Allied Warships

HMS Splendid (P 228)

Submarine of the S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassS 
PennantP 228 
Built byChatham Dockyard (Chatham, U.K.) 
Ordered14 Oct 1940 
Laid down7 Mar 1941 
Launched19 Jan 1942 
Commissioned8 Aug 1942 
Lost21 Apr 1943 
Loss position40° 30'N, 14° 15'E
History

HMS Splendid (Lt. Ian Lachlan Mackay McGeogh, DSO, RN) was sunk south of Capri, Italy in position 40º30'N, 14º15'E by depth charges from the German destroyer ZG-3/Hermes. Five officers, including the Commanding Officer, and 25 ratings were picked up by the destroyer and AS 226, 18 men were lost with the ship.  

Former nameP 78

Commands listed for HMS Splendid (P 228)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Ian Lachlan Mackay McGeoch, RN19 May 194221 Apr 1943

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Notable events involving Splendid include:


The history of HMS Splendid 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 a special operation carried out by HMS Splendid.

This page was last updated in August 2014.

14 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) shifted from her builders yard at Chatham to Sheerness. (1)

15 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) conducted trials off Sheerness. (1)

17 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) conducted trials off Sheerness. (1)

18 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) departed Sheerness for Portsmouth. She made the passage in convoy CW 116. (1)

19 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (1)

20 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) conducted exercises off Portsmouth. (1)

21 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) conducted exercises off Portsmouth. She ended the day at Yarmouth. (1)

22 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) departed Yarmouth for Holy Loch. She proceeded unescorted to the Lizard where she was joined at 1810/23 by HMS La Capricieuse (former French) (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (1)

25 Aug 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of training. (1)

3 Oct 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) departed Holy Loch for passage to Gibraltar. HMS P 217 (Lt. E.J.D. Turner, DSC, RN) also departed Holy Loch for passage to Gibraltar. They were escorted South through the Irish Sea by HMS La Capricieuse (former French) (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR).

En-route both submarines were ordered to patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The passage to Gibraltar was therefore HMS P 228's 1st war patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS P 228 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 228 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (2)

13 Oct 1942
At 1228 hours a smoke was observed in position 42°20'N, 12°42'W and HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) gave chase. The ship turned out to be the Panamian Gaizka who had sailed behind schedule. She was stopped at 1609 hours and then released upon examination, cigarettes being exchanged for a case of port wine and a box of cigars.

At 1855 hours a U-boat was sighted in 41°48'N, 12°02.5'W at a distance of six miles. She was on course 010° at 14 knots and appeared to be Italian. Splendid dived and ran for fifteen minutes at full speed to close but a look at the periscope revealed nothing and shortly after the chase was abandoned. The closest Italian submarine was Cappellini but she was much to the northeast. The submarine sighted might however have been the German supply submarine U-461 that was on the return trip from the Atlantic to St.Nazaire. Given the large size of this type of submarine she might have been mistaken for an Italian submarine.

16 Oct 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Gibraltar. (2)

27 Oct 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) is docked at Gibraltar. (3)

31 Oct 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) is undocked.

Later this day she departed Gibraltar for her 2nd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Toulon, Southern France.

For the daily position of HMS P 228 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 228 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

1 Nov 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) developed problems with her after hydroplanes. She returned to Gibraltar.

HMS P 51 (Lt. M.L.C. Crawford, DSC, RN) sailed from Gibraltar to take her place in the screen off submarines off Toulon. (4)

7 Nov 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 3rd war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Toulon, Southern France.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 228 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS 228 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map (2)

14 Nov 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) was ordered to a new patrol area off Naples, Italy. (2)

16 Nov 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) attacked a German u-boat with a full salvo of 6 bow torpedoes about 25 nautical miles South-South-East of La Spezia, Italy in position 43°47'N, 09°42'E. Two U-boats arrived at La Spezia on this day, U-73 and U-593. The U-boat attacked was most probably the latter, the attack was unobserved.

Later on the same day she sank the Italian A/S schooner V 277 / San Paolo (209 GRT) about 15 nautical miles north-west of Gorgona, Italy in position 43°34'N, 09°37'E.

(All times are zone -1)
0925 hours - Sighted a white object bearing 265°.

0929 hours - Identified the object as the conning tower of a German U-boat. Started attack.

0944 hours - Fired a full salvo of 6 torpedoes from the bow tubes. Range was about 5000 yards. No hits were obtained. The torpedoes were heard to explode at the end of their run after about 12 minutes.

