British Submarine HMS Olympus
all the branches of men in the Forces, there is none which shows more devotion
and faces grimmer perils than the submariner.
Great deeds are done in the air and on the land; nevertheless, nothing surpasses your exploits." Winston Churchill.
"Only in attack does a submarine reveal herself, before creeping away to the concealment of the deep"
HMS Olympus was an Odin-class submarine, a class originally designed for the Royal Australian Navy to cope with long distance patrolling in Pacific waters. Olympus was built to the same design for the Royal Navy. They were built to descend by 500 ft, were armed with eight torpedoes, and the first in the British Navy that enabled radio communications at periscope depth. HMS Olympus was commissioned in 1930, weighed more than 1,500 tons and was around 86 meters in length. She could reach a high speed of 17.5 knots surfaced and 8 knots when submerged.
The following information is a compilation of various sources, all of which I have linked at the base.
Divers have started exploration of the wreck of HMS Olympus, a British submarine which sank off Grand Harbour in 1942 after having apparently hit a mine. 90 men died but eight survived. The submarine had been supplying essential goods to Malta at a time when it became difficult to get convoys through.
The dive, believed to have been a first, was made by U-Boat Malta explorers and maritime archaeologist Timothy Gambin at a depth of around 120 meters. They used a C Explorer 5.8 submersible. “The visit to the submarine enabled us to gather vital information on the damage it suffered, which will in turn enable us to better understand the circumstances that led to her loss”, Dr Gambin said.
He led a team of researchers back in 2011 when the wreck was discovered using side scan sonar. The survey methods were non-intrusive. The members of the exploration team ensured that through such a methodology the site was treated with utmost respect. The group is planning further dives on the Olympus. This item was taken from the Times of Malta newspaper link below. (my italics in there).
As reported in the Daily Mail online: The footage confirmed that Olympus' propeller remains intact and her hatch open. The hole caused by the mine is located on bottom of the submarine. Also visible are canons, radio antennas and machine guns. The site is now expected to be formally designated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Stats from: http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/3395.html
From 1931 to 1939 Olympus was part of the 4th Flotilla on the China Station. From 1939-1940 she was with the 8th Flotilla, Colombo, Ceylon. In 1940 she was redeployed to the Mediterranean. She was damaged on 7 July 1940 when bombed by Italian aircraft while in dock in Malta. Repairs and refit were completed on 29 November 1940. On 9 November 1941 Olympus attacked the Italian merchant ship Mauro Croce (1,049 GRT) with torpedoes and gunfire in the Gulf of Genoa. The target escaped without damage.
On 8 May 1942 Olympus struck a mine and sank off Malta in approximate position 35°55'N, 14°35'E. She had just left Malta on passage to Gibraltar with personnel including many of the crews of the submarines Pandora, P36 and P39 which had been sunk in air raids. There were only 9 survivors out of 98 aboard. They had to swim 7 miles (11 km) back to Malta. 89 crew and passengers were lost with the ship.
During the War Olympus was adopted by the Town of Peterborough as part of Warship Week. The plaque from this adoption is held by the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.
On its last trip, the HMS Olympus set off from Malta heading to Gibraltar mainly to transport crew from other submarines. Of the total 98 crew on board, only nine survived. They swam seven miles back to the Maltese coast.
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