HMS Unshaken

Vessel Name on Arrival: 
HMS Unshaken
Vessel Type: 
Submarine
Official Number: 
113856
GRT: 
545
Draught For'd: 
12' 06"
Draught Aft: 
13' 03"
Year Built: 
1942
Arrival Date: 
13/02/1946
Breakup Started: 
25/03/1946
Date First Beaching: 
23/04/1946
Breakup Completed: 
15/02/1946
Original Builder: 
Vickers-Armstrongs of Barrow-in-Furness
Original Yard No.: 
802
Name Changes: 

 

1942  :  Launched as P 54

1943  :  Renamed HMS Unshaken

Other Information: 

 

 'U' - Class Submarine for the Royal Navy  -  Pennant No. P 54

12-06-1941  :  Laid Down                          Length   :  58.22 metres  (191' 0")

17-02-1942  :  Launched                           Breadth  :    4.90 metres   ( 16' 1")

21-05-1942  :  Completed                         Draught :    4.62 metres    ( 15' 2")

 

540 tons - Standard Load

630 tons - Full Load

730 tons - Submerged

Complement :  27 - 31 men)

Propulsion :  Twin Screw Twin Paxman - Ricardo Diesel Engines + Electric Motors

Speed  :  Surfaced = 11.5 knots               Submerged = 10.0 knots

Armaments :  4 x Bow internal torpedo tubes for 21" (533mm) torpedoes  (8 - 10 carried)

                         1 x 3 inch (76mm) Deck Gun

 

 

 The War Patrols

The War Patrols of P-54 / HMS Unshaken :

12 Aug 1942
HMS P 54 (Lt. C.E. Oxborrow, DSC, RN) torpedoes and sinks the German merchant Georg L.M. Russ (2890 GRT) off southern Norway in position 58º37'N, 05º30'E. Another ship is missed in the same attack.

20 Dec 1942
HMS P 54 (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) attacks the French merchant Oasis (1327 GRT) with gunfire off Genova, Italy. No damage is inflicted.

12 Jan 1943
HMS P 54 (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) attacks the Italian merchant Campania (5247 GRT) north-west of Marettimo Island, Italy. All torpedoes fired missed their target.

8 Apr 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Italian merchant Foggia (1227 GRT, former French Mont St. Clair) 10 nautical miles bearing 46 off Soussa, Tunisia.

28 Apr 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Italian torpedo boat Climene (652 tons) about 25 nautical miles south-west of Marettimo Island, Sicily, Italy in position 37º45'N, 11º33'E.

29 Apr 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) fires four torpedoes against the French passenger/cargo ship Cap Corse (2444 GRT) off Cape San Vito, Sicily, Italy. All torpedoes fired missed their target.

22 Jun 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Italian schooner Giovanni G. (35 GRT) off Augusta, Sicily, Italy.

At 1202 hours (time zone -2), while in position 6.5 nautical miles bearing 302 Cape Murro di Porco a two masted schooner was sighted about 4 nautical miles away. Unshaken closed to attack.

At 1236 hours two torpedoes were fired from 2400 yards. One and a half minute later the schooner was seen to disintegrate in a red flash and a large column of black smoke which give the impression that her cargo was of inflammable nature.

At 1631 hours, while in position 37º03'N, 15º22'E a merchant ship of about 5000 tons escorted by three torpedo boats was sighted, an attack on the merchant was commenced.

At 1656 hours four torpedoes were fired from 3200 yards but non of these hit the target that was zig-zagging wildly. A short counter attack followed.

23 Jun 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Italian merchant Pomo (1425 GRT, former Yugoslavian Niko Matkovic, (built 1906) off Syracuse, Sicily, Italy in position 37º09'N, 15º15'E.

At 1416 hours (time zone -2) an attack was commenced on a convoy of 2 merchants escorted by 2 'destroyers'.

At 1454 hours two torpedoes were fired at a merchant of 3000 tons. One hit was obtained. Unshaken went deep to 120 feet.

14 Jul 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) sinks the Italian auxiliary patrol vessel No 265 / Cesena (105 GRT) with gunfire off the southern coast of Calabria, Italy in position 39º18'N, 17º16'E.

19 Jul 1943
Near Malta HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) is missed by four torpedoes fired by ORP Dzik. The Poles thought they were attacking an enemy submarine, luckily the torpedoes missed their target.

11 Aug 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Italian troop transport Asmara (7192 GRT) 3 nautical miles east of Brindisi, Italy in position 40º44'N, 18º03'E.

5 Sep 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) torpedoes and damages the Italian tanker Dora C. (5843 GRT) about 10 nautical miles east of Brindisi, Italy.

09-09-1943

Captured the Italian Fratelli Bandiera Class submarine, Ciro Menotti, and led her into Malta.

3 Oct 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) fires three torpedoes against the Italian merchant Nina (2212 GRT) off Elba Island. None of the torpedoes fired hit the target.

7 Apr 1944
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) torpedoes and sinks the German merchant Asien (3894 GRT) off Lista, Norway in position 58º08'N, 06º32'E.

 

Commander ‘Percy’ Westmacott, DSO, DSC,  born and bred in New Zealand, his service was all with the Royal Navy, and his decorations were all won in submarines, particularly in the specialist world of midget submarines.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1934; 1941, Lieutenant; 1955, Commander.

He qualified in submarines at the start of the war. He was First Lieutenant of Unshaken in 1942 when, one night as she surfaced in rough weather, she rolled so extremely that her captain and two lookouts were washed overboard and lost. Westmacott had to take charge and return to Gibraltar. Later, with a new CO, she carried out successful patrols, sinking six enemy vessels, and capturing the Italian S/ M Ciro Menotti, for which he was awarded the DSC. In 1944 he joined X-craft (midget S/Ms) and commanded X-24 on a mission to sink a floating dock inside Bergen harbour. The dock was sunk and X-24 returned safely.

 Westmacott was awarded the DSO. In 1945 he commanded the larger XE-5 in an operation to cut Japanese telegraph cables, which were cryptographically secure, to force them to use radio - the Allies having broken the radio codes.  While under tow to the Site, the tow broke and XE-5 plunged well below her maximum designed depth, dragged down by the wire.  Luckily the tow was slipped and she popped up like a cork. Westmacott decided to continue and XE-5 was three days underwater at the Site before retiring to be towed back. The cable was put out of action and Westmacott was awarded a a bar to his DSC.

 

 

 

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