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

1330 hours - Sighted the masts of a schooner. Closed submerged.

1558 hours - Surfaced an opened fire on the schooner from 1000 yards with the 3" gun, the Oerlikon and a Vickers machine gun. The crew immediately abandoned ship so checked fire. From 300 yards put 2 rounds of 3" through a deckhouse on the poop in case it concealed a gun. Went alongside and put a boarding party on board the schooner. They returned with a whole lot of paperwork and charts from the Captain's cabin. P 228 then withdrew to a range of 600 yards and began shelling the schooner's forehold where ammunition was stored. she was soon ablaze.

1628 hours - Dived, 35 rounds of 3" had been used for 20 hits.

According to Italian sources the crew of fifteen abandoned their vessel, there were no victims. (2)

20 Nov 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) attacked an Italian submarine with 6 torpedoes near Naples. No hits were obtained. This was most likely the submarine Aradam, the attack was unobserved.

(All times are zone -1)
2030 hours - Heard diesel HE to the South-West. Most likely another submarine coming our way. Started attack. A few minutes later it was seen that P 228 was on the port beam of an approaching submarine. The submarine was identified as Italian.

2040 hours - Fired a full bow salvo of 6 torpedoes at this submarine in position 40º38'N, 13º48'E. [The patrol report does not mention the range.] All torpedoes were heard to run but no hits were obtained. Two pairs of explosions were heard about 12 minutes after firing, this must have been some of the torpedoes exploding at the end of their run. Most likely the torpedoes missed due the enemy's speed being underestimated. (2)

21 Nov 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian destroyer Velite about 18 nautical miles south-west of the island of Ischia, Italy in position 40°30'N, 13°33'E.

(All times are zone -1)
1435 hours - Sighted 2 medium seized merchant vessels escorted by 1 destroyer. Started attack on the destroyer. If the destroyer was hit and sunk it was intended to surface and engage one of the merchant vessels with the 3" gun. During the attack on the destroyer the 2nd part of this plan had to be abandoned as there was another destroyer present.

1500 hours - Fired the last remaining torpedo from the stern tube at the destroyer from 700 yards. It hit but the destroyer did not sink. 2 Minutes later a 10-pattern depth charge attack followed but these were not at all close.

This convoy was made up of the Italian merchants Monginevro (5324 GRT, built 1940) and Sestiere (7992 GRT, built 1942). They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Bombardiere, Legionario and the above mentioned Velite.

Accoring to Italian sources Velite was hit aft, one was killed and seven were wounded. Bombardiere and Legionario hunted the submarine but did not obtain a contact. They only dropped depth charges for intimidation purposes. Bombardiere took Velite in tow and brought her to Naples. (2)

23 Nov 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) sank the Italian merchant Favorita (3576 GRT, built 1906) with gunfire about 80 nautical miles bearing 90 from Capo Carbonara, Sardinia, Italy in position 39°00'N, 11°11'E.

She had been in convoy with Liv (3068 GRT, built 1896, former Norwegian) escorted by the auxiliary Cattaro on a trip from Palermo to Cagliari. They had been missed by HMS Unbroken but an attack by Wellington torpedo bombers managed to hit and disable Favorita.

A few hours after this sinking the Officer of the Watch thought he saw a submarine conning tower. He dived and it was thought torpedoes were heard running. No enemy submarine however reported making an attack so this appeared to be bogus.

(All times are zone -1)
22 November 1942
2014 hours - In position 39°09'N, 11°28'E sighted vessels to the Eastward. Began to shadow. The enemy was soon seen to be 2 merchant vessels in ballast escorted by a small Armed Merchant Cruiser.

2230 hours - A Wellington aircraft was seen to attack the convoy. Dived to await the developments.

2315 hours - Noticed that a merchant ship had been damaged. The Armed Merchant Cruiser began to withdraw.

2355 hours - Surfaced and attacked the disabled merchant ship with the 3" gun.

23 November 1942

0014 hours - All 3" ammunition had been expended.

0025 hours - The merchant vessel was seen to sink.

According to Italian sources Favorita had already been abandoned and her crew picked up by the auxiliary Cattaro when Splendid finished her off. (2)

28 Nov 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (2)

8 Dec 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol between Tunisia and Sicily, Italy.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 228 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 228 4th war patrol click here for bigger map (2)

14 Dec 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) attacked an enemy convoy with four torpedoes to the North-East of the Gulf of Tunis. No hits were obtained although a sinking was claimed.

