Allied Warships

HMS Unique (N 95)

Submarine of the U class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassU 
PennantN 95 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered4 Sep 1939 
Laid down30 Oct 1939 
Launched6 Jun 1940 
Commissioned27 Sep 1940 
Lost24 Oct 1942 
History

After a refit in the UK HMS Unique (Lt. Robert Evelyn Boddington, RN) left Holy loch on 7 October 1942. She was ordered to patrol in the Bay of Biscay while on passage from Britain to Gibraltar. She left her escorts off Lands End on the 9th and was not heard from again. The cause of her loss is unknown. She was reported overdue on 24 October 1942 when she failed to arrive at Gibraltar.

Possibly lost on 13 October 1942 during a failed attack on the German tanker Spichern in the Bay of Biscay in position 46°54'N, 06°03'W after being damaged by a premature explosion of one of her own torpedoes (see events below for more details).

 

Commands listed for HMS Unique (N 95)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Anthony Foster Collett, RN19 Sep 194016 Aug 1941
2Lt. Arthur Richard Hezlet, RN16 Aug 194124 Aug 1941
3Lt. Anthony Foster Collett, RN24 Aug 194118 Jun 1942
4Lt. Robert Evelyn Boddington, RN18 Jun 194224 Oct 1942

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Notable events involving Unique include:


The history of HMS Unique 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) is kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

This page was last updated in July 2016.

27 Sep 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed her builders yard for Holy Loch. (1)

28 Sep 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for a period of trials and training. (1)

12 Oct 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was docked at Govan. (2)

14 Oct 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. (2)

24 Oct 1940
With her trials and training completed HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Campbeltown for Portsmouth. She was escorted by HMS Haarlem (T/Lt. L.B. Merrick, RNR). (2)

27 Oct 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (2)

28 Oct 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was docked at Portsmouth. (2)

30 Oct 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. (2)

31 Oct 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was docked at Portsmouth. She was undocked after a few hours for trails. Upon completion of these trials she was docked again. (2)

2 Nov 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. After trials she was docked yet again. (3)

5 Nov 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. (3)

6 Nov 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Portsmouth for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the English Channel.

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


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

15 Nov 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Portsmouth. (4)

26 Nov 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Portsmouth for Dartmouth. She was escorted by HMS Kingston Ceylonite (Ch.Skr. J.S. Garnham, RNR). (3)

27 Nov 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) arrived at Dartmouth to participate in A/S exercises. (3)

29 Nov 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Dartmouth for Portsmouth. (3)

30 Nov 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (3)

11 Dec 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Portsmouth for Gibraltar. She was to proceed towards Malta to join the Mediterranean Fleet.

On her way she was ordered, with HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) and HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. P.R. Ward, RN) and HMS Thunderbolt (Lt. C.B. Crouch, RN), to patrol off the Gironde estuary to intercept U-boats expected there on 14-15 December but nothing was sighted [on 15 December, HMS Thunderbolt sank the Italian Tarantini].

The passage to Gibralter therefore became her 2nd war patrol.

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


HMS Unique 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map (5)

23 Dec 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (5)

28 Dec 1940
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta. Initially she was to cover the passage of the Excess convoy but it occurred after her passage.

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


HMS Unique passage Gibraltar - Malta click here for bigger map (5)

6 Jan 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) arrived at Malta. (6)

8 Jan 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was docked at Malta. (6)

10 Jan 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. (6)

16 Jan 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 3rd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol the approaches to Tripoli, Libya.

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


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

22 Jan 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) attacked a merchant vessel with one torpedo about 10 nautical miles West of Tripoli, Libya. The torpedo missed and the target fled back towards Tripoli.

According to Italian sources this was the Italian merchant Dielpi (1520 GRT, built 1912) who was missed astern but she reported turning back to Tripoli because of the bad weather.

