Allied Warships

HMS Unbeaten (N 93)

Submarine of the U class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassU 
PennantN 93 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered4 Sep 1939 
Laid down22 Nov 1939 
Launched9 Jul 1940 
Commissioned10 Nov 1940 
Lost11 Nov 1942 
Loss position46° 50'N, 6° 51'W
History

On 11 November 1942 HMS Unbeaten (Lt. Donald Eric Ogilvy Watson, DSC, RN) was attacked and sunk in error by an RAF Wellington of No. 172 Squadron, Coastal Command in the Bay of Biscay in position 46º50'N, 06º51'W.

Unbeaten had left Holy Loch on 23 October 1942 for a special operation (landing an intelligence agent near Vigo, Spain) followed by an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. She was ordered to leave patrol after dark on 8 November 1942. She was lost on the return trip from patrol inside a bombing restrictions area.

 

Commands listed for HMS Unbeaten (N 93)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Edward Arthur Woodward, RN14 Sep 194023 Sep 1941
2Lt. Compton Patrick Norman, RN23 Sep 19416 Oct 1941
3Lt.Cdr. Edward Arthur Woodward, RN6 Oct 194131 Aug 1942
4Lt. Donald Eric Ogilvy Watson, DSC, RN31 Aug 194211 Nov 1942 (+)

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Notable events involving Unbeaten include:


The history of HMS Unbeaten as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine. Corrections and details regarding information from the enemy's side (for instance the composition of convoys attacked) is kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

This page was last updated in August 2013.

There is a nice website about HMS Unbeaten, you can find it here.

A book about HMS Unbeaten can be ordered here.

18 Nov 1940
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed her builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch. (1)

19 Nov 1940
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of trials and training. (1)

6 Dec 1940
During a gale, HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) broke adrift at Holy Loch. She collided with a merchant vessel and then grounded. (2)

8 Dec 1940
At Holy Loch, HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was refloated afer her grounding two days ago. She had sustained no damage. (2)

16 Dec 1940
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Holy Loch for Barrow. She returned to her builders for repairs to her Kingstons and the fitting of new propellors. (2)

17 Dec 1940
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Barrow. (2)

19 Dec 1940
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was docked at Barrow. (2)

26 Dec 1940
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was undocked. (2)

30 Dec 1940
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Barrow for Dartmouth. She was escorted by HMS Philante (Capt. (retired) H.S. Bowlby, RN). (2)

1 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Dartmouth. Unbeaten was to be used for training. (3)

3 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Dartmouth for Portsmouth. (3)

4 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Portsmouth where she was immediately docked for yet another change of her propellors. (3)

6 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was undocked. (3)

10 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was docked again at Portsmouth for yet another change of her propellors. During the night an air raid took place but Unbeaten was not damaged. (3)

11 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was undocked. (3)

13 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) shifted from Portsmouth to Dartmouth. At Dartmouth she participated in A/S exercises. (3)

18 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) shifted from Dartmouth to Portsmouth. More A/S exercises followed. (3)

23 Jan 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was docked at Portsmouth for yet another change of her propellors. She was undocked later the same day. More A/S exercises followed. (3)

10 Feb 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Portsmouth for Dartmouth. (4)

11 Feb 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Dartmouth for more A/S exercises. (4)

15 Feb 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Dartmouth for Portsmouth. (4)

16 Feb 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (4)

3 Mar 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Portsmouth for Dartmouth. (4)

4 Mar 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Dartmouth for more A/S exercises. (4)

9 Mar 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Dartmouth for Portsmouth. (4)

10 Mar 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (4)

19 Mar 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Portsmouth for Dartmouth. (4)

20 Mar 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Dartmouth for more A/S exercises. (4)

21 Mar 1941
No A/S exercises for HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) though. She departed Dartmouth at 0400 hours for her 1st war patrol off Brest, France.

