Allied Warships

HMS P 32 (P 32)

Submarine of the U class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantP 32 
ModThird Group 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered11 Mar 1940 
Laid down30 Apr 1940 
Launched15 Dec 1940 
Commissioned3 May 1941 
Lost18 Aug 1941 
Loss position33° 02'N, 13° 10'E

HMS P 32 (Lt. David Anthony Baily Abdy, RN) sank about 15 nautical miles east-north-east of Tripoli, Libya in position 33º02'N, 13º10'E on 18 August 1941. Only two men (the commanding officer and the coxswain) managed to escape from the submarine.

It is often stated that P.32 hit an Italian mine, but there were none in the vicinity. The Italians initially suspected that she was a minelaying submarine and had been blown up on one of her own mines and they carried out a thorough search of the area around the wreck but found no mines. As no mines were found in the area we also rule out that she had strayed in a British minefield (QB.10 or QB.11) by faulty navigation as was later suspected by the British.

So what caused the sinking of P.32 ?
[ According to Canadian historian Platon Alexiades the following could have happened ].
1. An internal explosion cannot be overruled perhaps due to faulty drill when the torpedoes were being loaded. According to Abdy the bow caps were open to the sea when the explosion occurred. Also the day before on board HMS Regent who was at Alexandria the air vessel on one of her reload torpedoes exploded causing extensive damage to other torpedoes and the submarine itself. It is stated in the debrief report of Lt.Cdr. Abdy (made up when he returned from captivity) that it was thought at the time that the explosion might have originated inside the submarine.

The wreck had been dived by Libyan divers and they had reported that all the metal body on the port bow of HMS P 32 was bloomed toward outside indicating an internal explosion.

2. It is quite possible that she was lost on a French mine! The French submarine Nautilus had actually laid a minefield on 14 June 1940 (two lines, one of eight mines and one of 24 mines, the latter in 008° - Tripoli Light - 9 miles, P.32 is recorded to have been lost 009.5° - Tripoli Light - 6.8 miles. The direction is almost right but the distance is off by 2.2 miles (less if one believes a report is that it was 006° - Tripoli Light - 8 miles) but a mistake in navigation would not be surprising especially since Nautilus was laying the mines at night. The Italians did attempt to clear the minefield in September 1940 but only 21 mines were accounted for so it is not impossible that P.32 fouled one of the 3 mines not accounted for.

3. An odd air-laid mine. Swordfish of 830 Squadron (operating from Malta) had laid six "cucumbers" (magnetic mines) off Tripoli on the night of 20/21 December 1940. Most likely more such minelaying sorties had been undertaken. The only doubt is that a magnetic mine would lay probably in shallower water. If this was indeed one, the explosion would have probably propelled the submarine upward and the damage most likely to the keel rather than the side. None the less it is a possibility.

The following is known from the Italian side. The explosion was observed by a Cant Z.501 of 145^ Squadriglia (observer S.T.V. Berardo Gallotti, pilot Mllo Aonio Giunti) at 1603, it flew over but without observing anything. It landed at Tripoli at 1635 and informed the authorities of the explosion and took off again at 1700. At 1705 four men were observed in the water, two live and two dead ones. The aircraft landed again at Tripoli at 1715 and informed the Naval Command [I assume that the radio was not working despite the presence of a radio operator in the crew of five]. The aircraft took off again at 1730 and signalled the two survivors that help was coming and at 1915 was back in Pisida. MAS 528 (Midshipman Rolando Perasso, not MAS 530 as in Abdy's recollections) arrived and at 1827 picked up the two survivors.

On 26 August 1941, the Italian deep sea dive master from the diving vessel Rostro did a thorough survey of the wreck in a diving bell. The report is in the Italian archives. The interrogation of both survivors by Italian Intelligence has also survived but it is essentially the same with what they revealed later when they were debriefed. This diver believed that the explosion had been forward on the port side and perhaps the forward torpedoes had detonated. He observed that the bow was lying at a depth of 64 metres, with a 25° list. The submarine did not have stern tubes, was of a small size and carried no mines. He found the hull to be very clean as if the submarine had just had a docking. It was broken in two parts a few metres forward of the deck gun and the two parts were almost at right angles indicating the submarine had hit the bottom heavily. He noticed that the conning tower and the aft hatches were both open. Since the two survivors had escaped from the conning tower, it did seem to indicate that men trapped in the engine room had at least attempted an exit but none survived [two Italian fishing vessels and the MAS had remained in the vicinity of the wreck during the first night in the hope that more survivors might be recovered but none were seen]. The conning tower hatch was partially obstructed by loose dunnage which led the diver to express his opinion that the two survivors had left the submarine before the sinking as he did not believe they could have left through this exit [he probably was wrong]. According to him, it would be very difficult even for an experienced diver to enter the wreck and recover documents and he did not recommend it. 