(All times are zone -1)
1300 hours - In position 32°55'N, 13°00'E sighted a large transport bearing 260°. Enemy course was 095° at a speed of 14 knots. Range was 13000 yards. A Cant Z501 flying boat was overhead. Started attack.

1342 hours - The attack had to be broken off, a pity as the target appeared to be 7000 to 10000 tons in size. A second ship was now spotted and the attack was shifted to this vessel which was of about 2000 tons. enemy course was 250° at a speed of 9 knots.

1356 hours - Fired one torpedo from 700 yards aimed just forward of the funnel. Upon firing Unique went to 75 feet. The torpedo was not heard to explode.

1417 hours - Returned to periscope depth and saw the target returning towards Tripoli with signals flying.

(4)

27 Jan 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (4)

7 Feb 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol near the Kerkenah Bank, Tunisia.

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


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

11 Feb 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) attacked a large transport east of Kerkenah (Tunisia). This was the German Arcturus (2576 GRT, built 1937) in company with German Merchants Alicante (2140 GRT, built 1934) and Ankara (4768 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the Italian destroyer Turbine and the Italian torpedo boat Orsa on their way to Tripoli. Arcturus reported three underwater explosions which were probably caused by torpedoes hitting the bottom.

(All times are zone -1)
0110 hours - In position 34°41'N, 11°50'E sighted a large transport and a tanker apparently unescorted, bearing 010°. Enemy course was 160°. Started attack.

0211 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 2500 yards at the transport. No hits were obtained as the speed was most likely higher then was estimated. After 14 minutes three torpedoes were heard exoloding on the bottom at theend of their run. The 4th torpedo had a gyro failure and was heard to pass over the after casing shortly after it was fired.

0330 hours - Surfaced. Nothing in sight. (4)

12 Feb 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) attacked a transport in a convoy east of Kerkenah (Tunisia).

According to Italian sources these were probably the Italian merchants Florida II (3100 GRT, built 1905), Audace (1446 GRT, built 1892) and Pegli (1673 GRT, built 1910) escorted by the Italian torpedo boat Calliope.

(All times are zone -1)
2340 hours (11 Feb 1941) – In position 34°43'N, 11°50'E sighted four vessels bearing 110 degrees in open formation.

2346 hours (11 Feb 1941) - Dived and closed the enemy.

0021 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 3500 yards. No hits were obtained although two hits were claimed.

0105 hours - Surfaced, nothing in sight. (4)

18 Feb 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (4)

27 Feb 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the West of Tripoli, Libya. (4)

7 Mar 1941
A signal was supposed to be sent by Malta recalling HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN). Due to a mistake this signal was not sent and it was feared Unique had been lost when she failed to arrive at Malta. When she sank an Italian ship on the 10th, this ship sent out an SOS and it became clear Unique was not lost but returning to Malta as originally intended. (4)

10 Mar 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian passenger/cargo ship Fenicia (2584 GRT, built 1919) about 95 nautical miles north-west of Tripoli, Libya in position 34°19'N, 12°40'E.

According to Italian sources her escort, the armed merchant cruiser Attilio Deffenu (3510 GRT, built 1929), picked up 14 survivors and four corpses. The destroyer Baleno, escorting a nearby convoy, was detached to hunt the submarine and dropped ten depth charges in the area but without result.

(All times are zone -2)
0645 hours - In position 34°25'N, 12°40'E heard HE bearing 360°. Came to periscope depth and sighted an armed merchant cruiser escorting a laden merchant vessel of about 3500 tons. Started attack.

