Allied Warships

HMS Triumph (i) (N 18)

Submarine of the T class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassT 
PennantN 18 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered6 Nov 1936 
Laid down19 Mar 1937 
Launched16 Feb 1938 
Commissioned2 May 1939 
Lost14 Jan 1942 
History

HMS Triumph (Lt. John Symons Huddart, RN) sailed from Alexandria on 26 December 1941 to land a party near the Greek capital Athens before making a patrol in the Aegean Sea. She reported making the landing on the 30th, but did not show up on 9 January 1942 when she was to pick the party up again. She was declared overdue on 14 January 1942. Probably lost on Italian mines off Milo island, south east of Greece.

 

Commands listed for HMS Triumph (i) (N 18)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. John Wentworth McCoy, RN9 Feb 1938Feb 1940
2Lt. John Samuel Stevens, RNFeb 194014 Apr 1940
3Lt. Erroll Bruce, RN14 Apr 194015 Aug 1940
4Lt.Cdr. Wilfrid John Wentworth Woods, RN15 Aug 19408 Nov 1941
5Lt. John Symons Huddart, RN8 Nov 194114 Jan 1942

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Notable events involving Triumph (i) include:


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

24 Aug 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) departed from Dundee to take up a patrol position off the South-West coast of Norway. When the war started this became her 1st war patrol.

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


View HMS Triumph 1st war patrol in a larger map

8 Sep 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Dundee.

23 Sep 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) departed from Dundee for her 2nd war patrol. She is to patrol off the South coast of Norway.

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


View HMS Triumph 2nd war patrol in a larger map

25 Sep 1939
At 0755 hours HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) sighted two Tribal class destroyers steering directly toward her. The submarine fired a smoke candle and dived to 120 feet. Communications by SS/T was established, one of the destroyers apparently was HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) and they left the scene.

27 Sep 1939
During the afternoon HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) twice spotted a German torpedo boat operating near position 57°51'N, 08°36'E. She is not sighted.

The torpedo boat(s) was / were most likely to be one of the following ships Iltis, Wolf, Seeadler and Leopard. These four torpedo boats were inspecting shipping in the Skagerrak together with the destroyers Z 10/Hans Lody, Z 14/Friedrich Ihn and Z 15/Erich Steinbrinck.

28 Sep 1939
At 0725 hours, in position 57°34'N, 08°15'E, HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) was hunted by two MTBs or fast trawlers and escaped by bottoming at 320 feet.

8 Oct 1939
At 2150 hours, about 80 nautical miles west of Aberdeen, a destroyer was sighted. HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) fired a smoke candle and dived, bottoming at 250 feet. No attack followed.

9 Oct 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Dundee.

14 Oct 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) departed from Dundee for Rosyth where she arrived later the same day.

22 Oct 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 3rd war patrol. She is to perform an anti-submarine patrol off the West coast of Scotland near St. Kilda. She is escorted by HMS Sturdy as far as Dunnet Head.

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


View HMS Triumph 3rd war patrol in a larger map

11 Nov 1939
At 0800 hours, in position 58°40'N, 06°15'W, HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) makes rendezvous with HMS Maori, that is to escort Triumph and HMS Trident back to Rosyth.

12 Nov 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Rosyth.

23 Nov 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 4th war patrol. She is to patrol off Stavanger, Norway.

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


View HMS Triumph 4th war patrol in a larger map

27 Nov 1939
During the afternoon HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) was ordered to search for her damaged sister ship HMS Triad and escorting destroyers. She is unable to find her stricken sister.

28 Nov 1939
At 1230 hours HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) finally finds her stricken sister vessel HMS Triad and her escorting destroyers HMS Inglefield and HMS Maori.

At 1700 hours Triumph lost contact owning to the bad weather and visibility.

Triumph tried to regain contact the next day but was unable to do so. She was later ordered to resume patrol.

8 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at Rosyth.

14 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) is docked at Rosyth.

16 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) left dock.

23 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 5th war patrol. She is to patrol in the Skagerrak.

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


View HMS Triumph 5th war patrol in a larger map

26 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) hits a floating mine in the North Sea in position 56°44'N, 05°00'E. Her bow was badly damaged, but fortunately the torpedoes in the torpedo tubes did not detonate. Some eighteen feet of bow was blown off and her pressure hull was also damaged. The boat managed to limp back home under the protection of fighter aircraft and destroyers. Triumph was under repair at Chatham Dockyard until 27 September 1940.

2300 hours - The Officer of the Watch sighted a floating mine about 20 feet ahead. The mine was floating free and was first sighted on the crest of the swell. The wheel was put hard to starboard but Triumph had not started to swing when the mine exploded. The explosion was very heavy and there was a sheet of flame of about 50 feet high.

Damage was inspected and acted upon as far as possible. A signal was made to base that Triumph was returning and requesting escort.

27 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) is joined by an escort during her return to Rosyth.

0943 hours - Sighted one Hudson aircraft.

0955 hours - There were now four Hudson aircraft overhead.

1056 hours - Sighted one enemy aircraft approaching. The Lewis gun was manned and the bridge was cleared with the exception of the Commanding Officer and the gun crews. The enemy was however driven off by the escorting Hudson aircraft.

1105 hours - Sighted HMS Exmouth (Cdr. R.S. Benson, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN).

1110 hours - The enemy aircraft again came in to attack but was again driven off by the Hudsons.

28 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) ended her 5th war patrol at Rosyth.

29 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) is docked at Rosyth.

