HMS Stubborn

The dive

The HMS Stubborn was scuttled for ASDIC sonar-training purposes. It is in a magnificent condition lying upright with a 10 degree list toward starboard side. The three escape hatches open. You can see the torpedo tubes and the propellers are still there. The widest hatch is only 60cms in diameter with heavy sedimentation inside so do not try to penetrate the wreck. The top of the wreck is at 45 meters and the bottom is 55 m. This is a technical dive, minimum Tec 50 or TDI Trimix diver 

The HMS Stubborn is about a 20 min boat ride just north of Malta.

Wreck History

A total of 67 S-Class submarines were built. 29 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 canceled before construction and were never built and 2 were scuttled. Of these two, one is HMS Stubborn.
Built by Cammell Laird & Co of Birkenhead UK and 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 20 mm 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. HMS Stubborn served in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea and had her share of difficult times in these cold waters. In 1946 she was finally scuttled off Qawra Point.

The Attack

The HMS Stubborn sailed to Malta for the first time en route to the Suez and eventually to the Far East. Here it served patrolling duties with the allied navies in their struggle against the Japanese Imperial Navy. It was at this phase of duty that Stubborn suffered its worst attack of the war. Lost her complete tail fin, which held the aft 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 maximum depth of 90 meters!)

Final resting

During the return voyage from Australia, it became evident that the aft hull had suffered more distortion than was originally thought. The Stubborn returned to Malta for its second and last time. As it was not fit to repair, the submarine was stripped of important equipment. All instruments, armaments and periscopes were removed before being sent to its final watery grave. Then she was used as a ASDIC target, training naval officers listening on sonar devices to detect the presence of submarines.

A team of divers first relocated the Stubborn on the 24 July 1994. Prior to 1994, nobody from the Maltese diving community knew that such a magnificent wreck existed so close to the Maltese shores.