Allied Warships

HMS Upholder (N 99)

Submarine of the U class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassU 
PennantN 99 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered4 Sep 1939 
Laid down30 Oct 1939 
Launched8 Jul 1940 
Commissioned31 Oct 1940 
Lost14 Apr 1942 
History

Under the command of Lt.Cdr. Malcolm David Wanklyn, RN (VC, DSO) HMS Upholder was the most successful of all British submarines. She made 25 war patrols while based with the 10th Submarine Flotilla at Malta. In all HMS Upholder is reported to have sunk 2 destroyers, 3 submarines, 3 transports, 10 supply ships, 2 tankers and 1 trawler, totalling 128353 GRT.

On 12 April 1942 HMS Upholder was ordered to form a patrol line with HMS Urge and HMS Thrasher to intercept a convoy. It is not known if this signal was received and the submarine failed to return to harbour on her due date. The cause of loss is unknown to this date. 

Commands listed for HMS Upholder (N 99)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Malcolm David Wanklyn, RN8 Aug 19405 Jun 1941
2Lt. Arthur Richard Hezlet, RN5 Jun 194117 Jun 1941
3Lt.Cdr. Malcolm David Wanklyn, RN17 Jun 194129 Dec 1941
4Lt. Compton Patrick Norman, RN29 Dec 194129 Dec 1941
5Lt.Cdr. Malcolm David Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN29 Dec 19411 Feb 1942
6Lt. Compton Patrick Norman, RN1 Feb 194213 Feb 1942
7Lt.Cdr. Malcolm David Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN13 Feb 1942Apr 1942 (+)

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Upholder include:


The history of HMS Upholder as compiled on this page is extracted from Upholder's patrol reports and logbooks. 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.

Around June 2013 we hope to publish an article from his hand about the loss of HMS Upholder.

30 Oct 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed her builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch.

31 Oct 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for a period of trials and training.

21 Nov 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Holy Loch for Portsmouth.

24 Nov 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) arrived at Portsmouth.

25 Nov 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was docked at Portsmouth.

26 Nov 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was undocked, conducted propeller trials which were not satisfactory and she was docked again.

27 Nov 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was undocked, conducted propeller trials which again were not satisfactory and she was docked yet again.

29 Nov 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was undocked.

10 Dec 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Portsmouth for Gibraltar. On the 14th Upholder was ordered to take up a patrol position of the North coast of Spain near Gijon making this passage her 1st war patrol.

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


HMS Upholder 1st war patrol click here for bigger map

23 Dec 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Gibraltar.

25 Dec 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was docked at Gibraltar.

28 Dec 1940
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was undocked.

1 Jan 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed from Gibraltar for her 2nd war patrol. She is to take up a patrol position with HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, 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.

2 Jan 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) is recalled to Gibraltar where she arrived later the same day.

3 Jan 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed from Gibraltar for her 3rd war patrol and subsequent passage to Malta. HMS Upholder and HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) are to provide cover for convoy 'Excess' to Malta. Upholder is ordered to patrol from 38°20'N, 07°50'E (dawn 9/1) to 38°30' N, 09°20' E (dusk 9/1). She actually reaches the area one day ahead of schedule but the patrol is uneventful.

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


HMS Upholder 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map

12 Jan 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

24 Jan 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol between Kerkennah and Tripoli.

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


HMS Upholder 4th war patrol click here for bigger map

26 Jan 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) attacked a convoy with four torpedoes off Kerkennah. No hits were obtained.

(all times are zone -1)
0030 hours - Sighted Kerkennah no.4 Buoy (34°51'N, 11°50'E) and adjusted position.

0125 hours - Heard loud H.E., 160 revs - bearing 090° and assumed this to be the expected convoy.

0130 hours - H.E. moving left. Altered course to intercept. Sighted one merchant vessel and one destroyer.

0135 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the merchant vessel, range 2500 yards.

0136 hours - Turned away to avoid the destroyer. Sighted two more merchant vessels astern of the first merchant vessel.

0147 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the rear ship, range 3000 yards.

0149 hours - Dived.

28 Jan 1941
At 0430 hrs HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed and damaged the German transport Duisburg (7389 GRT, built 1928), south of the Kerkennah Shallows. The damaged ship was towed into Tripoli, 20 nautical miles away.

(All times are zone -1)
0413 hours - Sighted two ships bearing 290°, steering 095°. Started attack.

0427 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the rear ship from 900 yards. The second torpedo hit the target forward.

0650 hours - Sighted the target, a merchant vessel of 8000 tons, laying stopped down by the bow with her forecastle under water to within 50 feet from her bridge. It was thought that the ship would sink. Upholder moved to the West.

30 Jan 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) attacks the Italian merchant Motia (2336 GRT, built 1918) and the Italian tanker Delfin (5210 GRT, built 1918) escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Orione and Aldebaran west of Tripoli, Libya in position 32°55'N, 12°41'E. All torpedoes fired missed their target and Upholder was depth charged by the torpedo boat Aldebaran.

(All times are zone -1)
1604 hours - Heard HE bearing 295°. Shortly afterwards sighted a convoy of two ships approaching from the Westward (298°) escorted by a single funnel destroyer and another unidentified escort vessel. Started attack. Enemy course was 085°, range was 8000 yards.

1620 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the largest ship from 4000 yards. Went deep upon firing.

1623 hours - Heard one loud explosion, the HE of the target ceased.

1624 hours - The counter attack started and lasted 15 minutes. Upholder went to 220 feet. In all 25 depth charges were dropped.

1730 hours - The enemy departed the area.

1 Feb 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

3 Feb 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was docked at Malta.

5 Feb 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was undocked.

12 Feb 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Tripoli.

Upon leaving Malta she carried out A/S exercises with HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC, RN).

Upholder also encoutered HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. H.A.V. Haggard, RN) South of Malta.

(All times are zone -1)
1916 hours - In position 35°26'N, 14°17'E, Upholder sighted an unidentified submarine steering North. Started attack. The target was closed to 2000 yards before the challenge was made three times. No reply was received. Lt. Wanklyn withheld fire as the target looked like a T-class submarine. This was quite correct as the submarine in question was HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. H.A.V. Haggard, RN).

1925 hours - The challenge was made another time, again no reply.

1930 hours - Broke off the attack.

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


HMS Upholder 5th war patrol click here for bigger map

19 Feb 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) attacked a convoy West of Tripoli, Libya. Two torpedoes were fired but no hits were obtained. The target was the German transport Heraklea (1927 GRT, built 19361922). She was in convoy with the German merchants Arta (2452 GRT, built 1922), Menes (5609 GRT, built 1926) and Maritza (2910 GRT, built) escorted by the Italian destroyers Freccia and Saetta. Heraklea sighted the two torpedo tracks and turned sharply to starboard to comb the tracks.