6 Jan 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) left dock.

7 Jan 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) departed from Rosyth for Chatham dockyard where she will be repaired. She is escorted by HMS Exmouth.

8 Jan 1940
HMS Griffin takes over the escort of HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) from HMS Exmouth.

9 Jan 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) arrived at Chatham dockyard for repairs.

30 Sep 1940
With her repairs and refit completed HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Chatham Dockyard for Sheerness where she arrived later the same day.

1 Oct 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Sheerness for Harwich where she arrived later the same day.

2 Oct 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Harwich for Holy Loch.

6 Oct 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for a period of trials and training.

6 Nov 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. She made the passage to Bishops Rock together with HMS Tigris (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bone, RN). The submarines were escorted by HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(retired) R.H. Mack, RN).

En-route a short anti-uboat patrol was made making this her 6th war patrol.

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


View HMS Triumph 6th war patrol in a larger map

16 Nov 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived at Gibraltar.

26 Nov 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) is docked at Gibraltar.

28 Nov 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) left dock.

30 Nov 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Gibraltar for her 7th war patrol. This is a work-up patrol in the Alboran Sea to the East of Gibraltar.
View HMS Triumph 7th war patrol in a larger map

7 Dec 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 7th war patrol at Gibraltar.

14 Dec 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Gibraltar for her 8th war patrol. This is another patrol in the Alboran Sea to the East of Gibraltar.

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


View HMS Triumph 8th war patrol in a larger map

22 Dec 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 8th war patrol at Gibraltar.

1 Jan 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Gibraltar for her 9th war patrol. She is to take up a patrol position with HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) and HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) to the West of Gibraltar off Cape Spartel. This was most likely to intercept Vichy-French warships that might have departed Casablanca for the Mediterranean.

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


View HMS Triumph 9th war patrol in a larger map

2 Jan 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) is recalled to Gibraltar where she arrived later the same day.

3 Jan 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Gibraltar for her 10th war patrol and subsequent passage to Malta. Triumph was to provide cover for convoy 'Excess' to Malta.

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


View HMS Triumph 10th war patrol in a larger map

12 Jan 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived at Malta, thus ending her 10th war patrol.

15 Jan 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) is docked at Malta.

18 Jan 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) left dock.

11 Feb 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Malta for her 11th war patrol. She was to proceed to the Gulf of Salerno to pick up a group of airborne commando troops (participating in Operation Colossus, offsite link) near the mouth of the river Sele.

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


View HMS Triumph 11th war patrol in a larger map

13 Feb 1941
At 2022 hours (zone -1) HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) receives orders to return to Malta.

15 Feb 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) attacked an Italian convoy North of Pantelleria island. Five torpedoes were fired but no hits were obtained.

[The target has not been definitely identified. Although described as a merchant ship escorted by four destroyers (it was in the middle of the night), it is possible this were the German ships Acturus (2576 GRT, built 1937), Alicante (2140 GRT, built 1934) and Ankara (4768 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Pegaso and Orsa returning to Naples after a trip to Tripoli.]

(All times are zone -1)
2340 hours/14 - Sighted San Leonardo lighthouse flashing bearing 090°, distance 12 nautical miles.

2349 hours/14 - Sighted a merchant vessel of about 6000 tons escorted by four destroyers. Three of the destroyers were ahead of the merchant vessel and one was astern. Started attack.

0018 hours/15 - Fired five torpedoes from 5000 yards. It was intended to fire four torpedoes but due to an error in drill the tube space crew thought they were to fire six. However one (No.2 tube) misfired resulting in eventually five torpedoes to be fired.

Due to the strong escort it was not possible to close further.

No hits were obtained. No counter attack developed.

16 Feb 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 11th war patrol at Malta.

20 Feb 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) is docked at Malta.

21 Feb 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) left dock.

23 Feb 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Malta for her 12th war patrol. She is to patrol off the coast of Calabria.

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


View HMS Triumph 12th war patrol in a larger map

26 Feb 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) attacked the Italian merchant Giovanni Boccaccio (3160 GRT, built 1919) off Capo dell'Armi near position 37°52'N, 15°39'E.

(All times are zone -1)
0811 hours - Sighted smoke from the direction of Cape Spartivento. The target was steering westwards and was thought to be a merchant vessel of 5000 tons. Started attack. Closed to a range of 2700 yards and at .....

0858 hours - Near position 37°52'N, 15°39'E fired two torpedoes. About four minutes after firing the target was seen to alter course about 45° to starboard and a large puff of smoke was seen to emerge from her funnel. Shortly afterwards she resumed course towards Messina. It was thought the target, that was now thought to be of 3000 tons, was able to evade the torpedoes, no explosions were heard. A small patrol vessel was seen near the target but it did not search for the attacker.

2 Mar 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) tries to attack an Italian armed merchant cruiser near Capo Cimiti. The attack however had to be broken off

Shortly afterwards three torpedoes were fired against a merchant ship of about 3000 tons. All torpedoes fired missed their target.

(All times are zone -1)
0858 hours - While deep for an aircraft HE was heard. Upon coming to periscope depth sighted a laden merchant vessel of about 5000 tons and what looked like an armed yacht well to the seaward of the merchant vessel. Started attack.

It soon proved to be impossible to attack the merchant vessel but as it was seen that the escort was bigger then was first thought an attack on that vessel was started. The attack however failed due to problems with bringing the torpedo tubes to the ready.

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

1019 hours - Sighted two ships close inshore off Capo Cimiti. The first was a 1200 tons coaster, the second, half a mile astern, was a loaded ship of about 3000 tons. Started attack.