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

4 Apr 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Portsmouth. She had sighted only fishing vessels. (5)

12 Apr 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Portsmouth for Gibraltar. She was to proceed to Malta to join the 10th Submarine Flotilla that is based there.

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

14 Apr 1941
At 0230 hours, HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) sighted a submarine in position 49°54'N, 04°45'W. This turned out to be HMS H 31 (Lt. R.D. Whiteway-Wilkinson DSC, RN) which was about 20 miles out of position, they exchanged recognition signals. (5)

17 Apr 1941
At 0800 hours, HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) sighted a Breton Grand Banker barquentine in position 45°15'N, 09°22'W, steering 330°. The weather was unsuitable for a gun attack and the vessel was not deemed worth of a torpedo so the attack was abandoned. (5)

20 Apr 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (5)

23 Apr 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta. On the 26th she was ordered to patrol off Marittimo Island making this passage her 2nd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean).

No log is available for this period. The map displayed is made with position found in the patrol report.

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


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

3 May 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Malta. Nothing of interest had occured except that an unidentified aircraft was sighted on 26 April with Unbeaten diving as a precaution. (5)

11 May 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 3rd war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Tripoli, Libya.

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


HMS Unbeaten 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map (6)

14 May 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) attacked a large schooner in a convoy with three torpedoes West of Khoms, Libya. The schooner was claimed sunk but this was not the case.

According to Italian sources these were almost certainly the schooners Alas, Trio F., Rita and Neptunus escorted by the gunboat Mario Bianco proceeding from Tripoli to Benghazi. The attack appears to have been unobserved.

(All times are zone -2)
1323 hours - Sighted masts of a convoy bearing 236°, range 12000 yards. They were close inshore proceeding Eastwards. Closed at speed. The convoy was later seen to consist of one armed trawler escorting a 3-masted auxiliary schooner of about 1100 tons, a 3-masted auxiliary schooner of about 700 tons, a 2-masted auxiliary schooner of about 400 tons and one Dutch schoote of about 500 tons. They were proceeding east along the 5-fathom line about one mile off shore.

1453 hours - In approximate position 32°54'N, 13°54'E fired one salvo of three torpedoes from 4500 yards at the largest schooner. A faint explosion was heard about three minutes after firing.

1510 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw the armed trawler had turned back and closing at slow speed at a range of 4000 yards. The target however was not seen and is thought to have sunk. After 10 minutes the trawler turned back towards the convoy. (6)

15 May 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) damaged a schooner with gunfire off Khoms, Libya.

According to Italian sources this was the schooner Giorgio who had just arrived in Khoms, she was actually hit by a single shell which failed to explode. Some shells fell in the town but three of them were found unexploded.

(All times are zone -2)
2049 hours - Surfaced off Khoms harbour, 1000 yards from the schooner that was anchored there. She was a 3-masted schooner of about 800 tons.

2054 hours - Opened fire at a range of 700 yards. At least four hits were obtained and six rounds went over the target in the town beyond.

2058 hours - Ceased fire and cleared the area as to not overstay our welcome so close inshore. The target was thought to be settling by the stern and a small boat was seen to get clear. (6)

19 May 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) attacked the Italian merchant Silvio Scaroni (1367 GRT, built 1921) off Tagiura, Libya in position 32°46'N, 14°06'E. with a spread of three torpedoes. Two torpedoes however hit bottom and exploded exposing the stern of the submarine above the water. A hunt by the destroyer followed in which Unbeaten was depth charged.

According to Italian sources the escort was torpedo boat Pleiadi. Pleiadi sighted a torpedo which was aimed at her and combed the track, dropping all her depth charges.

(All times are zone -2)
1219 hours - In position 32°46'N, 14°06'E sighted a single merchant vessel of 5000 to 6000 tons escorted by a destroyer proceeding Eastward. Closed to attack.