0659 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the merchant vessel from 2000 yards. 2 Minutes 15 seconds after firing the first torpedo an explosion was heard. HE ceased immediately. Unique meanwhile went to 150 feet. During the next hour 12 depth charges were dropped but these were not close. No more HE was heard after 0815 hours. (4)

11 Mar 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

Unique returned to Malta with a defective Starboard main engine. This could not be repaired at sea and required a period of repairs at Malta. (4)

28 Mar 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in / off the Gulf of Hammamet, Tunisia.

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


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

8 Apr 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. The only targets observed had been inside Tunisian territorial waters. (4)

9 Apr 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Kerkenah, Tunisia.

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


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

11 Apr 1941
At 2110 hours (zone -1), while trying to attack an enemy convoy in position 34°58'N, 11°52'E, Unique was spotted and challenged by one of the escorts. The attack had to be broken off and Unique dived. (4)

15 Apr 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (4)

18 Apr 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was docked at Malta. (7)

21 Apr 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. (7)

2 May 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the East coast of Sicily.

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


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

6 May 1941
While on patrol to the East of Sicily guarding the Southern approach to the Strait of Messina, HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was unable to attack an Italian cruiser force and / or a convoy due to the fact she was out of position due to a navigational error.

(All times are zone -1)
0900 hours - Land fixes were taken and it became evident that Unique was more than 25 nautical miles out of position to the South-East. Set course to return to the intended patrol position.

1226 hours - In position 37°34'N, 15°27'E sighted a party of warships bearing 080°. (These were the Italian light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia, Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta , Muzio Attendolo. These were escorted by the Italian destroyers Antonio Pigafetta, Nicolo Zeno, Nicoloso da Recco, Alvise da Mosto and Giovanni da Verazzano ). They were proceeding at a speed of 18 knots. Distance was about 9 nautical miles so an attack was out of the question.

1325 hours - In position 37°36'N, 15°28'E sighted 5 large merchant vessels bearing 070°. Distance was about 10 nautical miles. If Unique had been in her intended position shw could have attacked these two enemy forces. (This convoy was made up of the German merchants Marburg (7564 GRT, built 1928), Kybfels (7764 GRT, built 1937), Reichenfels (7744 GRT, built 1936) and the Italian merchants Marco Polo (12567 GRT, built 1912), Rialto (6099 GRT, built 1927). They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Fulmine, Euro and the Italian torpedo boats Procione, Orsa, Centauro, Cigno and Perseo. (4)

14 May 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (4)

25 May 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol between the Kerkenah Bank and Lampedusa Island.

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


HMS Unique 9th war patrol click here for bigger map (8)

3 Jun 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) torpedoed and damaged (total loss) the Italian cargo ship Arsia (736 GRT, built 1900) inside Lampedusa harbour.

According to Italian sources Arsia was hit astern and cut in two with only the bow part protruding. The crew of 11 suffered no casualties but the nearby Egusa (275 GRT, built 1913) was damaged by the explosion and the motor fishing vessel Giuseppe Padre had two wounded from splinters.

(All times are zone -2)
2 June 1941
1825 hours - Spotted a small Italian convoy. The convoy entered Lampedusa harbour nearly an hour later.

3 June 1941
Unique closed the harbour submerged to investigate and found one of the ships in an exposed position, provided that the boom defences were not effective against torpedoes.

0753 hours - A torpedo was fired that struck the shore just astern of the ship. Indeed the boom defences were not torpedo proof, so another torpedo was fired at 0822 hours. This was a hit amidships. A big column of water and debris was thrown in the air followed by white smoke.

1650 hours - In 35°16.5'N, 12°38'E, Unique sighted a cruiser squadron (probably Duca Degli Abruzzi and Garibaldi escorted by four destroyers) but they were too far to intercept. (8)

5 Jun 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

15 Jun 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol between the Kerkenah Bank and Lampedusa Island.

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


HMS Unique 10th war patrol click here for bigger map (9)

20 Jun 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) tries to attack an enemy convoy East of Lampion Island. She is detected by the escort and depth charged so the attack had to be broken off.

This was probably the Caffaro convoy on passage from Tripoli to Naples.

