Home - Articles - Lost & Found - Dakar Found

    1 Comment

Israeli sub wreck found 31 years on

More than 30 years after her mysterious disappearance, the wreck of the former HM Submarine Totem had been found - by the same US organisation that found the Titanic.


Totem was refitted and sold to Israel in the 1960s. In January 1968, renamed the Dakar and with a 69-strong Israeli crew, she left Portsmouth for her new homeland. She never arrived.

She sent her last message - undramatic and routine - while off Crete, then nothing. A year later her emergency buoy was washed up at Gaza, but continual attempts to locate her drew a blank.

Two years ago the Israeli Navy enlisted the help of the American Nauticus Corporation, who had found and filmed the Titanic Wreck. Using advanced technology to sweep the seabed, the joint Israeli-US team found the Dakar 9,500ft deep between Crete and Cyprus - and on her original course.

Brig Gen Gideon Raz, former Deputy Commander of the Israeli Navy, who has observed the wreck via underwater cameras, said the front section of the boat was whole, the middle section damaged, and parts spread over the seabed with the main section separated from the main body.

I think we can say that it was not caused by a large explosion or explosives or ammunition. Given that the pieces did not spread over a large radius, it fell almost whole until the end of its fall.

That seems to discount theories that the Dakar was sunk by Israel's enemies, and makes it more probable that she was sent to the bottom in an accidental collision - perhaps with a large, unknowing merchant ship.

In Israel discovery of the wreck prompted a period of official mourning for the crew. It brought back memories in Portsmouth, too, where Cdr Jeff Tall RN (retd) got to know the Dakar crew well during his time in Totem's sister-ship, HMS Thermopylae.

Now Director of the RN Submarine Museum, Cdr Tall told Navy News:

We hold a copy of the Jewish television programme made on the Dakar affair when Israel was full of conspiracy theories. It is a bittersweet discovery in that the rekindled sadness of her loss is tinged with the relief of knowing that nothing sinister - as opposed to disastrous - was amiss.

Reproduced with kind permission from
Submariners News


1 comment

My parterner George was a submariner on Totem and he told me that Canadian Indians gave the submarine a Totem Pole and said that as long as the Totem was on board she would never sink. Apparently when the Israel Navy were presented with the Totem they said they didn’t want it. The Totem Pole isn’t very big and is white with beautiful coloured carvings on it and can be seen in the Submarine Museum at Gosport.
   Karen Welsby Wed, 14 Feb 2024

This form is for you to comment on, or add additional information to this page. Any questions will be deleted. If you wish to ask a question or otherwise contact the Branch or the Webmaster. Please use the Contact Us page or ask your question on our Facebook Page

Please insert the result of the arithmetical operation from the following image:

Please insert the result of the arithmetical operation from this image. =


Note: All submissions are subject to webmaster approval prior to appearing on the page. As a SPAM prevention measure, any comments containing links to other sites will be automatically discarded

The Loss of HMS ThetisP311 Found