HMS Stubborn

Wreck History:

Built by Cammell Laird & Co of Birkenhead UK and Launched on 11 Nov 1942 these 66 metres 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 20mm 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. She served in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea and had her share of difficult times in these cold waters which instigated submariners’ fear on many occasions.

HMS Stubborn (DSD_1353)

In April 1945 a year before she was finally scuttled off Qawra Point, HMS Stubborn sailed into Malta for the first time en route to the Suez and eventually to the Far East where she took up patrolling duties with allied Navies in their struggle against the Japanese Navy. It was at this phase of duty that Stubborn suffered its worst attack of the war and 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 metres. S- Class submarines are only designed to dive to a maximum depth of 90 metres.

HMS Stubborn (DSD_1351)

During the return voyage from Australia it became evident that the hull aft had suffered more distortion than was originally thought. Stubborn called back to Malta for her second and last time. As she was not fit to repair, she was stripped down from important equipment, instruments, armaments & periscopes before sent to her watery grave and used for ASDIC target, training naval officers listening on sonar devices to detect the presence of submarines.

Wreck Statistics:

The HMS Stubborn was scuttled for ASDIC purposes. The top of the wreck is at 45 metres, there are 2 hatches open but it is not advisable to penetrate. One can see the torpedo tubes and the propellers are still intact. More than 15 minutes down there will result in a very long decompression time.

HMS Stubborn (DSC_6288)

It is in a magnificent condition lying upright with a 10 degree list toward starboard side. The three escape hatches are open. It is very difficult to enter inside; the widest hatch is only 60cms in diameter with heavy sedimentation inside. A total of 67 S-Class submarines were built, 29 of them 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 cancelled  on construction and were never built and 2 were scuttled, one of these is HMS Stubborn. A team of divers first relocated Stubborn on the 24th July 1994. Although charted the wreck was found 200 metres off current charted position. Prior to 1994 nobody from the Maltese diving community knew that such a magnificent wreck existed so close to the Maltese shores.

HMS Stubborn (DSD_1402)


HMS Stubborn (DSC_6247)

Navigation: 1.6 miles off Qawra point. The wrecks co-ordinates are of N 35’ 58.950 // E 014’ 26.760
Access: Boat Dive
Depth: 45 – 56 metres. Divers need not go down to the depth of 56 metres as the deck is approx 45 metres
Sea Bed: Sand
Interests: Wreck Dive
Dangers: Be sure to go down the shot line directly connected to the wreck and you also make the ascent using the shot line as your reference point. If for any reasons the shot line is not on the wreck but it is within visible range, you are in danger of making an open water ascent. For safety reasons divers should carry a DSMB and reel in the eventuality that the diver does not find the shot line and must make an ascent into the blue.

Historical data & info compiled from:

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This album is a visual log of my encounters during my dives around the Maltese Islands. Comments are very welcome. All images appearing in this website are the exclusive property of Matthew Farrugia and are protected under the International Copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Matthew Farrugia. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike both printed & online) is a violation of the International Copyright laws.
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By Matthew Farrugia | May, 20, 2012 | 2 comments

2 responses to “HMS Stubborn”

  1. Robert says:

    This is excellent photography…Well Done !!I followed the link from The Times website. Thanks.

  2. Malcolm says:

    Truly great photos. I’ve been wanting to get into scuba diving for ages. This site might be the push I needed.


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