1040 hours - Near position 38°53'N, 17°15'E fired three torpedoes against the 3000 tons merchant ship from 2000 yards. But as Triumph was still turning slightly during firing all torpedoes most likely missed ahead.

5 Mar 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchants Marzamemi (958 GRT, built 1891) and Colomba Lofaro (897 GRT, built 1890) near Capo dell'Armi, Calabria, Italy position 37°54'N, 15°46'E.

(All times are zone -1)
1407 hours - Sighted a ship approaching from beyond Capo Dell'Armi. Shortly afterwards sighted the masts of a second ship astern of the other. Both ships were of about 2500 tons and were fully laden. Closed the shore to attack.

Due to a heavy rain squall both ships were lost out of sight for a considerable while. When the rain cleared the first ship was seen to be 3000 yards away and was now heading for the shore. The second ship was soon seen to join her. Both ships were later seen to drop their anchor off Melito di Porto Salvo.

1512 hours - Fired one torpedo against the first target from 1400 yards. The torpedo hit the target and as a result of the explosion the other ship was out of sight for several minutes. When seen again she had slipped her anchor and was seen to make off. At 1517 hours one torpedo was fired from 1500 yards but missed. The crew were then seen to abandon ship so when she was stopped, at 1534 hours, another torpedo was fired from 1000 yards which hit. She was seen to sink soon after.

According to Italian sources four men were killed and four were wounded.

13 Mar 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 12th war patrol at Alexandria.

18 Mar 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) is docked at Alexandria.

21 Mar 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) left dock.

24 Mar 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 13th war patrol.

The object of this patrol was the reconnaissance of certain beaches in the Dodecanese. This was to be achieved by Triumph approaching the selected landing places in the dark and landing a party by Folbot canoe after the landing placed had been examined by periscope observation during the day.

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


View HMS Triumph 13th war patrol in a larger map

26 Mar 1941
In the early morning hours HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived off Rhodos. During the forenoon periscope reconnaissance was made.

After dark Triumph returned to the area to make a landing by Folbot canoe. Shortly before midnight, when about to launch the Folbot, a signal was received to abandon the operation and to proceed towards the area South of Anti-Milo with despatch as the Italian battle fleet was reported to be at sea and was to enter the Aegean sea to intercept British convoys between Alexandria and Piraeus.

28 Mar 1941
Around 0300 hours HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived in her ordered patrol area south of Anti-Milos.

Shortly before midnight Triumph was ordered to resume her previous operations as the Italian battle fleet was now in retreat following the Battle of Cape Matapan.

30 Mar 1941
In the early morning hours HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) is back off Rhodos. Once again in the forenoon periscope reconnaissance was made.

After noon Triumph retired to seaward to charge.

After dark Triumph returned to the landing area.

31 Mar 1941
Shortly after midnight HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) launched a Folbot, manned by Commander Willmott, RN and Lt. Courtney, K.R.R.C. (King's Royal Rifle Corps), for a reconnaissance. After four hours the canoe was picked up and Triumph proceeded seaward.

During the afternoon periscope reconnaissance of another landing beach is carried out. Triumph withdrew to seaward again upon completion of this.

After dark Triumph returned to this new landing beach to launch a Folbot [Part of Operation 'Cordite'].

1 Apr 1941
Shortly after midnight HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) launched a Folbot, manned by Commander Willmott, RN and Lt. Courtney, K.R.R.C. (King's Royal Rifle Corps), for a reconnaissance of the second landing beach. After 3 hours and 45 minutes the canoe was picked up and Triumph proceeded seaward.

2 Apr 1941
During the forenoon HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) periscope reconnaissance was made of three other landing beaches. After completing this Triumph retired to seaward.

Half an hour before midnight a Folbot was launched to reconnoitre one of the landing beaches [Part of Operation 'Cordite'].

3 Apr 1941
At 0330 hours HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) picked up the canoe again. Triumph now set course to make a periscope reconnaissance of yet another landing beach.

At 0846 hours Triumph grounded at 34 feet. While trying to get off the rocks Triumph broke surface. She quickly retired from the area and dived again shortly afterwards.

As it seemed likely Triumph was detected it was decided to abandon any further landings and to return to Alexandria.

5 Apr 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 13th war patrol at Alexandria.

15 Apr 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Alexandria to participate in a raid on Bardia. The raiding force includes the antiaircraft cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the Australian destroyers HMS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN), HMS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN) bringing elements of Layforce (offsite link). The submarine carries an SBS section led by Captain Roger Courtney and to act as a beacon in position 013° - Bardia – 2.5 miles.

For the daily positions of HMS Triumph during these operations see the map below.


View HMS Triumph Bardia Operations in a larger map

18 Apr 1941
During the afternoon HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) briefly returns to Alexandria. She departed again for the Bardia area after a few hours.

21 Apr 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) returns to Alexandria.

24 Apr 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 14th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Sirte.

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


View HMS Triumph 14th war patrol in a larger map

1 May 1941
A 2500 ton merchant ship was seen entering Benghazi and it was intended to launch the folbot with Lt. Wilson the same evening but large fires illuminated the scene and the operation was again cancelled.

3 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary patrol vessel V 136 / Tugnin F. (425 GRT, built 1919) with gunfire off Marsa el Brega, Libya in position in position 30°27'N, 19°32'E.

(All times are zone -3)
1128 hours - Surfaced to close two schooners sighted before. One of them was now seen to be a wreck so it was decided to attack the other one with gunfire.

