Richard Douglas Cayley DSO, RN

Born  6 Oct 1907
Died  Jan 1943(35)HMS P 311


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Ranks

1 Jan 1929 A/S.Lt.
1 Feb 1929 S.Lt.
1 Aug 1931 Lt.
1 Aug 1939 Lt.Cdr.
30 Jun 1942 Cdr.

Decorations

29 Jul 1941 DSO
5 May 1942 Bar to DSO
12 May 1942 2nd Bar to DSO

Warship Commands listed for Richard Douglas Cayley, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Parthian (N 75)Lt.Cdr.Submarine8 Jul 194017 Aug 1940
HMS Utmost (N 19)Lt.Cdr.Submarine30 Jan 1941Oct 1941
HMS Utmost (N 19)Lt.Cdr.SubmarineNov 19414 Apr 1942
HMS P 311 (P 311)Lt.Cdr.Submarine8 Jun 19428 Jan 1943

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Submarine HMS Parthian (N 75)


8 Jul 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rimington, RN) was docked at Alexandria.

Shortly afterwards Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley assumed temporary command of HMS Parthian as Lt.Cdr. Rimington was sick. (1)

13 Jul 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) was undocked. (1)

16 Jul 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Alexandria for her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to conduct a special operation and to patrol off the Kithera Channel. Later she was ordered to patrol off the east coast of Sicily.

Before proceeding on patrol exercises were carried out with HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN).

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

(2)

20 Jul 1940
At 0130 HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) landed an agent (M. Spentidakis, code name SPHINX) on Crete at Gromeno Bay. The agent was to contact General Mantakas (an opponent of the dictator Metaxas) who was to organise an uprising should the Greek government sides with the Italians. He was arrested within a week but the British government applied pressure and obtained his release. (2)

27 Jul 1940 (position 36.59, 15.28)
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) attacked a convoy of two merchant vessels near Syracuse, Sicily. Three torpedoes were fired at the leading merchant vessel but no hits were obtained.

The target was the steamer Marte (5290 GRT, built 1917) followed by Dalmazia (3800 GRT) [it is not certain if this was the naval water tanker Dalmazia (3137 tons, built 1923) or the passenger cargo Dalmatia L. (3252 GRT, built 1903), our thanks to Francesco De Domenico and Tiberio ‘Sandokan’ from the Aidmen Association and Lorenzo Colombo for their suggestions] unescorted on passage from Tripoli to Catania. They had been briefly escorted out by the torpedo boat Centauro.

(All times are zone -1)
0901 hours - In position 270°, Cape Murro di Porco, 6 nautical miles (approximately 36°59'N, 15°28'E), sighted two merchant vessels bearing 120°, range 7 nautical miles. Started attack.

0915 hours - Fired three torpedoes at the leading ship from 3000 yards. No hits were obtained. (2)

1 Aug 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) had just initiated her return trip to Alexandria when she was informed by the C. in C. signal of 2157/31 that an enemy cruiser was expected on a northward course to pass near Cape Passero (this was the light cruiser Giovanni Delle Bande Nere which had sailed from Tripoli for La Spezia). The submarine turned back and maintained a patrol until dawn before resuming her passage to Alexandria.

7 Aug 1940
HMS Parthian (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (2)


Submarine HMS Utmost (N 19)


4 Feb 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 3rd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol the Western approaches to Tripoli, Libya.

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

(3)

9 Feb 1941 (position 33.00, 12.11)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) made a torpedo attack on an enemy convoy about 5 nautical miles North-East of Zuwara, Libya in position 33°00N, 12°11'E. Three torpedoes were fired but no hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -1)
1715 hours - In position 33°00N, 12°11'E sighted a convoy of three merchant vessels bearing 280°. Range was about 5 nautical miles. They were zig-zagging very erratically. Started attack.

1745 hour - The convoy stopped to wait for a fourth merchant vessel that came from the North.

1805 hours - The convoy proceeded. It was now getting dark.

