View Full Version : Peter Farquhar Flett, O.B.E. , Lt Cmdr

Gerard Peels
07-05-2008, 19:52
Dear All

The P36 sub was lifted in August 1958 from its place where it was hit during an air raid and sunk on 1st April 1942, i.e. next to the former Naval Quarantaine Hospital (Manoel Island), Malta- HMS Talbot

After being beached for only 14 days, this sub was scuttled on 22nd August 1958 off Malta. According the RNSUBmuseum Chief Salvage Officer P F Flett was in charge of this operation. This gentleman died in 1992, at the age of 84 years(?).

Some special questions, which I wasn't able to solve so far concern:-
1) the exact reason why this P36 sub was scuttled, and,
2) does any one has a picture of the P36 while being beached,
3) does any one knows someone who was part of this operation in August 1958?

Why scuttle this sub if steel was absolutely in need off, eg. the Pandora wreck was scrapped in 1955?

The answers should not be available from the internet



08-05-2008, 15:56
Hi Gerard. I am puzzled by this post as I always thought that P36 suffered a near miss, but an explosion strong enough to hole her. After valiant attempts to stem the ingress of water she finally rolled over and sank. I have heard nothing to suggest she was scuttled.
I feel that this post is somewhat of a tester. Do you know something we don't.
Are you suggesting she was on a covert mission or carried something important. Let us know as this could be interesting.

John Brown
08-05-2008, 17:01

You are correct in what you say regarding the sinking of P36 but Gerard is also correct.

The submarine was raised in 1958 and taken out to sea for scuttling off Malta.

I am not sure of the reason but I expect it is something simple like wanting to clear the wreck from the harbour as it had become a nuisance or a danger to shipping.


Gerard Peels
08-05-2008, 17:31
Hello Gents

Thanks for the replies.
To add a bit more to the story...
On 1st April 1942 the P36 was moored at the Hospital, Manoel Island. This location was called HMS Talbot. The P36 was then under repair when the air raid occurred between 3 and 4 pm. The impact of the near hits was however enough to make her sink. It would be very likely that further damage was prevented by gadgets providing smoke screens in the direct vicinity of the moorings. The depth of Marxamxett Harbour at particular that spot is about 22-20 m max, therefore at this location and depth one omits the possibility of forming an underwater obstruction.

Furthermore I reason that the damage after all was restricted since:-
1. she was already under repair: still had the economical and fighting potential, wasnt dumped or brought to a drydock, unlike the Pandora.
2. the effort to raise her in 1958 wasn't too much and complicated to have the sub even beached for some 15 days, which occurred presumably just opposite and on the Northern side of Manoel Island, on the landings over there.
3. on the 22nd August 1958 on her final trip before getting scuttled she was afloat for over ten nautical miles (knowing where she rests now).
4 subsequently I assume that as a wreck after dropping some 140 meters, sorry for my blasphemy, 81 fathoms, she still would be fairly intact.
5. According my investigations, no one until now ever saw this wreck, neither as a tech diver, nor by ROV.

As I said the reason for scuttling might still be political one: earlier in 1958 there was a lot of commotion amongst the Maltese under the British as they planned to lay off 11000 jobs in the drydocks.
But, as i said before, this is just an "educated guestimate" lacking any hard evidence. I would love to see pictures of that short period while the P36 was beached.
As a last remark: of this sub i so far never came across a picture; references were only made of any of her sister ships.

08-05-2008, 19:43
Surely, after 16 years on the sea bed it would not have been a viable proposition to put her back into commission. Especially with the postwar shrinkage of the RN and the fact that there were so many other boats being scrapped. Also, the first of the new Oberon class was already designed and on order by 1958.

Gerard Peels
21-02-2009, 06:04
Having reconsidered the replies and hints I got so far about this particular Submarine, I still wasn't able to find out the answer to my first question forwarded to this forum:

Why was the P36 scuttled, whereby other subs, which were salvaged or beached in that same era of the late fifties, were scrapped, and as I mentioned before, in a time where both scrap metal and employment was scarce???

Can someone provide an answer here????