Lost British WWII submarine found with 71 bodies inside

AN ITALIAN diver believes he has found a Royal Navy submarine which sank more than 70 years ago during the Second World War.

The 'HMS Otway', an Odin class submarine of the Royal Navy, in Weymouth Bay. Picture: Getty
The 'HMS Otway', an Odin class submarine of the Royal Navy, in Weymouth Bay. Picture: Getty

Massimo Domenico Bondone, 58, made the discovery 90 metres below the surface of the Mediterranean while scuba diving off the Sardinian coast.

It is thought the vessel could be the HMS P311, which sank near the island of Tavolara.

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The Royal Navy said it was carrying out checks.

HMS P311 went down in January 1943 along with its 71 crew.

According to Italian media reports, Mr Bondone found the bodies inside the submarine.

Speaking to local newspaper La Nuova Sardegna, he said: “Now you think of the fate of those who fell to their death down there – a fate shared by many people of different nationalities, submariners in particular.”

Mr Bondone, who began diving at the age of 18, is said to have discovered a number of other shipwrecks, including a UJ 2208 German anti-submarine vessel off the coast of Genoa.

“I am a strong believer that the wrecks are still alive, they are a link from past to present,” he has previously said.

“If we don’t find them, identify them and document their story, we lose the history of the ships and the men who built them and sailed with them.

“We don’t have much time, maybe a few decades and then time and the elements of nature will prevail. I believe that history is not only made by masters and admirals, the last sailor too must be remembered.”

The submarine was to have received the name Tutankhamen but was lost before this could be done.

Under international protocols, military vessels lost at sea remain the property of the relevant nation as they may contain human remains.

A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: “We are examining our records to determine whether or not this is a Royal Navy submarine.”