HMS Saracen has been found and photographed on the Mediterranean seabed at a depth of 1,385 feet (422 m) off the coast of Corsica, where she was scuttled by her own crew, by Italian engineer Guido Gay, after a two-year search. HMS Saracen was the scourge and the boat terrorised the German and Italian navies in the Mediterranean Sea during the Second World War. She had a notorious role in these waters launching regular torpedo attacks on Italian and German shipping, as well as on enemy ports.
In 2013, two years ago, Terry Hodgkinson, a British author who has written extensively about HMS Saracen, said the team, from France's underwater archaeological unit (DRASSM) "intend to locate her first by side-scan sonar, and then send down a robotic camera to both film and photograph her", Peter Allen, The Telegraph’s journalist, reported. "A copy of the resulting pictures and film will be sent to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport for their archives. Some will also be sent to the family members of HMS Saracen's crew", Mr Hodgkinson added the same newspaper.
Now, in June 2015, when the vessel has been discovered, Terry Hodgkinson, said the find is "absolutely magnificent", that "it is an incredible discovery, and one which will cause huge excitement around the world", and that “the pictures which were sent to the Royal Navy submarine museum in Britain, have now been positively confirmed as Saracen”, Peter Allen, The Telegraph’s journalist, reports.
HMS Saracen was an S-class submarine of the Royal Navy. She was built by Cammell Laird and launched on 16 February 1942. She was one of the most successful Allied submarines marauding the seas of Europe.
[Via www.dailymail.co.uk - FanerB12 (Youtube)]
She had a short but intense career, first in the North Sea and after in the Mediterranean Sea. In the North Sea, in home waters, she sank the German submarine U-335 with almost all its crew on its first patrol southeast of the Faroe Islands. In the Mediterranean Sea her activity was more and qualified results. In these waters, she sank the Italian submarine Granito, the Italian auxiliary submarine chaser V3/ Maria Angelette, the French tugs Provincale IIand Marseillaise V, the Italian merchant ships Tagliamento and Tripoli and the German merchant vessel Tell. She also attacked and damaged two sailing vessels and the French (in German service) tanker Marguerite Finally. She also attacked a number of convoys, torpedoing and sinking the Italian merchant ship Francesco Crispi. Saracen had less luck attacking other convoys, firing three torpedoes against one made up of the small Italian tanker Labor, the German merchantman Menes, which were escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Calliope and Climene. All torpedoes fired missed their targets. On another occasion, she fired four torpedoes against the German transport ship Ankaraand one of her escorts, the Italian destroyer Camicia Nera. Again, all torpedoes fired missed their targets.
In the dark months of early 1943, HMS Saracen landed spies on the Mediterranean island – men who provided key intelligence on enemy forces on Corsica. The submarine dropped off several groups of agents from MI6 around the Mediterranean island in 1943 before she was fatally damaged by Italian escorts and forced to scuttle.
On 14 August 1943, whilst on patrol off Bastia, Saracen was spotted by the Italian corvettes Minerva and Euterpe which attacked with depth charges. She was forced to surface and as the crew abandoned her, they scuttled the boat to avoid her capture. All but two of the crew survived and were taken prisoner; some were liberated a few weeks later when Italy switched sides, others like saw out the remainder of the war in German PoW camps.