A British WWII submarine has been found off the sardinian coast with 71 bodies in it
World War II British submarine HMS P 311 had been missing since 1942. It presumably sunk in action off the coast of Sardinia in 1942. No one really knew then, what had happened, although the common assumption was that it might have hit a land mine and sunk.
Now after 74 years, the British WWII submarine has been found by shipwreck hunter Massimo Bondone who reported the grisly fact that he did find the entire submarine intact with its entire crew.
1 Part of an Attack Operation, But It Never Reached Its Target
On Dec 28, 1942, The HMS P311 was part of an Allied operation named Operation Principle. The initiative was part of a pre-planned attack to destroy guncrusiers anchored at La Maddalena in Sardinia. Mini man driven subs would be launched from the P311 where the frogmen would attach limpet mines to the Gunships. Sadly they never reached their target.
The last known record of communication received from the HMS P311 was on the New Year’s Eve. Thus, the official date of the sinking of the P31 was sometime in the first week of January 1943. Seventy One crew members perished that ill-fated day in what became their steel coffin which may have sunk from hitting a mine. After impact and explosion, the submarine might have become airtight which meant that the entire crew succumbed to suffocation.
2 The P311 Sank Before It Could Be Named
Massimo Bondone, who operates form Genoa is a deep sea ship wreck diver. When he found the sub lying 262 feet below the surface of the coast off Sardinia, he noticed that both the torpedo chariots were still strapped to the sub. The bow of the sub was damaged which lends credibility to the fact that the sub had indeed sunk from a mine explosion.
The British WWII submarine, HMS P311 was yet to be named even though it was to take part in an active operation. Before it could be christened “the Tutankahmun” it’s chosen name, the vessel sank. The commanding officer of the submarine was a young captain, just 35 years old.
3 Captained By Young Richard Cayley, a Veteran of Many Attack Missions
Commander Richard Cayley had just left an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace to take charge of the 84 m sub. As a decorated veteran of many missions, he had already seen a fair share of active service in the Mediterranean. Owing to his distinguished feat of destroying 70,000 tons of shipping, he was nicknamed ‘Dead Eye Dick’.
The commander’s daughter, Jennifer Barker, 82, said, ‘I was at school when Dad died. I just hope they leave her where she is and don’t try to raise her. It’s a war grave and should be respected as such.’
4 The Submarine Will Remain As a Grave in the Bottom of the Sea
The HMS P31 was found by Bondone, tilted to one side and covered in seaweed and algae. The vessel will not be removed as is the practice of leaving shipwrecks to remain where they are, being considered war graves. However as a mark of respect, divers will take down a white ensign and fly it from the submarine.
The names of all of the crew of the British WWII submarine HMSP311 are marked on a commemorative plaque in the Portsmouth War Memorial.