Dundee Memorial Service 2023

The Dundee International Submarine Memorial, inaugurated on September 17, 2009, pays tribute to the brave crews who are forever “Still on Patrol.”

It serves as a poignant reminder of the valour displayed by all submariners who embarked on missions from the river Tay during the tumultuous period of the Second World War.

The memorial is thoughtfully situated between the Victoria and Camperdown docks in Dundee Harbour, locations frequently used by wartime submarines.

The Importance of Dundee

Dundee, situated in Scotland, served as the Royal Navy’s home port for the 2nd Submarine Flotilla from August to October 1939. However, from April 18, 1940, until the conclusion of World War II, it assumed a pivotal role as the base for the 9th Submarine Flotilla. This unique international flotilla included personnel from Poland, the Netherlands, France, and Norway, all of whom sought refuge in Dundee after their countries fell to Nazi invasion and occupation. Additionally, Russian submarine crews operated from Dundee during the summer of 1944.

Dundee-based submarines embarked on perilous missions along the enemy-held coastline of mainland Europe. They engaged in combat with enemy warships such as the battlecruiser Gneisenau and the cruiser Prinz Eugen. These submarines ventured deep into the Arctic Circle to safeguard convoys carrying vital war supplies to the Soviet Union.

These submarines also intercepted enemy supply convoys, aided by intelligence from Bletchley Park. Notably, HMS Satyr achieved numerous successes, including the sinking of U-987 off the coast of Norway. Furthermore, HMS Venturer holds the distinction of being the sole submarine to have sunk another submarine, U-864, while both vessels were submerged.

The Free French submarine Rubis played a crucial role by laying minefields and torpedoing enemy ships in Norwegian coastal waters and the Bay of Biscay. Conversely, the Free French submarine Minerve returned to Dundee in a severely damaged state, leaking after being targeted by depth charges and sunk to the seabed. Additionally, agents, saboteur teams, weaponry, and supplies were clandestinely delivered to support the Norwegian resistance movement, often deep within enemy-controlled fjords.

Tragically, six British, Dutch, Norwegian, and Russian submarines were lost while patrolling from Dundee. In these operations, 296 British, Dutch, Free French, Norwegian, and Russian sailors, and commandos lost their lives, with few having known graves.

I attended the Dundee memorial last weekend. It was a great success with submariners from Norway and Holland joining the parade. We had one of the largest turnouts this year with the cadet band leading the service.

These are the photo’s sent to me from Norway.

David Vickers

Submariners Association