Commands listed for HMS P 32 (P 32)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt. David Anthony Baily Abdy, RN24 May 194118 Aug 1941

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Notable events involving P 32 include:

The history of HMS P 32 as compiled on this page is extracted from P 32'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 December 2018.

2 May 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) departed her builders yard for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (1)

3 May 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) arrived at Holy Loch to begin a period of trials and training. (1)

26 May 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. She was escorted South through the Irish Sea by HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN).

For the daily positions of HMS P 32 during this passage see the map below.

HMS P 32 passage Holy Loch - Gibraltar click here for bigger map (2)

31 May 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) is depth charged and damaged by a German Heinkel 59 seaplane in the Bay of Biscay. moderate damage was caused to P 32.

Later the same day P 32 sighted a Westbound tanker but she did not attack her as to do not give her position away in her damaged state and it was also possible that this tanker was Spanish.

(All times are zone -2)
1600 hours - In position 44º24'N, 09º46'W sighted a Heinkel 59 bearing 110º. She was seen banking towards. Dived.

1601 hours - When at 70 feet and still on our original course three depth charges exploded causing damage to the after hydroplanes and the battery. Went to 150 feet.

1640 hours - Heard three detonations.

2035 hours - Surfaced in position 44º15'N, 09º54'W and resumed passage to Gibraltar. (2)

3 Jun 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (2)

10 Jun 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) is docked in No.3 dock at Gibraltar for repairs to the damage sustained on 31 May. (3)

18 Jun 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) is undocked. (3)

21 Jun 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) is docked again at Gibraltar but this time in No.2 dock. (3)

23 Jun 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) is undocked. (3)

3 Jul 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) completed her repairs at Gibraltar. (4)

5 Jul 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Gibraltar. (4)

6 Jul 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. (4)

9 Jul 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. (4)

14 Jul 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar. (4)

17 Jul 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. She was to proceed to Malta upon completion of this patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS P 32 during this passage see the map below.

HMS P 32 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (5)

21 Jul 1941

Operation Substance, convoys to and from Malta

Passage through the Straits of Gibraltar of the eastbound convoy and sailing from Gibraltar of the remaining ships involved in the operation.

Around 0130B/21 convoy WS 9C passed the Straits of Gibraltar. The convoy at that moment consisted of six merchant ships; City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937), Deucalion (7516 GRT, built 1930), Durham (10893 GRT, built 1934), Melbourne Star (11076 GRT, built 1936), Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933) and Sydney Star (11095 GRT, built 1936).

At the time they passed through the Straits they were escorted by HMS Nelson (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, RN), HMS Manxman (Capt. R.K. Dickson, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN), HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN).

HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN), HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, RN) departed Gibraltar around 0200B/21 escorting troopship Leinster (4302 GRT, built 1937) which was to join the convoy. However Leinster grounded while leaving Gibraltar and had to left behind. The small fleet tanker RFA Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, master D.B.C. Ralph) left Gibraltar around the same time escorted by the destroyer HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN).

About one hour later, around 0300B/21, HMS Renown (Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Duncan (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN) departed Gibraltar to give convoy for the convoy during the passage to Malta.

At sea the forces were redistributed;
Force H, the cover force
HMS Renown, HMS Nelson, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hermione, HMS Faulknor, HMS Foresight, HMS Forester, HMS Fury, HMS Lightning and HMS Duncan.

Force X, the close escort for the convoy
HMS Edinburgh, HMS Manchester, HMS Arethusa, HMS Manxman, HMS Cossack, HMS Maori, HMS Sikh, HMAS Nestor, HMS Fearless, HMS Firedrake, HMS Foxhound, HMS Avon Vale, HMS Eridge and HMS Farndale.

