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Sidon (P259)

Built By: Cammell Laird (Mersey)
Build Group: S Grp3
Fate: Used as a target after an explosion on 16th June 1955 whilst alongside in Portland harbour.

Roll of Honour

C D Clayton  Telegraphist
D G Davies  Acting Leading Seaman
PRA Dorey  Leading Seaman
J R Ford  Able Seaman
G K Needham  Lieutenant Commander
R H Peake  Marine Engineering Mechanic
C E Rhodes  Surgeon Lieutenant RNVR
PJW Rice  Acting Leading Cook
J Rycroft  Lieutenant
C Smith  Leading Cook
J R Sunderland  Steward Missing believed dead
D P Waite  Able Seaman

 

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Events

08-03-1943 : Sidon departed Lerwick to commence her working up patrol. This took place on the west coast of Norway on a known U-boat track. She had difficulty off the coast of Norway obtaining a land fix for the first 3 days. Sidon needed to take land fixes for navigational purposes. Heavy snow and rain storms had obscured all land marks. After 3 days however, the weather cleared and all landmarks could be seen clearly. No further navigational problems were encountered. No ships or U-boat patrols were sighted during this patrol. The only sighting of any enemy unit was a Luftwaffe JU-88 flying 2 miles away at a height of 200 feet. It commenced no attack against Sidon and presumably it had not sighted her. The heavy weather made the seas rough and Sidon was unable to maintain periscope depth. Visibility at times was reduced to zero by the snowstorms.
23-03-1943 : Sidon arrived back at Lerwick after completing her working up patrol.
07-07-1943 : Laid Down
04-09-1944 : Launched
23-11-1944 : Sidon was completed and commenced trials followed by the start of working up training at the Holy Loch
23-11-1944 : Completed
20-01-1945 : Damaged in a submerged collision with HMS Turpin. Her stem cutter was turned to starboard by a length of 4 feet.
24-03-1945 : Departed Lerwick and proceeded on passage to Holy Loch
26-03-1945 : Sidon secured alongside SS AL RAWDAH in Holy Loch
07-07-1945 : Having left the Holy Loch in April 1945 for passage to the Far East to join the 8th Submarine Flotilla. She diverted to Fremantle to repair battery defects en-route. Sidon departed Fremantle to commence her 2nd patrol. Soon after departing, one of her engines developed a defect and she called in at Onslow to rectify this. The patrol was mainly for air-sea rescue duties.
12-07-1945 : Sidon departed Onslow having rectified an engine fault. She later passed through the Lombok Straits.
24-07-1945 : Sidon was diverted to search for the crew of an American Liberator which had come down off Siagon, in conjunction with USS Submarine Hammerhead and US aircraft. After 4 days of searching she recovered 2nd Lt Stanley Reed USAAF. He had been adrift for 5 days with little food & water. He had drifted 287 miles from the ditching position. In the words of the patrol report, "The joy on his face when he saw Sidon amply repaid all the fruitless searching and false hopes we had experienced."
03-08-1945 : Sidon arrived at Subic Bay in the Philippines after completing her patrol. Sidon completed her time in the Far East by being present in Hong Kong harbour when it was reoccupied by the British after the Japanese surrender.
06-12-1945 : Sidon arrived at Portsmouth after the completion of her war service in the Far East.
27-12-1945 : Paid off into Reserve Group "S" at Portsmouth attached to the 5th Submarine Flotilla
28-01-1946 : Taken in hand at Portsmouth for repair to armaments. Completed 9th March 1946.
09-03-1946 : Repairs to armaments completed after being taken in hand at Portsmouth on 28th January 1946
26-02-1948 : Transferred to Reserve Group "G" at Portsmouth for refit.
27-02-1948 : Taken in hand for refit at Portsmouth.
18-06-1948 : Completed refit at Portsmouth.
01-08-1948 : Placed in Reserve Group "M" at Portsmouth.
19-11-1948 : 19th November 1948 Taken in hand at Portsmouth for fitting ballast.
24-01-1950 : Taken in hand for refit at Sheerness.
19-05-1950 : Completed refit at Sheerness.
21-06-1950 : Post refit diving trials were successfully completed.
20-07-1950 : Sidon towed the midget submarine "XE8" from Plymouth to Portsmouth.
31-08-1950 : Towed the midget submarine "XE8" from Portsmouth to Plymouth. She also joined the 2nd Submarine Flotilla on this date.
19-04-1951 : Sidon took part in the search for HMS Affray which was missing in the English Channel.
06-06-1951 : Departed for Exercise SWX 6 during which Sidon touched bottom during phase 3. The exercise had started after leaving Portland and had ended just before arrival at Loch Tarbart on June 20th. Damage was confined to the net cutter immediately below No 5 and 6 torpedo tubes.
11-11-1951 : Paid off into Reserve Group "F" attached to 5th Submarine Flotilla Devonport pending refit.
21-11-1951 : Taken in hand for refit and modernisation at Devonport. This included the removal of the 4-inch gun and gun tower and the installation of a snort mast and Type 267MW radar.
27-06-1952 : Refit completed HMS Sidon re-commissioned into the 2nd Submarine Squadron, based at Portland for submarine and anti-submarine training

In "A Submariner's story" commissioning engineer officer Joel C E Blamey tells how the first trial dive out of the yard ended up with Sidon plunging down with a severe bow down angle striking the shingle bottom at 158 feet. A dockyard modification had caused a complete loss of the telemotor pressure resulting in the loss of control of the main vents and hydroplanes and other equipment. While quite frightening no serious damage was done.
30-11-1952 : Taken in hand at Devonport for intermediate docking and for fitting an escape trunk. Completed 9th January 1953.
01-06-1953 : Attended the Coronation Naval Review at Spithead.
01-02-1954 : Transferred to 5th Submarine Squadron pending refit.
09-02-1954 : Taken in hand for refit at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. Completed November 1954.
16-06-1955 : 12 men died and 7 injured in explosion aboard HMS Sidon.


3 comments

12 crew members died, but the 13th was a doctor, Surgeon Lieutenant Charles Rhodes, went on board after the explosion to assist the injured.
   Victor Sun, 10 Jul 2016
There was a Petty Officer from the Royal Canadian Navy on board, Laverne D McLeod.
   Victor Sun, 10 Jul 2016
My old pal, Bobby Potts was the steward on Sidon. He told me he'd just stepped off the gangway to go inboard on an errand when the explosion occurred. Sadly Bobby died in 1976 from a heart attack. Best friend ever. UP SPIRITS
   William Bell Sun, 24 Jul 2016

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