1202 hours - Opened fire from 2500 yards. After firing 5 rounds it was seen that this schooner was also a wreck so fire was ceased at 1205 hours.

1225 hours - Sighted masts of a small coaster ahead. Closed to attack.

1248 hours - Opened fire but ceased fire two minutes later as the crew of the vessel had meanwhile was abandoning ship. Closed the boats and two of the crew were taken prisoner. Now closed and boarded the coaster and took some charts and papers.

Returned the two crew to their boats and opened fire on the coaster at 1357 hours. The coaster was seen to be hit but did not sink before Triumph was forced to dive for an approaching aircraft.

1426 hours - Surfaced to finish off the damaged coaster.

1428 hours - Dived for an approaching aircraft. Did not surface again as at 1435 hours the coaster was seen to sink.

6 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) makes a torpedo attack on an enemy convoy in the Gulf of Sirte near position 31°30'N, 15°54'E. Four torpedoes were fired by no hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -3)
1420 hours - Sighted a 500 tons motor coaster and two merchant vessels of 3000 tons leaving Burat. They were escorted by a Spica-class destroyer. Started attack.

1449 hours - Though not in a very good position for attack fired four torpedoes as it was considered most important to disrupt this coastal traffic. Range was 3600 yards. No hits were obtained. Two torpedo explosions were heard, most likely they were exploding on the beach. The escort began searching near the firing position and dropped two depth charges but by that time Triumph was about 2500 yards from that position.

According to Italian sources this convoy was made up of the Germans merchant Tilly M. Russ (1600 GRT, built 1926) and Brook (1225 GRT, built 1927) escorted by the Italian torpedo boat Climene. Climene counter attacks and drops several depth charges but many fail to explode due to the shallow waters (30-35 meters).

7 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) fired three torpedoes against an enemy merchant vessel in the Gulf of Sirte near position 31°00'N, 17°59'E. This may have been the Italian merchant Silvio Scaroni (1394 GRT, built 1920) carrying stores from Benghazi to Tripoli.

(All times are zone -3)
1745 hours - Sighted an empty 4000 tons merchant vessel approaching from the East. Started attack.

1814 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1000 yards. When the periscope was raised again when the second torpedo fired should have hit it was seen that the target was squarely across the torpedo tracks. The wake of the third torpedo was seen approaching the stern of the ship. It soon appeared to graze the rudder but no explosion followed. Triumph turned to bring some more torpedo tubes to bear but the target altered course and began firing her gun. Lt.Cdr. Woods did not surface to engage her with the gun as there was quite a swell and the gun of the enemy was already manned and firing.

10 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) bombards an enemy airport near Apollonia, Libya (near Susa). 48 Rounds were fired but the results could not be observed.

(All times are zone -3)
2045 hours - Surfaced and bombard aircraft hangars at the western end of the town. Fired 48 rounds from 2500 yards but the results could not be observed although several explosions were seen.

12 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 14th war patrol at Alexandria.

17 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) is docked at Alexandria.

20 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) left dock.

25 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 15th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Sirte.

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


View HMS Triumph 15th war patrol in a larger map

30 May 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian armed merchant cruiser Ramb III (3667 GRT, built 1938) at Bengasi, Libya. She sank in shallow water and was later salvaged.

(All times are zone -3)
1818 hours - Triumph was now about 2 nautical miles west of the harbour entrance. By now four merchant ships and a lot of smaller craft were identified in the harbour. The two largest merchant vessels, a 5000 tons ship and a RAMB-class motor ship were moored in the outer harbour with their sterns to the southern mole. They were unloading their cargo into lighters. Both were perfect Folbot targets.

1820 hours - Went deeper to evade a patrolling aircraft.

1845 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Turned and closed the searched channel. While doing so it was noticed that both ships presented a clear target through the harbour entrance but that the 5000 tons ship was very high in the water and must have been (nearly) empty. It was decided to attack the RAMB-class vessel with a torpedo.

2022 hours - Fired two torpedoes (one was intended) and obtained one hit from a range of 3700 yards. The RAMB-class ship was shortly afterwards to settle by the bow and after a few minutes her forecastle was awash. Triumph withdrew to the Northward.

5 Jun 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary patrol vessels Valoroso (340 GRT), V 190 / Frieda (246 GRT) and V 137 / Trio Frassinetti (244 GRT) with gunfire in the Gulf of Sirte off Beurat, Libya in position 31°39'N, 15°39'E.

(All times are zone -3)
1313 hours - Spotted three schooners (estimated at 300 tons each) escorted by an A/S trawler coming up astern.

1440 hours - Surfaced and engaged the A/S trawler with gunfire from 600 yards. The trawler was on fire after 24 rounds. Two of the schooners were sunk with 9 and 7 rounds respectively.

The third schooner, which was about a mile astern of the other two managed to escape to shallow water.

Lt.Cdr. Woods then returned to the trawler that was showing no signs of sinking, therefore another round was fired that holed the ship on the waterline. Triumph now retreated seawards. The trawler was seen to sink an hour later.

According to Italian sources Valoroso (two killed, thirty-four survivors including five wounded), Frieda / V.190 (one killed, seven survivors) and Trio Frassinetti / V.137 (no casualties, eight survivors) were sunk. The survivors were picked up by the gunboat Scilla and a seaplane or reached the coast in their lifeboats. A third schooner Unione / V.112 escaped to Buerat.

7 Jun 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) was ordered to proceed to Gavdos Island to the South of Crete to evacuate British soldiers stranded on that island. Lt.Cdr. Woods decided to make the passage there on the surface to be there as fast as possible.