(All times are zone -2)
1230 hours - In position 35°33'N, 12°21'E sighted a Northbound convoy of three merchant vessels in ballast. The convoy was escorted by three destroyers and three aircraft. The convoy was sighted bearing 125°, range 11000 yards, enemy course was 040°. The convoy soon altered oourse to 010°. The speed of the convoy was estimated at 6 to 7 knots. Closed at speed to attack.

1303 hours - The convoy altered course to 055°. Two of the escorting destroyers came towards Unique. As the sea was flat calm it is thought that aircraft had spotted Unique while submerged at periscope depth. Between looks Unique went to 50 feet to speed up but non the less it appeared she was detected.

1317 hours - The attack was broken off and Unique went deep. the convoy meanwhile had altered course to 340°.

1330 hours - The first depth charge was dropped. 12 Were dropped during the next 20 minutes. One pattern of five was fairly close.

1400 hours - HE faded out on bearing 320°. Unique meanwhile retired to the North-East at 90 feet. (9)

22 Jun 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) again tries to attack an enemy convoy East of Lampion Island. Yet again she is detected by the escort and depth charged so the attack had to be broken off.

(All times are zone -2)
1055 hours - While in position 35°41'N, 12°15'E heard distant depth charges being dropped to the Southward. Looks like the reported convoy was approaching.

1120 hours - Sighted smoke and one aircraft bearing 140°.

1125 hours - Sighted one merchant vessel of 6000 tons followed by others that could not yet be identified. Range was about 14000 yards. Three destroyers were seen to be escorting as well as two aircraft.

1203 hours - The convoy was seen to alter course from 320° to 265°. Destroyers were seen to be closing Unique.

1207 hours - An aircraft was seen at 1000 feet 3000 yards away. The attack was broken off and Unique went deep.

1210 hours - Five explosions were heard, most likely the aircraft had dropped bombs or depth charges.

1237 hours - The first of a group of single depth charges was dropped fairly close. The attack was intensified at 1250, 1255 and 1314 hours when up to 17 depth charges were dropped at a time.

1335 hours - The 52th depth charge was dropped, this was the last one that was fairly close.

1351 hours - The last depth charges were dropped. A total of about 80 had been dropped. (9)

28 Jun 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

As Unique had still all her torpedoes on board she was sent out again to intercept vichy-French re-inforcements proceeding towards Syria. This was her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol near position 37°50'N, 16°02'E but no target came within range.

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


HMS Unique 11th war patrol click here for bigger map (8)

3 Jul 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (9)

19 Jul 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Malta with HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) and and HMS Beryl (Mid. H.W. du Boisson, RNR) (10)

20 Jul 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of the Strait of Messina.

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


HMS Unique 12th war patrol click here for bigger map (8)

29 Jul 1941
At 0100 hours HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) landed a Folbot-party near position 38°01'N, 15°27'E with the objective to place explosive charges on the train tracks. At 0138 hours the Folbot-party (Corporal R.H. Brown and Lance Corporal J.R.A. Ferguson) returned and Unique retired to seaward. At 0325 hours an explosion was seen on the land as a train must have hit the charges.

According to Italian sources the locomotive and 13 wagons were derailed (some of them carrying German stores) and the engineer was wounded but the line was re-established at noon. (8)

30 Jul 1941
At 0003 hours (zone -2) HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) landed a Folbot-party near position 37°55'N, 15°54'E with the objective to place explosive charges on the train tracks. At 0123 hours the Folbot-party returned and Unique retired to seaward. No explosions were seen however before Unique cleared the area.

Italian sources have not reported any incident in this area.

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

Later the same day Unique attacked an Italian auxiliary patrol vessel (schooner) with one torpedo in position 37°30'N, 15°35'E. The torpedo most likely ran under. With the surprise now gone it was decided not to attack with the gun.