Plan for the operation

Force H was to cover the convoy until it reached the narrows between Sicily and Tunisia. Force X was to escort the convoy all the way to Malta. Ships of Force X also had troops for Malta on board that had been taken to Gibraltar by troopship Pasteur. On 23 July 1941, the day the eastbound convoy would reach ‘the narrows’ five empty transports and two tankers would depart Malta for Gibraltar (Convoy MG 1) The seven empty transports were;
Group 1 (speed 17 knots)
HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939),
Talabot (6798 GRT, built 1936),

Group 2 (speed 14 knots)
Thermopylae (6655 GRT, built 1930),
Amerika (10218 GRT, built 1930),

Group 3 (speed 12 knots)
Settler (6202 GRT, built 1939),
Tanker Svenor (7616 GRT, built 1931) and
Tanker Hoegh Hood (9351 GRT, built 1936)
These were escorted by the destroyer HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) which had been repairing and refitting at Malta.

Through intelligence it was known that the Italian Navy had five battleships operational (three of them at Taranto) and about ten cruisers divided between Taranto, Palermo and Messina. The Italian Air Force had about 50 torpedo planes and 150 bombers (30 of which were dive bombers) stationed in Sardinia and Sicily, roughly half of each type on both islands.

The Royal Air Force was able to be of more help than during the previous convoy trip from Gibraltar to Malta last January. Aircraft from Gibraltar conducted A/S patrols for the fleet during the first two days of the passage to the east. Also patrols were flown between Sardinia and the coast of Africa, while aircraft from Malta conducted reconnaissance between Sardinia and Sicily, besides watching the Italian ports. Malta would also provide fighter escort for Force X and the convoy after Force H would part with them and HMS Ark Royal could no longer provide fighter cover for them.

During the operation eight submarines (HMS Olympus (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Dymott, RN), HMS Unique (Lt. A.F. Collett, RN), HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN), HMS Upright (Lt. J.S. Wraith, DSC, RN), HMS Urge (Lt. E.P. Tomkinson, RN), HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN), HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) and HrMs O 21 (Lt.Cdr. J.F. van Dulm, RNN)) were on patrol to report and attack Italian warships that might be sailed to intercept the convoy.

The passage East, 22 July 1941

On 22 July the destroyers from Force X oiled from the Brown Ranger two at a time. A task that took about 10 hours. Having completed the oiling of the destroyers the Brown Ranger and her escort returned to Gibraltar. An Italian aircraft had reported Force H in the morning but the convoy and Force X, at that moment about 100 nautical miles to the south-westward, appeared not to have been sighed. At 2317B/22 the Italian submarine Diaspro missed HMS Renown with torpedoes. HMAS Nestor sighted the torpedo tracks and was able to warn HMS Renown which was then able to avoid the torpedoes by doing an emergency turn to port.

The passage East and attacks by the Italian Air Force, 23 July 1941

Force H rejoined the convoy around 0800B/23 as the British were now approaching the danger area. Shadowing aircraft had already reported the position of the fleet that morning and heavy air attacks soon followed.

The first came at 0945 hours, a well times combination of nine high level bombers and six or seven torpedo planes approaching from the north-east. HMS Ark Royal had eleven fighters up, which met the bombers about 20 miles from the fleet. They managed to down two of the nine bombers but unfortunately three Fulmars were shot down by the enemy. The other seven bombers came on working round the head of the screen of destroyers to attack the convoy from the starboard beam at a height of 10000 feet. Their bombs fell harmlessly amongst the leading ships as they altered course to avoid the attack. The torpedo planes however were more successful. They came from ahead out of the sun, flying low, and as the destroyers opened fire they divided into groups of two or three and to attack the convoy on both sides. Two aircraft attacked HMS Fearless, stationed ahead in the screen, dropping their torpedoes at ranges of 1500 and 800 yards from a height of 70 feet. The destroyer avoided the first torpedo, but was hit by the second, set on fire, and completely disabled. Other aircraft went to press on their attacks on the convoy itself. One of them, dropping its torpedo between two merchant vessels hit HMS Manchester as she was turning to regain her station after avoiding two torpedoes fired earlier. She reversed helm once more but to no avail. During the attacks three enemy torpedo bombers were shot down by AA fire from the ships.

HMS Manchester was badly damaged and could only use one engine out of four. At first she could steam only 8 knots. She was ordered to make for Gibraltar with HMS Avon Vale as escort. That evening, further to the westward, they were attacked again by three enemy torpedo planes but their AA gunfire kept the enemy at a distance. Both ships successfully reached Gibraltar on the 26th.

At 1010B/23 five more bombers tried to attack the convoy crossing this time from north to south. Fighters from HMS Ark Royal forced them to drop their bombs from great height and mostly outside the screen.