8 Jun 1941
Around 1900 hours (zone -3) HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived off Gavdos Island. A suitable place to land a Folbot party was now sought.

2240 hours - Started to close the land.

2330 hours - Launched the Folbot Folbot manned by S.Lt. Don (from HMS Triumph) and Corporal Bremner (see 9 June for the continuation of the events).

9 Jun 1941
(continuation of the evens of 8 June 1941)
0230 hours - The Folbot returned to HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN). They had not seen any British soldiers.

0700 hours - Closed the land with a large British flag flying from the periscope. A few people appeared on the beach including what looked like four unarmed Greek soldiers.

0730 hours - Launched the Folbot to bring back one of the Greeks. A civilian was brought back who said in French that there were no British soldiers left on the island and that there were a few German soldiers at the Southern end. He urged us to clear the area before German aircraft might arrive. They also said that about 18 captured British soldiers were evacuated to Athens by German aircraft. Triumph now left the area and set course towards Alexandria.

12 Jun 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 15th war patrol at Alexandria.

26 Jun 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 16th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Sirte.

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


View HMS Triumph 16th war patrol in a larger map

27 Jun 1941
The Italian submarine Salpa (611 tons, built 1932) was torpedoed and sunk near Mersa Matruh, Egypt in position 32°05'N, 28°47'E by the British submarine HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN). There were no survivors, her commanding officer T.V. (Lt.) Renato Guagni, 4 officers and 44 ratings were lost.

(All times are zone -3)
0800 hours - A surfaced submarine was sighted about 2000 yards away. As the enemy manoeuvring made it impossible to make a submerged torpedo attack Triumph surfaced at 0811 hours and opened fire with the deck and Lewis guns from 1500 yards.

The enemy also manned his deck gun. After firing 33 rounds (with 5 hits) the enemy was almost stopped and appeared to be sinking by the stern. The enemy's gun crew, after firing five rounds that all went over, abandoned their gun and went below.

0818 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 600 yards. The second torpedo hit the enemy submarine. An enormous column of smoke and water shot into the air and debris showered all round. A large pool of oil appeared but no survivors were seen in the water.

28 Jun 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) was ordered to proceed towards Cape Matapan to be in a position to intercept an expected Vichy-French convoy with reinforcements for Syria.

2 Jul 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) was ordered to proceed to her originally intended patrol area, the Gulf of Sirte.

5 Jul 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) sinks, during a gun battle, the Italian merchant Ninfea (607 GRT, built 1917) and the Italian tug Dante de Lutti (266 GRT) off Ras Tajunes, Libya.

During this battle Triumph is also damaged.

(All times are zone -3)
2222 hours - A 1500 tons merchant ship and a A/S trawler that were at anchor were sighted. At 2244 hours Triumph was only 100 yards from the trawler when fire was opened with the deck gun and a Lewis gun. After 6 rounds of flash less 4", all of which hit, the trawler was on fire, steam was escaping from the boiler and the ready use ammunition for it's gun had exploded. A round was fired into the trawlers waterline. Fire was now shifted to the merchant.

Fire on the merchant was opened at 800 yards. After 15 rounds, with several hits, the stock of flash less ammunition was gone and regular shells had to be used. After the first one was fired Triumph was fired upon by a shore battery. A round from the shore battery fell close enough to wet the bridge and gun crew. Actually it was a hit forward but this was not realised at that time. Triumph withdrew from the scene. Later it was found out that no.1 ballast tank had been holed on the waterline.

According to Italian sources Dante de Lutti is sunk and Ninfea partially sunk. One officer was killed and four ratings were wounded.

12 Jul 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 16th war patrol at Malta.

19 Jul 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) was docked at Malta for a short refit. (As there is no log available for August 1941 it is not known to us when she was undocked).

19 Aug 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Malta for her 17th war patrol. She was ordered to carry out a special operation which has the object of destroying a railway bridge on the North coast of Sicily near Torrente Furiano about 55 miles East of Palermo.

No Log is available for August 1941 so map can be displayed.

22 Aug 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived off Torrente Furiano and carried out periscope reconnaissance during the forenoon and shortly before sunset.

23 Aug 1941
Shortly after midnight HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) closed the coast to land a reconnaissance party but did not do so due to considerable groundswell and surf. Withdrew to the seaward.

0530 hours (zone -2) - Dived and closed the beach to check position and set.

1745 hours - Retired to seaward. During the day the swell had died down and conditions now seemed favourable to go ahead with the operation.

During the evening Triumph received a signal that the enemy battle fleet was at sea and that she was to proceed to a position to cover the North approaches to Messina upon completion of her special operation tonight.

Cdr. Woods decided to go ahead with the reconnaissance this night and postpone the actual operation until the return journey.

24 Aug 1941
At 0130 hours HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) landed her reconnaissance party (Lt. Schofield, two Sergeants and a Petty Officer) in two folbots. They returned one hour later. No opposition was encountered. Triumph now set course for her ordered patrol position.

26 Aug 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian heavy cruiser Bolzano north of Messina, Sicily, Italy.

(All times are zone -2)
0554 hours - Heard fairly loud depth charging getting nearer.

0600 hours - In position 38°22'N, 15°38'E sighted a number of ships to the North-Westward. The light was still very poor, and as the high power periscope was out of action it was some minutes before these were seen to be three battleships or cruisers escorted by about ten destroyers.

0611 hours - Started attack.

