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The Artist formerly known as 'John Duncan'
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<font color='#F52887'>Can anyone supply me with details of the submarine SIDON in Lyme Bay. There are only a few references I have found so far and they seem to be conflicting. I think that the consensus seems to be that it was sunk to be an ASDIC target for the navy in 1957. enlighten me anyone?
 

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<font color='#333399'>Hi John
Dug this info out for you.

Name. Sidon
Class. S3
Pennant. P259
Crew. 48
Built. 1st Sept 1944.
Builder. Cammell Laird Birkenhead.
Disposal Date. 16th June 1955.
Method. Sunk [not war]

Eastern Fleet. At 0825 on 16-Jun-55, Sidon (Lt. H.T. Verry) was lying alongside the depot ship Maidstone at Portland when one of her torpedoes exploded. The torpedoes had no warheads, but did have the new volatile hydrogen peroxide propellant. The crew had just embarked the torpedoes before going to sea for trial firings. A sudden uprush of air and smoke poured through the conning tower hatch. Her captain and others who were on the bridge, and others from Maidstone, entered the boat to assist rescue operations. At 0845 the submarine sank without warning by the bows. There were 56 men onboard at the time - crew, trainees and trials personnel for the trip. Three officers and ten ratings lost their lives but the remainder were saved. The wreck was raised on 23-Jun-55 and beached the next day. The 13 bodies were recovered on 25-Jun-55. A/S target 6/57. Lies a few miles West of Portland intact and upright. Another explosion of the hydrogen-peroxide torpedo at Arrochar torpedo range caused the development of the Mk12 torpedo to be cancelled. A memorial is being planned for 2005.


A point of interest :-
The torpedo was an experimental one using High Test Peroxide, the same type of fuel used in the torpedo which is believed to have caused the more recent tragedy aboard the Russian Submarine Kursk.
The British stop using the Mk12 torpedo in 1955
The Russians would have had this information even if it was not general info, they would have got it through the Portland spy case in the late 50’s.
Yet they continued to use this type of  torpedo until it sunk one of there latest subs.

Brian Hodder at [email protected]   This chap seems to be in charge of the memorial so would know where it is.

I served in Portland in the late 50's and remember the Sidon being mentioned as being sunk off Portland.

Cheers
Bob.
 

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The Sidon is an awesome dive - dived it last year in June. 36m down, lying on the bottom didn't need a torch - great!

PS If you have ever met Reg the skipper of Tideflow in Portland (looks like Worzel Gummidge) he remembers the Sidon actually sinking the first time.
 

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The Artist formerly known as 'John Duncan'
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<font color='#F52887'>What a great dive, 42 minutes on the wreck and then a nice long drift at 9m to deco. 16degrees and 5m viz. It stands on legs to act like a running sub off the bottom for the ASDIC operators training to look for that sort of thing. A hell of a stong current around even though we dived it at the time recommended to us. Well worth the day out to do this wreck, I would recommend this to anyone.
 

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Respected Wreck-diving Author & Resident Farnes Ex
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Hi Guys

Just found out I went to school in Boldon Colliery with Colin Smith, one of the guys who went down with SIDON. It was his first day on her when he was lost. Colin was 20yrs old.

Ron
 

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Was on the Sidon yesterday. Very nice dive - it was the first time i've been on it.

Many of the boat did not know the name, but recognised it from the torpedo fuel explosion as shown as part of the Kursk documentary.

Will try to do it again at some point.

Adrian
 

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Hi Guys

Just as a matter of interest is there any soft corals, or anemones growing on the hull of SIDON?

Cheers Ron
 

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The Artist formerly known as 'John Duncan'
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<font color='#F52887'>There are a few dead mans fingers and fish, but not a great deal of life. you might see a few congers, but there arent too many holes for life to hide in. It is just so good to see a complete sub, it isnt too often that you get to see them in everyday life.

P.S. i am reading a book at the moment about the Kursk, it makes good reading about the mindset of the people in charge and the guys on the sub going into detail about the standard operating procedures for emergencies in what must have been a horrendous way to go (especially when you read the details about the guys writing notes to their loved ones as they slowly succumbed to the cold and the lack of air. KURSK by PETER TRUSCOTT ISBN 0-7434-4941-X
 
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