(All times are zone -2)
1801 hours - Fired one torpedo (Mark II) at an armed 4-masted auxiliary patrol schooner in position 37°30'N, 15°35'E from 700 yards. The torpedo ran under. The target hoisted two flags, made a circle and then close Unique's firing position. Another schooner (2-masted) joined her and they appeared to be listening. Both departed the area to the South-West at 1850 hours.
(8)

4 Aug 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

8 Aug 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was docked at Malta. (11)

13 Aug 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. (11)

16 Aug 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) departed Malta for her 13th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Tripoli, Libya. Lt. Hezlet had taken over from Lt. Collett for this patrol in order to give Lt. Collett a rest.

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


HMS Unique 13th war patrol click here for bigger map (8)

20 Aug 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian troop transport Esperia (11398 GRT, built 1920) 11 nautical miles bearing 318° of the Tripoli lighthouse, Libya in position 33°03'N, 13°03'E.

According to Italian sources four were killed and twelve were missing, 1139 survivors (including 53 wounded) were picked up. She had been in convoy with Oceania, Neptunia and Marco Polo escorted by the destroyers Ugolino Vivaldi, Nicoloso da Recco, Vincenzo Gioberti, Alfredo Oriani, Scirocco and the torpedo boats Giuseppe Dezza and Partenope.

(All times are zone -2)
0636 to 0725 hours - Sighted the torpedo boat Partenope, 2 MAS boats and 3 minesweepers. They were passing about a mile inshore of Unique. From their movements the position of the swept channel was fixed and Unique was placed near the entrance to await the convoy of troopships that was reported.

0956 hours - In position 33°03'N, 13°03'E sighted four liners bearing 305°, range about 8 nautical miles. Enemy course was 155°. Started attack.

1010 hours - Range was now 6500 yards. Of the escort a Partenope-class torpedo boat was sighted an also a Navigatori-class destroyer but most likely there were many others.

1019 hours - After getting inside the escort screen fired a salvo of four torpedoes from 650 yards against one of the liners. Upon firing Unique cleared the torpedo tracks and set course to the North at 90 feet. Shortly afterwards three torpedoes were heard to hit the target.

1037 to 1137 hours - 15 Depth charges were dropped but none were close.

1230 hours - Came to periscope depth, only a fling boat and a schooner were seen. Went deep again and reloaded the torpedo tubes.

1815 hours - While at periscope depth in position 33°13'N, 12°56'E sighted a CANT Z-501 flying boat alter towards. Went deep and altered course.

1816 hours - A depth charge exploded on the Port quarter.

1818 hours - Another depth charge exploded very close on the Port beam. Some minor damage was caused. Went to 150 feet.

According to Italian sources the aircraft was a CANT Z.501 of 145^ Squadriglia piloted by Midshipman De Solem who dropped two bombs and claimed to have hit the submarine. (8)

21 Aug 1941
At 1510 hours (zone -2) HMS Unique (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) was running on the surface to reach a new patrol position when it was noticed that the submarine was leaving an oil slick. At 1600 hours Unique dived and proceeded further to the North-East while submerged.

2015 hours - Unique was at periscope depth when an explosion was heard. A thin column of water was sighted about one mile away through the periscope. This was repeated four times. It appeared that Unique was bombed from the air although no aircraft were sighted. Two minutes later, HE was heard and fire was opened on the periscope with a gun. Unique was taken to 90 feet and course was altered. For the next 45 minutes Unique was hunted but no depth charges were dropped. (8)

23 Aug 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) ended her 13th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

25 Aug 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was docked at Malta. (11)

1 Sep 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. (12)

5 Sep 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 14th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

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


HMS Unique 14th war patrol click here for bigger map (8)

19 Sep 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. It had been a most frustrating patrol with several sightings but no opportunities for attack. (8)

5 Oct 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was docked at Malta. (13)

7 Oct 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was undocked. (13)

9 Oct 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 15th war patrol (13th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to a position South-East of Cape Bon, Tunisia to intercept a Southbound convoy. As the convoy passed well to the East Unique was ordered to her patrol area in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

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


HMS Unique 15th war patrol click here for bigger map (8)

14 Oct 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) made a torpedo attack on an Italian armed merchant cruiser South of Naples Bay. A torpedo hit is claimed as the ship appeared to be damaged.

