Daily Event for July 22, 2008

July 22 was an unlucky day for British submarines, three that sailed on that date never returned, and nobody knows exactly why to this day.

In 1940 HMS Narwhal N-45 sailed from Blyth to lay mines off Trondheim, Norway, the type of mission the boat had already done several times. This time however something went wrong and the boat was never heard from again. The Luftwaffe reported attacking a submarine on July 23 about 170 miles northeast of Blyth which, if true could have been Narwhal, but the wreck has never been found.

The same day HMS Thames N-71 sailed from Dundee into the North Sea on her first war patrol, while she is thought to have sunk the German torpedo boat Luchs on July 26, Luchs could have been sunk by another submarine. Thames never returned and has still not been found.

Both of these boats were built at Vickers in Barrow which gives them a third element of similarity. Built at the same place, sailed the same day, missing for unknown reasons with the entire crew.

Three years later on July 22, 1943 the HMS Parthian N-75 sailed from Malta for a patrol in the Adriatic west of Greece. She received new orders to patrol off Otranto on July 26th and other orders were given at least twice more. On Aug. 11, 1943 the boat was reported overdue and has still not been found. Three entire crews lost, and over 60 years later still laying somewhere on the bottom of the sea their location known only to God.
© 2008 Michael W. Pocock

HMS Narwhal loading mines in 1940.

HMS Thames, date and location unknown.

HMS Parthian, date and location unknown.