Rubis Photo Gallery Photographs of the Free French Naval Forces submarine Rubis and her crew.
Rubis in Action (Google Map) The map shows the positions of all of Rubis's documented actions.
Rubis Today (Diving Videos) Rubis was scuttled in 1957 off St. Tropez, France, for sonar target practice.
Tribute to Submarines By Winston Spencer Churchill, Prime Minister.
Opened in 1914 at the behest of First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill (who just happened to be the MP for Dundee), Stannergate was one of a series of air bases along the east coast from which the new Royal Naval Air Service could protect the movements of the Home Fleet.The Admiralty leased a large area of reclaimed land for the new base and the first operational aircraft, a two-seater Borel ‘hydroplane’ flown by Major Gordon and Leading Seaman Shaw, arrived on 9th February 1914. Long patrols were flown over the North Sea convoy routes and, working with Naval patrol craft, Stannergate-based aircraft carried out a vigorous campaign against enemy U-boats. In 1918 Stannergate was home to 249 Squadron and two flights of 257 Squadron.
Several hundred personnel were based there and the base had expanded to include officers’ accommodation and a wardroom in ‘The Wick’, a large villa off Broughty Ferry Road, a large hutted camp between what is now Craigie Drive and the railway, a powerful wireless station, its own carrier pigeon service, large aircraft sheds (some of which survived into the 1980s) and two long slipways jutting out into the river. Among the many extraordinary characters stationed at Stannergate during the First World War was ‘Mad’ Major Chris Draper who used to pass the time by flying back and forth through the arches of the Tay Bridge.
After a brief flurry of activity during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War which ended in 1920, the base closed and the tall wireless masts and remaining aircraft were sold off to local joiners for scrap – a welcome source of raw materials when supplies were short.
Stannergate reopened (minus the hutted camp which had been demolished to make way for the new Broughty Ferry Road and housing) in the Second World War as HMS Condor II, a satellite station of HMS Condor, the RNAS shore base at Arbroath, and was primarily involved in training as part of No.2 Observers School and the Naval Air Signals School. It closed for good in 1944.
Fitted with two 6" guns, this local defence battery was rarely fired even on practice shoots as the resulting concussion cracked windows and damaged plasterwork in nearby houses. A set of torpedo tubes, manned by ratings from the submarine base, HMS Ambrose, was also mounted nearby.
Shipbuilding, like Dundee’s other traditional heavy industries, suffered badly during the economic downturn of the inter-war years and only at the end of the 1930s, as shipyards across Britain began work on naval construction, did the situation improve.
One of the Caledon yard's first wartime jobs was the refitting of the Polish submarines Orzeł and Wilk which had dramatically escaped from the Baltic just ahead of the invading German and Soviet forces. The presence, just yards away, of the Dundee submarine base meant that numerous other submarines were refitted or had battle damage repaired. Warship construction included a series of Castle class frigates, among them Dumbarton Castle and Carisbrooke Castle in 1943. These were followed by the ill-fated Hurst Castle which was just nine months old when she was torpedoed and sunk off north-west Ireland on 1st September 1944. Fortunately, HMS Helmsdale was on hand to pick uo 105 survivors. The Castle class was designed specifically for construction in smaller yards but it was seriously underpowered and, from 1944, was replaced by the altogether better Loch class. The Caledon yard built Loch Lomond and Loch More in 1944 and Loch Arkaig and Loch Tralaig (the last ship of the class built for the Royal Navy) in 1945.
Warships were repaired at Dundee, most notable among them the escort carrier HMS Dasher which arrived at the Caledon yard in March 1943, her hull split wide open during a violent storm on the Arctic convoy route. Hastily repaired in just three weeks as she was required for the next convoy cycle, Dasher left for the Clyde to work up. Four days later, on 27th March, she was exercising off Ardrossan when she was torn apart by a massive explosion. There are various theories as to what caused the disaster, One suggests that it was caused by the recurrence of an electrical fault that had started a fire while she was in Dundee, another suggests that it was caused by one of her own aircraft crashing into her stern, igniting aviation fuel vapour and setting off a series of sympathetic explosions that sent her quickly to the bottom. Three hundred and seventy-nine sailors died with HMS Dasher. There is a compelling theory that the body of a dead sailor from Dasher was that used in Operation MINCEMEAT, the Allied brilliant deception plan that duped the Germans into believing the Allies were about to invade Greece when they were actually about to launch HUSKY, the invasion of Sicily.