According to Italian sources this was the armed merchant cruiser Adriatico escorting the water tanker Cassala (1771 GRT, built 1902) from Naples to Messina. All four torpedoes missed. One was avoided by Adriatico and two by Cassala. The torpedo boat Giuseppe Missori and the 3rd A/S Group were ordered to hunt the submarine but found nothing.

(All times are zone -1)
1210 hours - In position 40°27'N, 14°21'E sighted smoke bearing 350°.

1236 hours - Sighted two merchant vessels bearing 335°. Range was about 8 nautical miles. They were altering course to pass South through Bocca Piccolo. Unique altered course to attack. The leading ship was identified as a Citta di Genova-class or Birmania-class. The ship was painted white and was most likely an Armed Merchant Cruiser. The second ship was a 'funnel-aft' merchant vessel of about 5000 tons in ballast.

1314 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 3500 yards.

1330 hours - Observed the AMC stopped with a black streak down her starboard side. It appears she was hit. The merchant vessel meanwhile had turned round and was making back to Naples. Unique went deep again and retired to the South-East. Lt. Collett was critisized by Capt. S.10 for this action as he should have reloaded one torpedo tube very quickly to finish off the damaged ship. (8)

21 Oct 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 15th war patrol (13th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

1 Nov 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) departed Malta for her 16th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Benghasi, Libya.

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


HMS Unique 16th war patrol click here for bigger map (9)

17 Nov 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) ended her 16th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. During this patrol she suffered from engine defects and again there were several sightings but no attack could develop. (9)

1 Dec 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 17th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the Southward of Messina.

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


HMS Unique 17th war patrol click here for bigger map (9)

14 Dec 1941
At 0921 hours, HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN) was in position 37°45'N, 15°43'E when a battleship with a destroyer were sighted at a range of 7 miles, on course 127° at 19.5 knots. The submarine tried to close submerged at full speed but to no avail. This was the damaged Vittorio Veneto (torpedoed by HMS Urge (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Tomkinson, DSO, RN)). (9)

15 Dec 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) ended her 17th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (9)

21 Dec 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) was docked at Malta. (14)

27 Dec 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) was undocked. (14)

29 Dec 1941
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 18th war patrol (16th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Taranto.

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


HMS Unique 18th war patrol click here for bigger map (9)

5 Jan 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) attacked the Italian battleship Littorio with torpedoes in the Gulf of Taranto in position 40°07'N, 17°07'E. All torpedoes fired missed their target despite the claim for a hit. The Italian battlegroup (including the battleship Giulio Cesare and destroyers Carabiniere, Alpino, Antonio da Noli, Antonio Pigafetta, Ascari and Fuciliere) was returning to Taranto after covering the Monviso convoy.

(All times are zone -1)
1453 hours - Faint HE was heard bearing 140° and 3 minutes later a warships mast was sighted bearing 130°.

1458 hours - In position 40°07'N, 17°'07'E a second look revealed more than one warship.

1500 hours - Unique was now right ahead of what appeared to be a large warship (battleship) escorted by one cruiser and five destroyers. Started attack.

1505 hours - When coming to periscope depth Unique lost trim before a look could be obtained.

1510 hours - HE from an escorting destroyer was heard all round forcing Unique to 50 feet until she had passed.

1524 hours - Returned to periscope depth to find that the battleship had changed course many minutes ago.

1530 hours - Despite not being in a very good attack position now Unique fired four torpedoes.

1540 hours - After approximately 9000 yards of running range a very heavy explosion occured. It was thought that one of the torpedoes had hit the target (but this was not the case). (9)

11 Jan 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) ended her 18th war patrol (16th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (9)

15 Jan 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 19th war patrol (17th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of Messina.