1815 hours - When about to open fire on the leading ship from 500 yards she suddenly altered course towards. Went deep with the intention to return to periscope depth at the other side of the convoy and then to attack the rear ship. Three torpedoes were fired in this attack but due to the bad visibility no hits were obtained. No counter attack followed.

According to Italian sources the attack had been on a convoy consisting of the transport Nirvo (5164 GRT, built 1919) and the tankers Berbera (2093 GRT, built 1931) and Caucaso (2065 GRT, built 1920) screened by the armed merchant cruiser Attilio Deffenu (3510 GRT, built 1929). The torpedoes were seen and an escorting aircraft dropped a marking buoy in the vicinity but no retaliatory action occurred. (3)

12 Feb 1941 (position 33.00, 12.00)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant Mauly (5942 GRT, built 1925) off Zuwara, Libya in position 33°00'N, 12°00'E.

(All times are zone -1)
0930 hours - Sighted a convoy of three merchant ships escorted by one destroyer bearing 100°, range 3 nautical miles, enemy course 260°. Started attack on the leading and largest ship of about 8000 tons. Fired three torpedoes and obtained one hit. Utmost went to 80 feet after firing the torpedoes.

0954 to 1022 hours - 25 Depth charges were dropped. HE indicated that two escorts were hunting. No damage was sustained. Utmost retired to the North-East.

1130 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw the target down by the stern and stopped. Aircraft were patrolling the area. The convoy meanwhile made off to the West.

[The convoy attacked was made up of the above mentioned Mauly as well as the Italian merchant Tembien (5584 GRT, built 1914) and the German merchant Leverkusen (7382 GRT, built 1928). They were escorted by the Italian torpedo boat Centauro. Mauly was hit astern and immobilised, her crew had abandoned ship but later reboarded her. The auxiliary Orlando and the tug Polifemo were sent from Tripoli to take her in tow and the torpedo-boat Rosolino Pilo to relieve Centauro who continued with the remaining ships. It took seven days to bring Mauly back to Tripoli.] (3)

15 Feb 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

25 Feb 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to perform a special operation.

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

(3)

28 Feb 1941
At 1930 hours, HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) surfaced in position 35°59'N, 10°34'E (Gulf of Hammamet) and carried out the special mission. This was the first of five missions that Utmost would undertake in Tunisia. Although no official report appears to have survived, there is little doubt that Utmost made contact with a sailing vessel and transferred stores for the Mounier network. The previous month, Mounier had sailed from Tunisia in the sailing vessel Pescadou and reached Malta. He offered his services to organize a resistance network in Tunisia. They were later provided with limpets to sabotage Italian vessels engaged in the phosphate traffic. (3)

1 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
A few hours later the submarine sent a boat to pick up 2nd Lt. Fairclough near Sebkhet Halk El Menzel (souh of Hergla). This officer has not been definitely identified. Was he an agent or perhaps a flyer shot down over Tunisia? Any help in identifying him is appreciated.

4 Mar 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

6 Mar 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the Gulf of Hammamet.

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

(3)

9 Mar 1941 (position 36.09, 11.07)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Capo Vita (5683 GRT, built 1916) off the Gulf of Hammamet about 30 nautical miles North-East of Sousse, Tunisia in position 36°09'N, 11°07'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1115 hours - Sighted two merchant ships escorted by an armed merchant cruiser bearing 345°, range 5 nautical miles, enemy course 170°. Started attack.

1205 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1000 yards. Two explosions followed. A counter attack followed in which 6 depth charges were dropped but these did no damage. 12 Minutes later Utmost returned to periscope depth to find the armed merchant cruiser and one of the merchants in sight. The other one must have sunk. She had been heavily laden and was of about 8000 tons and it was also observed that there were troops on board.

