British Second World War submarine with 71 bodies inside found off coast of Sardinia

The Royal Navy will not move the wreckage despite the bodies inside

Emma Henderson
Thursday 26 May 2016 10:17
A Royal Navy T Class submarine on patrol
A Royal Navy T Class submarine on patrol

The sunken wreck of a British submarine from the Second World War with 71 bodies sealed inside has been found by divers off the coast of Sardinia.

The P311 submarine mysteriously disappeared 73 years ago in the Mediterranean and was found at a depth of 100 metres near the island of Tavolara by experienced Italian wreck-hunter, Massimo Domenico Bordone.

The wreck was found after Mr Bardone noticed an 84-metre long and 80 metre wide object when he researched depths of 80 metres.

HMS P311 went missing in January 1943, after making its last contact on New Year’s Eve, along with its crew. The discovery confirms all on board died. The ship sat on the Gallurese seabed, acting as a steel coffin and depriving the crew of oxygen. Experts suggest the inner chamber was not flooded when it sank.

“It looks like she probably went down with air sealed inside, meaning the crew eventually died of oxygen deprivation,” Mr Bardone told Italian newspaper, La Nuova Sardegna.

The vessel left Malta on 28 December 1942 on a mission to destroy the Italian battleships Trieste and Gorizia in the port of Maddalena, on an island of the same name off the coast of Sardinia. Officials think the ship sunk after striking a mine in the gulf of Olbia, north eastern Sardinia.

Mr Bardone found the wreck in almost perfect condition, save for a damaged area on the prow from the explosion.

The Royal Navy said the wreck would most likely not be moved, despite the bodies inside.

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