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Saracen (P247)

Built By: Cammell Laird (Mersey)
Build Group: S Grp3
Fate: 14 August 1943 - Depth charged off Corsica by Italian CVT Minerva

Roll of Honour

T Barber  Stoker Petty Officer MID
V Crosby  Leading Telegraphist
J Dowen  Able Seaman
R Elliott  Sub-Lieutenant RNR
J Hibbert  Telegraphist
W Holt  Stoker 1st Class DSM
R Ward  Stoker Petty Officer DSM

 

Ex P213
Ex P63

Stoker W Holt was awarded the DSM in March 1943

Captain Micheal Lumby

Submarine skipper who wreaked mayhem on axis shipping

Michael Lumby's war service in command of the submarine Saracen was unusual in that he was one of very few submariners who sank two enemy submarines - in his case one German and one Italian.

In the summer of 1942 Saracen was a new submarine and Lumby her first captain. She was working up in the waters northwest of Shetland on August 3 when Lumby sighted U335 on the surface.

The U-Boat was making a passage from Kiel to her patrol area in the North Atlantic and did not spot the British submarine. An accurate torpedo attack by Saracen sank her.

Lumby them looked for survivors, of whom there appeared to be three. One man raised his arm and then sank below the surface, the second was a corpse and the third, a signalman, was picked up. He said that the other two had been the Captain and a warrant officer. 41 other men went down with the boat. Lumby was awarded the DSC.

On the way from Gibraltar to Malta in October of that year, Lumby had another chance against a German U-boat, but missed with his torpedoes. On November 5 Saracen was submerged on patrol in support of the Allied landings in North Africa - Operation Torch - when Lumby sighted the Italian submarine Granito and hit her with three of the four torpedoes fired. Granito sank with all hands.

Between December 1942 and August 1943 Lumby and Saracen were extremely active In the central Mediterranean. The submarine sank cargo vessels and tankers, landed agents in Corsica and bombarded a shipbuilding yard at Cervo on the Italian Riviera. During the invasion of Sicily, Saracen and others provided a defensive patrol line and subsequently landed advance base parties in Sardinia. Saracen survived several counter-attacks during these patrols, the success of which earned Lumby the DSO and a mention in dispatches.

The frequently calm and often glassily clear Mediterranean waters, the constant hostile air cover and increasing enemy tactical proficiency made for many British Submarine casualties in the theatre, and on August 14th 1943, Saracen's own luck ran out. Spotted by the Italian corvettes Minerva and Euterpe off Bastie, Corsica, she was depth charged to the surface, damaged beyond recovery. Lumby lost four of his men, the remainder being taken prisoners of war.

Lumby was interned in a Marlag und Milag a camp for naval merchant marine personnel at Tarnstedt, near Bremen. In April 1945 the approach of British forces caused the authorities to try to march the naval and Royal Marines Marlag prisoners to an unknown destination. By cutting the wire and using various subterfuges, the Milag Merchant Navy prisoners hid the Marlag men creating what Lumby called the "underground navy''.

His memoir recalled that when the march party was paraded, there were more than a thousand men absent and discipline collapsed. The camp was next strafed in error by Allied aircraft, the first merciful action by British being the accidental "liberation'' of several pigs from nearby farms into the compound.

Lumby was repatriated in May.

The son of an Indian Army Officer, Michael Lumby was born at Simla, and went to Dartmouth, where he won the King's Dirk and the mathematic prize in 1934.

Qualifying in submarines in 1938, he joined the Sturgeon and was awarded a mention in dispatches for his part in operations in the Heligoland Bight. He commanded the Submarines Tribune and L23 before being appointed to Saracen.

His post-war appointments included the battleship Vanguard on the royal visit to South Africa in 1946, and a number of commands, including two further submarines and the cruisers Bermuda and Belfast. In 1958 he was sent to sort out the fleet minelayer after a notorious mutiny on board her.

In 1962 he commanded the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Research Establishment at Portland and subsequently the depot ship Maidstone and the 3rd Submarine Squadron in Scotland. He was much admired for his gentle and thoughtful style of leadership, never needing to raise his voice.

