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P32

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: U Group 2
Fate: 18th August struck mine off Tripoli while manoeuvring to attack a convoy.
Eight died in the fore ends immediately. Twenty four men survived the initial explosion but were unable to make successful DSEA escapes. Only Lt Abdy and CPO Kirk survived as POWs.

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The submarine left Malta on 12 August 1941 for a patrol area near Tripoli. Six days later, she sighted a small Italian convoy of five merchant ships protected by destroyers and torpedo boats heading towards the port. P32 and two other U-class submarines attempted to attack the convoy. HMS P33 was almost certainly sunk in the attempt, whilst HMS Unique managed to sink an Italian merchant ship, SS Esperia two days later.

P32 was not in a good position to make an attack, and so attempted to improve it by running underneath a moored minefield. Believing that she had cleared the minefield, the commanding officer, Lieutenant D A B Abdy ordered the submarine to rise to periscope depth to resume the attack. A mine, either part of the minefield, or laid by an allied aircraft, exploded against her port side and flooded the portion of the boat forward of the control room, killing the eight crew members in that part of the vessel. The submarine developed a severe list and sank to the seabed. Most of the 24 survivors retired to the engine room to attempt a DSEA escape. However Abdy, the coxswain Petty Officer Kirk, and ERA Martin attempted to escape using the conning tower. Martin was killed in the attempt but the other two men survived and were picked up by an Italian ship. No other crew members survived. Abdy and Kirk were exchanged for Italian prisoners of war in 1943.

Arebi diving team Tripoli-Libya discovered several parts of the P32 submarines bow (port side) about 15 nautical miles east-north-east of Tripoli, at a depth of about 200 feet. The hull was twisted towards the outside, evidence that the explosion appears to have come from inside the submarine.

Roll of Honour

Ballard  Able Seaman
Banks  Stoker Petty Officer
Barnett  Telegraphist
Barrow  Petty Officer
Bates  Stoker 1st Class
Bowman  Stoker Petty Officer
Breeds  Able Seaman
Chapman  Leading Seaman
Cooper  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class
Corn  Able Seaman
Edwards  Leading Stoker
Giles  Chief Engine Room Artificer
Hargreaves  Leading Signalman
Kelly  Stoker 1st Class
Lyons  Telegraphist
Martin  Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class
McLane  Ordinary Seaman
Millar  Sub-Lieutenant
Morris  1st Lieutenant
Print  Leading Seaman
Roberts  Ordinary Seaman
Scard  Stoker 1st Class
Smithard  Sub-Lieutenant
Stewart  Leading Seaman
Styles  Ordinary Seaman
Waddington  Able Seaman
Walford  Petty Officer Telegraphist DSM
Wallen  Stoker 1st Class
Winter  Able Seaman

Events

19-06-1940 : Laid Down
15-12-1940 : Launched
03-05-1941 : Completed
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Uproar (P31)P33