At 1645B/23 five more torpedo planes led by a seaplane came in from the northward. Three Fulmars caught them about 20 miles away. They managed to shoot down two planes and drove the remainder away.

Soon afterwards the fleet arrived off the entrance to the Skerki Channel. There HMS Hermione was transferred to Force X to take the place of HMS Manchester. Six destroyers were assigned to Force H and eight to Force X. At 1713 hours Vice-Admiral Somerville hauled round to the westward. HMS Ark Royal kept her Fulmars up until RAF Beaufighters had arrived from Malta to take over.

The convoy was attacked again around 1900B/23. Four torpedo planes arrived from the eastward, flying low and and working round from ahead to the starboard side of the convoy. They approached in pairs in line abreast. They kept HMS Sikh (on the starboard bow of the screen) between them and their target until nearly the moment for attack, thereby hampering the AA fire from the other ships. They dropped their torpedoes from long range from a height of 50 feet and nearly hit HMS Hermione, sternmost ship in the starboard column. To avoid the attack each column of the convoy turned 90° outwards and all warships opened barrage fire from all guns that would bear. The barrage however fell short but it caused the Italians to drop their torpedoes early. Also one of the enemy was possibly shot down.

This attack scattered the convoy and it took some time to reform. At 1945B/23 about seven bombers appeared from ahead at a height of about 14000 feet to attack the convoy from the port side. The convoy altered 40° to port together and the escort opened up a controlled fire with some hesitation as the Italian aircraft looked a lot like Beaufighters. The bombing was extremely accurate. Several bombs fell near HMS Edinburgh which was leading the port column, and a near miss abreast a boiler room disabled HMS Firedrake which had been sweeping ahead of the convoy. She could no longer steam so Rear-Admiral Syfret ordered her back to Gibraltar in tow of HMS Eridge. They had an anxious passage, being shadowed by aircraft continuously during daylight hours, but were not again attacked. On the 25th HMS Firedrake managed to lit one boiler so the tow was slipped. Both destroyers entered Gibraltar harbour on the 27th.

Soon after leaving the Skerki Channel in the evening of the 23th the convoy hauled up to the north-east towards the coast of Sicily. This was to lessen the danger of mines. The Italians did not shadow the convoy after the attack at 1945 hours and missed this alteration of course which they clearly did not expect. Around 2100 hours, as it was getting dark, enemy aircraft were seen searching along its old line of advance. During the evening the convoy sighted flares several times about 20 miles to the south.

Continued passage to the east and enemy attacks, 24 July 1941

Between 0250 and 0315 hours the convoy was however attacked by the Italian MAS boats MAS 532 and MAS 533. The managed to torpedo and damaged the Sydney Star. HMAS Nestor went alongside and took off almost 500 soldiers. Sydney Star was however able to continue her passage as staggler escorted initially by HMAS Nestor. Admiral Syfret however sent back HMS Hermione. At 1000B/24 eight German dive bombers and two high level bombers attacked. Their bombs fell close the escorting ships. HMS Hermione shot down one dive bomber. The three ships arrived at Malta early in the afternoon.

The main body of the convoy meanwhile continued on its way unhindered after the attacks of the motor torpedo boats except for an attempt by three torpedo planes around 0700 hours. They dropped their torpedoes at a safe distance when fired on by the destroyers in the screen ahead. According to the orders Rear-Admiral Syfret was to leave the convoy now, if there was no threat from Italian surface forces, and go on to Malta with the cruisers and some of the destroyers. They were to land the passengers and stores, complete with fuel and return to Force H as soon as possible. The remaining destroyers were to accompany the transports to Malta. They too were to join Force H as soon as possible. Rear-Admiral Syfret felt easy about the surface danger as all Italian ships were reported in harbour the day before, but he was anxious about the threat to the convoy from the air. He decided to go ahead with the cruiser but leave all destroyers with the convoy so at 0745B/24, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Arethusa and HMS Manxman left the convoy and pressed ahead at high speed to Malta where they arrived at noon the same day. The transports and the destroyers arrived about four hours later. They had been attacked only once by a torpedo plane since the cruisers separated.

Return passage of the warships of force X to make rendez-vous with Force H.

In the evening HMS Edinburgh, HMS Arethusa, HMS Hermione and HMS Manxman sailed together followed by five destroyers; HMS Cossack, HMS Maori, HMS Sikh, HMAS Nestor, HMS Foxhound, later the same evening. The destroyers overtook the cruisers in the morning of the 25th. The sixth destroyer, HMS Farndale, had to be left at Malta due to defects (condenser problems). All ships made rendez-vous with Force H to the north-west of Galita Island at 0800B/25.

