HMS CACHALOT (Lt Cdr H R B Newton) was engaged on 30 July 1941 in a night-time surfaced pursuit of an Italian tanker in the Mediterranean when she encountered the Italian destroyer, Papa. Papa rammed CACHALOT and, whilst the pressure hull was not breached, the captain ordered abandon ship to ensure minimum loss of life.
Further attempts to dive the submarine with a skeleton crew were abandoned and the submarine was scuttled in 200 fathoms of water. All the crew were taken prisoner except one Maltese steward, named Muscat, who was lost. Muscat was a non-swimmer who was offered assistance but declined; he made the sign of the cross before jumping into the sea and was not seen again. Leading Stoker Osmand, who tried to help Muscat, swam to the Papa and was pulled from the water by an Italian sailor who said, in perfect English, Hard luck mate‚ it may be our turn next! The Italian owned a café in Cardiff and had been on holiday in Italy when war was declared, and he had been called up for service in the Italian Navy.