(All times are zone -1)
0945 hours - Sighted a floatplane in the expected direction of an enemy convoy. A few minutes later smoke was seen. Altered course towards.

1007 hours - Sighted a convoy made up of two medium-sized merchant ships escorted by two torpedo boats and several aircraft bearing 051 degrees. Started attack.

1114 hours - In approximate position 37°38'N, 11°02'E fired four torpedoes at the largest merchant ship. Range was 1000 yards. A hit and sinking was claimed but this was not the case as HMS P 212 (Lt. J.H. Bromage, DSC, RN) later attacked the same convoy.

No counter attack followed on HMS P 228's attack. The convoy attacked was made up of the Italian merchant Honestas (4960 GRT, built 1920) and the Italian tanker Castelverde (6958 GRT, built 1921). The escorting torpedo boats were the Italian Ardito and Fortunale. They were on a trip from Trapani to Tunisia.

Castelverde sighted three torpedo tracks while Ardito also avoided a torpedo. A few hours later Honestas and Castelverde were respectively sunk by HMS P 212 and HMS P 46. (2)

17 Dec 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt.Cdr I.L.M. McGeogh) torpedoed and sank the Italian destroyer Aviere about 35 nautical miles North-North-East of Bizerte, Tunisia in position 37°53'N, 10°05E. Aviere and her sister ship Camicia Nera were escorting the German transport ship Ankara (4768 GRT, built 1937). HMS Splendid missed the Ankara during the same attack.

(All times are zone -1)
1046 hours - Sighted one merchant ship escorted by one destroyer. Range was 10000 yards. P 228 was right ahead of the destroyer and 30 degrees on the Port bow of the merchant ship. Four aircraft were seen over the convoy. Started attack. During the attack another destroyer was seen astern of the merchant ship.

1111 hours - Fired six torpedoes at a single target. The leading destroyer at a range of 2000 yards and the merchant ship at a range of 4000 yards. Went deep on firing. Two explosions a few seconds apart were heard for a running range of 2500 yards and two explosions a few seconds apart were heard for a running range of 4500 yards. No more HE from the destroyer and merchant vessel were heard. The other destroyer was heard approaching and a slight counter attack followed. Most likely to keep us down while she picked up survivors.

1215 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight. It was thought that both the destroyer and the merchant vessel were sunk. This was however not the case. HMS P 247 (Lt. M.G.R. Lumby, DSC, RN) had seen the attack and confirmed the destroyer as sunk but the merchant vessel continued on its way.

In fact Ankara had been narrowly missed, one torpedo passing 10 metres ahead and one passing 13 metres astern. Aviere was hit by two torpedoes and sank in 10 seconds. There were only 30 survivors, 220 were killed or missing. (2)

20 Dec 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) attacked an Italian submarine off Cagliari, Sardina in approximate position 39º02'N, 09º39'E with her last serviceable torpedo. It missed.

This was Galatea (T.V. Carlo Gladstone Cruciani) being transferred from Cagliari to Augusta.

(All times are zone -1)
1726 hours - Almost half an hour after sunset heard the unmistakable sound of a submarine blowing main ballast.

1802 hours - Sighted a submarine proceeding to seaward. Started attack.

1812 hours - Fired our last serviceable torpedo at an Italian submarine from 2500 yards. It missed. (2)

24 Dec 1942
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (2)

5 Jan 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) departed Algiers for her 5th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to conduct a special operation and to patrol off Sardinia, Italy.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 228 during this patrol see the map below.


HMS P 228 5th war patrol click here for bigger map (2)

9 Jan 1943
In the early hours of this day HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) carried out special operation 'Converse' (SOE). Agents Adler and Pisani (alias ‘Serra’) equipped with a wireless set were landed on the east coast of Sardinia, Italy about 15 nautical miles to the South of Arbatax. They were assisted by Leading Seamen Taylor and Web of the Naval Commandos who were then re-embarked. (5)

11 Jan 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) was ordered to patrol off Naples. Course was set accordingly. (2)

15 Jan 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant Emma (7931 GRT, built 1942) about 15 nautical miles south-west of the Island of Capri, Italy in position 40°25'N, 13°56'E. The Emma was in convoy with the German merchant Ankara (4768 GRT, built 1937). They were escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Groppo (escort leader), Uragano and Clio and were on a trip from Naples to Bizerta. Emma was carrying 950 tons of stores, six Panzer IV and four Panzer II tanks.