1241 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 3500 yards. The first torpedo however struck bottom and exploded 8 seconds after firing. The result was that the third torpedo was fired with Unbeaten out of control and possible even with her stern out of the water (and the bow way down). This torpedo then also hit bottom and exploded. A depth charge attack by the destroyer now followed. In all 27 depth charges were dropped, some of which were quite close causing minor damage. Unbeaten only surfaced about 12 hours later after the destroyer had finally left the scene. (6)

22 May 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

It is likely that HMS Unbeaten was docked at Malta before proceeding on her next patrol but the ships log for May does not mention this and as there is no log for June available we can't check this for the time being. (6)

11 Jun 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of the Straits of Messina and the East coast of Sicily.

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

13 Jun 1941
In the evening, Leading stoker Sturman complained of headaches and lost consciousness. He passed away at about 0100/14. He was buried at sea at 0413/14. (6)

16 Jun 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) fired four torpedoes at a big Italian troop transport, thought to be either Oceania or Neptunia at the Southern entrance to the Straits of Messina in position in position 37°51'N, 15°26'E. The torpedoes however miss the target.

According to Italian sources this convoy was made up of the German ships Spezia (1825 GRT, built 1924), Trapani (1855 GRT, built 1926) and Livorno (1829 GRT, built 1924) escorted by the Italian armed merchant cruiser Città di Genova (5413 GRT, built 1930) proceeding from Bari and Brindisi to Catania. An escorting aircraft, Cant Z.501 no.10 of 184^ Squadriglia, sighted three torpedo tracks and dropped two bombs, claiming to have hit the submarine but this was not the case.

The target of this attack must have been the Città di Genova.

(All times are zone -2)
0819 hours - Sighted the masts of a convoy. 10 minutes later it was established that the convoy was made up of three merchant vessels of about 2000 tons and a very large liner. Lt.Cdr. Woodward closed at high speed to attack the liner.

0909 hours - Fired four torpedoes from about 7400 yards. Two hits were claimed.

0926 hours - Nine depth charges were dropped. Lt.Cdr. Woodward decided to stay deep and only returned to periscope depth at 1200 hours to find nothing in sight except patrolling aircraft. (6)

18 Jun 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was ordered to intercept and attack the Vichy-French destroyer Vauquelin that was to pass through the Staits of Messina that day en-route to Beirut. The warship was however not sighted. (6)

22 Jun 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (6)

24 Jun 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was docked at Malta. When the dock was just dry information was received about an important enemy troop convoy leaving Naples for Tripoli through the Straits of Messina. The dock was flooded up again and Unbeaten departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol East of Sicily to intercept and attack the above convoy.

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

27 Jun 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. Only a small destroyer and an armed trawler were seen during this patrol.

Most likely Unbeaten was docked immediately but as no log is available for June 1941 we are not sure. (6)

1 Jul 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was undocked at Malta. As no log is available for June 1941 it is at the moment unknown to us when she was docked but most likely this was 27 June immediately upon returning from patrol. (6)

8 Jul 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Lampedusa. Before proceeding on patrol exercises were carried out together with HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR).

Later (10 July) she was ordered to position 35°40'N, 11°55'E to intercept a convoy but this was not sighted and passed most likely to the Westward of Unbeaten.

Finally (12 July) Unbeaten was ordered to patrol the approaches to Tripoli.

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


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

15 Jul 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) sinks a schooner with gunfire at Marsa Zuag roads, Libya. Another schooner was damaged.

According to Italian sources these were only local fishing vessels and only one was hit and suffered some damage with three wounded.

(All times are zone -2)
2000 hours - Surfaced and opened fire on two 2-masted schooners sighted earlier in the day. Fire was opened from 700 yards. 43 rounds were fired. 20 hits were obtained. One of the schooners was seen heeling over and then settling by the stern.

2010 hours - Dived and cleared the area to the Northward. (6)

19 Jul 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (6)

28 Jul 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 7th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the East of Tunisia on the convoy routes between Italy and Tripoli and intercept a northbound convoy near position 36°05'N, 11°47'E.

