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Mystery of missing submarine HMS Urge, which included Kent crew, solved after 70 years

The mystery of a Royal Navy submarine which vanished without a trace more than 70 years ago has finally been solved.

HMS Urge had left Malta’s Grand Harbour on April 27, 1942, bound for the Egyptian port of Alexandria.

HMS Urge had a crew of 32
HMS Urge had a crew of 32

Its crew of 32 included Leading Seaman Jesse Norris, from Rochester, and Leading Telegraphist Roy Rogers, from Whitstable.

Also on board were 11 Royal Navy passengers and a journalist.

The fate of HMS Urge remained a mystery until now, after a team from the University of Malta found the sub’s wreck two miles off the island’s coast. It had sunk with the loss of all hands after striking a mine.

The discovery came after Francis Dickinson, grandson of HMS Urge’s captain, Lieut Cmdr Edward Tomkinson, requested the team to search an area which had been heavily mined during the Nazis’ two-and-a-half year siege of the island.

In 2015, a Belgian diver claimed to have found the sub’s wreck off the Libyan coast but it was not HMS Urge.

The war memorial at the Great Lines. Picture: Pam Penfold
The war memorial at the Great Lines. Picture: Pam Penfold

HMS Urge was commissioned in December 1940, and had been paid for by money raised by the people of Bridgend, South Wales.

In its short career it had a number of successes, including sinking an Italian cruiser earlier in 1942.

Relatives of the missing crewmen now finally know the last resting place of their loved ones. Jesse Norris was the son of Jesse and Minnie Norris, of Rochester, and Roy Rogers was the son of George and Edith Rogers, of Whitstable.

The names of the crew are listed on the Royal Naval War Memorial at Great Lines, Chatham, and on a similar memorial at Portsmouth.

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