[This convoy was made up of the above mentioned Capo Vita as well as the Italian merchant Fenicia (2584 GRT, built 1919), they were escorted by the Italian Armed Merchant Cruiser Attilio Deffenu (3510 GRT, built 1929). Capo Vita blew up, there were no survivors. An escorting Cant Z 501 of 144^ Squadriglia observed the attack but was powerless to intervene. Fenicia was sunk the next day by HMS Unique.] (3)

12 Mar 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

19 Mar 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Kerkennah as a convoy believed to be transporting German troops was expected to sail from Naples.

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

(3)

28 Mar 1941 (position 35.40, 11.19)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) attacked a convoy of 5 German merchants and three Italian destroyers and torpedoed and sank the German merchants Heraklea (1927 GRT, built 1922) and torpedoed and damaged the Ruhr (5954 GRT, built 1926) 22 nautical miles south-east of Kuriat, Tunisia in position 35°40'N, 11°19'E.

(All times are zone -2)
In position 35°40'N, 11°19'E sighted six heavily laden merchant vessels escorted by two destroyers bearing 330°, range 9000 yards, enemy course 150°, speed 12 knots. Started attack.

2158 hours - Fired four torpedoes at three ships showing up as an unbroken line against the horizon. After the last torpedo had left the tubes Utmost dived. Two hits were obtained. The time between the explosions indicated that in either column a ship must have been hit. No counter attack followed which might indicate that there were survivors in the water. Utmost retired to the Eastward and remained dived until 2400 hours.

[The convoy attacked was made up of the above mentioned German merchant ships as well as the German merchants Adana (4176 GRT, built 1922) and Samos (2576 GRT, built 1923) and the Italian merchant Galilea (8040 GRT, built 1916). They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Folgore, Dardo and Strale. Heraklea was carrying 212 German soldiers and 100 vehicles, 78 were lost. Ruhr carried 585 German soldiers and 160 vehicles, she was towed by the destroyer Dardo to Trapani.] (3)

1 Apr 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

2 Apr 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) was docked at Malta. (4)

7 Apr 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) was undocked. (4)

17 Apr 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to perform a special operation.

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

(3)

19 Apr 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
At 2145 hours, in position 35°57'N, 10°36'E (north of Sousse) HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) surfaced to carry out the special operation. The Breuillac/Mounier resistance network (see 28 February) had received a signal at noon the previous day that a submarine would pick up Breuillac at 22 hours on the 19th. In Malta, he was to meet with Lt. Col. Des Essarts, an envoy of General De Gaulle, who was to fly from Cairo. Breuillac, who was Chief of Staff to General Jurion, had secured a 15-day leave to do some 'tourism' in Tunisia. He lost no time and travelled by train to Sousse with Mounier and another member of their network, Verdier. They took a small sailboat to go 'fishing' and cruised for several hours at the rendezvous point. Utmost delivered stores and Mounier and Verdier returned with them leaving Breuillac to continue on to Malta.

22 Apr 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

25 Apr 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to carry out a special operation.

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

(3)

27 Apr 1941
At 2105 hours, in position 35°58'N, 10°37.5'E HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) surfaced to carry out the special operation. This was to meet a sailboat manned by Mounier and Verdier and transfer Commandant Breuillac. The submarine cruised in a vain without meeting them, the two men later affirming that they had been at the rendezvous. (3)

28 Apr 1941
At 2106 hours, in position 35°58'N, 10°37'E HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) surfaced again to carry out the special operation. This time the sailboat was sighted at 2140 hours and Breuillac and stores (including limpets for underwater sabotage) were transferred ashore. He had three days to spare for his furlough! (3)

9 May 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. At 0941 hours, shortly before entering harbour Utmost was attacked by enemy aircraft. She crash dived to safety. Several bombs were dropped causing minor damage. (3)

24 May 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the Gulf of Hammamet and to perform a special operation.

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

(3)

27 May 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
At 2146 hours, in position 35°58'N, 10°34'E, HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) surfaced to carry out a special operation. No information appears to have survived but it probably was to land explosives and other stores for the Breuillac/Mounier network.