(All times are zone -1)
1910 hours - A lookout sighted ships on the starboard quarter. P 228 was 30 degrees on the starboard bow of the target, a 6000 tons merchant ship. She was in convoy with one other merchant ship. They were escorted by three destroyers. Two of the destroyers were ahead of the leading merchant ships. The third destroyer was near the second merchant ship. Started a surface attack.

1927 hours - Fired five torpedoes from 2000 yards. Dived immediately afterwards. One explosion was heard that was thought to be a hit. A few depth charges were dropped following this attack but these were not close. After withdrawing for 30 minutes P 228 surfaced. One merchant ship was seen to lay stopped with two destroyers standing by. The starboard engine was out of action. Kept the damaged merchant ship in sight while charging the depleted battery on the port engine.

2037 hours - Dived as the moon came from behind the clouds. Decided to finish off the damaged merchant ship. An hour after diving the range was still over 3000 yards when the darkness became more intense so that the target could no longer be seen.

2150 hours - Surfaced to locate the target. Successfully did so and submerged again. When the range closed one of the destroyers obtained contact with her Asdic on P 228 but when the destroyer picked up speed she lost contact again.

2350 hours - Fired the last remaining bow torpedo in the tubes from a range of about 2500 yards. It missed. P 228 then retired from the scene to charge the battery and reload the torpedo tubes.

16 Jan 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) finished off the damaged Italian merchant Emma (7931 GRT, built 1942). The torpedo boat Clio had vainly attempted to take her in tow but the rough seas made the operation very difficult. Groppo tried it too but gave up. The weather was in fact so bad that the three torpedo boats were forced to turn back to Naples. Two tugs sailed from Naples to assist her but did not arrive in time.

In the afternoon P 228 was ordered to return to her initial patrol area, the East coast of Sardinia.

(All times are zone -1)
0115 hours - Surfaced to charge. The target could be seen at a range of 8000 yards to the South-East. One destroyer was still standing by. Two other destroyers were to the North-West, sweeping. During the rest of the night the target was kept in sight.

0600 hours - Dived deep and loaded two torpedoes. Also started to close the target.

0715 hours - Came to periscope depth. Saw the target at a range of 2500 yards. One destroyer was still with her. A tug was seen alongside the target and soon afterwards the tow towards Naples began. Fortunately the target had to be towed towards P 228 to get there. Started attack.

0835 hours - Fired one torpedo from 750 yards. It hit. Breaking up noises were heard immediately afterwards.

0845 hours - Returned to periscope depth. A destroyer and two tugs were in sight but the merchant ship had gone so it must have sunk. P 228 then went to 70 feet and withdrew to the North-West. No immediate counter attack followed.

1005 hours - Depth control was lost and P 228 broached. She dived immediately again.

1007 hours - A depth charge exploded fairly near. HE and Asdic impulses were also picked up coming nearer. P 228 went to 350 feet. A pattern of 10 depth charges were dropped which exploded close astern. After this attack the enemy lost contact. P 228 meanwhile continued to retire to the North-West.

1400 hours - Returned to periscope depth. No ship or aircraft in sight. (2)

19 Jan 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary minesweeper R 107 / Cleopatra (72 GRT, built 1933) with gunfire south-east of Capo Sferracavallo, Sardinia, Italy in position 39°41'N, 09°43'E.

She then damaged the trawler F 59 / Violette with gunfire. (295 GRT, built 1912) [thanks to Francesco de Domenico for clearing up her identity]

Finally she torpedoed and sank the small Italian merchant Commercio (766 GRT, built 1920) in the same position. Commercio, escorted by the training vessel Violette, was on passage from Cagliari to Genoa. Violette had to be towed to Arbatax.

(All times are zone -1)
1353 hours - Sighted masts of a schooner. Closed for gun action.

1415 hours - Surfaced 500 yards on the starboard quarter and engaged an A/S schooner of about 200 tons. Four out of six rounds of the 3" gun hit. Fire was then checked but had to be reopened when the schooner was not abandoned. Five more hits were obtained and fire was again checked. Still she was not abandoned and continued on her way so fire was reopened yet again. She then slowed down and was in flames and sinking by the bow.

1422 hours - Altered course to close a trawler three nautical miles to the Southward that was firing on P 228.

1427 hours - Opened fire on the trawler. When she was hit several times she turned towards the beach, still firing though.

1432 hours - The trawler ceased fire.

1433 hours - P 228 ceased fire and broke off the action. Fire had now also been opened from the shore so P 228 dived and proceeded to attack a 2000 tons merchant vessel that meanwhile had been spotted close inshore.

