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Commemorating the Royal Navy submarine HMS Urge

Published: May 4, 2023 - 14:52
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 02:05
Commemorating the Royal Navy submarine HMS Urge

On the 27th of April 2023 researchers, historians, and members of the public gathered under one roof to honor and remember the innocent lives lost out at sea on this date 81 years ago.

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The event commemorated the rediscovery of HMS Urge, a British submarine that disappeared enroute to Alexandria, Egypt, on the 27th of April 1942. A year previously, an 80th-anniversary ceremony was held as a tribute to the relatives and peers.

Upamiętniając okręt podwodny Królewskiej Marynarki Wojennej, HMS Urge
Commemorating the Royal Navy submarine, HMS Urge photo: Timm Gambin 2022

 

A joint project between the University of Malta, Heritage Malta, and the Royal Navy used an Automated Underwater Vehicle equipped with a Side-scan sonar, to survey a known German minefield off the Maltese coast. The sonar data revealed an unusual submarine that seemingly appeared shorter than a typical U-class submarine, posing questions about its possible identity.

Subsequent dives confirmed that the wreck was in fact HMS Urge, which rested at a depth of 130m on the seabed. The 58m long wreck contained the name ‘URGE’ embossed on the port side of the submarine. It appeared damaged at the bow, exposing two apertures leading toward the interior of the vessel where 32 crew members and 12 passengers lay in peace. At the break of the bow, a memorial plaque was neatly placed in honour of these 44 individuals.

Divers heading to the wreck of HMS Urge
photo: Timm Gambin 2022 

On the 81st anniversary of the submarine’s disappearance, the memory of the lost lives was once again commemorated. Visitors to the site can view a plaque in remembrance of the individuals who lost their lives during World War II. The site is also accessible via the website ‘Underwater Malta’, where visitors can explore the wreck in 3D and learn more about its history. The commemoration served as a reminder of the importance of exploring and sharing knowledge, bringing communities together to honour the memory of those who have been lost.

For the more experienced deep divers, HMS Urge can be dived solely with recognised dive centres, registered with Heritage Malta. The dive centres will provide all necessary permits required and will assist in a smooth and pleasant diving experience.

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About author

Jasmine Mifsud
Jasmine Mifsud, who hails from Malta, has an incredible interest in the water surrounding the small island. Her passion for the sea is not surprising, since as a little girl, her biggest dream was to explore the oceans. This ambition created its own pathway as every decision she ever made led her to become an influential woman who decided to create a life for herself instead of living in someone else’s shoes. As time flew by, she became more adventurous and curious about our blue planet. She specialized in environmental sciences and took a tangent route into maritime archaeology, which she considers to be one of her best decisions to date. Throughout her journey, she has built friendships with some of the most inspiring divers globally, all of whom share unique experiences and stories worth listening to. As a young woman in the industry, her journey has only just begun.
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