29 May 1941 (position 35.43, 11.06)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) attacked a merchant vessel with three torpedoes about 5 nautical miles South-East of Kuriat. No hits were obtained. One of the torpedoes had a gyro failure.

(All times are zone -2)
1350 hours - In position 35°43'N, 11°06'E sighted a merchant ship of about 3000 tons. One aircraft was circling overhead and was believed to be an escort. Range was 10000 yards. Closed at speed to attack. In the attack three torpedoes were fired from 4500 yards. Upon firing Utmost went to 80 feet. One of the torpedoes had a gyro failure and appeared to be cruising around in an erratic and alarming matter. After 10 minutes HE from the torpedo became fainter and finally disappeared.

At the time this was believed to have been the Italian Florida II (3100 GRT, built 1905) but she was at Sfax at the time. The target has not yet been identified. (3)

4 Jun 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

17 Jun 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea to the North of the Straits of Messina. She also was to destroy a railway if the opportunity arose.

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

(3)

24 Jun 1941
At 0001 hours, near position 39°10'N, 16°03'E (north of Amantea), HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) launched a folbot manned by Lt. D.R. Schofield, Royal Fusiliers and Lance Corporal F.C. Morgan to blow up a train in a railway tunnel.

(All times are zone -2)
23 June 1941
2210 hours - Surfaced and proceeded towards the shore. A suitable tunnel in which to wreck a train had been spotted during the day.

24 June 1941
0001 hours - Launched the Folbot with a party of two 400 yards from the shore. They successfully placed the charge and returned safely.

0200 hours - A train went through the tunnel but did not blow up.

0245 hours - Launched the Folbot again. The railway was now blown up without waiting for a train. The party returned safely shortly before dawn at 0500 hours. (3)

26 Jun 1941 (position 38.07, 14.37)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Enrico Costa (4080 BRT, built 1928) 4 nautical miles from Cape Todaro, Sicily, Italy in position 38°07'N, 14°37'E. The vessel was travelling from Catania to Palermo with 3000 tons of coal. There were no casualties.

(All times are zone -2)
1200 hours -Sighted a partly laden merchant ship of about 6000 tons bearing 060°, 5 nautical miles away. Utmost closed to 1100 yards and fired two torpedoes. One of the torpedoes hit amidships. The crew abandoned ship but it did not sink. Utmost later fired a third torpedo that hit and sank the ship.

According to Italian sources the vessel was travelling from Catania to Palermo with 3000 tons of coal. There were no casualties. The torpedo-boats Castore and Albatros were directed to the scene. Utmost sighted Albatros at 1425 hours and correctly identified her but the Italian warships failed to detect the submarine. (3)

28 Jun 1941
At 1410 hours, HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN), sighted three cruisers and three destroyers bearing 230 degrees, 5 miles, course 130°, the nearest cruiser was a Condottieri class, the others could not be identified. The submarine could not come within attacking range but attempted to make an enemy report, however Malta failed to acknowledge reception. These were most certainly the light cruiser Monteccucoli and the destroyers Fuciliere and Bersagliere who reached Palermo at 1530 hours. The other warships have not been identified (so far).

Just after midnight, while another landing attempt was underway in approximate position 38°02'N, 14°04'E (near Sant' Ambrogio, north coast of Sicily), Utmost was apparently seen from shore detected by a sentry of a railway tunnel. Shouts were heard and the landing party (Lt. D.R. Schofield of the Royal Fusiliers and Lance Corporal F.C. Morgan) also heard the alarm and wisely returned to the submarine. (5)

3 Jul 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

8 Jul 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) was docked at Malta. (6)

12 Jul 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) was undocked. (6)

17 Jul 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea to the North of the Straits of Messina, one of the four submarines deployed for operation SUBSTANCE (the others were HMS Urge and HMS Upholder from Malta and HMS P 32 from Gibraltar). She also was to destroy a railway if the opportunity arose, just like in her previous patrol that was in the same area.

