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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006


HMS UNBENDING - U-class Submarine

HM S/M United, sister-boat (Cyber Heritage, click to enlarge)

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Identified as P37 on launch in May 1941 this submarine was named in October 1942 under the policy change and was the first use by the RN. She completed work-up at the end of November 1941 and carried out an uneventful patrol off Stadlandet in early December. On return she was deployed for anti-submarine training of Home Fleet ships at Scapa Flow till 14th January 1942 when she joined the 9th Submarine Flotilla at Dundee.


During a patrol between Stadlandet and Gripholen she sustained some damage when she struck the seabed and was under repair at Dundee on return. Resuming service on 26th March she carried out another Norwegian coast patrol in the same area and encountered a German submarine on 11th April but the torpedo attack failed. Further repair at Dundee was completed at the end of April and after trials she returned to Norwegian coast patrol in May to provide additional protection against submarine attacks on Russian convoys PQ16 and returning QP12.


This submarine was transferred to the Mediterranean in June and took passage from Dundee on 29th June 1942 after repair to join the 10th Submarine Flotilla in Malta. She was deployed at Gibraltar during July for patrols off the Spanish coast and in the western Mediterranean and sailed for Malta with stores on 19th September. Her first patrol began on 5th October and she sank a small coaster, a sailing ship and the mercantile ALGA, 1,851 tons. Later off Lampedusa she sank the 4,859 ton freighter BEPPE and the Italian destroyer GIOVANNI DA VERRAZZANO on 19th before return to Malta  Her next patrol in November in support of allied landings in Algeria was not as successful since attacks on two ships failed and a convoy interception was missed At the end of December she landed two agents east of Tripoli and four days later on 31s came under depth charge attacks off Cagliari by an Italian destroyer.


Whilst deployed in the Straits of Messina in January 1942 she hit and damaged the 8,657 ton Italian passenger/cargo mercantile VIMINALE  but was forced to return to Malta for repair of damage caused by counter attacks. Her next patrol was in the Adriatic where she sank two more freighters before returning on 14th February. The next month she landed a Commando party near Cape Bruzmano and sank two small steamers. Her final Mediterranean deployment was an uneventful patrol in the Gulf of Hammamet  before return to UK on 12th April.


Calling at Gibraltar on 24th April she arrived at Portsmouth on 8th May. She carried out anti-submarine training for Western Approaches Command escorts with the 7th Submarine Flotilla at Londonderry during June and then Paid-off at Devonport on 29th prior to refit. Post refit trials were completed in December 1943 and she rejoined the 7th Submarine Flotilla  in January 1944 for work-up and Home Fleet anti-submarine training. Her remaining war service was with the 6th Submarine Flotilla at Blyth and she was deployed for training of submarine crews there until May 1945 when she refitted until October. She Paid-off on 3rd December 1945 and was laid-up in the Gareloch until used for Ship Target trials in 1946 after which returned to lay-up at Lisahally prior to sale in 1950.


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revised 30/11/10
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