Allied Warships

HMS Sportsman (P 229)

Submarine of the S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassS 
PennantP 229 
Built byChatham Dockyard (Chatham, U.K.) 
Ordered14 Oct 1940 
Laid down1 Jul 1941 
Launched17 Apr 1942 
Commissioned21 Dec 1942 
End service 
History

Loaned to the French Navy in 1951 and renamed Sybille. Sunk in the Mediterranean some 40 miles east of Toulon on 23 September 1952. The entire crew of 47 officers and men went down with the ship.

 
Former nameP 79

Commands listed for HMS Sportsman (P 229)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Richard Gatehouse, DSC, RN23 Sep 194230 Aug 1944
2Lt. Peter Langley Langley-Smith, RN30 Aug 194430 Jun 1945
3Lt.Cdr. Norman Limbury Auchinleck Jewell, DSC, RN30 Jun 194520 Dec 1945

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Notable events involving Sportsman include:


The history of HMS Sportsman 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 information on special operations.

This page was last updated in August 2014.

22 Dec 1942
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) shifted from her builders yard to Sheerness. (1)

23 Dec 1942
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted trials off Sheerness. (1)

24 Dec 1942
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted trials off Sheerness. (1)

25 Dec 1942
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Sheerness for Portsmouth. (1)

26 Dec 1942
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (1)

28 Dec 1942
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted trials off Portsmouth. (1)

29 Dec 1942
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Portsmouth. (1)

1 Jan 1943
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Portsmouth. (2)

3 Jan 1943
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Portsmouth for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS P 31 (Lt. L.E. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMS Oberon (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN). They were escorted HMS Unst (T/Lt. J.R. Smith, RNR) until 0830/04 when the armed yacht HMS Star of India took over the escort. (2)

6 Jan 1943
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a training period. (2)

13 Feb 1943
HMS P 229 (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Lerwick. She made the passage together with HMS P 223 (Lt. G.D.N. Milner, DSC, RN) and HMS P 315 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN). They were escorted by HMS HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(retired) R.H. Mack, RN). (3)

15 Feb 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Lerwick. She departed after a few hours for her 1st war patrol. She was to provide cover for convoy operations to and from Northern Russia from a patrol position near 71°04'N, 20°40'E.

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


HMS Sportsman 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

11 Mar 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Lerwick. The patrol had been uneventful. (4)

12 Mar 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Lerwick for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS Simoom (Lt. C.H. Rankin, RN) and HMS Tuna (Lt. R.P. Raikes, RN). They were escorted by HNoMS King Haakon VII. (5)

14 Mar 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (6)

18 Mar 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) shifted from Holy Loch to Greenock for some repairs. (5)

24 Mar 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) returned to Holy Loch. (5)

26 Mar 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) is docked at Kames Bay. (5)

27 Mar 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) is undocked. (5)

30 Mar 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. She made the passage South through the Irish Sea together with HMS Trespasser (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Favell, RN). They were during the passage through the Irish Sea escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR).

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


HMS Sportsman passage Holy Loch - Gibraltar click here for bigger map (4)

12 Apr 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (4)

18 Apr 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Sickle (Lt. J.R. Drummond, DSC, RN) and HMS Trespasser (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Favell, RN). (7)

21 Apr 1943
After conducting exercises during the morning, HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 2nd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Southern Spain and the Balearic Islands. She was to proceed to Algiers to join the 8th Submarine Flotilla upon completion of this patrol.

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


HMS Sportsman 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

29 Apr 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (4)

3 May 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) is docked at Algiers for repairs to her Asdic dome cover plate and to repair a defect to one of the ballast tanks. (8)

6 May 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) is undocked. (8)

15 May 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 3rd war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Genoa. Later she was also to patrol in the Gulf of Lions.

