Allied Warships

HMS P 39 (P 39)

Submarine of the U class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassU 
PennantP 39 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered11 Mar 1940 
Laid down14 Oct 1940 
Launched23 Aug 1941 
Commissioned16 Nov 1941 
Lost26 Mar 1942 
History

HMS P 39 (Lt. Norman Marriott, DSC, RN) was sunk by aircraft whilst undergoing repairs at Malta. She was beached at Kalkara and camouflaged. Nevertheless, she was destroyed by another air attack.  

Commands listed for HMS P 39 (P 39)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Norman Marriott, DSC, RN3 Oct 194126 Mar 1942

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Notable events involving P 39 include:


The history of HMS P 39 as compiled on this page is extracted from P 39'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.

This page was last updated in August 2016.

15 Nov 1941
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) departed her builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HNoMS Molde. (1)

16 Nov 1941
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of trials and training. (1)

16 Dec 1941
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Bay of Biscay to intercept German capital ships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in case they would leave Brest.

Passage south through the Irish Sea was made together with HrMs O 21 (Lt.Cdr. J.F. van Dulm, RNN) and FFS Junon (Cdr. J. Querville). They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR).

Upon completion of the patrol P 39 was to proceed to Gibraltar.

No log is available for this period so no map can be displayed. (1)

26 Dec 1941
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Gibraltar. She was escorted in by the destroyer HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN). The German B-Dienst was aware of her passage. (2)

2 Jan 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 2nd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Alboran Sea. She was ordered to patrol in the Alboran Sea and intercept the German freighter Elisabeth Hendrik Fisser (5014 GRT, built 1924) which was believed ready to sail from Agua Amarga. P 39 sighted only neutral vessels.

For the daily positions of HMS P 39 during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

9 Jan 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

16 Jan 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 3rd war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Alboran Sea. She was escorted out by HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN).

For the daily positions of HMS P 39 during this patrol see the map below. No position is known for 23 January 1942.

(4)

24 Jan 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Gibraltar. (3)

2 Feb 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for passage to Malta.

No log is available for this period so no map can be displayed. (5)

11 Feb 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta. (5)

16 Feb 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to form a patrol line with HMS Una (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) and HMS P 34 (Lt. P.R.H. Harrison, DSC, RN) to the east of Tripoli to intercept an important enemy convoy together with other submarines of the 10th submarine flotilla.

No log is available for this period so no map can be displayed. (6)

23 Feb 1942
While trying to close on an enemy convoy to the east of Tripoli, HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) believed to have been detected and depth charged by the escorts. In fact, the depth charges were probably those of the Italian torpedo boat Circe attacking HMS P 38 (Lt. R.J. Hemingway, DSC, RN) which was lost with all hands. (6)

27 Feb 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (6)

6 Mar 1942
HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) was reported to have sustained some damage during an air raid at Malta.

Temporary repairs were started at Malta but full repairs were to be made in the U.K. amongst other repairs a new battery was to be installed there. (2)

26 Mar 1942
During a heavy air raid on Malta Dockyard in the afternoon HMS P 39 (Lt. N. Marriott, DSC, RN) was heavily damaged by near misses. Her back was broken.

Sources

  1. ADM 199/400
  2. ADM 199/2565
  3. ADM 199/1833
  4. ADM 199/1883
  5. ADM 199/424
  6. ADM 199/1224

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


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