WW2 British submarine found 'with 71 bodies inside'

Italian diver claims to have found HMS P311 off the coast of Sardinia

Updated: 
WW2 British submarine found 'with 71 bodies inside'

An Italian diver claims to have found the wreckage of a WW2 British submarine - with 71 bodies still inside.

Massimo Bondone said he discovered the HMS P311 off the north east coast of Sardinia.

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The vessel disappeared after leaving Malta in December 1942 to take part in Operation Principle, an Allied mission to destroy the Italian battleships Trieste and Gorizia as they lay at anchor in the port of La Maddalena.

Mr Bondone said he found the submarine off the isle of Tavolara at a depth of 262ft.

According to ITV News, he told local paper La Nuova Sardegna: "It looks like she probably went down with air sealed inside, meaning the crew eventually died of oxygen deprivation.

"Immediately I thought of the destiny of the men who met their deaths down there.

"It was a fate shared by so many men, submariners in particular, fighting on all both sides of the conflict."

WW2 British submarine found 'with 71 bodies inside'

Speaking to the Daily Telgraph, Paola Pegoraro of the L'Orso diving club, which provided logistics for Mr Bondone's shipwreck search operation, said Mr Bondone was able to identify the submarine as the P311 by the two Chariot-style "human torpedoes" fixed to the outside of the vessel.

He added: "It is 100 per cent the P311, as this was the only submarine with those very special characteristics that set it apart."

The paper added that HMS P311 was the only boat of her class never to be given a name, and that she was to receive the name HMS Tutankhamen but was lost before this could be done.

WW2 British submarine found 'with 71 bodies inside'

The Local reports that the Royal Navy would be unlikely to move the vessel from its final resting place, even if there are bodies inside.

A spokesman said: "Wrecks are only raised if there are extremely compelling historical or operational reasons to do so.

"Once a military vessel sinks it becomes a war grave and is left where it lies."


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