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


HMS Unbeaten 7th war patrol click here for bigger map (6)

31 Jul 1941
At 1616 hours, the convoy HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) was ordered to intercept was sighted at 14500 yards but the submarine could not come within attacking range. (6)

9 Aug 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (6th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (6)

18 Aug 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 8th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the North of Pantelleria to intercept an important enemy troop convoy.

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


HMS Unbeaten 8th war patrol click here for bigger map (6)

19 Aug 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) fires three torpedoes (four were intended) against a convoy of Italian troop transports about 15 nautical miles North of Pantelleria. All torpedoes fired missed their target.

(All times are zone -2)
1818 hours - In position 37º02'N, 12º00'E sighted the funnels of large merchant vessel bearing 325º. Range was about 9500 yards.

1822 hours - Sighted 4 liners in formation with three escorting destroyers on their Port wing. Range was now 8000 yards.

1831 hours - Fired a salvo of three torpedoes. Four torpedoes were intended but the third torpedo of the salvo did not leave the torpedo tube. A loud explosion was heard 5 minutes and 25 seconds after firing. This gave a running range of 6500 yards exactly the range that was estimated on firing. The results could not be observed as Unbeaten had been taken deep on firing due to the heavy air escort overhead.

1930 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight.

The convoy attacked was made up of the Italian liners Neptunia (19475 GRT, built 1932), Oceania (19507 GRT, built 1933), Marco Polo (12567 GRT, built 1912) and Esperia (11398 GRT, built 1920). They were initially escorted by the Italian destroyers Ugolino Vivaldi, Nicoloso da Recco, Vincenzo Gioberti and Alfredo Oriani. Later the destroyers Grecale, Maestrale and Scirocco joined from Palermo and the torpedo boat Giuseppe Dezza joined from Trapani. An escorting CANT Z.501 from 196^Squadriglia reported the torpedo tracks (which crossed far ahead of the convoy) and dropped two bombs on the submarine. (6)

21 Aug 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (7th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (6)

24 Aug 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 9th 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 Unbeaten during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Unbeaten 9th war patrol click here for bigger map (6)

28 Aug 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) attacked an Italian submarine with four torpedoes in position 37°51'N, 15°46'E. No hits were obtained.

According to Italian sources this was Adua on passage from Pola to Messina but the attack was unobserved.

(All times are zone -2)
1630 hours - In position 37°51'N, 15°46'E sighted a Cosenz-class torpedo boat to the Eastward apparently sweeping. Closed to investigate but the destroyer turned away to the Eastward and proceeded down the coast.

1638 hours - Unfortunately attention had been concentrated on this torpedo boat and it was only now that and Italian Balilla-class submarine was sighted making Westward along the coast at a range of 2500 yards. The best opportunity for attack was already gone but non the less four torpedoes were fired from about 3000 yards. No hits were obtained and all torpedoes exploded on the shore. (6)

30 Aug 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian sailing vessel V 51 / Alfa (373 GRT) about 25 nautical miles south of Capo dell'Armi, Italy in position 37°36'N, 15°32'E. Of a crew of 15, three were missing, the twelve survivors (including five wounded) were picked up by the hospital ship Epomeo and landed in Augusta.

(All times are zone -2)
1020 hours - Sighted the 4-masted schooner seen earlier and thought to be a 'Q-ship'. Closed to attack.

1045 hours - The 4-masted schooner was relieved by a 2-masted schooner and got underway too the Northward at 8 knots.

1200 hours - She stopped again. Closed with caution to observe.

1745 hours - Range was now 700 yards. Fired two torpedoes at the target. She was hit and blown clean out of the water. Seven survivors were seen clinging to the wreckage. Also one life boat was seen to be afloat. Proceeded to the east to search for the two-masted schooner but this ship was not seen again. (6)

4 Sep 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (6)

16 Sep 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 10th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the approaches to Tripoli, Libya to intercept an important enemy troop convoy together with HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN), HMS Ursula (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) and HMS Upright (Lt. J.S. Wright, RN).

