Submarine Unruffled


Book Reviewer
HMS Unruffled commemoration Wednesday 14th March 2012 at 11.00
On the 70th anniversary of Warships Week in 1942, the plaque presented to the "The Town of Colchester" by the "Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty" to commemorate the adoption of HMS P46 [HMS Unruffled], will be re-installed in the Town Hall after being "lost" for many years. The ceremony will commence at 11:00 and be followed by a reception in the Mayor's Parlor.

Surviving members of the crew and their relatives or descendants are warmly invited to attend. All members of the Colchester and District Submariners Association are also warmly invited. Descendants of the then Mayors Maurice Pye and Percy Saunders, the Hon Sec of the fundraising committee Mr L. J. Barrell, Teddy Paxman and men who built the engines for the U class submarines will be most welcome.

During Warships Week 14th to 21st March 1942 the people of Colchester were charged with purchasing £250,000 worth of War Bonds. That was, effectively, giving £250,000 to the Government as the War looked very one sided at that time, with Germany on top. The equivalent now would be asking the people of Athens to purchase €250,000,000 of Greek bonds.

The sum raised was £435,223.

"HMS Unruffled, under the command of Lieut. J. S. Stevens, served in the Mediterranean theatre of operations from the summer of 1942 until December 1943. She formed part of the 10th flotilla which fought the most concentrated submarine battle in history from the beleaguered island of Malta.

She completed 19 war patrols and sank 10 enemy ships totalling 40,000 tons. She severely damaged the heavy Italian cruiser "Attilio Regolo", blowing off her bows with a torpedo strike, leaving her unable to participate further in the war. HMS Unruffled took part in the invasion of Sicily in July 1943 as a beacon marker for assult craft. On other occasions she was involved in under cover operations, including those against Cephalonia in August 1943, and transporting two-man chariot attacks.

Lieut. Stephens was awarded the DSO and DSC for these operations and survived the war. The supreme allied commander, General Eisenhower, described him after one attack as "The maddest captain in the navy". HMS Unruffled's crew suffered no combat fatalities during the war. Lieut. Stevens died in 1992.

Colchester's own submarine ace was Lt. Hugh Turner, DSO, the captain of HMS Unrivalled. The mayor would love to welcome any of his descendants, or relations or those of his crew.

Unruffled acquired a cat called Timoshenko [named after the successful Russian general], who sailed on all her wartime patrols."

Attached is a picture of HMS Unruffled with the crew gathered around the gun platform and the Jolly Roger flying from the periscope.

Lt J. S. Stevens DSO, DSC [CO] is on the extreme right.

Lt O. Lascelles MBE, DSO is behind Lt. Stevens.

Lt. Lercott is behind Lt. Lascelles.

PO Coxwain Alfie Thomas is behind Lt/ Lercott.

Gunlayer Sandy Powell is 11th from right.
I hope you can all assist in making this a happy and successful event for all concerned.


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