0638 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 5300 yards at the rear cruiser. Immediately upon firing Triumph went to 80 feet and cleared the firing position by setting course to the Northward. One muffled explosion was heard approximately three minutes after firing. A second muffled explosion was heard eleven minutes after firing.

0647 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The visibility in the direction of Messina was still very poor, but as far as could be seen only two large ships were entering the Straits. Some way astern of them hardly visible against the land, was what appeared to be a stationary ship with a column of smoke rising from it. Several minutes later aircraft and destroyers appeared and started dropping depth charges. It seemed very likely that one of the torpedoes did hit the rear cruiser. Due to the very heavy A/S activity Cdr. Woods retired to seaward.

According to Italian sources she was hit astern, lost her screws and rudder but reached Messina. The torpedo boat Giuseppe Missori and the submarine chaser Albatros were sent to hunt the submarine. Missori lost her towing A/S mine and assumed it had caught the submarine, erroneously claiming a sinking but HMS Triumph was far away.

27 Aug 1941
During the day HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived back off Torrente Furiano. Shortly before dusk periscope reconnaissance was carried out.

Shortly before midnight all canoes, gear and personnel were on the upper casing when a boat was sighted that was thought to be a patrol vessel [according to Italian sources this was the small fishing vessel No.231/2]. It was tried to ram the vessel but it was missed by inches. It was now fired upon with the Lewis guns. It was however soon seen that the boat was a fishing vessel. To avoid further compromise the fisherman were captured (several of them were wounded) and their boat was sunk.

Cdr. Woods decided to postpone the operation for 48 hours and retired from the area.

29 Aug 1941
During the day HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) arrived back off Torrente Furiano. Shortly before dusk periscope reconnaissance was carried out. She withdrew to seaward upon completion.

30 Aug 1941
Between 0049-0113 hours HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) launched 9 canoes (with 13 saboteurs led by Lt. Schofield) off Torrente Furiano to destroy the railway bridge there. (the was 1 single canoe and 4 towing canoes 4 others with demolitions and stores).

0115 hours - Triumph withdrew slowly to seaward to charge. It was intended to return to within one nautical mile of the beach at 0330 hours.

0320 hours - Saw one explosion from the direction of the bridge.

0340 hours - Stopped one mile of the shore and drifted in with the tide to half a mile. It was not before 0507 hours before one of the canoes and it's tow was identified to the seaward of Triumph. They were quickly picked up. A second canoe and tow was spotted at 0527 hours. No more canoes were sighted after this time. Triumph had to clear the area as it was getting light. The railway bridge was seen to be partially destroyed. The remainder of the raiding party could not be picked up. Eight saboteurs including Lt. Schofield were captured by the Italians.

Triumph returned to the area the next night but no one turned up at the rendez-vous.

2 Sep 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 17th war patrol at Malta.

6 Sep 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) is docked at Malta.

9 Sep 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) left dock.

16 Sep 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Malta for her 18th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Adriatic and to perform a special operation.

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


View HMS Triumph 18th war patrol in a larger map

18 Sep 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian tanker Ardor (8960 GRT, built 1927) off Capo Colonna. The damaged Italian ship was towed to Crotone.

(All times are zone -2)
0813 hours - Sighted the 6000 tons Italian tanker Liri (this was thus incorrect) escorted to seaward by a Spica-class torpedo boat coming up from astern. Started attack from the inshore side.

0843 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 2500 yards. One hit was obtained. Upon firing Triumph cleared the area at high submerged speed.

0848 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The tanker could be seen heading inshore with a heavy list to port and well down by the stern. The torpedo boat was steaming up and down her seaward side, dropping depth charges. The tanker appeared to be heading towards the beach. Cdr. Woods decided to remain to the seaward until the torpedo boat dropped its last depth charge and then try to turn inshore again to finish off the tanker.

0950 hours - After 44 depth charges no more were dropped and the torpedo boat was seen to make off to the North. Meanwhile the tanker could no longer be seen and it was hoped that she had sunk. Unfortunately shortly afterwards she was seen rounding Capo Crotone out of range for another attack.

According to Italian sources the damaged Ardor was towed by the tug Teseo and escorted by the torpedo boat Orione and reached Crotone.

20 Sep 1941
During the evening (after dark) HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) landed a Yugoslav party of five men off Petrovac, Macedonia.

23 Sep 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) torpedoed and sank the German merchant Luvsee (2373 GRT, built 1898) north-east of Sibenek.

(All times are zone -2)
0804 hours - Sighted an unescorted 3500 tons merchant vessel flying the Italian flag approaching from Sibenik. Started attack.

0842 hours - Near position 43°29'N, 15°55'E fired four torpedoes from 3600 yards. One hit under the targets bridge was obtained. The stern of the target was seen to rise high in the air and the ship sank in less than a minute.

According to Italian sources the Luvsee was carrying bauxite. Only 4 of the crew of 20 were rescued by the Italian patrol vessel N. Sauro / B.449. She also picked up 3 bodies (one of these was Captain Albert Schmidt).

24 Sep 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) damaged the Italian water tanker Poseidone (6533 GRT, built 1912).

(All times are zone -2)
1221 hours - Sighted an unescorted tanker 20° on the starboard bow at a range of 9000 yards. Started attack.

1243 hours - Near position 42°24'N, 14°31'E fired four torpedoes from 2500 yards. One torpedo hit just abaft the bridge. The tankers speed was reduced to 3 knots.

