Urge (N17)

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: U Group 1
Fate: It is possible that Urge struck a mine outside Malta or that she was sunk by the Italian torpedo boat Pegaso in the eastern Mediterranean.

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Ex P40

HMS Urge was ordered as part of the 1939 Emergency War Programme and was built at the Barrow-in-Furness Yard of Vickers Armstrong Ltd.

The Submarine was ordered on 4th Sep 1939, was laid down at Barrow on 30th Oct 1939 and was launched on 19th Aug 1940 and was completed on 12th Dec 1940.

After Contractors Sea Trials and Working Up patrols in Home Waters HMS Urge (under Lieutenant Edward P Tomkinson, Royal Navy) was sent to the Mediterranean to join firstly the 8th Submarine Flotilla based on the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Maidstone at Gibraltar and then the 1st Submarine Flotilla based on HMS St Angelo at Malta. Also on board for the passage was Lieutenant Ian McGeoch, Royal Navy who was to be the 'Spare Commanding Officer'.

Missing WWII Submarine Adopted by Bridgend found off Libyan Coast

From BBC News - South East Wales, 29th April 2015

A submarine adopted by the people of Bridgend during World War Two may have been found 73 years after it sunk. HMS Urge left Malta for Alexandria on the north coast of Egypt on 27th April 1942 and was never seen again.

No definite explanation has ever been agreed upon for the loss of HMS Urge which was officially reported missing in the Mediterranean on 29th April 1942. However, historian Jean-Pierre Misson claims he has identified the submarine on sonar recordings taken near Libya. His research will shortly be available to view at the Local and Family History Centre at Ty'r Ardd, Bridgend.

In 1941 there was a national "Warship Week" which raised money to meet the costs of providing military machinery and vehicles for the war. Nationally, £955m was raised, of which Bridgend contributed around £300,000 - which would be the equivalent of more than £12m today - and the town adopted the submarine HMS Urge along with two other warships.

The submarine played a key role in winning the battle for North Africa during World War Two. The vessel aided the Malta Squadron, known as the fighting 10th, to cut off supplies to Rommel's Afrika Corps.

In 2011, to mark the 69th Anniversary of the submarine's disappearance, a plaque honouring HMS Urge and its 29-strong crew and 10 passengers was rededicated to the people of Bridgend in recognition of their efforts.

Roll of Honour

Allen  Lieutenant DSC
Ashford  Leading Telegraphist
Ashford  Stoker Petty Officer DSM
Baxter  Able Seaman
Botting  Petty Officer
Brown  Stoker 1st Class
Bryant  Stoker 1st Class
Chamberlain  Leading Seaman
Davison  Able Seaman
Day  Able Seaman
Goss  Able Seaman
Gray  Civilian journalist
Groves  Leading Seaman
Harman  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class
Hellyer  Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class
Jackman  Chief Petty Officer DSM
Lamb  Leading Stoker
Law  E/Sig MID
Leeke  Leading Signalman
McDiarmid  Able Seaman
McMillan  Stoker 1st Class
Morris  Leading Seaman
Norris  Leading Seaman DSM
ONeill  Able Seaman MID
Parkinson  Able Seaman
Poole  Lieutenant DSC
Ransome  Lieutenant DSC RNR
Rogers  Leading Telegraphist
Rowley  Able Seaman DSM
Rutter  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class
Stanger  Stoker 1st Class
Tompkinson  Lieutenant Commander DSO
Toms  Chief Engine Room Artificer DSM
Varley  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class MID
White  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class
Wildman  Able Seaman
Wiseman  Petty Officer Telegraphist MID


