HMS TRUCULENT (Lt C P Bowers) had completed refit at Chatham in January 1950 and sailed for sea trials in the North Sea. Returning to Sheerness, she collided with a Swedish tanker, the Divinia at 1905 on 12 January and sank within a minute. The force of the collision was enough to hurl the Commanding Officer of TRUCULENT (who had been called to the bridge by his Officer of the Watch) and four others into the sea. A Dutch merchant ship, the Almdyk, arrived on the scene about half an hour later and recovered this group.

TRUCULENT had 79 men on board, including 18 civilian dockyard workers. Ten men drowned on impact and 64 were trapped in the submarine when she sank in shallow water. Most of those inside were in the engine room (where CERA F W Hine was the senior survivor) and the after ends (where the First Lieutenant, Lieutenant F D J Hines was the senior survivor). The survivors were very aware that those trapped in HMS THETIS 10 years before had perished because they had grown too weak over time to effect an escape.

Both Hines and Hine set about preparing their compartments for escape and heard propeller noise overhead that they understood to be from rescue vessels. In this they were unfortunately mistaken – the noise they heard was from ships passing by unaware of TRUCULENT position. Survivors escaped to the surface only to find there was no rescue ship. The bitter cold and strong tide meant that many of those who escaped successfully nevertheless perished.

Both Lt Hines and CERA Hine are reported to have displayed great courage and leadership. They were both awarded the Albert Medal posthumously.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 16 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here