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


HMS Sportsman 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

19 May 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the French passenger ship Général Bonaparte (2795 GRT, built 1923) off Nice, southern France in position 43°01'N, 07°40'E. She was on passage from Ajaccio to Nice carrying passengers and 350 tons of goods. There were a total of 279 persons on board, including 199 passengers and twelve Italian guards. The German destroyers TA 10 (ex-French La Pomone) and TA 11 (ex-French L’Iphigénie) picked up 143 and 24 survivors respectively, three Italian guards were among the victims. After the war Fregatten Kapitän Loerke of TA 10 had the rare distinction of being decorated with the Legion of Honour by the French government for his part in rescuing the survivors. The sinking of Général Bonaparte caused an interruption in traffic between Corsica and the French mainland resulting in severe hardships for the population of the island. Italian authorities had to distribute flour from their own stocks to alleviate the situation.

(All times are zone -1)
1231 hours - In position 43°01'N, 07°40'E sighted the funnel and masts of a steamship bearing 139°. Started attack.

1309 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 1000 yards. One hit was obtained. HE ceased shortly afterwards and this was followed by breaking up noises.

1316 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw a lot of wreckage and one extremely full lifeboat. The area was patrolled by two A/S vessels and several aircraft during the afternoon. Sportsman remained at 200 feet to reload the torpedo tubes. (4)

26 May 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) fires 6 torpedoes at the French (in German service) tanker Marguerite Finaly (12309 GRT, built 1933) off Southern France, South of Îles d'Hyères in position 42°53'N, 06°08'E. The torpedoes however missed the target.

(All times are zone -1)
1045 hours - Sighted a large tanker bearing 087°, range 9000 yards. She was escorted by one 'Elan'-class escort vessel. Started attack.

1141 hours - Fired 6 torpedoes from 8500 yards.

1145 hours - Went to 80 feet.

1149 hours - Heard one explosion.

1200 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The tanker was still on the same course but as a floatplane was sighted and closing Sportsman went to 80 feet again. In the hurried look the escort was not sighted. (4)

28 May 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) attacked a tug and three lighters with gunfire South of Îles d'Hyères. One hit on the tug was obtained but the gun jammed and the action had to be broken off.

(All times are zone -1)
1240 hours - Sighted a tug and three lighters bearing 275° coming from the direction of Hyeres roads. Proceeded to intercept.

1320 hours - Decided to attack with gunfire. The vessels were all flying the German flag. The tug was a vessel of about 200 tons. The lighters were self propelled.

1342 hours - Surfaced and opened fire with the 3" gun on the tug. The third round hit but after firing the fourth round the gun jammed and as the enemy had opened fire the action had to be broken off.

1345 hours - Dived. (4)

2 Jun 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (4)

19 Jun 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to conduct special operation ETNA (SOE) and patrol in the Gulf of Genoa. Also she was to blow up a Railway line between Genoa and Southern France if an opportunity arose.

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


HMS Sportsman 4th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

27 Jun 1943
During the night of 27/28 June 1943 HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted a special operation. Two agents were supposed to carry out the mission but after much hesitation, with the assistance of Lt. E.J.A. Lunn of SBS and Sergeant J. Gilmour, one agent was landed near San Remo, Imperia, Italy. The other refused to go. (4)

29 Jun 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Bolzaneto (2220 GRT, built 1918) in position 44°10'N, 09°32'E. She was on a trip from Marina di Carrara to Genoa.

(All times are zone -1)
0950 hours - About to surface to engage a tug with gunfire. Took one last all round look. Sighted smoke to the South-East. Abandoned the idea of engaging the tug, bigger prey might be around.

1013 hours - Sighted that the source of the smoke was a merchant vessel of about 2000 tons. Started attack.

1044 hours - In position 44°10'N, 09°32'E fired one torpedo from 600 yards. It hit, the ship blew up, broke in two and in ten seconds had disappeared.

Bolzaneto had a crew of 28 civilians and 8 naval personnel, there respectively twelve and two survivors. (4)

30 Jun 1943
During the night of 30 June to 1 July HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) landed a raiding party (Lt E.J.A. Lunn and Sergeant J. Gilmour) near Bordicherea, Imperia, Italy to blow up a railway line. The attempt was unsuccessful as the party could not locate the Railway line. (4)

1 Jul 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) attacked a convoy of lighters / landing craft with gunfire in the Ligurian Sea off Porto Maurizio. The attack had to be broken off because the gun jammed.