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

(3)

20 Jul 1941 (position 38.26, 12.48)
At 2305 hours, HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN), sighted a 6000 tons merchant vessel bearing 50 degrees, at a distance of five miles in position 38°26'N, 12°48'E, The ship was zig-zagging on a mean course of 260°. The submarine closed at high speed and, at 2325 hours, fired two torpedoes from a range of 3000 yards. Both missed. The target has not been identified for certain but may have been the Italian Ettore (4270 GRT, built 1912) who had sailed at 1830 hours from Palermo for Algiers.

27 Jul 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) landed a sabotage party in position 38°47'N, 16°06'E (near Pizzo, Calabria, Italy) (Lt. D.R. Schoffield, Royal Fusiliers, and Lance Corporal F.C. Morgan).

(All times are zone -2)
27 July 1941
2330 hours - Landed the Folbot with a party of two which successfully laid explosives underneath a railway line.

28 July 1941
0100 hours - A large explosion was seen as a large southbound train passed over the spot where the charge had been placed. Shortly afterwards the Folbot party returned safely. According to Italian sources the rear of the train was derailed.
(3)

28 Jul 1941 (position 39.28, 15.52)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Frederico (1488 GRT, built 1920) in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea of the west coast of Calabria, Italy in position 39°28'N, 15°52'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1835 hours - Sighted a 4000 tons merchant ship escorted by a 5000 tons Armed Merchant Cruiser bearing 330°, 9 nautical miles, course 160°, speed 8 knots. Started attack in which two torpedoes were fired from 700 yards. One hit was obtained and the ship sank immediately. The Armed Merchant Cruiser counter attacked with 20 depth charges but none were close.

According to Italian sources Frederico had been escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Adriatico (1976 GRT, built 1931) who rescued all the crew except one. (3)

3 Aug 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

19 Aug 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off South coast of Calabria, Italy. Once again she carried a raiding party to destroy a railway if the opportunity arose.

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

(3)

27 Aug 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) landed a sabotage party (Lt. R. Wilson, R.A. and Marine W.G. Hughes) near the mouth of the river Saracena (39°50'N, 16°31'E).

(All times are zone -2)
27 August 1941
2325 hours - Landed the Folbot with a party of two which successfully laid explosives on the railway bridge across the river Seracina.

28 August 1941
0218 hours - A large explosion occurred. It appeared the charges were well placed.

0230 hours - The Folbot party returned safely.

According to Italian sources the explosion did not destroy the bridge but caused enough damage requiring repairs before traffic could be resumed. (3)

28 Aug 1941 (position 39.16, 17.17)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) attacked an enemy merchant vessel in position 39°16'N, 17°17'E (near Punta Alice, Calabria, Italy). Three torpedoes were fired but no hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -2)
1650 hours - When in position 014°, 3 nautical miles from Alice Point, sighted an Armed Merchant Cruiser bearing 060°, range 5 nautical miles. She was escorting a merchant vessel of about 6000 tons. Their course was about 260°. The Armed Merchant Cruiser soon altered course to the South and came towards. It was expected that the merchant ship would follow but she did not do so immediately. Eventually Utmost had to go deep to avoid the Armed Merchant Cruiser. When she returned to periscope depth it was noticed that the merchant ship had finally changed course towards. Started attack in which three torpedoes were fired but these all missed.

The armed merchant cruiser was almost certainly Piero Foscari (3423 GT, built 1928) on passage from Bari to Naples via Messina. The merchant ship has not yet been identified.

Shortly after firing, another merchant vessel of 4000 tons escorted by a schooner appeared coast from the northward. Utmost reloaded the tubes but the target disappeared in a rain squall before an attack could be carried out. This was most probably the transport Dea Mazzella (3082 GRT, built 1919) escorted by the auxiliary Maria di Meglio on passage from Taranto to Crotone. A week later, Dea Mazzella was damaged by air attack at Crotone. (3)

31 Aug 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

12 Sep 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 13th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She had just returned to port after exercising in the morning when she was ordered to proceed to position 34°36'N, 12°12'E, near the Kerkennah Shallows, to pick up the crew from a crashed Blenheim bomber.