Retiring in 1966, he worked for the shipbuilders Scott Lithgow, trying with mixed success to sell submarines to the South American navies. When the Company was taken over by British Shipbuilders, he bought some farming land in Dorset and raised cattle and horses.

Captain Michael Lumby, DSO, DSC Wartime Submarine Captain Born 17th Sept 1917, Died Dec 7th 2001 Aged 84


HMS Saracen Found

Extract from the Daily Telegraph of Tuesday 23rd June 2015

One of the most feared Royal Navy Submarines of the Second World War has been found, seventy two years after it was scuttled off the coast of Corsica. Photographs of HMS Saracen lying hundreds of feet below the surface of the Mediterranean were released by Guido Gay, an Italian engineer, following a two year search.

"This morning I inspected a sonar contact found yesterday and there she is – beautifully adorned by white corals" said Mr. Gay, who discovered the S ClassS Class Submarine in Italian waters at a depth of 1,385 feet. HMS Saracen terrorised the German and Italian navies in the Mediterranean.

Terry Hodgkinson, a British author who has written extensively about the Submarine, said the find was "absolutely magnificent". "It is an incredible discovery and one which will cause huge excitement around the world," he said.

Mr Hodgkinson said all surviving relatives of the Saracen crew were being informed of the discovery, and a bronze badge honouring those who served on board will now be lowered to the wreck.

Beyond that she will remain exactly where she is, as befits a War Grave.


Events

16-07-1940 : Laid Down
16-02-1942 : Launched
27-06-1942 : Completed
03-08-1942 : On her first patrol, HMS Saracen torpedoed and sank U-335 NE of the Faeroes. One survivor from crew of 44
10-10-1942 : A submarine duel occurred on this day in the Mediterranean. The British submarine HMS Saracen fired two torpedoes at U-605, but missed. The U-boat replied with four torpedoes, but these also missed
09-11-1942 : HMS Saracen torpedoes and sinks the Italian submarine Granito near Capo San Vito, Sicily, Italy.
16-11-1942 : At 0907 hours HMS Saracen fires three torpedoes against a convoy made up of the small Italian tanker Labor, the German merchant Menes escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Calliope and Climene north of the Gulf of Tunis. All torpedoes fired missed their targets.
17-12-1942 : HMS Saracen fires four torpedoes against the German transport ship Ankara and one of her escorts the Italian destroyer Camicia Nera north of Bizerte, Tunisia. All torpedoes fired missed their targets.
20-01-1943 : HMS Saracen sinks the Italian auxiliary submarine chaser V 3/Maria Angelette with gunfire about 30 nautical miles south of Isola di Capri, Italy.
12-02-1943 : HMS Saracen sinks the French tugs Provincale II and Marseillaise V. with gunfire off Cape Sardineaux, southern France.
15-02-1943 : HMS Saracen torpedoes and damages the French (in German service) tanker Marguerite Finaly in the Capo di Noli/Capo di Vado area, Italy.
19-02-1943 : HMS Saracen damages two sailing vessels with gunfire at Cervo, Liguria, Italy.
19-04-1943 : HMS Saracen sank the italian boat Francesco Crispi near cap Punta Nera Elba's isle in Tirreno Sea.
22-04-1943 : HMS Saracen torpedoes and sinks the Italian merchant Tagliamento about 35 nautical miles south of Pianosa, Italy.
06-07-1943 : HMS Saracen sank the Italian merchant Tripoli near the Island of Monte Cristo
11-07-1943 : HMS Saracen torpedoes and sinks the German merchant Tell about 25 nautical miles east of Corsica.
14-08-1943 : HMS Saracen suffers flooding after heavy depth charge attacks by Italian torpedo boats Euterpe and Minerva off Bastia. Unable to control buoyancy, the crew assembles in the control room to make their escape to the surface, and Saracen sinks after being abandoned
22-06-2015 : The remains of Saracen were found seventy two years after it was scuttled off the coast of Corsica. Photographs of HMS Saracen lying hundreds of feet below the surface of the Mediterranean were released by Guido Gay, an Italian engineer, following a two year search.


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