A British submarine that mysteriously vanished during World War II has been found at the bottom of the sea in “fantastic condition,” marine archaeologists revealed Thursday.
HMS Urge never reached its destination, Alexandria, Egpyt, in 1942, and the exact fate of its 44 souls has been a mystery for the last 77 years.
A specialist university team of marine archaeologists finally found it lying at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea off Malta, thanks to the use of sonar imaging technology, they revealed Thursday.
“Damage to the bow shows a very violent explosion … indicating that the ship would have sunk very fast giving no chance to anybody to survive from this tragedy,” said professor Timmy Gambin, who led the university mission.
“Besides the damage on the bow, the wreck is in absolutely fantastic condition. It is sitting upright on the seabed, very proud, in the direction that it was ordered to take on its way to Alexandria,” he told Television Malta.
HMS Urge was based with other submarines in Malta and had carried out several deadly missions by the time a German siege of the Mediterranean island forced the British navy to ordered it — and the rest of the flotilla — to redeploy to Egypt.
The Urge set sail on April 27, 1942, carrying a 32-strong crew, 11 other naval personnel and a journalist. However, it failed to reach Alexandria on the agreed rendezvous date of May 6.
The team from the University of Malta has spent two decades surveying local seas for the sunken sub. At the request of the grandson of Urge’s commander, they combed an area this summer that had once been heavily mined by Nazi forces.
A sonar image finally revealed a submarine-like shape 425 feet below the waves and two miles off the coast. The university said the British authorities have confirmed the wreck is the Urge.
A ceremony is planned for next year to declare the site an official war grave.
With Post wires