30-10-1939 : Laid Down
19-08-1940 : Launched
12-12-1940 : Completed
18-04-1941 : Whilst on the way to Malta on Submarine HMS URGE made an attack on the 10,585 ton Italian Tanker FRANCO MARTELLI in position 46`51'N 08`29'E in the Bay of Biscay firing torpedoes at a range of approximately 2,000 yards. One torpedo hit and the target sank. It is reported that the tanker had been returning to Italy from Brazil.
20-05-1941 : Whilst on Patrol along the Sicily/Gulf of Sirte route an attack was made on two escorted Italian Merchant Vessels in position 35`46'N 11`57'E. Four torpedoes were fired of which the first two hit, the third missed and the fourth one also hit. As a result the 4,857 ton PERSEO was damaged and the 5,165 ton ZEFFIRO was sunk.
21-05-1941 : An attack was made on two Italian Cruisers escorted by three destroyers and a torpedo boat in position 35`30'N 12`25'E both of the Cruisers were missed however the 1,200 ton Destroyer CURTATONE,which was one of the escorts was sunk.
24-05-1941 : HMS URGE returned to Malta.
09-06-1941 : An unsuccessful attack was made on the 3,950 ton German Tanker INGO in position 35`38'N 12`11'E.
29-06-1941 : HMS Urge attacks and claims to have damaged the 10,000 ton Italian heavy cruiser Bolzano with four torpedoes east of Sicily in position 37`55'N 15`35'E.
02-07-1941 : HMS Urge fires four torpedoes at the 6,696 ton BRARENA, which resulted in one hit and the ship sinking
07-07-1941 : Damage was claimed on a 9,000 ton Merchant Vessel in position 37`48'N 15`21'E
24-07-1941 : In position 38`15'N 13`24'E a 2,500 ton Tanker was missed.
26-08-1941 : HMS Urge attacks the Italian tanker Pozarica with torpedoes off Marettimo Island, Italy but miss.
27-08-1941 : HMS Urge torpedoes and damages the Italian passenger ship Aquitania 7 nautical miles bearing 13 from Punta Mignone.
27-08-1941 : Urge attacked a Merchant Vessel and the 4,791 ton Italian Tanker AQUITANIA in position 38`11'N 12`07'E. The tanker was hit and sank.
29-08-1941 : HMS Urge fires three torpedoes against an Italian troop transport the 23,600 ton Italian Liner DUILIO off Capri Island, Italy in position 4`25'N 14`15'E. The Liner was later confirmed as damaged.
24-09-1941 : An attack was made a 2,500 ton Merchant Vessel. All torpedoes missed.
30-09-1941 : Overnight, HMS URGE took part in an operation to deliver a package to an agent on a beach in the Gulf of Gioia. It turned out that the agent was a double agent and the officer who was paddling ashore to deliver the package was killed by gunfire from the shore.
02-10-1941 : On 2nd Oct 1941 an unsuccessful attack was made on an Italian Submarine of 600 tons in position 38`43'N 12`52'E.
22-10-1941 : Urge was patrolling off Kuriat Island, Tunisia when he sighted a Merchant Vessel which he fired three torpedoes. They were seen and avoided by the target but a fourth torpedo hit and sank the 1,407 ton MARIA POMPEI. On the same day another attack resulted in the sinking of the 5,996 ton MARIGOLA.
14-12-1941 : HMS Urge torpedoes and damages the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto about 10 nautical miles west-south-west of Capo dell'Armi in position 37`52'N 15`30'E. Urge had fired at two Battleships (the other was the LITTORIO) and had claimed two hits and one possible hit but the VITTORIO VENETO was definitely damaged by one torpedo.
30-03-1942 : A 3,000 ton Merchant Vessel was missed with a salvo of three torpedoes in position 40`04'N 13`07'E . After this missed torpedo attack Urge surfaced and attacked the ship by gunfire but had to withdraw to avoid damage from return fire.
01-04-1942 : While on patrol north of Sicily, the 5,070 ton Italian Cruiser GIOVANNI DELLA BANDA NERE and two escorting Destroyers was attacked with a salvo of four torpedoes. Two hits were claimed and the Cruiser was sunk in position 38`37'N 15`22'E.
12-04-1942 : Torpedoes were fired at a two ship convoy. This was unsuccessful as the torpedo tracks were sighted by a flying boat acting as the escort and the ships were warned to slow down and stop.
27-04-1942 : On 27th April 1942 HMS Urge left Malta on passage to Alexandria, where she was due to arrive on the 6th. The submarine failed to arrive. It is possible that Urge struck a mine outside Malta or that she was sunk by the Italian torpedo boat Pegaso in the eastern Mediterranean.
29-04-1942 : Reported lost whilst on passage from Malta to Alexandria on 29th April 1942.

At the time of the loss the submarine was carrying ten ratings as passengers in addition to the normal crew as part of the evacuation of the 10th Submarine Flotilla from Malta to Alexandria.


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Utmost (N19)