1253 hours - Fired one torpedo from 1600 yards to finish her off. It hit abreast the funnel. It caused the target to stop and list heavily to starboard but it did not sink. It was intended to fire another torpedo but Cdr. Woods was unable to do so as the sea was covered in oil and it's time the periscope was raised in the oil covered water the oil would stick to the periscope and he could not see anything.

1336 hours - After increasing the range to get out of the oil fired a torpedo from 3500 yards. It missed.

1344 hours - Fired Triumph's last torpedo from 3000 yards but this one also missed.

1346 hours - Cdr. Woods took Triumph to seaward to deeper water. He was hoping to see the tanker settle in the water but it did not do so. Meanwhile three small craft had appeared on the scene and he feared that it were A/S vessels but they soon turned out to be a tug and two small motor vessels like pilot cutters.

1418 hours - The tug had now taken the tanker in tow so Cdr. Woods decided to engage with gunfire.

1432 hours - Surfaced and opened fire on the tug, which quickly slipped her tow. After 6 rounds fire was shifted to the tanker.

1434 hours - A shore battery opened a slow and inaccurate gunfire. Meanwhile several hits had been obtained on the tanker. One of the pilot cutters also took a hit and was not seen again and was most likely sunk.

1442 hours - The shore battery now began to find the range so the action was broken off and Triumph submerged. As Cdr. Woods closed the conning tower hatch a shell passed close overhead. Course was now set to the seaward to clear the area.

According to Italian sources the Poseidone had two wounded. It was the freighter Sidamo undergoing repairs in Ortona who opened fire on the submarine, forcing her to dive and not shore a battery. The tug that took Poseidone in tow was the Loredan.

3 Oct 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 18th war patrol at Alexandria.

16 Oct 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 19th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean. She is also to perform two special operations.

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


View HMS Triumph 19th war patrol in a larger map

21 Oct 1941
In the early evening HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) performs a special operation off Stavros (Thessaloniki region in Northern Greece). Between 1954-2110 hours the submarine lands two Greek agents.

23 Oct 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) sank the Greek sailing vessels Ioannis / PI.241 and Agia Paraskeva / SYR.457 with gunfire in the Gulf of Petali, Greece.

(All times are zone -2)
0738 hours - Sighted a 50 tons caique to the southwards working along the coast under sail and motor. I had been Cdr. Woods intention not to attack small craft until later in the patrol but as this caique was flying the Nazi flag he reversed his decision.

0815 hours - Surfaced and opened fire with the 4" gun and Lewis gun. After 13 rounds of the 4" gun the caique sank in position 37°53'N, 24°05'E. The crew, Greeks, had meanwhile abandoned ship. Meanwhile a second caique, flying the Greek flag, was seen approaching from the Northward. Triumph closed at full speed on the main engines.

0834 hours - Opened fire until the Greek crew began to abandon ship. Then closed and rammed the caique.

0903 hours - Dived and proceeded Eastwards.

24 Oct 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) fired three torpedoes against the small Spanish merchant Isora (316 GRT, built 1920) in the Gulf of Athens. No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -2)
1122 hours - Sighted a ship between Phleva Island and the mainland. Started attack.

1140 hours - Near position 37°42'N, 23°52'E fired three torpedoes from 700 yards. No hits were obtained and no explosions were heard afterwards (the shore was 7000 yards away). The target was now seen to be the small Spanish merchant Isora (316 GRT, built 1920). Shortly afterwards a patrol vessel appeared and also several aircraft were patrolling overhead so a gun action was out of the question.

25 Oct 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Monrosa (6703 GRT, built 1920) in the Gulf of Athens, about 3 nautical miles north-west of Patroklou island, Greece in position 37°41'N, 23°53'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1245 hours - Sighted a convoy on the Port quarter coming from the direction off Phreva Island. The composition of the convoy was 2 6000 tons merchant ships escorted by one Sauro (or similar)-class destroyed, a Spica-class torpedo boat and one aircraft overhead. Started an attack on the leading ship. At the same time a convoy of 1 4000 tons merchant vessel escorted by a torpedo boat (possibly Monzambano) and one aircraft were seen on the Port bow passing close to Gaidaro Island on an opposite course. All the merchant ships were flying light and thus not heavily laden. Cdr. Woods decided to attack the convoy of 2 ships firing four torpedoes at each of the merchants.

(According to Italian sources there were 148 casualties and 117 survivors. The first two ships were the above mentioned Monrosa and Santagata (4299 GRT, built 1905), escorted by destroyer Quintino Sella and torpedo boat Sirio. They were en route from Pireaus to Candia (Crete).
During the attack the torpedo boat Libra escorting the Fanny Brunner (2464 GRT, built 1925) to the Piraeus was in the vicinity and was temporarily detached to hunt the submarine).

1316 hours - Fired 4 torpedoes at the leading ship from 3500 yards. As Cdr. Woods put the periscope down he saw an aircraft diving straight towards [This was a German bomber escorting the convoy, it dropped three bombs.] He was therefore forced to abandon the attack on the second merchant vessel. Two heavy explosions occurred shortly afterwards, this caused to torpedo fire indicator light of torpedo tube nr.5 to burn, so this tube was fired (in error).

1319 hours - While Triumph was going deep and taking evasive action three torpedo explosions were heard thought to be hits.

1320 hours - Heavily depth charging started that shook the submarine violently. Triumph retired Westwards at slow speed.

1436 hours - Depth charging ceased, between 60 and 70 had been dropped. The area was patrolled during the whole afternoon by smaller A/S vessels and aircraft.

According to Italian sources there were 148 casualties and 117 survivors.

