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HMS P32 (1940)
Builder: Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness
Laid down: 30 April 1940
Launched: 15 December 1940
Commissioned: 3 May 1941
Fate: Mined 18 August 1941
General characteristics

Surfaced - 540 tons standard, 630 tons full load

Submerged - 730 tons
Length: 58.22 m (191 ft)
Beam: 4.90 m (16 ft 1 in)
Draught: 4.62 m (15 ft 2 in)

2 shaft diesel-electric
2 Paxman Ricardo diesel generators + electric motors

615 / 825 hp

11.25 knots (20.8 km/h) max surfaced

10 knots (19 km/h) max submerged
Complement: 32

4 bow internal 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes - 8 - 10 torpedoes

1 - 3-inch (76 mm) gun

HMS P32 was a Royal Navy U-class submarine built by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness. The submarine left Malta on 12 August 1941 for a patrol area near Tripoli. Six days later she sighted a small Italian convoy or five merchant ships protected by destroyers and torpedo boats heading towards the port. P32 and two other U-class submarines attempted to attack the convoy, but HMS P33 was almost certainly sunk in the attempt, whilst HMS Unique managed to sink an Italian merchant ship, SS Esperia two days later.

P32 was not in a good position to make an attack, and so attempted to get to a better position by running underneath a moored minefield. Believing that she had cleared the minefield, the commanding officer, Lieutenant D.A.B. Abdy ordered the submarine to rise to periscope depth to resume the attack. A mine, either part of the minefield, or laid by an allied aircraft, exploded against her port side and flooded the portion of the boat forward of the control room, killing the 8 crew members in that part of the boat. The submarine developed a severe list and sank to the seabed.

Most of the 24[1] survivors retired to the engine room to attempt a DSEA escape. However Abdy; the coxswain, Petty Officer Kirk; and ERA Martin attempted to escape using the conning tower. Martin was killed in the attempt but the other two crew survived and were picked up by an Italian ship. No other crew members survived. Abdy and Kirk were exchanged for Italian prisoners of war in 1943. The wreck discovered in 1999 lies about 15 nautical miles (28 km) east-north-east of Tripoli, at a depth of about 200 feet (61 m).


  1. "Boat Database:P32". Submariner's Association, Barrow in Furness Branch. Retrieved 2007-01-28. [dead link]


Coordinates: 33°2′N 13°10′E / 33.033°N 13.167°E / 33.033; 13.167

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