British Submarine HMS United
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"
She spent most of the war in the Mediterranean, where she sank the small Italian merchant Rostro, the Italian auxiliary submarine chaser V 39/Giovanna, the Italian destroyer Bombardiere, the French merchant Ste Marguerite (the former Norwegian Ringulv), and the Italian merchant Olbia. Whilst covering the Allied invasion of Sicily, United spotted the Italian transport submarine Remo on the surface. She launched four torpedoes, one of which hit the Remo amidships, sinking her within a few minutes. Only four survived, the three who were on the conning tower (amongst them the CO, Captain Vassallo), and Sergeant Dario Cortopassi who was able to come up from the control room. United also sank the Italian transport ship Rosolino Pilo, which had already been damaged in a previous attack by motor torpedo boats. She also damaged the Italian tanker Petrarca, and further damaged the Italian merchant Ravenna. The Ravenna had been grounded after air attack and a fire on 29 September 1942. She also attacked the damaged Italian light cruiser Attilio Regolo, but missed her. The Attilio Regolo had lost her bow due to an attack the previous day by HMS Unruffled. United survived the war and was scrapped at Troon from 12 February 1946.
On board United was the father of Simon Frank. His father was a member of 10 Commando. Simon is going to, hopefully send me his fathers diary of this trip. Here is an extract:
.... target presented itself very quickly & the whole show was over in about ½ hour. We can now sail into Valetta with our jolly roger flying… We try to surface at 2220 hrs but get put down within 2 mins by a E Boat lying with its engines off ½ mile away. Captain then decides to stay down throughout the night & next day as we are being chased around & cannot surface. 2 destroyers and MTB's follow us about. We attempt to go north but they beat us to it. No hot drinks cold (?) and biscuits.
Simon tells me: Lt or Capt A.M.Frank, Commando No10, together with Cpl Butler were on board HMS United, Jan 4th till Jan 18th, when the Italian destroyer, Bombardiere ("bomber") was sunk on 17 January 1943 by British submarine United, and the subsequent lengthy stay on the bottom of the Med to evade enemy reprisal.
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