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


HMS Unbeaten 10th war patrol click here for bigger map (7)

18 Sep 1941
At 0307 hours, the convoy was sighted at a distance of eight miles and Unbeaten made an enemy report. At 0652 hours, a large liner, later identified as Oceania, was seen lying stopped. Unbeaten closed to attack but was put down by destroyers. HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) managed to finish her off before Unbeaten could intervene. (7)

20 Sep 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (9th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (7)

23 Sep 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) departed Malta for her 11th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the South coast of Calabria.

Lt. Norman had taken command of Unbeaten for this patrol in order to give Lt.Cdr. Woodward a rest.

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


HMS Unbeaten 11th war patrol click here for bigger map (7)

4 Oct 1941
At 1032 hours (zone -1) HMS Unbeaten (Lt. C.P. Norman, RN) surfaced to bombard a railway off Cape Bruzzano, Calabria, Italy.

At 1039 hours Unbeaten dived. 20 Rounds had been fired, also at a Home Guard hut near the railway. The results were unclear but later two trains were seen stopped outside the tunnel that had been bombarded.

Italian sources recorded 13 rounds dropped in the area but they caused no damage. (7)

6 Oct 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. C.P Norman, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (10th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (7)

14 Oct 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 12th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the South-East coast of Sicily to intercept three Italian destroyers of the Navigatori-class there are thought to make a high speed run to North Africa with supplies.

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


HMS Unbeaten 12th war patrol click here for bigger map (7)

16 Oct 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. Nothing was sighted during this patrol except the hospital ship Virgilio (15 October). (7)

19 Oct 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 13th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the East coast of Sicily.

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


HMS Unbeaten 13th war patrol click here for bigger map (7)

27 Oct 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) attacked an Italian submarine about 25 nautical miles South-East of Augusta, Sicily, Italy In position 36°54'N, 15°36'E. Four torpedoes were fired but no hits were obtained.

According to Italian sources this was almost certainly Topazio returning to Augusta from a patrol in the Eastern Mediterranean but she did not observe the attack.

(All times are zone -1)
0633 hours - In position 36°54'N, 15°36'E sighted an Italian Gemma-class submarine on the surface bearing 205°, range 6000 yards, speed 12 knots, enemy course 340°. Started attack.

0643 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 3500 yards. All torpedoes missed. (7)

30 Oct 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 13th war patrol (12th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (7)

1 Nov 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) was docked at Malta. (8)

11 Nov 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) was undocked. (8)

15 Nov 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for 14th war patrol (13th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol East off Tripoli, Libya.

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


HMS Unbeaten 14th war patrol click here for bigger map (7)

28 Nov 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (13th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (7)

7 Dec 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 15th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol South of the Straits of Messina in a partol line together with HMS Upright (Lt. J.S. Wraith, DSC, RN) and HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN).

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


HMS Unbeaten 15th war patrol click here for bigger map (7)

9 Dec 1941

At 0530 hours, in position 37°42'N, 15°49'E, hydrophone effects were heard and nine minutes later three ships were seen which proved to be Dardo-class destroyers coming directly at the submarine. Torpedoes had been readied but the short range meant that they might pass under and the attack abandoned. These were most probably Granatiere, Alpino, Fuciliere and Bersagliere on passage from Taranto to Naples.

A few hours later was ordered to form a patrol line in the Gulf of Taranto together with HMS Upright (Lt. J.S. Wraith, DSC, RN) and HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN).

On 14 December the patrol line was abandoned and the submarines retired to the mouth of the Gulf of Taranto.

On 16 December a new patrol line was formed, this time with ORP Sokol (Lt.Cdr. B. Karnicki, ORP) and HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, RN).

Unbeaten was ordered to return to Malta on 19 December. (7)

22 Dec 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 15th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (7)

4 Jan 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) departed Malta for her 15th war patrol (14th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the Gulf of Taranto in a patrol line together with HMS Thrasher and ORP Sokol.