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


HMS Unique 19th war patrol click here for bigger map (15)

21 Jan 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) attacked an Italian submarine with four torpedoes about 25 nautical miles South-East of August, Sicily, Italy in position 36°55'N, 15°38'E. No hits were obtained.

According to Italian sources this was Ciro Menotti (C.C. Ugo Gelli) returning to Augusta from a transport mission to Tripoli but the attack was unobserved.

(All times are zone -1)
0700 hours - While Unique was in position 36°55'N, 15°38'E HE was heard bearing 110° moving left. Unique was at 70 feet and immediately went to periscope depth but nothing could be seen. HE changed bearing rapidly and it was thought that a destroyer or torpedo boat was nearby. The HE faded out after a few minutes. Later it was thought this might have been a submarine.

0716 hours - HE was reported bearing 160° and it was moving slowly to the right.

0720 hours - A small dark object was seen on this bearing and all tubes were brought to the ready.

0724 hours - It was thought the contact was an enemy submarine. Started attack but a good set up could not be immediately obtained.

0730 hours - Now also the high power (attack) periscope malfunctioned. The low power periscope now had to be used.

0737 hours - Four torpedoes were now finally fired. They all missed and the submarine was lost from view at 0748 hours. (15)

22 Jan 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) ended her 19th war patrol (17th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (15)

2 Feb 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 20th war patrol (18th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of Messina.

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


HMS Unique 20th war patrol click here for bigger map (15)

9 Feb 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) is ordered to patrol off the Gulf of Taranto. (15)

13 Feb 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) heard heavy depth charging between 0719 and 0956 hours. This was HMS Tempest (Lt.Cdr. W.A.K.N. Cavaye, RN) that was being hunted by the Italians. (15)

18 Feb 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) ended her 20th war patrol (18th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. This was another frustrating patrol patrol with several sightings but no attack carried out.

While approaching Malta HMS Unique was grounded. She was refloated after a few hour. After entering harbour she was docked for inspection of the damage which was moderate. (15)

27 Feb 1942
A court of inquiry was held at Malta to investigate the grounding of HMS Unique of 18 February.

28 Feb 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) was undocked. (16)

4 Mar 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. Unique was to proceed to the U.K. to refit. On board was an Italian human torpedo that was to be brought to the U.K. for study.

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


HMS Unique passage Malta - Portsmouth click here for bigger map (17)

5 Mar 1942
At 0123 hours, just off Malta, HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) was machine-gunned by a German Junker 88 and forced to dive but she suffered no damage. (17)

14 Mar 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (17)

19 Mar 1942
HMS Unique (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Portsmouth. (17)

29 Mar 1942
HMS Unique (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (17)

31 Mar 1942
HMS Unique (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) departed Portsmouth for Sheerness. (17)

1 Apr 1942
HMS Unique (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) arrived at Sheerness. (18)

2 Apr 1942
HMS Unique (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) shifted from Sheerness to the Chatham Dockyard where she was to refit. (18)

22 Jul 1942
With her refit completed HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) shifted from Chatham to Sheerness. (19)

25 Jul 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) departed Sheerness for Portsmouth with convoy CW.110. (19)

26 Jul 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (19)

30 Jul 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) departed Portsmouth for Plymouth. (19)

31 Jul 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) arrived at Plymouth.

1 Aug 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth with aircraft. (20)

3 Aug 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth.

4 Aug 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) conducted exercises off Plymouth. (20)

7 Aug 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) departed Plymouth for Holy Loch. (20)

9 Aug 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for a period of training. (20)

4 Sep 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) departed Holy Loch with HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN) for Lerwick. They were escorted by HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(retired) R.H. Mack, RN). (21)

6 Sep 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) arrived at Lerwick. (21)

7 Sep 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) departed Lerwick for her 21th war patrol. She was ordered to provide cover for convoy operations to and from Northern Russia.