1518 hours - Fired one torpedo at the merchant ship. It was seen to hit her amidships after running for 2000 yards. The vessel broke in two and sank. P 228 then retired to seaward.

Commercio sank in 10 metres of water. (2)

22 Jan 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (2)

28 Jan 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) is docked at Algiers. (6)

30 Jan 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) is undocked. (6)

6 Feb 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (7)

10 Feb 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers with HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, RN). (7)

13 Feb 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) departed Algiers for her 6th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol North of Sicily, Italy.

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


HMS Splendid 6th war patrol click here for bigger map (2)

17 Feb 1943
HMS Splendid (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) sank the Italian merchant XXI Aprile (4787 GRT, built 1919) about 3 nautical miles north of Cape San Vito, Sicily, Italy in position 38°13'N, 12°43'E.

The German merchant Siena (2147 GRT, built 1921, former French Astrée) was missed in the same attack. A third ship Campania was to have been part of the convoy but was prevented to sail by defects, the escorts were the torpedo boats Groppo and Fortunale and the corvette Gabbiano. The convoy had sailed from Palermo for Trapani and ultimately Tunisia. XXI Aprile was carrying 300 tons of ammunition, 150 tons of stores and 50 motor vehicles.

(All times are zone -1)
1732 hours - Sighted masts and funnels of two merchant vessels about six nautical miles East of Capo San Vito steering 010° out of Castellamare Bay. Two escorts were seen to seaward of the convoy.

1800 hours - Started attack on two half laden merchant vessels escorted by two destroyers/torpedo boats and one sloop/corvette.

1903 hours - Fired six torpedoes at the two merchant vessels (thought to be of 5000 and 4000 tons) that formed a continuous target. Two hits were observed on the nearest merchant vessel and one hit was heard on the other one.

1910 hours - The counter attack started. Three patterns of six, and one pattern of twelve depth charges was dropped. All rather close, but no damage was sustained. Splendid meanwhile had gone to 420 feet and the escorts did not obtain contact. The last pattern (the one of twelve) was dropped at 2030 hours.

2140 hours - No more HE was heard. Splendid meanwhile continued to withdraw to the North-East.

2315 hours - Surfaced, nothing in sight.

Only a few survivors from XXI Aprile were found. (2)

24 Feb 1943
HMS Splendid (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) attacked a tanker and a water carrier in two attacks. In the first attack a tanker was claimed to have been sunk but this was not the case.

(All times are zone -1)
0620 hours - Sighted a 2000 tons diesel tanker, steering Eastward.

0624 hours - In position 38°12'N, 12°47'E fired four torpedoes at this tanker from 2000 yards. One hit was obtained and the tanker exploded. An Orione-class torpedo boat that was spotted earlier started a counter attack. She dropped only a few depth charges before proceeding. The target was the small Italian tanker Labor (510 GRT, built 1930) with the German transport KT 2 escorted by torpedo-boat Clio. They were on passage from Bizerta to Palermo.

0649 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw that the torpedo boat was proceeding towards Capo Gallo and was almost over the horizon. A Dalmazia-class water carrier now arrived on the scene. Started attack in which the stern torpedo was to be fired.

0700 hours - Fired the stern torpedo but it missed. Most likely the speed was underestimated. This was probably the tanker Istria which had sailed from Trapani at 0420/24.

Splendid then retired to the North-West being out of serviceable torpedoes. Later course was set to return to Algiers. (2)

28 Feb 1943
HMS Splendid (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (2)

11 Mar 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) departed Algiers for her 7th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol North of Sicily, Italy.

As no log is available for March 1943 no map can be displayed. (2)

17 Mar 1943
HMS Splendid (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian tanker Devoli (3006 GRT, built 1939, former Yugoslavian Perun) six nautical miles bearing 245° of Cape San Vito, Sicily, Italy. She was in company with the tanker Velino (1339 GRT, built 1943) and they were escorted by the corvettes Persefone, Antilope and Cicogna, on passage from Palermo to Trapani.

(All times are zone -1)
Sighted a convoy rounding Capo San Vito. It consisted of one large and one medium tanker and one ocean going tug. They were escorted by four destroyers and two aircraft. Started attack on the large tanker that had a close escort of three destroyers. She was about a mile ahead of the other, smaller, tanker.

1057 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 600 yards. One hit was seen and two more were heard when Splendid went deep. A heavy counter attack followed but Splendid was not damaged by it. She retired to the North at 300 feet.

1515 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Two destroyers were in sight about three nautical miles astern. Set course towards a quiet area to the South-East of Ustica.

