Diver uncovers final resting place of Second World War Portsmouth submarine HMS Utmost

editorial image

City leaders join Kurdish community to mark anniversary of Halabja massacre

Have your say

A ROYAL Navy submarine wreckage found in the Mediterranean that played a significant role in destroying enemy fleet during the Second World War was deployed from Portsmouth.

HMS Utmost is thought to be one of six British submarines recently discovered by a Belgian diver off the coast of Tunisia. A seventh submarine also found is believed to be Italian.

Jean-Pierre Misson, 78, was conducting sonar scans of the seabed in an area between Tabarka and Cap Negro when he discovered what he believes are the wrecks of the submarines.

Among those found, HMS Talisman and HMS Tigris also had links with Portsmouth during the war.

But HMS Utmost appears to have played the most influential role after destroying a number of German and Italian vessels in the Mediterranean between 1940 to 1942.

She was sunk while returning to Malta from a mission in November, according to historical sources from the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

Her significant contribution to the war efforts resulted in the Commanding Officer receiving a Distinguished Service Order for a mission believed to be the landing of agents behind enemy lines.

Mr Misson said he was confident the submarines were British but did not have the resources to confirm it absolutely.

He said he had reported his findings to the British authorities.

Mr Mission told The Times: ‘They are all resting on the seafloor of what had been a naval mine barrage. There could be more wrecks, I have not sonar-explored the whole area.

‘But to find the real identity of every submarine a visual approach is needed, which I don’t have the ability to do at my age and at that depth.’

HMS Talisman carried out war patrols from Portsmouth in 1940 before it was sunk in 1942 by an Italian vessel when returning to Gibraltar following a mission.

HMS Tigris docked at Portsmouth en route to other destinations before carrying out war patrols.

The Royal Navy said it was difficult to confirm identities of vessels later found.