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

(3)

13 Sep 1941 (position 34.35, 12.16)
At 0745 hours, in position 34°35'N, 12°16'E, HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) sighted distress signals bearing 220°. 5 Minutes later sighted a rubber dinghy with three occupants. They were the missing aircrew and were quickly picked up. (3)

14 Sep 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) ended her 13th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

18 Sep 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, RN) departed Malta for her 14th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea. Once again she carried a raiding party to destroy a railway if the opportunity arose.

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

(5)

22 Sep 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) landed a sabotage party (Lt. R. Wilson, R.A. and Marine W.G. Hughes) near Intavolata (position 39°29'N, 15°58'E). They were not successful in destroying the Torre di Rienzo railway tunnel as they were detected by Italian guards.

(All times are zone -2)
22 September 1941
2200 hours - Stopped in 14 fathoms of water, 1500 yards from the shore. Landed the Folbot with a party of two which were to lay explosives in the entrance to a railway tunnel on the busy Naples-Messina line.

23 September 1941
0152 hours - The operation had to be abandoned as the raiding party was detected by Italian guards.

0210 hours - The Folbot party returned safely despite being under constant gunfire from the shore.

The operation was thwarted by the arrival of the Italian Militia (Carabiniere Alfonso Cappuziello, Corporal Francesco Scarnati and a railway watchman). The commandos fired three rounds with their pistols and Cappuziello fired back two rounds with his rifle. The commandos fled, abandoning their explosives. The Italian High Command was upset that reaction had not been more energetic and the two soldiers and three of their superior officers were sentenced to several days arrest. (5)

23 Sep 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) again landed a sabotage party party (Lt. R. Wilson, R.A. and Marine W.G. Hughes) near position 39°04.5'N, 16°06'E (Campomara di San Giovanni). They were not successful in destroying a railway bridge over the river Oliva as, yet again, they were detected by Italian guards.

(All times are zone -2)
2145 hours - Stopped in 16 fathoms of water, 1400 yards from the shore. Landed the Folbot with a party of two which were to lay explosives on the railway bridge over the river Oliva.

2245 hours - Saw flashes from gunfire on the shore. Looked like the raiding party was again detected.

2300 hours - The raiding party returned safely. Utmost retired to seaward.

Again the operation was thwarted by two sentries Alfonso Sementa and Enrico Murgano. Apparently the commandos fired two pistol shots hitting Murgano in the right arm but both Italian soldiers returned fire forcing the two commandos to flee, they managed to return to the submarine. The alarm had been given and more Italian soldiers arrived, the area was thoroughly searched and the explosives discovered. (5)

26 Sep 1941 (position 38.18, 15.41)
Utmost had been ordered to cover the northern approaches of the Strait of Messina during the passage of the HALBERD convoy. At 1435 hours, three cruisers and eight destroyers proceeding northward were sighted at a distance of 6 miles in 38°18'N, 15°41'E. The submarine closed to 2500 yards and was about to fire four torpedoes at the third cruiser when it nearly collided with a destroyer and the attack was broken off.

These were the heavy cruisers Trento and Gorizia and their destroyer screen who had just sailed from Messina. (5)

2 Oct 1941 (position 37.53, 12.05)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) attacked an enemy convoy off Marettimo Island. Only one torpedo was fired instead of the intended three as Utmost was detected by the escorts and the attack had to be broken off.

(All times are zone -2)
0119 hours - In position 37°53'N, 12°05'E sighted a convoy bearing 130°, range about 6 nautical miles, enemy course 330°. Escort a provided by two destroyers but most likely a third was astern. Attack conditions were very difficult. An attack was started and one torpedo was fired. More torpedoes were intended but a green Very light was fired in the direction of Utmost by an unseen destroyer. Utmost had to no other choice then to dive. The torpedo that was fired was heard to explode and is thought to have hit the target. Following this attack 14 depth charges were dropped by the escorts but none were close and no damage was sustained.