(All times are zone -1)
1546 hours - Sighted a convoy of eight self-propelled lighters escorted by a Motor Launch. Decided to surface and attack with the gun.

1646 hours - Surfaced in position 43°49'N, 07°57'E at a range of 3500 yards. After the first round, which was just short of the rear lighter, trouble was experienced with loading the gun. No fewer than four rounds would not go right home with the consequent inability to close the breach. The fifth round jammed hard in the gun and could not be cleared. There was no other option then to break off the action.

1648 hours - A shore battery opened fire. His first round landed 200 yards over.

1649 hours - Dived and went deep.

1655 hours - The Motor Launch started dropping single depth charges. No damage was caused.

1710 hours - The 12th charge was dropped, no more followed so 12 was presumably the outfit of the Motor Launch. (4)

6 Jul 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (4)

20 Jul 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Algiers with HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Arrow (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Fitzroy, RN). (9)

23 Jul 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 5th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Northern part of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the East of Corsica.

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


HMS Sportsman 5th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

11 Aug 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (4)

25 Aug 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Algiers. (10)

28 Aug 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for her 6th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol East of Corsica.

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


HMS Sportsman 6th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

6 Sep 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) sank the Italian fishing vessels Angiolina P. (41 GRT, built 1923) and FER 14 / Maria Luisa B. (37 GRT, built 1900) with gunfire in the port of Aléria, Corsica, France. They were both proceeding from Portovecchio to Bastia.

(All times are zone -1)
1140 hours - Sighted a sailing vessel proceeding South. Commenced closing the coast to intercept this vessel and while doing so sighted four more sailing vessels coming up from the South.

1303 hours - Decided to attack the four vessels coming from the South. The 2nd and 3rd were quite close together so decided to attack these two first and then went after the 1st and 4th if possible.

1333 hours - Surfaced in position 42°05'N, 09°33'E and engaged the 3rd vessel, a 150 tons schooner from a range of 2000 yards. Unfortunately it took 15 minutes and 76 rounds to sink this vessel. About one-third were hits.

1356 hours - Engaged the 4th vessel, a cutter of 50 tons that meanwhile had been abandoned. She was sunk with 8 rounds.

1402 hour - Went after the 1st and 2nd vessels. They were now about 5 nautical miles away. An aircraft however forced Sportsman to dive. (4)

9 Sep 1943
Having been informed of the Italian Armistice a few hours before. HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) closed Bastia (Corsica).

At 0636 hours, a large German trawler was seen leaving harbour and the submarine commenced an attack when her target was suddenly hit repeatedly from coastal batteries. The Italian torpedo boats Aliseo and Ardito had arrived from La Spezia and received orders to escort a convoy southward to join the Allies. Aliseo had left harbour but Ardito had suddenly come under fire from German vessels which had taken control of the harbour. Aliseo turned back to assist her consort. This torpedo boat was under the command of ex-submariner and ace Carlo Fecia di Cossato. At the same time Italian-manned coastal batteries had joined the action to resist the German assault. The German vessels had now been ordered to withdraw to Leghorn and a convoy was now leaving Bastia. The trawler observed by Lt. Gatehouse was the German UJ 2203 which was set on fire. At the same time an armed yacht and several L.C.T.s were seen leaving the harbour. At 0701 hours Sportsman surfaced and began firing with her 3" gun at an L.C.T., claiming a direct hit, but it jammed after thirteen rounds. This was probably the lighter F 612 which claimed to have been attacked by a submarine and missed with two torpedoes (Sportsman did not fire any torpedo during this action) and joined by F 523 they began firing at the submarine. Showing little discrimination, the coastal batteries hit F 523 and took the submarine under fire and Gatehouse wisely decided to break off the action. An Italian torpedo boat was seen firing at a German trawler but the situation was confused and Sportsman withdrew from the area after one last look at the harbour where a steamer was see burning. Also present were the Luftwaffe F.L.B. 412 and the lighters F 459, F 387 and F 366. In fact Aliseo was now ravaging the German forces and had taken under fire UJ 2219 which blew up and then sank a motor-boat and three F-lighters.

