HMS Untamed

Vessel name on Arrival: HMS Vitality

HMS_Vitality Sandbank War Memorial HMS Untamed - 2 HMS Untamed - 1

Original Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs, High Walker Yard, Newcastle upon Tyne

Original Yard No: 47

Official Number: 117034

Vessel Type: submarine

GRT: 545

Year Built: 1942

Arrival Date: 24/02/1946

Breakup Started: 05/03/1946

Date First Beached: 19/03/1947

Date Breakup Completed: 07/07/1947

Draught For’d: 12' 6"

Draught Aft: 13' 0"

Name Changes:

1942  :  Launched as P 58

1943  :  Renamed HMS Untamed

1943  :  Renamed HMS Vitality

Other Information:


 'U' – Class Submarine for the Royal Navy  –  Pennant No. P-58

09-10-1941  :  Laid Down                         Length    :  58.22 metres  (191' 0")

08-12-1942  :  Launched                           Breadth  :    4.90 metres   ( 16' 1")

14-04-1943  :  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


The loss of HMS Untamed :

HMS Untamed sailed out from the Supply Ship HMS Forth in the Holy Loch in the early morning light of Sunday 30th May 1943.  She was to undertake a training exercise with the 8th Escort Group, in the Firth of Clyde, acting as a target in the Kilbrannan Sound.  In the second exercise that day, HMS Untamed was to be used as a target for anti-submarine mortar practice by the 878 tons Admiralty Armed Surface Vessel HMS Shemara, which also served as an ASDIC Training Ship. (This was the commandeered luxury yacht of the Dockers, built in 1938 at Thornycroft's Woolston Yard)  


When the submarine did not respond to attempts to contact her, nor surface, assistance was summoned. Shemara located HMS Untamed with sonar and heard the sounds of her engines being run and tanks being blown.  HMS Thrasher arrived but no more was heard from HMS Untamed after 17:45 hours – nearly three hours from the first indication of a problem.  Weather prevented divers inspecting the submarine until the 1st June. On 5th of June, the body of Chief Engine Room Artificer, Thomas Challoner, was found lodged in the Escape Chamber, beneath the Escape Hatch.  His body was taken ashore and buried in Kilkerran Cemetery, Campbeltown.  The submarine was then taken to Dunoon where all the other crewmen's bodies were recovered and interred in the Dunoon Cemetery.


There was no outward sign of damage and it was not until after HMS Untamed was salvaged on 5 July 1943 that it was determined that the cause of the sinking was due to a valve which had been incorrectly installed giving a false reading to the crew, and when they opened an inner hatch to gain access to the patent log, the sea poured into the boat with such pressure the crew had to abandon that compartment. The situation was worsened by the failure of the watertight door to seal off the flooding section. From the investigation that followed it appears that carbon dioxide built up rapidly preventing clear thinking by the crew. It is speculated that they spent almost four hours attempting to pump the water out of the boat instead of trying to escape. (Even though they were signaled by the surface ships to do so.)


When they realized that they would not be able to raise the boat they moved to the engine room and began an
attempt to escape by flooding the compartment and using the internal pressure to force open the outer hatch.
Sadly, a second valve now malfunctioned, this valve, again having been installed incorrectly, showed to be
open when it was closed. Nobody knows how much time it took the crew to determine why the engine room would not flood but, during this period someone opened another valve which, after the engine room began
taking on water, allowed much of it to enter the bilge adding to the time it would take to flood the engine room.

Because of the added time it took to flood the engine room the men, now overcome by oxygen depravation,
could no longer help themselves and they all lapsed into unconsciousness and died. Not one of the 36 man crew made it out alive.


HMS Untamed was salvaged, refitted and renamed HMS Vitality, returning to service in July 1944.   



