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H.M.S. Utmost

H.M.S. Utmost

The crew of H.M.S. Utmost, Feb.6th 1942. My grandfather Arthur Lee (born in 1909) is behind the officer 2nd from the left at the front. The crew, under the Captain Cdr Richard Cayley, transfered to H.M.S. P311, a submarine presumed mined whilst on operations in the Mediterranean. Her last signal was received on 31st December 1942 and she was officially declared lost with all hands a few days later. My grandfather's rank was Chief Petty Officer and his date of death is officially given as 8th January, 1943. The sub was about to be titled H.M.S. Tutankhamen on the orders of Winston Churchill, who insisted that all submarines should have names. View full size.

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Crew of Utmost

My uncle was Ian Norman MacRae (spelt his name different to us after he went to Scotland in 1941) He had been in Operation Rubble on the Elizabeth Bakke, after escaping Sweden.

He went down in HMS p311 in December 1942, but I am trying to find out if he was on the HMS Utmost in 1941, before joining the p331.

Cribsie, my uncle was with your grandfather Arthur Lee, and you say the crew of Utmost transferred to the p311.

Do you know when and where this happened?

Submarine Found!

It's been all over the news this week - HMS P311, the sub which was lost with this crew on board, has been located by an Italian diver! That's incredible news for me, and I felt very emotional when I heard. It was a real sense of pride, but also great sadness knowing those poor souls' fate. My grandfather Arthur Lee was 33 years old and left two young sons including my father. This is Arthur aboard HMS Utmost.

Jolly Roger

I've found out the following info about the sub's 'Jolly Roger'. The white lines show the ships they sank, the daggers represent special operations, and the lifebuoy indicates a rescue of a Blenheim bomber crew.


Yes cribsie all thanks to the people who gave up their lives to protect us, on this day we should salute every member of all armed forces past and present

Remembrance Day

Today, 11th November, is Remembrance Day and I shall be paying tribute to my grandfather Arthur Lee at the service at our local villiage War Memorial here in Oxfordshire, England.

Horseshoes, seriously?

Weirdest horseshoes I've ever seen. Parallel sides and the ring at the front?

Flicking the V's

The other photo was taken on the same day and shows the crew having a laugh with a few of them flicking the V's. Submariners are traditionally superstitious, hence the horseshoes.

Wouldn't you know

I avoided the use of "horseshoe" on purpose, figuring "Well, they can't be that!"

Ha! And thanks.


There is a slightly different photo of the crew on Wikipedia.

In regards the 9 horseshoe-shapes objects nailed to the crest. They are... horseshoes.

Many of the HMS submarines had crests which included a horseshoe.

Otto Kretschmer, commander of U-99, had a horseshoe welded to the conning tower of his submarine. His was placed opening downwards for luck, as in the photo, here. Ironically, one of the British destroyers that sank his U-boat also had a horseshoe insignia, but with the opening upwards for luck (which is supposed to "keep the luck from running out").

The placard in front

Any idea what the nine objects mounted on it are or signify?

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