Devoli was hit by two torpedoes and sank, eighteen survivors were picked up and fourteen were missing. The three corvettes dropped depth charges but without visible result, finally only Cicogna remained behind to continue the hunt. At 1545 hours she claimed to have been missed by a torpedo but this was not the case, more depth charges followed and the submarine was presumed sunk. (2)

21 Mar 1943
HMS Splendid (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian tanker Giorgio (4887 GRT, built 1907) about 8 nautical miles east-north-east of Cefalù, Sicily, Italy in position 38°05'N, 14°10'E. She had been damaged in December 1942 and was being towed by the tug Atleta from Palermo to Messina, they were escorted by the submarine chaser Quarnaro and VAS 210.

(All times are zone -1)
1200 hours - Sighted smoke to the Westward.

1300 hours - Masts and funnels appeared. Two A/S aircraft were also seen patrolling the area. Mirage effect prevented the identification of the vessel until the range was about two nautical miles when it was seen the there was a tanker in tow, escorted by an auxiliary A/S vessel, an E-boat and an F-boat. The tanker was seen to be down by the bow but also under her own power. Started an attack on the tanker.

1508 hours - Fired three torpedoes from about 2000 yards at the tanker, estimated at 3000 tons. One hit was obtained. Splendid had gone deep on firing as the A/S vessel was near. A counter attack quickly followed in which 40 depth charges were dropped in quick succession, none however was dangerously near although it is thought that if Splendid had not gone to 300 feet she may have been damaged.

1620 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The A/S vessel and F-boat were still patrolling the area. The other ships, including the target, were not sighted. (2)

24 Mar 1943
At 1350 hours, when north of Cape Cefalù, HMS Splendid (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) opened fire on a schooner but it was soon checked when it was realised that it was just a fishing vessel. The vessel was Maria Stella del Mare and she had killed and wounded but did not sink.

28 Mar 1943
HMS Splendid (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. At Malta she was docked, dates of this docking are however unknown to us. (2)

18 Apr 1943
HMS P 228 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 8th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Naples, Italy. (4)

21 Apr 1943
The destroyer Hermes (ZG 3, ex Greek, British-built Vassilefs Giorgios) was under the command of Fregatten Kapitän Kurt Rechel. Barring auxiliary minelayers, she was the largest German warship in the Mediterranean. On 20 April 1943, she had just laid a minefield of 60 mines off Marettimo and returned to Salerno. She was short of fuel and had received orders to proceed to Pozzuoli to refuel. The following morning, she had sailed and at 0838 hours was off Bocca Piccola when an alert lookout spotted a periscope at a distance of 1000 metres. This was HMS Splendid who had reached her patrol area. The destroyer rushed at 21 knots and obtained a sonar contact and dropped five groups of three depth charges set between 35 and 50 metres. No result was observed. A second run was made with the same distribution but this time set between 50 and 75 metres. Again no result was observed but the sonar maintained contact and the submarine was clocked at doing 3 knots. Spendid tried to escape by going down to 500 feet. A third run delivered eleven depth charges set between 90 and 120 metres. This time the submarine was seen surfacing some 3000 metres astern. The destroyer turned hard to port and at 0935 hours opened fire with her 12.7 cm guns and smaller armament. Twelve minutes later the submarine was sinking stern first. Of a crew of five officers and 40 ratings, Hermes picked up twenty survivors (including four badly wounded) and was joined by the Italian submarine chaser VAS 226 arriving from Capri who picked up another eleven. One of the wounded must have expired as in all thirty men survived, eighteen men were killed or missing. AS 33 also arrived on the scene but only found a few objects and documents floating. The position of the first sighting was Quadrat CJ 6758 (grid square centred on 40°33'N, 14°18'E). This position is erroneously quoted in the sinking report as 39°31.7'N, 14°16.3'E and the latitude apparently off by a degree. Her sinking is recorded in 110° - Capri – 4 miles. Lt. McGeogh was one of the survivors. Although incarcerated in a POW camp, he managed to escape to Switzerland and reach England after an odyssey through France and Spain. Hermes had little time to bask in her success. On 30 April, she was disabled by an air attack off Cape Bon. With Axis forces on the verge of capitulation in Tunisia, she was scuttled at La Goulette on 7 May 1943.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17471
  2. ADM 199/1838
  3. ADM 173/17473
  4. ADM 199/1919
  5. ADM 199/1838 / Platon Alexiades
  6. ADM 173/17917
  7. ADM 173/18098

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


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