Later in the afternoon Sportsman was ordered to a new position off Portofino and proceeded.

10 Sep 1943
At 0220 hours, in position 43°50'N, 09°37.5'E, HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) sighted three coasters proceeding toward Genoa, now known to be in German hands. One fired a Green light, a Green Very' Light, then a star shell and finally two rounds which fell near the bridge. The submarine broke off the action, intending to attack them during daylight.

11 Sep 1943
At daylight, HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) had reached her area off Portofino but the same evening was recalled to base.

12 Sep 1943
While on the return passage from her patrol area to Algiers HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) pickes up 44 survivors from the Italian destroyer Ugolino Vivaldi. She was sunk with her sister Antonio Da Noli while trying to escape through the Strait of Bonifacio on the 9th. (4)

13 Sep 1943
At 0351 hours (zone -1), while in position 40°29'N, 06°40'E, HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) was bombed in error by an American Liberator aircraft of the 1st U.S. Squadron / 480th A/S Group. 7 Depth charges were dropped. One of these hit the radar array. The pistol of the depth charge was knocked out causing the contents of the depth charge to spill and burn causing serious burns to the Officer of the Watch, Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR, the spare Commanding Officer of the 8th Submarine Flotilla who was on board HMS Sportsman to gain more experience. A second depth charge had also landed on the bridge but this was not noticed at the time. Sportsman dived and when at 25 feet this depth charge exploded wrecking the bridge and causing other serious damage. (4)

14 Sep 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Algiers. (4)

15 Sep 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) was docked at Algiers. (11)

18 Sep 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) was undocked. (11)

15 Oct 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted post repair trials off Algiers. (12)

22 Oct 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for Malta. She made the passage in convoy KMS 29 together with HMS Sibyl (Lt. E.J.D. Turner, DSO, DSC, RN).

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


HMS Sportsman passage Algiers - Malta click here for bigger map (12)

25 Oct 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. (12)

26 Oct 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Beirut.

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


HMS Sportsman passage Malta - Beirut click here for bigger map (12)

31 Oct 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Beirut. (12)

3 Nov 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Beirut for Haifa. (13)

4 Nov 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Haifa where she is docked immediately. (13)

5 Nov 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) was undocked. At that time she was one of five submarines considered for operations in the Black Sea but the operation was later cancelled. (13)

6 Nov 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Haifa for her 7th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean.

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


HMS Sportsman 7th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

15 Nov 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) sank the Greek sailing vessel PI 850 / Eleftherios V. (70 GRT) with gunfire North of Naxos, Greece. She was under German control and was armed with an MG 15 machine gun.

(All times are zone -2)
0652 hours - Sighted a two-masted caique bearing 220°. He was coast crawling from the direction of Naousa and was flying the Greek flag.

0712 hours - Went to gun action stations.

0724 hours - Surfaced in position 37°13'N, 25°32'E at a range of 2000 yards to the caique. Twenty rounds were used to set him on fire and sink him. He was of about 100 tons and was carrying ammunition. Proceeded to clear the area.

Among the Greek crew, one was missing and one was seriously wound, of the six German on board two were slightly wounded. (4)

18 Nov 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) attacked a German destroyer or torpedo boat with six torpedoes North-East of Naxos, Greece. All torpedoes missed their target. This was most probably the German torpedo boat TA 17 who had left Leros a few hours before carrying wounded and POWs to Piraeus, she was travelling at 17 knots.

(All times are zone -2)
0106 hours - Sighted an aircraft dropping a flare over Donoussa Island. Shorty after followed by another flare. Soon afterwards picked up HE of a turbine bearing 145°. The object was picked up immediately he came clear of Donoussa Island. In the moonlight uit was soon identified as a destroyer.

0109 hours - Went to diving stations and started attack.