(All times are zone -1)
2310 hours - Near position 32°52'N, 12°48'E sighted a convoy of three merchant vessels escorted by three destroyers / torpedo boats disposed ahead and on either beam. Enemy course was 095°. The leading destroyer was seen to be a Spica-class torpedo boat. Started attack on the leading merchant vessel.

2326 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 1500 yards and dived to 180 feet. No explosions.

23 Feb 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

3 Mar 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Tripoli.

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


HMS Upholder 6th war patrol click here for bigger map

8 Mar 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) attacked a convoy North of Tripoli with two torpedoes. No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -2)
0750 hours - In position 33°15'N, 13°10'E sighted three ships approaching from the Northward. Enemy course was 173°, speed 9 knots. They proved to be a small tug, one 1500 tons diesel vessel and an armed trawler. Started attack.

0830 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the 1500 tons ship. No hits were obtained.

This may have been Tugnin F. (425 GRT, 1919) escorted by Pave and Capodoglio but it is not confirmed.

10 Mar 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

19 Mar 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to perform a survey off the East coast of Sicily (further details to follow).

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


HMS Upholder 7th war patrol click here for bigger map

25 Mar 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

3 Apr 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the East coast of Tunisia.

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


HMS Upholder 8th war patrol click here for bigger map

10 Apr 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) made two torpedo attacks on merchant vessels off Cape Bon, Tunisia. No hits were obtained in either attack.

(All times are zone -2)
1050 hours - In position 37°01'N, 11°08'E sighted a single fully laden merchant vessel of about 5000 tons. She was stearing a course of 355° at 9 knots. Closed to attack.

1155 hours - In position 37°09'N, 11°08'E the target altered course. Range was now 7000 yards.

1204 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 6400 yards. No hits were obtained. [The target was possibly the Italian merchant vessel Andalusia (4454 GRT, built 1907)

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

1415 hours - In position 37°10'N, 11°12'E sighted two merchant vessels stearing a course of 230° at a speed of 10.5 knots. Closed at speed to attack.

1448 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the second ship from 1850 yards, a half laden merchant vessel of about 6000 tons. The other ship was a tanker of about 4000 tons in ballast.

1449 hours - The target was observed combing the tracks of the torpedoes. No hits were obtained. [The target was the Italian merchant Antonietta Lauro (5428 GRT, built 1928) and the tanker in ballast was the Italian Capacitas (5371 GRT, built 1920), they reported being attacked in position 37°09'N, 11°10'E.]

11 Apr 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) made a torpedo attack on an unidentified laden merchant vessel off Cape Bon, Tunisia. No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -2)
2150 hours - In position 37°22'N, 11°20'E sighted a 4500 ton laden merchant vessel stearing a course of 030° at a speed of 8 knots. Closed to attack.

2205 hours - Dived to complete the attack.

2231 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 2000 yards. One of the torpedoes had a gyro failure while another broke surface. This resulted in no hits being obtained.

2250 hours - Surfaced after the torpedo with the gyro failure had stopped running. It was now too late for gun action. Upholder now had no torpedoes remaining. Lt. Wanklyn decided to remain on patrol to observe convoy movements.

12 Apr 1941
At 1435 hours, in position 37°07'N, 11°11'E, HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) sighted a convoy of 5 merchant vessels escorted by three Italian Navigatori-class destroyers. As Upholder was out of torpedoes she could not attack but she made an enemy report on her mast aerial. She received no reply so at 1528 hours she surfaced to transmit the enemy report on her main aerial dispite that four aircraft were patrolling the area. Unfortunately no reply was received yet again. Upholder then dived again and proceeded to the North-East while the convoy moved to the South-West. [This convoy was made up of the German merchant vessels Ankara (4768 GRT, built 1937), Marburg (7564 GRT, built 1928), Kybfels (7764 GRT, built 1937), Reichenfels (7744 GRT, built 1936) and the Italian merchant Calitea (4013 GRT, 1933). They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Ugolino Vivaldi, Antonio da Noli and Lanzerotto Malocello.

At 2345 hours Upholder intercepted enemy reports from aircraft and sighted parachute flares to the South. She increased speed and turned to intercept this convoy. At 0153 hours on the 13th she sighted a convoy three miles to the West of Pantelleria steering North. Upholder tried to pass an enemy report. At 0212 hours (13th) Upholder fired star shell across the convoys bow to make it turn back. She Dived when the escorts approached. Three minutes later the convoy was seen to turn South. An enemy report was made again but no reply was received. At 0300 hours an other enemy report was made. Finally a reply was received from HMS Medway. [This convoy was most likely made up of the German merchants Castellon (2086 GRT, built 1935), Arcturus (2576 GRT, built 1937), Wachtfels (8467 GRT, built 1928) and Leverkusen (7382 GRT, built 1928) escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Orione, Orsa and Procione.

14 Apr 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

21 Apr 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the East coast of Tunisia.

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


HMS Upholder 9th war patrol click here for bigger map

25 Apr 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian Antonietta Lauro (5428 GRT, built 1928), carrying phosphate, 2.5 nautical miles bearing 125° from Kerkennah Buoy no.3, Tunisia in position 34°57'N, 11°44'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1455 hours - Sighted a large merchant vessel to the South-South-West stearing 070°. Closed to attack.

1505 hours - The merchant vessel altered course to 320°. Closed at full submerged speed.

1533 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 700 yards. Half a minute later a heavy explosion occured which broke most of the lamp bulbs forward. It was intended to fire a third torpedo but this was was witheld.

1534 hours - Retired to the North-East. Observed the target settling.

1700 hours - Returned to the target to finish her off with a third torpedo if needed. Her after deck was well awash and she was sinking.

1715 hours - Retired to the North-East again.

26 Apr 1941
At 2144 hours HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) destroys the wreck (with demolition charges) of the grounded German merchant Arta (2452 GRT, built 1922) off Kerkennah, Tunisia in position 34°54.5'N, 11°37'E.

Before blowing up the ship the captains safe was blown up and the papers in it were taken.

27 Apr 1941
At 1950 hours HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) surfaced and tried to close the wreck of the Italian destroyer Lampo torpedoed and sunk in shallow waters by British destroyers during the action against the 'Tarigo'-convoy (16 April). At 2040 hours, the submarine ran aground in 15 feet of water some 4000 yards short of her target and the attempt was abandoned.

1 May 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed and sank the German merchant Arcturus (2576 GRT, built 1937) and torpedoed and damaged the German merchant Leverkusen (7382 GRT, built 1928) off Kerkennah, Tunisia.

Later the same day Upholder again torpedoed the Leverkusen finally sinking her.