According to Italian sources this was the “H” convoy consisting of the transports Caterina (4838 GRT, built 1920), Marin Sanudo (5958 GRT, built 1926) and the tanker Minatitland (7651 GRT, built 1941) escorted by destroyers Alpino, Alfredo Oriani and Strale proceeding from Tripoli to Naples. It was Oriani who sighted the surfaced submarine and rushed to the attack, dropping 22 depth charges. (3)

3 Oct 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (3)

11 Oct 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) was docked at Malta. (7)

15 Oct 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) was undocked. (7)

21 Oct 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt. J.D. Martin, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. (7)

15 Nov 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 16th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the West coast of Greece. This was later changed to the Southern approaches to the Strait of Messina.

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

(5)

21 Nov 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian heavy cruiser Trieste South of the Straits of Messina in position 37°48'N, 15°32'E.

(All times are zone -1)
2300 hours - In position 37°48'N, 15°32'E heard HE. Shortly afterwards sighted three Italian cruisers and three destroyers bearing 275°, range about 5 nautical miles, enemy course 110°, speed 20 knots. Started attack in which four torpedoes were fired at the rear cruiser.

2312 hours - One hit was obtained just abaft the fore funnel. A column of flame rose over 200 feet in the air and the sea was illuminated for considerable distance so dived. Two depth charges were dropped shortly afterwards. Utmost meanwhile retired to the South-East.

2355 hours - A rumbling noise was heard. It was hoped that this was the cruiser sinking. A further 84 depth charges were dropped but by now Utmost was well clear.

According to Italian sources Trieste (III Cruiser Division) was in company with the heavy cruisers Trento and Gorizia and covering the right flank of an important convoy of four transport ships (Napoli, Vettor Pisani, Mantovani and Monginevro) for Tripoli, the light cruisers Giuseppe Garibaldi and Luigi di Savoia Duca Delgi Abruzzi (VIII Division) were on the left flank. The group was screened by the destroyers Granatiere, Aviere, Ugolino Vivaldi, Geniere, Camicia Nera, Corazziere, Carabiniere, Alpino, Turbine, Emanuelle Pessagno, Antonio Da Noli and the torpedo-boat Perseo.

Trieste was hit in boiler no.3 and had 22 killed and three wounded and temporarily immobilised but at 0038 hours managed to proceed. It was estimated that she had embarked 3000 tons of water. Shortly after the light cruiser Abruzzi was hit by an aircraft torpedo and disabled but both cruisers managed to limp back to Messina while the convoy was ordered to Taranto.

The Trieste was out of action until mid-July 1942. (5)

27 Nov 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) ended her 16th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (5)

9 Dec 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 17th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the Gulf of Taranto.

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

(5)

12 Dec 1941 (position 39.47, 17.22)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) attacked the fast Italian transports Fabio Filzi (6836 GRT, built 1940) and Carlo del Greco (6837 GRT, built 1941) in the Gulf of Taranto in position 39°47'N, 17°22'E. All four torpedoes fired missed their targets.

(All times are zone -1)
0050 hours - Heard HE bearing 135°.

0110 hours - In position 39°47'N, 17°22'E sighted two destroyers and two merchant vessels bearing 130°, range about 6 nautical miles, enemy course 330°, speed 15 knots. Started attack.

0132 hours - Fired four torpedoes, two at each merchant ship. The nearest target was then at 5000 yards range.

0133 hours - Dived and retired to the South.

0139 hours - Heard one torpedo hit.

0150 hours - Depth charging started. About 40 were dropped throughout the night.

[The convoy was escorted by the Italian destroyers Nicoloso da Recco and Antoniotto Usodimare. Shortly after HMS Upright sent both transports to the bottom of the sea]. (5)

16 Dec 1941 (position 39.33, 17.41)
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) attacked a force of Italian warships off the Gulf of Taranto in position 39°33'N, 17°41'E. Four torpedoes were fired from long range but no hits were obtained.

