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On This Day - April 16

1917C16On exercises off Harwich, at periscope depth, C16 collided with the destroyer HMS Melampus, sustained damage and bottomed in 60 feet.

In an effort to raise the alarm on the surface an attempt was made by the First Lieutenant to escape the submarine via a torpedo tube but he was drowned in the attempt.

The crew next tried to flood the entire boat and escape through the fore hatch but a fender jammed in the hatch.

Before this last attempt the Captain made out a report which was later found in a bottle near his body by the salvage team.
1940Porpoise (N14)HMS Porpoise fires 6 torpedoes against the German submarine U-3 about 10 nautical miles south-west of Egersund, Norway. All torpedoes miss.
1942Turbulent (N98)HMS Turbulent torpedoes and sinks the Italian merchant Delia off Brindisi, Italy.
1942Unseen (P51)Launched
1943Sahib (P212)HMS Sahib attacked and sank the merchant ship Galiolo, two miles off Capa Milazzo. After firing, the Sahib almost broke the surface. This was noticed by an aircraft, which dropped a bomb but to no effect.

The torpedo boat Climene almost immediately obtained contact with the submarine. At about 0545, Sahib came under heavy depth charge attack resulting in the pressure hull being holed at the aft ends.

With no way of repairing the damage, the order to prepare to abandon ship was given. The submarine surfaced to be welcomed by a machine gun attack from the waiting aircraft. As the crew left the submarine, Sahib was scuttled.
1943Selene (P254)Laid Down
1944Unruly (P49)HMS Unruly fires four torpedoes against the German about 25 nautical miles north of Lemnos, Greece. All torpedoes missed.
1944Subtle (P251)Completed
1951Affray (P421)HMS Affray left Portsmouth to take part in Exercise Training Spring with a training class of young officers aboard, her orders being to make a daily report between 9am and 10am each morning and to land a party of Royal Marines on any suitable beach in the patrol area during the night.

On the morning of the 17th Affray failed to report her position as required and rescue vessels were immediately put on alert as repeated attempts to call up the submarine failed. It was known that she had intended to dive 30 miles south of the Isle of Wight, so the search was concentrated off the island but the exact position of Affray was unknown. A number of vessels involved in the search reported faint Asdic signals and the submarine Ambush decoded a message stating, WE ARE TRAPPED ON THE BOTTOM but the Affray still could not be found.

On the evening of the 19th the Admiralty regretfully called off the search. While the search for survivors was now fruitless the search for the Affray was to continue.

In the middle of June, after nine weeks of searching, an underwater camera focused on the submarine's nameplate. Her final position proved to be 37 miles from her known diving position. She was lying on an even keel on the edge of a series of underwater chasms known as Hurd’s Deep in the English Channel. Divers could find no evidence of collision damage but noted that her radar aerial and periscope were raised, indicating that she must have been submerged when she foundered. Both hydroplanes were in the rise position indicating that attempts to raise the submarine must have been in operation before being finally defeated by the incoming water.

A reason for the disaster was however soon found when the snort mast was examined. A clean break was discovered 3 feet above the deck leading to the conclusion that metal fatigue had caused the loss, allowing water into the boat through a 10-inch hole. This was confirmed by tests carried out on the recovered mast at Portsmouth, all assertions as to a collision being quashed. Exactly what caused the snorkel to shear at the time it did will in all likelihood never be known.
1955Grampus (N56)Laid Down
1992Unicorn (S43)Launched
2003Turbulent (S87)HMS Turbulent was the first Royal Navy vessel to return home from the war against lraq. She arrived in Plymouth flying the Jolly Roger after launching 30 Tomahawk cruise missUes

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