(All times are zone -2)
1108 hours - In position 34°38'N 11°39'E sighted a convoy of five merchant vessels and four destroyers to the Westward. Closed at full submerged speed to attack.

1131 hours - The convoy was seen to be disposed in two columns. Two Dardo-class destroyers were seen ahead and two Turbine-class destroyers were seen on the Starboard beam and quarter.

1132 hours - Fired four torpedoes at the leading ship in the near column, whose bow overlapped with the stern of the leading ship in the far column. Range was 2800 yards. Upon firing Upholder retired to the South.

1141 hours - Three explosions were heard.

1155 hours - Sighted a 'Fels line' ship of over 6000 tons sink rapidly by the stern. Another large ship was seen to be listing heavily and down by the bow.

1445 hours - The damaged ship was seen to be still afloat and on an even keel. She was underway slowly with one of the destroyers nearby. She was dropped depth charges at random.

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

1730 hours - Surfaced and sent out an enemy report. The damaged merchant was in sight in position 34°45'N, 11°42'E.

1755 hours - Dived at a range of 16000 yards to attack and finish off the damaged ship.

1901 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 1200 yards. Both appeared to hit the target.

1915 hours - Depth charging started but it could also be the ships boilers exploding in the case she was not diesel driven.

1940 hours - Only the ships stern was now out of the water. The destroyer was standing by.

1945 hours - The ship sank.

2100 hours - Surfaced. As Upholder was now out of torpedoes course was set to Malta. A report was passed to Alexandria to report the situation.

The convoy attacked by Upholder was made up of the German merchants Arcturus (2576 GRT, built 1937), Castellon (2086 GRT, built 1935), Wachtfels (8467 GRT, built 1928), Leverkusen (7382 GRT, built 1928) and the Italian merchant Giulia (5921 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Turbine, Folgore, Saetta and Strale.

3 May 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

15 May 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of the Straits of Messina.

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


HMS Upholder 10th war patrol click here for bigger map

20 May 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) fires four torpedoes at a convoy near Capo dell'Armi in position 37°57'N, 15°40'E. The torpedoes however miss their target.

(All times are zone -2)
1835 hours - Sighted a convoy of one escort vessel, two medium seized tankers and one merchant vessel in position 37°57'N, 15°40'E. Enemy course was 140°, speed 9 knots. Closed to attack the leading tanker, a ship of about 4000 tons.

1844 hours - Fired three torpedoes from a range of 7000 yards. Four torpedoes were intended but no.3 torpedo cap refused to open.

1850 hours - Heard an explosion, possibly a torpedo hit but as Upholder dived to 150 feet upon firing the result could not be seen. Upholder meanwhile retired to the South-West.

1855 to 1915 hours - Six depth charges were dropped about a mile away.

Italian records indicate that the freighter Dielpi (1520 GRT, built 1912) escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Attilio Deffenu (3510 GRT, built 1929) were missed by three torpedoes, the tankers Utilitas (5310 GRT, buil 1918) and Urano (5512 GR, built 1923) were in company. The convoy was proceeding from Messina to Taranto but Dielpi escorted by Deffenu was diverted to Crotone before the armed merchant cruiser rejoined the two tankers and resumed their trip to Taranto.

23 May 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed and damaged the French tanker Capitaine Damiani (4818 GRT, built 1921) near Capo dell Armi. The damaged ship was towed to Messina by the other French tanker in the convoy the Alberta (3357 GRT, built 1938).

(All times are one -2)
1159 hours - In position 37°56'N, 15°36'E sighted two tankers and one escort vessel. Closed to attack.

1220 hours - The escort was seen to return to Messina. It was noticed that the French colours were painted on the ships sides.

1229 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the rear tanker, the bigger one.

1231 hours - One torpedo hit the target.

1250 hours - Observed the targert settling by the stern. The other tanker took avoiding action and the escort returned at full speed while dropping depth charges. Upholder now went to 150 feet and retired to the South-East. The hunt continued during the whole afternoon. In all 26 depth charges were dropped but none was close.

24 May 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) attacked a heavily escorted troop convoy, 10 nautical miles east of Siracusa, Sicily, Italy in position 36°41'N, 15°42'E and torpedoed and sank the Italian liner (used as troop transport) Conte Rosso (17879 GRT, built 1922). Upholder was heavily depth charged following this attack.

(All times are zone -2)
2030 hours - Sighted three very large two-funnel liners in position 36°48'N, 15°42'E. Course was 215°. Closed to attack. It was later seen that there were at least four destroyers but most likely six.

2043 hours - Fired the last two torpedoes at the centre ship which was the biggest. The nearest destroyer (a Grecale-class) was then only 400 yards ahead. Upholder went to 150 feet upon firing and retired to the East. Two explosions were heard about a minute after firing.

2047 hours - Depth charging started. In all 37 depth charges were dropped. The last four at 2107 hours were very close. No damage was sustained.

2120 to 2125 hours - The target was heard to sink.

2250 hours - Surfaced and passed a report to Malta. There was a strong smell of fuel oil in the breeze upon surfacing.

[The convoy Upholder attacked was made up of the above mentioned liner Conte Rosso as well as the liners Esperia (11398 GRT, built 1920), Marco Polo (12272 GRT, built 1912) and Victoria (13098 GRT, built 1931). They were escorted by the Italian destroyer Freccia as well as the Italian torpedo boats Orsa, Procione and Pegaso. The number of victims varies slightly according to sources, perhaps the more precise figures are 1291 killed or missing and 1441 survivors picked up.]

26 May 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

27 May 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was docked at Malta.

3 Jun 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was undocked.

6 Jun 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) departed Malta for her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol North-East of Tripoli.

Lt. Hezlet took over from Lt.Cdr. Wanklyn for this patrol so Lt.Cdr. Wanklyn could have a rest.

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


HMS Upholder 11th war patrol click here for bigger map

17 Jun 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

24 Jun 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol East of Sicily to intercept an important Italian convoy to Tripoli.

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


HMS Upholder 12th war patrol click here for bigger map

25 Jun 1941
At 2148 hours two large ships were seen but the submarine could not get into an attacking position.

26 Jun 1941
At 1300 hours (zone -2) HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) is recalled to Malta.

27 Jun 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

28 Jun 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 13th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of the Straits of Messina.

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


HMS Upholder 13th war patrol click here for bigger map

1 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) attacked but missed an Italian Armed Merchant Cruiser with three torpedoes in position 37°53'N, 15°47'E.

(All times are zone -1)
0600 hours - Sighted a single funnel liner near position 37°52'N, 15°52'E steering 210°. The vessel soon proved to be an Armed Merchant Cruiser of the 'Citta di Genova' which zigged about 90° every 5 minutes. According to Italian sources this was probably the Italian auxiliary Egitto (3220 GRT, built 1929). She was escorting the German merchants Bellona (1297 GRT, built 1929) and Tinos (2827 GRT, built 1914), they had sailed at 2230/30 June from Crotone for Messina.

