"Of 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"

British Submarine HMS Upholder 


Lt  Comdr David Wanklin VC DSO & 2nd Bar

HMS Upholder (P37) was a Royal Navy U-class submarine built by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness. She was laid down on 30 October 1939, launched on 8 July 1940 The submarine was commissioned on 31 October 1940.
Length: 58 m
Construction started: 30 October 1939
Launched: 8 July 1940
Draft: 4.62 m
Beam: 4.8 m
Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs
Fate: sunk 14 April 1942
HMS Upholder was probably the most successful submarine in the history of the Royal Navy. She was operating out of Malta in the Mediterranean. She was not large, she was not fast but her commander was an above average Captain who was awarded the Victoria Cross. The operations of the british submarines in this sea are not as well recorded or mentioned as their more 'famous' counterparts in the Pacific war, or the operations against the U Boat in the Atlantic. A travesty in my view.  She sank 14 ships totalling 93031 tons. After tyeh war and the new classes of submarines that emerged, the first was named Upholder. Image below.

Lt. Cmdr. Malcolm David Wanklyn VC. DSO and 2nd Bar commanded HMS UPHOLDER for the whole of her career and became the most successful British submarine of the Second World War. HMS Upholder was lost with all hands on her 25th patrol, which was to have been her last before she returned to England.

She left for patrol on the 6th April 1942 and became overdue on the 14th April. On the 12th April she was ordered, with HMS Urge and HMS Thrasher to form a patrol line to intercept a convoy, although it is not known whether she received the signal. The most likely explanation for her loss is that after being spotted by a reconnaissance seaplane, she fell victim to depth charges dropped by the Italian Orsa class torpedo boat Pegaso northeast of Tripoli on the 14th April 1942 in the position 34°47N 16°55E, although no debris was seen on the surface.
She was a tiny vessel, not really designed for the dangers and hardships of war in far places and deep waters. She was intended for short-range war in coastal waters, and accordingly, she was classed as a “Small Patrol Submarine,” as were the other boats in her class. She carried a crew of only 31, and was slow and under-armed compared to her larger sisters in the British Royal Navy and other navies of the world, and she could not dive below 200 feet, which would leave her terribly vulnerable in clear water … like that of the Mediterranean. Only 196 feet long, she could do no more than 11 1/2 knots on the surface and just nine submerged. How this little submarine became undisputed winner in the tonnage stakes is down to her excellent commander and well trained crew. Make sure you read the links  below, so very informative.

This is of her sister sub Unseen. I woulds love to see Upholders Jolly roger!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_the_Jolly_Roger_by_submarines

Lead boat Upholder Class. This image looks to me like it could have been her final voyage, rather dilapadated
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Upholder_(P37)
https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2013/july/25/130725-hms-echo-finds-18-wrecks
http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/hms-upholder-fought-in-mediterranean-to-defeat-rommel-in-north-africa/


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