Allied Warships

HMS Sidon (P 259)

Submarine of the S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassS 
PennantP 259 
Built byCammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.) 
Ordered17 Nov 1942 
Laid down7 Jul 1943 
Launched4 Sep 1944 
Commissioned23 Nov 1944 
Lost16 Jun 1955 
History

At 0825 hours on 16 June 1955 HMS Sidon (Lt. H.T. Verry, RN) was lying alongside the depot ship HMS Maidstone at Portland when one of her torpedoes exploded. The torpedoes had no warheads, but did have the new volatile hydrogen peroxide propellant. The crew had just embarked the torpedoes before going to sea for trial firings. A sudden uprush of air and smoke poured through the conning tower hatch. Her captain and others who were on the bridge, and others from Maidstone, entered the boat to assist rescue operations. At 0845 hours the submarine sank without warning by the bows. There were 56 men onboard at the time. Crew, trainees and trials personnel for the trip. Three officers and ten ratings lost their lives but the remainder were saved. The wreck was raised on 23 June 1955 and beached the next day. The 13 bodies were recovered two days later. She was used as A/S target in June 1957. She lies a few miles West of Portland intact and upright. Another explosion of the hydrogen-peroxide torpedo at Arrochar torpedo range caused the development of the Mk12 torpedo to be cancelled.  

Commands listed for HMS Sidon (P 259)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Henry Carty Gowan, RNOct 194427 Dec 1945

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Noteable events involving Sidon include:


21 Nov 1944
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed her builders yard at Liverpool for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (retired) R.H. Mack, RN).

22 Nov 1944
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of trials and training.

17 Dec 1944
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. There she was to participate in A/S exercises. She made the passage together with HMS Sleuth (Lt. K.H. Martin, RN). They were escorted by HMS Hastings (A/Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN). (1)

18 Dec 1944
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow.

30 Dec 1944
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS Venturer (Lt. J.S. Launders, DSC and Bar, RN) and HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. P.J.S. de Jong, RNN). The submarines were escorted by HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (retired) R.H. Mack, RN).

31 Dec 1944
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to continue her training program.

20 Jan 1945
While both conducting exercises off Inchmarnock, At 1452 hours (time zone -1) HMS Turpin (A/Lt.Cdr. J.S. Stevens, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) collide with each other. Both submarines were at periscope depth and both submarines sustained damage.

22 Jan 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) was docked at Holy Loch.

23 Jan 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) was undocked.

4 Mar 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Holy Loch for Lerwick. She made (part of) the passage Northbound together with HMS Tapir (Lt. J.C.Y. Roxbourgh, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Totem (A/Lt.Cdr. M.B. St. John, RN) and HMS Trusty (Lt. H.S. May, RN). They were escorted by They were escorted by HMS Hastings (A/Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN).

6 Mar 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Lerwick.

8 Mar 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Lerwick for her 1st war patrol. This was a work up patrol off the And Fjord, the South-West approaches to Tromso. Norway.

23 Mar 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Lerwick. She departed for Holy Loch later the same day together with HMS Stubborn (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN). They were escorted by HMS Shikari (Lt. E.A. Tyrer DSC, RN).

25 Mar 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Holy Loch.

7 Apr 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Holy Loch for passage to the Far East. She joined convoy OS 121 / KMS 95 for the passage to Gibraltar.

14 Apr 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Gibraltar.

17 Apr 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta. The date she arrived at Malta is unknown to us.

30 Apr 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Malta for Port Said.

4 May 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Port Said.

7 May 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Port Said and transited the Suez Canal.

8 May 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Suez for Aden.

13 May 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Aden.

15 May 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Aden for Trincomalee.

25 May 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Trincomalee.

1 Jun 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Trincomalee for Fremantle. The date she arrived at Fremantle is unknown to us.

It had been intended to sail Sidon direct from Trincomalee to Subic Bay, Philippines but Sidon needed repairs to her battery. The could not be undertaken at Ceylon due to congestion and there were no facilities at Subic Bay. Therefore she was sent to Fremantle first.

7 Jul 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Fremantle for her 2nd war patrol (1st in the South-West Pacific area). She was ordered to patrol off Singapore for Air/Sea rescue duties.

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


HMS Sidon 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map

11 Jul 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) arrived at Onslow for fuel and fresh provisions. She was delayed one day to effect repairs to her Starboard engine.

12 Jul 1945
With repairs to her Starboard engine completed, HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) departed Onslow for her patrol area.

14 Jul 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) is ordered to proceed direct to Subic Bay her air/sea rescue duties off Singapore being cancelled.

16 Jul 1945
During the night of 16 and 17 July HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) passed Lombok Strait Northbound.

23 Jul 1945
At 0015 hours, in position 01°15'N, 108°35'E, HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) sighted a sampam. She was boarded. Japanese papers were found on board. The cargo of flour and peppers was jettisoned. The sampan was then ordered to proceed.

24 Jul 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) was ordered to participate in the search for the crew of a ditched Liberator aircraft.

28 Jul 1945
At 1938 hours (zone -9), in position 11.57'N, 112.48'E HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) picked up 2nd Lt. S. Reed, USAAF from a raft.

3 Aug 1945
HMS Sidon (Lt. H.C. Gowan, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol (1st in the South-West Pacific area) at Subic Bay.

The exact movements of HMS Sidon are unknown to us but she went to Hong Kong after the war ended. She returned to the U.K in late 1945 and was decommissioned into reserve on 27 December 1945.

18 Jan 2003
Deepquest Sub Sea have announced that they intend to raise HMS Sidon. (2)

16 Jun 2005
On the 16th June 1955 the Submarine HMS Sidon suffered a torpedo explosion whilst alongside HMS Maidstone at Portland Harbour.

The torpedo was an experimental one using High Test Peroxide the same type of fuel used in the torpedo, which is believed to have caused the more recent tragedy aboard the Russian Submarine Kursk

In the Sidon accident 13 men lost their lives, they are buried at the Royal Naval Cemetery at Portland, but apart from their headstones there is no other memorial. There will be a memorial service held on the 50th Anniversary in 2005 at which time it is hoped that a Memorial stone will be unveiled.

Dorset Branch of the Submariners Association would welcome contact from any members of the crew of the Sidon at the time of the accident, their families, or anyone involved in the salvage and rescue operation.

Please contact Brian Hodder at
brihod@btinternet.com or at

15 Rectory Road
Broadmayne
Dorset
DT2 8EG

Obviously things are at an early stage of planning at the present time, but closer to the commemoration date details of time and location will be sent out to those who have been in contact. Please feel free to contact me with any queries.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/19917
  2. Personal communication

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


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