Missing World War II Submarine Discovered Near Malta

HMS Urge vanished in 1942

HMS Urge
The wreck of the HMS Urge was discovered off the coast of Malta.
Royal Navy/Creative Commons

The year was 1942, and the Second World War was well underway. On April 27 of that year, HMS Urge embarked from Malta en route to Egypt; there were 44 men on board. Sadly, the Urge never reached its destination — and the mystery of where it went and what happened to it has baffled historians for the years since then. 

This week brings at least some resolution to those questions: the Urge has been found, 400 feet underwater, not far from the port that it left on that fateful day. 

CNN reports that this particular search began two years ago, when the grandson of the Urge’s commander reached out to the University of Malta. This effort proved successful: “According to the researchers who located the wreck, the vessel was sunk by a mine off the island. It now lies on the sea bed, approximately 400 feet down.”

The Royal Navy has confirmed the sinking of the Urge. Francis Dickinson, grandson of Lieutenant Commander Edward Tomkinson, told CNN that “[w]ork is under way to establish a memorial in Malta in 2020.”

The discovery of the Urge is both a scientific achievement and a way to provide closure for many who have wondered just what happened to the vessel. It’s also a reminder of the role Malta played in World War II, which is a fascinating piece of history in and of itself. 

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