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Organisation Information

Boat Diving

SOUTHWOLD

near Marsaskala, Malta

Southwold

Photo credit: D. Gration & University of Malta 

HMS Southwold was a Type II British Hunt-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy during World War II.  She was ordered on 20 December 1939, and was built by J. Samuel White and Company of East Cowes as part of the 1939 emergency program. The vessel was completed on 9 October 1941.

She went to Scapa Flow for trials, after which she joined the Mediterranean Fleet. On 16 November 1941, Southwold joined convoy WS12Z at the ocean escort Clyde Assembly point. The ship detached from the convoy on 14 December and made an independent passage from Mombasa to Alexandria. On 5 January 1942, she joined the 5th Destroyer Flotilla for patrol and convoy escort duties. She deployed a supply of stores and embarked troops to Tobruk. On 12 February, she was part of the Malta Convoy MW9B, but the convoy was under a heavy air attack, so it returned to Alexandria. On 20 March 1942, she carried out an anti-submarine sweep along a planned path for Malta relief convoy MW10, along with some other destroyers. On 21 March, she joined this same convoy and took part in the Second Battle of Sirte a day later. On the 23rd she and HMS Beaufort left the convoy to escort HMS Breconshire to Malta.

On 24 March, Southwold was attempting to pass a line to Breconshire when she activated a British mine and there was an explosion in which an officer and four ratings were killed. She sustained major structural damage and the engine room flooded while electrical supplies failed. She was towed by the tug Ancient but the hull split and she began to sink. The survivors were rescued by HMS Dulverton.

The wreck of Southwold lies in two sections about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of Marsaskala Bay, Malta. The bow is the largest piece, about 40 metres in length, and it lies on its starboard side at a depth of 70 metres. The stern, which is located about 300 metres away from the bow, is about 28 metres long and it lies upright in 72 metres of water.

Warnings:

  • Unexploded Ordnance
  • War Grave

This is one of the the wrecks managed by the Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit (UCHU) within Heritage Malta. For information regarding other wrecks managed by Heritage Malta, click here.

Contact Information

  • Contact: Heritage Malta - Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit
  • Phone: +356 79004141

General Information

  • Maximum Depth in Metres: 65m (Bow) | 69m (Stern)
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