is unreadable in the log of HMS P 222). (2)

2 Jul 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 1st war patrol. This was a work-up patrol in the Alboran Sea.

For the daily positions of HMS P 222 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 222 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

10 Jul 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

16 Jul 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. (4)

18 Jul 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 2nd war patrol. She was initially ordered to patrol off the West coast of Sardinia, Italy.

For the daily positions of HMS P 222 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 222 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

23 Jul 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) is ordered to patrol off Cape Palos, Spain to intercept the Vichy French merchant Mitidja. It is thought this French ship is carrying contraband. (3)

26 Jul 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) intercepts the Vichy French merchant Mitidja (3286 GRT, built 1906) off Cape Palos, Spain. The ship is boarded. Later she was escorted to Gibraltar by HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon DSC, RN).

(All times are zone -2)

26 July 1942
1309 hours - Received F.O.C.N.A.'s (Flag Officer Commanding, North Atlantic) signal reporting the position, course and speed of the Mitidja.

1718 hours - In position 36°58'N, 00°31'W sighted topmasts of a Northbound vessel bearing 180 degrees, range 8 nautical miles. Dived to await the Mitidja.

1903 hours - Surfaced 500 yards on the port beam of Mitidja and fired two rounds across her bow. Then closed to 50 yards and ordered her to stop and cease W/T transmissions. As W/T transmissions continued fired another two rounds close over the ship amidships. One round hit the funnel. W/T transmissions then ceased but Radio Oran had received Mitidja's call for assistance.

1928 hours - Sent over the boarding party of one officer and seven ratings.

2000 hours - The boardng party reported that it was not possible to inspect all cargo. Mitidja was then ordered to proceed to Gibraltar but her master refused to obey. The boarding party therefore remained on board to enforce this.

2227 hours - Sent a signal to F.O.C.N.A. to report the situation.

27 July 1942
0053 hours - Received F.O.C.N.A.'s signal ordering the removal of the boarding party so closed to do so. The master of the Mitidja now agreed to steer for Gibraltar when given the choice between this or immediate sinking. Her W/T set had been put out of action by the boarding party.

0304 hours - Received a signal from F.O.C.N.A. not to sink the Mitidja because HMS Wrestler had been sent to escort her to Gibraltar. Wrestler was to arrive around 0930 hours.

0445 hours - Sighted a French destroyer closing. Dived.

0503 hours - The destroyer passed without having sighted the Mitidja so surfaced.

0701 hours - Sighted the destroyer approaching again. Mitidja now made off towards this destroyer at her best speed.

0705 hours - Sent signal reporting the situation to F.O.C.N.A., dived.

0814 hours - Surfaced to shadow the French ships at full speed.

0842 hours - The French ships were now close inshore and could no longer be seen due to fog.

0900 hours - Sighted and spoke HMS Wrestler.

1307 hours - Received signal from F.O.C.N.A.'s ordering Wrestler and P 222 to shadow Mitidja.

1357 hours - - Received signal from F.O.C.N.A.'s ordering P 222 to return to Gibraltar. (3)

28 Jul 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

2 Aug 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in and off the Sicilian Channel to give cover during convoy operation 'Pedestal'.

For the daily positions of HMS P 222 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 222 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

22 Aug 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

1 Sep 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Genoa.

For the daily positions of HMS P 222 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 222 4th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

19 Sep 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

30 Sep 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to reconnoitre the landing beaches East of Oran for Operation Torch.

For the daily positions of HMS P 222 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 222 5th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

9 Oct 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) ended her 5th war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

31 Oct 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Toulon during the landings in North Africa (Operation Torch).

As there is no log available for November 1942 for HMS P 222 no map can be displayed. (3)

8 Nov 1942
During the afternoon HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) was hunted by a French patrol vessel of the Elan-class. Several depth charges were dropped but no damage was caused. (3)

19 Nov 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) ended her 6th war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

30 Nov 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Naples, Italy. She did not return from patrol and was declared overdue (at Algiers) on 21 December 1942.

7 Dec 1942
HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN) reported that she had arrived in her patrol area the previous day. This was the last that was heard of her.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17459
  2. ADM 173/17460
  3. ADM 199/1834
  4. ADM 173/17461

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


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