25-Year-Old WWII Search Comes To An End

After a 25 year search, a British Royal Navy Submarine that sunk during a mission was found by a Greek shipwreck hunter, according to The Daily Caller. The vessel and its crew reportedly vanished in 1942 before it was found 80 years later in the Aegean Sea by Kostas Thoktaridis and his team. The search was conducted by looking at “primary historical sources,” according to Thoktaridis. He called it the most expensive search he embarked on. 

The H.M.S. Triumph had been a successful vessel when it first set out in the war in May 1939. It conducted 20 missions and was scheduled to depart from Alexandria to return to England for general repairs in December 1941. One of the last missions was led by Lieutenant George Atkinson. They were ordered to meet with Greek resistance cells in Athens and liberate Allied soldiers that were being held as prisoners. Atkinson was ordered not to carry his operation paper ashore but there were complications by Special Operations Executives (S.O.E.) and MI9 instructions. 

After the submarine sailed ashore Despotikos, the special team was let off with supplies. Captain John S. Huddart radioed in the last received communication from the vessel. All members of the operation team were eventually captured, and Atkinson’s operation paper was found, which gave away the Greek resistance cells. The team was executed and others were taken to concentration camps. 

Following this, Triumph launched an assault on the cement freighter “Rea” and it is believed that it used more than one torpedo because multiple were found in the surrounding area. The vessel is presumed to have sunk because of an explosion that occurred toward its front, but it is unclear what the cause of the explosion was. In January 1942, the vessel was officially declared missing.