On Wednesday, HMS Triumph, a British Royal Navy submarine was discovered in the Aegean Sea by a Greek research team led by Kostas Thoktaridis.
The HMS Triumph was a T-Class submarine involved in military operations in the Aegean Sea and elsewhere in the European theatre of the Second World War until it went missing in 1942.
64 submariners were killed when the HMS Triumph sunk 81 years ago. In the decades since its disappearance, numerous theories have sprung up as to the cause of HMS Triumph’s watery demise. Now that the submarine has been discovered, researchers hope that they can finally begin to piece together what happened to the unlucky submarine.
Discovery of the HMS Triumph submarine in the Aegean Sea
“The search for the HMS TRIUMPH began in 1998. It is the most difficult and the most expensive mission I have carried out in my life,” said Kostas Thoktaridis, the leader of the research team which found the Royal Navy vessel.
Teams from around the world, including Russia, the UK, and Malta have scoured the Greek waters for signs of the submarine in the decades after its disappearance during the Second World War, all to no avail.
However, 81 years later, the team of Thoktardis finally discovered HMS Triumph in its watery grave at a depth of 203 meters under the sea. “The sunken HMS Triumph that became a wet grave for 64 heroes is awe-inspiring,” he reflected.
What caused HMS Triumph to sink?
Prior to the discovery of the lost submarine at the bottom of the Aegean, several theories were proposed for its disappearance. Among them was the hypothesis that it had been struck by a mine and sank or that it was incapacitated by an accident diving, or struck land.
The submarine had been involved in a number of covert operations in the Aegean before its disappearance. These covert operations involved the infiltration and extraction of Greek partisans and British intelligence officers during various missions across the region.
The last time HMS Triumph was spotted was at 12:00 noon on January 9, 1942, by an Italian aircraft. It was sighted about 4 nautical miles southeast of Sounio.
The researchers who discovered the HMS Triumph’s final resting place are already busy trying to uncover what caused the submarine to sink to the bottom of the sea.
As noted by the researchers, the submarine is positioned at the bottom of the sea, tilted 8 degrees to the right. It is located several tens of kilometers away from the coastline.
The fact that the periscopes are lowered and the manholes are closed indicates that HMS Triumph was in a deep dive during its final moments. The depth and direction controls are aligned, suggesting that it maintained a constant depth.
The ultimate reason for the sinking seems to have been a significant explosion at the front of the submarine, which subsequently propelled HMS Triumph to a depth of 203 meters (666 feet). However, the researchers cannot yet determine the cause of the explosion.
Our investigation continues, mainly at a historical level as new evidence and facts come to light, which combined with the information we now have from the wreck and with the assistance of Navy experts specializing in submarines and torpedoes will reveal the secrets of HMS Triumph,” said Thoktaridis.