On 9 January she was ordered to patrol South of the Straits of Messina.

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


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

10 Jan 1942
British destroyer HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen) attack German U-boat U-374 with depth charges. The submarine manages to escape but is damaged and unable to submerge again.

U-374 is caught on the surface and sunk two days later by the British submarine HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN).

12 Jan 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) torpedoed and sank the German U-boat U-374 south-west of Cape Spartivento, Calabria, Italy in position 37°50'N, 16°00'E.

(All times are zone -1)
1015 hours - Sighted a uboat bearing 080°. Range was 1800 yards. Started attack.

1023 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 1300 yards. Two hits were obtained.

1036 hours - One survivor was spotted.

1037 hours - Surfaced to pick up the survivor that turned out to be a Ordinary Seaman Hans Ploch.

1041 hours - Submerged. (9)

19 Jan 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) made a torpedo attack on an escorted tanker in position 37°48'N, 15°50'E. No hits were obtained.

According to Italian sources these were probably the tanker Rondine (6468 GRT, built 1924) and the freighter Rapido (5758 GRT, built 1919), escorted by the torpedo boat Giuseppe Cesare Abba on passage from Syracuse to Taranto.

(All times are zone -1)
0900 hours - In position 37°48'N, 15°50'E sighted a tanker of about 7000 to 8000 tons escorted by a Generale-class torpedo boat at a range of 6300 yards beasring 023°.

0906 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 7000 yards. Two faint explosions were heard in the fore ends but nothing was heard in the control room. Unbeaten meanwhile had gone deep so the result could not be observed.

0924 hours - Returned to periscope depth but find nothing in sight. (9)

20 Jan 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 16th war patrol (15th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. While entering harbour on the surface Unbeaten was attacked by six enemy fighter aircraft. Unbeaten submerged to evade the attack but suffered slight damage to the bridge casing from machine gun and cannon fire. (9)

2 Feb 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. J.D. Martin, RN) departed Malta for her 17th war patrol (16th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Kerkenah, Tunisia.

Lt. Martin had taken command of HMS Unbeaten in order to give Lt.Cdr. Woodward a rest.

No log is available for this period so no map can be displayed. (9)

7 Feb 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. J.D. Martin, RN) made a torpedo attack on the Italian merchant Bosforo (3648 GRT, built 1929), on passage from Tripoli to Palermo, escorted by the Italian torpedo boat Calliope. No hits were obtained though.

According to Italian sources Calliope reported missed by one torpedo from a short distance ahead while Bosforo evaded two torpedoes. The torpedo boat combed the track and dropped depth charges but could not keep up the hunt as she had to rejoin the steamer. An escorting aircraft also dropped a bomb. As a precaution, Bosforo and Calliope proceeded to take refuge in Pantelleria.

(All times are zone -1)
0920 hours - Off Kerkenah, in position 34°25'N, 11°52'E, sighted a merchant vessel of about 5000 tons escorted by a Partenope-class torpedo boat. Started attack.

1004 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 3500 yards. No hits were obtained.

1014 hours - The escorted started a counter attack that lasted 20 minutes. 30 Depth charges were dropped all of which were rather close. (9)

14 Feb 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. J.D. Martin, RN) ended her 17th war patrol (16th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (9)

21 Feb 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. J.D. Martin, RN) departed Malta for her 18th war patrol (17th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol the Eastern approaches to Tripoli.

Later she was ordered to patrol between Kuriat and Lampion.

Lt. Martin was still in command of Unbeaten as Lt. Woodward had strained his back.

No log is available for this period so no map can be displayed. (9)

1 Mar 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. J.D. Martin, RN) torpedoed and sank the Vichy-French merchant PLM-20 (5417 GRT, built 1920) about 5 nautical miles east of Mehedia, Tunisia in position 35°26'N, 11°09'E.

