HMS Urge, an U-class submarine funded by the people of Bridgend during World War Two has finally been found 73 years after it sank for the final time.
Fate of HMS Urge
On 27 April 1942, HMS Urge left Malta for Alexandria on the north coast of Egypt, and was never seen again. No definite explanation has ever been agreed upon for HMS Urge, and it was officially reported missing in the Mediterranean Sea on 29 April 1942. According to Wikipedia, the HMS Urge went lost, to an air attack.
However, on 16 April 2015, historian Jean-Pierre Misson submitted a statement claiming identification for the HMS Urge, which he found lying 50 metres under the sea using sonar recordings taken at Marsa el Hilal, Libya. The research has been received and will shortly be available to view at the Local and Family History Centre at Ty’r Ardd, Bridgend, where a commemorative plaque for the HMS Urge already resides, together with information regarding the submarine up to its disappearance.
Jean-Pierre Mission stated:
HMS URGE lies in Marsa el Hilal, Libya, as per the snapshot of a sonar recording 2012 recently added to the website page. HMS Urge is recognizable from the U Class “bulge” at hydroplanes level, from the limited length of the Outer Casing aft (not to the full length of the vessel) and from the Radio Mast which could be folded down from the C.T. and clamped to the Deck … only on some U Class submarines, among which HMS URGE. This Mast (folded down to Deck) can be seen on both pictures of the submarine. The bows have been blown off and this confirms the claim of the Italian Air Force (previously questioned) of having attacked her from the air, in this very area.
In 1941 there was a national “warship week” which raised money to meet the costs of providing military machinery and vehicles for the war. Nationally, £955m was raised, of which Bridgend contributed around £300,000 – which would be over £12m in today’s prices – and the town adopted the submarine HMS Urge along with two other warships.
HMS Urge’s remarkable history included playing a key role in winning the battle for North Africa during World War Two. The vessel aided the Malta Squadron, known as the fighting 10th, to cut off supplies to Rommel’s Afrika Corps.
In 2011, to mark the 69th anniversary of the submarine’s disappearance, a plaque honouring HMS Urge and its 29-strong crew and 10 passengers was rededicated to the people of Bridgend in recognition of their efforts. The commemorative service was organised by The Submariners Association and hosted by Bridgend County Borough Council at the Ty’r Ardd premises of Bridgend Register Office.
Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, Councillor Mel Nott OBE, said: “This is a wonderful occasion for Bridgend County Borough to celebrate the exceptional efforts of townsfolk during World War Two. To be able to conclude the story of the HMS Urge is a remarkable fulfilment of a piece of the town’s history.
“This latest impressive research, which includes sonar readings and photographs of the submarine, is just a slice of the information and resources available at the Local and Family History Centre and I would urge local residents and visitors to pay a visit.”
To find out more about the Local and Family History Centre, visit www.bridgend.gov.uk/libraries, email [email protected] or call 01656 754810. You can also like ‘Bridgend Libraries’ page on Facebook, or follow @BridgendLibs on Twitter.