(All times are zone -1)
2210 hours - Heard H.E. bearing 335°.

2220 hours - In position 39°33'N, 17°41'E sighted destroyers and large units bearing 315°, range about 6 nautical miles, enemy course 140°, speed 20 knots. Started attack.

2234 hours - Fired four torpedoes at what appeared to be a cruiser at long range. The torpedoes missed and it is thought that the speed, estimated at 18 knots, may have been to little.

[The force attacked was most likely made up of the Italian heavy cruisers Gorizia and Trento escorted by the Italian destroyers Maestrale, Alfredo Oriani and Vincenzo Gioberti. They were scouting ten miles ahead of the Littorio battle group as the First Battle of Sirte was developing.] (5)

19 Dec 1941
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) ended her 17th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. This was the last patrol of her 1st commission. She was now sent back to the U.K. to refit. (5)

3 Jan 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. She was escorted out by the British minesweeper HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR). Due to the shortage of torpedoes in Malta, she carried only two Mark II torpedoes.

As no log is available for this period no map can be displayed. (3)

12 Jan 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (3)

17 Jan 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) departed Gibraltar for Holy Loch.

As no log is available for this period no map can be displayed. (3)

25 Jan 1942
While on passage from Gibraltar for Holy Loch HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) is ordered to take up a patrol position South-West of Brest, France (in position 47°25'N, 06°30'W). The passage now became her 18th war patrol. (3)

31 Jan 1942 (position 47.30, -6.33)
At 2310 hours, in position 47°30'N, 06°33'W, a U-boat was sighted bearing 040°, range 3 nautical miles. Utmost dived but could not regain contact.

This was most likely the German U-boat U-753 on passage to St. Nazaire after her 1st war patrol in the North Atlantic.

2 Feb 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) left her patrol area and resumed her passage to Holy Loch. (3)

3 Feb 1942
At 0800 hours, HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) made rendezvous off Wolfs Rock with her escort to Holy Loch, the British armed yacht HMS Breda (Capt.(Retd.) A. E. Johnston, RN). (3)

5 Feb 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (3)

8 Feb 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) departed Holy Loch for Blyth. She was escorted by HMS Sherwood (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN). (8)

11 Feb 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) arrived at Blyth. (9)

13 Feb 1942
HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) commenced her refit at Blyth. (9)


Submarine HMS P 311 (P 311)


5 Aug 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed her builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (10)

6 Aug 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of trials and training. (10)

13 Sep 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Plymouth. She has to be modified at the Devonport Dockyard to carry the containers that hold the Chariot human torpedoes. During the passage south through the Irish Sea she was escorted by HrMs Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.L.M. van Geen, RNN). (11)

15 Sep 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) arrived at Plymouth. After disembarking ammunition and torpedoes she enters Devonport Dockyard on the 17th. (11)

5 Oct 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) left dock at the Devonport Dockyard. (12)

10 Oct 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) is docked again at the Devonport Dockyard. She left dock the next day. (12)

5 Nov 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed Plymouth for Port HHZ. At that secret base in North-West Scotland she was to take on board Chariot human torpedoes. (13)

8 Nov 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) arrived at Port HHZ (Loch Cairnbawn). (13)

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

Passage south through the Irish sea was made together with HMS Trooper (Lt. J.S. Wraith, DSO, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (13)

30 Nov 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) arrived at Malta. (8)

28 Dec 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed from Malta for a Chariot attack on La Maddalena. This was her 1st war patrol. (14)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16413
  2. ADM 199/283
  3. ADM 199/1922
  4. ADM 173/17171
  5. ADM 199/1116
  6. ADM 173/17173
  7. ADM 173/17176
  8. ADM 199/424
  9. ADM 199/2573
  10. ADM 173/17489
  11. ADM 173/17482
  12. ADM 173/17483
  13. ADM 199/1909
  14. ADM 199/1925

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


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