Re: Virgo Fidelis
Posted by: Platon Alexiades
Date: February 26, 2005 12:28PM
Regarding VIRGO FIDELIS. I have no record of any British or Allied submarines operating off San Sebastian at this period (12-17 July 1941). THRASHER was in Alexandria between patrols. I know she is attributed to this submarine by both Rohwer and Marc Saibène (author of "La marine marchande française en guerre") but this is an error.
There was no sound reason to send a submarine off San Sebastian at the time (unless an ULTRA signal had reported the move of a U-boat or supply ship). At the time submarines were patrolling off Brest to prevent a breakout by SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU so to divert one to San Sebastian did not make sense. Their operations were usually North of 46.00 N. There was no submarine on passage from the UK to Gibraltar which could have been diverted to San Sebastian on account of an ULTRA signal. Two submarines were on passage from Halifax to Gibraltar but they appear to have gone straight to their destination without a detour and anyway did not report an attack.
The closest attack is that of the Polish submarine SOKOL which fired 4 torpedoes at a large unidentified transport at 0424/15 July 1941 in position 46.41 N/02.30 W. This vessel was reported escorted by 2 destroyers, course 310 at 12 knots. Anyone can help me identify it?
Could VIRGO FIDELIS have been attacked by a U-boat or perhaps, if it had a French crew, deliberately ran aground for sabotage?