0615 hours - Sighted three merchant vessels close inshore. One was about 3000 tons and two were about 2000 tons.

0634 hours - In position 37°53'N, 15°47'E fired three torpedoes at the Armed Merchant Cruiser from only 250 yards. It appeared they ran under due to the short range.

0639 hours - One explosion occured fairly close, followed by two more nearly 15 minutes later. It appeared from the HE that a destroyer dropped these depth charges. Several hours later a Spica-class torpedo boat was seen in the same area.

3 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed the Italian merchant Laura C (6181 GRT, built 1923) off Saline Ioniche, Calabria, in position 37°55'N, 15°44'E. According to Italian sources she was in convoy with Mameli (2682 GRT, 1889), both from Taranto and Pugliola (2974 GRT, 1917) which had joined from Crotone and escorted by the torpedo-boat Altair and the minesweeper Arborea. They were proceeding to Messina. Laura C. was indeed hit by two torpedoes, the ship was taken in tow to be run ashore but sank in deep water. Of her crew of 38, there were three wounded, three killed and three missing. Altair hunted the submarine, dropping 18 depth charges in four runs, and claimed it probably sunk.

(All times are zone -2)
1030 hours - Sighted smoke near Cape Spartivento.

1100 hours - Made out three merchants, an armed merchant cruiser and a destroyer. Started attack.

1125 hours - The destroyer dropped a single depth charge. It was noticed that both the destroyer and the armed merchant cruiser were zig-zagging wildly about 3000 yards outside the convoy.

1135 hours - The destroyer turned straight towards Upholder at 27 knots. Lt.Cdr. Wanklyn dived to 45 feet and altered course.

1139 hours - Returned to periscope depth as the destroyer was heard to pass to the westward.

1142 hours - In position 37°54'N, 15°44E, fired three torpedoes against the centre ship in the convoy, a heavily laden, grey painted cargo vessel of about 5500 tons. Two hits were obtained and Upholder went to 150 feet and retired to the eastward.

1147 hours - Depth charging started. 18 depth charges were fired but none were very close.

8 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 13th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

11 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was docked at Malta.

14 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) was undocked.

17 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) conducted exercises off Malta with HMS Urge (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Tomkinson, DSO, RN) and HMS Beryl.

19 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 14th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol North of Isola di Marettimo.

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


HMS Upholder 14th war patrol click here for bigger map

24 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant Dandolo (4964 GRT, built 1921), 2.5 nautical miles north-west of Barone, eastern Sicily in position 38°08'N, 12°37'E. She was escorted by the torpedo boat Giuseppe Missori which dropped 17 depth charges, the Cant Z.501 2/144 dropped an antisubmarine bomb at 1815 and a second one at 1840. The damaged Italian ship was towed to Trapani by the tugs Nettuno, Liguria and Ciclope and made port and was repaired.

(All times are zone -2)
1355 hours - In position 38°06'N, 12°33'E sighted a Generale-class torpedo boat and one medium seized laden merchant vessel proceeding Eastward along the 'safety route'. Closed at full speed.

1418 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the merchant vessel from 5000 yards.

1422 hours - One torpedo hit the target. The torpedo boat replied with 17 depth charges spread over the next two hours. Upholder meanwhile retired to the North-West at 150 feet.

1530 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Observed the target stopped and settling by the stern with the torpedo boat patrolling to the seaward of her.

28 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) fired 4 torpedoes at an Italian task force, hitting the light cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi (9050 tons). The cruiser was hit in the bow and took 700 tons of water but did not sink. She managed to reach Palermo and was later repaired in Naples and was out of action for a considerable time.

(All times are zone -2)
1940 hours - Sighted two cruisers and two destroyers to the Southward. Enemy course was 355°, speed was estimated to be 22 knots.

1950 hours - Asdic gave 230 revs., this exquals a speed of 28 knots. The leading cruiser could now no longer be attacked from this position so selected the second cruiser as the target.

1951 hours - In position 38°04'N, 11°57'E fired four torpedoes from 4000 yards.

1955 hours - Heard two heavy explosions thought to be hits. Upholder meanwhile retired to the North-East at 150 feet.

1957 hours - Depth charges were dropped by one of the destroyers. The other destroyer apparently guarded the cruiser and dropped several single depth charges. In all 38 depth charges were dropped some were quite close but no damage was done.

2200 hours - Nothing in sight. Surfaced and passed a report to Malta.

[The task-force sighted by Upholder was made up of the above mentioned cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi, the cruiser Raimondo Montecuccoli . The destroyers were the Granatiere and Bersagliere. Bersagliere dropped 11 depth charges at the spot from where the torpedo tracks appear to have initiated and was then drawn to a spot where an escorting aircraft had fired a burst of machine gun and dropped a further pattern of four depth charges.]

29 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) attacked a convoy North-East of Cape San Vito, in position 38°28'N, 12°14'E with her last remaining torpedo. The torpedo however did not hit the intended target. . This convoy was probably the one consisting of Ernesto (7399 GRT, built 1914), Nita (6803 GRT, built 1913), Castelverde (5270 GRT, built 1919), Aquitania (4971 GRT, built 1924) and Nirvo (5270 GRT, built 1919) escorted by the destroyers Folgore, Saetta and Fulmine, they had sailed from Tripoli for Naples. The attack was unobserved.

(All times are zone -2)
0320 hours - Sighted a convoy of four merchant ships escorted by three or four destroyers to the Southward. Enemy course was 030° at 9 knots. Closed to attack.

0335 hours - When about to fire torpedoes a destroyer came straight towards so the attack had to be broken off.

0346 hours - Surfaced.

0352 hours - In position 38°28'N, 12°14'E fired the last torpedo at a group of two ships and a destroyer. The torpedo appeared to miss ahead. Retired to the Southward on the surface. Made an enemy report.

31 Jul 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

15 Aug 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 15th war patrol (13th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Isola di Marettimo.

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


HMS Upholder 15th war patrol click here for bigger map

20 Aug 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Enotria (852 GRT, built 1907) off Cape San Vito, Italy.

(All times are zone -2)
0850 hours - Sighted a merchant vessel and an escorting trawler in position 38°09'N, 12°39'E proceeding Eastwards. Started attack.

0931 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the merchant vessel, a cargo vessel of about 2000 tons.

0932 hours - One torpedo hit the target. Upholder retired to the South-South-West.

1013 hours - Only the trawler and one aircraft were now in sight. The merchant vessel had sunk. The trawler had dropped four depth charges.

