Dorset Submariners

Sidon Index

History

HMS Sidon History

23rd November 1944
Sidon was completed and commenced trials followed by the start of working up training at the Holy Loch
20th January 1945
Damaged in a submerged collision with HMS/m Turpin. Her stem cutter was turned to starboard by a length of 4 feet.
8th-23rd September 1945
Sidon departed Lerwick to commence her working up patrol.  This took place on the west coast of Norway on a known U-boat track.  She had difficulty off the coast of Norway obtaining a land fix for the first 3 days.  Sidon needed to take land fixes for navigational purposes.  Heavy snow and rain storms had obscured all land marks. After 3 days however, the weather cleared and all landmarks could be seen clearly.  No further navigational problems were encountered.  No ships or U-boat patrols were sighted during this patrol.  The only sighting of any enemy unit was a Luftwaffe JU-88 flying 2 miles away at a hight of 200 feet.  It commenced no attack against Sidon and presumably it had not sighted her.  The heavy weather made the seas rough and Sidon was unable to maintain periscope depth.  Visibility at times was reduced to zero by the snowstorms.
23rd March 1945
Sidon arrived back at Lerwick after completing her working up patrol.
24th March 1945
Departed Lerwick and proceeded on passage to Holy Loch
26th March 1945
Sidon secured alongside SS'AL RAWDAH' in Holy Loch
April 1945
Sidon left the Holy Loch for passage to the Far East to join the 8th Submarine Flotilla.  She diverted to Fremantle to repair battery defects en-route.
7th July 1945
Sidon departed Fremantlt, Australia to commence her 2nd patrol.  Soon after departing, one of her engines developed a defect and she called in at Onslow to rectify this.  The patrol was mainly for air-sea rescue duties.
12th July 1945
Sidon departed Onslow having rectified her engine fault.  She later passed through the Lombok Straits.
24th July 1945
Sidon was diverted to search for the crew of an American Liberator which had come down off Siagon, in conjunction with USS/m "Hammerhead" and US aircraft. After 4 days of searching she recovered 2nd Lt Stanley Reed USAAF. He had been adrift for 5 days with little food & water.  He had drifted 287 miles from the ditching position. In the words of the patrol report," The joy on his face when he saw Sidon amply repaid all the fruitless searching and false hopes we had experienced."
3rd August 1945
Sidon arrived at Subic Bay in the Philippines after completing her patrol.  Sidon completed her time in the Far East by being present in Hong Kong harbour when it was reoccupied by the British after the Japanese surrender.
6th December 1945
Sidon arrived in Portsmouth after the completion of her war service in the Far East
27th December 1945
Paid-off into Reserve group "S" at Portsmouth attached to the 5ft Submarine Flotilla.
26th January 1946
Taken in hand at Portsmouth for repair to armaments. Completed 9th March 1946
26th February 1948
Transferred to Reserve Group "G" at Portsmouth for refit.
27th February 1948
Taken in hand for refit at Portsmouth. Completed 18th June 1948. 
August 1948
Placed in Reserve Group "M" at Portsmouth
19th November 1948
Taken in hand at Portsmouth for fitting ballast.  Completed December 1948
24th January 1950
Taken in hand for refit at Sheerness.  Completed 19th May 1950.  Post refit diving trials were successfully completed on the 21st June 1950
20th July 1950
Sidon towed the midget submarine "XE8" from Plymouth to Portsmouth. 
31st August 1950
Towed the midget Submarine "XE8" back from Portsmouth to Plymouth.  She also joined the 2nd Submarine Flotilla on this date.
29th April 1951
Sidon took part in the search for HMS/m "AFFRAY" whick was missing in the English Channel.
6th-20th June 1951
Touched bottom during Phase 3 of EXERCISE SWX6.  The exercise had started after leaving Portland and had ended just before arrival at Loch Tarbart.  Damage was confined to the net cutter immediately below number 5&6 torpedo tubes.
11th November 1951
Paid off into Reserve Group "F" attached to 5th Submarine Flotilla at Devonport pending refit.
21st November 1951
Taken in hand for refit and modernisation in Devonport.  This included the removal of the 4 inch gun and gun tower and the installation of a snort mask and Type 267MW radar.  Refit completed 27th 1952.  Sidon re-commissioned into the 2nd Submarine Squadron, based at Portaland for Submarine and anti-submarine training.
November 1952
Taken in hand at Devonport for intermediate docking and for fitting an escape trunk.  Completed 9th january 1953
June 1953
Attended the Coronation naval Review at Spithead.
1st February 1954
Transferred to 5th Submarine Squadron pending refit.
9th February 1954
Taken in hand for refit at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. Completed November 1954
16th June 1955

