Naval History

HMS Urge: WWII Submarine's Wreck Found On Mediterranean Seabed

Marine archaeologists located the remains off the coast of Malta, ending a 77-year mystery over its whereabouts.

HMS Urge in harbour (Picture: Royal Navy).

The wreck of a World War Two submarine which had been missing for 77 years has been found.

HMS Urge was one of 19 U-class boats which were sunk in the Second World War.

Based in Malta, her final mission was to Alexandria in Egypt on 27 April 1942, as the 10th Submarine Flotilla left the island to escape Axis bombing raids there.

Having never reached her destination, it was reported she ran into an enemy minefield, but her wreck was not found.

Now, she has been located on the Mediterranean seabed off the coast of Malta, the resting place for the 44 people who lost their lives, including 32 crew, 11 other naval personnel and a war correspondent.

Lieutenant Commander Edward P Tomkinson commanded the vessel (Picture: Royal Navy).

She was small and was designed solely for training purposes.

Under Lieutenant Commander Edward P Tomkinson, her crew and captain were noted for numerous successes, including the sinking of Italian battleships and cruisers.

Some saw Tomkinson worthy of the Victoria Cross.

Professor Timmy Gambin, University of Malta Classics and Archaeology Department, said: "Many of the crew of HMS Urge formed bonds with the people of Malta – one crew member married a Maltese bride."

Her discovery was due to the combined efforts of Canadian naval researcher Platon Alexiades, Professor Gambin, and the grandson of Urge's commanding officer, Francis Dickinson.

Mr Dickinson said: "My family have always wanted to know where HMS Urge and her gallant crew’s resting place is.

"Thanks to this project, we now know where and how the submarine was lost after achieving so much."

The remains of the submarine will become an official war grave, guarded by Maltese, British and international law.

Families of the crew members are aiming to set up a memorial on the island, and attend a commemorative service next year.