Movements of Force H after it parted from the convoy.

After parting with the convoy in the evening of the 23rd, Vice-Admiral Somerville had taken force H westward at 18 knots until the afternoon of the 24th going as far west as 03°30’E. He then turned back to meet Admiral Syfret, also sending from HMS Ark Royal six Swordfish aircraft which left her in position 37°42’N, 07°17’E at 1000B/25. After their junction Forces H and X made the best of way towards Gibraltar. Fighter patrols of HMS Ark Royal shot down a shadowing aircraft soon after the fleet had shaped course to the westward, losing a Fulmar in doing so. However another aircraft had meanwhile reported the fleet.

High level bombers appeared from the east and torpedo bombers from the north at 1100 hours. HMS Ark Royal at that moment had four fighters in the air and sent up six more. They prevented the bombing attack shooting down three aircraft out of eight at a cost of two Fulmars, while the ships watched the enemy jettison their bombs 15 miles away. The torpedo attack came to nothing too for the enemy gave up the attempt and retired while still several miles from the fleet. Two days later, on the 27th, the fleet reached Gibraltar.

The movements of the seven empty ships coming from Malta.

Six of the transports / tankers left Malta for Gibraltar in the morning of the 23rd, escorted by HMS Encounter. The seventh ship, tanker Svenor grounded while leaving harbour and was held up for some hours. At dusk, when a few miles from Pantelleria, the six ships devided into pairs according to their speed. HMS Encounter initially escorted the middle pair but joined the leading ships in the evening of the 24th when past the Galita Bank.

Italian aircraft, both high level bombers and torpedo planes, attacked all these ships on the 24th to the southward of Sardinia. They made their first attempt on the second pair of transports and HMS Encounter. Four torpedo planes attacked at 1230B/24 and four bombers at 1250B/24. No ships were hit though the bombs fell close. Next came the turn for the leading pair, which were attacked further westwards by two bombers that came singly at 1330B/24 and 1400B/24. The second plane nearly hit HMS Breconshire. Finally when the third pair of ships reached about the same position in the evening they were attacked by torpedo planes and the Hoegh Hood was damaged but she managed to arrive at Gibraltar only a few hours after her consort on the 27th. The last ship, the one that had been delayed at Malta, arrived on the 28th. (6)

31 Jul 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Malta. (5)

12 Aug 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) departed Malta for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Tripoli, Libya. (7)

18 Aug 1941
HMS P 32 (Lt. D.A.B. Abdy, RN) is lost by an explosion (either internal or a mine) off Tripoli, Libya while attacking an enemy convoy.

(All times are zone -2)
Around 1530 hours P 32 was at periscope depth when a convoy of four medium seized merchant ships in line ahead was sighted with an aircraft overhead. No escorts were seen. Started attack on the rear ship that was thought to be a tanker of about 6000 tons. Went to 50 feet and closed at speed.

Around 1540 hours when P 32 was returning to periscope depth from 50 feet when at 34 feet an explosion occured and P 32 took a large angle bow down. She was out of control and hit the bottom at 200 feet where she remained.

The submarine was flooded up from forward up to the control room. Chlorine gas was filling the submarine and it was decided to try to escape from the engine room escape hatch using D.S.E.A. apparatus. The Commanding Officer and two ratings went to the conning tower to try to escape from there. The commanding officer and one of the ratings, the coxwain, succesfully did so. The other rating drowned during the attempt. The two survivors were later picked up by an Italian MAS boat and taken to Tripoli.

The ships P 32 had sighted were part of a convoy made up of the Italian merchants Nicolò Odero (6003 GRT, built 1925), Caffaro (6476 GRT, built 1924), Marin Sanudo (5958 GRT, built 1926), Giulia (5921 GRT, built 1926) and the Italian tanker Minatitland (7651 GRT, built 1941). Another Italian merchant vessel the Maddalena Odero (5545 GRT, built 1921) had already been torpedoed and damaged by aircraft and was no longer part of this convoy. Escort of this convoy had been the Italian destroyers Freccia, Euro and Dardo.


  1. ADM 199/400
  2. ADM 199/1119
  3. ADM 173/16868
  4. ADM 173/16869
  5. ADM 199/1120
  6. ADM 53/114626 + ADM 234/335
  7. ADM 199/2565

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

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