Sidon, commanded by Lt Cmdr HT Verry was due to depart for a live torpedo firing exercise.  She was based at Portland using HMS Maidstone as her depot ship.  All her hatches were shut except for the hatch on the conning tower.  The torpedoes due to be tested were MK12 (a.k.a Fancy)  These torpedoes were converted MK8s equipped with an HTP motor.  This was based on the German Steinbutt torpedo produced at the end of WW2.  Several had been captured in 1945 and their performance had impressed the RN.  Many MK8s remained in stock and it was obviously cheaper to convert these rather than build new torpedoes designed from the ground up around the HTP motor.  Unfortunately, although this decision made economic sense, technically it was to prove disasterous.  HTP fuel was highly volotile and the MK8s contained materials which reacted with it. 
At 0825 an explosion occured while the MK12 was in the Sidon's number 3 torpedo tube. The force of the blast blew off the bow cap of the torpedo tube and the tube's rear door.  Seawater flooded in through the tube.  With her watertight doors open, the submarine flooded and sank in the harbour.  The explosion killed 13 of the crew.  Sidons CO ordered the after and DSEA hatches opened and ordered the Engineer Officer and 1st Lt to go below to carry out a damage assessment.  The 1st Lt failed to hear the order and proceeded below later.  Many of Sidon's crew were dazed & confused after the explosion, but were evacuated in an orderly manner.  No crew member who was aft of  the
wardroom when the explosion occurred was killed.  Verry went below wearing breathing apparatus to carry out a damage assessment.  He could make no progress going forward because the bulkhead doors were jammed.  He therefore returned to the bridge.
HMS Maidstone sent over fire fighting equipment and breathing apparatus.  A rescue party from Maidstone also went across.  Commander Submarines realised that Sidon was sinking and shouted the order to abandon ship across to Lt Cmdr Verry.  Verry then passed to order down the conning tower hatch.  When everyone was believed to be clear, an attemp was made to close the sfter hatch but it proved impossible to do.  It was therefore now possible to seal off the submarine.  Seawater was by now flooding into Sidon and it came to rest in 36 feet of water at the bottom of Portland harbour.  She had a list of 25 degrees to starboard.  Lt Cmdr Verry was the last mamber of Sidon's crew to abandon the submarine. £ Officers and 10 men were killed in the sinking.  Surgeon Lt CE Rhodes of HMS Maidstone was among those killed.  He had boarded Sidon after the initail explosion to render medical assistance, and was killed when it sank.  The Moordale was passing Sidon's location at the time of the sinking and tried to pass a line around Sidon's stern to prevent it from sinking.  This attempt was unsuccessful.  The signal "SUBSUNK" was sent and a party of divers was sent by helicopter to Portland

17th June 1955
Sidon had settled on a more even keel and an attempt was made to salvage her.  Divers had worked through the night to attach high pressure air hoses to her hull.  Owing to air leaks this attempt failed.  The divers also tried to make the submarine ready for the attempt to lift her. Two salvage vessels "Kinbrace" and "Swin" arrived from Dover along with the Portsmouth based "Barfoss" to take part in the salvage operation.  The salvage team attached 4 camels (2 each side of the wreck)  These camels were basically hollow steel tubes that were naturally bouyant. They were flooded with water to make them sink, attached to the sides of the wreck and pumped out.  There natural bouyancy would return making them float to the surface and bringing the wreck of Sidon with it. 
23rd June 1955
Sidon was raised from the seabed at Portland harbour in the early hours of the morning under floodlights.  She remained alongside the depot ship HMS Maidstone for another day before being towed away.       



 

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