Caledon-built merchant ships were in the thick of the action throughout the war, among them the Royal Fusilier, sunk by German bombers off North Berwick in June 1941. The coaster Arbroath, built at the Caledon yard for the Dundee Perth & London shipping line in 1935, was commandeered by the Royal Navy in 1940. She was involved in the disastrous Norway campaign, in particular the evacuation of Allied personnel from Tromsø, then was used to keep the Allied garrison in Iceland supplied during 1943 before becoming involved in carrying stores into the Mulberry Harbours following D-Day. After an eventful post-war career, Arbroath was scrapped in Ireland in 1972.
There was the Telemachus built for the Alfred Holt Line in 1940 and converted into the aircraft carrier HMS Activity which, after escorting numerous Atlantic and Arctic convoys, was sent to the Far East and was present at the surrender of Japanese forces in Singapore.
There was the Tantalus, originally built in Dundee as the Radnorshire in 1923, which was refitting in Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded in 1941. At the last minute, as Japanese troops were fighting their way into the outskirts of the city, her crew managed to tow her away to Manila in the Philippines. However she arrived there in the middle of an air raid so they set off again under tow, this time for Bataan. Here again she was bombed and this time her valiant crew could not save her as, burning fiercely, she rolled over and sank. Tantalus' crew were rounded up by the invading Japanese a few days later and two of them were executed for trying to escape.
Then there was the Gorgon, built at the Caledon yard in 1933, which was repeatedly bombed by the Japanese while evacuating 358 refugees from Singapore just three days before the colony surrendered. One unexploded bomb, discovered among bags of flour in her hold, was pulled out and simply rolled over the side. Gorgon survived further Japanese attacks during the war and was broken up in 1964.
Ships Built or Repaired at Caledon Shipyards
HMS Dasher (D37) was a Royal Navy aircraft carrier, of the Avenger class. She was a converted merchant vessel and had one of the shortest service histories. Dasher started out as the merchantman Rio de Janeiro, laid down on 14 March 1940, launched on 12th April 1941 and acquired by the United States Navy on 20th May 1941. She was subsequently converted, transferred to the Royal Navy and finally commissioned into service as HMS Dasher (D37) on 2nd July 1942. After performing some aircraft ferry operations in the Mediterranean, Dasher sailed to the Clyde in March 1943 and, having had her flight-deck lengthened by 42 feet, she embarked Fairey Swordfish aircraft.
She escorted one convoy successfully, but shortly after leaving with the second, Dasher suffered engine trouble and turned back. Shortly after getting to the Firth of Clyde on 27th March 1943, she suffered a major internal explosion and sank.
There has been speculation that one corpse from the sinking was used during the British deception operation, Operation Mincemeat.
Operation Mincemeat was a very successful British deception plan during World War II. Mincemeat convinced the German high command that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia in 1943 instead of Sicily, the actual objective.
This was accomplished by persuading the Germans that they had, by accident, intercepted “top secret” documents giving details of Allied war plans. The documents were attached to a corpse dressed up as a ‘Major William Martin’ of the Royal Marines which was deliberately left to wash up on a beach near Huelva, Spain. When the body was found, pro-German Spaniards passed the papers to the German Intelligence Service who passed them on to their High Command. The ruse was so successful that the Germans still believed that Sardinia and Greece were the intended objectives, weeks after the landings in Sicily had begun.
The story was revealed in the 1953 book The Man Who Never Was. A Hollywood film of the same name was released in 1956.
The book ‘The Secrets of HMS Dasher’, published in 2002 suggests a different identity for the body. On 27th March 1943, there was an accidental explosion on HMS Dasher (a U.S-built escort carrier), which was then in the Firth of Clyde. Dasher sank, and 379 men were killed. The authors claim that the Mincemeat body was John “Jack” Melville, 37, one of the dead sailors.