0120 hours - In position 37°14'N, 25°40'E fired six torpedoes from 3000 yards. Enemy course was 285°, speed 20 knots. Sportsman dived on firing the last torpedo. No hits were obtained.

0126 hours - Two depth charges were dropped.

0127 hours - Two more depth charges were dropped. These two were followed soon after by a single depth charge. None were close. The enemy had reduced speed and appeared to circle for about ten minutes before proceeding.

0136 hours - No more HE could be heard.

Soon afterwards Sportsman received a signal from Capt. (S)1 ordering her to patrol off Suda Bay. (4)

20 Nov 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) sank the Greek caique PI.265 / Evangelistria with gunfire off Suda Bay.

(All times are zone -2)
1101 hours - Sighted a caique bearing 290°. Turned towards and commenced closing. The caique was later seen to fly the Greek flag.

1207 hours - Gun action stations.

1220 hours - Surfaced in position 35°33'N, 24°15'E and engaged the caique with gunfire from 1500 yards. After 19 rounds, the most of these hits, the caique was sinking.

1225 hours - Dived. A shore battery meanwhile had opened fire.

Two Greeks were killed but the caique was only damaged and she was later towed by the German patrol boat GK 64 to Suda Bay where she was beached in sinking condition. (4)

24 Nov 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Beirut. (4)

10 Dec 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Beirut for her 8th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean.

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


HMS Sportsman 8th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

19 Dec 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) sank the Greek sailing vessel KAV.39 / Zora with a demolition charge south of Lemnos Island, Greece.

(All times are zone -2)
2035 hours - In position 39°44'N, 25°06'E sighted a darkened vessel. This turned out to be a small caique of about 10 tons. She was boarded. The crew of four was taken off and she was sunk with a demolition charge. Her cargo was oil in drums.
(4)

21 Dec 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) attacks and damaged the Greek sailing vessel SYR 283 / Agios Spiridon (101 GRT) with gunfire south of Lemnos Island.

(All times are zone -2)
0835 hours - Sighted a 100 tons caique approaching Mudros from the West. She was laden and had a deck cargo of timber.

0917 hours - Gun action stations.

0950 hours - Surfaced in position 39°47'N, 25°14'E and engaged the caique with gunfire from 800 yards. After 42 rounds the target was waterlogged and the deck cargo coming adrift.

1012 hours - When last seen the target was still floating. According to German sources she did not sink and was brought into Mudros was declared a total loss. Her wreck was raised on 21 January 1944. (4)

23 Dec 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Bulgarian troop transport Balkan (3838 GRT, built 1914) south of Mudros, Lemnos Island, Greece in position 39°44'N, 25°16'E. She was carrying 2200 tons of coal [there was an acute shortage of coal in the Aegean] and was escorted by the destroyer TA 14, the minesweeper R 211 and the Motor Torpedo Boat S 54.

(All times are zone -2)
1035 hours - A merchant ship could be seen leaving Port Mudros. Started attack.

1130 hours - In position 39°44'N, 25°16'E fired three torpedoes from 1600 yards. One hit was obtained. An escorting destroyer started a counter attack [this was TA 15, former Italian Francesco Crispi].

1139 hours - A pattern of five depth charges was dropped closely followed by a pattern of four.

1140 hours - A pattern of five depth charges was dropped.

1145 hours - Heard breaking up noises.

1147 hours - A pattern of seven depth charges was dropped.

1148 hours - Heard loud breaking up noises.

1149 hours - A pattern of three depth charges was dropped.

1213 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The destroyer was 2000 yards away.

1220 hours - The destroyer came nearer so went deep again and continued to retired from the area.

1255 hours - HE had faded so returned to periscope depth again.

1430 hours - Commenced reloading torpedoes.

1700 hours - Reloading completed. No more ships were seen but an Arado floatplane was still patrolling the area.

According to German sources R 211 and S 54 rescued 68 survivors while TA 14 fruitlessly hunted the submarine. (4)

30 Dec 1943
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean) at Beirut. (4)

28 Jan 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Beirut. (14)

30 Jan 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Beirut for her 9th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean.

