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Umpire (N82)

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: U Group 1
Fate: Mistaken for a U boat by anti submarine trawler Peter Hendriks off the Wash and rammed on 19 July 1941
Umpire (N82)
Umpire (N82)

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Ex P31

Sunk in an accident nine days after commissioning with the loss of 22 men. The submarine was sunk while en route from Chatham to join the 3rd Submarine Flotilla at Dunoon, under the command of Lieutenant Mervyn Wingfield. From Dunoon she was to carry out a single working-up patrol in the North Sea before heading to the Mediterranean. She stopped overnight at Sheerness and joined a convoy headed North.

The submarine suffered engine failure with one of the two diesel engines and as a result fell behind the convoy. The convoy passed a Southbound convoy around midnight while about 12 nautical miles off Blakeney, Norfolk, with the two convoys passing starboard to starboard. This was unusual since ships and convoys should pass port to port. No ships showed any lights because of the risk from German E-boats. However, an armed escort trawler, Peter Hendriks in the southbound convoy accidentally struck Umpire sinking her in 18 metres of water

Four crew members were on the bridge when the submarine sank, Wingfield, the navigator and two lookouts. However, only Wingfield survived in the cold water to be picked up by the trawler. Several other personnel also survived, escaping from the sunken wreck using the conning tower or the engine room escape hatch, the majority wearing DSEA. ERA Killen received a British Empire Medal for leaving the submarine wearing DSEA to check for obstructions around the engine room hatch and then returning to the engine room to assist the other crew members in escaping. He remained in the engine room until everyone else there had escaped. 16 of the crew successfully escaped, 22 crew were lost.

Lieutenant Edward Young, one of the survivors from Umpire, later went on to command HMS Storm.

Roll of Honour

Name Rank Number Hons Age
Baker, Victor Edward  Able Seaman  P/J 111449    37
Banister, Peter Charles McConnel  Lieutenant    DSC*  23
Beddie, Charles  Leading Telegraphist  J/JX 148841    21
Duffy, Joseph Angus  Leading Seaman  P/SSX 19625    23
Foster, Charles Henry  Engine Room Artificer  C/MX 51214  MID  28
Godden, Stephen Anthony Golder  Sub Lieutenant    DSC  25
Henson, Henry William  Telegraphist  P/SSX 20811    22
Hoey, Patrick John  Leading Seaman  P/JX 149552    21
Houston, William John  Stoker 1st Class  C/KX 83859    29
Jennings, Harold  Leading Signalman  D/JX 132675    29
Lewin, Walter William  Stoker 1st Class  C/K 61449    36
Phillips, Victor George  Stoker 1st Class  D/KX 91724    24
Roberts, Robert  Able Seaman  P/SSX 2354    20
Sumner, Frank  Able Seaman  P/SSX 30914    18
Town, Ronald Thomas  Leading Stoker  C/KX 87518    25
Welham, Frederick  Ordinary Seaman  C/JX 200030    23


01-01-1904 : Laid Down
30-12-1940 : Launched
10-07-1941 : Completed
19-07-1941 : HMS Umpire left Chatham on 19th July 1941 bound for the Clyde prior to joining the 3rd Submarine Flotilla at Dunoon. Having stopped over night at Sheerness she joined up with a northbound convoy, although she was not part of the convoy escort.

Umpire developed mechanical problems and began to fall behind the convoy which was kept informed of the submarines progress by radio. At midnight the northbound convoy passed a southbound convoy as expected but Umpire following behind was surprised to see the convoys pass starboard to starboard rather than the normal port to port. Umpire altered her course to port as the first few vessels passed to Umpire's starboard side but the trawler Peter Hendriks remained on a collision course.

As the two vessels came together a gash was torn in Umpire's side sending her to the bottom. 22 of her crew went down with the ship


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