According to Italian sources the vessel was carrying 900 tons of sand on a trip from Palermo to Savona and was escorted by the auxiliary Gronco (F 37). Gronco rescued the survivors and landed them at Trapani, two sailors were missing.

22 Aug 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian transport Lussin (3988 GRT, built 1912) about 2 nautical miles north-west of Cape San Vito, Sicily, Italy.

(All times are zone -1)
1545 hours - Sighted a convoy of three ships. They were all laden tankers. The leading ship appeared to be the fleet oiler Tarvisio of 10915 GRT [this was not the case]. She was dazzle painted and four enormous drums were secured to her boat deck. These drums were about 20 feet in diameter and about 30 feet long. Started attack.

1629 hours - Fired a salvo of four torpedoes at the leading ship from 4000 yards.

1632 hours - Two hits were obtained. Upholder retired at speed to the North-West.

1635 hours - A counter attack followed. 48 Depth charges were dropped in the next 8 minutes. Some were quite close causing minor damage. 13 More depth charges were dropped during the next 90 minutes but none were quite close.

[Lussin was towing the tanker Alcione (521 GRT, built 1915) in company with the freighter Alberto Fassio (2289 GRT, 1914) and they were escorted by the torpedo boats Cigno and Pegaso. Lussin sank in two minutes, Pegaso depth charged the submarine while Cigno rescued the survivors. The escorting Z.501 seaplane (No.3 of 144^Squadriglia) also dropped two antisubmarine bombs on the torpedo track’s point of origin but did not observe results.]

24 Aug 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) fires two torpedoes at an Italian light cruiser off the north-west tip of Sicily in position 38°30'N, 12°00'E. Both torpedoes however miss their target.

(All times are zone -2)
1020 hours - Sighted tops of three heavy ships and several destroyers bearing 070° steering 215° at 25 knots.

1034 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the rear ship from 5500 yards. The squadron appeared to comprise a Cavour-class battleship followed by two Montecuccoli-class light cruisers in line ahead escorted by 6 destroyers. Later it was thought that the leading ship was a Garibaldi-class cruiser.

1039 hours - Heard one explosion thought to be a torpedo hitting the target. Half a minute later depth charges were dropped. Upholder meanwhile retired at speed to the North-North-East. In all 32 depth charges were dropped but none were very close.

[This task force was made up of the above mentioned Luigi di Savoia Duca Degli Abruzzi and the Muzio Attendolo, Raimondo Montecuccoli escorted by 5 destroyers. Duca Degli Abruzzi reported two torpedo tracks which passed about 50 meters ahead.]

27 Aug 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 15th war patrol (13th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

29 Aug 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 16th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol on the convoy route Messina - Tripoli to intercept an important troop convoy to Tripoli.

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


HMS Upholder 16th war patrol click here for bigger map

31 Aug 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) fired four torpedoes against the Italian troop transports Oceania and Neptunia East of Tripoli, Libya. All four torpedoes fired missed their targets.

(All times are zone -2)
0510 hours - Fast HE was heard intermittently to the Southward.

0525 hours - Sighted one torpedo boat on the Starboard beam and one motor torpedo boat ahead.

0625 hours - Two motor torpedo boats were still in sight to the South-West.

0630 hours - Heard HE to the Eastward. Sighted two aircraft and smoke from two ships bearing 078°. Assumed the enemy's mean line of advance to be 270°. Course was altered to the Northward to close.

0643 hours - Noticed the enemy's course to be 250° and shortly afterwards it became 225°. Closed but it became obvious that the range would be very great unless the convoy would made a zig towards. The convoy consisted of a two-funnel liner, probably Marco Polo and the Neptunia and Oceania in two columns. They were escorted by at least four destroyers.

0710 hours - In position 32°50'N, 13°55'E fired a salvo of four torpedoes at the Neptunia and Oceania. Estimated range was 6000 to 7000 yards. No hits were obtained.

0716 hours - Counter attack started. Two destroyers dropped 23 depth charges until 0730 hours. Upholder meanwhile retired to the North.

[The convoy attacked by Upholder was made up of the Italian troop transports Neptunia (19475 GRT, built 1932), Oceania (19507 GRT, built 1933) and Victoria (13098 GRT, built 1931). They were escorted by the destroyers Aviere, Camicia Nera, Vincenzo Gioberti, Antonio da Noli, Antoniotto Usodimare and Emanuelle Pessagno.]

1 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) ended her 16th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

6 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) was docked at Malta.

9 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) was undocked.

10 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) conducted practice attacks off Malta on HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR).

16 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) departed Malta for her 17th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol on the convoy route Messina - Tripoli to intercept an important troop convoy to Tripoli.

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


HMS Upholder 17th war patrol click here for bigger map

18 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian troop transports Neptunia (19475 GRT, built 1932) and Oceania (19507 GRT, built 1933) some 70 nautical miles east-north-east of Tripoli, Libya in position 33°01'N, 14°49'E.

These troop transports were part of a heavily guarded convoy sailing from Taranto to Tripoli. The sailing and routing had been betrayed by ULTRA and 4 submarines were positioned on the track, Upholder was in the best position and beat the other ones to the punch.

(All times are zone -2)
0350 hours - Sighted convoy of three lines escorted by four destroyers bearing 045°. Range was about 6 nautical miles. Closed to attack.

0406 hours - In position 33°01'N, 14°49'E fired four torpedoes from 5000 yards.

0408 hours - Dived and retired to the South.

0410 - 0411 hours - Two explosions were heard. Two of the liners had been hit by one torpedo each. No depth charges were dropped following the attack.

0445 hours - Surfaced and sighted one large vessel stopped in the area of the attack. One destroyer was nearby. A second large vessel was making to the Westward at 5 knots with another destroyer as escort. Set course to the East to reach a favourable attack position to attack again after dawn when the torpedo tubes would have been reloaded.

0530 hours - Dived and approached while reloading in the meantime.

0630 hours - Sighted one Oceania-class ship still stropped with one destroyer nearby. Closed to attack.

0756 hours - When about to open fire a Navigatori-class destroyer was spotted close by. Went deep. The destroyer went overhead when Upholder was at 45 feet but did not drop any depth charges.

0759 hours - Dived under the target while at 70 feet to obtain a new attack position.

0851 hours - In position 32°58'N, 14°50'E fired two torpedoes from 2000 yards. Both hit. The liner [Oceania] sank after 8 minutes. Again no counter attack by the destroyers followed.

[The convoy attacked by Upholder was made up of the Italian troop transports Neptunia (19475 GRT, built 1932), Oceania (19507 GRT, built 1933) and Vulcania (24469 GRT, built 1928). They were escorted by the destroyers Nicoloso da Recco, Antonio da Noli, Antoniotto Usodimare and Emanuelle Pessagno, Vincenzo Gioberti and Alfredo Oriani. A large scale rescue operation was organised and 5395 survivors were picked up by the six destroyers and the torpedo boat Clio which was sailed from Tripoli, 384 were killed or missing (the numbers may not be exact as not all sources agree).]