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


HMS Sportsman 9th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

8 Feb 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the German transport Petrella (4785 GRT, built 1923, former French Aveyron) north of Suda Bay, Crete in position 35°34'N, 24°18'E. 2670 Out of 3173 Italian POWs who were aboard Petrella where killed. The German guards did not open the POW rooms and fired at them while they tried to break out. She was on passage from Suda to Piraeus.

(All times are zone -2)
0750 hours - A merchant ship was seen leaving Suda Bay. Closed and started attack.

0833 hours - In position 35°34'N, 24°18'E fired four torpedoes from 3000 yards. It is thought that two hits were obtained.

0836 hours - Went deep. An aircraft dropped a bomb reasonably close.

0837 hours - The escorting UJ boat started a counter attack. Two depth charges were dropped.

0841 hours - Two depth charges were dropped.

0859 hours - One depth charge was dropped.

0930 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw that the target was still afloat but that her back was broken. The UJ boat was circling her as were several small craft. Three Arado floatplanes was also overhead.

1022 hours - Started closing the target again to finish her off.

1215 hours - Fired one torpedo from 4000 yards. After 2 minutes and 30 seconds an explosion was heard and upon looking it was seen to be a hit on the target.

1216 hours - Commenced going deep.

1217 hours - Two aircraft bombs were dropped close.

1224 hours - One aircraft bomb was dropped.

1312 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The target was not seen but masts were seen where she had been. Proceeded to clear the area.

Petrella had on board:
Crew: 34 (30 saved)
AA crew: 36 (35 saved)
German soldiers: 95 (75 saved)
Italian POWs: 3173 (527 saved but 24 died later)
(4)

13 Feb 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean) at Beirut. (4)

14 Feb 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Beirut for Port Said where she was to undergo a short refit before proceeding to the Far East. (15)

15 Feb 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Port Said. (15)

16 Feb 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) is docked at Port Said. (15)

27 Feb 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) is undocked. (15)

15 Mar 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Port Said. (16)

20 Mar 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Port Said for her 10th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean.

On the 17th it had been decided not to sent HMS Sportsman to the Far East as she was not fitted with an air conditioning plant.

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


HMS Sportsman 10th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

28 Mar 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the small German tanker MT 3/Vienna (425 GRT, built 1923) off Monemvasia, Greece in position 36°41'30"N, 23°03'E.

(All times are zone -2)
0529 hours - After yesterday's gale dived in position 36°51N, 23°09'E and closed Monemvasia again. It was seen that our target had either shifted berth or more likely was aground in the centre of the Northern shore of the island.

1110 hours - Sighted four JU-88's to seaward.

1117 hours - Sighted a vessel and two escorts bearing 050°. These were later identified as a cable layer or salvage tug of about 1000 yards with two UJ boats as escort. Started attack. During this attack one of the escorts obtained contact on HMS Sportsman. The attack was broken off and Sportsman went to 80 feet. The escort lost contact soon afterwards. Remained off Monemvasia for the remainder of the day.

1953 hours - Surfaced and retired to the East to charge.

2115 hours - Commenced closing Monemvasia again.

2156 hours - Picked up the boom.

2205 hours - We were in the entrance of the boom. Unfortunately the salvage tug was bows on to Sportsman.

2226 hours - Fired no.6 tube at the tug. The torpedo did not run straight and exploded on the shore.

2228 hours - Fired no.5 tube at MT 3. 45 Seconds later it hit the target with a spectacular explosion throwing up a big cloud of black smoke and for several seconds pieces of red hot metal flew into the air.

2229 hours - Commenced withdrawing.

2234 hours - Fire was opened up on Sportsman so dived.

2243 hours - As Cape Monemvasia was now between Sportsman and the shore guns surfaced and continued to retire from the area on the main engines.

According to German sources the MT 3 had run aground during the gale. It was originally intended that she was to proceed to Suda Bay, Crete escorted by GK 91 and GK 92. To salvage her from the rocks the tug Vulkan was sent to Monemvasia escorted by UJ 2152 and GD 94.