This was French convoy S 14 consisting of the above mentioned PLM-20, Château Latour (1912 GRT, built 1916), Sainte Odette (4140 GRT, built 1938) and Sainte Simone (5535 GRT, built 1921) escorted by the sloop La Batailleuse and the torpedo boat La Bombarde. At the time of the attack, La Batailleuse and Sainte Simone were trailing behind as the latter could only make 5 knots. La Bombarde dropped five depth charges but without causing damage. La Batailleuse arrived on the scene and claimed to have been missed by a torpedo but this is not substantiated by Unbeaten’s patrol report. P.L.M. sank in less than two minutes, nine were killed or missing, 32 survivors were picked up.

(All times are zone -1)
Sighted a convoy of one tanker (PLM-20 looked like a tanker) of about 7000 tons and two merchant vessels of 6000 and 5000 tons. They were escorted by at least one but probably more destroyers. Started attack.

1938 hours - Fired four torpedoes at the tanker from 4000 yards. One hit was obtained.

1951 hours - A counter attack followed by what appeared to be two destroyers. Seven depth charges were dropped fairly close. Later eight more depth charges were dropped but these were not close. (9)

4 Mar 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. J.D. Martin, RN) ended her 18th war patrol (17th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (9)

12 Mar 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 19th war patrol (18th in the Mediterranean). (9)

16 Mar 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) fires four torpedoes against the Italian merchant Vettor Pisani (6339 GRT) off Cape Buzzano, Calabria, Italy. All torpedoes however missed their target.

According to Italian sources she was on passage from Messina to Tripoli escorted by the destroyers Lanzerotto Malocello and Ugolino Vivaldi and the torpedo boat Giuseppe Sirtori. The escorting CANT Z.501 (4/184^ Squadriglia) sighted a torpedo fired from about 2,000 meters and reported it and dropped two 160 kg bombs on the presumed point of origin but could not ascertain the result. At the same time Sirtori fired a round to give the alarm and rushed to the attack dropping four depth charges while Malocello turned back and dropped 16 depth charges.

(All times are zone -2)
1600 hours - In position 38°00'N, 16°11'E sighted a CANT flying boat to the Southward.

1637 hours - Sighted a merchant vessel escorted by a destroyer bearing 241°. Range was about 7 nautical miles. They were proceeding close inshore. Started attack.

1645 hours - The merchant vessel was a large one of about 11000 tons. She was now seen to be escorted by three destroyers.

1706 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 4000 yards.

1710 hours - Almost four minutes after firing 2 loud explosions were heard. HE from the target, which had been strong, stopped. Two of the destroyers made a counter attack.

1800 hours - Returned to periscope depth and sighted a Generali-class torpedo boat only 500 yards off. Went deep again.

1825 hours - Last depth charges dropped.

1835 hours - Two destroyers were seen stopped in the place of the attack. There was no sign of the target.

1850 hours - Cleared the area to the South-East. (9)

17 Mar 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Guglielmotti off Cape Dell'Armi, Italy in position 37°42'N, 15°58'E.

According to Italian sources she had been on passage from Taranto to Messina. The torpedo boat Francesco Stocco arrived on the scene, dropped 17 depth charges and picked up one body but there were no survivors.

(all times are zone -2)
0633 hours - In position 37°42'N, 15°58'E heard H.E. (Hydrophone Effect) bearing 130°.

0635 hours - Sighted a submarine bearing 125°, distant 2200 yards, manoeuvred into attack position.

0640 hours - Fired 4 torpedoes. One minute and 40 seconds after firing an explosion was heard, H.E. stopped and the submarine was heard breaking up.

0720 hours - Surfaced to pick up survivors. There were about 12 in the water but Unbeaten was forced to dive by an approaching aircraft and clear the area.

1005 hours - Aircraft and motor torpedo boats were seen in the area of the sinking.

1010 to 1020 hours - Distant depth charging was heard. 24 Depth charges were dropped by the three motor torpedo boats present.