20 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) ended her 17th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

23 Sep 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 18th war patrol (16th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Isola di Marettimo.

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


HMS Upholder 18th war patrol click here for bigger map

2 Oct 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) ended her 18th war patrol (16th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

18 Oct 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 19th war patrol (17th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Kerkennah.

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


HMS Upholder 19th war patrol click here for bigger map

27 Oct 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) ended her 19th war patrol (17th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

7 Nov 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 20th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Ionian Sea to operate against enemy convoys to Benghazi.

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


HMS Upholder 20th war patrol click here for bigger map

8 Nov 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) attacks an Italian submarine with torpedoes some 60 nautical miles south-east of Capo Passero, Sicily, Italy in position 36°19'N, 16°22'E. The target was not hit dispite Upholders claim.

(All times are zone -1)
0403 hours - In position 36°19'N, 16°22'E sighted a submarine bearing 030°, range about 4000 yards. Enemy course was 180°, speed approximately 8 knots.

0405 hours - Altered course towards and dived. Started attack.

0410 hours - The target appeared to be an Italian submarine of the Perla, Sirena or Argonauta class.

0418 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 1500 yards.

0419 hours - Heard a heavy explosion. HE ceased and was replaced by a whistling noise of main ballast being blown.

0423 hours - The submarine was still in sight but stopped. Started to reload a torpedo tube as soon as possible.

0428 hours - The submarine disappeared from vieuw. Shortly afterwards Upholders periscope passed through an oil patch.

0437 hours - One torpedo tube was reloaded (in just 14 minutes !). Surfaced and proceeded back through the attack area. Noting further was seen or heard.

The attack was carried out by the officer of the watch Lt. J.H. Norman, RNVR. The submarine was most certainly Luigi Settembrini (Capitano di Corvetta Mario Resio) on patrol off Cape Passero; the attack was unobserved.

9 Nov 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) torpedoed the Italian destroyer Libeccio (1615 tons, built 1934), engaged in the rescue of survivors from the Duisburg convoy, destroyed the previous night by Force "K" out of Malta. The destroyer had the stern blown off and was taken in tow by the Italian destroyer Euro but a few hours later the bulkheads gave way and she sank in position 36°50'N, 18°10'E (according to Italian sources).

Later the same day Upholder attacked two Trento-class heavy cruisers with three torpedoes. No hits were obtained dispite the claim for a hit on one of the escorting destroyers.

(All times are zone -1)
0604 hours - Started an attack on a group of three destroyers, two 'Soldati'-class and one Turbine-class.

0645 hours - In position 37°08'N, 18°30'E fired one torpedo at a destroyer of the 'Soldati'-class from 2000 yards.

0646 hours - The torpedo hit the target in the stern. Five depth charges were dropped following this attack. The Turbine-class destroyer proceeded to circle the damaged ship while the other 'Soldati'-class destrroyer went alongside and took off the damaged destroyers crew. Upholder retired to the North-East at 70 feet.

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

1026 hours - In position 37°10'N, 18°37'E came to periscope depth to investigate heavy HE and sighted two Trento-class cruisers bearing 120°. The cruisers passed out of range.

1040 hours - Closed the damaged destroyer that was torpedoed a few hours earlier. She was in tow of the Turbine-class destroyer. It was hoped that the cruisers might come in again.

1055 hours - Sighted the cruisers approaching, bearing 250°. Started attack.

1108 hours - Fired the last three torpedoes at the rear cruiser from 2500 yards. One of these had a gyro failure and was heard to pass twice overhead as Upholder had gone deep on firing.

1111 hours - Two torpedo explosions were heard 25 seconds apart.

1119 hours - Heard the noise of a ship breaking up in deep water.

1130 hours - Sighted both cruisers still afloat and undamaged but with only one destroyer in company (two had seen before). It was thought that the other destroyer had been hit and that the breaking up noises heard were that of the destroyer sinking. [This was however not the case, these last three torpedoes fired all missed, the breaking up noises heard were indeed from a destroyer sinking but this was the damaged destroyer from the earlier attack. According to Italian sources the task force was made up of the heavy cruiser Trento and Trieste escorted by destroyers Granatiere, Fuciliere, Bersagliere and Alpino.]

11 Nov 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) ended her 20th war patrol (18th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

24 Nov 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Malta with the British corvette HMS Gloxinia (Lt.Cdr. A.J.C. Pomeroy, RNVR).

25 Nov 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 21th war patrol (19th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of the Straits of Messina.

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


HMS Upholder 21th war patrol click here for bigger map

27 Nov 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) attacked a large tanker with four torpedoes near Capo dell'Armi in position 37°47'N, 15°44'E. All torpedoes missed the target. This was probably the tanker Iridio Mantovani (10540 GRT, built 1939).

(All times are zone -2)
0730 hours - In position 37°47'N, 15°44'E sighted a large tanker escorted by two destoyers steering a course of 270°. Closed to attack.

0740 hours - The enemy altered course to 335°. The escort was now seen to be one Partenope-class torpedo boat stationed ahead and one Generale-class torpedo boat astern. The tanker was seen to be 7000 to 8000 tons and appeared to be a new ship.

0745 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 2800 yards. All torpedoes missed as the speed was underestimated.

0805 hours - Heard one explosion, most likely a depth charge.

1 Dec 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) attacked an Italian light cruiser off the Gulf of Taranto. Four torpedoes were fired but no hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -2)
0437 hours - In position 39°08'N, 17°31'E sighted three cruisers and about five destroyers. Enemy course was 030°. Closed to attack.

0445 hours - Enemy zigged straight towards.

0447 hours - Dived to complete the attack through the periscope.

0501 hours - Fired four torpedoes at the rear cruiser from about 1000 yards. No hits were obtained.

0510 hours - Heard one explosion, most likely a depth charge.

0545 hours - Surfaced to pass an enemy report to Malta tbut failed to establish communication.

[The enemy force was made up of the Italian light cruisers Raimondo Montecuccoli, Emanuelle Filiberto Duca d’Aosta and Muzio Attendolo escorted by the Italian destroyers Aviere, Bersagliere, Fuciliere, Geniere and Granatiere.

3 Dec 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) ended her 21th war patrol (19th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

12 Dec 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 22th war patrol (20th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Ionion Sea to intercept an expected enemy convoy from Taranto to Tripoli.

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


HMS Upholder 22th war patrol click here for bigger map

14 Dec 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) is ordered to a new patrol position South of the toe of Italy (South-East of the Straits of Messina).

