Tag Archives: Davis escape apparatus

Regent found (again)

HM Submarine Regent (N 41) was an R (Rainbow)-class boat ordered on 28th February 1929 from Vickers-Armstrong along with her sisters Regulus and Rover. The third such RN warship to carry the name, she completed in 1930.

Assigned to the Far East, her initial three WWII war patrols in 1939 were in the Sunda and Lombok Straits. Dispatched to join the Mediterranean Fleet via Colombo and Aden in July 1940 after a refit in Hong Kong, she was soon firing torpedoes at Italian battleships.

Following her 14th war patrol (11th in the Mediterranean) in late 1941, she sailed for refit at Philadelphia Naval Yard in the States and workups out of New London before heading back to the Med and her 15th war patrol out of Gibraltar in February 1943. In all, she accounted for three Italian merchantmen destroyed.

It was on her 16th war patrol in April 1943 that she went missing under the command of LT Walter Neville Ronald Knox, DSC, RN, commanding a crew of 61.

Throughout the first two weeks of May, at least four members of her crew washed up in three different areas near Brindisi, some wearing Davis escape apparatus. She is one of more than 70 British submarines lost in the conflict. 

As a statement of how hazardous it was to be one of HM Submariners, three of the four Rainbow-class boats were lost in WWII. 

Believed found by Italian divers in 1999, it was later determined in 2020 that the wreck thought to be Regent’s was in fact the hulked Italian submarine Giovanni Bausan which had been sent to the bottom by the RAF in 1944.

Now, it seems another dive team has had better luck in identifying Regent. She rests off the coast near Villanova di Ostuni, some 19 miles from Monopoli, upside down in 70m of water. The apparent victim of a mine.

Eternal Father strong to save
Whose arm has bound the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep,
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in Peril on the sea.