Unbeaten was now out of torpedoes so course was set to Malta to take on board new torpedoes. (9)

19 Mar 1942
At 0830 hours HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Malta to take on board new torpedoes. At 2000 hours she departed again to resume her patrol. (9)

26 Mar 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) ended her 19th war patrol (18th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. No vessels came within range and the patrol had been uneventful. (9)

1 Apr 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) was damaged by enemy bombing while laying submerged at Malta. The damage could not be repaired at Malta due to the heavy air raids and it was decided that Unbeaten had to go to Gibraltar for docking and repairs. Later it was decided to sent her back to the U.K. for refit taking the place of HMS Upholder that was due for refit. (4)

9 Apr 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. En-route she was to make rendez-vous with HMS Upholder to take on board the leader of a raiding party.

No log is available for this period so no map of the passage to the U.K. can be displayed. (4)

11 Apr 1942
At 0340 hours HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) made rendez-vous with HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, VC, DSO, RN) in position 35°34'N, 12°17'E. She took on board Capt. Wilson, RM and proceeded towards Gibraltar. The crew of HMS Unbeaten were the last to see HMS Upholder. (4)

21 Apr 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) arrived at Gibraltar for repairs. She was taken in hand for repairs on April 29th. (4)

26 May 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) departed Gibraltar for the U.K. where she was to refit. (5)

8 Jun 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) arrived at Portsmouth in company with HMS Torbay (Cdr. A.C.C. Miers, DSO and Bar, RN) escorted by HMS Kingston Jacinth (Skr. A.G. Day, RNR) which had joined as escort the previous day. (5)

12 Jun 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) departed Portsmouth for Sheerness. (4)

13 Jun 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) arrived at Sheerness. (4)

14 Jun 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) started her refit at Chatham Dockyard. (4)

15 Sep 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) ended her refit at the Chatham Dockyard. (4)

17 Sep 1942
With her refit at the Chatham dockyard completed HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) departed Sheerness for Portsmouth. She made the passage together with HMS P 51 (Lt. M.L.C. Crawford, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Bungay. (10)

18 Sep 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) and HMS P 51 (Lt. M.L.C. Crawford, DSC, RN) arrive at Portsmouth. (10)

21 Sep 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) departed Portsmouth for Plymouth. She was escorted by HMS Lord Stonehaven (Skr. A.F.S. Jenner, RNR). (10)

22 Sep 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) arrived at Plymouth. At Plymouth (Devonport Dockyard) a radar set was fitted and R.D.F. trials followed. (10)

4 Oct 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) departed Plymouth for Holy Loch. (4)

6 Oct 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of training. (10)

23 Oct 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for her 20th war patrol. This was the 1st patrol of her 2nd commission. She was ordered to patrol in the Bay of Biscay (off Northern Spain) and to perform a special operation (Operation Bluestone), landing a special agent near Baiona, Spain (near Vigo).

Passage south through the Irish Sea was made together with HMS P 614 (Lt. H.W. Wilkinson, RN). The submarines were escorted by HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(retired) R.H. Mack, RN). (10)

1 Nov 1942
At 2359 hours HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) signalled that she had completed operation Bluestone. (5)

8 Nov 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) was recalled from patrol. (5)

11 Nov 1942
At 1319 hours HMS Unbeaten (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) was ordered to report her position as it is feared she might have been attacked by friendly aircraft (an RAF Wellington of No. 172 Squadron, Coastal Command). She did not respond and failed the show up the next day at her rendez-vous position of Bishops Rock (with HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) and HMS Thunderbolt (Lt.Cdr. C.B. Crouch, DSO and Bar, RN). The report of the friendly aircraft attack was unfortunately correct and resulted in the loss of HMS Unbeaten. There were no survivors.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16678
  2. ADM 173/16679
  3. ADM 173/17106
  4. ADM 199/2573
  5. ADM 199/1820
  6. ADM 199/1153
  7. ADM 199/1116
  8. ADM 173/17112
  9. ADM 199/1224
  10. ADM 199/424

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


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