21 Dec 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) ended her 22th war patrol (20th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. She was immediately put into dock.

27 Dec 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) was undocked.

29 Dec 1941
HMS Upholder, with Lt. C.P. Norman, RN temporary in command (to give Lt.Cdr. Wanklyn a rest during her next patrol) conducted exercises off Malta with HMS Urge (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Tomkinson, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Beryl.

When returning from the exercises around 1630 hours they were attacked by German Me 109 fighter aircraft of 6 JG/53. Urge dived in time but on Upholder the crew on the bridge were reading a signal from a shore signal station and did not notice the approaching aircraft (the message was to warn Upholder about the approaching aircraft). Lt. Norman was hit by gunfire from one of the German fighters and was wounded. Despite his wounds he managed to shut the top hatch as Upholder crash dived. When Upholder arrived back at Malta he was taken to hospital and Lt.Cdr. Wanklyn assumed command again, his rest during Upholders next patrol being cancelled.

31 Dec 1941
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 23th war patrol (21th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol North of Sicily.

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


HMS Upholder 23th war patrol click here for bigger map

3 Jan 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) fired three torpedoes at a merchant vessel of about 4000 tons near Cape Gallo, Sicily, Italy. No hits were obtained. The target has so far not been identified.

(All times are zone -2)
2315 hours - In position 38°14'N, 13°22'E sighted two ships rounding Cape Gallo. Enemy course was 300°. Started attack. The two ships were soon seen to be a merchant vessel of about 4000 tons with an escort vessel.

2355 hours - In position 38°18'N, 13°18'E fired three torpedoes from about 2400 yards. All torpedoes missed.

4 Jan 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) torpedoed the Italian merchant Sirio (5223 BRT, built 1921) carrying 8,000 tons of coal from Messina to Palermo for the railway system, 4 nautical miles north-west of Cefalu, Sicily, Italy in position 38°07'N, 13°52'E. Sirio was skilfully handled, opened fire on the submarine and managed to frustrate further attempts to finish her off. The ship remained afloat and manage to limp to Palermo at 5.5 knots.

(All times are zone -2)
0535 hours - In position 38°07'N, 14°00'E sighted a 'tanker' (this was incorrect, possibly Sirio looked like a tanker). Enemy course was 280°.

0537 hours - Dived to attack (due to the bright moonlight).

0540 hours - No.1 torpedo tube was being blown up (to other 3 tubes already were). However the torpedo in the tube ran hot causing a complete loss of trim.

0544 hours - Fired no.3 and no.1 torpedo tube. One of the torpedoes sank to the bottom and exploded underneath Upholder. Fortunately the depth of the water was about 500 fathoms and little damage was done.

0545 hours - Continued the attack and crossed the bow of the 'tanker' to attack from the other side.

0612 hours - In position 38°07'N, 13°52'E fired no.2 and no.3 tube from a range of 1000 yards. One of the torpedoes hit the 'tanker' amidships but the 'tanker' did not stop. She yawed heavily several times and at 0620 hours stopped to lower two boats. She then proceeded towards the coast.

0640 hours - The 'tanker' turned Westwards again.

0647 hours - Surfaced for gun action but Upholder was sighted at once and taken under fire.

0651 hours - Dived again while the damaged target managed to escape.

5 Jan 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Ammiraglio Saint Bon (Capitano di Corvetta Gustavo Miniero) (1461 tons) (offsite link) North-East of Milazzo, Sicily, 38°22'N, 15°22'E.

(All times are zone -2)
0530 hours - In position 38°21'N, 15°22'E. sighted a vessel what was thought to be an A/S trawler approaching rapidly from the Southward. Dived immediately.

0534 hours - Identified the target as a two gun submarine which was zigging constantly between 260° and 360°. The targets speed was estimated to be 15 knots. Started attack.

0538 hours - The speed of the target was now thought to be 12 knots.

0539 hours - In position 38°22'N, 15°22'E fired the last torpedo aimed at the targets conning tower. The torpedo hit the target just before the forward gun. She sank very quickly.

0546 hours - Surfaced in the attack position and picked up three survivors. (59 were killed or missing).

0601 hours - Dived and set course to pass to the South of Vulcano Island.

8 Jan 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) ended her 23th war patrol (21th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

14 Jan 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 24th war patrol (22th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the Gulf of Taranto.

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


HMS Upholder 24th war patrol click here for bigger map

23 Jan 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) ended her 24th war patrol (22th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

1 Feb 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) departed Malta for her 25th war patrol (23th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol North of Sicily.

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


HMS Upholder 25th war patrol click here for bigger map

4 Feb 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) attacked a destroyer West of Cape San Vito, Sicily, Italy with three torpedoes. No hits were obtained and Upholder was depth charged following the attack. The target was the Italian desroyer Premuda which had sailed from Palermo to join the escort of the German transport Trapani.

(All times are zone -2)
1357 hours - In position 38°10'N, 12°36'E sighted a Navigatori-class destroyer proceeding Eastwards. Started attack.

1406 hours - Fired three torpedoes at this destroyer from 2300 yards. All torpedoes missed.

1411 to 1515 hours - A counter attack followed. 10 Depth charges were dropped but no damage was sustained.

5 Feb 1942
At 0110 hours a submarine was sighted and HMS Upholder (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) closed to attack when Lt. Ruble, USN, who was an observer on board pointed out that it was a rock and the attack was aborted! (this was Medico Rock near Ustica).

Later the same day HMS Upholder (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) tried to attack an enemy convoy off Castellammare Gulf but was detected by an escorting aircraft. One of the escorts turned back and dropped eight depth charges. No damage was done to Upholder.

(All times are zone -2)
1227 hours - Near position 38°17'N, 13°05'E sighted masts and funnels of several small vessels proceeding westwards close inshore. Started attack.

1250 hours - The convoy appeared to be two small marchant vessels (one possibly a tanker), one destroyer ahead and one submarine astern. Decided to attack the submarine as the remainder were out of range and in a bad position.

1258 hours - The submarine turned out to be an Orsa-class torpedo boat. Range was now 4000 yards.

1300 hours - An aircraft passed very low and close. Broke off the attack and went deep.

1345 - 1355 hours - Eight depth charges by one of the escorts that had turned back, probably due to aircraft sighting report. Upholder withdrew to the Northward.

This convoy consisted of the tanker Rondine (6468 GRT, built 1924)and the steamers Mazara (984 GRT, built 1934) and Istria (5441 GRT, built 1921) escorted by the torpedo boats Aretusa and Polluce. It was Aretusa who drove off the submarine with a depth charge attack.

