Mar 202013
 
HMS Stubborn

The Dive: 
The HMS Stubborn was scuttled in April 1945 after she was hit from a depth charge and lost her tail fin. Stubborn has dived down to 166m exceeding the limit depth of 90m because of this she has damage the hull distortion. Royal Navy scuttled the sub for ASDIC target, training naval officers listening on sonar devices to detect the presence of submarines.

This is a decompression dive and has to be done by boat. The wreck is in mint condition with lots of fish around it, penetration is very difficult and not recommended.

 

Location of Site: 
2.4miles off Qawra Point : The wrecks co-ordinates are of N 35’ 58.950 // E 014’ 26.760
Type of Dive:
This dive has to be done via a boat dive. Descent and ascent only using a shot line which should be touching the wreck. Should the shot line not be touching the wreck but is visible from the shotline, you are in danger of making an ascent in the blue. For this type of dive, a diver must carry a DSMB and Reel

Maximum Depth: 58metres

Minimum Certification:

Technical or very experienced divers.

 

Dangers:
Be sure to go down the shot line directly connected to the wreck and you also make the ascent using the shot line as your reference point. If for any reasons the shot line is not on the wreck but it is within visible range, you are in danger of making an open water ascent. For safety reasons divers should carry a DSMB and reel in the eventuality that the diver does not find the shot line and must make an ascent into the blue

Wreck History :

 

Built by Cammell Laird & Co of Birkenhead UK & Launched on 11 Nov 1942 these 66 meters long S-Class submarine pennant number ‘P238’ was armed with 13 x 21 inch torpedoes. She has 6 bow torpedo tubes & 1 stern tube, 1 x 3” Gun in front of the conning tower and 1 x 20mm Oerlikon machine gun at the back. She had a crew of 44/48 under the command of Lieutenant Duff and later on in 1944 under Lieutenant Davies.

She served in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea and had her share of difficult times in these cold waters which instigated submariners’ fear on many occasions . In April 1945 a year before she was finally scuttled off Qawra Point, HMS Stubborn sailed into Malta for the first time en route to the Suez and eventually to the Far East where she took up patrolling duties with allied Navies in their struggle against the Japanese Navy.

 

It was at this phase of duty that Stubborn suffered its worst attack of the war and lost her complete tail fin which held the after hydroplanes and rudder. This loss was caused by depth charges but principally from hitting the sea bottom at 166 meters. S- Class submarines are only designed to dive to a max depth of 90 meters.

 

During the return voyage from Australia it became evident that the hull aft had suffered more distortion than was originally thought. Stubborn called back to Malta for her second and last time. As she was not fit to repair, she was stripped down from important equipment, instruments, armaments & periscopes before sent to her watery grave and used for ASDIC target, training naval officers listening on sonar devices to detect the presence of submarines.

 

HMS Stubborn lies at a depth of 56 meters 1.6 miles off Qawra Point. It is in a magnificent condition lying upright with a 10 degree list toward starboard side. The three escape hatches are open. It is very difficult to enter inside; the widest hatch is only 60 cms in diameter with heavy sedimentation inside. S-Class submarines were designed as a replacement for the H-Class and they proved so successful a design that production of this class was re-started on the outbreak of war and continued until end of hostilities. Continual modifications were made to the vessels during the war.

 

A total of 67 S-Class submarines were build, 29 of them were sold for scrap, 20 were lost during the war, 12 were sold to other navies and again were cut down for scrap iron, 4 were cancelled on construction and were never build and 2 were scuttled one of these is HMS Stubborn

 

A team of divers first relocated Stubborn on 24/7/94. Although charted the wreck was found 200 meters off current charted position. Prior to 1994 nobody from the Maltese diving community knew that such a magnificent wreck existed so close to the Maltese shores.