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


HMS Unique 21th war patrol click here for bigger map (4)

19 Sep 1942
At 1323 hours, HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) was in position 73°02'N, 18°11'E when a U-boat was sighted at a distance of six nautical miles. Both submarines submerged but contact was lost. (4)

24 Sep 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) ended her 21th war patrol at Lerwick. She departed Lerwick for Holy Loch later the same day.

She made the passage to Holy Loch together with HMS P 221 (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSC, RN), HMS HMS P 217 (Lt. E.J.D. Turner, DSC, RN) and HMS P 45 (Lt. H.B. Turner, RN). They were escorted by HMS White Bear (Cdr. (retired) C.C. Flemming, RN). (21)

26 Sep 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (21)

8 Oct 1942
HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) departed Holy Loch for her 22th war patrol.

Passage south through the Irish Sea was made together with HMS Ursula (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSC, RN), HMS Sealion (Lt. D. Lambert, DSC, RN) and HMS Graph (Lt. P.B. Marriot, RN). They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR).

Unique was ordered to patrol off Northern Spain to intercept the German blockade runner Belgrano and to proceed to Gibraltar upon completion of this patrol where she was to join the Mediterranean Fleet. She was expected to arrive at Gibraltar on 23 October and was declared overdue the next day. (21)

13 Oct 1942
At 0845 hours (0945 hours, German time) on this day the German tanker Spichern (9323 GRT, built 1935, code name 'Elm', former Norwegian Krossfonn captured on 26 June 1940 by raider Widder) reported that a loud explosion was heard followed by a large column of water about 2000 meters away to port. From the same direction a torpedo track was seen. The Commanding Officer ordered hard to port and the torpedo was observed to run on a parallel course and miss about 50 metres from the port side. Fire was opened with 10.5 cm and 3.7 cm guns.

At 0855 hours (0955 hours, German time), a loud noise similar to a depth charge was heard and two more torpedo tracks were observed at about 3000 metres astern on the port side. They missed the port side by 70 metres. Position of these attacks as reported by Spichern was 46°54'N, 06°03'W.

Spichern was on her way back to France after she had been damaged by Allied aircraft while attempting to pass the Bay of Biscay for operations in the Atlantic on 12 October 1942. Shortly after these submarines attacks (at 1045 hours), her escort to St. Nazaire, the German minesweepers M 24, M 32 and M 152 joined her. Later (at 2345 hours) Sperrbrecher 175 joined for the last part of the passage into St. Nazaire. Spichern anchored in St. Nazaire at 0031/14.

At 0852 hours and 0854 hours, HMS Ursula (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSC, RN), while in position 46°32'N, 05°55'W, heard two loud explosions. This position was about 23 nautical miles from the position reported by Spichern.

The torpedo attack on Spichern was not reported by any other submarine on patrol at that moment. The attacker must have been HMS Unique. No enemy report was received from Unique. It therefore is possible that HMS Unique was lost during the attack on Spichern. What is reported by Spichern looks like two attacks of two torpedoes. It seems like that during the first attack one of the torpedoes fired prematured possibly damaging Unique. It seems likely Unique was able to fire another two torpedoes against Spichern. Possibly the second explosion heard by Spichern was the demise of HMS Unique (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN). (22)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/2573
  2. ADM 173/16680
  3. ADM 173/16681
  4. ADM 199/1817
  5. ADM 173/16682
  6. ADM 173/17118
  7. ADM 173/17121
  8. ADM 199/1154
  9. ADM 199/1116
  10. ADM 173/17124
  11. ADM 173/17125
  12. ADM 173/17126
  13. ADM 173/17127
  14. ADM 173/17129
  15. ADM 199/1224
  16. ADM 173/17701
  17. ADM 173/17702
  18. ADM 173/17703
  19. ADM 173/17704
  20. ADM 173/17705
  21. ADM 199/424
  22. Forum topic at warsailors.com

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


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