SUBMARINES:  CHATHAM BUILT

HM Submarine Splendid

Ordered under the 1940 War Programme, Splendid was the first of only three Group 3 'S' Class submarines built at Chatham. Laid down on the 7 March 1941, she was completed on 11 August 1942.
In September 1942 under the command of Lieutenant McGeoch, who, at his own request, had just requalified as a submarine CO, she left Chatham for her workup.
Splendid arrived at Holy Loch on 1 October to begin active service. Her first War Patrol took place between 13 and 25 October in the Bay of Biscay.
On 26 October Splendid took passage to Gibraltar and on into the Mediterranean Sea bound for Algiers.
In November of 1942 Splendid patrolled off Toulon and Naples. Two unsuccessful attacks on surface submarines were followed by a hit on a destroyer causing damage and the sinking by gunfire of a merchant ship and a schooner. Splendid then sailed for Gibraltar.
Leaving Gibraltar on 11 December Splendid patrolled off Tunis before making her way to Algiers. From the 8th to 26 January 1943 Splendid along with 6 other submarines of the Eighth flotilla, patrolled the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Her next patrol lasted from 14 to 27 February 1943, On 17 February off Cape St Vito, Lt. McGeoch sighted two ships escorted by two destroyers. Having worked her way inside the Destroyer screen, she attacked the two ships. The 4,800 ton Xxi Aprile was sunk and the 4,000 ton Siena damaged. McGeoch took the boat deep and Splendid received no damage from the Destroyers counter attack. Before returning to Algiers, Splendid made two more attacks on shipping but missed on both occasions.
On her next patrol, exactly one month on from her last success off Cape St Vito, McGeoch attacked and sank the 3,000 ton tanker Devoli. Two days later Splendid sunk another tanker, the 4,800 ton Giorgio, again surviving the counter attack from the tankers escort.
Splendid now made her way to Malta.
Leaving Malta on 18 April 1943, Splendid headed for the Naples area. On 21 April she was sighted by the destroyer Hermes. Thirty six depth charges were dropped. Splendid suffered damage to the after planes, the after escape hatch and one of the motors caught fire. Taking on water and now out of total control, Splendid dived to 450 feet. Realising there was no other option, McGeoch blew all main ballast and surfaced the boat. As soon as she surfaced the Hermes opened fire, Splendid retaliated with her gun but the odds were too great and 19 of the Splendid's crew were killed. The order was given to abandon ship and the rest of the crew including Lt. McGeoch were taken prisoner.

Splendid's short but highly successful career had lasted just eight months. She had just one commanding officer, Lt McGeoch. During her short commission, McGeoch had sunk two destroyers and more tonnage than any other submarine of that period. He had been awarded the DSO whilst in command and later received the DSC.
McGeoch was one of the few submarine commanders who did not fly the Jolly Roger when returning from patrol.
Escaping his German captors, Lt. McGeoch travelled through Switzerland, France and Spain, arriving in England in 1944.






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