28 Oct 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) was depth charged by the Italian torpedo boat Sirio. No damage is caused.

(All times are zone -2)
0010 hours - In position 37°07'N, 24°49'E sighted what was thought to be two large caiques under sail, three nautical miles on the Port beam. Altered course towards and brought up the gun crews.

0020 hours - When the range had decreased to 1500 yards it was seen that the targets were two merchant ships on an opposite course. All torpedo tubes were now brought to the ready, the gun crews were sent below and Triumph altered course to open up the range for a torpedo attack.

0023 hours - Sighted a Spica-class torpedo boat 1500 yards on the Port bow. Dived to 80 feet but continued to turn to get on a firing course but HE of the merchant ships was soon lost due to the strong HE of the torpedo boat. An attack was therefore no longer possible. Triumph retired to the Westward at slow speed. Shortly afterwards the torpedo boat started dropping depth charges, it therefore seemed likely that Triumph had been spotted while still on the surface. In all 9 depth charges were dropped but none were close

4 Nov 1941
HMS Triumph (Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) ended her 19th war patrol at Alexandria.

20 Nov 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 20th war patrol. She is to patrol in the Aegean and to perform a special operation. Later she was ordered to shift patrol to the West coast of Greece.

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


View HMS Triumph 20th war patrol in a larger map

23 Nov 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) landed agents (including Chris M. Woodhouse) at Caruba Bay (west of Candia).

24 Nov 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian tug/salvage vessel Hercules (632 GRT, built 1910) and the tug Irini Vernikos inside Candia (Iraklion) harbour, Crete. The explosion of the torpedo caused also some damage to the German merchant Norburg (2392 GRT, built 1922), that was being salvaged at the time, and to the Arkadia (1756 GRT, built 1927) behind her.

Triumph also bombards the airport at Heraklion.

(All times are zone -2)
1141 hours - Closed Candia harbour to 3500 yards from the breakwater. In the harbour were 2 merchant ships of 3000 and 1500 tons secured to the mole.

1144 hours - Fired one torpedo against the 3000 tons merchant vessel But the torpedo was observed to hit a small vessel, thought to be an armed trawler, that was alongside the 1500 tons merchant vessel that was moored just astern of the 3000 tons vessel. The 'trawler' was seen to settle by the stern immediately.

A second torpedo was now fired against the 3000 tons merchant ship but it ran to the left and exploded at the far end of the harbour.

Triumph now left the area as air patrol were expected to arrive soon now.

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

1803 hours - Surfaced and set course towards the airport.

1822 hours - Opened fire with the 4" gun from 3500 yards. Shells were seen to explode along the line of the aerodrome and the gun emplacements. It was not possible to note if any damage was caused.

1825 hours - Ceased fire after 14 rounds. Cleared the area at high speed on the surface to the North-East.

27 Nov 1941
Late in the evening HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) was ordered (by signal) to patrol in the South-West Aegean. Shortly afterwards this is changed to the Ionian Sea off Navarinon on the West coast of Greece as the Italian battle fleet was at sea. For the next few days Triumph was ordered to several patrol positions in the Ionian Sea to intercept the Italian battle fleet.

1 Dec 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) was ordered to patrol off Navarinon.

11 Dec 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) ended her 20th war patrol at Alexandria.

18 Dec 1941
At Alexandria HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) and HMS Trusty (Lt.Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) were brought alongside either side of the damaged battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN) to provide electricity for the salvage operations. Trusty leaves after a few hours but Triumph remains alongside until 22 December.

26 Dec 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) departed Alexandria for her 21th war patrol. She is to patrol in the Aegean and to perform special operation ISINGLASS.

30 Dec 1941
HMS Triumph (Lt. J.S. Huddart, RN) reported by signal a successful first part of the special operation. Captain G. Atkinson, Lt. J.W.C. Craig (both from MI9) and ISLD wireless operator Diamantís Arvanitopoulos (code name DIAMOND) are landed at Antiparos. Triumph was supposed to pick them up with a party of stragglers who are being rounded up again on 9 January 1942 but she failed to show up at the rendezvous. The special operation will turn sour when the whole party will be captured by the Italians. Atkinson who has also offered his services to SOE (without disclosing it to MI9) will be found with a list of the principal personalities of the Greek Resistance on him. A list he should have memorized and destroyed. This will enable the Italian police to arrest several of them. In 1943, Atkinson, who has murdered an Italian officer, will be executed with Arvanitopoulos and Greeks who have sheltered them.

4 Jan 1942
The mystery of the disappearance of HMS Triumph has never been solved. At 1450 hours on 4 January 1942, in position 36°07'N, 24°14'E, the motor cutter Sofia of Panigaglia Netzsperrverband reports missed by a torpedo wake. This could have been HMS Triumph but the attack is possibly bogus.

Two days later, a submarine was sighted South-East of Milos and at 1145 hours on 9 January, the tug Taxiarchis towing the large lighter Rhea reports being missed by a torpedo near Cape Sunion. Again this could be HMS Triumph but the attack could also be bogus.

It is however surprising that Axis convoys in these waters do not report any attack; neither the German submarine U-97 who rounded Cape Sunion on the surface a few hours after Taxiarchis and Rhea.

We cannot discount the possibility of an accidental loss (the weather was very rough during this period) or the possibility that the submarine was lost on one of the four minefields laid a few weeks earlier by the Italian auxiliary minelayer Barletta in the approaches to Piraeus. Lt. J.S. Huddart and his crew of 6 officers and 55 ratings were lost with HMS Triumph.

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