Vulkan had been missed by the first torpedo but the second torpedo caused enough damage to MT 3 that she was a total loss. There were six wounded and one missing. (4)

31 Mar 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the small German motor vessel Grauer Ort (212 GRT) about 10 nautical miles North of Cape Maleas, Greece. She was on passage from Monemvasia to Gythion.

(All times are zone -2)
1919 hours - A small motor vessel was seen to come clear from Monemvasia Island and proceeded south.

1951 hours - Surfaced and gave chase.

2015 hours - Sighted an object right ahead, this was soon seen to be our target. Started tracking her by radar.

2027 hours - Commenced overtaking her.

2051 hours - Started to close the target.

2101 hours - In position 36°38'5"N, 23°13'E fired two torpedoes from 1000 yards. Both hit and the target disappeared. Closed the spot and picked up 8 survivors. They stated that their ship was loaded with dynamite and general food stuffs and was en-route from Piraeus to Kalamata. (4)

5 Apr 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (4)

18 Apr 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 11th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean.

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


HMS Sportsman 11th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

28 Apr 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the German merchant Lüneburg (5809 GRT, built 1922, former Greek Constantin Louloudis) north of Iraklion, Crete, Greece in position 35°26'N, 25°07'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1230 hours - Sighted three ships leaving Candia, these were a torpedo boat, an UJ vessel and a Motor Launch.

1505 hours - Sighted 5 balloons and 7 aircraft bearing 290°. This must be our target arriving.

1535 hours - Started attack. 3 Destroyers, a torpedo boat and 3 UJ vessels were seen in the area. [The escorts were TA 16, TA 17, TA 19, R 210, UJ.2101, UJ.2105, UJ.2106, UJ.2110 and GK.92].

1634 hours - In position 35°28'N, 25°07'E fired 2 torpedoes. Went deep as one of the torpedoes produced an enormous splash on discharge. To our surprise there was a torpedo explosion near 4 minutes after firing, a hit. Very soon afterwards the crew in the fore-ends thought they heard breaking up noises.

1636 hours - One of the escorts remained in contact for 10 minutes and carried out 2 depth charge attacks in which 18 depth charges were dropped fairly accurately but no damage was caused by them. Retired to the North.

1750 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Several escorts were still searching the area but the target was not seen anymore.

According to German sources there were 124 survivors, nine were killed or missing.

3 May 1944
During the afternoon HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) was depth charged while trying to attack an enemy convoy. A pattern of 8 depth charged was dropped very close causing some minor damage. Several more depth charge patterns were dropped during the next hour but no more damage was caused by these.

This was a convoy formed by Gertrud (1960 GRT, built 1930, former Danish Gerda Toft) and Susanne (552 GRT, buit 1919, former Spanish San Juan II) escorted by UJ 2101, UJ 2105, UJ 2106, UJ 2110 and R 210 and had sailed from Heraklion to Piraeus (they were initially also escorted by GK 61 and GK 92 but they may have turned back by then). At 1324 hours, UJ 2106 detected the submarine with sonar then spotted a periscope, she was detached from the convoy to hunt the submarine and expended all her depth charges in the process [Note: the date recorded in Sportsman’s patrol report for this action is 2 May but her log and the German reports are in accord that is was 3 May] (4)

6 May 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (4)

25 May 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. She made the passage in convoy MKS 50.

HMS Sportsman was to return to the U.K. for a refit.

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


HMS Sportsman passage Malta - Gibraltar click here for bigger map (17)

31 May 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (17)

1 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar. (18)

2 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar. (18)

6 Jun 1944
During 6 and 7 June 1944 HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. These included night exercises. (18)

9 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Holy Loch. She made the passage in convoy MKS 51.

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


HMS Sportsman passage Gibraltar - Holy Loch click here for bigger map (4)

11 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) joined convoy SL.160.