Interred in the Dunoon Cemetery, Argyll & Bute, Scotland

The following 35 Royal Navy personnel of the total 36-man complement lost their lives in the tragic accident that befell the newly commissioned Submarine HMS UNTAMED in the Firth of Clyde on 30th of May 1943 whilst she was undertaking a training exercise with the 8th Escort Group.  They are interred in the Dunoon Cemetery.  The 36th member of the crew, Chief E.R.A., T. G. Challoner is interred in Campbeltown’s Kilkerran Cemetery.

Acworth – Peter Carr Glynn                         20 years               Sub-Lieutenant                                Hampshire

Arkwright – John Richard Stephen           36 years               Able Seaman                     Radnorshire

Ball – George Herbert                                    29 years               Petty Officer Stoker       Chatham

Bates – Jack                                                        21 years               Able Seaman                     Birmingham

Beard – Robert Leonard Archibald           25 years               Leading Seaman               Brighton

Bothams – Peter                                              20 years               Able Seaman                     Great Yarmouth

Bowyer – Hugh L.                                             unknown             Able Seaman                     Glasgow

Clayton – Peter Lambert                               20 years               Sub-Lieutenant                                Lancashire

Cole – Herbert Ernest Douglas                   20 years               Stoker 1st Class                  unknown

Cooper – Joseph Frederick                          22 years               Able Seaman                     County Durham

Danks – George Victor                                   unknown             E.R.A. 4th Class                   Birmingham

Dow – James                                                      24 years               Telegraphist                      Stirlingshire

Duncan – John Priestly                                  23 years               Lieutenant                          Sussex

Flinn – Alfred Charles                                    23 years               Able Seaman                     Coventry

Floyd – Gordon Douglas                                                20 years               Able Seaman                     unknown

Gates – Norman Thomas                              21 years               Leading Seaman               Hampshire

Gibson – John Joseph Frederick                                24 years               Able Seaman                     Leicester

Green – Henry A. W.                                       25 years               Able Seaman                     Essex

Hickson – William                                            26 years               Able Seaman                     Manchester

Higgins – Geoffrey Thomas Charles         21 years               Sub-Lieutenant                                Hertfordshire

Male – Peter                                                      20 years               Ordinary Seaman             Staffordshire

Miles – Frederick Arthur                               26 years               Leading Stoker                  County Durham

Mitchell – Leslie Clarence                            20 years               Telegraphist                      Surrey

Nichol – Henry                                                  28 years               E.R.A. 4th Class                   Yorkshire

Noll – Gordon Maurice (Commander)    25 years               Lieutenant                          Devon

Pendleton – Roy George                              20 years               Stoker 1st Class                  unknown

Playfair – Peter                                                 unknown             Leading Telegraphist     unknown

Read – Arthur George                                    unknown             Leading Signalman          unknown

Smith – Leslie George                                    24 years               P. O. Telegraphist            Hampshire

Spencer – Albert                                              32 years               Stoker 1st Class                  unknown

Tippett – Wilfred                                             22 years               Petty Officer                      Cornwall

Walker – Walker                                              29 years               Stoker 1st Class                  Berwickshire

Wellfoot – Welfoot                                        32 years               Petty Officer                      unknown

Wheeler – Ronald                                           22 years               Able Seaman                     Middlesex

Wishart – Robert William                             23 years               Leading Stoker                  Campbeltown



Interred at Kilkerran Cemetery, Campbeltown


Challoner – Thomas G. G.                             unknown             Chief E.R.A.                        unknown




War Service Log of HMS Vitality :

Following salvage, HMS Untamed, now renamed HMS Vitality, resumed active service, her first patrol in the North Sea, via Lerwick in the Sherland Isles, from 12th through 29th October 1944.   She survived

The rest of her war was uneventful and in February 1946 she was sold for scrapping.

(The Sandbank War Memorial at Hunters Quay, Dunoon, is in part dedicated to the crew of HMS Untamed  who, with the exception of the Chief E.R.A., were buried at Dunoon cemetery – see botton picture)