Small Patrol Submarine


U Class
Second Group

Pennant No.:

Laid Down:
30th April 1940
Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness.

3rd May 1941
Lt. D. Adby.

May - Aug. 1941
Lt. D. Adby.

4 Officers, 29 Others.

Service Career:
5th Flotilla, HMS Dolphin, Gosport. Detached with 3rd Flotilla at Holy Loch for working up.
10th Flotilla, Malta.

Lost on her first War Patrol.

On completion of work up and trials departed for Malta to join the 10th Submarine Flotilla.

17th July 1941 - Arrived Malta.

First Patrol - 12th August 1941.
Departed Malta to patrol off Tripoli.
18th August - Intercepted five merchantmen under escort in the swept channel approach to Tripoli Harbour.   Realising they were not in a good position to carry out an attack decided to run under the minefield, running at full speed for about ten minutes he believed he had cleared the minefield and was in the swept channel.

Periscope depth was ordered and P32 was just rising when she struck a mine forward on the port side.   The explosion put out all the lights, the forward control door jammed and she took on a heavy list to port and sank towards the bottom.  All measures were taken to bring the boat to the surface but to no avail.

The whole of the boat forward of the control room had been destroyed, killing the eight crew members forward.  It was soon realised that the boat could not be saved or surfaced and the decision to attempt escape was taken.

In Abdy's opinion the engine room offered the brighter prospect of escape as he was concerned about the pressure being put on the forward control room door.  However, taking into consideration the number of crew members in the engine room (23) and the amount of time that P.32 had been submerged he decided to split the group up.  The Coxswain (Petty Officer Kirk), and ERA Martin volunteered to join Abdy in an attempt to escape via the conning tower.

Abdy and the coxswain escaped successfully but ERA Martin was dead on his arrival on the surface.  Both Abdy and Kirk were later picked up by an Italian Naval vessel shortly after being spotted by an aircraft which had been searching the area.

No other survivors were seen in fact no others were seen to escape.  Adby and Kirk were made prisoners of war and eventually chosen for prisoner exchange in March 1943.

It is possible that the mine which P.32 encountered was probably laid by allied aircraft.

Sunk by mine off Tripoli 18th August 1941.