20 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (4)

21 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. (18)

22 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (18)

25 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Dundee. She was escorted by HMS Castlenau (T/Skr. G. Wood, RNR). (18)

26 Jun 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) arrived at Dundee. (18)

21 Jul 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) is docked at Dundee. (19)

23 Jul 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN) is undocked. (19)

31 Aug 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Dundee. (20)

1 Sep 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Dundee. (21)

3 Sep 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) shifted from Dundee to Blyth. (21)

12 Sep 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth. (21)

14 Sep 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth. (21)

18 Sep 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth. (21)

27 Sep 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth. (21)

28 Sep 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth. (21)

29 Sep 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth. (21)

4 Oct 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth. (22)

8 Oct 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed Blyth of Holy Loch. It has been decided to sent Sportsman to the U.S.A. for refit. (22)

12 Oct 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (22)

14 Oct 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed Holy Loch for St. John's, Canada.

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


HMS Sportsman passage Holy Loch - St. John's click here for bigger map (22)

24 Oct 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at St. John's, Canada. (22)

27 Oct 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed St. John's, Canada for the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was escorted by the Canadian corvette HMCS Rivière du Loup (T/Lt. R.N. Smillie, RCNVR).

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


HMS Sportsman St. John's - Philadelphia click here for bigger map (22)

2 Nov 1944
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. (23)

10 Mar 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted trials off Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. (24)

11 Mar 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted trials off Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. (24)

12 Mar 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) was docked at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. (24)

16 Mar 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) was undocked. (24)

26 Mar 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed the Philadelphia Navy Yard for New London, Connecticut, USA. (24)

27 Mar 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at New London to begin a short training programme. (24)

29 Mar 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off New London. (24)

30 Mar 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off New London. (24)

1 Apr 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off New London. (25)

5 Apr 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed New London for Holy Loch. She was escorted by the Canadian frigate HMCS Carlplace (T/Lt. C.E. Wright, RCNVR).

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


HMS Sportsman passage New London - Holy Loch click here for bigger map (4)

14 Apr 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at Horta, Azores for fuel. (4)

15 Apr 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed Horta, Azores and continued her passage still escorted by HMCS Carlplace (T/Lt. C.E. Wright, RCNVR). (4)

18 Apr 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) made rendez-vous with convoy MKS 95 and continued passage to the U.K. (4)

23 Apr 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. The crew now first went on foreign leave in two watches and then a training programme was commenced with the intention of leaving the U.K. around late July for the Far East where she was to arrive around late September to join one of the operation flotilla's there. (4)

6 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) departed Rothesay for Scapa Flow. (26)

8 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow where she was to participate in attack and A/S exercises. (26)

9 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises off Scapa Flow. Target was the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Mulock van der Vlies Bik, RNN). (26)

10 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises off Scapa Flow. Target was the fleet oiler Black Ranger escorted by the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Mulock van der Vlies Bik, RNN). (26)

10 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Saga (T/Lt. P.S. Thirsk, DSC, RNR). (26)

16 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises together with HMS Rodney (Capt. R.O. Fitzroy, RN).

16 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Rodney. (26)

17 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN). (26)

19 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises together with ORP Conrad. (26)

20 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Rothesay. (26)

21 Jul 1945
HMS Sportsman (Lt.Cdr. N.L.A. Jewell, MBE, DSC, RN) arrived at Rothesay to continue her training programme.

Her deployment to the Far East was cancelled when the war with Japan ended. She was reduced to reserve at Harwich on 20 December 1945. (26)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17476
  2. ADM 173/17918
  3. ADM 173/18099
  4. ADM 199/1842
  5. ADM 173/18100
  6. ADM 173/18100
  7. ADM 173/18101
  8. ADM 173/18102
  9. ADM 173/18104
  10. ADM 173/18105
  11. ADM 173/18106
  12. ADM 173/18107
  13. ADM 173/18108
  14. ADM 173/18804
  15. ADM 173/18805
  16. ADM 173/18806
  17. ADM 173/18808
  18. ADM 173/18809
  19. ADM 173/18810
  20. ADM 173/18811
  21. ADM 173/18812
  22. ADM 173/18813
  23. ADM 173/18814
  24. ADM 173/19709
  25. ADM 173/19710
  26. ADM 173/19713

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


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