Allied Warships

HMS P 311 (P 311)

Submarine of the T class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassT 
PennantP 311 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered2 Sep 1940 
Laid down25 Apr 1941 
Launched5 Mar 1942 
Commissioned7 Aug 1942 
Lost8 Jan 1943 
History

P 311 was the only unnamed T-class boat, she was due to have been named Tutenkhamen but lost before she could be renamed. She was fitted to carry three Chariot human torpedoes.

HMS P 311 (Cdr. Richard Douglas Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) was lost while engaged in Operation Principle, the Chariot attack on Italian cruisers at La Maddalena. HMS P 311 left Scotland in November 1942 with sister-boats HMS Thunderbold and HMS Trooper after addition of human torpedo deck-mounted watertight containers, direct for Malta. P 311 departed from Malta on 28 December 1942. She sent her last signal on 31 December 1942 from position 38º10'N, 11º30'E. After this signal she was not heard from again and she is presumed sunk by Italian mines in the approaches to Maddalena on or around 2 January 1943. She was reported overdue on 8 January 1943 when she failed to return to base.

The wreck was found off Tavolara Island in 2015 by Italian diver Massimo Bondone. Apparently she fell victim to a minefield laid by the Italian minelayer Durazzo on 27.09.1941. See also this page (offsite link). 

Former nameP 91

Commands listed for HMS P 311 (P 311)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Richard Douglas Cayley, DSO, RN8 Jun 19428 Jan 1943

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Notable events involving P 311 include:


5 Aug 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed her builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (1)

6 Aug 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of trials and training. (1)

13 Sep 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Plymouth. She has to be modified at the Devonport Dockyard to carry the containers that hold the Chariot human torpedoes. During the passage south through the Irish Sea she was escorted by HrMs Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.L.M. van Geen, RNN). (2)

15 Sep 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) arrived at Plymouth. After disembarking ammunition and torpedoes she enters Devonport Dockyard on the 17th. (2)

5 Oct 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) left dock at the Devonport Dockyard. (3)

10 Oct 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) is docked again at the Devonport Dockyard. She left dock the next day. (3)

5 Nov 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed Plymouth for Port HHZ. At that secret base in North-West Scotland she was to take on board Chariot human torpedoes. (4)

8 Nov 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) arrived at Port HHZ (Loch Cairnbawn). (4)

12 Nov 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed from Port HHZ (on the North-West coast of Scotland) bound for Malta. She is not stop at Gibraltar so not to alert the German and Italian spies stationed in 'neutral' Spain on the Chariot containers on her deck.

Passage south through the Irish sea was made together with HMS Trooper (Lt. J.S. Wraith, DSO, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (4)

30 Nov 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) arrived at Malta. (5)

28 Dec 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed from Malta for a Chariot attack on La Maddalena. This was her 1st war patrol. (6)

Media links


The T-class Submarine

Kemp, Paul J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17489
  2. ADM 173/17482
  3. ADM 173/17483
  4. ADM 199/1909
  5. ADM 199/424
  6. ADM 199/1925

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


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