8 Feb 1942
While on patrol off Cape San Vito, Sicily, Italy (in approximate position 38°18'N, 12°51'E) HMS Upholder (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) attacked but missed (despite the claim for a hit and sinking) the Italian merchant Bosforo (3567 GRT, built 1929). The escorting torpedo boat Calliope dropped eight depth charges fairly close but Upholder managed to escape without damage. [The claim that this attack sank the Italian merchant Salpi is incorrect.]

(All times are zone -2)
1720 hours - Sighted one Orsa-class torpedo boat and one small diesel merchant vessel (of about 2500 tons) in ballast proceeding East. Started attack.

1739 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the merchant vessel from 1300 yards. One torpedo hit was claimed 57 seconds after firing and the HE of the target ceased. Upholder meanwhile retired to the West.

1752 to 1757 hours - Eight depth charges were dropped fairly close by the torpedo boat. Several more depth charges were dropped at intervals until 1830 hours when the torpedo boat retired to the East at high speed.

13 Feb 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) ended her 25th war patrol (23th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

21 Feb 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 26th war patrol (24th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol near Tripoli, Libya.

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


HMS Upholder 26th war patrol click here for bigger map

27 Feb 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Tembien (5584 GRT, built 1914) about 25 nautical miles West of Tripoli, Libya in position 32°55'N, 12°42'E. She carried 468 PoWs and was escorted by the Italian destroyer Strale. The destroyer hunted the submarine dropping nine depth charges before starting to rescue the survivors. She was later joined in her efforts by the auxiliary Laurana and the torpedo boats Clio and Cantore. In all 390 PoWs, 68 Italians and 10 Germans were drowned.

(All times are zone -2)
1845 hours - Heard faint HE bearing 060° and sighted a large merchant vessel and one destroyer / torpedo boat in the haze. Started attack.

1905 hours - In position 32.55'N, 12.42'E fired three torpedoes at the merchant vessel that was of about 5500 tons, half passenger type and she was dazzle painted.

1907 hours - Two torpedo hits were obtained. The escort shortly increased speed and started depth charging but stopped after dropping eight depth charges to pick up survivors.

1925 hours - Heard the ship breaking up.

1950 hours - The escort moved off towards Tripoli.

5 Mar 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) ended her 26th war patrol (24th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

14 Mar 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 27th war patrol (25th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the Gulf of Taranto.

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


HMS Upholder 27th war patrol click here for bigger map

16 Mar 1942
As the convoy HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) was to operate against was delayed she was ordered to patrol off Brindisi for one day (on the 18th).

18 Mar 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Tricheco (810 tons) (offsite link) east of Brindisi in the southern Adriatic in position 40°42'N, 17°57'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1536 hours - In position 40°41'N, 17°57'E sighted a Perla class submarine steering for Brindisi and attempted to attack but could not close to less than 5000 yards. This submarine was Ondina (T.V. Gabriele Andolfi) returning to Brindisi after morning exercises.

1708 hours - In position 40°45'N, 17°57'E sighted another submarine steering 185° at 12 knots. Started attack.

1726 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 550 yards. Two hits were obtained and the submarine quickly sank.

1830 hours - Several small vessels were seen searching the attack area.

According to Italian sources the submarine was under Capitano di Corvetta Giovanni Cunsolo and had sailed from Augusta for Brindisi. Four officers (including Cunsolo) and seven ratings were picked up by the freighter Nazario Sauro and the sailing vessel S. Spiridione, one officer and 37 ratings were lost.

19 Mar 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) sank the Italian auxiliary minesweeper B.14/Maria (22 GRT) with gunfire, about 10 nautical miles North of Otranto, Italy.

(All times are zone -2)
0737 hours - In position 40°18'N, 18°28'E sighted four small craft which turned out to be a diesel trawler and three fishing smacks. Closed for gun action.

0843 hours - Surfaced 100 yards from the trawler and gestured the crew to abandon ship. 7 Rounds were fired from 50 yards for 6 hits. The vessel caught fire and settled having 3 large holes on the waterline.

0858 hours - Dived and retired to the East.

23 Mar 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) fired four torpedoes against the Italian battleship Littorio in the Gulf of Taranto in position 40°11'N, 17°00'E. No hits were obtained. According to Italian sources Littorio was escorted by the destroyers Antonio Pigafetta, Bersagliere and Ascari and proceeding to Taranto. A torpedo track was observed crossing 200 meters ahead of the battleship.

(All times are zone -2)
1720 hours - Heard heavy HE bearing 180° moving West fast. Closed at full speed. Visibility was very poor in the heavy rain and high sea.

1736 hours - In position 40°11'N, 17°00'E sighted a battleship [Littorio] steering 360° at 20 knots.

1738 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 4000 yards but the battleship zigged away after firing so all torpedoes missed.

26 Mar 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) ended her 27th war patrol (25th in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

6 Apr 1942
HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 28th war patrol (26h in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to carry out a special operation (details to follow) and then to patrol off Tripoli, Libya.

This was to be her last patrol before returning to the U.K. to refit.

Mr. Francesco Mattesini, naval historian accredited to the Italian Navy Historical Office, has provided some details which might explain how Upholder was lost: On 14 April 1942 a sumarine was detected by the air escorts while approaching a convoy in the Tripoli area. The planes were 2 Messerschmitt Bf.110 of 8/ZG.26 and 2 Do.17 of 10/ZG.26. They attacked the submerged boat and within a very short time sighted a dark patch surfacing, indicative of leaking oil. The planes dropped smoke floats on the position, 34º47'N, 16º55'E. No further sound or echo was obtained after this time. Despite British claims that Upholder should have been far away, there is no submarine reporting this attack, the visual contact was definite and there is reasonable certainty of a sinking or severe damage, therefore it is thought this attack might account for Upholder's demise.

Note: the attack of Italian TB Pegaso was made against a dolphin(!). The animal was positively identified by a plane overhead but the observer's report has only been recently discovered in the Italian Naval archives by Mr. Mattesini.

10 Apr 1942
10 Apr 1942 In the evening, Captain 'Tug' Wilson, RM and Lance Corporal Charles Parker of the Beds and Herts Regiment and two Arab saboteurs were landed to sabotage a railway near Sousse (reported completed at 2301B/10). The two Britons returned to the submarine and Captain Wilson was transferred to HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) at 0340 hours on 11 April in position 35°34'N, 12°17'E as this submarine was proceeding to Gibraltar. Wilson was the last man to see the crew of HMS Upholder. Upholder was then sent to patrol east of Djerba Island and then received an order to form a patrol line with HMS Thrasher (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, RN) and HMS Urge (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Tomkinson, DSO and Bar, RN) to intercept an important convoy approaching Tripoli from the east (the Aprilia convoy). Upholder was not heard from again.

Media links


Hero of the Upholder

Allaway, Jim


Return to the Allied Warships section